Dentist has to wait to get his teeth into history

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 May, 2011, 12:00am


A Hong Kong dentist helping to reveal the hieroglyphs beyond a mysterious shaft inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza, has had to stop work due to the Egypt uprising.

Ng Tze-chuen, 58, is founder of Djedi, an international team of 10 scientists tasked with finding out what is in the secret chamber, described by Zahi Hawass, Egypt's minister of state for antiquities affairs, as the last great mystery of the pyramid.

The mass protests have delayed the release of the team's first report in the official Annales du Service des antiquit?s de l'Egypte.

Because of the protests, Hawass has told the team to put off their exploration for safety reasons.

But the Causeway Bay dentist for 30 years said he could not wait to get inside and resume work on the project of his dreams.

'I'm not afraid of protesters .We'll be working inside the very secure pyramid anyway,' he said. 'We've been on the project for nine years and I really can't wait to find out and show the world what's behind it.'

Rare images sent back from Djedi's endoscopic camera showed hieroglyphs written in red paint and lines in the stone that could be marks left by stone masons when the chamber was being carved.

If these hieroglyphs can be deciphered, they may give clues as to how the part of the pyramid was built and maybe what the shafts were for.

Egyptologists have said painted numbers and graffiti were common around Giza. They could be numbers, dates or the names of the gangs.

The team's next task, scheduled for September, is to check whether the second door is a solid block of stone by bouncing balls off the wall.

They will calculate its thickness from the frequencies given by the impacts. It will help gauge how long the drill has to be to penetrate the second door.

Two previous expeditions into the shafts in 1993 and 2002, by German and then American scientists, hit brick walls when their robots were blocked on their way up the shaft of the Queen's Chamber.

Hawass said something might be hidden in the pyramid.

His theory is based on an ancient story that the magician Djedi met Khufu, who was looking for the god Thoth so he could discover the secret of the pyramid.