Researchers Make New Attempt to Scan Pyramids

December 29, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. scan /skæn/ (v.) – to use a form of technology to see the inside of an object or a body
Example: Our new machine can scan the foundations of buildings for weaknesses.

2. enable /ɛnˈeɪ bəl/ (v.) – to give power or ability to do something
Example: Smartphones enable you to connect to the Internet wherever there is a signal. 

3. spiral /ˈspaɪ rəl/ (adj.) – describing anything with a circle-like shape with lines turning inwards into smaller circles
Example: The ramen topping called naruto has a pink spiral design in the middle.

4. employ /ɛmˈplɔɪ/ (v.) – to use or apply
Example: The doctors employed X-ray and ultrasound technology to find out what was wrong with the patient.

5. legendary /ˈlɛdʒ ənˌdɛr I/ (adj.) – famous or celebrated, especially in old stories
Example: Some early scientists became legendary because of their contributions.


Read the text below.
Researchers launched a new attempt to scan Egypt's pyramids in October 2015.

The project, dubbed Scan Pyramids, will be a joint effort by scientists from Egypt, Japan, Canada, France, and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

The study was conducted in four pyramids, two in Giza and two in Dahshur. The two in Giza are Khufu's Pyramid, also known as the Great Pyramid, and Khafre's Pyramid, which was built by the son of Khufu. The two in Dahshur are the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid.

Over the years, the technology used in the explorations into the Pyramids advanced, and experts were able to know more about what is inside. In 1999, 3D modeling technology enabled researchers to see a spiral structure inside the pyramids. In 2000, radar was used to have a look inside the corridors in Khufu's Pyramid. In 2015, scientists employed infrared and other new technology in their latest bid to unlock the mysteries of the pyramids.

The scientists used infrared thermography, cosmic-ray muons, drone-mounted scanners, and 3D reconstruction during their investigation. These technologies are all cutting-edge and non-destructive, since the scientists want to know more about the pyramids without destroying them. With these technologies, scientists hope to find more hidden chambers in the pyramids, such as the tomb of legendary Queen Nefertiti.

The Scan Pyramids project is estimated to finish in late 2016. If successful, the results will aid scientists in determining why and how the pyramids were built in the first place.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think will be the benefits of knowing about what is inside Egyptian pyramids?
·         Given the chance, would you like to go inside the pyramids? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are some old structures found in your country?
·         What do these old structures say about the history of your country?

December 29, 2015