CAIRO, EGYPT- Famous archaeologist Zahi Hawass accompanied by a team is testing a new scanner on the Great Pyramid of Giza on Thursday, June 2. The former antiquities minister and his team are hoping that use of modern technology might help in finding secrets buried beneath the stone.
The new scanner uses subatomic particles known as muons to examine structures; currently it is scanning the 4,500 year-old burial structure. It was set up at the site last year in 2015 and will complete its data collection in this month of June.
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"It's running right now, and if it manages to detect one of the three chambers we already know exist inside, then we will continue the scans," Hawass said. He has been appointed by the Antiquities Ministry to head the team that will review the scan results.
Thermal scan at the end of last year identified a major anomaly in the pyramid- three adjacent stones at its base which registered higher temperatures than others.
Former Antiquity Minister and Famous Archaeologist Zahi Hawass. Source : Wikipedia
Hawass has in the past downplayed the usefulness of scans on ancient sites, saying that they have never found anything important. He has clashed publicly with British Egyptologist Nicolas Reeves, whose theory that secret burial chambers could be hidden behind the walls of King Tutankhamun's tomb was both prompted and reinforced by scanning.
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For more than a decade Hawass was a celebrity starring in TV documentaries, eventually ruling the Antiquities Ministry like a pharaoh. He was dismissed from the post after Egypt's 2011 uprising that toppled long time autocrat Hosni Mubarak and faced corruption charges, of which he was later cleared.
Following his new appointment, Hawass in his statement criticized scanning technologies and said they could be useful if directed by the right hands — such as his.
"You need Egyptologists to oversee all this, otherwise mistakes can be made," he said. "I hope these scans will help us obtain accurate information," he said, adding that he believed another burial chamber remains undiscovered inside.
-prepared by Bhaskar Raghavendran (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: bhaskar_ragha