ROV to penetrate ancient “door” in Great Pyramid

Robotics Science
ROV to penetrate ancient “door” in Great Pyramid


As implausible as it may seem, even 4500 years after it was completed, there are passages in the Great Pyramid of Khufu that remain unexplored.

Before you reach for your incredulous hat, however, understand that the “passages” in question are really more like pipes. Approximately 20 cm square and winding upwards through the massive stone structure along a series of sharp corners, the two shafts in question connect to the so-called “Queen’s Chamber” in the middle of the pyramid, and were hidden until the late 19th century when a British explorer, reasoning by analogy to the two well-known shafts in the upper “King’s Chamber,” dug into the walls and discovered them. Unlike the shafts in the King’s Chamber, however, the Queen’s Chamber shafts do not connect to the outside of the pyramid. Starting in 1992, a series of ROVs have discovered that their distant ends are sealed by limestone “doors” incorporating copper fittings probably used as pulls. The implication seems to be that the shafts were sealed by the original builders by pulling the “doors” into place, from inside the Queen’s Chamber, using lines run down the shafts. Which raises some intriguing questions about what might be behind them.

Now, a team from Leeds University is preparing an ROV, called Djedi, designed to navigate the narrow, torturous length of the stone shafts and penetrate the doors at their far ends without causing undue damage. [via Bot Junkie]

6 thoughts on “ROV to penetrate ancient “door” in Great Pyramid

  1. cyenobite2 says:

    What surprised me the most about this, is that it’s taken almost 10 years to finally come up with a plan (or get approval) to investigate what’s beyond these doors. fyi – National Geographic did a really neat documentary about the original robot used to snake up these shafts to discover the door(s) called “Into the Great Pyramid”.

    1. Simon says:

      Oh good, I am not the only one getting impatient for this! Thanks for the tip on the documentary too. Will look that up.

    2. firstsolar says:

      I just saw the video and can’t wait to see what’s coming next, good luck to the exploration team and hopefully get to watch a new video soon :)

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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