Giza Plateau News Article

Sphinx and Osiris Pyramid

Archaeologists Found an 'Anomaly' Near the Pyramids That May Reveal an Ancient Portal

New findings beneath the desert floor hint at entrances to long-lost chambers.

By Darren Orf

Published: May 18, 2024 7:30 AM EDT


• Ground-penetrating radar has helped archeologists identified buried wonders below the surface.

• Now, a new study from Japanese and Egyptian researchers reveals the discovery of an L-shaped structure along with an accompanying anomaly right next to the Great Pyramids of Giza.
• Although its impossible to know for sure what the anomaly is, the researchers guess that the L-shaped discovery could be an entrance to a deeper structure.


In the world of archeology, few tools have revolutionized the field as much as ground-penetrating radar (GPR). This geophysical technique uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. Similar techniques have uncovered Viking longships in Norway, revealed lost civilizations in the Amazonian jungle, and even entire Roman cities without ever putting a shovel into dirt. Now, GPR has delivered again near one of the most well-excavated sites in the world—the Great Pyramids of Giza.

Using GPR—along with a method known as electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), which uses electrical resistance to map underground structures—an international team of researchers led by Tohoku University's Motoyuki Sato discovered what's being described as an "L-shaped anomaly" in the western cemetery near the world-renowned pyramids. According to the team's research paper, published earlier this month in the journal Archeological Prospection, the structure is roughly 6.5 feet from the surface, measures 33 feet in length, and was backfilled after construction.

Below this L-shaped structure was an anomaly, lying 16 to 33 feet down, that the researchers described as "highly electrically resistive." Such an anomaly could have a few explanations, but the team identified two main possibilities—a mixture of sand and gravel, or "sparse spacing with air voids." While we know that the surrounding area (built roughly 4,500 years ago, around the same time as its adjacent pyramids) is filled with flat-roofed tombs known in Arabic as mastaba, the stretch of sand where the anomaly was found has not been nearly as intensely excavated, largely because the area sported no impressive structures to warrant a thorough investigation.

So, what exactly could this L-shape structure and its lower anomaly represent? Speaking with Live Science, Sato said the structure is likely not natural, as the shape is too sharp.

"It may have been an entrance to the deeper structure," Sato and his colleagues wrote in the paper. That deeper structure sounds suspiciously like a tomb. "We believe that the continuity of the shallow structure and the deep large structure is important. From the survey results, we cannot determine the material causing the anomaly, but it may be a large subsurface archaeological structure."

Of course, as is true of nearly all GPR surveys, archeologists will have to start digging if they want to know exactly lies buried beneath the sand—a process that the research team hopes to get underway soon.

Darren Orf
Contributing Editor
Darren lives in Portland, has a cat, and writes/edits about sci-fi and how our world works. You can find his previous stuff at Gizmodo and Paste if you look hard enough. 


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