It’s been more than 18 years since German engineer Rudolph Gantenbrink discovered the “secret door” in the southern shaft of the so-called “Queen’s Chamber“, using his remote controlled robot named “Upuaut” (Meaning “The Opener” in Ancient Egyptian.) It took Supreme Council of Antiquities ten years to examine what lied behind that door. During this long period, nobody was allowed to make researches in Great Pyramid (including Gantenbrink) which added a lot to the mystery cloud surrounding the Queen’s Chamber.
In September 2002, another robot was sent to see beyond the “door” with a camera, only to find out another similar door a few feet ahead. Then, another secret door found in the northern shaft of the chamber. More than eight years passed since then. Now, another team is preparing to bring light to the mystery of the Great Pyramid; this time, named “Djedi Project“. Could the world finally learn what was hidden behind those doors? I am very sceptical about it, as long as Dr. Zahi Hawass (the chairman of the council) is involved. Probably, a new “one-man-show” is on the way, starring Dr. Hawass as a “misleading Indiana Jones”.
A tiny robot could help unlock the mysteries of the queen’s chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Nobody knows where two unexplored air shafts leading from that ancient room lead. The hope is that the remote-controlled robotic tunnel explorer–which can fit through holes less than one inch in diameter–can drill through the secret door blocking the shafts and gather evidence that determines their purpose.
Leeds University in the U.K. is teaming with the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt and a team of international engineers to construct the bot, which is also known as the Djedi project after the magician consulted by Egypt’s King Khufu as he planned the layout of his pyramid. The structure was built over a 20-year period thought to end around 2560 BC.
The Djedi bot is equipped with a mini ultrasonic device that can tap on walls and listen to the response to help determine the thickness and condition of the stone, and a coring drill that can penetrate the rock (if necessary) while removing the minimum amount of material necessary.
It has a precision compass and inclinometer to measure the orientation of the shafts. Importantly, it’s also fitted with lights and a “snake camera” that can see around corners–and hopefully yield new information into the curved air shafts, which were discovered in 1872 by a British engineer named Waynman Dixon.
During a mission in 1992, archaeologists sent another robot, named Upuaut 2, up one of the tunnels and found it blocked by a limestone door with two copper handles. Ten years later, researchers drilled through that door, only to find another one about 8 inches away.
- ROV to penetrate ancient “door” in Great Pyramid (mt-soft.com.ar)