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Egyptians halt search in pyramid

(First Edition)

THE search for a mystery chamber inside the Great Pyramid in Egypt has been stopped by the Egyptian authorities - at least for the time being, writes David Keys.

The Egyptian government's antiquities organisation has refused permission for the German robotics expert, Rudolf Gantenbrink, to continue with his exploration of the interior of the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, just outside Cairo.

Mr Gantenbrink has spent several years developing a miniature robot - equipped with a video camera - to explore tiny passageways deep inside the pyramid.

Early last year, the robot discovered what appeared to be a miniature stone door at the end of a passageway 71 yards long and 8 inches wide which had been constructed from the south side of the pyramid's queen's chamber 4,500 years ago by the ancient Egyptians.

No official reason has been given for the refusal. The Egyptians say they want to conduct the investigations inside the pyramid themselves, but have no remote-controlled robots to do the work.