A French architect campaigning for a new exploration of the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Giza said on Thursday that the edifice may contain two chambers housing funereal furniture.
Jean-Pierre Houdin - who was rebuffed three years ago by Egypt in his appeal for a probe into how the Pyramid was built - said 3-D simulation and data from a US egyptologist, Bob Brier, pointed to two secret chambers in the heart of the structure.
The rooms would have housed furniture for use in the afterlife by the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops in Greek, he told a press conference.
"I am convinced there are antechambers in this pyramid. What I want is to find them," he said.
In March 2007, Houdin advanced the theory that the Great Pyramid had been built inside-out using an internal spiral ramp, as opposed to an external ramp as had long been suggested.
He proposed mounting a joint expedition of Egyptian antiquities experts and French engineers, using infrared, radar and other non-invasive methods to check out the hypothesis.
The idea was nixed by Egypt's antiquities department. A Canadian team from Laval University in Quebec will seek permission this year to carry out thermal imaging from outside the Pyramid to explore the theory, Houdin said.
Houdin said a pointer to the antechambers came from the existence of such rooms in the pyramid of Snefru, Khufu's father. It was possible a similar design was retained for the Great Pyramid.
In addition, blocks in the northern wall of the king's chamber in the Great Pyramid indicate an overlooked passage which led to the hypothesised chambers and also enabled the funeral party to exit, he added.