Suggesting that the Great Pyramid has spent some of the intervening millennia listlessly scrolling through Twitter, scientists say they have identified a previously unknown “big void” inside the pyramid of Khufu, or Cheops. The largest pyramid in Giza, Egypt (not that anyone is impressed) has been under intense study over the past two years by researchers using muography, a non-invasive technique that makes use of the cosmic rays that beat down on us all, relentlessly and every day, from a cold and merciless universe. By placing photographic plates inside the pyramid, they were essentially able to X-ray the pyramid and discover the emptiness within, without even penetrating it. Indeed, it hasn’t truly been penetrated in centuries.
The Great Pyramid was built during Khufu’s reign between 2509 and 2483 B.C., and oh what a time that was, when it was still a young and pert pyramid. Why, for a glorious 3,800 years there, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world, its surface still taut and baby-smooth from its lovely casing stones. Everyone wanted to bury themselves inside it; robbers couldn’t wait to loot it. Now it’s dwarfed by the average high-rise. No one has plundered it since 820 AD. Today it just sits there in the dirt getting old and craggy, and the only people interested in it are these selfish archaeologists—and who are only now noticing that there’s a big, gaping hole inside.
“We don’t know whether this big void is horizontal or inclined; we don’t know if this void is made by one structure or several successive structures,” said one of them, Mehdi Tayoubi from the HIP Institute in Paris, whose interest in the pyramid’s void from a purely analytical standpoint is just so, so typical. Some of Tayoubi’s colleagues have also theorized that this vacuum may have been deliberately incorporated by builders hoping to relieve some of the outside pressure and prevent it from collapsing. Anyone who’s read the news lately and adopted a sort of benumbed indifference can relate.
Anyway, more investigation has been planned to determine whether this cavity actually even exists (NICE, THANKS), as well as “if it holds anything of value”—because that is, after all, the only thing the pyramids are good for, right? The world just takes and takes and takes, and then it acts surprised when it discovers there’s nothing left behind but a giant, black nothingness. Yes, what a “mystery.”