Although it was not immediately clear what the passageway near the main entrance of the Pyramid of Khufu, which is found directly behind the chevron zone on the north side, served, officials indicated it may lead to more discoveries.
Researchers from the Scan Pyramid project, a multinational expedition that has been probing the internal structure of the pyramid since 2015 using cutting-edge tools like radiography muons, infrared thermography, and 3D reconstruction techniques, discovered the discovery.
According to Mostafa Waziri, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the gabled ceiling of the secret tunnel shows that it was constructed to lessen the pressure on the structure.
“But a big question mark hangs over whether this corridor was created to relieve the weight on the [main] entrance or lighten the load on a space yet to be discovered,” he added. “Scanning work will continue to uncover more secrets of this structure.”
The Great Pyramid, the largest of the Great Pyramids of Giza, is the last surviving wonder of the ancient world. It was built as a royal tomb some 4,500 years ago during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu.
A chevron technique was used in building the pyramid to cover internal structures and prevent them from collapsing. Scientists say the detection of any previously unknown internal structures could lead to a better understanding of the construction process of the ancient monument.
In 2017, the same team of scientists discovered a large void through cosmic-ray muon radiography, which they said was the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the 19th century. They found another unknown cavity on the north eastern edge of the Pyramid the year before.
Egypt aims to tap into new ancient discoveries to draw in tourists, a major source of foreign currency and jobs that has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as political instability following the 2011 revolution.