Scientists in Oxfordshire hope to unlock the secrets of the Egyptians using a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun.

The team behind Didcot’s Diamond Light Source plans to use a super-powered X-Ray to learn more about the time of pyramids, Pharoahs and hieroglyphics.

They have been in talks with historians at the British Museum about analysing rare artefacts.

And the museum has identified three bronze figurines which they believe could be used to learn more about the ancient techniques the Egyptians used to create precious ornaments.

Michael Drakopoulos, principal beamline scientist for the Diamond Light Source, said: “The exciting thing about it is that the artefacts still have many secrets that we can only now start to understand.

“It is a little bit like forensic science, where you need hi-tech technology to get to those layers of truth underneath.”

Mr Drakopoulos is among a team based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus which plans to create a Joint Engineering Environmental Processing (Jeep) beamline using the Diamond Light Source.

Once Jeep is operational towards the start of next year, it will fire a beam of radiation which will enable scientists to take X-Rays of objects weighing up to two tonnes.

Because the beam will be able to process images down to a 10th of a hair’s breadth in detail, historians believe they will be able to find out more about the building techniques used 3,000 years ago.

Figurines earmarked for the study inlclude three statues of partially clad ladies. Janet Ambers, museum scientist, said the trio of one-metre tall figurines dated back to 1000BC-300BC.

Ms Ambers said she hoped the machine would be able to tell them whether individual parts of the statues, such as their bronze wigs, were created by different people.

She also hopes to find out whether the statues were mended.

If the first project is successful more museum artefacts will be studied, including delicate historical items such as Saxon pottery which have to be excavated with the mud still surrounding them.

Beamline support scientist Dr Jen Hiller said: “It is like a hospital X-Ray except the dose of the radiation is much higher.”