Archaeological Findings

What is inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt?
Answered by Science Channel
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    Science Channel

  1. The largest and most elaborate in construction, the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built in 2540 B.C. In addition to various passageways and air shafts (which may have been intended as passages to the heavens for the pharaoh Khufu), the king's burial chamber contains his sarcophagus, and hieroglyphs on the walls represent religion and history. In 1908, "Baedeker's Egypt" warned that "Travelers who are in the slightest degree predisposed to apoplectic or fainting fits, and ladies traveling alone, should not attempt to penetrate into these stifling recesses" [source: Nova].

    Above the king's chamber, weight-relieving chambers help to distribute the weight of the rock above to keep the chamber from caving in. Two additional burial chambers are present, one in the pyramid and one below. One of these is believed to be the queen's chamber, although it was not meant to house one of his wives, and one is unfinished. There also is an upper and lower grand gallery inside the pyramid. A large sarcophagus made of red granite rests in the king's chamber, at the center of the pyramid [source: National Geographic].

    One thing the ancient Egyptians "placed" inside the pyramid was the pharaoh's spirit. They believed that at least a part of his spirit, called the ka, remained with his mummified body. It was this belief that led to their great care in preserving the bodies of dead kings and in including items the pharaoh might need in the afterlife, which also were left inside the pyramids. Unfortunately, archaeologists do not know exactly what these items were; grave robbers most likely plundered the Great Pyramid long before it was discovered by archaeologists [source: Tour Egypt].

    Among the many mysteries surrounding the design and construction of Khufu's pyramid is the discovery of an additional stone blocking one of the interior shafts [source: CBS News]. A tiny robot has entered a small hole drilled in the stone and revealed red hieroglyphic markings on the walls of the hidden chamber.

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