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Mysterious hieroglyphs inside pyramid may be engineering numbers

June 11, 2011 - Washington

Archaeologists have revealed that the mysterious markings in red paint on the floor of a hidden chamber in an Egyptian pyramid are most likely numbers used by engineers.

A mathematical analysis of the 4,500-year-old mausoleum in the Great Pyramid of Giza has led to the conclusion that the numbers represent the total length (121 cubits) of the southern shaft from the Queen's Chamber.

The Hieroglyphs written in red paint were first discovered by a camera-toting robot in the Great Pyramid.

"There are many unanswered questions that these images raise," Discovery News quoted Rob Richardson, the engineer who designed the robot at the University of Leeds as saying.

"The markings are hieratic numerical signs. They read from right to left, meaning 100, 20, 1. The builders simply recorded the total length of the shaft: 121 cubits," said Luca Miatello, an independent researcher.

The royal cubit, which is the ancient Egyptian unit of measurement used in the construction of the pyramid, was between 52.3 and 52.5 cm (20.6 to 20.64 inches) in length, and was subdivided into seven palms of four digits (four fingers) each, making it a 28-part measure.

Researchers also observed that multiples of 7, 9 and 11 cubits occur frequently in the design of the Great pyramid. They unanimously agreed that the markings are mason's marks or hieratic characters.

The study appears in PalArch's Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology.


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