Crouching and shuffling their way down this terror-laden corridor – their torches casting flickering shadows on the sepia-coloured walls in front of them – the men finally come across the large, limestone, lintel block which had fallen causing the sound that alerted them to change their course.
Apparently, the vibrations from their explosive tunnelling had dislodged this prismatic stone from the ceiling of the ‘Descending Passage’. Using what tools they had to break-up the fallen masonry so that they could climb around it, they urge each other forward making their way down the 374-foot long corridor to the large, roughly-hewn room known today as the ‘Subterranean Chamber’.
Now deep underground, and with the fallen limestone block still fresh in their minds, the thought that they could be entombed forever by a similar subsidence was never far from their imagination.
This chamber measures 46 feet by 27 feet and is about 11 feet high. The room looks more like a natural cave – irregular and incomplete.
Looking up they see that the ceiling of this dank, musty, vermin-infested pit, is torch-marked with the graffiti and initials of ancient Greek and Roman visitors – evidence that this lower part of the pyramid had already been breached and freely explored in the past.
The Caliph, desperately angered by the fact that the documents he had read about are nowhere to be found in sight, orders the men to attack the floor and walls for any secret cache that might still be there hidden from view. However, finding nothing of value except a small square hole in the centre which will one day be called the ‘bottomless pit’ and which they cautiously examine, the small party wearily make their way back up the cramped passage and further along from the fallen stone, only to discover the original entrance which to their surprise has a magical hinged door!
This door is a superb piece of craftsmanship – weighing some 20 tons. Legend says that when pushed from the inside, this swivel door would swing outward with effortless precision and that the seams of the door, when closed, were indistinguishable. Sadly, today this door is now missing.
The original entrance begins on the 17th course level – some ten feet above the forced entrance made by Al Mamoun’s men.
After examining the door, some of the party are happy to remain where they are while several others decide to go back to the site of the fallen stone. After reaching it, one of the men holds his torch closer to the ceiling and looking up, the small group see a dark shallow cavity in the flickering torchlight . . . something they hadn’t noticed before.
It was obvious that the fallen stone had been used to conceal another corridor – one that seemed to climb upwards and into the heart of the pyramid . . .
Pulling themselves up to examine the hole, the men find their way blocked by a large plug of solid granite which had been squarely-fashioned to fit the rectangular passage. (Later analysis would reveal that the passageway is jammed tight by three of these 6-ft long rectangular blocks – a rare type of red granite. )
The only way to go beyond this plug of granite is to bypass it by cutting through the softer limestone surrounding it.
Feeling a little discouraged but still determined in their task, the men then decide to dig into the softer limestone blocks that surround the granite barrier.
The whole team is again engaged in this new undertaking. The rubble from the dig is taken down and deposited in the ‘Subterranean Chamber’, and after several weeks of hard back-breaking labour, they finally make their way into the ‘Ascending Passage’ – again a 4-foot by 3.5-foot corridor.
Up through this 124-foot-long passage they climb, but again their way is cut short by more granite blocks. So sure that no-one had got this far into the Great Pyramid, the men urge each other on with juvenile chatter about undiscovered chests of gold and jewels . . . which are just sitting there waiting for them on the other side – or so they believe.
As before, the men tunnel around the granite slabs and discover a small horizontal passage. Scuttling quickly along this 127-feet low corridor like hungry cockroaches, they finally find themselves inside a small, square, empty room with a vaulted ceiling – a room which would later be named the ‘Queen’s Chamber’.
This room is 18 feet long, 17 feet wide and 19 feet high at the highest point of the gabled ceiling. The walls are strangely encrusted with salt, half-inch thick in places. Al Mamoun, who has now followed his men into the room, scrapes a finger across the wall and touches his tongue – ‘Sea salt . . . another sign of the Great Flood!’
Finding nothing of value there except perhaps a false door in the eastern wall (the famous ‘wall niche’ ), the men then make their way back to the junction between the ascending and horizontal passageways.
An excited shout by one of the men alerts the others, who see one of the labourers pointing to an open space in the ceiling. Climbing up, the men are surprised to find themselves in a large, high-roofed hall . . . the ‘Grand Gallery’.
The majestic sight before their eyes is deserving of a few moments of silence and self-composure.
Just like the half-lit, soaring interior of a fairly large Gothic Cathedral, the tall gallery looks breathtaking in the flickering torchlight.
Now energised and empowered by the grandeur of the place and the likely thought of treasure, the men slowly make their way up the 140-foot long gallery which has a layer of fine white dust on the floor.
The huge well-fed Caliph is cumbersomely carried aloft on a throne as the men make their way up the inclined hall. Looking to the sides of them as they climb they notice hollow cavities or slots set into the 18 inch-wide ramps that run along each wall and at regular intervals. Some of the men eagerly inspect these holes for hidden gems and other items of value – their search frustratingly unrewarding.
The purpose of these ramps is still unknown. Behind each slot in the ramp is a niche in the wall which may have held torches or perhaps even coloured crystals as suggested by a modern theorist.
There are 27 notches on each side, making 54 in total.
At the top, the men climb the famous “Great Step” which is only 3 feet high and discover another horizontal passage.
The passage leads them past a small antechamber with strangely grooved walls that once held three large portcullis blocks.
It is said the grooves had once housed ropes through which these blocks were raised and lowered and that the purpose of these blocks was to seal off the large room the men were now approaching – and with hopeful anticipation . . .
As they crouch down to step through the small opening, the team has finally discovered the most important room in the pyramid to date . . . the room which would later be known as the ‘King’s Chamber’.
The chamber is 34 feet long, 17 feet wide and 19 feet high.
Although impressive with its red granite walls, it is an anticlimax. Apart from a huge, lidless, uninscribed, granite sarcophagus – some 6 feet long, 2.5 wide and 3 feet deep, and which stands alone and imposing in the centre – the chamber is empty . . . not even a body . . .
After having driven themselves onward and forward with the promise of treasures beyond their wildest dreams, all their hard work had come to nothing!
Again, enraged by the stark emptiness of the place, Al Mamoun orders the men to tear at the floor and dig at the walls – a futile task, considering the floors and walls are made from 50-ton blocks of solid granite. After a short while the men give up.
After coming to terms with their disappointment amidst much cursing, howling, swearing and weeping, the Caliph and his exhausted men decide to “throw in the towel” and make their way back to the entrance and into the cool open air.
In their view, the greatest and sole-surviving wonder of the “Seven Wonders of the World” contained no body and no wonders – and it’s also a wonder that Al Mamoun wasn’t lynched.
Although it contained no material treasures, the Great Pyramid is indeed ‘rich’ – in that it is a ‘time capsule’ containing a wealth of scientific and metaphysical knowledge – something that is lost on the profane and those who seek only material riches . . .
Copyright © Gary Osborn 2012. All Rights Reserved.
The year is 820 AD. Egypt is now an established Muslim province having been conquered by the Arabs in the seventh century.
The Muslim capital Cairo is some ten miles east of the Giza plateau on which stands the most famous and puzzling monuments in the world.
The new governor of Cairo, the Caliph Abd-Allah Al Mamoun (son of the legendary Caliph, Haroun al Rashid) is standing on the veranda of his palace overlooking the distant plain of Giza, eyeing his precious property.
Convinced that the pyramids hold a vast store of treasures as well as invaluable scientific knowledge, there and then Al Mamoun decides to break into the Greatest Pyramid; one of three impressive, man-made structures, which stand imperially on the vast, golden, desert plain overlooking the longest river in the world.
The stories currently circulating in this conquered ancient land say that these pyramids were built before the Great Flood by a king named Saurid.
The evidence for this is clearly visible in the faint but distinct watermark line which has tarnished the brilliant white Tura limestone casing; midway on the first and greatest pyramid. ‘ . . . Obviously left by the receding waters . . .’ the Caliph mused.
Lost in fanciful thought, the Caliph turns his gaze from the pyramids and moves away from the veranda and into the cool, shaded interior of his palace: ‘I will discover once and for all exactly what these strange ancient buildings are and the secrets they contain . . .’
The thoughts that led to Al Mamoun’s ambitious decision had first been stirred by a book on Astrology in his possession.
This book, which arrived soon after he told those close to him that the Greek philosopher Aristotle had appeared to him during a visionary experience, claimed that in a chamber underneath the Great Pyramid and at the end of a sloping passageway, accurate maps of the Earth and charts of the stars recorded during the fabled ‘Golden Age’ of legend had been hidden before the Great Flood.
Apparently these documents would enable their possessor to “rule the world” – a detail the over-fed and over-ambitious Caliph found enchanting.
Having first enticed his people with promises of treasure, Al Mamoun soon gathers together a large team of quarriers fervently dedicated to the task of penetrating these formidable masses of stone, made as if by the “hand of god”.
After travelling with them to the site, the Caliph points to the truncated summit of the first pyramid, announcing to his men that the reason why the capstone is missing, is that it must have been covered in pure gold and that sometime in the past it had been taken down – its gold stripped away as booty.
He reasons that there must be more gold and other treasures in secret locations still inside the pyramid; that he himself has read that this is true and that he will share whatever is found there. On hearing this, the men, jubilant in their “god-given mission” immediately begin work on breaching this artificial “mountain”.
Figure 1: The Three Major Pyramids of Giza looking West. The Great Pyramid is in the foreground
Copyright © Gary Osborn 2010. All Rights Reserved.
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First the men try to find the secret entrance but are hindered by the mysterious inscriptions carved deep into the smooth, polished, white Tura limestone casing.
These beautiful but illegible inscriptions, accompanied by a wide variety of pictograms – i.e., angled lines, circles (spheres) and triangular-shaped symbols – cover the four faces of the monument and every deeply-etched line could easily be mistaken for the sides of the sealed entrance.
If only one could read this foreign script it would surely tell of the treasures awaiting them and possibly the location of the secret entrance . . .
After hours of searching in vain with ropes and long ladders, the men give up looking for the entrance and instead construct a high platform made out of a trellis of rough wooden beams.
Standing on this and using hammers and chisels, the men begin to dig their way into the centre of the northern-face at the ‘seventh course’ level. The tools prove useless on the polished surface, and so they decide to use the old but reliable offensive siege method of fracturing the rocks by first heating them and then instantly cooling them with cold water and vinegar.
The Sun is now high in the sky and overhead as the men pummel the rock face with fraught determination amidst the limestone dust, the blistering heat and the suffocating steam of the acetic acid that sizzles and evaporates rapidly on the scorching red-hot stones.
At last, the cold night descends and after some food and drink and a few hours’ sleep, the men again, commence their task before the sun comes up – a familiar pattern which extends through several weeks.
Now some months into the dig the impatient Caliph issues the order to use gunpowder and so after having gone a hundred feet or so with the carefully-timed use of explosives, the men hear a heavy, muffled “thud!” resounding throughout the interior of this mysterious man-made mountain, as if some unknown, internal mechanism had been stirred.
Upon hearing this, their first instinct is to step back from what they are doing, and some even slide and scramble down the pyramid alarmed that the whole edifice could come down around their ears.
Once the men have calmed down, the foreman commands them back to work: they are told to change course and eagerly they begin digging in the direction of the sound.
After an eternity, the weary workers come across a smoothly-rendered shaft or tunnel, which would one day be known as the ‘Descending Passage’. They had been digging close to the entrance all the time . . . Allah was on their side.
This rectangular passage slopes down at a 26.3 degree angle and it is claustrophobically cramped and narrow – being only 4 feet high and 3.5 feet wide. Indeed one of the workers is recorded as having said that this passage was, “exceeding dark, dreadful to look at, and difficult to pass” . . . but this does not deter the men.
Figure 2: Great Pyramid of Giza in E/W Cross-Section looking West, (drawn to scale) showing internal chambers, passages and shafts.
The angles of the shafts are based on Rudolph Gantenbrink’s calculations.
1. The Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, Haroun Al Rashid, ruled from 786 to 809 and is mentioned in The Arabian Nights – The Tale of the Three Apples.
2. The claim that the four faces of the Great Pyramid had inscriptions and symbols carved all over them is also supported by the eyewitness accounts given by the classical historians, Diodorus Siculus (60 BC) and Herodotus (484–432 BC). Herodotus wrote that “strange characters” had been inscribed on the pyramid’s casing stones, and this description given by Herodotus is supported in turn by early 14th century European traveller, William of Baldensal, who told how the casing stones were covered with rows of “strange symbols”.
3. In degrees, both the Descending and Ascending Passages are 26.3°, and in minutes of arc they are 26° 18’.
5. The pit was only several feet deep when first discovered, and has since been extended another ten feet.
6. Apparently it is said that this red granite is identical with the granite found at Mt. Horeb, the mountain on which Moses received the stone tablets upon which was written the Ten Commandments by “God’s own hand”.
7. It has been seriously suggested that the low height of these passageways is proof enough that 3-ft high “extraterrestrial midgets” had built the Great Pyramid.
8. It has been theorised that the ‘false door’ – or five-tired ‘wall-niche’ in the eastern wall of the Queen’s Chamber – was later made by the Arabs of the region, who used it for worship as it faces East towards Mecca.
9. The theorist is Zechariah Sitchin. See page 169 of his book The Wars of Gods and Men, Avon books, 1989
10. The numbers ‘27’ and ‘54’ are Precession-related numbers and this is interesting in light of the fact that the Cycle of Precession is associated with Giza, and that other numbers relating to the 25,920-year Platonic value given to the Cycle of Precession – all of which can be reduced to the single number 9 – keep cropping up in the dimensions of the GP and the monuments of Giza. (For an explanation of Precession see here.)