"This month, I am going to choose the team that is going to work with me on this project, Hawass said.Â â€œIt will be either from Singapore or Hong Kong.â€
He did not say if the shafts have already been inspected or whether further robotic investigations will be necessary.
"I can only say that this year I will reveal the secrets of the Great Pyramid doors. Finally, people all over the world will know what is behind the second door in the southern shaft and the third door in the northern shaft.â€
The Great Pyramid was built in 2550 B.C. for the pharaoh Cheops, also known as Khufu. It is about 480 feet high and contains 3.4 million cubic yards of material. Its base covers 13.1 acres making it the largest of a family of three pyramids on the Giza plateau on the outskirts of Cairo.
Archeologists believe there may be hidden passageways leading to secret chambers due to four narrow shafts deep inside the pyramid first discovered in 1872. Two of the shafts extend from the upper or "Kings Chamber" and exit into open air. However the lower two, which are only eight-inch square begin from the "Queen's Chamber" and disappear somewhere within the pyramid. These are believed to be ritual passageways for the dead pharaohâ€™s soul to reach the afterlife.
In 1993 German engineer, Rudolf Gantenbrink sent a robot through the southern shaft some 213 feet from the heart of the pyramid, but it stopped when it encountered a mysterious limestone slab adorned with two copper handles. Nine years later, Gantenbrink attempted to use the robot to push a camera through a hole drilled in one of the handles. While the world watched this investigation on television, the camera found itself blocked by yet another limestone slab door. The next day, he tried the same thing with the northern shaft with identical results."I dedicated my whole life to study the secrets of the Great Pyramid and I must say that these doors create many exciting questions,â€ Gantenbrink said. â€œIt is intriguing that the door in the northern shaft and the first door in the southern shaft are equidistant from the queen's chamber.
Gantenbrink believes the shafts, which might lead to secret chambers may contain anything from various papyri to a statue of Pharaoh Khufu or even his real tomb.
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