The Great Pyramid is that the biggest and oldest of the three pyramids that stand on the outskirts of Cairo in Egypt. it’s believed to have-been built around 4,500 years ago.
Over the years, various archaeological teams have explored the pyramid, reaching what’s referred to as the Queen’s Chamber. Those archaeological digs found, hidden behind a false wall, a narrow shaft that climbed at a 40-degree angle up into the pyramid.
But those explorations had resulted in damage to the shaft – and nobody had explored where the shaft led.
In 2010, Rob Richardson, Professor of Robotics at Leeds and group of colleagues had accepted a challenge thrown down by Hong Kong dentist and inventor Dr. Tze Chuen Ng to design & build a robot that would reach the end of the shaft & find what, if anything, was there.
To solve one among the big mysteries in Egyptian archaeology, the team has developed a robot that has successfully navigated one among the narrow shafts of Great Pyramid.
Scientists took almost 5 years to develop the robot.
Professor Richardson, a part of the Robotics at Leeds research group, said: “This design was certainly challenging. The robot had to be extremely lightweight – and within the end, we got it right down to 5kg. Because it had been so light, it didn’t require tons of power – within the end, the challenges began to become opportunities. We developed a system that moved the robot very gently through the passageway.”
The robot had traveled along a shaft that’s just 20 cm*20 cm, a smaller cross-section than a sheet of A4 paper, and maneuver along its 60-meter length. The challenge was to survey and film what was inside – and crucially, not cause any damage. due to the meticulous design, the robot was ready to navigate the shaft and record exclusive footage of inside.
The film reveals intricate colored markings on the floor of alittle , hidden chamber.
The robot’s camera also revealed a second blocking stone that they might not get past. Now, what lies beyond that second stone, at the top of the shaft- becomes a mysterious question.
Professor Richardson said: “No one knows the use of the shaft: there has been speculation that it might be an air vent or perhaps access to a burial tomb.”
“About 50 meters along the shaft – several meters before what we expect is that the end, there’s a stone put in situ to dam further access. We don’t know what that stone is obstructing access to. We were ready to get a camera past the stone – it revealed alittle chamber with intricate symbols painted on floor.”
“Given the artwork, it’s likely the shaft served a much bigger purpose than act as an air vent. But what that bigger purpose remained a mystery.”
Professor Richardson commissioned independent filmmaker William Westaway to use the video that had been recorded to create a movie about the project.
Mr. Westaway said: “This may be a fascinating story: one that sheds light on aspects of ancient civilization but in-a twist, reveals how the newest thinking in robotic design and engineering has opened that window on the past.”
The story is featured in documentary movie just released on the Ancient Architects YouTube channel.
Matthew Sibson, who runs the Ancient Architects YouTube channel, said: “I’m thrilled to be releasing the documentary exclusively on YouTube, but the 9 hours of raw footage is what excites me as an independent researcher of ancient history.”
The raw footage recorded by the robot can be seen in two parts online: