Archaeologists Left Baffled by Mysterious Underground ‘Entrance’ Near Egypt’s Great Pyramid

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jun 09, 2024

One of Egypt’s great pyramids has more secrets than we may ever fully understand or uncover. However, archaeologists have discovered one of those secrets underneath the Giza pyramid complex.

Researchers using new tools like ground-penetrating radar have uncovered structures hidden below the surface that could be an unknown tomb built 4,500 years ago.

Uncovering New Structures 

The team used this new technology on the Giza’s Western Cemetery to uncover two underground structures: one shallow and the other deep.

One of the Giza pyramids. In front are two brown horses.

Source: Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash

Archaeologists described the structures as an anomaly because of how their density differs from that surrounding them.

Study Reveals the Structures Are Man-Made

The study’s first author, Motoyuki Sato, a professor at the Center for Northeast Asian Studies at Tohoku University in Japan, told Live Science that he and his team are certain the structures are not a natural phenomenon.

A photo of the remote sensing survey being conducted in the western cemetery of Giza, Egypt.

Source: Motoyuki Sato

Sato stated that the structures have too sharp a shape to be natural, indicating they are likely man-made. However, future research is needed to determine additional details about their origin and purpose.

The Shape of the Structure

The L-shaped structure, which is believed to be man-made, is up to six feet below the surface and is filled with sand.

Giza's Western Cemetery, as viewed from the Great Pyramid of Khufu

Source: The Giza Project at Harvard University

Researchers speculated that someone did this after constructing the pyramid to block the entrance to the chamber, which lies nearly 30 feet below.

The Burial of a Pharaoh

They believe these structures to be man-made due to their shape, with one featuring an L-shaped form and an entranceway to a chamber below.

Illustration of a female pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and her female staff

Source: iStock

These chambers, believed to be burial grounds, once held the remains of King Khufu, who commissioned the pyramid above him. The tomb suggests that his family members and other high-ranking officials could be hidden close by.

A Place of Importance

“The Western Cemetery at Giza is known as an important burial place of members of the royal family and high-class officers,” the archeologists wrote, adding that an initial survey by ground-penetrating radar and electrical resistivity tomography revealed “an anomaly in the north of the survey site,” (via Independent).

An aerial view of the western cemetery in Giza where the study took place. There is a blue area where the discovery was found, with the main part inside the red rectangle

Source: @toursportal/X

“The area of the anomaly could be established approximately, but the structure and the location were unclear.”


More Discoveries

In addition to the new radar technology used to find the structure, researchers also used a technique called electrical resistivity tomography (ERT).

A photograph of the sun rising behind the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

Source: Pixaby

The ERT was used to discover “blank areas” of the structure, which had no visible structures and were mostly flat ground with compacted sand on the surface.


Uncovering the Size of the Structures

Using the scanners, researchers were able to determine that the L-shaped feature is about 32 feet long and about 49 feet wide.

This is an aerial view of the Giza pyramids. Cairo can be seen to the side of them, and the burial grounds next to the pyramids can also be seen.

Source: Dario Morandotti/Unsplash

The second structure measures 32 feet all around, which could be a mix of sand and gravel or “sparse spacing with air voids.”


Limits In Research

“We believe that the continuity of the shallow structure and the deep large structure is important,” one of the researchers from the study writes.

Man in white sweater works on research paper

Source: Freepik

“From the survey results, we cannot determine the material causing the anomaly, but it may be a large subsurface archaeological structure.”


Too Much Sand to Know

The researchers found that overburdened sand buried most of the uncovered sites, making it difficult to locate the exact position of each structure from the surface.

Modern-day woman looks over the Great Pyramids Giza of Ancient Egypt

Source: iStock

The researchers said shallow geophysical exploration methods can identify their positions under such conditions.


The Mysteries of the Great Pyramids

The Great Pyramid stands more than 480 feet tall with the length of each side of the base measuring about 755 feet. It is the largest man-made structure on Earth and is one of the man-made wonders of the world.

A photograph taken at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt

Source: Ethel Davies/Getty Images

An Egyptian group attempting to renovate it has recently made the smallest pyramid the center of debate, while the other two smaller pyramids were constructed later.


Another Recent Discovery

This is one of the newest secrets uncovered from the ancient Egyptian pyramids. In March 2023, scientists discovered hidden corridors buried deep inside the Great Pyramid.

The inside of one of the corridors found underneath the Giza pyramids. There are some steps inside the corridor, and the roof is pointy.

Source: @Rainmaker1973/X

Below the corridor were five rooms resting upon a king’s burial chamber. It was thought that the builders constructed these rooms to redistribute the weight of the massive structure.