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Egyptian Antiquities Ministry refutes claim that the Great Pyramid is Much Older

Egyptian Antiquities Ministry refutes claim that the Great Pyramid is Much Older


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German archaeologists are currently embroiled in a dispute with Egypt’s antiquities ministry after they allegedly removed samples from the Great Pyramid and subsequently announced that the construction date of the Great Pyramid is wrong .

According to latest reports, the three German archaeologists concerned will not be penalised for allegedly removing artefacts from the Great Pyramid because they apparently obtained three official permissions from the Supreme Council for Antiquities tourism company. Nevertheless, if it is indeed the case that they stole a cartouche from a small compartment within the pyramid, this is a despicable act that should have big consequences.

But we turn our attention now to another controversy that has emerged out of this dispute. It is said that the German archaeologists removed the artefact and smuggled it to Germany for study, where their research cast doubt on the construction date of the Great Pyramid and consequently the Pharaoh for whom it was built – King Khufu.

Their results suggested that the pyramid was built in an era before Khufu's reign. It also suggests that the Pyramid is not the burial place for a king but a centre of power.

It is of no surprise that the Ancient Egyptian section of the Ministry of State of Antiquities vehemently refuted such results, brandishing the archaeologists as “amateurs”, and reemphasising that the Great Pyramid belongs to King Khufu, the second king of the fourth dynasty, and that it was built during his reign to be used as his royal burial place for eternity. They refer to evidence presented by Colonel Howard Vyse in 1837, in which an inscription was found in a small room bearing Khufu’s name.

However, the German archaeologists are not the first to question the mainstream consensus that the pyramid was constructed under the orders of Khufu.

Some archaeologists have pointed out that most Egyptian funerary structures abound with texts and inscriptions inside them to assist the passing of the dead pharaoh into the underworld, but the Giza pyramids, including Khufu, were devoid of decoration and hieroglyphics. Many have argued that if Khufu had indeed commissioned the building of a pyramid for his tomb, his name would appear prominently inside it. On the contrary, his name appears only once, clumsily scrawled in red paint on a wall tucked away in a small room that was blocked from all access.

If the pyramids of Giza were mistakenly dated based on the period of reign of King Khufu and other pharaohs, it is possible that the pyramids are in fact much older. Curiously, the shafts inside the pyramids of Giza and the positioning of the pyramids themselves, correspond exactly with the constellation of Orion. But the perfect alignment between the pyramids and the constellation only occurred in the year 10,500BC. Likewise, the Sphynx corresponds with the constellation of Leo and its alignment also occurred in 10,500BC.

The German archaeologists were very wrong to steal from the pyramids but this does not necessitate that their research or conclusions were invalid. Science only progresses by keeping our minds open to alternative hypotheses.


    Tag Archives: Great Pyramid

    Two months have elapsed since my previous post on the “Secret Space Program and the Breakaway Civilization”, and that’s obviously too long to keep everybody waiting on my next article. However, I’ve had a great topic to tackle in my mind for a while now, and it’s about time that I had a crack at it. This blog post is based largely on the excellent work of Jack Heart, who published a 5 part series of articles known as the “Shadow of the Nemesis” on the popular website http://www.veteranstoday.com/. Two of these parts were subsequently published in Nexus Magazine entitled “Shadow of the Nemesis: The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid” Part 1 and 2 in their October-November 2015 and December-January 2016 issues respectively. If you’ve never read Nexus Magazine, you’re missing out on what I consider to be the best magazine of its kind in the world, which is published out of Australia bi-monthly by Duncan Roads. It covers the best hard-to-find information dealing with alternative news, health, future science and the unexplained. Feel free to refer to the original series of articles at any time by going to the first part here.

    Alternative archeologist, Michael Cremo, who wrote the massive tome Forbidden Archeology and his followup book Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwinism speaks about what he calls the “knowledge filtration process” that occurs in mainstream archeology and other fields of acamemia. In essence, inconvenient facts, findings, artifacts, etc. that pop up undergo a filtering process wherein they are weeded out of mainstream academic studies due to in large part to career tenured professors and their allegiance to a particular dogma that feels threatened by any information in archeological, historical, anthropological, and astrological record that refutes long-held and cherished belief systems that become a kind of academic dogma. In other words, you’d be surprised how even so-called objective science can and is manipulated and politicized when reputations, careers, and millions of dollars are on the line.

    That is why dangerous science such as GMOs, nano-tech, geo-engineering, and vaccines are being pushed on the masses despite their provable widespread harm to the eco-system and human health, which I have discussed in the past on this website and elsewhere. And, this very process of “knowledge filtration” and controlling the narrative of our collective human origins in order to both suppress our true identity in the ancient past and simultaneously maintain the status quo for the handful of academics that prosper from our collective ignorance shows up in abundance in Egyptology. Let us know look at just how this done in regards to perhaps the most amazing ancient archeological artifacts still in existence today…the pyramid complex at Giza and the Sphinx.

    While the great Egyptologist, R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, first pointed out signs of water erosion on the Sphinx back in the 1950s, it was John Anthony West’s book Serpent in the Sky published in 1979 followed a year later by Zacharia Sitchin’s book The Stairway to Heaven that popularized what was to become an exciting new renaissance in Egyptology. Other researchers such as Robert Schoch, Steven Mehler, Collin Wilson, Christopher Dunn, Graham Hancock, and Robert Bauval would enter into the fray in challenging the dating of the Sphinx and Great Pyramid, the purposes for which they were built, and questioning the official orthodoxy in any number of ways including just what lay beneath the complex at Giza itself. Unfortunately, for all of these maverick archeologists, engineers, and Egyptologists, one very corrupt man would come to rule everything that was allowed to be done or not be done on the Giza plateau. His name was Dr. Zahi Hawass, who was named the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) in 1994.

    Since Hawass dominated everything that took place on the Giza Plateau including forbidding excavation in Upper Egypt in 2002, it is no great wonder why, in Jack Heart’s words, “all archeological scientific enquiry in Egypt ceased right then and there and would remain that way till Hawass was finally brought down, seemingly for good, by the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. During that almost decade-long period, nothing new of value would be published in mainstream Egyptology, nothing would move on the Giza Plateau, not even a lizard, without the approval of Hawass. He would now be the sole proprietor of everything ancient Egyptian. Academia swooned and the mainstream media, led by National Geographic lauded him as a messianic figure in archeology.” US investigators would later look into National Geographic’s relationship with Zahi Hawass, who was suspected of giving the magazine preferential access for bribery payments in a report by the UK Independent. It would therefore be quite instructive if we probe into Zahi Hawass’ corrupt and criminal past as the defacto “expert” and most powerful political figure on the Giza Plateau before we can ask ourselves- “Why was a two-bit con artist and crooked stooge like Zahi Hawass given so much power over the ancient anquities and phenomenal heritage of Egyptology to begin with?”

    Many people are aware of how America’s famous 20th century psychic, Edgar Cayce, would give detailed and quite accurate health readings to the people that would see him. Nicknamed “the Sleeping Prophet”, Cayce’s readings would fill volumes of books that still stored at the ARE (Association of Reseach and Enlightenment) in Virginia Beach. Edgar Cayce also predicted that a “hall of records” would be discovered under the right paw of the Sphinx that would reveal great secrets about the history of mankind on the planet including the lost continent of Atlantis. This reading has naturally piqued the interest of avid alternative historians and archeologists ever since. Hugh Lynn Cayce, Edgar’s son, undertook an expedition to attempt to verify his father’s readings back in 1978, which was financed by the ARE with Mark Lehner the on-sight supervisor. The whole expedition was filmed on 8mm color film with the blessing of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization. Helping the ARE with sensing equipment is the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), who have had a long-standing relationship with the US intelligence community and notably tested famed Israeli psychic Uri Geller around that time. The team was drilling a hole under the front paw of the Sphinx, but the entire expedition was unfortunately halted. According to a memo issued by the ARE, the reason for the stoppage was that “toward the end of the season, serious problems began to develop between the SRI team and the other major patron who [was] contracted for the survey of the pyramids and who was, at the same time, the party heading the drilling operations.” Over the years, many scientific expeditions have been made in order to ferret out the mysteries of the Great Pyramid and Sphinx.

    This other major patron could only be Dr. Joseph Johoda, who company Recovery Systems International was founded specifically for drilling beneath the Sphinx. According to Dr. Johoda, his team struck granite some 60 feet down and was stopped by the Egyptian military at gunpoint from going any further. Granite isn’t indigenous to the Giza Plateau and the nearest source where it could have been quarried was about 600 miles to the south in Aswan. Therefore, it could have only been some kind of underground ediface that they hit. When new drilling operations would commence for the Institute of Underground Water of the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation, Hawass would hit red granite some 55 feet down. Although, Hugh Lynn Cayce wanted to keep going, he would die in 1982. Unfortunately, Hugh Lynn contributed mightily to the Egyptian frankenstein monster that Zahi Hawass would become, since he naturally felt that he would need Hawass to advance in the Egyptian government to obtain the necessary permits to continue excavating. Hugh Lynn says, “I got him a scholarship at the University of Pennsylvannia in Egyptology to get his Ph.D. I got the scholarship through an ARE person who happened to be on the Fulbright scholarship board.” Cayce, as we’ll soon discover, wasn’t the only person who would be betrayed by Hawass. Subsequent investigations by the ARE, however, have proven fruitful.

    Back in 1993, Charlton Heston narrated an Emmy-award winning documentary entitled Mystery of the Sphinx in which he highlighted the discrepancies between mainstream Egyptology and “hard science”. One of the most glaring of these discrepancies was the geological dating of the Sphinx, which should be much older than mainstream accounts. After all, Yale-educated geologist Robert Schoch would spend 10 years on the Giza Plateau beginning in 1990 taking measurements and doing analysis of the undulating vertical profile and prominent vertical crevices following joints and faults that are all tell-tell signs of water runoff. As erosion is also seen on the back end of the Sphinx, this would indicate that it would have had to have existed during a time of sustained rainfall. The last time there was a period of heavy precipitation was the Nabtian Pluvial that occurred in Egypt between 10,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE.

    Around the same time this documentary was rattling the cage of mainstream Egyptology, Zahi Hawass was relieved of his title by the President of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO), Dr. Muhammad Bakr, who was Hawass’ nominal boss. The reason for his dismissal? Apparently, a priceless statue had disappeared while in the custody of Hawass. However, by June of that year, Dr. Bakr would be the one fired under allegations of malpractice and fraud against him. By the early part of 1994, Zahi Hawass would have both his title and power over the Giza Plateau back with the EOA being revamped in the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and under whose rule “all archeologists working in Egypt were required to report all discoveries and finds to the SCA before publication.” As for Dr. Muhammad Bakr, he would talk about a “mafia” that controlled the Giza Plateau for “the last 20 years” and say how he “wanted the whole matter investigated by the prosecution authorities but my request was refused.” In responding to the astute observations of Robert Schoch and John Anthony West in redating the Sphinx due to its obvious excessive water erosion, Zahi Hawass said- “If geologists prove what Schoch is saying, still in my opinion, as an Egyptologist the date of the Sphinx is clear to us.”

    One of the more glaring examples of the kind of Egyptian mafia that Zahi Hawass was running is the imprisonment of Abdul Hamid Qutb, who was the right-hand man of Hawass within the SCA. Abdul was found to be peddling millions of dollars worth of restoration contracts, which could never have been awarded without the explicit approval of Hawass. However, while Abdul Qutb was imprisoned for 10 years and ordered him and two officials of Egypt’s Ministry of Culture to pay fines of between LE 200,000 and LE 550,000, Zahi Hawass was never even questioned about his role in the affair telling the BBC that Qutb “did not have decision-making authority”. Aha! And yet, we were led to believe that the one who did have dominant authority (Zahi Hawass himself) didn’t exercise it in this most important of cases wherein he stood to make millions in bribes for restoration contracts?

    The following year in 2009, Zahi Hawass announced- “Under my direction, the Supreme Council of Antiquities is working to reduce the groundwater level around the antiquities sites throughout Egypt.” He boasted of his success with his scientific system that it would “prevent the Great Sphinx at Giza from getting its paws wet!” With this cute little visual, he then fired off at his detractors saying, “Perhaps the most important result of the groundwater project was that it enabled us to put to rest speculation about mysterious underground tunnels and chambers carved below the Sphinx by ‘ancient civilizations’. For years, I have debated people like John Anthony West, Robert Bauval, and Graham Hancock, who say that survivors of a lost civilization 10,000 years ago left secrets buried beneath the Sphinx.”

    However, if Zahi Hawass was trying to disparage any thoughts of underground chambers and tunnels beneath the Giza Plateau, he clearly failed from the most basic reading of the scientific report detailing the restoration project where it describes that “well over a million-and-a-half gallons of water a day was being pumped from beneath Giza Plateau.” In other words, according to Jack Heart, there “had to be a hollow chamber to tap into, a subterranean reservoir to drain, in order to collect that volume of water.” There were also 33 sensors surrounding the Sphinx while the pumping project was underway according that same scientific report, which reported that it was stable. Needless to say, they woudn’t have gone to all the trouble of discerning whether or not the Sphinx was stable or not unless there were hollow and cavernous spaces underneath the Sphinx that could have led to its potential destablization.

    One of the most extensive seismographic and radar surveys ever done on the Giza Plateau was conducted by the Schor Foundation in collaboration with Florida State University. Initially run in May 1996, Schor’s team would return in November 1997 and again in February and September of 1998 with the blessing of Hawass and the SCA. And yet, the Schor Foundation was never able to fully disclose its findings to the public due to contractual obligations to the SCA. Dr. Joseph Schor, who was the founder and president of the Schor Foundation, was a lifelong member of the Edgar Cayce Foundation, also known as the ARE. The Schor Foundation was a non-profit, whose goal was to find evidence of the lost Atlantean civilization and its “Hall of Records” that Edgar Cayce had predicted would be found underneath the Sphinx as I’ve previously mentioned. Before Dr. Daniel Schor died in 2013, he told Robert Bauval that his seismic radar survey around the Sphinx “virtually confirms the existence of a subterranean network of passages and chambers.” In fact, when Graham Hancock appeared on the Art Bell Show (Coast to Coast AM) back in 1996, he told Art that Schor had found no fewer than 9 hollow chambers around the Sphinx with some even containing metal objects! Robert Bauval would repeat the same story. However, by the end of the millennium, they both completely reversed their position on those chambers being found. Why the sudden change of heart? Could it be that even alternative archeologists can be bought or perhaps even scared off? When it comes to the dark and nebulous world para-politics that I traverse on a daily basis, I’ve come to realize that anything is possible and paranoia is just as often the reverse side of ignorance as to what’s really going on.


    Contents

    Historically the Great Pyramid had been attributed to Khufu based on the words of authors of classical antiquity, first and foremost Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus. However, during the middle ages a number of other people were credited with the construction of the pyramid as well, for example Josef, Nimrod or king Saurid. [9]

    In 1837 four additional Relieving Chambers were found above the King's Chamber after tunneling to them. The chambers, that had been inaccessible until then, were covered in hieroglyphs of red paint. The workers who were building the pyramid had marked the blocks with the names of their gangs, which included the pharaoh's name (e.g.: “The gang, The white crown of Khnum-Khufu is powerful”). Over a dozen times are the names of Khufu spelled out on the walls. Another one of these graffiti was found by Goyon on an exterior block of the 4th layer of the pyramid. [10] The inscriptions are comparable to those found at other sites of Khufu such as the alabaster quarry at Hatnub [11] or the harbor at Wadi al-Jarf, and are present in pyramids of other pharaohs as well. [12] [13]

    Throughout the 20th century the cemeteries next to the pyramid were excavated. Family members and high officials of Khufu were buried in the East Field south of the causeway, and the West Field. Most notably the wives, children and grandchildren of Khufu, Hemiunu, Ankhaf and (the funerary cache of) Hetepheres I, mother of Khufu. As Hassan puts it: "From the early dynastic times, it was always the custom for the relatives, friends and courtiers to be buried in the vicinity of the king they had served during life. This was quite in accordance with the Egyptian idea of the Hereafter."

    The cemeteries were actively expanded until the 6th dynasty and used less frequently afterwards. The earliest pharaonic name of seal impressions is that of Khufu, the latest of Pepi II. Worker graffiti are written on some of the stones of the tombs as well, for instance "Mddw" (Horus name of Khufu) on the mastaba of Chufunacht, probably a grandson of Khufu. [14]

    Some inscriptions in the chapels of the mastabas (like the pyramid, their burial chambers were usually bare of inscriptions) mention Khufu or his pyramid. For instance an inscription of Mersyankh III states that "Her mother [is the] daughter of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Khufu." Most often these references are part of a title, for example Snnw-ka, "Chief of the Settlement and Overseer of the Pyramid City of Akhet-Khufu" or Merib, "Priest of Khufu". [15] Several tomb owners have a king's name as part of their own name (e.g. Chufudjedef, Chufuseneb, Merichufu). The earliest pharaoh alluded to in that manner at Giza is Snefru (Khufu's father). [16] [17] [18]

    In 1936 Hassan uncovered a stela of Amenhopet II near the Great Sphinx of Giza which implies the two larger pyramids were still attributed to Khufu and Khafre in the New Kingdom. It reads: "He yoked the horses in Memphis, when he was still young, and stopped at the Sanctuary of Hor-em-akhet (the Sphinx). He spent a time there in going round it, looking at the beauty of the Sanctuary of Khufu and Khafra the revered." [19]

    In 1954 the Khufu ship was discovered, buried at the south foot of the pyramid. The cartouche of Djedefre was found on many of the blocks that covered the boat pit. As the successor and eldest son he would have presumably been responsible for the burial of Khufu. [20]

    During excavations in 2013 the Diary of Merer was found at Wadi al-Jarf. It documents the transportation of white limestone blocks from Tura to the Great Pyramid, which is mentioned by its original name Akhet Khufu (with a pyramid determinative) dozens of times. It details that the stones were accepted at She Akhet-Khufu ("the pool of the pyramid Horizon of Khufu") and Ro-She Khufu (“the entrance to the pool of Khufu”) which were under supervision of Ankhhaf, half brother and vizier of Khufu who is the owner of the largest mastaba of the Giza East Field. [21]

    Modern estimates of dating the Great Pyramid and Khufu's first regnal year
    Author (year) Estimated date
    Greaves (1646) [22] 1266 BC
    Gardiner (1835) [23] 2123 BC
    Lepsius (1849) [24] 3124 BC
    Bunsen (1860) [25] 3209 BC
    Mariette (1867) [26] 4235 BC
    Breasted (1906) [27] 2900 BC
    Hassan (1960) [28] 2700 BC
    O'Mara (1997) [29] 2700 BC
    Beckarath (1997) [30] 2554 BC
    Arnold (1999) [31] 2551 BC
    Spence (2000) [32] 2480 BC
    Shaw (2000) [33] 2589 BC
    Hornung (2006) [34] 2509 BC
    Ramsey et al. (2010) [35] 2613-2577 BC

    The Great Pyramid has been determined to be about 4600 years old by two principal approaches: indirectly, through its attribution to Khufu and his chronological age, based on archaeological and textual evidence and directly, via radiocarbon dating of organic material found in the pyramid and included in its mortar.

    Historical chronology

    In the past the Great Pyramid was dated by its attribution to Khufu alone, putting the construction of the Great Pyramid within his reign. Hence dating the pyramid was a matter of dating Khufu and the 4th dynasty. The relative sequence and synchronicity of events stands at the focal point of this method.

    Absolute calendar dates are derived from an interlocked network of evidence, the backbone of which are the lines of succession known from ancient king lists and other texts. The reign lengths from Khufu to known points in the earlier past are summated, bolstered with genealogical data, astronomical observations, and other sources. As such, the historical chronology of Egypt is primarily a political chronology, thus independent from other types of archaeological evidence like stratigraphies, material culture, or radiocarbon dating.

    The majority of recent chronological estimates date Khufu and his pyramid roughly between 2700 and 2500 BC. [36]

    Radiocarbon dating

    Mortar was used generously in the Great Pyramid's construction. In the mixing process ashes from fires were added to the mortar, organic material that could be extracted and radiocarbon dated. A total of 46 samples of the mortar were taken in 1984 and 1995, making sure they were clearly inherent to the original structure and could not have been incorporated at a later date. The results were calibrated to 2871-2604 BC. The old wood problem is thought to be mainly responsible for the 100-300 year offset, since the age of the organic material was determined, not when it was last used. A reanalysis of the data gave a completion date for the pyramid between 2620 and 2484 BC, based on the younger samples. [37] [38] [39]

    In 1872 Waynman Dixon opened the lower pair of "Air-Shafts", that were closed at both ends until then, by chiseling holes into the walls of the Queen's Chamber. One of the objects found within was a cedar plank, which came into possession of James Grant, a friend of Dixon. After inheritance it was donated to the Museum of Aberdeen in 1946, however it had broken into pieces and was filed incorrectly. Lost in the vast museum collection it was only rediscovered in 2020, when it was radiocarbon dated to 3341-3094 BC. Being over 500 years older than Khufu's chronological age, Abeer Eladany suggests that the wood originated from the center of a long-lived tree or had been recycled for many years prior to being deposited in the pyramid. [40]

    History of dating Khufu and the Great Pyramid

    Circa 450 BC Herodotus attributes the Great Pyramid to Cheops (Hellenization of Khufu), yet erroneously places his reign following the Ramesside period. Manetho, around 200 years later, composed an extensive list of Egyptian kings which he divided into dynasties, assigning Khufu to the 4th. But after phonetic changes in the Egyptian language and consequently the Greek translation "Cheops" had transformed into "Souphis" (and similar versions). [41]

    Greaves, in 1646, reports the great difficulty of ascertaining a date for the pyramid's construction based on the lacking, and conflictory historic sources. Because of the aforementioned differences in spelling, he doesn't recognize Khufu on Manetho's king list (as transcribed by Africanus and Eusebius), [42] hence he relies on Herodotus' incorrect account. Summating the duration of lines of succession, Greaves concludes the year 1266 BC to be the beginning of Khufu's reign. [22]

    Two centuries later, some of the gaps and uncertainties in Manetho's chronology had been cleared by discoveries such as the King Lists of Turin, Abydos, and Karnak. The names of Khufu found the Great Pyramid's Relieving Chambers in 1837 helped to make clear that Cheops and Souphis are in fact one and the same. Thus the Great Pyramid was recognized to be have been built in the 4th dynasty, [24] The dating among Egyptologists still varied by multiple centuries (around 4000-2000 BC), depending on methodology, preconceived religious notions (such as the biblical deluge) and which source they thought was more credible.

    Estimates significantly narrowed in the 20th century, most being within 250 years of each other in the middle of the third millennium BC. The newly development radiocarbon dating method confirmed that the historic chronology was approximately correct. It is however still not a fully appreciated method due to larger margins or error, calibration uncertainties and the problem of inbuilt age in plant material including wood (time between growth and final usage). [36] Furthermore, astronomical alignments have been suggested to coincide with the time of construction. [29] [32]

    Egyptian chronology continues to be refined and data from multiple disciplines has started to be factored in, such as luminescence-, radiocarbon dating, and dendrochronology. For instance, Ramsey et al. included over 200 radiocarbon samples in their model. [35]

    Classical antiquity

    Herodotus

    The ancient Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BC, is one of the first major authors to mention the pyramid. In the second book of his work The Histories, he discusses the history of Egypt and the Great Pyramid. This report was created more than 2000 years after the structure was built, meaning that Herodotus obtained his knowledge mainly from a variety of indirect sources, including officials and priests of low rank, local Egyptians, Greek immigrants, and Herodotus's own interpreters. Accordingly, his explanations present themselves as a mixture of comprehensible descriptions, personal descriptions, erroneous reports, and fantastical legends as such, many of the speculative errors and confusions about the monument can be traced back to Herodotus and his work. [43] [44]

    Herodotus writes that the Great Pyramid was built by Khufu (Hellenized as Cheops) who, he erroneously relays, ruled after the Ramesside Period (Dynasties XIX and XX). [45] Khufu was a tyrannical king, Herodotus claims, which probably shows the view of the Greeks that such buildings can only come about through cruel exploitation of the people. [43] Herodotus further states that gangs of 100,000 labourers worked on the building in three-month shifts, taking 20 years to build. In the first ten years, a wide causeway was erected, which, according to Herodotus, was almost as impressive as the construction of the pyramids themselves, measuring nearly 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long and twenty yards wide, and elevated at its highest to a height of sixteen yards, consisting of stone polished and carved with figures. [46] In addition, underground chambers were made on the hill whereon the pyramids stand, meant to be burial places for Khufu himself, which were encompassed with water which a channel brought in from the Nile. [46] Herodotus later states that at the Pyramid of Khafre (next to the Great Pyramid) the Nile flows through a built passage to an island in which Khufu is buried. [47] (Hawass interprets this to be a reference to the "Osiris Shaft" which is located at the causeway of Khafre south of the Great Pyramid.) [48] [49]

    Herodotus also described an inscription on the outside of the pyramid which, according to his translators, indicated the amount of radishes, garlic and onions that the workers would have eaten while working on the pyramid. [50] This could be a note of restoration work that Khaemweset, son of Rameses II, had carried out. Apparently, Herodotus companions and interpreters could not read the hieroglyphs or deliberately gave him false information. [51]

    Diodorus Siculus

    Between 60-56 BC, the ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus visited Egypt and later dedicated the first book of his Bibliotheca historica to the land, its history, and its monuments, including the Great Pyramid. Diodorus's work was inspired by historians of the past, but he also distanced himself from Herodotus, who Diodorus claims tells marvelous tales and myths. [52] Diodorus presumably drew his knowledge from the lost work of Hecataeus of Abdera, [53] and like Herodotus, he also places the builder of the pyramid, "Chemmis," [54] after Ramses III. [45] According to his report, neither Chemmis (Khufu) nor Cephren (Khafre) were buried in their pyramids, but rather in secret places, for fear that the people ostensibly forced to build the structures would seek out the bodies for revenge [55] with this assertion, Diodorus strengthened the connection between pyramid building and slavery. [56]

    According to Diodorus, the cladding of the pyramid was still in excellent condition at the time, whereas the uppermost part of the pyramid was formed by a platform six cubits wide (c. 3 m (9.8 ft)). About the construction of the pyramid he notes that it was built with the help of ramps since no lifting tools had yet been invented. Nothing was left of the ramps, as they were removed after the pyramids were completed. He estimated the number of workers necessary to erect the Great Pyramid at 360,000 and the construction time at 20 years. [54] Similar to Herodotus, Diodorus also claims that the side of the pyramid is inscribed with writing that "[set] forth [the price of] vegetables and purgatives for the workmen there were paid out over sixteen hundred talents." [55]

    Strabo

    The Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian Strabo visited Egypt around 25 BC, shortly after Egypt was annexed by the Romans. In his work Geographica, he argues that the pyramids were the burial place of kings, but he does mention which king was buried in the structure. Strabo also mentions: "At a moderate height in one of the sides is a stone, which may be taken out when that is removed, there is an oblique passage to the tomb." [57] This statement has generated much speculation, as it suggests that the pyramid could be entered at this time. [58]

    Pliny the Elder

    The Roman writer Pliny the Elder, writing in the first century AD, argued that the Great Pyramid had been raised either "to prevent the lower classes from remaining unoccupied", or as a measure to prevent the pharaoh's riches from falling into the hands of his rivals or successors. [59] Pliny does not speculate as to the pharaoh in question, explicitly noting that "accident [has] consigned to oblivion the names of those who erected such stupendous memorials of their vanity". [60] In pondering how the stones could be transported to such a vast height he gives two explanations: That either vast mounds of nitre and salt were heaped up against the pyramid which were then melted away with water redirected from the river. Or that "bridges" were constructed, their bricks afterwards distributed for erecting houses of private individuals, arguing that the level of the river is too low for canals to ever bring water up to the pyramid. Pliny also recounts how "in the interior of the largest Pyramid there is a well, eighty-six cubits deep, which communicates with the river, it is thought". Further, he describes a method discovered by Thales of Miletus for ascertaining the pyramid's height by measuring its shadow. [60]

    Late antiquity and the Middle Ages

    During late antiquity, a misinterpretation of the pyramids as "Joseph's granary" began to gain in popularity. The first textual evidence of this connection is found in the travel narratives of the female Christian pilgrim Egeria, who records that on her visit between 381-84 AD, "in the twelve-mile stretch between Memphis and Babylonia [= Old Cairo] are many pyramids, which Joseph made in order to store corn." [61] Ten years later the usage is confirmed in the anonymous travelogue of seven monks that set out from Jerusalem to visit the famous ascetics in Egypt, wherein they report that they "saw Joseph's granaries, where he stored grain in biblical times." [62] This late 4th century usage is further confirmed in the geographical treatise Cosmographia , written by Julius Honorius around 376 AD, [63] which explains that the Pyramids were called the "granaries of Joseph" (horrea Ioseph). [64] This reference from Julius is important, for it indicates that the identification was starting to spread out from pilgrim's travelogues. In 530 AD, Stephanos of Byzantium added more to this idea when he wrote in his Ethnica that the word "pyramid" was connected to the Greek word πυρός (puros), meaning wheat. [65]

    In the seventh century AD, the Rashidun Caliphate conquered Egypt, ending several centuries of Romano-Byzantine rule. A few centuries later, in 820 AD, the Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun (786–833) is said to have tunneled into the side of the structure and discovered the ascending passage and its connecting chambers. [66] It was around this time that a Coptic legend gained popularity that claimed the antediluvian king Surid Ibn Salhouk was the one who built the Pyramid. One legend in particular relates how, three hundred years prior to the Great Flood, Surid had a terrifying dream of the world's end, and so he ordered the construction of the pyramids so that they might house all the knowledge of Egypt and survive into the present. [67] The most notable account of this legend was given by Al-Masudi (896-956) in his Akbar al-zaman alongside imaginative tales about the pyramid, such as the story of a man who fell three hours down the pyramid's well and the tale of an expedition that discovered bizarre finds in the structure's inner chambers. Al-zaman also contains a report of Al-Ma'mun's entring the pyramid and discovering a vessel containing a thousand coins, which just so happened to account for the cost of opening the pyramid. [68] (Some speculate that this story is true, but that the coins were planted by Al-Ma'mun to appease his workers, who were likely frustrated that they had found no treasure.) [69]

    In 987 AD, the Arab bibliographer Ibn al-Nadim relates a fantastical tale in his Al-Fihrist about a man who journeyed into the main chamber of a pyramid, which Bayard Dodge argues is the Great Pyramid. [70] According to al-Nadim, the person in question saw a statue of a man holding a tablet and a woman holding a mirror. Between the statues was supposedly a "stone vessel [with] a gold cover." Inside the vessel was "something like pitch," and when the explorer reached into the vessel "a gold receptacle happened to be inside." The receptacle, when taken from the vessel, was filled with "fresh blood," which quickly dried up. Ibn al-Nadim's work also claims that the bodies of a man and woman were discovered inside the Pyramid in "best possible state of preservation." [71] The author al-Kaisi, in his work the Tohfat Alalbab, retells the story of Al-Ma'mun's entry but with the addition of the discovery of "an image of a man in green stone," which when opened revealed a body dressed in jewel-encrusted gold armor. Al-Kaisi's claims to have seen the case from which the body was taken, and asserts that it was located at the king's palace in Cairo. He also writes that he himself entered into the pyramid and discovered myriad preserved bodies. [72]

    The Arab polymath Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (1163-1231) studied the pyramid with great care, and in his Account of Egypt, he praises them of works of engineering genius. In addition to measuring the structure (and the other pyramids at Giza), al-Baghdadi also writes that the structures were surely tombs, although he thought the Great Pyramid was used for the burial of Agathodaimon or Hermes. Al-Baghdadi ponders whether the pyramid pre-dated the Great flood as described in Genesis, and even briefly entertained the idea that it was a pre-Adamic construction. [73] [74] A few centuries later, the Islamic historian Al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) compiled lore about the Great Pyramid in his Al-Khitat. In addition to reasserting that Al-Ma'mun breached the structure in 820 AD, Al-Maqrizi's work also discusses the sarcophagus in the coffin chambers, explicitly noting that the pyramid was a grave. [75]

    By the close of the Middle Ages, the Great Pyramid had gained a reputation as a haunted structure. Others feared entering because it was home to animals like bats. [76]

    Preparation of the site

    A hillock forms the base on which the pyramids stands. It was cut back into steps and only a strip around the perimeter was leveled, [77] which has been measured to be horizontal and flat to within 21 millimetres (0.8 in). [78] The bedrock reaches a height of almost 6 metres (20 ft) above the pyramid base at the location of the Grotto. [79]

    Along the sides of the base platform a series of holes are cut in the bedrock. Lehner hypothesizes that they held wooden posts used for alignment. [80] Edwards, among others, suggested the usage of water for evening the base, although it is unclear how practical and workable such a system would be. [77]

    Materials

    The Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks. Approximately 5.5 million tonnes of limestone, 8,000 tonnes of granite, and 500,000 tonnes of mortar were used in the construction. [81]

    Most of the blocks were quarried at Giza just south of the pyramid, an area now known as the Central Field. [82]

    The white limestone used for the casing originated from Tura (10 km (6.2 mi) south of Giza) and was transported by boat down the Nile. In 2013, rolls of papyrus called the Diary of Merer were discovered, written by a supervisor of the deliveries of limestone and other construction materials from Tura to Giza in the last known year of Khufu's reign. [83]

    The granite stones in the pyramid were transported from Aswan, more than 900 km (560 mi) away. [6] The largest, weighing 25 to 80 tonnes, form the roofs of the "King's chamber" and the "relieving chambers" above it. Ancient Egyptians cut stone into rough blocks by hammering grooves into natural stone faces, inserting wooden wedges, then soaking these with water. As the water was absorbed, the wedges expanded, breaking off workable chunks. Once the blocks were cut, they were carried by boat either up or down the Nile River to the pyramid. [84]

    Workforce

    The Greeks believed that slave labour was used, but modern discoveries made at nearby workers' camps associated with construction at Giza suggest that it was built instead by thousands of conscript laborers. [85]

    Worker graffiti found at Giza suggest haulers were divided into zau (singular za), groups of 40 men, consisting of four sub-units that each had an "Overseer of Ten". [86] [3]

    As to the question how over two million blocks could have been cut within Khufu's lifetime, stonemason Franck Burgos conducted an archaeological experiment based on an abandoned quarry of Khufu discovered in 2017. In it, an almost completed block and the tools used for cutting it had been uncovered: Hardened arsenic copper chisels, wooden mallets, ropes and stone tools. In the experiment replicas of these were used to cut a block weighing about 2.5 tonnes (the average block size used for the Great Pyramid). It took 4 workers 4 days (á 6 hours) to excavate it. The initially slow progress sped up six times when the stone was wetted with water. Based on the data, Burgos extrapolates that about 3,500 quarry-men could have produced the 250 blocks/day needed to complete the Great Pyramid in 27 years. [87]

    A construction management study conducted in 1999, in association with Mark Lehner and other Egyptologists, had estimated that the total project required an average workforce of about 13,200 people and a peak workforce of roughly 40,000. [88]

    Surveys and design

    The first precise measurements of the pyramid were made by Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1880–82, published as The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. [89] Many of the casing-stones and inner chamber blocks of the Great Pyramid fit together with high precision, with joints, on average, only 0.5 millimetres (0.020 in) wide. [90] On the contrary, core blocks were only roughly shaped, with rubble inserted between larger gaps. Mortar was used to bind the outer layers together and fill gaps and joints. [5]

    The block height and weight tends to get progressively smaller towards the top. Petrie measured the lowest layer to be 148 centimetres (4.86 ft) high, whereas the layers towards the summit barely exceed 50 centimetres (1.6 ft). [91]

    The accuracy of the pyramid's perimeter is such that the four sides of the base have an average error of only 58 millimetres (2.3 inches) in length [a] and the finished base was squared to a mean corner error of only 12 seconds of arc. [93]

    Some Egyptologists suggest this slope was chosen because the ratio of perimeter to height (1760/280 cubits) equates to 2π to an accuracy of better than 0.05 percent (corresponding to the well-known approximation of π as 22/7). Verner wrote, "We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of π, in practice they used it". [95] Petrie concluded: "but these relations of areas and of circular ratio are so systematic that we should grant that they were in the builder's design". [96] Others have argued that the ancient Egyptians had no concept of pi and would not have thought to encode it in their monuments and that the observed pyramid slope may be based on the seked choice alone. [97]

    Alignment to the cardinal directions

    The sides of the Great Pyramid's base are closely aligned to the four geographic (not magnetic) cardinal directions, deviating on average 3 minutes and 38 seconds of arc. [98] Several methods have been proposed for how the ancient Egyptians achieved this level of accuracy:

    • The Solar Gnomon Method - The shadow of a vertical rod is tracked throughout a day. The shadow line is intersected by a circle drawn around the base of the rod. Connecting the intersecting points produces an east-west line. An experiment using this method resulted in lines being, on average, 2 minutes, 9 seconds off due east-west. Employing a pinhole produced much more accurate results (19 arc seconds off), whereas using an angled block as a shadow definer was less accurate (3'47" off). [99]
    • The Pole Star Method - The polar star is tracked using a movable sight and fixed plumb line. Halfway between the maximum eastern and western elongations is true north. Thuban, the polar star during the Old Kingdom, was about two degrees removed from the celestial pole at the time. [100]
    • The Simultaneous Transit Method - The stars Mizar and Kochab appear on a vertical line on the horizon, close to true north around 2500 BC. They slowly and simultaneously shift east over time, which is used to explain the relative misalignment of the pyramids. [101][102]

    Construction theories

    Many alternative, often contradictory, theories have been proposed regarding the pyramid's construction techniques. [103] One mystery of the pyramid's construction is its planning. John Romer suggests that they used the same method that had been used for earlier and later constructions, laying out parts of the plan on the ground at a 1-to-1 scale. He writes that "such a working diagram would also serve to generate the architecture of the pyramid with precision unmatched by any other means". [104]

    The basalt blocks of the pyramid temple show "clear evidence" of having been cut with some kind of saw with an estimated cutting blade of 15 feet (4.6 m) in length. Romer suggests that this "super saw" may have had copper teeth and weighed up to 140 kilograms (310 lb). He theorizes that such a saw could have been attached to a wooden trestle and possibly used in conjunction with vegetable oil, cutting sand, emery or pounded quartz to cut the blocks, which would have required the labour of at least a dozen men to operate it. [105]

    Casing

    The height of the horizontal layers is not uniform but varies considerably. The highest of the 203 remaining courses are towards the bottom. The first layer being the tallest at 1.49 metres (4.9 ft). Towards the top, layers tend to be only slightly over 1 cubit or 0.52 metres (1.7 ft) in height. An irregular pattern is noticeable when looking at the sizes in sequence, where layer height declines steadily only to rise sharply again. [91] [110] [111]

    So-called "backing stones" supported the casing which were (unlike core blocks) precisely dressed as well and bound to the casing with mortar. Nowadays, these stones give the structure its visible appearance, following the dismantling of the pyramid in the middle ages. In 1303 AD, a massive earthquake had loosened many of the outer casing stones, [ citation needed ] which were said to have been carted away by Bahri Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan in 1356 for use in nearby Cairo. [93] Many more casing stones were removed from the site by Muhammad Ali Pasha in the early 19th century to build the upper portion of his Alabaster Mosque in Cairo, not far from Giza. [ citation needed ] Later explorers reported massive piles of rubble at the base of the pyramids left over from the continuing collapse of the casing stones, which were subsequently cleared away during continuing excavations of the site. Today a few of the casing stones from the lowest course can be seen in situ on each side, with the best preserved on the north below the entrances, excavated by Vyse in 1837.

    The mortar was chemically analyzed [112] and contains organic inclusions (mostly coal), samples of which were radiocarbon dated to 2871-2604 BC. [113] It has been theorized that the mortar enabled the masons to set the stones exactly by providing a level bed. [114] [115]

    It has been suggested that some or all of the casing stones were cast in place, rather than quarried and moved, yet archaeological evidence and petrographic analysis indicate this was not the case. [116]

    Petrie noted in 1880 that the sides of the pyramid, as we see them today, are "very distinctly hollowed" and that "each side has a sort of groove specially down the middle of the face", which he reasoned was a result of increased casing thickness in these areas. [117] A laser scanning survey in 2005 confirmed the existence of the anomalies, which can be, to some degree, attributed to damaged and removed stones. [118] Under certain lighting conditions and with image enhancement the faces can appear to be split, leading to speculation that the pyramid had been intentionally constructed eight-sided. [119]

    Pyramidion and missing tip

    The pyramid was once topped by a capstone, a pyramidion. The material it was made from is subject to much speculation, limestone, granite or basalt are commonly proposed, in popular culture often made of solid gold or gilded. All known 4th dynasty pyramidia (of the Red Pyramid, Satellite Pyramid of Khufu (G1-d) and Queen's Pyramid of Menkaure (G3-a)) are of white limestone and were not gilded. [120] Only from the 5th dynasty onward is there evidence of gilded capstones, for instance a scene on the causeway of the Sahure speaks of the "white gold pyramidion of the pyramid Sahure’s Soul Shines". [121]

    The Great Pyramid's pyramidion was already lost in antiquity, as Pliny the Elder and later authors report of a platform on its summit. [59] Nowadays the pyramid is about 8 metres (26 ft) shorter than it was when intact, with about 1,000 tonnes of material missing from the top. In 1874 a mast was installed on the top by the astronomer David Gill (who returned from observing a rare Venus transit), probably to help determine the original height of the Great Pyramid. It is still in place to this day. [122]

    Elevation diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid. The inner and outer lines indicate the pyramid's present and original profiles.
    1. Original entrance
    2. Robbers' Tunnel (tourist entrance)
    3, 4. Descending Passage
    5. Subterranean Chamber
    6. Ascending Passage
    7. Queen's Chamber & its "air-shafts"
    8. Horizontal Passage
    9. Grand Gallery
    10. King's Chamber & its "air-shafts"
    11. Grotto & Well Shaft

    The internal structure consists of three main chambers (the King's-, Queen's- and Subterranean Chamber), the Grand Gallery and various corridors and shafts.

    There are two entrances into the pyramid, the original and a forced passage, which both meet at a junction. From there, one passage descends into the Subterranean Chamber, the other ascends to the Grand Gallery. From the beginning of the gallery three paths can be taken:

    • a vertical shaft that leads down, past a grotto, to meet the descending passage,
    • a horizontal corridor leading to the Queen's Chamber,
    • and the path up the gallery itself to the King's Chamber that contains the sarcophagus.

    Both the King's and Queen's chamber have a pair of small "air-shafts". Above the King's chamber are a series of five Relieving Chambers.

    Entrances

    Original entrance

    The original entrance is located on the north side, 15 cubits or 7.29 metres (23.9 ft) east of the centerline of the pyramid. Before the removal of the casing in the middle ages, the pyramid was entered through a hole in the 19th layer of masonry, approximately 17 metres (56 ft) above the pyramid's base level. The height of that layer (96 centimetres (3.15 ft)) corresponds to the size of the entrance tunnel which is commonly called the Descending Passage. [79] [123] According to Strabo (64–24 BC) a movable stone could be raised to enter this sloping corridor, however it is not known if it was a later addition or original.

    A row of double chevrons diverts weight away from the entrance. Several of these chevron blocks are now missing, as the slanted faces they used to rest on indicate.

    Numerous, mostly modern, graffiti are cut in the stones around the entrance, most notably a large, square text of hieroglyphs carved in 1842 by the Prussian Expedition to Egypt. [124]

    North Face Corridor

    In 2016 the ScanPyramids team detected a cavity behind the entrance chevrons using muography, which was confirmed in 2019 to be a corridor at least 5 m (16 feet) long, running horizontal or sloping upwards (thus not parallel to the Descending Passage). [125] [126] Whether or not it connects to the Big Void above the Grand Gallery remains to be seen.

    Robbers' Tunnel

    Today tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers' Tunnel, which was long ago cut straight through the masonry of the pyramid. The entrance was forced into the 6th and 7th layer of the casing, about 7 m (23 ft) above the base. After running more-or-less straight and horizontal for 27 metres (89 ft) it turns sharply left to encounter the blocking stones in the Ascending Passage. It is possible to enter the Descending Passage from this point but access is usually forbidden. [127]

    The origin of this Robbers' Tunnel is the subject of much scholarly discussion. According to tradition the chasm was made around 820 AD by Caliph al-Ma'mun's workmen with a battering ram. The digging dislodged the stone in the ceiling of the Descending Passage which hid the entrance to the Ascending Passage, and the noise of that stone falling then sliding down the Descending Passage alerted them to the need to turn left. Unable to remove these stones, however, the workmen tunneled up beside them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid until they reached the Ascending Passage. [128] [129]

    Due to a number of historical and archaeological discrepancies, many scholars (with Antoine de Sacy perhaps being the first) contend that this story is apocryphal. They argue that it is much more likely that the tunnel had been carved sometime after the pyramid was initially sealed. This tunnel, the scholars continue, was then resealed (likely during the Ramesside Restoration), and it was this plug that al-Ma'mun's ninth-century expedition cleared away. This theory is furthered by the report of patriarch Dionysius I Telmaharoyo, who claimed that before al-Ma'mun's expedition, there already existed a breach in the pyramid's north face that extended into the structure 33 meters before hitting a dead end. This suggests that some sort of robber's tunnel predated al-Ma'mun, and that the caliph simply enlarged it and cleared it of debris. [130]

    Descending Passage

    From the original entrance, a passage descends through the masonry of the pyramid and then into the bedrock beneath it, ultimately leading to the Subterranean Chamber.

    It has a slanted height of 1.20 metres (3.9 ft) high and width of 1.06 metres (3.5 ft) or 4 Egyptian feet high by 2 cubits wide. Its angle of 26°26'46" corresponds to a ratio of 1 to 2 (rise over run). [131]

    After 28 metres (92 ft) the lower end of the Ascending Passage is reached, a square hole in the ceiling which is blocked by granite stones and might have originally been concealed. To circumvent these hard stones, a short tunnel was excavated that meets the end of the Robbers' Tunnel, which was expanded over time and fitted with stairs.

    The passage continues to descend for another 72 metres (236 ft), now through bedrock instead of the pyramid superstructure. Lazy guides used to block off this part with rubble to avoid having to lead people down and back up the long shaft, until around 1902 when Covington installed a padlocked iron grill-door to stop this practice. [132] Near the end of this section, on the west wall, is the connection to the vertical shaft that leads up to the Grand Gallery.

    A horizontal shaft connects the end of the Descending Passage to the Subterranean Chamber, It has a length of 8.84 m (29.0 ft), width of 0.85 m (2.8 ft) and height of 95 to 91 cm (3.12 to 2.99 ft). A recess is located towards the end of the western wall, slightly larger than the tunnel, the ceiling of which is irregular and undressed. [133]

    Subterranean Chamber

    The Subterranean Chamber, or simply "Pit", is the lowest of the three main chambers and the only one dug into the bedrock beneath the pyramid.

    It is rectangular and measures roughly 16 cubits (north-south) by 27 cubits (east-west) or 8.3 m (27 ft) by 14.1 m (46 ft) with an uneven floor over 4 m (13 ft) below the flat ceiling, which in turn is about 27 m (89 ft) below base level. [79]

    The western half of the room, apart from the ceiling, is clearly unfinished, with trenches left behind by the quarry-men running east to west. A niche was cut into the northern half of the west wall. The only access, though the Descending Passage, lies on the eastern end of the north wall.

    Although seemingly known in antiquity, according to Herodotus and later authors, its existence had been forgotten in the middle ages. It was rediscovered only in 1817 by Giovanni Battista Caviglia, after he cleared the rubble blocking the Descending Passage. [134]

    Opposite the entrance, a blind corridor runs straight south for 11 m (36 ft) and continues slight bent another 5.4 m (18 ft), measuring about 0.75 m (2.5 ft) squared Greek or Roman character were found on its roof made with the light of a candle, suggesting that the chamber had indeed been accessible during ancient Roman times. [135]

    In the middle of the eastern half, a large hole is opened up, usually called Pit Shaft or Perring's Shaft. The upmost part seems to have ancient origins, about 2 m (6.6 ft) squared in width and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in depth, diagonally aligned with the chamber. Caviglia and Salt enlarged it to the depth of about 3 m (9.8 ft). [134] In 1837 Vyse directed the shaft to be sunk to a depth of 50 ft (15 m), in hopes of discovering the chamber, encompassed by water, Herodotus alludes to. It was made slightly narrower, about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in width, hence is easy to be distinguished. But no chamber was discovered after Perring and his workers had spent one and a half years penetrating the bedrock to the then water level of the Nile, some 12 m (39 ft) further down. [136] The rubble produced during this operation was deposited throughout the chamber. When Petrie visited the pyramid in 1880 he found the shaft to be partially filled with water that had rushed down the Descending Passage during heavy rainfalls. [137] In 1909, when the Edgar brothers' surveying activities were encumbered by the material, they moved the sand and smaller stones back into the shaft, leaving the upper part of it clear. [138] The deep, modern shaft is sometimes mistaken to be part of the original design.

    Some Egyptologists suggest that this Lower Chamber was intended to be the original burial chamber, but Pharaoh Khufu later changed his mind and wanted it to be higher up in the pyramid. [139]

    Ascending Passage

    The Ascending Passage connects the Descending Passage to the Grand Gallery. It is 75 cubits or 39.27 metres (128.8 ft) long and of the same width of height as the shaft it originates from (1.20 m (3.9 ft) high, 1.06 m (3.5 ft) wide), although its angle is slightly lower at 26°6'. [140]

    The lower end of the shaft is plugged by three granite stones, which were slid down from the Grand Gallery to seal the tunnel. They are 1.57 m (5.2 ft), 1.67 m (5.5 ft) and 1 m (3.3 ft) long respectively. [140] The upmost is heavily damaged, hence shorter. From the end of the Robbers' Tunnel, that concludes slightly below them, a short tunnel was dug around the blocking stones to gain access to the Descending Passage, since the surrounding limestone is considerably softer and easier to work.

    The joints between the blocks of the walls are vertical in the lower third of the corridor, otherwise they are perpendicular to the floor, apart from three girdle stone that are inserted near the middle (about 10 cubits apart), presumably to stabilize the tunnel. [141]

    Well Shaft and Grotto

    The Well Shaft (also known as the Service Shaft or Vertical Shaft) links the lower end of the Grand Gallery to the bottom of Descending Passage, about 50 metres (160 ft) further down.

    It doesn't take a direct course but changes angle several times. The upper half goes through the nucleus masonry of the pyramid. Vertical at first for 8 metres (26 ft) it then runs slightly angled southwards for about the same distance until it hits bedrock that is circa 5.7 metres (19 ft) above the pyramid's base level at this point. Another vertical section descends further which is partially lined with masonry that has been broken through to a cavity known as the Grotto. The lower half of the Well Shaft goes through the bedrock at an angle of about 45° for 26.5 metres (87 ft) before a steeper section, 9.5 metres (31 ft) long, leads to its lowest point. The final section of 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) connects it to the Descending Passage, running almost horizontal. The builders evidently had trouble aligning the lower exit. [142] [79]

    The purpose of the shaft is commonly explained as a ventilation shaft for the Subterranean Chamber and as a flight shaft for the workers who slid the blocking stones of the Ascending Passage into place.

    The Grotto is a natural limestone cave, likely filled with sand and gravel before pyramid construction, that was later on hollowed out by looters. A granite block rests in it that likely originated from the portcullis that once sealed the King's Chamber.

    Queen's Chamber

    Also at the start of the Grand Gallery, there is the Horizontal Passage leading to the "Queen's Chamber". At start, five pairs of holes suggest the tunnel was once concealed with slabs that laid flush with the gallery floor. The passage is 1.06 metres (3.5 ft) (2 cubits) wide and 1.17 metres (3.8 ft) high for most of its length, but near the chamber there is a step in the floor, after which the passage is 1.68 metres (5.5 ft) high. [79] Half of the west-wall consists of two layers that have atypically continuous vertical joints. Dormion suggests the entrances to magazines laid here, that were filled in. [143]

    The "Queen's Chamber" [7] is exactly halfway between the north and south faces of the pyramid. It measures 10 cubits (north-south) by 11 cubits (east-west) or 5.23 metres (17.2 ft) by 5.77 metres (18.9 ft), [144] and has a pointed roof with an apex 12 cubits or 6.26 metres (20.5 ft) [145] above the floor. At the eastern end of the chamber there is a niche 9 cubits or 4.67 metres (15.3 ft) high. The original depth of the niche was 2 cubits or 1.04 metres (3.4 ft), but has since been deepened by treasure hunters. [146]

    In the north and south walls of the Queen's Chamber there are shafts which were found in 1872 by a British engineer, Waynman Dixon, who believed shafts similar to those in the King's Chamber must also exist. The shafts were not connected to the outer faces of the pyramid or the Queen's Chamber their purpose is unknown. In one shaft Dixon discovered a ball of diorite (a type of rock), a bronze hook of unknown purpose and piece of cedar wood. The first two objects are currently in the British Museum. [147] The latter was lost until recently when it was found at the University of Aberdeen. It has since been radiocarbon dated to 3341-3094 BC. [148] The northern shaft's angle of ascent fluctuates and at one point turns 45 degrees to avoid the Great Gallery. The southern is perpendicular to the pyramid's slope [147]

    The shafts in the Queen's Chamber were explored in 1993 by the German engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink using a crawler robot he designed, Upuaut 2. After a climb of 65 m (213 ft), [149] he discovered that one of the shafts was blocked by a limestone "door" with two eroded copper "handles". The National Geographic Society created a similar robot which, in September 2002, drilled a small hole in the southern door only to find another stone slab behind it. [150] The northern passage, which was difficult to navigate because of its twists and turns, was also found to be blocked by a slab. [151]

    Research continued in 2011 with the Djedi Project which used a fibre-optic "micro snake camera" that could see around corners. With this, they were able to penetrate the first door of the southern shaft through the hole drilled in 2002, and view all the sides of the small chamber behind it. They discovered hieroglyphics written in red paint. Egyptian mathematics researcher Luca Miatello stated that the markings read "121"- the length of the shaft in cubits. [152] The Djedi team were also able to scrutinize the inside of the two copper "handles" embedded in the door which they now believe to be for decorative purposes. They also found the reverse side of the "door" to be finished and polished which suggests that it was not put there just to block the shaft from debris, but rather for a more specific reason. [153]

    Grand Gallery

    The Grand Gallery continues the slope of the Ascending Passage towards the King's Chamber, extending from the 23rd to the 48th course, a rise of 21 metres (69 ft). It has been praised as a "truly spectacular example of stonemasonry". [154] It is 8.6 metres (28 ft) high and 46.68 metres (153.1 ft) long. The base is 4 cubits or 2.06 metres (6.8 ft) wide, but after two courses (at a height of 2.29 metres (7.5 ft)) the blocks of stone in the walls are corbelled inwards by 6–10 centimetres (2.4–3.9 in) on each side. [79] There are seven of these steps, so, at the top, the Grand Gallery is only 2 cubits or 1.04 metres (3.4 ft) wide. It is roofed by slabs of stone laid at a slightly steeper angle than the floor of the gallery so that each stone fits into a slot cut in the top of the gallery like the teeth of a ratchet. The purpose was to have each block supported by the wall of the Gallery, rather than resting on the block beneath it, in order to prevent cumulative pressure. [155]

    At the upper end of the Gallery on the eastern wall, there is a hole near the roof that opens into a short tunnel by which access can be gained to the lowest of the Relieving Chambers.

    The floor of the Grand Gallery has a shelf or step on either side, 1 cubit or 51 centimetres (20 in) wide, leaving a lower ramp 2 cubits or 1.04 metres (3.4 ft) wide between them. In the shelves, there are 56 slots, 28 on each side. On each wall, 25 niches have been cut above the slots. [156] The purpose of these slots is not known, but the central gutter in the floor of the Gallery, which is the same width as the Ascending Passage, has led to speculation that the blocking stones were stored in the Grand Gallery and the slots held wooden beams to restrain them from sliding down the passage. [157] Jean-Pierre Houdin theorized that they held a timber frame that was used in combination with a trolley to pull the heavy granite blocks up the pyramid.

    At the top of the gallery, there is a step onto a small horizontal platform where a tunnel leads through the Antechamber, which was once blocked by portcullis stones, into the King's Chamber.

    The Big Void

    In 2017, scientists from the ScanPyramids project discovered a large cavity above the Grand Gallery using muon radiography, which they called the "ScanPyramids Big Void". Key was a research team under Professor Morishima Kunihiro from Nagoya University that used special nuclear emulsion detectors. [158] [159] Its length is at least 30 metres (98 ft) and its cross-section is similar to that of the Grand Gallery. Its existence was confirmed by independent detection with three different technologies: nuclear emulsion films, scintillator hodoscopes, and gas detectors. [160] [161] The purpose of the cavity is unknown and it is not accessible. Zahi Hawass speculates it may have been a gap used in the construction of the Grand Gallery, [162] but the Japanese research team state that the void is completely different from previously identified construction spaces. [163]

    To verify and pinpoint the void, a team from Kyushu University, Tohoku University, the University of Tokyo and the Chiba Institute of Technology planned to rescan the structure with a newly developed muon detector in 2020. [164] Their work was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. [165]

    Antechamber

    The last line of defense against intrusion was a small chamber specially designed to house portcullis blocking stones, called the Antechamber. It is cased almost entirely in granite and is situated between the upper end of the Grand Gallery and the King's Chamber. Three slots for portcullis stones line the east and west wall of the chamber. Each of them topped with a semi-circular groove for a log, around which ropes could be spanned.

    The granite portcullis stones were approximately 1 cubit or 0.52 metres (1.7 ft) thick and were lowered into position by the aforementioned ropes which were tied through a series of four holes at the top of the blocks. A corresponding set of four vertical grooves are on the south wall of the chamber, recesses that make space for the ropes.

    The Antechamber has a design flaw: the space above them can accessed, thus all but the last block can be circumvented. This was exploited by looters who punched a hole through the ceiling of the tunnel behind, gaining access to the King's Chamber. Later on all three portcullis stones were broken and removed. Fragments of these blocks can be found in various locations in the pyramid (the Pit Shaft, the Original Entrance, the Grotto and the recess before the Subterranean Chamber). [142]

    King's Chamber

    The King's Chamber is the upmost of the three main chambers of the pyramid. It is faced entirely with granite and measures 20 cubits (east to west) by 10 cubits (north to south) or 10.48 metres (34.4 ft) by 5.24 metres (17.2 ft). Its flat ceiling is about 11 cubits and 5 digits or 5.84 metres (19.16 ft) above the floor, formed by nine slabs of stone weighing in total about 400 tons. All the roof beams show cracks due to the chamber having settled about 2.5 to 5 cm (0.98 to 1.97 in). [166]

    The walls consist of five courses of blocks that are uninscribed, as was the norm for burial chambers of the 4th dynasty. [167] The stones are precisely fitted together, the facing surfaces dressed to varying degrees, some displaying remains of bosses not entirely cut away. [166] The back sides of the blocks were only roughly hewn to shape, as was usual with Egyptian hard-stone facade blocks, presumably to save work. [168] [79]

    Sarcophagus

    The only object in the King's Chamber is a sarcophagus made out of a single, hollowed-out granite block. When it was rediscovered in the early middle ages, it was found broken open and any contents had already been removed. It is of the form common for early Egyptian sarcophagi, rectangular in shape with grooves to slide the now missing lid into place with three small holes for pegs to fixate it. [169] [170] The coffer was not perfectly smoothed, displaying various tool marks matching those of copper saws and tubular hand-drills. [171]

    The internal dimensions are roughly 198 cm (6.50 ft) by 68 cm (2.23 feet), the external 228 cm (7.48 ft) by 98 cm (3.22 ft), with a height of 105 cm (3.44 ft). The walls having a thickness of about 15 cm (0.49 ft). The sarcophagus is too large to fit around the corner between Ascending- and Descending Passage, which indicates that it must have been placed in the chamber before the roof was put in place. [172]

    Air shafts

    In the north and south walls of the King's Chamber are two narrow shafts, commonly known as "air shafts". They face each other and are located approximately 0.91 m (3.0 ft) above the floor, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) from the eastern wall, with a width of 18 and 21 cm (7.1 and 8.3 in) and a height of 14 cm (5.5 in). Both start out horizontally for the length of the granite blocks they go through before changing to an upwards direction. [173] The southern ascends at an angle of 45° with a slight curve westwards. One ceiling stone was found to be distinctly unfinished which Gantenbrink called a "Monday morning block". The northern changes angle several times, shifting the path to the west, perhaps to avoid the Big Void. The builders had trouble calculating the right angles, resulting in parts of the shaft being narrower. [174] Nowadays they both communicate to the exterior. If they originally penetrated the outer casing is unknown.

    The purpose of these shafts is not clear: They were long believed by Egyptologists to be shafts for ventilation, but this idea has now been widely abandoned in favour of the shafts serving a ritualistic purpose associated with the ascension of the king's spirit to the heavens. [175] Ironically, both shafts have been fitted with ventilators in 1992 to reduce the humidity in the pyramid. [174]

    The idea that the shafts point towards stars or areas of the northern and southern skies has been largely dismissed as the northern follows a dog-leg course through the masonry and the southern has a bend of approximately 20 centimetres (7.9 in), indicating no intention to have them point to any celestial objects. [174]

    Relieving chambers

    Above the roof of the King's Chamber are five compartments, named (from lowest up) "Davison's Chamber", "Wellington's Chamber", "Nelson's Chamber", "Lady Arbuthnot's Chamber", and "Campbell's Chamber".

    They were presumably intended to safeguard the King's Chamber from the possibility of the roof collapsing under the weight of stone above, hence they are referred to as "Relieving Chambers".

    The granite blocks that divide the chambers have flat bottom sides but roughly shaped top sides, giving all five chambers an irregular floor, but a flat ceiling, except the upmost chamber which has a pointed limestone roof. [176]

    Nathaniel Davison is credited with the discovery of the lowest of these chambers in 1763, although a French merchant named Maynard informed him of its existence. [177] It can be reached through an ancient passage that originates from the top of the south wall of the Grand Gallery. [176] The upper four chambers were discovered in 1837 by Howard Vyse after a crack in the ceiling of the first chamber, which allowed the insertion of a long reed, was followed upward by forcing a tunnel through the masonry employing gunpowder and boring rods. [178] (Dynamite was not invented until about 30 years later.) They were completely unaccessible until then since construction, no old shaft like that to Davison's Chamber existed.

    Numerous graffiti of red Ochre paint were found to cover the limestone walls of all four newly discovered chambers. Apart from leveling lines and indication marks for masons, multiple hieroglyphic inscriptions spell out the names of work-gangs. Those names, which were found in other Egyptian pyramids like that of Menkaure and Sahure as well, usually included the name of the pharaoh they were working for. [179] [12] The blocks must have received the inscriptions before the chambers became inaccessible during construction. Their orientation, often side-ways or upside down, and them being sometimes partially covered by blocks, seems to indicate that the stones were inscribed even before being laid. [180]

    The inscriptions, correctly deciphered only decades after discovery, read as follows: [12]

    • "The gang, The Horus Mededuw-is-the-purifier-of-the-two-lands." Found once in relieving chamber 3. (Mededuw being Khufu's Horus name.)
    • "The gang, The Horus Mededuw-is-pure" Found seven times in chamber 4.
    • "The gang, Khufu-excites-love" Found once in chamber 5 (top chamber).
    • “The gang, The-white-crown-of Khnumkhuwfuw-is-powerful” Found once in chambers 2 and 3, ten times in chamber 4 and twice in chamber 5. (Khnum-Khufu being Khufu's full birth name.)

    The Great Pyramid is surrounded by a complex of several buildings including small pyramids.

    Temples and causeway

    The Pyramid Temple, which stood on the east side of the pyramid and measured 52.2 metres (171 ft) north to south and 40 metres (130 ft) east to west, has almost entirely disappeared apart from the black basalt paving. There are only a few remnants of the causeway which linked the pyramid with the valley and the Valley Temple. The Valley Temple is buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman basalt paving and limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated. [181] [182]

    East cemetery

    The tomb of Queen Hetepheres I, sister-wife of Sneferu and mother of Khufu, is located approximately 110 metres (360 ft) east of the Great Pyramid. [183] Discovered by accident by the Reisner expedition, the burial was intact, though the carefully sealed coffin proved to be empty.

    Subsidiary pyramids

    On the southern end of the east side are four subsidiary pyramids The three that remain standing to nearly full height are popularly known as the Queens' Pyramids (G1-a, G1-b and G1-c). The fourth, smaller satellite pyramid (G1-d), was so ruined that its existence was not suspected until the first course of stones and later the remains of the capstone were discovered during excavations in 1991-93. [184]

    Boats

    Three boat-shaped pits are located east of the pyramid. of a size and shape to have held complete boats, though so shallow that any superstructure, if there ever was one, must have been removed or disassembled.

    Two additional boat pits, long and rectangular in shape, were found south of the pyramid, still covered with slabs of stone weighing up to 15 tons.

    The first of these was discovered in May 1954, the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh. Inside were 1,224 pieces of wood, the longest 23 metres (75 ft) in length, the shortest 10 centimetres (0.33 ft). These were entrusted to a boat builder, Haj Ahmed Yusuf, who worked out how the pieces fit together. The entire process, including conservation and straightening of the warped wood, took fourteen years. The result is a cedar-wood boat 43.6 metres (143 ft) long, its timbers held together by ropes, which is currently housed in the Giza Solar boat museum, a special boat-shaped, air-conditioned museum beside the pyramid.

    During construction of this museum in the 1980s the second sealed boat pit was discovered. It was left unopened until 2011 when excavation began on the boat. [185]

    Pyramid town

    A notable construction flanking the Giza pyramid complex is a cyclopean stone wall, the Wall of the Crow. [186] Lehner has discovered a worker's town outside of the wall, otherwise known as "The Lost City", dated by pottery styles, seal impressions, and stratigraphy to have been constructed and occupied sometime during the reigns of Khafre (2520–2494 BC) and Menkaure (2490–2472 BC). [187] [188] In the early 21st century, Mark Lehner and his team made several discoveries, including what appears to have been a thriving port, suggesting the town and associated living quarters, which consisted of barracks called "galleries", may not have been for the pyramid workers after all but rather for the soldiers and sailors who utilized the port. In light of this new discovery, as to where then the pyramid workers may have lived, Lehner suggested the alternative possibility they may have camped on the ramps he believes were used to construct the pyramids or possibly at nearby quarries. [189]

    In the early 1970s, the Australian archaeologist Karl Kromer excavated a mound in the South Field of the plateau. This mound contained artefacts including mudbrick seals of Khufu, which he identified with an artisans' settlement. [190] Mudbrick buildings just south of Khufu's Valley Temple contained mud sealings of Khufu and have been suggested to be a settlement serving the cult of Khufu after his death. [191] A worker's cemetery used at least between Khufu's reign and the end of the Fifth Dynasty was discovered south of the Wall of the Crow by Hawass in 1990. [192]

    Authors Brier and Hobbs claim that "all the pyramids were robbed" by the New Kingdom, when the construction of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings began. [193] [194] Joyce Tyldesley states that the Great Pyramid itself "is known to have been opened and emptied by the Middle Kingdom", before the Arab caliph Al-Ma'mun entered the pyramid around 820 AD. [128]

    I. E. S. Edwards discusses Strabo's mention that the pyramid "a little way up one side has a stone that may be taken out, which being raised up there is a sloping passage to the foundations". Edwards suggested that the pyramid was entered by robbers after the end of the Old Kingdom and sealed and then reopened more than once until Strabo's door was added. He adds: "If this highly speculative surmise be correct, it is also necessary to assume either that the existence of the door was forgotten or that the entrance was again blocked with facing stones", in order to explain why al-Ma'mun could not find the entrance. [195] Scholars such as Gaston Maspero and Flinders Petrie have noted that evidence for a similar door has been found at the Bent Pyramid of Dashur. [196] [197]

    Herodotus visited Egypt in the 5th century BC and recounts a story that he was told concerning vaults under the pyramid built on an island where the body of Khufu lies. Edwards notes that the pyramid had "almost certainly been opened and its contents plundered long before the time of Herodotus" and that it might have been closed again during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt when other monuments were restored. He suggests that the story told to Herodotus could have been the result of almost two centuries of telling and retelling by pyramid guides. [44]


    Dynasties of pyramids

    Khufu’s son, Djedefre, carried on the family tradition, and built a pyramid at Abu Roash, a few kilometres northwest of Giza. It was either never finished or local stone robbers have removed most of the upper stones.

    The next two kings of the dynasty, Khafre (Gk. Cephren) and Menkaure (Gk. Mycerinus), built their pyramids back on the Giza plateau. Khafre’s pyramid is nearly as high as Khufu’s, but has a steeper angle, so fewer stones were required.

    Egyptian princess Sobekneferu. Is this the face of the woman who drew Moses out of the water because she had no child of her own? Some biblical scholars believe so.

    This statue of King Zoser seems harsh because thieves have stolen the originally inlaid eyes and disfigured the face. Together with his architect Imhotep, he was responsible for the first pyramid.

    Menkaure’s pyramid is only about a quarter the size of the earlier ones, but the lower layers were faced with granite blocks from Aswan. The outside face of some of these granite blocks was not completed, so archaeologists can see that the outside blocks were not cut exactly before being fitted in place. Rather, they were put in place and then masons started at the top and worked downwards, facing the outside blocks as they went.

    The pyramids of the fifth and sixth dynasties were shoddy affairs, made of rubble but faced with nice white stones. Most of these stones have been stolen, leaving untidy heaps of debris. Unas, the last king of the fifth dynasty, introduced one new feature in this period. He had vertical lines of hieroglyphic texts inscribed in his tomb chambers. Previous pyramids had no original texts in them.

    Dynasties seven to ten, the First Intermediate Period, has traditionally been considered a time of poverty and confusion. However, some scholars1 suggest that these dynasties did not exist, at least not as independent dynasties—another reason why the traditionally held chronology of Egypt needs shortening.


    BIG VOID, BIGGER QUESTIONS

    The seemingly empty region, which the researchers neutrally call “the void,” is at least a hundred feet long. Its purpose remains unclear researchers are cautiously avoiding the word “chamber” for the time being.

    “We don’t know for the moment if it’s horizontal or inclined, [or] if it is made from one structure or several successive structures,” said study coauthor Mehdi Tayoubi, president and cofounder of the Heritage Innovation Presentation (HIP) Institute, in a press briefing. “What we do know is that this void is there, that it is impressive, [and] that it was not expected by any kind of theory.”

    Tayoubi and his colleagues stress that they don’t know what the void is—but already, Egyptologists have some initial ideas for what it might be.

    Spence, the Cambridge archaeologist, says that the void may be a leftover from the Great Pyramid’s construction. She points out that massive blocks weighing tens of tons form the roof of the chambers above the King’s Chamber, the central room where Khufu was laid to rest.

    Since the void aligns with the Great Pyramid’s upper chambers, which were put there to relieve pressure on the King’s Chamber below, Spence suggests that the void may have been an internal ramp used to move the massive roof blocks into place. As construction continued, she says, this ramp could have been left empty or loosely backfilled.

    “It’s the position of [the void] that to me makes this interpretation the most likely,” says Spence. “It’s too well placed for getting blocks into place up there.”

    Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo, says that the void’s location directly above the Grand Gallery might imply its involvement in that corridor’s construction. That said, she wryly suggests taking current interpretations with a grain of salt.

    “I don’t think it’s ever too early to speculate, but you might be widely wrong,” she says.

    Time will tell whether these or other ideas about the void’s purpose pan out. Tayoubi and other ScanPyramids collaborators say that work is only beginning.

    And to those fantasizing about personally exploring the void, a word of caution. No known corridors connect to the space, and researchers and outside experts alike stress that there are no future plans to drill into the void. Instead, they say that in the near-term, they will do whatever they can to peer into the space non-invasively.

    “There’s lots of heavy, thick rock, and by drilling something, you don’t know how you will affect the entire thing,” says Ikram. “If there’s something behind the Mona Lisa, would you want to wipe her clean and see what’s behind her? You really have to preserve the integrity of the monument.”


    212 Replies to &ldquoWhy the aliens did NOT build the pyramids&rdquo

    Having spent the best part of 3 hours reading this fascinating discussion I would like to make the following conclusions.
    Firstly there’s an old phrase that says when all logical reasons are proven to be wrong then other reasons however illogical or bizarre must be considered. It goes something like that anyway. Please bear that in mind.

    What I’d like to say is having a huge interest in this area I have read about this for years and that I could probably write a book on the subject. I however am not an expert on very specific matters concerning this subject which I’m guessing many people here are likewise. Therefore I tend not to state facts I simply don’t know enough about.
    However I consider myself to be of a sound analytical mind who can in layman’s terms smell BS. Margaret makes some excellent points answering various issues but and this is where people like Margaret need to be more clear, there are a number of issues that simply have not been addressed.
    1. Astrological connections of breath taking coincidence
    2. Mathematical measurements that are ridiculously intelligent.
    3. Construction achievements that seem extremely unachievable given the supposed technology the Egyptians possessed.
    Surely a topic of such enormous importance would deem that a thorough investigation from top experts in all fields be started.
    Surely at the end of a investigation a group of experts could then answer the question. … did the Egyptians build the pyramids?
    At that point then we could start suggesting theories however bizarre.
    I’ve always been told to trust my gut instinct. Mine is that the Egyptians could not have built the most complex pyramids alone. At that point however improbable the suggestions seem they must be considered.
    I also have a gut instinct that a small number of people on this earth know the truth and it’s part of a much bigger story that they cannot let out.

    I was hoping you would allow my parody of the more obnoxious defenders of “alienism” to stand. It was satire, however clumsy.
    Thanks for the article.

    Putting my two pennies worth into the sea of opinions here.

    Firstly, kudos to the author for a well written article. Doesn’t matter how many people consider it “scientifically” accurate. It is an excellent representation of one school of thought.

    I read the comments in detail till 2012 and then kind of lost patience. So I am not sure if this has already been mentioned somewhere.

    Post industrial revolution and colonization, the entire world has been evaluating and evaluated on the basis of what was powerful and superior at that point in time. Over the centuries of colonization, an unfortunate thought process that spread around the world was that the Europeans were right and everyone else was stupid. People began to believe that if you were foolish and weak enough to fall under the colonial thumb, you and your ancestors must have been a foolish, under developed, backward civilization.

    However, the world over, civilizations did not develop at the same pace or with the same intent. The scientific advancement achieved in Europe could very well have been achieved in other places a few centuries or even a thousand years earlier. Civilizations in different parts of the world began to develop at different times. At any single point in time, if we could peak into the lives of the Egyptians, the Greek, the Chinese, the English, the Indians, and the Mayans, we would find each civilization to be unique in its religious, scientific and cultural development.

    We consider ourselves a superior race and a widespread belief that pervades our blood is that the European civilizations, the rulers during the colonization era, were the most superior of the lot. In our very impressive egos, it is unfair to put down the works of the ancients.

    It is a sad fact that we are today very content to gleefully call ancient buildings -not just the pyramids but also ones belonging to Aztec, Mayan, Chinese, and Indian civilizations – as something built by aliens. Such overwhelming pride in the superiority of the current generation is unwarranted. We should learn from the ancients rather than calling them stupid.

    Sure, you may ask, where did all that knowledge go? Knowledge never survived well until we made the world small and improved communications. That’s why world over we are now arguing about the pyramids. Why didn’t we know the ancients were knowledgeable? Not because they weren’t. We just didn’t have the communication systems in place to KNOW that they were.

    The problem with this debate is that any question can be flipped back to the questioner. If you ask, where did the ancient knowledge go, I can ask in return “where did the aliens go?”. Other than of course, to Hollywood.

    If in the future we were capable of visiting another planet with all our technology, does anyone think we would build anything out of stone? I would like to think if aliens did visit us and wanted to build something, they would use some kind of metal alloy. They might also create something with a bit more purpose. Just seems so illogical that aliens, with the technology required to come from across the universe, would visit us and build things with stone.

    Have you ever considered the idea that the public are not interested in the truth and that they only want to perceive things through their ego’s and therefor Egyptologists are forced to preserve the truth in a way which inflates the publics perception of itself. People don’t want to know about science or history, they only want stories which typecast themselves as the heroes. Thor, superman, Noah, Jesus and Joseph are all typecast ed as handy men or carpenters, which is a story which ensures the public will listen because it makes the reader or viewer believe that they are special.
    I put it to you that our history has not strictly been hidden from us by those in power, but that we deliberately ignore the truth because it does not interest us or it does not inflate our ego’s.

    Aliens did not build the pyramids, we did. That’s it, we (humans) were the aliens.

    Our species did not come from this earth. We arrived here and built pyramids in Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Indonesia, Cambodia, the list goes on.

    A cataclismic incident could have caused our demise, and the Earth had to reborn which is why all those ancient civilizations disappeared as well. (Google an article called 󈧎 civilizations that disappeared in mysterious circumstances).

    I believe in life outside of this planet and I believe that we as humans reached a level of advancement much more superior than we have today, but we extinguished ourselves and started over, leading up to the world of today.

    It is a cycle that goes in circles. Our current state of mind will kill us once again, and the earth will have to start over… again.

    Just look into our planet’s history and the amount of times the Earth had to ‘reboot’.

    Very well written article, and it does almost convince me of what youre saying to be true. But you seem to talk specifically about the pyramids only, not other remarkable things that are unexplainable.
    The egyptians existed in the era before the invention of the telescope, yet they had a detailed map of our solar system including pluto. This is impossible with the technology that we know they had, so how did they do that?
    Hyroglyphics depicting things decending from the sky. Are aliens actually what they assumed were gods, who showed them these advanced technologies and techniques of building an intricate structure with pathways and secret passages forming as the pyramid was built layer by layer.

    If you can easily explain how they got a hold of a map of the solar system, only then I will believe you. And im not looking for something bigger to believe in. Im looking for the truth. It really looks like an advnced civilization came to earth to teach ussomething and then left, and with their inspiration were now this far.

    Egyptians built the pyramids, but also believes in myths…?! So, they made up stories about Gods, and then happened to be the first advanced people? You smart people believes evolution took place all over the world in a more or less same pace, but apparently not intelligence…!
    Egytians couldn’t have made up stories about Gods if they didn’t actually see those Gods…and who are those Gods?! And why those Gods show themselves back then, but not now?

    @Matt N it is nothing weird, Greeks and Romans didn’t have telescopes for centuries yet they developed and took some achievements of the Egyptian Research Also Galileo always insisted that the ancients had telescopes.

    The Russians have found crystal lenses, perfectly spherical and of great precision, in ancient Egypt ……if you read the whole topic and didn’t miss a line you will figure out that astronomy isn’t all about telescopes, also we can see the galaxy where our planet lies if there is no light and when the sky is clear
    There are tons of techniques for astronomical research that was performed by The ancient Egyptians, using walls and barriers, the lighting ..the height..also Ancient Egyptians manufactured glass, they had glass bottles, but preferred pottery to keep the water cold anyway, also they had glass beads, glass works and such, the ancient Egyptians are so smart ..smart isn’t the word more like “so genius”, the are like Greeks and Indians ..so never under estimate them, is it possible that they have built the pyramids? yes i totally agree they were capable ….it is not true that we evolve and develop over time …maybe it is other wise ….maybe our successors would consider the space race as myth and tales, and consider soviet fuel burners as “communist sorcery” …..yes maybe they will be using stones and living in wooden huts ……we may have guns, but we don’t have the long lost techniques of the past of our great ancestors, you are a human right? chill out be proud that the Egyptians built pyramids that accurate, and that the Chinese built a great wall

    Interesting article. I do feel, however, that in presenting an ‘open and shut case’ that you have left yourself vulnerable to counter arguments. By stating “the great cedar boat found buried beside the Great Pyramid was radiocarbon dated to about 2,600 BC. So the pyramids certainly do not date from 10,500 BC!” you have displayed a certain amount of blind faith in your own theories without leaving room for consideration of others. You fail to mention that the Sphinx is widely regarded by respected geologists (including Robert M. Schoch) to predate the Pyramids by several thousand years. They have provided facts that prove this, yet Eyptologists refuse to believe that anybody other than the Pharoahs were responsible for it. This attitude is comparable in it’s arrogance and ignorance to that of those who can only accept that the Pyramids must have been built by aliens.
    It would be refreshing if, just once in a while, Eyptologists could admit that there are some elements of the Giza plateau that they still dont understand and which, after further investigation, may eventually change their preconceptions of what is fact and what, in their narrow minded beliefs, are unthinkable, ludicrous theories.


    Egypt’s ‘Indiana Jones’ Zahi Hawass Questioned Over Pyramid Theft

    Did the former antiquities minister help three Germans steal numerous artifacts?

    Dr. Zahi Hawass Photo via: gsfd3d

    Egypt’s former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass has been accused of helping three Germans to steal rocks and samples of a cartouche from the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, the Guardian reported.

    The three men were sentenced in absentia on Tuesday of last week, together with six Egyptians who helped them commit the deed. According to AFP, they were condemned to five years in jail.

    Dominique Görlitz, Stefan Erdmann, and Peter Hoefer entered the inner sanctum of the pyramid in April 2013 and took the samples, supposedly with the intention of proving that Egypt’s best-known monument wasn’t built, as is widely agreed upon, for Pharaoh Khufu but in fact belongs to another, much older dynasty.

    The group brought the pieces back to Germany, but Egyptian authorities announced in August of this year that the artifacts had subsequently been recovered.

    Hawass is accused to have been the one who facilitated the theft based on his involvement in a 2010 documentary about the Pyramid of Cheops’s cartouche. That the country’s antiquities minister would be involved in such a theft is perhaps intriguing enough in and of itself.

    However, Hawass’s case gets better. Beside his political career, he is something of a celebrity archeologist with several documentaries and even a clothing line to his name. Some have reportedly gone as far as to call him the Egyptian Indiana Jones, after the popular film character.

    Denying Theft Claims

    Hawass left the government in the wake of the Egyptian revolution in 2011. He vehemently denies the theft claims currently against him, pointing out that he wasn’t in office when the Germans entered the pyramid.

    “There is nothing against me,” Hawass told the Guardian. “I just have to go to the district attorney to prove that what happened in 2010 was according to the law.”

    The looting of ancient artifacts in an old problem in the country, but political instability has exacerbated the issue. Former minister for antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim Ali, then minister for antiquities, told the Washington Post this past June: “In Egypt, when you dig, you find something. So some gangs have started to become active very quickly because of the breakdown of the police force.”

    New technologies, including DigitalGlobe and Google Earth, are now used by the authorities to locate and monitor looting “hot spots.” Yet the task remains herculean—and many looters continue to go unnoticed.

    As the Germans and their accomplices were sentenced last week, an Egyptian grocer was arrested on a road south of Giza with 23 ancient artifacts hidden in food packages. According to a DPA report, these are now to be handed over to the antiquities ministry for examination.


    The Great Sphinx of Giza and its Mystery Chambers

    I have to admit that we do not appear to have any credible inside photographs of the known cavities. There were a few similar to this one, but I'm not sure what we are being shown. Not surprisingly, we have plenty of the outside images.

    So, this here is an opening on the back of the Sphinx. As you can see, our pseudo-scientist Zahi Hawass is sticking his lying head into it. I am not sure, but, may be, this is what he saw in there.

    The hole in the top of the head looks like this.

    This here is, allegedly, a photograph taken in 1925. It is being claimed that this whole is 5 feet deep. May be it is.

    Some of the older texts below will confirm that the above head hole was only about 5 feet deep, but judging by the photo below, the head could still be hollow.

    After searching for a little while, I did not find any (our time) articles referring to older texts. While I do know that older texts lie too, I also know, that the volume of historical lies we have today, far supersedes the past. Let's see what we have in those older texts.

    I don't know what to think about the above article. I do not believe in stuff like "everything was a temple" and "its date is somewhere about 6,000 B.C.", but George Andrew Reisner did exist. The PTB wiki-article has nothing about his "inside the sphinx" adventures, but he clearly was involved with studying the statue. He was not ridiculed by the establishment

    • Whatever the true history of this Sphinx statue could be, we are getting none of it. Those running the show are not stupid, but the intellect of some of the professional pseudo-historians is highly questionable.

    • Archeologists Debate Ways to Save Ancient Treasure
    • Great Sphinx Falling Apart
    • They have been "studying" Sphinx for how long?
    • Where are photographs of the chambers?
    • What do we know about the insides of the Sphinx in 2021?

    And finally, if you wanna have a good laugh, watch this comedy show. Two dudes were trying to recreate Sphinx's missing nose, albeit a much smaller one, using the so-called "original tools". see what happened.


    Great Pyramid at Giza Vandalized to 'Prove' Conspiracy Theory

    Two German men who visited the Egyptian pyramids in April 2013 now face criminal charges for their attempt to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy theories through vandalism. The men, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, were joined by a third German, a filmmaker who accompanied them to document their "discoveries."

    The men were allowed to enter the inner chambers of the Great Pyramid at Giza normally off-limits to the public and restricted to authorized archaeologists and Egyptologists. The group reportedly took several items from the pyramids, including taking samples of a cartouche (identifying inscription) of the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops. Goerlitz and Erdmann, who are not archaeologists but have instead been described as "hobbyists," allegedly smuggled the artifacts out of the country in violation of strict antiquities laws, according to news reports.

    In addition to the three Germans, six Egyptians are being held in connection with the case, including several guards and inspectors from the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry who allowed the men into the pyramid. Tourism, one of Egypt's most important industries, has dropped dramatically in recent years due to social and political unrest. Tour-agency owners — including one of the men recently arrested in connection with this case — are often willing to bend or break the rules if it means satisfying wealthy foreigners, news reports suggest. The German government expressed outrage over the acts, and categorically stated the men were private citizens and not in any way affiliated with its German Archaeological Institute. [Photos of the German hobbyists and Great Pyramid]

    Trying to prove a conspiracy

    Goerlitz and Erdmann acknowledged their acts, and even went so far as to post photographs and videos of themselves vandalizing the archaeological sites. However, they claimed their goal was a noble one: to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy theory that the pyramids were not built by ancient Egyptians.

    The men are apparently convinced the cartouche identifying Khufu as the creator of the Great Pyramid at Giza is a fake, and they hoped to do an analysis on the pigments to prove they were not as old as the pyramids themselves. In essence, they claimed, pharaoh Khufu simply put his name on (and took credit for) pyramids that had been built thousands of years earlier by people from the legendary city of Atlantis. They accuse mainstream archaeologists of covering up — or willfully ignoring — evidence pointing to non-Egyptian origins of the pyramids.

    The conspiracy theories that Goerlitz and Erdmann endorse did not appear in a vacuum instead, they have been widely promoted by best-selling authors such as Erich von Däniken, who wrote "Chariots of the Gods?" first published in 1968. Such authors claim the true builders of the pyramids were not ancient Egyptians but instead others, like extraterrestrials or residents of the legendary Atlantis. While "alternative history" and "ancient astronaut" theorists such as von Däniken do not explicitly endorse vandalism of any Egyptian sites, Goerlitz and Erdmann's actions were clearly driven by belief in such theories. (Ancient-astronaut theorists propose, unscientifically, that extraterrestrials intelligently designed humans.)

    The true pyramid builders

    As physicist Wolfgang Pauli famously said about a ludicrous idea, "It's not even wrong." There are countless glaring fallacies in Goerlitz and Erdmann's wild theory, beginning with the fact that Atlantis never existed it was first described in two dialogues by Plato — the "Timaeus" and the "Critias" — written around 330 B.C. The Atlantis discussed by Plato did not refer to any actual ancient empire, because the dialogues were fictional stories and fables. Suggesting that people from Plato's Atlantis built the pyramids is like saying people from Tolkien's Middle Earth built the pyramids, or inhabitants of Superman's home planet of Krypton built the pyramids — it makes no sense, because they're fictional characters. [Top 10 Wild Conspiracy Theories]

    Aside from that, there's clear evidence that ancient Egyptians did, indeed, build the pyramids. Ken Feder, an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University and author of "Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology" (McGraw-Hill, 2013) takes a dim view of such baseless ideas.

    "Here's an archaeological shocker: Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids," Feder told Live Science. "Contrary to what some purveyors of fantasy maintain, the technological skills necessary to construct the pyramids were not unknown in ancient Egypt. In actual fact, the Great Pyramid at Giza was the culmination of a lengthy, multigenerational, evolutionary process."

    Archaeologists have found several early, failed attempts to build the pyramids, Feder noted. "Early attempts at true, geometric pyramid burial monuments resulted in spectacular screw-ups, including a 'collapsed' pyramid (the slope of the face of the monument was too steep)," Feder said. "In another attempt, cracks appeared in the lower part of the pyramid, again because the slope was too steep and one corner of the pyramid was positioned on a soft, sandy base."

    "Finally, the Egyptian builders were not above taking credit for their labors workers sometimes actually incised dates onto pyramid blocks, and one piece of graffiti in a chamber in the Great Pyramid bears the phrase, 'We did this with pride in the name of our great King Khnum-Khuf,' another name for the Pharaoh Khufu," he added.

    In the end, "There is no controversy concerning who built the pyramids," Feder said. "Anyone caught trying to rewrite this history through theft or subterfuge isn't doing archaeology. They're breaking the law and insulting the memory of the thousands of ancient workers whose labors produced one of the wonders of the ancient world."

    Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of "Skeptical Inquirer" science magazine and author of six books, including "The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media Panics and Hoaxes." His website is www.BenjaminRadford.com.

    Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


    The Egyptologist, the Sphinx and the cover-up

    National Geographic Channels International Egypt: Secret Chambers Revealed James Kegley (c) NGCI Cleared for this title only [Dr. Zahi Hawass stands with the Giza Pyramids in the background.]

    Feature Articles – The Egyptologist, the Sphinx and the cover-up
    The clampdown on excavations at many archaeological sites in Egypt and the inconsistent attitudes of antiquities supremo Dr Zahi Hawass on the existence of tunnels and cavities within the Giza Plateau suggest a hidden agenda is being played out.
    by Philip Coppens

    Ten years ago, three books—Giza: The Truth (by Chris Ogilvie-Herald and Ian Lawton), The Stargate Conspiracy (by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince) and Secret Chamber (by Robert Bauval)—provided an overview of the controversy that was believed to surround the Giza Plateau and the pyramids. The key question was whether it held any undiscovered, or purposefully kept hidden, chambers, whether inside the pyramids or under or near the Sphinx.

    The previous decade had seen a renewed interest in the plateau, partly due to the theories of Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock and the discovery of a door in an inaccessible part of the Great Pyramid. It was found on 22 March 1993 by German robotics engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink during the installation of an air conditioning system. The discovery resulted in several claims, allegations and diatribes which, with the dawn of the new millennium, slowly disappeared.

    Today, interest in the mysteries of ancient Egypt seems to have waned and peace seems to have been restored. But speak to people in the field and on the ground, and a different picture emerges. It is one of widespread condemnation of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and specifically of Dr Zahi Hawass, who has been its Secretary General since 2002. Remarkably, many Egyptian archaeologists argue that the organisation rules with dictatorial control, and that this is but the tip of an iceberg of coverups, slander, embezzlement and perhaps more. Ten years on, no one seems to be writing about it but the situation is at least as bad as back in 1999.

    The Supreme Council of Antiquities is part of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and is responsible for the conservation, protection and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt. Over the past decade, a television viewer might be forgiven for believing that there is only one Egyptologist, and that man is Hawass. In truth, Hawass is more of an administrator than an archaeologist one might even argue that if the man had enough time to lead excavations, he would not be fulfilling his task as administrator. But a television camera has the same attraction as light to a moth. Hawass is a controversial figure. He was at the centre of contention in the 1990s, and remains so today—now, more so in Egypt than abroad.

    In the 1990s, Hugh Lynn Cayce reportedly said, according to Edgar Cayce biographer A. Robert Smith: “I got him [Zahi Hawass] a scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania in Egyptology, to get his PhD. I got the scholarship through an ARE person who happened to be on the Fulbright scholarship board.𔄣 Hawass strongly denies this, though it is a fact that he was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania through this scholarship. (Note: ARE is the Association for Research and Enlightenment, an organisation set up to promote the work of the American “sleeping prophet” Edgar Cayce.)

    The ARE is interested in the Giza Plateau because, in the 1920s, Edgar Cayce proclaimed that a “Hall of Records”, containing information about the lost civilisation of Atlantis, was hidden underneath the Giza Plateau near the Sphinx. Foreign Affairs Yet while most have been looking at the ARE, it is another organisation, the ARCE (American Research Center in Egypt), that has been missed and which seems to be the veritable puppet master.

    One source contacted for this article said: “I am a frequent visitor to Egypt and when I speak to government officials, most don’t like Hawass. There are many archaeologists in Egypt that do excellent work. Anyone who visits Egypt and follows Egyptology sees this first-hand. The only problem is Hawass and the SCA. Why? Because Hawass has been imposed upon Egypt by certain foreigners, and this for a very long time. They have chosen an ignoramus, have flattered him, given him a PhD through the ARCE. He’s a puppet.” Pressed as to why that is, the source added: “So that the secrets will not get out and that they have the best archaeological concessions. If Hawass is still there, it’s only because he knows how to play with nationalism. I hear him say every day how foreigners want to steal from the Egyptians and that the antiquities are Egyptian. It’s clever, because it makes it appear as if he is fighting the Egyptian cause and he won’t be pushed aside.” The source also noted: “The SCA follows the orders of foreigners from whom it has received help in guarding their interests.” Indeed, though one might think that the Egyptians are in control of their own country, archaeologically speaking, that appearance can be deceptive.

    The “puppet master” organisation is the American Research Center in Egypt. The ARCE’s website states: “Among ARCE’s many great achievements is our relationship with the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) within the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, without whom our work would not be possible. ARCE is viewed as making important contributions that serve to help Egypt directly in its pursuit of cultural heritage preservation.𔄤

    ARCE was founded in 1948 by “a consortium of educational and cultural institutions”, and the organisation underlines that it is also there to “strengthen American–Egyptian cultural ties” and especially to “establish an official ‘presence’ for North American scholars in Egypt”.

    Interestingly, ARCE’s website adds: “Encouraged and aided by the US Department of State, in 1962 ARCE entered into an expanded and more structured consortium, and was charged with managing and distributing over $500,000 yearly in Public Law 480 (Food for Peace) funds.𔄥 This means that ARCE fulfils both scientific and social functions. However, seeing it works with the US Department of State, one could ask whether at one point ARCE was used or abused for other political purposes, seeing Egypt has had an intriguing political past in the battle between East and West. Interestingly, during the writing of this article, one source contacted me, claiming that frequently the SCA receives from the US National Security Agency (NSA) satellite imagery containing information as to whether or not there may be subterranean structures at certain sites. A few days later, on 11 May, the Egyptian government announced via Culture Minister Farouk Hosni (Hawass’s boss) that “the researches conducted via satellites have confirmed the existence of 132 archaeological sites in Egypt that witnessed no excavations until now”.4 While Egypt has some satellites in orbit, Hosni did not specifically identify the source of these images, though he said that the project to photograph monuments via satellite was being implemented in collaboration with the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) and Mubarak City for Scientific Research for the aerial photography and ground-based laser surveys. Keeping the Sphinx’s Paws Dry But back to Hawass and the Sphinx. The above operational framework was in evidence in April 2009, when Hawass reported: “Under my direction, the Supreme Council of Antiquities is working to reduce the groundwater level around antiquities sites throughout Egypt. We have completed a USAID-funded effort to de-water Karnak and Luxor temples, and work is underway in many other places. One of our greatest recent successes has been the development of a system to prevent the Great Sphinx at Giza from getting its paws wet!𔄧

    Rather intriguingly, he added in his report titled “The Story of the Sphinx”: “Perhaps the most important result of the groundwater project was that it enabled us to put to rest speculation about mysterious underground tunnels and chambers carved below the Sphinx by ‘ancient civilizations’. For years, I have debated people like John Anthony West, Robert Bauval, and Graham Hancock, who say that survivors of a lost civilization 10,000 years ago left secrets buried beneath the Sphinx. These people also claim that the erosion of the Sphinx was caused by water, and that this necessarily means that it dates back to long before the Old Kingdom. None of their theories has any basis in fact, but their supporters have insisted that we should drill holes to try and find these hidden chambers. I have always refused to permit such a project in the past, because there was no scientific basis for it. Because such drilling was a necessary part of our work to protect the Sphinx from groundwater, however, we did finally drill in the vicinity of the statue, and we found that there were no hidden passages or chambers there.𔄨

    Despite all the usual hype that Hawass uses to underline his most mundane accomplishments, this is an unfortunate—and totally unscientific—conclusion. There are several studies, such as seismic work from 1992 and the Schor radar survey from 1996, which clearly show geological anomalies (read cavities), most of which are natural, but that is somewhat beside the point.

    In fact, one might argue—and some have—that Hawass specifically tested for groundwater in those particular locations where he was sure that no such cavities, natural or “hidden passages or chambers”, would be found. It would make sense to test for groundwater, but Hawass’s glib statement, “that there were no hidden passages or chambers”, cannot be reached from the limited research this test carried out. Without doubt, there are cavities. Full stop. In fact, Hawass himself announced to the Egyptian press on 14 April 1996 that there are secret tunnels under the Sphinx and around the pyramids. He stated his belief that these tunnels would prove to “carry many secrets of the building of the Pyramids”.7 Although people are allowed to change their minds, they should perhaps, 13 years to the month, highlight their new position. Not Dr Hawass.

    However, Hawass’s “Story of the Sphinx” report is also contrary to findings from scans carried out by Dr Abbas and team, published by NRIAG (National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics) in 2007. But rather than comment on a fellow academic who has had his results published in a scientific publication, Hawass—for reasons that have nothing to do with science, but are likely to do with grandstanding if not more sinister motives—has a go at the likes of West, Bauval and Hancock. And why the age of the Sphinx determined through water erosion has anything to do with the presence of chambers beneath the monument it is not altogether clear, either. But considering the other unscientific jumps Hawass makes, nothing should come as a surprise.

    When one looks at Hawass’s reports rather than at his statements to the press, an even more interesting picture emerges. We learn that in early 2008, the Supreme Council of Antiquities co-operated with Cairo University’s Engineering Center for Archaeology and Environment to drill four boreholes, each four inches in diameter and about 20 metres deep, into the bedrock at the base of the Sphinx. A camera was lowered into each borehole to allow examination of the plateau’s geology.8

    The “Story of the Sphinx” report contains several gems, some of which Hawass should address, but instead he creates a smoke-and-mirrors show. One might almost wonder whether he does not want this material to be noted and judging from what happened upon publication, the few who reported on the announcement indeed focused on the “West–Bauval–Hancock sidebar” and not on the main show.

    A separate scientific update states that 260 cubic metres of water are being pumped out every hour through drainage tubes. That’s 6,240 cubic metres or 6,240,000 litres of water per day. An Olympic swimming pool has 2,500,000 litres. In short, water of a quantity equal to almost three Olympic swimming pools is pumped away on a daily basis from underneath the Sphinx! Indeed, the Sphinx itself could roughly fit inside an Olympic swimming pool. The report continues that, as such, the water in front of the Sphinx has been reduced to 70 per cent of its original volume. But wait: no fewer than 33 monitoring points were established to inspect the movement of the body of the Sphinx and the surrounding bedrock, this over a period of a month, and this monitoring proved that they are steady.9

    Now, unless I am seriously mistaken, for such serious amounts of water to be moved hourly there would need to be at least one cavity, roughly the size of a small swimming pool, which could fill up continuously with water. In short, an underground lake. So the report strongly suggests the fallacy of Hawass’s own conclusions!

    Which brings us to the next question: why are they emptying an underground lake? For stability, or for something else? One might argue that removing the water will reduce the stability of the Sphinx, which was an obvious concern since this is why the stability of the Sphinx area was being monitored. But apparently, based on a month-long observation, emptying this underground cavity does not endanger the stability of the surface structures. But why empty it in the first place? To keep the Sphinx’s paws dry?

    One source, when confronted with Hawass’s reports and my observation, has gone so far as to argue that Hawass—accompanied by Egyptologist Mark Lehner— had actually found this lake several years ago. The lake is under the entire plateau, the area contained within the concrete wall (construction of which began in 2002). He added that, in his opinion, these projects were preparation for an exploration of the Giza underworld. Scandal at the Supreme Council So, how should we interpret Hawass’s actions? It is clear that he likes the limelight and that he often makes contradictory statements. But is there more going on? Some observers have commented that Hawass’s tight grip on all archaeological works in Egypt is the logical result of a developing nation that has sought desperately to put a stop to the shameful looting of its historical heritage.

    The fact of the matter, however, is that recent developments within the SCA have brought to light wide-scale corruption, with leading government officials imprisoned for embezzlement. On 8 October 2008, the former Head of Restoration in Islamic Cairo and two other Egyptian Culture Ministry officials were jailed for 10 years for receiving bribes from contractors. The Cairo court ordered Ayman Abdel Monem, Hussein Ahmed Hussein and Abdel Hamid Qutb to pay fines of between LE 200,000 and LE 550,000.10

    Abdel Hamid Qutb was actually the head of the technical department at the SCA and reported to Hawass. The contracts under suspicion were worth millions of dollars and involved the restoration of some of Egypt’s most famous monuments. Hawass was quick to defend Qutb at the time of his arrest in September 2007, claiming that the accused was not in a position to give out contracts. Hawass told the BBC’s Arabic Service that contracts are only handed out after a “rigorous procedure”, and Qutb had no decision-making power.11,12 The court obviously ruled differently and if Hawass made a comment at this point, I at least could not find a reference to it.

    In the interview at the time of Qutb’s arrest, Hawass also told the BBC that he takes “immediate action against any employee with the slightest shadow of suspicion hanging over them, even if the person turns out to be innocent”.13 Guilty until proven innocent, it seems, is the modus operandi within the SCA. No wonder there are reports that Hawass is unpopular within Egypt. Robots and Slaves This is not the first time that Hawass has found himself in murky waters. In fact, at the same time that Gantenbrink’s robot uncovered the hidden door inside the Great Pyramid on 22 March 1993, Hawass was suspended from his then position as Chief Inspector of the Giza Pyramid Plateau. Synchronicity, or did Gantenbrink make use of the power vacuum to announce his finding in April 1993, knowing that otherwise it might be suppressed?

    What happened next is also interesting, and revealing. Upon the announcement, Gantenbrink was banned from resuming his work. The Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO), the predecessor of the SCA, claimed that Gantenbrink had broken a “rule” of archaeology by speaking for himself rather than through the “proper channels”—which are obviously there, by its own admission, to control what gets out and what doesn’t. What happened next is also interesting, and revealing. Graham Hancock writes: “The [then] Director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, Dr Rainer Stadelmann, sided with the Egyptians and condemned Gantenbrink for his press action. Dr Stadelmann was adamant about the nonimportance of the find. ‘This is not a door there is nothing behind it.'󈭢 The President of the EAO, Dr Muhamad Bakr, went so far as to claim the announcement a “hoax”. He stated: “The orifice of the shaft is too small for the robot to go through.󈭣 History has shown Bakr to be wrong on both counts.

    It was Bakr who removed Hawass from his position, claiming that a valuable ancient statue had been stolen from Giza under Hawass’s watch.

    To quote again from Hancock: “Three months later, in June 1993, Dr Bakr himself was fired and replaced by Dr Nur El Din. Amid accusations of malpractice and fraud, Dr Bakr spoke of a ‘mafia’ which had been involved with the Pyramids for ‘the last twenty years’. Refusing to give names, Dr Bakr said, ‘I wanted the whole matter investigated by the prosecution authorities, but my request was refused.'󈭤

    In early 1994, Hawass was reinstated to his position. Though Bakr is clearly not the most credible source, there are nevertheless clear echoes of the ARCE. Hawass’s reinstatement was “said to have been brought about by American intervention”, according to Chris Ogilvie-Herald, writing in the British magazine Quest for Knowledge.17 At the very least, Hawass seems to be quite fortunate in that no matter what, whether it involve stolen statues or his technical department head being fined and imprisoned, he remains immune to it all.

    Gantenbrink never returned to work inside the Great Pyramid. He even offered the Egyptian authorities the use of his robot—because only a robot can penetrate the air shaft—and volunteered to train an Egyptian technician to operate it, but his suggestions were not taken up.

    However, Hawass eventually argued that the discovery of the door was extremely interesting and would be further explored. In March 1996, he stated that the door would be opened in September that year. The month was right, but it was on 17 September 2002 that the door was finally opened. The event was broadcast “live” on Fox TV in America and transmitted to 140 countries via the National Geographic Channel. The end result was the discovery of… another door, which Hawass claimed would be opened soon. Seven years later, the world still waits…

    During the 2002 live broadcast, Hawass made some intriguing throw-away remarks. For instance, he argued that “‘it was not ‘slaves’ who built the pyramids, but ‘great Egyptians'”. Afterwards, he told the Arabic newspaper Al Gomhoreya that “[t]he results of the robot’s exploration refute the allegations reiterated by Jews and some western countries that the Jews built the pyramids”.18 Of course, the exploration of an air shaft does no such thing. But an equally serious scientific faux pas is that no one actually claims that the Jews, as slaves, ever built the pyramids. Roughly speaking, if this were an historical event, it would have occurred c. 1,000 years after the building of the pyramids. Practically anyone of some education in the western world is aware of this. But one of the leading archaeologists and the protector of Egypt’s heritage is not, it seems.

    The claim of one journalist contacted for this article, that Hawass frequently abuses nationalism, is therefore quite pointedly illustrated by the above example. Other journalists and observers have gone further, though, positing that in their opinion Hawass is anti-Semitic. In my opinion, Hawass suffers from a severe case of verbal diarrhoea whenever a camera or a microphone is placed in front of him, leading him to make various “interesting” statements. Suppression and Disinformation On a more serious note, the SCA—read Hawass—has a stranglehold on most of the research occurring in Egypt and whether and how it gets reported. This is in evidence in the case of Gantenbrink, who broke the “rule”, and also in the case of Dr Abbas, whose official Giza report has been stopped from publication for a very long time. Sources contacted for this article say that they, too, have several reports waiting to be published, but there is always one delay or another. This kind of treatment, of course, is not science but control, if not a gag order. Some might argue that there is a serious backlog, while others might shout cover-up.

    Indeed, why does the SCA place such stringent penalties on the publication of scientific reports without its consent, the penalty often being the denial of access to Egyptian archaeological sites? These are the measures of a dictatorship at best, and are far removed from any scientific approach.

    No one will argue that Egypt alone is in charge of deciding who digs when, where and to what extent, even though it is clear, in light of the SCA’s connection with ARCE, that this is not truly the case. But once permission has been given, the participating scientists and organisers surely should have the power to decide when and where to publish the results, rather than being literally gagged by the SCA until it—if ever—deems it appropriate to release the results, and even then sometimes demanding editorial changes. And all of this occurring without any external overview.

    One source went so far as to argue that Hawass’s approach is one of disinformation: that Hawass carefully twists scientific results that do not conform to the standard history of ancient Egypt and that as he exercises sole control and makes himself the medium, he can almost singlehandedly maintain the status quo of Egyptian history. This “Hawass touch” is clearly in evidence in the spin in his 2009 Sphinx groundwater report. But then the important question is: why?

    The answer has already been given: Hawass tries to maintain the consensus view of ancient Egyptian history. This is why he often singles out Hancock, Bauval and West. Hawass realises that these are the most vociferous and dangerous parties that can go against him, but they are not alone in feeling his wrath. Hawass denies findings when they don’t fit with his agenda, and defames any individual for daring to have a different idea and not releasing it through his office.

    In 2008, Professor Barry Kemp reported on his research at the city of Amarna, created by the rebel pharaoh Akhenaten. The pharaoh was obviously despised and, in the decades following his death, the ancient Egyptians tried to remove any mention of his existence. It was reported that Kemp and his team found skeletal remains at Amarna that show “signs of malnutrition, extreme labour, and the lowest age of mortality witnessed at excavations of Pharaonic sites”.19 This evidence goes a long way to confirm that Akhenaten created a brutal regime, one of which few were proud.

    However, the findings were immediately subjected to criticism from Hawass, who used the Egyptian state news service to accuse the excavators of “distorting history”. He claimed that their findings were “not based on any admissible scientific proofs” and added that “[b]uilding Akhenaten city was an obsession for ancient Egyptians like the Giza Pyramids and workers wanted to realise a national achievement to be proud of”. Hawass, by his comments, was later described as “indulging in empty chauvinism”.20

    Hawass is also proud that he “worked to strengthen Egypt’s antiquities law” and that in 2002 he “worked to have a new law enacted forbidding excavation in Upper Egypt…to encourage documentation and preservation rather than excavation”.21 Indeed, Hawass is proud of the fact that he has stopped all excavations in Upper Egypt! One can only wonder why. No one will argue that documentation and preservation are important, but to the exclusion of everything else—and to make it a law, rather than just an internal guideline?

    Finally, when interviewed about geologist Robert Schoch’s theory that the Sphinx is much older than the the pyramids, Hawass stated: “If geologists prove what Schoch is saying, still in my opinion, as an Egyptologist, the date of the Sphinx is clear to us.󈭪 In short, no matter what the evidence, Hawass claims it is all “clear” to him. It is clear that for Hawass, Egyptology is a religion, not a science. Many would agree that this is indeed the case for “Egyptology under Hawass”, and they desperately want change. Egyptology under Challenge Though Hawass can and should be blamed for many things, it is equally a matter of record that Egyptology as a science is seriously in need of spring-cleaning. It might perhaps come as a surprise to learn that since c. 1840 the paradigm of Egyptian history has remained firmly in place. Serious scientific evidence has often been put aside to maintain a dogma, and Hawass and many other “scientists” are religiously sticking to it.

    In 1984, 85 samples were taken from the Giza Plateau, including five from the Sphinx, which were submitted for carbon-dating. The results showed dates from 3809 to 2869 BC. It meant that the accepted Egyptian chronology for the building of the Giza pyramids was out by 200 to 1,200 years. Bauval quotes Mark Lehner: “The Giza pyramid is 400 years earlier than Egyptologists believe.󈭫

    Equally, in the 1950s, Zakaria Goneim, then Chief Inspector of Egyptian Antiquities, found the inviolate sarcophagus of Third Dynasty pharaoh Sekhemkhet inside his pyramid. When the sarcophagus was opened, there was no mummy inside. It was an empty sarcophagus. In this case, “grave robbers” could definitely not be blamed. In fact, in many instances, including with the Great Pyramid, Egyptologists have identified grave robbery as the reason for an empty sarcophagus. If it were a crime scene investigation, few detectives would reach a similar conclusion based upon the available evidence.

    Egyptology, in fact, looks with disdain upon ancient records such as those of the first century BC historian Diodorus Siculus, who wrote that not a single pharaoh was buried in a pyramid which he had constructed for himself, but that the pharaohs were buried instead in a secret place. Egyptologists prefer to argue—despite evidence that proves otherwise—that the pyramids are but tombs.

    Dutch author Willem Zitman ponders why today’s scientists do not want to admit that the ancient Greeks were all schooled in ancient Egypt, as they themselves claimed. Instead, he says, they prefer to pretend as if the Greeks discovered everything by themselves and thus they can make claims that the Egyptians did nothing whatsoever to further science or knew nothing of astronomy. Zitman adds that although archaeoastronomy has been taught as a scientific discipline since 1983, Egypt has hardly been discussed—a notable exception. And it is precisely when such a vacuum is created that it will be filled by theories of the likes of Robert Bauval. If Egyptologists do not like that fact, they should not blame Bauval…

    Zitman, a qualified building engineer, also notes that the pyramids themselves are the greatest victim of the current state of Egyptology. He argues that when Egyptologists are confronted with problems to do with building techniques, their shortcomings are easily exposed. This is evident in the treatment of French materials scientist Professor Joseph Davidovits, one of the most respected scientists in his field in the world but who has been labelled an idiot and the like by Egyptologists—and by Hawass in particular. Hawass and others among his colleagues clearly fail to understand anything of what Davidovits is trying to explain to them. As a consequence of this absence of knowledge and unwillingness on the part of Hawass and colleagues to invite experts to help them in this regard, there is little work done on the pyramid era, which has become known as a “lost era”. I. E. S. Edwards, a former Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, once noted that Egyptologists do not like pyramids.

    In the end, Hawass does stand for, and sums up, the current state of Egyptology. He blames the likes of West, Bauval and Hancock for making ridiculous statements, but in August 1996—unsurprisingly, while in front of a camera—Hawass was scrambling through a tunnel leading under the Sphinx, stating: “No one really knows what’s inside this tunnel. But we are going to open it for the first time.󈭬 This is further evidence that his 2009 statement is a complete and utter distortion—if not of the truth, then at least of what he said before.

    So, in 1996, there were tunnels. But in April 1999, Hawass appeared on Fox TV—which, as we know from its coverage of President Bush’s antics, is not renowned for its neutral or scientific approach—and denied the existence of tunnels going out from the Tomb of Osiris, an underground structure near the Sphinx. In April 2009, he repeated this story, as if he needed to do so once per decade. But, as mentioned, in August 1996 he was actually filmed walking inside a tunnel under the Sphinx!

    As Bauval points out in Secret Chamber, the controversy involving Hawass and the Giza Plateau dates back many decades: “Meanwhile something unusual happened involving Zahi Hawass. For reasons that are not clear he started a dig in front of the Sphinx temple, apparently in connection with the Institute of Underground Water of the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation. A drilling through some fifty feet [15 metres] of debris struck red granite instead of the natural limestone of the area.󈭭

    Red granite is not native to the Giza Plateau the only source is Aswan, hundreds of miles to the south. The very presence of red granite, discovered in 1980 in the vicinity of the Sphinx, proves that there is something underneath the Giza Plateau. And if Hawass says anything different, it should first be seen as a case of “methinketh he protesteth too much”. Endnotes 1. Bauval, Robert, Secret Chamber: The Quest for the Hall of Records, Century, London, 1999, p. 195 also see http://www.robertbauval.co.uk/ articles/articles/sc_chapt9

    2. http://www.arce.org/main/about/ historyandmission

    5. http://www.drhawass.com/blog/ keeping-great-sphinx’s-paws-dry

    6. http://www.drhawass.com/blog/ story-sphinx

    7. http://www.dreamscape.com/ morgana/hancock.htm

    8. http://www.drhawass.com/blog/ keeping-great-sphinx’s-paws-dry

    9. http://www.drhawass.com/blog/ sphinx-scientific-update-report

    10. http://www.menas.co.uk/ pubsamples/Egypt%20Politics%20 and%20Security%20-%2009.10.08.pdf

    11. http://www.egypttoday.com/ article.aspx?ArticleID=7706

    12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ middle_east/6999298.stm

    14. http://www.dreamscape.com/ morgana/hancock.htm

    17. Picknett, Lynn and Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy, Little, Brown & Co., 1999, p. 77

    18. http://www.robertbauval.co.uk/ articles/articles/hawass1

    19. http://politicalarchaeology. wordpress.com/page/3/

    21. http://www.redrocknews.com/ news/egyptian-flare-sedonaconnection. html

    22. Milson, Peter (ed.), “Age of the Sphinx” (transcript of program transmitted on 27 November 1994), Broadcasting Support Services, London, 1994, p. 20

    24. http://www.dreamscape.com/ morgana/hancock.htm

    25. Bauval, op. cit., p. 194 This article appeared in Nexus Magazine 16.5 (August-September 2009).


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