In Photos: Inside Egypt’s Great Pyramids

New scanning research has revealed so-called thermal anomalies in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu, suggesting a space that could be a tomb within the 4,500-year-old pyramid. 

Strange findings

Thermal imaging of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza has revealed anomalies (variations in temperature) on the lower east side as well as the upper part of the pyramid. Additional thermal anomalies have been detected at the pyramid of Khafre as well as the Red and Bent Pyramids at Dahshur.

This image shows one of the spots on the Great Pyramid where an anomaly was detected. The work is being carried out by the Scan Pyramid project. (Image courtesy Scan Pyramids.)

Various possibilities

The thermal scan shows that the temperature of the area is elevated by a few degrees (note the scale on the right). Researchers say that this could be caused by many things, including internal air currents, differences in the materials used or by an opening behind the wall. (Image courtesy Scan Pyramids.)

An unexpected find

A close-up view of the anomaly. Is there an opening behind these stones? More tests need to be done. (Image courtesy Scan Pyramids.)

Studying images

The Scan Pyramids project involves contributors from universities, private companies as well as the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. They are running thermal and radiography scans in order to learn more about the pyramids. They are also creating a 3D model of them. The pyramid of Khafre can be seen in the foreground in this image. (Credit: © www.HIP.Institute / Philippe Bourseiller.)

Experts debate

This image shows scanning work being done within the "king's chamber" at the Great Pyramid. The king's chamber contains a badly damaged sarcophagus that many archaeologists believe was used to bury Khufu. However some archaeologists believe that Khufu was not buried here and that his true burial place remains hidden within the pyramid, awaiting discovery. (Credit: © www.HIP.Institute / Philippe Bourseiller.)

Misleading names

This image shows scanning work being done in the Great Pyramid's "queen's chamber." Despite the royal name, there is no evidence that a queen was buried in the chamber, which contains two shafts that go up into the pyramid. Robots have gone up the shafts over the past two decades, revealing doors with copper handles. Archaeologist Zahi Hawass told Live Science in 2013 that he believes that these shafts lead to Khufu's actual burial chamber. (Credit: © www.HIP.Institute / Philippe Bourseiller.)

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Owen Jarus
Live Science Contributor

Owen Jarus is a regular contributor to Live Science who writes about archaeology and humans' past. He has also written for The Independent (UK), The Canadian Press (CP) and The Associated Press (AP), among others. Owen has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and a journalism degree from Ryerson University.