Archaeologists raise Controversy about Importance of Big Void within Khufu’s Pyramid

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The Great Pyramid of Giza.

Copyright: A. Müller,

Cairo (Egypt) – One would expect that the discovery of an unknown large cavity within the Great Pyramid of Giza (also referred to as the Pyramid of Khufu) would be regarded and celebrated as „the“ discovery of the year, decade or even century. However, not if one follows some old-established Egyptologists: Since the publication of the discovery in the journal „Nature“, they have been doing their utmost to play down the discovery – with quite some success in international Media reporting. At the same time, however, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities himself is now speaking of a significant discovery. The editor of the leading German newsblog on frontier science, (GreWi), exclusively talked to the head of the „ScanPyramids“-Mission about the find.

Immediately after the publication of the Nature article, both the chairman of the Egyptian antiquity council, Mustafa Waziri as well as the well-known Archaeologist and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who was himself a former minister of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, had played down the significance of the discovery of the almost 30-50 x 9 metre void within the Great Pyramid.

Hawass, who himself was neither involved in the discovery nor with the article, told the news agency AFP that he „had met other scientists from ScanPyramids who showed us their conclusions, and we informed them this is not a discovery“.

Zahi Hawass
Copyright: Gemeinfrei

However, the main and leading investigators of ScanPyramids are the authors of the article. Who those „other scientists“ were, with whom Hawass has talked to has not been identified in his statements nor in the reports.

Furthermore, Hawass explained to the AFP that the pyramid was indeed „full of cavities“, but that this „does not mean that there is a secret chamber or a new discovery“. Waziri criticized the Nature-authors for supposedly sensationalistic interpretations of the discovery as unknown spaces or chambers. Such interpretations „should not be published before a scientific discussion“.

In fact, however, the authors of the Nature-article do not raise this claim themselves at all – and even underline that the function and thus the meaning and use of the „Big Void“ are not yet known and is therefore so far only referred to as a „void“ and not as a chamber, gallery, corridor or the like. In addition, the publication of the article in the prestigious journal „Nature“ certainly does meet scientific standards.

Hawass himself is portrayed in numerous media reports on the find as the „chairman of the science committee of the ScanPyramids project“, which „supervises“ or even directs it. The „Heritage Innovation Preservation Institutes Institute“ (HIP) that actually leads the ScanPyramid-Mission was already clarified previous claims in June 2016, that „the results of this new muons campaign lead by the ScanPyramids team will be shared for analysis and interpretation with several committees representing different scientific disciplines (…) An Egyptologists committee has been set up by the Ministry of Antiquities under the authority of the Minister Dr. Khaled Al-Anany and will be led by Dr. Zahi Hawass. (…) However Hawass is certainly not leading the ScanPyramids -Mission“.

Contradicting Waziri and Hawass, the current Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Khaled Al-Anany, has now expressed and positioned himself on the discovery in the Great Pyramid.

At the International Conference on the Science of Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technologies (SAEMT), the minister thanked the ScanPyramids-team led by Mehdi Tayoubi from the HIP Institute and Kunihiro Morishima from Nagoya University, Japan, and spoke of a „a new revelation that brought the world’s attention to Egypt. (…)What was discovered is new and larger than the known cavities, and we’ll continue in our scientific steps“. At the same time, however, Al-Anany – as quoted by the Egypt Independent – also indicated that the find is currently being „discussed“ with the team (… around Hawass?) and explained further:

asd „The research team is a global scientific team working under the umbrella of the Antiquities Ministry and under the supervision of Hani Helal, former Minister of Higher Education and includes researchers from France, Japan and Canada. He also explained that the Standing Committee of the Antiquities Ministry said that the conclusions should be published in a prestigious global research magazine to make sure of the credibility of the research.“

– Please read the exclusive GreWi-Interview with Mehdi Tayoubi of the HIP-Institute HERE, in which he also talks about „other anomalies discovered within the Great Pyramid“ that still have to be investigated and analysed further.