Researchers are getting their first look at the interior of the 4,500-year-old Bent Pyramid thanks to the use of cosmic particles. Named after its 11-degree slope change at its top section, the ancient Egyptian monument was the first of four pyramids to be scanned in a project run by Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Paris-based non-profit organization Heritage. Built by the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu around 2600 BC, the investigation finally put to rest a long-unsolved mystery surrounding the former Egyptian ruler.
It was speculated that pharaoh Sneferu rests inside the pyramid in an undiscovered burial chamber, but the innovative technology ruled out the hypothesis. The scanning did not detect any additional chamber of the size of the upper chamber or beyond in the field of view covered by the muography.
“Just like X-rays pass through our bodies allowing us to visualize our skeleton, these elementary particles, weighing around 200 times more than electrons, can very easily pass through any structure, even large and thick rocks, such as mountains,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, co-director of the ScanPyramids mission with Hany Helal, professor at Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering and former minister of research and higher education.