THEY might be ancient graffiti tags left by a worker or symbols of religious significance. A robot has sent back the first images of markings on the wall of a tiny chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt that have not been seen for 4500 years. It has also helped settle the controversy about the only metal known to exist in the pyramid, and shows a "door" that could lead to another hidden chamber.
The pyramid is thought to have been built as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu, and is the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. It contains three main chambers: the Queen's Chamber, the Grand Gallery and the King's Chamber, which has two air shafts connecting it with the outside world. Strangely, though, there are two tunnels, about 20 centimetres by 20 centimetres, that extend from the north and south walls of the Queen's Chamber and stop at stone doors before they reach the outside of the pyramid (see diagram).
The function of these tunnels and doors is unknown, but some believe that one or both could lead to a secret chamber.
Discovery News (Rossella Lorenzi)
A robot explorer sent through the Great Pyramid of Giza has begun to unveil some of the secrets behind the 4,500-year-old pharaonic mausoleum as it transmitted the first images behind one of its mysterious doors.
The images revealed hieroglyphs written in red paint that have not been seen by human eyes since the construction of the pyramid. The pictures also unveiled new details about two puzzling copper pins embedded in one of the so called "secret doors."
Published in the Annales du Service Des Antiquities de l'Egypte (ASAE), the images of markings and graffiti could unlock the secrets of the monument's puzzling architecture.
"We believe that if these hieroglyphs could be deciphered they could help Egyptologists work out why these mysterious shafts were built," Rob Richardson, the engineer who designed the robot at the University of Leeds, said.