The void nestled in one of the Great Pyramids of Giza may contain an ancient “throne of iron” carved out of the core of a fallen meteorite.
What's inside the Great Pyramid? [Photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters]
Ever since it was discovered that one of the Great Pyramids of Giza had a large void that may be over 100 feet long, the biggest question has been what exactly could be in that void. This pyramid—known as the Pyramid of Cheops, the Pyramid of Khufu, or simply the Great Pyramid—is the largest and oldest of the three found in Giza. Within the Great Pyramid is a network of chambers and passageways, including the 153-foot-long Grand Gallery and the funerary chamber. The recently-discovered void sits above the Grand Gallery, and there’s evidence to suggest that these two features are connected somehow.
It’s still unknown what exactly the purpose of the void is. All scientists know is that it’s there. However, researchers now have an idea as to what may be inside the void.
Where the void is located above the Grand Gallery [Image by AFP]
The Pyramid Texts, which are the oldest known religious texts in the world, say something about the passage of the pharaoh Khufu on to the afterlife. “In these texts it is said that the pharaoh, before reaching the stars of the north, will have to pass the ‘gates of the sky’ and sit on his ‘throne of iron’,” says Giulio Magli, an archaeoastronomy professor at Politecnico di Milano in Italy. He suggests that this throne of iron mentioned in the Pyramid Texts may be sitting right in that mysterious void. According to Magli, the throne may be situated at the upper end of the void, right underneath the apex of the pyramid.
Since no one alive has actually managed to enter the void, no one knows what’s inside it. And the only way we can be completely sure about what’s there is to actually see it. So far, however, the point entry into the void remains unknown. What is known is that there are four known shafts in the Great Pyramids, all leading up to the skies. The east and west shafts lead outward, but the north and south shafts lead to doors.
Magli thinks that the north shaft may be able to lead into the void. While researchers would understandably prefer non-invasive techniques to access the void, Magli suggests that drilling a small hole through the rock over the Grand Gallery and inserting an optic fiber camera might be able to yield results.
King Tutankhamun's dagger was also made of meteoric iron.
The absence of a sure way to access the void is of course a setback. Though the north shaft may yield more knowledge, the decision to open it up doesn’t lie with researchers and archaeologists. It lies with Egyptian authorities, who may or may not allow access.
It’s still within the realm of possibility that the void contains the fabled iron throne. However, it’s unlikely for that throne to be made entirely of iron. It will probably be made of wood and covered with sheets of meteoric iron, a material that the ancient Egyptians were familiar with. Another throne, which was linked to Khufu’s mother Queen Hetepheres, is also made of wood but covered with thin sheets of gold.
The only definite way to know for sure if an ancient Egyptian iron throne does exist, and if it’s in the Great Pyramid, is if there’s visual confirmation. Hopefully, that’s something that we’ll get sooner rather than later.
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