Scientists recreate ‘machine’ used by Ancient Egyptians to guard the Great Pyramid

For the first time, researchers have digitally recreated a ‘machine’ used by Ancient Egyptians to guard the Great Pyramid. The device was allegedly used to keep looters from accessing the King’s chamber. But the real question is: Was the device set into place to keep thieves from going in, or was it placed into position to keep something from exiting the Pyramid?

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Credit: The Science Channel, screengrab

According to archaeologist Mark Lehner, the ancient Egyptians used a ‘primitive machine’ to protect the Kings Chamber inside the Great Pyramid of Giza from looters.

A trap that was found in the nineteenth century, even though ‘primitive’ was effective. The invention managed to block the corridor that led towards the room with up to SIX giant blocks once the builders of the pyramids were at a safe distance.

The defensive system is described in a new episode of Unearthed shown on the Science Channel last week. The news was reported initially by Live Science.

The new episode explains how the builders of the Pyramids installed grooves into a small room that was located just outside the Kings Chamber where the Pharaoh’s body would be placed.

Lehner, who has been excavating at Giza for over thirty years, explains how the curious anti-theft system worked for the first time.

Even though researchers had knowledge of the mechanism previously, it was digitally recreated for the first time ever in a television program.

Specifically, the animation shows exactly how the device closed off the passageway leading towards the King’s Chamber –the alleged resting place where the mummy of the Pharaoh Khufu was supposed to lay— preventing treasure hunters from accessing the eternal resting place of the Pharaoh.

The builders incorporated ‘grooves’ into a smaller room just outside the chamber. Afterward, granite slabs would have been placed into them when the work was finished in order to restrict access to the chamber.

In addition, the builders used three other granite blocks which were slid down a ramp to the passageway which prevented anyone from accessing the inner sanctuary. In addition to the King’s Chamber, the Great Pyramid of Giza also has two other large chambers, which are today called the Queen’s Chamber and the Subterranean Chamber.

In the documentary shown on the Science Channel, Dr. Legners says:

“Here Khufu’s builders designed a line of defence against anyone who would enter the King’s chamber had they got this far. These grooves and protrusions are not decorative. They are part of a very primitive machine.”

Credit: The Science Channel, screengrab
Credit: The Science Channel, screengrab

However, many researchers believe the system was ineffective and that it did not stop treasure hunters from looting the tomb. Archaeologists discovered the tomb empty, and the only thing that was left behind was a fractured red stone that made up the Pharaoh’s sarcophagus. Researchers speculate –they are not 100 % certain— that the tomb was looted shortly after it was completed.

Since the mummy of Pharaoh Khufu was never found within the King’s chamber, and there are also no records that mention any sort of tomb or Pharaoh Khufu, the questions that we raise is: What was the intricate ancient device actually protecting? Was it keeping something from going inside the chamber? Or is there a possibility that the machinery was placed into position in order to prevent ‘SOMETHING’ from exiting the Pyramid?

According to Dr. Lehner, Khufu’s eternal resting place was looted sometime after the collapse of the Old Kingdom, around 2134BC. However, other researchers suggest that the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu still remains undiscovered and is still somewhere inside the Pyramid, in an undiscovered chamber within the 2.3-million-stone-block monument.

See more about how the pyramids were protected from tomb robbers from the Science Channel below:

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