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UPDATED: 08:11, August 12, 2004
New robot to uncover Pyramid mysteries: Egyptologist
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A new robot, currently being designed by a Singaporean university, will hopefully explore the bowels of the Great Pyramid next year, a noted Egyptologist said on Wednesday.

"The manufacturing of the robot will start in October, with the university footing the bill. The exploration will likely start next year," Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters.

"Stone doors inside the Great Pyramid could not just be there as an ornament. They must have a function and hide something behind them," he said.

"They could not just be there for dead King Cheops (Khufu) to slip through on his journey to heaven, as is widely believed," he said.

He noted that Egypt has 118 pyramids scattered in various areas, but they have no such doors.

Their omni-presence inside Cheops must have reasons that should be revealed to help researchers answer many questions about ancient Egyptians, he added.

This will be the second robotic experiment after an American robot conducted the first exploration inside the Great Pyramid in September 2002, when the robot was stopped in its tracks by a wall.

The American robot sent a camera through a small hole drilled in the block only to encounter another stone blocking the way.

The Great Pyramid, also known as the Khufu Pyramid, was built about 4,500 years ago.

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