The Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza, Egypt, was built about 4,500 years ago as a mausoleum for King Khufu -- his Greek name was Cheops. But even if many archeologists have worked on the site, nobody really knows if the pharaoh's real tomb has been found. Back in 2002, a robot built with the help of National Geographic explored two shafts inside the pyramid, only to find more closed doors. But this month, according to Reuters, a robot built by the University of Singapore will drill through these doors and try to discover if "the secret chamber of Khufu is [still] hidden inside the pyramid," as thinks Dr. Zahi Hawass, who is the "Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt."
Here are some short quotes from the Reuters article.
Egypt will send a robot up narrow shafts in the Great Pyramid to try to solve one of the mysteries of the 4,500-year-old pharaonic mausoleum, Egypt's top archaeologist said on Monday.
Zahi Hawass told Reuters he would this week inspect a robot designed to climb the two narrow shafts which might lead to an undiscovered burial chamber in the pyramid of Cheops at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo.
And he thinks that none of the previous burial chambers discovered in the pyramid is the real pharaoh's tomb. So where can be the secret chamber? Below is a small plan of the Great Pyramid (Credit: Dr. Zahi Hawass). You'll find a larger version of this plan by reading "The Secret Doors Inside the Great Pyramid."
And do we have some details about this robotic exploration? Not many.
The shafts were last probed in September 2002, when a robot drilled a hole through one of the stone panels to reveal a small empty space at the end of which lay another panel, which appeared cracked and fragile.
The new robot, designed by a university in Singapore over two years, would drill through that panel and the stone slab blocking the second shaft.
I spent a couple of hours trying to find some pictures of the robot, but it looks like it's a secret as well guarded as the location of King Khufu's tomb. So if you happen to know about such photographs, please post their locations below.
In the mean time, you also should read the Wikipedia article about the Great Pyramid of Giza and "Searching for the Hidden Tomb," written by Peter Goodgame, which explains why the robotic exploration of October 2005 will not be broadcasted live like the previous one three years ago.
According to Hawass, in October of 2005 a robot built by the University of Singapore will be sent up the shafts to drill through both of these blocks. This time, to avoid any major disappointment as before, Hawass says that the drilling will not be broadcast live, but the results will be announced in a press release. However Hawass did explain that "If something interesting is discovered, we're going to show it to people all over the world."
Will the mystery of the Great Pyramid be solved after 4,500 years? I' m not sure but we'll know it soon.
But while we're waiting, please take the time to read -- for the 100th time -- "Le Mystère de la Grande Pyramide," the comic book album from Edgar Pierre Jacobs published in 1950.
Sources: Tom Perry, Reuters, October 10, 2005; and various web sites
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