Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities said on Thursday that researchers in the ScanPyramids mission were mistaken in publicly announcing that they "discovered a new void space" inside the Great Pyramid of Giza before first discussing their findings with senior Egyptian and international Egyptologists, who have been commissioned by the ministry to study the issue.
In an article published in the journal Nature on Thursday, an international team of researchers said they have found a hidden chamber in Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The team said “the 30-meter (yard) void deep [they identified] within the pyramid is situated above the structure's Grand Gallery, and has a similar cross-section.The purpose of the chamber is unclear, and it's not yet known whether it was built with a function in mind.”
The researchers explained that they “made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper.”
Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that publishing the findings in an ongoing research by ScanPyramids project in a scientific journal such as Nature Journal before discussing these findings with leading Egyptologists was a mistake.
“The findings of the ScanPyramids research project have to be first discussed scientifically among scientists and Egyptologists and then reviewed by the scientific committee, which was tasked by Egypt's ministry of antiquities to supervise research on the matter. This committee is led by renowned Egyptian Egyptologist Zahi Hawass with the participation of the well-known American Egyptologist Mark Lehner and Czech Egyptologist Murslav Barta,” Waziri added.
“These experts have previously said that the existence of void spaces inside the pyramids is not a new thing and this is a well known fact among Egyptologists," Waziri said.
“It was too early at this stage in their study to publish that there was a new discovery,” Waziri added.
An official Egyptian archaeologist, who requested anonymity, told Ahram Online that he believes the mission broke the Egyptian antiquities laws and regulations by announcing findings to the media through video conference, and, therefore, might be barred by Egyptian authorities from continuing their research.