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Scanning the Pyramids on PBS takes unprecedented look inside ancient wonder

Infrared thermography of the Great Pyramid of Giza
Thermal imaging of the Great Pyramid of Giza on Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids

Tonight, PBS grants viewers unprecedented access inside the Great Pyramid of Giza in new documentary Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids.

The film shows a scientific team — the first in 30 years to be authorized to examine the ancient wonder — begin to solve the 4,500-year-old mystery of what lies inside the enormous structure.

With the blessings of the Egyptian government, the “Scan Pyramids” team were given access to parts of the pyramid tourists aren’t allowed to visit.

What they found — several secret cavities — made headlines around the world in November 2017, after their technology allowed them to accurately map the interior.

Scanning equipment outside Great Pyramid of Giza
Part of the equipment used to scan the great pyramid
Team members setting up kit inside the pyramid
Team members set up kit inside the pyramid after being given access

The research team was made of everyone from particle physicists to experts in 3D technologies and thermal-imaging engineers. They used a process known as muography to create the internal scan, which creates images by recording the trajectories of sub-atomic particles called muons from cosmic rays.

Meanwhile, they also used infrared thermography to map temperatures inside the pyramid and tiny robotic cameras as well as augmented and virtual reality simulations.

One chamber they found was about 100ft long and around 14,000 cubic feet in size, while two smaller ones near an external notch could help shed more light on how the pyramids were created.

Watch the trailer for Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids below.

Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids premieres Wednesday, January 24 at 10 p.m. on PBS and CuriosityStream.


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