Latest News on the New Shaft Exploration


Mon Oct 10, 2:27 PM ET - REUTERS

Egypt prepares new probe of mystery pyramid shafts

 By Tom Perry

CAIRO (Reuters) - 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. Hawass said the shafts and stone panels which block them could mark the location of the burial chamber of Cheops, also known as Khufu. That would mean none of the chambers already discovered in the pyramid were the pharaoh's real tomb.

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.

"It's very important to reveal the mystery of the pyramid. Science in archaeology is very important. People all over the world are waiting to solve this mystery," Hawass said. "I believe that these doors are hiding something... It could be, and this is a theory, that maybe Khufu's chamber is still hidden in thepyramid," he said.

The two shafts, which rise from an unfinished chamber in the pyramid, have puzzled archaeologists since they were first discovered in 1872. Some Egyptologists had said the shafts, which measure 20 cm by 20 cm (eight by eight inches) were built as vents. Others said they were passages for the king's soul to ascend to the afterlife.  "I hope that we will do this work and in a few months from now we will really know what's behind them," Hawass said.

The Cheops pyramid, which is 145 metres (480 feet) high, is the biggest of the pyramids on the Giza plateau on the western edge of the Egyptian capital.

Other past Articles on the Shaft exploration

August 11, 2004 - Cairo

The University of Singapore will begin constructing a new robot to explore a mystery door in the Great Pyramid of Giza, a statement by the Supreme Council for Antiquities said on Wednesday. The statement quoted SCA Secretary General Zahi Hawass as saying that Singapore will begin constructing the robot in September in preparation for another exploration of the pyramid next year.

In 2002, a robot constructed by the Chicago University in the US and a US company crawled into a tunnel leading to a mysterious stone resembling a door and drilled through it, only to find a second door. This tunnel, or shaft, led from the southern wall of the so-called Queen's chamber. It also explored the northern shaft in the same chamber, which an earlier robot was unable to navigate, and discovered a second door in that shaft as well.

The earlier robot was UPUAUT 2 (Wepwawet), which in 1993 was sent up the southern shaft and discovered the door. Hawass said Singapore will finance the second such exploration to find what lies behind the second door in the southern shaft. The 2002 exploration cost $250 000. "It is impossible that these doors are only symbolic or were just built for King Khufu... Behind these doors are secrets that the robot can uncover," Hawass said. The SCA official said there were 118 pyramids in Egypt, none of which have doors such as those found in the Great Pyramid of Giza. "We need to explore these doors to find more information on ancient Egyptians," he said.


November 07, 2004

The robot experiment inside Cheops Pyramid in Giza will be repeated next year but this time by a different institution, said Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawas.

The University of Singapore is currently designing a robot to reach beyond the door which blocked the route of the robot used by the US National Geographic in September 2003, said Hawas in statements on Saturday.

The new experiment will be conducted in October 2005, added the SCA head.

The Geographic's tiny robot crept through the Great pyramid in a bid to demystify what is inside the Pyramid only to face a new puzzle.

The tiny robot -named the pyramid Rover -took two hours to crawl through a narrow shaft in the Great Pyramid of Cheops, drill through a door at the end and push through its camera only to come face to face with another door.

 Hawas, at the time, considered the discovery a success per se.

The tiny camera showed a small, uncluttered space backed by a vertical, sheer stone surface Hawas said he believed was another door.

During the broadcast, Hawas made another find by lifting the lid on a stone sarcophagus found in a tomb built near the Great Pyramid, revealing the intact skeleton apparently of man dating back to the period of the pyramid's construction 4,500 years ago.

The Great Pyramid, built 4,500 years ago by Khufu, an ancient ruler also known as Cheops, has four narrow shafts. It is made of 2.3 million stone blocks.


October 12, 2005    Las Vegas Herald

By Anne Penketh

Egypt is preparing to use the latest technology to solve a 4,500-year-old riddle. A robot is to be sent up two narrow shafts in the Great Pyramid in Giza to discover whether a secret burial chamber contains the real tomb of the pharaoh Cheops.

The chief Egyptian archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, is to inspect the robot designed by Singapore scientists this week. He was the official who breathlessly watched with a live television crew and a group of the world's leading Egyptologists in September 2002, when an American-designed robot drilled a hole through a stone panel in a pyramid shaft. In a historic anticlimax, after crawling 200ft along caterpillar tracks, the robot revealed nothing but another sealed door at the end of a small empty chamber.

Links about the September,  2002 exploration of the shafts in the Queen's Chamber

September 23, 2002 National Geographic News
Update: Third "Door" Found in Great Pyramid

April 4, 2003 National Geographic News
Ancient Egyptian Chambers Explore



The Secret Doors Inside the Great Pyramid    Zahi Hawass


The Secret Doors Inside the Great Pyramid   By Prof. Zahi Hawass , PhD


Will a robot discover the Great Pyramid's secret?