New measurment method can help discover hidden chambers in pyramids

Bratislava, 27 July, 2022: For millennia, people have been fascinated by the pyramids and the secrets they may hide. The search for hitherto undiscovered burial chambers in them is also attractive for researchers. Slovak scientists led by geophysicist Roman Pašteka from Comenius University Bratislava have been working on ways to detect subsurface cavities for many years. They recently published their new findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

29. 07. 2022 10.19 hod.
By: CU External Relations Office

In archaeology and other fields various geophysical methods are successfully used to search for subsurface cavities. Now, researchers have tested state-of-the-art gravimetry to discover such hidden spaces. Slovak researchers cooperated with colleagues from the Czech Republic and Germany on a study which was published in a renowned archaeological journal.

Gravimetry measures the Earth's gravity field and is a sub-branch of geophysics and geodesy. This method can be used to discover subsurface cavities and is ideal for non-destructive archaeological surveys. "A hollow space in a mass such as a pyramid causes a subtle drop in the measured gravitational acceleration. This allows us to use state-of-the-art gravimeters to detect cavities of a certain size and at a certain depth," explains Roman Pašteka who is a Professor at Comenius University.

New computer simulations confirm that very precise and repeated measurements made from the surface of the pyramid might allow us to estimate the size of an unknown cavity. This finding is significant for researchers who are trying to discover such hidden burial chambers.

"Our simulations open up great possibilities for the future. I would be very pleased if we could participate in a project where our estimates could be verified using actual measurements directly on the surface of the Great Pyramid of Giza," adds Roman Pašteka from CU. The new results also open opportunities for further research in this area.