Egypt announced the discovery of a long corridor inside the Great Pyramid of Giza on Thursday, the first to be found on the north side of the structure.
The corridor, which measures 9 meters (nearly 30 feet) by 2 meters (more than 6 feet), rises above the main entrance to the landmark building and was discovered by scanning, authorities said. The function of the chamber is currently unknown, although such corridors often lead to further archaeological discoveries.
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass and the country’s tourism minister Ahmed Eisa announced the discovery at the base of the pyramid.
The chamber was discovered as part of the Scan Pyramids project, an international program that uses scanning to view unexplored parts of the ancient structure.
The pyramid, about 11 miles from downtown Cairo, is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu after its builder, a 4th Dynasty pharaoh who ruled from 2509 to 2483 BC.
The ancient building is the last surviving wonder of the ancient world. It has fascinated visitors since it was built as a royal burial chamber around 4,500 years ago. Experts disagree about how this and other pyramids were built, so even relatively minor discoveries are of great interest.
Egypt often publicly advertises ancient discoveries to attract more tourists, a major source of foreign currency for the cash-strapped North African nation. The sector has been in a prolonged slump since the political upheaval and violence that followed the 2011 uprising.