Egypt: ‘Cave complex’ beneath Great Pyramid exposed in hunt for ‘lost underworld’ | World | News

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Believed to have been built over a 20-year period during the Fourth Dynasty for the Pharaoh Khufu, the ancient monument is still shrouded in mystery. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it is the only one still largely intact and there are varying theories over how the monumental structure was built 4,500 years ago. But archaeologists have only scratched the surface, according to a British explorer who claimed an underground tomb spans below the Great Pyramid.

He said: “There is untouched archaeology down there, as well as a delicate ecosystem that includes colonies of bats and a species of spider which we have tentatively identified as the white widow.”

Mr Collins, who detailed the findings in the book ‘Beneath the Pyramids,’ tracked down the entrance to the tomb after reading the forgotten accounts of a 19th-century diplomat and explorer.

He added: “In his memoirs, British consul general Henry Salt recounts how he investigated an underground system of ‘catacombs’ at Giza in 1817 in the company of Italian explorer Giovanni Caviglia.”

The document said that the two explored the caves for “several hundred yards”.

Along with British Egyptologist Nigel Skinner-Simpson, Mr Collins retraced what he believed to be Mr Salt’s steps – locating the entrance to a catacomb.

He discovered a crack in the rock, exposing a massive natural cave behind.

He claimed this network served as a physical reminder of the promised “underworld” that was central to ancient Egyptian’s journey into the so-called afterlife.

Mr Collins added: “We explored the caves before the air became too thin to continue. 

“They are highly dangerous, with unseen pits and hollows, colonies of bats and venomous spiders.

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“Ancient funerary texts clearly allude to the existence of a subterranean world in the vicinity of the Giza pyramids.”

But Mr Collins’ claim did not go down well with leading archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass, who dismissed the discovery.

He said in 2009: “There are no new discoveries to be made at Giza. We know everything about the plateau.”

Despite this, experts did make an interesting find years later.

In 2015, the ScanPyramids project was launched to provide several non-invasive and non-destructive techniques which may help to provide a better understanding of the Great Pyramid’s structure.

After two years of work, French experts announced the discovery of the “Big Void,” a 30-metre previously unknown cavity located above the Grand Gallery, but there has been no development since.

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But structural engineer Peter James says he is not surprised, suggesting there could be more.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “I’m sure there are more voids there.

“As massive as the Great Pyramid is, it is structurally very sound and I’m sure there are holes and voids in there which are part of that.

“As they went up, they would have got to a point where they put support beams in, which would have created gaps. 

“They would have left these empty or filled them with a material that is a different density to the outside.

“I’m sure there will be more similar discoveries in the future.”





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