13889pyramid door news...
- Dec 5, 2002Update: Third "Door" Found in Great Pyramid
National Geographic News
September 23, 2002
View a movie of the newest pyramid shaft discovery >>
Scientists exploring the Great Pyramid in Egypt sent a robot into the
northern shaft in the past few days, discovering another blocking stone.
The "door" appears to be identical to the one in the southern shaft that
was already known. The doors are equidistant (65 meters/208 feet) from the
queen's chamber. It is the third such block discovered within the shafts of
The announcement of the discovery was made Monday by Farouk Hosni, Egypt's
minister of culture, and Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme
Council of Antiquities and a National Geographic explorer-in-residence.
A specially developed combination of robotics, camera, and lighting
technology developed by iRobot of Boston, yielded the new information.
Until this discovery, no one knew that the northern shaft extended to the
north as far as the southern shaft goes to the south.
Prior explorations of the northern shaft have failed because, unlike the
southern shaft, the northern shaft has a number of bends and sharp corners.
Hawass suggested that the layout of the northern shaft may have been
designed to avoid intersection with the pyramid's grand gallery.
The top image shows a new door in the Great Pyramid in Egypt, discovered
just last week. The lower image shows the previously-discovered door.
Photograph copyright National Geographic Television and Film
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"This find in the northern shaft, coupled with last week's discovery of a
second 'door' behind the blocking stone in the southern shaft, represents
the first major new information about the Great Pyramid in more than a
century. We will now carefully study the data and plan out further
investigation of the two shafts in order to accurately map and interpret
the find," Hawass said.
The newly discovered northern shaft door appears to be very similar to the
one in the southern shaft, including the presence of a pair of copper
"pins" or "handles." The southern shaft "door" was discovered in a 1993
investigation conducted under the auspices of the German Archaeological
On September 17, 2002, a National Geographic robot, specially designed to
traverse the southern shaft to the blocking stone, inserted a miniature
fiber-optic camera into a three-quarters-of-an-inch hole to reveal the
rough-hewn blocking stone lying seven inches beyond the original southern
shaft door. That earlier portion of the expedition was broadcast live in an
international television event carried on National Geographic Channel and
on Fox in the U.S.
"The mystery of the Great Pyramid becomes all the more compelling with each
new discovery coming from the queen's chamber and the Supreme Council of
Antiquities/National Geographic expedition," Terry Garcia, executive vice
president of mission programs at the National Geographic Society said.
"This continuation of our century-long involvement in archaeological
breakthroughs in Egypt is an exciting extension of the National Geographic
Portions of the northern shaft have been previously explored. In 1872
Waynman Dixon found a small bronze hook and granite ball. In the 1920s a
pyramid enthusiast, Morton Edgar, attempted to learn more about the queen's
chamber shafts by using flexible metal rods. In the southern shaft he was
stopped, presumably by the blocking door. In the northern shaft, which
appears to bend and curve around the grand gallery, Edgar's flexible rods
broke and remain there to this day. The SCA/NG robot "rover" had to
navigate around the metal rods to reach the end of the northern shaft.
In the course of the German Archaeological Institute's 1993 investigation,
Rudolf Gantenbrink's robot traversed part of the shaft but only succeeded
in covering 19 meters (63.3 feet).
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