World History

Archaeologists find hidden corridor in Great Pyramid of Giza

Archaeologists used new cosmic ray cosmic rays to spot a 30-foot-long tunnel inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.

People and camels walk in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza
People and camels walk in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Hassan Ammar / AP

A team of international archaeologists from multiple countries have discovered a hidden corridor in the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt.

The 30-foot-long vaulted tunnel is located on the north face of the pyramid, which was built 4,500 years ago during the time of King Khufu. The archaeologists believe the corridor was designed to help distribute the weight of the pyramid, which is thought to be made of several million pieces of limestone and measures 450 feet high and 750 feet wide.

An ancient wooden sarcophagus.

Looted ancient sarcophagus returned to Egypt from the US

The sarcophagus, almost 9.5 feet tall, may have belonged to an ancient priest named Ankhenmaat. It was smuggled through Germany into the U.S. in 2008.


The discovery was made as part of Scan Pyramids, a project that uses a technique called cosmic-ray muon radiography to investigate the inside of pyramids without causing destruction. It works by firing radiation through the pyramid, then reading the radiation when it travels to detectors placed around the pyramid.

The corridor was first found in 2017 using the cosmic ray technology, making it the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the 19th century. Now, the archaeologists are reporting more details and analysis on this corridor in an article published in the journal Nature.

Great pyramid amid rubble
From the archives

Scientists found a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid

The recently discovered hidden void is 100 feet long and sits above the pyramid's Great Gallery.


According to Reuters, in order to get the precise analysis, scientists retrieved images by feeding an endoscope through a small joint in the pyramid’s stones.

The hope is that this discovery will lead to even more discoveries in the future.

"We're going to continue our scanning so we will see what we can do … to figure out what we can find out beneath it, or just by the end of this corridor," Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters after a press conference.

Other chambers that have been discovered in the pyramid so far, which you can see in the illustration below, include a subterranean chamber (a), a queen’s chamber (b), a grand gallery (c) and a king's chamber (d). The newly uncovered hidden corridor in the illustration is labeled h.

The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest human-made structure on earth until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. It remains the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing.