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Architectural Analysis of the Great Pyramid.

The architectural features of the Great pyramid offer an invaluable insight into the builders, their methods and the process of construction.

Interior Architecture.

External Architecture.


Associated Architectural Features.



Giza internal features

The Great Pyramid in cross-section.



   The Interior Features of the Great Pyramid:
It is understandable that so much confusion surrounds the Great Pyramid, considering the availability of such a wealth of confusing and conflicting facts. It is a common practice in archaeology to propose the function, method of construction, age and builders through the design features of the building. In the case of this pyramid however, which has been surrounded by myth and speculation since the earliest of times, an bridge across the border of fact and fiction has materialised, hindering the journey of seekers of truth. This page is presented without the prejudice of previous reports and literature, in order that the design features of the interior speak for themselves

The following sections are laid out as if one was entering the pyramid and travelling through its interior.


2.20) The Original Entrance.

The true entrance to the great pyramid was bypassed by Al Mamun in 820 AD. The original entrance into the pyramid was through the now missing door at the top of the Descending corridor, a feature common to other early dynastly pyramids. The door was described by Strabo around 24 BC, who said that it swivelled open.    (Text)

It is noticeable in Strabo's text that he mentions a hidden door on the south face of the pyramid, while the door is actually on the north face.

The stones that surround the entrance are some of the largest used in the pyramid. What we see today of course is not the entrance as it was intended to be seen because the casing stones and masonry surrounding it have been removed. Rather, we are able to see the remains of what appears have been an exercise in extreme engineering. How these huge stones and the immense corbel's relate to the final doorway placed/hidden into an otherwise flat surface is a mystery.

The architecture of the entrance raises some interesting points such as the fact that apart from the unnecessary extra work involved in building with such huge stones or the apparent pointlessness of having an opening door for a tomb never to be disturbed, there is also the matter of the symbol carved over the doorway (photo below).

great pyramid entrance

Apart from being a curious choice of location, there is little if no agreement on what its meaning might be. The vague similarity to the Egyptian hieroglyph for the word 'Horizon' has led to the suggestion that this symbol might be a representation of that word.

"According to Walter Marshall Adams, the triangle was meant to symbolize the 'door of the horizon', the hieroglyphic sign for the horizon…having been carved inside the triangle, which from a distance, assumes the form of a pupil. Thus, Adams believes, the hieroglyphic sign must be the pyramids divine name". (16)  

(More about the Original Doorway)


Al Mamun's Forced Entrance.

Today tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the 'Robbers' tunnel dug by workmen employed by Caliph al-Ma'mun around AD 820. The tunnel was cut straight through the masonry of the pyramid for approximately 27 metres (89 ft), then turns sharply left to encounter the blocking 'plugs' in the Ascending Passage. The workmen tunnelled up beside them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid until they reached the Ascending Passage.

Al Mamun decided to bore direct centre on the North face of the pyramid and on the level of the 7th course.  The original entrance is ten courses higher and 24 feet east of the main axis than Al Mamun dug.

The fact is that Al Mamun appears to have tunnelled directly towards the junction of the ascending and descending passages. The hole that he quarried was unnervingly accurate... ?




2.21) The Granite 'Plugs'.

The three granite 'plugs' which sit in the  bottom of the ascending passage are believed to have been built 'in-situ' by some sources and 'slid' into place by others.

Although other pyramids also show evidence of having had 'plugging' stones, those at Giza are the only ones that can still be seen today.

The ascending passage tapers inwards slightly at the bottom end (as seen in the 'Trial passages' outside) which would have required extremely accurately cut blocks. The granite blocks fit almost seamlessly into the passage, barring a 4 inch cavity between the bottom block and the next one up reported by Petrie (13). This has now closed, not unsurprisingly (considering one of the tapered sides is now exposed).

(Right: The bottom granite plug as seen from underneath)

The following testimonies describe the plugs when they were first found. They reveal much about the design of the plugs.

Extract from Petrie: - 'The present top one is not the original end; it is roughly broken, and there is a bit of granite still cemented to the floor some way farther south of it. From appearances there I estimated that originally the plug was 24 inches beyond its present end' (13)

Extract from Petrie :- 'The broken end of the upper block, and a chip of granite still remaining cemented to the floor of the passage a little above that, showing that it was probably 24 inches longer than it is now, judging by marks on the passage. Thus the total length of plug-blocks would be about 203 inches, or very probably 206 inches, or 10 cubits, like so many lengths marked out in that passage.....the plug-blocks cannot have stood in any place except on the sloping floor of the gallery'.

Extract from the Edgar Brothers :- (Vol II) - 'The Granite plug is composed of three blocks of red granite. There is a space of a few inches between the lowermost and middle blocks (Petrie says 4 inches). The top end of the uppermost block is much fractured in appearance…Professor Petrie says he saw a bit of granite still cemented to the floor two feet further up the passage. We, also, saw what for some time we took to be a piece of granite at the place indicated; but on more careful examination it proved to be a lump of coarse red plaster. We saw several similar pieces of plaster adhering to the angles of the floor and walls throughout the length of the passage, and we required to clear some of them away as they hindered careful measuring. We also saw at least one such piece of plaster in the Grand Gallery. This coarse red, or, rather, pink plaster was very extensively used by the ancient workmen in the core masonry of the building, and some of it can be seen in certain wide joints in the dilapidated portion of the First Ascending Passage. We believe that the upper end of the Granite Plug is in its original state, and that its rough unfinished appearance has symbolic significance. The upper end of the lowermost block also has a fractured appearance, which is certainly original, for the stone is very inaccessible and there is no room for anyone to work at it'.

Although there has never been a suggestion that the plugs were actually cemented in place themselves, this and the (now closed) cavity between the top plugs suggest that the plugs could have been slid into place. Petrie however, says that he found 'a chip of granite still cemented to the floor' in the corridor above them. The Edgar brothers say they found what '...Proved to be a lump of coarse red plaster'. Either way, if the plugs were slid into place from where do these lumps of plaster originate? This is clear evidence that either the plugs were not slid into place, or that some construction work took place after the pyramid had closed, both of which demand an explanation.

It has been suggested that masons gained entry after the pyramid was closed to cut the Davison channel and repair the damaged beams of the Kings chamber, perhaps this can explain the origin of the plaster and rubble piled up above the granite plugs.

Although it is seems quite unlikely that masons would have re-entered a 'tomb' for repairs after it was closed, there is evidence of repair work in the breaching of Davison's chamber and the use of plaster for repairs in the Kings chamber. However, unless this work was done after the plugs were slid into place we still have no explanation for the lumps of plaster on the floors and walls of the descending passage.

One has to ask what would motivate anyone to force entry into a sealed pyramid just to repair it?

The repairs in the King's chamber are associated with the Davison's chamber which was cut through existing masonry (already completed), if the repair work was done before the pyramid was closed the rubble would have been taken outside, but how does that information tie in with the 'Pyramids as tomb's' theory.

Because there is no precedent (or logic) for the argument that workers would break back into an already finished pyramid in order to carry out 'repairs', we are left either to conclude either that the works were so uniquely important that they demanded attention, or that the repairs were carried out before the pyramid was closed off, and the plaster on the walls and floor remained there because the granite plugs were built in place. The rubble in this scenario would be assumed to be from the breaching of the Well-shaft by intruders at a later date.

The position of Al-Mamun's tunnel makes it reasonably clear that he was specifically seeking entry to the upper parts and the accuracy suggests that he knew that there was an alternative access to the upper parts either bypassing the granite plugs or via the well-shaft. barring complete coincidence, it is likely that Al Mamun had already seen the bottom end of the granite plugs before he started digging. In addition, the evidence of a forced-entry prior to Al-Mamun seems likely, else one would assume Al Mamun would have entered the upper parts through the well-shaft for which there is no record. We can be clear that the pyramid had been breached before him.

If the granite plugs have been in place since the pyramid was built, and as it has been shown that the 'well-shaft' was part of  the original design (with the probable exception of one 'roughly cut' part), it seems possible that the upper parts were not just hidden to prevent an 'accidental' entry (being left incomplete so that only an 'initiate' would be able to 'force-entry' at a later date - which they presumably did!), but also perhaps, to prevent water damage (the 'rough-cut' section of the well-shaft was cut through blocks). This supports the earliest Arab legends which say that:

 'The purpose of the pyramid was said to be to conceal the literature and science held within it, well hidden from the eyes of the initiated, and to protect them from the flood'.

Article: (Sept 2011). Philip A. Femano, Ph.D. Analysis of the Granite Plugs.  



2.215) The Descending Passage.

descending passageThe testimony by Strabo of a swivel door combined with the hidden upper parts suggests that the only part of the internal structure which were intended to be seen was the descending passage and the subterranean chamber.

The descending corridor extends down into the heart of the pyramid for 91m. The accuracy is such that it deviates less than 1/2 inch over its entire length. the passage was designed, along with all the Memphite pyramids to point directly towards the pole star.

Assuming that the long narrow downward passage leading from the entrance was directed towards the pole star of the pyramid builders, we should be able to use this information to discover the date of commencement of the pyramid. Astronomers have shown that in the year 2,170 B.C (long after Khufu was dead), the passage pointed to Alpha Draconis at its lower culmination. It should be mentioned, however, that the date named is not the only possible one. Mr. Richard A. Proctor the astronomer, after stating that the Pole-star was in the required position about 3,350 B.C., as well as in 2,170 B.C., said "...Either of these would correspond with the position of the descending passage in the Great Pyramid; but Egyptologists tell us there can absolutely be no doubt that the later epoch is far too late..." He adds: 'If then we regard the slant passage as intended to bear on the Pole-star at its sub-polar passage, we get the date of the pyramid assigned as about 3,350 years B.C., with a probable limit of error of not more than 200 years either way, and perhaps of only fifty years.' (This date also agrees very suitably with the date given by Diodorus Siculus).

(More about the dating of the Great Pyramid)



2.22) The 'Subterranean' chamber.

The first noticeable thing about the subterranean passage is that it has the appearance of being unfinished. The southern passage was in the process of being carefully cut, and adds to the idea that work was stopped in the middle of the chamber. The obvious question is - why as it was left unfinished when it was such an obviously original feature of the pyramid. The Polar shaft was a feature of all the other Memphite pyramids.

It has been commonly argued in the past that the upper chambers were created following a 'change in plan'. Anyone who has actually been in the subterranean chamber will know that it would be impossible to get a sarcophagus down there. The existence of this chamber contradicts the 'Pyramid as Tomb' theory.

The 'pit' in the floor of this chamber contains a granite stone with holes it it similar to the one by the main entrance, and the one in the well-shaft. These are believed to be the 'portcullis' stones from the King's chamber above. The pit was dug deeper by Cavigula by another 30ft in the 1800’s.

A southern tunnel was cut for 16m leading from the subterranean chamber. It leads nowhere, and ends abruptly.




2.225) The Ascending corridor.

The bottom of the Ascending corridor was determined to have been cut through pre-existing masonry. This has been suggested to be evidence of a possible change in design (from the upper level where the stones were prepared).

As the descending corridor extends up to the 18th course, we can conclude that any fitted masonry features below that level must be from the original design. The addition of the gable stones over the entrance bring the original hypothetical level to around the 30th course (There is a dramatic change in the size of blocks at the 35th  course - which brings us to some interesting conclusions). The architectural features below these levels include the descending passage and entrance, the girdle stones, the well-shaft and most importantly, the Queens chamber. As it has been shown that the lowest part of the ascending passage was cut through existing masonry, it is impossible to say for certain whether the girdle stones or upper passages were ever included in the first design. However, the fact that the route to the subterranean chamber is too small for a sarcophagus makes it likely that (at least some of) the upper parts were always intended to be a part of the original plan.

Knowing that the lower part of the ascending passage was cut through existing masonry, it is at this level that we have to look as it was here that we can assume the builders decided to cut a new shaft through the upper parts of the pyramid. This does not explain how the 'girdle stones' were so accurately included into the plan (unless they were put in place at this time). Unless a satisfactory reason can be determined for the reason why the lower parts were cut through existing masonry, it is reasonable to conclude that there may have been some change in design, although in order to accept this theory, the other internal features need to be explained within the same context.

The top of the Ascending corridor 'meets' the top of the Well-shaft. If the upper part of the Well-shaft is proven to be original, then it is not unreasonable to assume that the lower, neatly cut sections were also original. Of course, this lends weight to the idea that the upper parts were in the original design, but still requires an explanation for the lower section being cut (with at least one girdle-stone in situ)

The presence of the three neatly cut Girdle-stones (below) lends weight to the original idea that the corridor (and all other upper parts) were in fact planned from the start.




2.23) The 'Girdle stones'.

These three stones in the Ascending corridor are baffling. They are described in detail by the Edgar Brothers: (Vol I). who said the following of them:

Extract from Edgar Brothers, Vol I - '…The chief discovery was, that at stated intervals the smaller blocks forming elsewhere separately portions of the walls, floor, and ceiling of the passage, were replaced by great transverse plates of stone, with the whole of the passage's hollow rectangular bore cut clean through them; wherefore, at these places, the said plates formed walls, floor, and ceiling, in one piece…Additionally, let into the walls immediately below the three upper Girdles, there are peculiar inset stones, which look like pointers…let into specifically large wall stones'… And…' It is quite probable that the stones forming the three upper girdles were built in entire, and the bore of the passage cut through them in situ. The two roof stones immediately above and below each of the three upper Girdles, are in themselves partial Girdles'.

Mendelssohn (5) argued that the Girdle-stones are evidence of buttress walls from an internal step-pyramid structure. He said the following;

'Since earlier and later stone pyramids relied on a basic core of buttress walls it is more than likely that the same design was used in the great Giza pyramids. Borshardt has drawn attention to the existence of 'girdle-stones' in that part of the ascending passage of the Khufu pyramid which was cut through already existing masonry at the first alteration of the interior design. These are large vertical slabs through which the new corridor passes at intervals, and he has taken them as part of internal buttress walls', but then he says 'This view has been disputed by Clarke and Engelbach, who have pointed out that it would be wholly fortuitous for the passage always to have encountered whole stones. They also maintain, rightly, that the walls of this passage are made of fitted stones...'

In order to reconcile this information, he concludes that;

'...probably both sides are correct. The passage was evidently lined with new masonry and the girdle-stones, while not being part of the original buttress walls, were placed to mark their positions. This seems more likely since the girdle-stones are spaced at intervals of 10 cubits (about 5m.), which is the distance between buttress walls in the medium pyramid. This indication of internal buttress walls shows that no novel features seem to have been introduced in the core structure of the Giza pyramids'.

(Other Examples of Holed-Stones')



2.24) The 'Queen's' Chamber.

The 'Queens' chamber is only called so because of its shape which Arab tradition ascribes to female burials. It sits at the heart of the pyramid.

Petrie was the first to suggest that the chamber was the serdab of the pyramid (a chamber containing a statue of the dead pharaoh. Traces of a stairway and a table for offerings are still clearly visible on the floor in front of the niche. Petri also notes a number of small fragments of black stone. The serdab of Kagemni at Saqqara seems to be a 'replica' of this chamber. (16)

The Queens chamber is one of the greatest mysteries of the pyramid. It's deliberate placement in the centre of the pyramid gives it a significance which is increased by the curious fact that it was disguised by so many numerous hidden doorways and stone-slabs.

Having gained entry to the upper parts of the pyramid, the most obvious place to continue searching would have been the kings chamber as the passage to the Queens chamber was concealed by a huge stone slab over the floor of the 'Grand-gallery'. Even more significant then is the fact that the 'star-shaft's' which were perfectly visible in the kings chamber were also 'hidden' or at least remained sealed over, concealing two more 'star-shaft's' - which are blatantly not that at all, as they lead only to the 50th level (the course that the 'Kings' chamber sits on) where they are sealed off by a door made of white 'Tura' limestone. (see 'star-shafts')



2.25) The 'Well-shaft'.

In the 1830's Captain G. B. Caviglia cleared the descending passage of debris, exposing the 'pit' for the first time since the Pyramid had first been opened by Al Mamun. At the same time, Caviglia also discovered and opened the 'well-shaft'. Its upper opening was concealed at the point where the horizontal passage to the Queens Chamber branches off. Clearing the debris from the well-shaft is said to have improved the otherwise stifling air quality in the Pit and Descending Passage.

Is it possible to determine whether the well was built before the pyramid was constructed, or after..

Click here for larger imageThe Well-shaft lies precisely on an E-W plane parallel to the pyramids passages and chambers. It can be separated into seven sections, with the upper three sections passing through 60 ft of limestone masonry and the lower segments being tunnelled through another 150ft of natural rock. With the exception of section C which was tunnelled through the masonry in a rough and irregular manner, and section G, two of whose squarish sides were left rough and not quite horizontal; all the other sections are straight, precise, carefully finished, and uniformly angled throughout their lengths. The Edgar brothers showed conclusively that the upper short horizontal passage, as well as the vertical section were part of the original construction.  The two vertical sections at the top are of equal length). They also found that the lower vertical section was built with masonry blocks as it passed through the 'Grotto' in the bedrock. It could only have been so constructed when the rock face was still exposed, before the grotto was covered with the masonry of the pyramid.

The geometry of the shaft, the fact that the top part of the tunnel was incorporated into the design and the bottom parts cut neatly and correctly except for the last section, and that the upper section was cut through solid masonry all support the idea that the well-shaft was built (but not necessarily completed), as the pyramid was constructed.

The missing blocking stones, chisel marks around the entrance, and the fact that a part of the well-shaft was roughly cut through existing masonry has led many to the reasonable conclusion that the well-shaft was breached at some time in the past in order to access the interior of the pyramid after construction. The next question then is how was it accessed?  

Extract from the Edgar Brothers (Vol II) - The mouth of the well is formed by a portion of the ramp on the west side having been broken away: and the appearance of the masonry surrounding this Well-mouth suggests the thought of the once covering ramp-stone having been violently burst out from underneath…In addition to the breaking of the ramp-stone at the head of the well-shaft, a portion of the lower end of the floor of the Grand Gallery appears to have been forcibly removed.

This observation leaves the reader with the impression that the well-shaft was cut through from the bottom up. However, the following quote creates a different picture.

'There is incontrovertible evidence that the well Shaft is an original feature that was dug from the top down…a close examination of the chisel marks on the topside of the blocks that surround the upper entranced to the shaft reveals that it was chiselled out from above'. (10)

We are left with the following confusing possibility: That the shaft was cut surreptitiously after the pyramid was finished by someone who shared or had been passed on the knowledge of its whereabouts. The suggestion is not a new one. In fact, the only thing that stands in its way is the chisel marks at the upper entry which have been established to have been cut from the top. But what if the shaft was cut from the bottom, then opened out from the top?


Extract from Great Pyramid Passages: Vol I - 'We have taken a number of photographs and careful measurements of the lower end of the Well, where it enters at the west wall of the Descending Passage - See Plate X. The opening in the wall is rather broken and rough around the edges, although the sides are, in a general way, vertical and square with the top. Professor Flinders Petrie believes that the opening was at one time concealed by a stone' and that 'Al Mamoun's workmen made their way down the Well shaft from its upper end in the Grand Gallery, and forced the concealing block of stone from its position at the lower end'. (14)

Comments - It feels significant that the opening of the well-shaft is on the same level as the 'Queens' passage and chamber. That it was blocked (built over), for a section towards the top end during construction, but not completely to the top, is also significant. There must have been a good reason for concealing it and re-entering it. Yet we can assume that it was not meant to be found easily yet probably intended for 'reasonably easy access' at a later date.

Whoever completed the tunnelling had a plan from which to work by in order to make the final connection and that whoever cut it was privy to that information.  'It is also possible that the short passage that connects the two sets of chambers in the Bent pyramid, which is clearly not part of the original design, was also tunnelled by robbers who knew the layout'. (10)

Question: It was reported that the Well-shaft was partially filled with debris when it was found so how did the person who filled it get out?. In addition we need to understand where the debris originated and what was the purpose of filling it for that matter. In fact, it is worth asking if it was ever re-sealed at the bottom end.?

Pochan (16) manages to 'clear away' the issue of rubble at the bottom of the tunnel. He quotes Coutelle, from the Napoleonic expedition who recorded the following:

'While descending, I had stopped at a sort of grotto found above the steep part of the well; that is, in the second vertical part. This excavation had been made by removing pebbles, bits of which still remained stuck to the arch; there were more underfoot. I rested there (and) compared the pebbles I was carrying with these pebbles and ascertained that the pebbles at the bottom of the well derived from the excavation of this grotto'.

The logic of the finding is sufficient to conclude that it is probably right. It does, however, mean that whoever displaced the pebbles had no intention of exiting the building via the bottom of the well-shaft.



2.26) The Grotto.

 It has been reasonably suggested that the 'Grotto' may have been an original landscape feature, and that the pyramid might have even been built over it. However, it is the 'Queens' chamber that occupies the central position of the pyramid, and not the grotto (although its upper entrance is on the same level).

The block-work from the upper entrance down to the grotto has been shown to have been laid as the pyramid rose up which points to the idea that in some way, the area down to the grotto was an original feature. (The same is true of the tunnelling below the grotto. It is clean and well worked). The only rough cut passage is above the grotto, cutting through the existing masonry until it meets the prepared passage above it.

 Lepre (10), noted that inside the grotto: 'The ceiling is unusually damp to the point where there is actually a perceptible coating - like a light frost - over the pebbles themselves. This unusual composition naturally tempts one to speculate about the existence of a nearby water source'.

It has been suggested that the grotto was built to allow the first intruders room to work. This suggestion seems reasonable as in order to cut through the blocks above, there would need to be a well placed workspace. We can assume that the 'Grotto' had been excavated in the past (from the 'rubble and sand' found in the tunnel below, which is similar in composition to that found in the grotto).  The only problem with this theory is the lack of oxygen which again suggests that the top part of the well-shaft was opened from above and not below.



2.27) The Grand Gallery. 

One of the great mysteries about the Great Pyramid remained the apparently incomprehensible design of the Grand Gallery, a seven levelled, elaborate corbelled vault forming the upper half of the Ascending Passage leading to the King's Chamber. One of the most elegantly simple, coherent, and widely ignored theories about the Great Pyramid was the astronomer Richard Anthony Proctor's explanation of this aspect of its design. Proctor was inspired by a passage in the neo-Platonic philosopher Proculus's commentary on Plato's Timaes, which mentioned that before the Great Pyramid was completed it was used as an observatory. Based on his reading of the account he surmised that when the Pyramid was completed to its fiftieth course, i.e. to the level of the top of the Grand Gallery, which was also the floor of the Kings Chamber, it would have made an excellent observatory. He documented his theory in a book published in the late nineteenth century titled The Great Pyramid, Observatory, Tomb and Temple.

The function of the ascending passage lies hidden in the conclusions. The design features suggest that it had a specific purpose. If it was symbolic, then the features will have symbolic explanations. The sockets in the sides are all roughly filled except one. Who has filled them, or were they always filled. The corbelled roof shows remains of a slot along its length on the 3rd instep. It appears, at first glance to have held a false roof. The Ascending passage was 'cut through' the pyramids masonry in the first instance, rather than constructed. So why was the limestone at this point of a higher quality than that used in the rest of the core masonry?  (They were planned from the beginning, but not finished until later).


There is another feature of the Grand Gallery which is worth examining: on each side a groove—about 7 inches high and 1 inch deep—has been cut into the third layer of corbelling along its entire length. In addition, at the top of the grooves there are rough chisel marks running along their entire lengths. At first impression it seems as though these may have once housed a 'false ceiling', an idea repeated by several people.

It has been noticed that the Gallery better is 'finished off' at the Northern, bottom half than the 'rough' Southern top section.

In 1843 Borchardt found an impression, in the walls of the Great Gallery (BORCHARDT, L., "Einiges zur dritten Bauperiode," Berlin 1930). He established that it was made of mortar, in which a long, round object had originally been embedded, and later removed. He could not determine what that object may have been, but he assumed that it had been attached to the Gallery wall by means of the mortar.

Comment - It has been suggested that this mark was left be a piece of cord, probably used for some kind of measuring purposes. One was also found in one of the 'Star-shafts' but it is vertical (see left), and alone makes no sense in terms of facilitating measurement. The Edgar Brothers reported finding a number of plaster impressions in the ascending passages, and of having to clean many off in order to take correct measurements.

The following is an extract from Pochan (16) -

'Various hypothesis, each as unlikely as the next, have been put forward concerning these slots….But the number of slots should have attracted the attention of Egyptologists. Wasn't Cheops the twenty-eighth king of Egypt after Menes? I propose that the twenty-eight slots twenty-eight bases for twenty-eight facing royal statues, and that the Grand Hall is actually the gallery of King Cheops' ancestors!

The absence of the twenty-eighth slot in the western banquette, whose place is now taken up by the opening of the 'well', serves to confirm the views expressed by Petrie; to wit, that the connection of the Grand gallery wit hthe primitive shaft used by descending stonecutters, a hole drilled through the masonry, was a task undertaken after the pyramid had been built.

That the Grand gallery is simply the gallery of the ancestors is corroborated by two ancient Arab authors. Muhammed Ishaq ibn al-Nadim, quoted by Ahmed ibn Ali al-Maqrizi, writes: "…A passage pierces this pavement…; the arch is made of stone and one sees there portraits and statues standing or resting and a quantity of other things, the meaning of which we do not understand."  And Ibrahim Wassif Shah writes: "…In the Eastern pyramid, chambers had been built in which the stars and heavens were depicted, and in which was amassed what Surid's forebears had accomplished in the way of statues." (Undoubtedly, the manuscript's text has been misreported; it should read: "…in which were amassed the statues that were done of Surid's forebears.")'.

Comment - If Pochan is correct then this is of course, important. The question is, how many Kings were there before Choeps? Also, perhaps it is worth counting the slots in the valley temple (note that they are far less deep.) Note also that we can see the same kind of damage at Hatshepsut's temple. (see below)


Context - The following two pictures show the same style of building corbelled constructions from inside other Egyptian pyramids:-


Corbelled Roofs from inside the Red pyramid, and the 'unfinished' Meidum pyramid.


Here is an internal feature similar to that of the 'great' pyramid. There is a strong suggestion, especially in the 'Red' pyramid, of a contemporary design (Note - Similar designed stone on entry to chamber, Lack of internal funerary scripts etc). The same feature can be seen in the 'Bent' pyramid. Mendelssohn says the following:-

Extract from Mendelssohn - An inscription found near the Red pyramid mentions the 'two pyramids of Snofru' and it was at first assumed that the other Snofru pyramid must be that at Meidum. More recent work at the bent pyramid has, however, shown that this one, too, definitely belonged to Snofru. We are left with what Sir Alan Gardener called the 'unpalatable conclusion that Snofru did possess three pyramids'.




2.28) The 'Antechamber' and 'Portcullis' System.

The theory that the antechamber once housed a 'portcullis' system is generally accepted, although a model of the system that explain all the features of the antechamber is still forthcoming. The best research in this area came originally from Lepre, who studied the question in depth. While his findings are far from conclusive, they are reasonable and remain the only conclusion of any merit. First, an extract from Petrie:

'The rubbish that had accumulated from out of Mamun's Hole was carried out of the Pyramid by a chain of five or six men in the passage. In all the work I left the men to use their familiar tools, baskets and hoes, as much as they liked, merely providing a couple of shovels, of picks, and of crow-bars for any who liked to use them. I much doubt whether more work could be done for the same expense and time, by trying to force them into using Western tools without a good training. Crowbars were general favourites, the chisel ends wedging up and loosening the compact rubbish very easily; but a shovel and pickaxe need a much wider hole to work them in than a basket and hoe require; hence the picks were fitted with short handles, and the shovels were only used for loose sand. In the passage we soon came down on the big granite stone which stopped Prof. Smyth when he was trying to clear the passage, and also sundry blocks of limestone appeared. The limestone was easily smashed then and there, and carried out piecemeal; and as it had no worked surfaces it was of no consequence. But the granite was not only tough, but interesting, and I would not let the skilful hammer-man cleave it up slice by slice as he longed to do; it was therefore blocked up in its place, with a stout board across the passage, to prevent it being started into a downward rush. It was a slab 20.6 thick, worked on both faces, and one end, but rough broken around the other three sides; and as it lay flat on the floor, it left us 27 inches of height to pass down the passage over it. Where it came from is a complete puzzle; no granite is known in the Pyramid, except the King's Chamber, the Antechamber, and the plug blocks in the ascending passage. Of these sites the Antechamber seems to be the only place whence it could have come; and Maillet mentions having seen a large block (6 feet by 4) lying in the Antechamber, which is not to be found there now. This slab is 32 inches wide to the broken sides, 45 long to a broken end, and 20.6 thick; and, strangely, on one side edge is part of a drill hole, which ran through the 20.6 thickness, and the side of which is 27.3 from the worked end. This might be said to be a modern hole, made for smashing it up, wherever it was in situ; but it is such a hole as none but an ancient Egyptian would have made, drilled out with a jewelled tubular drill in the regular style of the 4th dynasty; and to attribute it to any mere smashers and looters of any period is inadmissible. What if it came out. of the grooves in the Antechamber, and was placed like the granite leaf across that chamber? The grooves are an inch wider, it is true; but then the groove of the leaf is an inch wider than the leaf. If it was then in this least unlikely place, what could be the use of a 4-inch hole right through the slab? It shows that something has been destroyed, of which we have, at present, no idea'.

These 'anomalous' granite stones were concluded by Lepre to be parts of the original portcullis system.

Extract from 'Giza the Truth' - 'It is often suggested that no fragment of the three missing portcullis' has ever been found, and from this many alternative researchers—and even some Egyptologists—deduce that they were never even fitted. In the first instance, the continued presence of the counterweights—which are above the level of the passage and therefore would not obstruct the progress of an intruder—suggests to us that the portcullis' were originally in place but were broken up by the early robbers. Again we would suggest that, as with the "Bridge Slab", the debris from this operation would have been cleaned up by restorers. However, in addition to this evidence, Lepre produces a real coup de grace on the matter: he has matched the four blocks of fractured granite found in and around the edifice to the dimensions of the portcullis'.

Extract from Petrie - In brief, each of the main slabs would have been a minimum of 4 feet high by 4 feet wide—probably more depending on the degree of overlap into the slots—and most significantly about 21 inches thick (to allow a tolerance of ½ inch in the slots). He examined the four blocks—one lies near the pit in the Subterranean Chamber, another in the niche in the west wall just before the entrance to this chamber, another in the Grotto in the Well Shaft, and another outside the original entrance—and established that whilst they were all less than 4 feet in height and width, they were all 21 inches thick! (Note that there is a loose block of granite in the King's Chamber, but this is known to come from the floor thereof and was therefore omitted from the analysis.) As if this were not sufficient evidence, he found that three of the four blocks have 3½ inch holes drilled in them—in fact the one in the pit has two, and the one near the entrance three. Furthermore, the holes in the latter are spaced 6½ inches apart. So he established that not only do the holes have the same diameter as the channels for the ropes in the south wall of the Antechamber, but they are also spaced the same distance apart. Although Lepre is unable to provide a foolproof explanation as to how these four fragments ended up in their present locations—he suggests a variety of high jinks by early visitors to the monument—nevertheless this strikes us as pretty convincing evidence that these are indeed fragments of the original portcullis'.

This is of course, a hugely important finding. Should the other stones indeed be a part of an original 'portcullis' system, what did it look like and why was it there? Why is there a piece in the 'Grotto'? Can we track the movement of these pieces with the historical accounts? There do not seem to be enough pieces, but the size of them suggests that they may be remnants.

Extract from the Edgar Brothers: Vol I; (In reference to the granite block in the descending passage) - 'We also instructed our men to shift the position of the large limestone block which then lay diagonally across the passage floor a little distance above the granite block'. (14) We can assume for now that it is the same stone that now sits in the 'pit'. (see photo below). In Vol I (14), Plates LVIII and LIX show the block in the recess before the subterranean chamber.

Four granite slabs from inside the Great pyramid - Are these remnants of the portcullis system?

From left to right - Bottom right of the descending passage (found by Petrie half way down the descending passage), outside the main entrance and one on a ledge in the subterranean pit.

A fourth granite block lies in the Grotto.


Question - How are these stones to be explained in the context of the 'tomb' theory? The remaining slabs were never intended to fall and it appears possible to bypass the system regardless. Is this system evidence that the structure may have had a function before it was sealed?

Extract from Edgar Brothers: Vol I - (In reference to the Portcullis system) 'Some writers have suggested that the three opposite pairs of broad vertical grooves originally contained sliding portcullises of granite, which at one time cut off all entrance to the Kings Chamber…this suggestion was supported by Col. Howard Vyse…His idea was that, during the lifetime of the King, the now missing portcullises were suspended above the floor of the Ante-chamber on a level with the top of the low passages, just as the Granite leaf is now suspended; but that after the death and internment of the King, they were one by one lowered gradually by chiseling away the supporting granite immediately below them on the side walls, until, sinking down by their own weight, they finally rested on the floor'. (14)

The Edgar's noticed however, that: '...when, however, we begin to investigate the subject more closely… we find that there are distinctive peculiarities about the "granite leaf", which make it certain that it, at all events, had not been intended by the architect to serve as a portcullis'. (14) So what was the remaining stone for. It is of interest that the 'Boss' is well recorded in Egypt. It was believed to have been left on the stones in order to manoeuvre them more easily, although in this particular case it is worth noting the following observation: 'The granite leaf appears to be an inch narrower than its corresponding grooves in the wainscots…Close examination shows that this difference is made up by narrow one-inch projections or rebates on the north face of the leaf, which make it fit tightly into its grooves. With the exception of these rebates (which are evidence of special design), the whole of the north face of the leaf has been dressed or planed down one inch, in order that one little part in the middle might appear in relief'. (14)

The 'Boss' as seen from underneath. The fact that it was left in-situ suggests that it had as symbolic function.

Pochan emphasizes that the whole system must have been closed off at some time. He says:

'Contrary to the claims made by certain authors…the three portcullises were actually set in place and lowered. The south wall, in fact, shows clear, significant traces of damage, which would be totally inexplicable had the passage to the king's chamber been open. It is obvious that the damage done to the Antechamber's south wall was effected from the space located above the lowered portcullises. The first despoilers, having experienced great difficulty in trying to raise the granite block closing off the entrance to the antechamber, were unable to force the portcullises and had to settle for making a man-sized hole in the upper part of the corridors wall, opening onto the chamber of the sarcophagus'. However, this raises the question: Why was the antechamber then subsequently cleared of blocks?

In a final note, it is worth quoting Petrie over the granite portcullis stones of the Khafre's pyramid when he says:

'The skill required to turn over and lift such a block, in such a confined space, is far more striking than the moving of much larger masses in the open air, where any number of men could work on them. By measuring the bulk, it appears that this portcullis was nearly two tons in weight, and would require 40 to 60 men to lift it; the space, however, would not allow of more than a tenth of that number working at it; and this proves that some very efficient method was used for wielding such masses'. (14)



2.29) The Kings chamber.

Only called the 'King's Chamber' because Arabs buried their kings in flat-roofed chambers and Queens in corbelled chambers.



2.291)  'Explosion' or 'Subsidence'. It has been noted that the Kings chamber has the appearance of having been expanded or shifted, suggested to have been caused by an explosion. An interesting idea considering both al-Mamun and Vyse used explosives (although we must assume it was done before - as it was plastered over). So if not an explosion, what caused the huge stones to break?

Need to take into account the fact that the 'star-passages' were still blocked but correctly aligned still and considered 'candle holder areas' by Petrie until they were opened by him. The fact that the supporting beams of the chamber were plastered up 'by hand' definitely points towards movement within the chamber after its finish. If something had exploded so violently within the chamber, how did the walls, ceiling and 'coffer' remain in such good condition?

If movement has occurred however, it needs to be considered what the cause was, which other part of the pyramid appears affected (except possibly the lack of casing stones). Le-Mesurier mentions two candidates, one in 908 AD and the other in 1301AD. (Apparently 30,000 people perished in Egypt during the 908 earthquake).

Davison (2), came to the conclusion that there had been movement within the pyramid.

How these repairs are to be explained is another mystery. There is no way that the damage was caused by the repairers. Anyone who would go to the lengths of plastering the walls of the king's chamber in order to hide the cracks, would also, one would presume, fix all the damage on the way out. This was not done.

It has been pointed out that 'Davidson's' chamber, was clearly 'cut through after the blocks had been put in place'. (10)



2.292) The 'Sarcophagus' or 'Coffer'.

Pochan (16) said of it:

'The sarcophagus, made of Aswan granite, was equipped with a sliding dovetailed lid; it is similar to many other sarcophagi, particularly that of Unas and most especially those of the great mastaba of Meidum and the pyramid of Kephren. Upon closing, three rods inserted into holes in the lid dropped into three corresponding holes in the cask, which were not as deep as the length of the rods'. 

The Kings Coffer (with removed floor stone in background)

(The Volume of the interior is equal to half the Volume of the exterior...)

The coffer's dimensions also demonstrate the application of a  3:4:5 triangle - incidentally demonstrating the geometric method of creating the angle of slope for Khafre's pyramid.


Note - It is often claimed (erroneously), that the Coffer would have had to have been placed in the King's chamber from above as it is too big too fit through the passage entry.

'Petrie's measurements of the passage were 41.08 to 41.62 inches wide by 47.13 to 47.44 inches high, and his dimensions of the box were...41.97 inches outside width, and 38.12 inches outside height'. (1)

(Answer... think about it.. think about it...  Turn the box sideways)



2.293) The 'kings chamber' as a representation of a 'Djedt', (Osiris's backbone/spine).



The Djed is also known as the Djed column, Djed pillar, Tet, Tet Column, or Tet pillar. It is associated with Osiris and is a metaphor for the phallus. The Djed pillar hieroglyph means 'stability'. The source of the imagery is however, shrouded in time. It is clearly pre-dynastic in origin.

The Djed Pillar is the oldest symbol of Osiris and was of great religious significance to the ancient Egyptians. It is the symbol of his backbone and his body in general. The Djed is represented on two ivory pieces found at Helwan dating to the first dynasty, evidence that the use of this symbol is at least that old. The djed pillar also came to be equated with the king's backbone, often painted in the bottom of the coffin, under where the spine would lay.



2.30) The Relieving Chambers.

The excavations by Col. Vyse in the 1800's opened the 'relieving chambers'. Above the roof of the 'Kings chamber is a series of five relieving chambers formed by granite slabs, which it is argued, were essential to support the weight of the stones above and to distribute the weight away from the burial chamber. The top chamber has a gabled roof made of limestone blocks. In these chambers, are found the only inscriptions in the whole pyramid. The lowest of the 5 Ceiling Chambers was found to contain a black dust, possibly the remains of insects entombed in construction (Exfoliate). The limestone gable of the highest chamber was the only place (other than the Mid Chamber and some parts of the Grand Gallery) that contains salt deposits.

In response to the idea that these chambers were for relieving weight, one has to ask why they were not a feature of the lower 'Queens' chamber, and more to the point, it has been shown that they have no 'relieving' capacity whatsoever.

Petrie said of them:

"All these chambers over the King's Chamber are floored with horizontal beams of granite, rough dressed on the under sides which form the ceilings, but wholly unwrought above. These successive floors are blocked apart along the N. and S. sides, by blocks of granite in the lower, and of limestone in the upper chambers, the blocks being two or three feet high, and forming the N. and S. sides of the chambers. On the E. and W. are two immense limestone walls wholly outside of; and independent of; all the granite floors and supporting blocks. Between these great walls all the chambers stand, unbonded, and capable of yielding freely to settlement. This is exactly the construction of the Pyramid of Pepi at Sakkara, where the end walls E. and W. of the sepulchral chamber are wholly clear of the sides, and also clear of the sloping roof-beams, which are laid three layers thick; thus these end walls extend with smooth surfaces far beyond the chamber, and even beyond all the walls and roofing of it, into the general masonry of the Pyramid."

Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, 1883


The photo (right) is of depressions or 'bowls' found in the stones of the top chamber, called the 'Davidson's' chamber. They are reminiscent of the Stonehenge lintel-stones but their actual purpose is unknown. All the granite stones were flattened on their undersides but were left semi-worked on their upper surfaces.

It appears that it was considered important enough to smooth the bottom faces,  even though they were placed in a position that would never be seen again.

These are the amongst the heaviest stones in the pyramid and were quarried and shipped from Aswan from over 500 miles south. There seems to be no logic behind such an investiture of energy, and the feature is completely unique in Egyptian architecture.

relieving chambers

From an engineering perspective, Rudolf Gantenbrink suggested that without these upper chambers the roof beams of the King's chamber, which deflect about 50% of the load into the horizontal, would have pushed against the south end of the Grand Gallery. To avoid this, he says that the builders had to lift the roof above the relevant static structure of the Grand Gallery. As this seems to be the only reasonable explanation at present, one must assume that in terms of engineering, they were designed not to prevent downwards pressure on the 'King's chamber, but rather to prevent sideways pressure onto the 'Grand Gallery' which sits only metres to the north of them.

The unfinished tops of the stones in Lady Arbuthnots's  Chamber (left).


The 'Quarry-marks' or  'Graffitti':

The first level of the relieving chambers were entered, probably by a repair crew early in the life of the Great pyramid.  The higher chambers were later shown to have several 'graffitti' marks on them, presumably from the original builders, as some of the marks can be seen to continue into currently inaccessible places. These marks represent the only actual evidence that the pyramid was commissioned by Khufu (or Khnum-Khufu).

(Original 1837 Drawings of the Graffitti)

It has been suggested that the quarry marks are not original, but were added by Vyse in order to gain fame. In response to this, it is noted that some can be seen to run behind existing masonry. As they are the only direct evidence of who was responsible for building the pyramid, it is important to know if they are fake or genuine.

(More about the Quarry-marks)



2.31) The 'Star' shafts.

The so-called 'star-shaft's' were predicted (for air conditioning) before they were found. It was Col Vyse who first cleared out the air shafts to the King’s Chamber and it is said that once opened, an immediate rush of cool air entered the King's Chamber which maintains an even temperature of 68° to this day regardless of the weather outside.  Although this fact is apparent, it is questionable whether this was their original function.

The extraordinary amount of work that builders undertook in order to complete the 'star-shafts' makes it clear that they were considered a fundamental part of the design. They do not appear in any other Egyptian structure, and therefore have no context in which to place them. There are two sets of shafts in the great pyramid: One set leading from the 'Queens chamber' and another from the 'kings chamber'. The set from the Queens chamber was left sealed at both the top and bottom, while those in the kings chamber were left open. Gantenbrink's robotic exploration of the shafts leading from the  Queens chamber  has aroused much debate in recent years.

Gantenbrink also observe that different styles of masonry were used in the construction of the tunnels.

Diagram Illustrating the different styles of masonry used in the construction of the 'Star' passages.

 queens shaft great pyramid  kings shaft great pyramid

             'Queens' Southern star shaft.               'Kings' Northern star shaft (Rubbish photo!)   


Gantenbrink writes that the inclinations of the upper shafts could be measured by drawing a line between the beginning and end of the shaft, and that the shafts, although bending horizontally, were extremely precise. With a laser measuring device he didn't find any differences in the width of the shafts of greater than 0.005 m. Even more fantastic is the fact that the beginning and the end of a shaft are precisely on one line, even though the shafts bend in between!.

An observation of the location of the King's chamber shafts shows that the place at which they entered the chamber was very specific.  They enter at an identical place as the shafts in the queens chamber, opposite each other and just above the first level of masonry on the north and south walls. This position was clearly important as both sets of shafts had to be made so as to manoeuvre around the 'Grand Gallery', something which would have caused the designers and builders a great deal of extra consideration.

The northern 'Queen's' shaft shows settling which might have occurred due to an earthquake during the building phase; Gantenbrink concluded that the current shaft inclination might vary from the planned angle by up to 2°. The southern shaft, on the other hand, has the same accuracy seen in the upper shafts.


             'Queens' Southern star shaft.                'Kings' Northern star shaft (Rubbish photo!)

Gantenbrink says - 'I was convinced that the shafts mark the first construction phase of the pyramid. They constitute basic elements of great importance. Put simply, a stone structure of such magnitude, built up in layers over a period of many years, is a sufficiently gargantuan undertaking to daunt any builder. But adding diagonal shafts through such a structure so complicates the task that it becomes a builder's nightmare. The builders must have ascribed great significance to the shafts; otherwise they would never have let themselves in for such a massive constructional headache'. 


The existence of the shaft's raises several interesting questions such as: Why build two sets of shafts?, Why have a horizontal section at the bottom of each.? Why were the top two open while the bottom two were built closed off at both ends?  How are we to explain the design of the top ends of the Queen's shaft (The 'doors' with handles and an empty space behind)?

The current theories for these shafts are:-

1) They are 'Ventilation' shafts: Apart form the fact that the lower shafts were closed at both ends, it also seems contradictory that they would leave open shafts into a Pharaohs chamber, as this would have potentially exposed  the chamber to birds, snakes, rats, insects, water etc. Something unheard of in terms of Egyptian funerary chambers. Only one shaft would have been necessary for ventilation. One also has to ask for whom they were intended to ventilate

2) They are 'star' shafts: This particular theory has gained weight in recent years although there are some stubborn arguments against it: Apart from the obvious fact that the queen's chamber shafts were built closed off at both ends, all the shafts bend, often with extreme angle fluctuations so that none of them ever pointed directly at anything. While it is true that certain relevant stars did/do pass in front their entrances (at different chronological times), their placement on a north - south axis makes it a simple fact of nature as the sky revolves from east to west. There is still no conclusive theory to explain all four shafts in this context. Graham Hancock's theory has been shown to untenable as the stars he proposes were never in the sky together in the required positions. 

3) They were used for religious/symbolic purposes: Although there are no other pyramids which show similar features this theory seems possible, although why this pyramid alone was singled out for this is uncertain. The suggestion that they were placed there for the passing of the soul is highly questionable in terms of the queens chamber? Nothing contemporary is recorded concerning this practice.


Exploration of the  Queens Shafts.

The Queens Chamber shafts were originally sealed with 5" (12.5cm) of uncut masonry on their inside ends, the blocks they start from having been hollowed out for several feet behind. The following is Piazzi Smyth's record of the Dixon brothers' own testimony:

'Dr. Grant and Mr. Dixon have successfully proved that there was no jointing, and that the thin plate was a 'left', and a very skilfully and symmetrically left, part of the grand block composing that portion of the wall on either side'. (10)

The Queens northern star-shaft has been explored at least twice. Once in 1872 by Waynman Dixon and D. R. Grant, and then again in 1993 by Gantenbrink. The following is a list of objects found in the shaft:-


Objects observed in the 1872 expedition:

1. A green stone (granite) ball (weighing 1lb 3oz).

2. A slat or rod of Cedar wood about 13cm long.  (Now missing but recorded by Piazzi Smyth)

3. A bronze or copper hook, 5 cm's long, with a part of a wooden handle still attached.

Waynman Dixon noted in his diary:

"This thing is bronze green and with strong encrustations agglutinated. Once riveted on to a wooden handle."


Objects observed in the 1993 expedition:

1. A piece of wood with holes (that match the rivets on the bronze item).

2. A 2m + length of wood resembling a staff with a portion missing.

3. Various pieces of unidentified material, located in two areas of the shaft.

4. A large rectangular object can be seen at the upper end of the shaft attached to the 2-meter length of wood.

The Gantenbrink experiment also found a metal pole in the Queens shaft. It has been reasonably suggested that the parts from both exploration are parts of the same object/s, which were broken. The metal pole is believed to be a remnant from the 1872 search. Could it be that the 'hook and handle' are remains of an even earlier attempt to explore the shaft.

The Gantenbrink experiment was carried out on the 'Queens' chamber star-shaft. A remote-controlled miniature vehicle was sent up to photograph the upper section of the shaft. It reached a dead-end. The shaft was blocked but features of the end-stone suggested that there might be something beyond it. After the 1993 experiment, no further research was allowed on the shafts by Gantenbrink.

The 'Queens' northern shaft.


The 'Queens' southern shaft.


 The 'Doors'. 

Queens Northern Shaft.                            Queens Southern Shaft.

On 18 September 2002, the 'Pyramid Rover' was sent up the northern shaft, this time off-the-air. Navigation was difficult due to four sharp bends. Another "stone partition, or door" at the end of the shaft, again with two copper fittings, was discovered. The Queens southern shaft's 'doors were found to be the same distance (211 feet) from the Queen's Chamber.


The broken copper 'Handle' with fallen piece on the floor. Note: the first picture of this shows it as complete.

The 'doors' with the copper 'handles' found at the end of the queens 'star-shafts', support the idea that the shafts are neither for ventilation or for astronomical purposes. 

In 2002, another robot, the Pyramid Rover designed by iRobot of Boston, was sent to the end of the southern shaft to investigate further. The robot drilled a 3/4-inch hole in the slab and, on 17 September, a miniature fibre-optic camera was inserted to reveal a rough-hewn blocking stone lying 7 inches beyond the original southern shaft slab.

Chris Dunn reports that there is evidence of a vertical shaft going down in the small chamber behind Gantenbrink's slab. The photo above seems to support this. Notice the area on the bottom left. 


This report was posted on the Graham Hancock Website.

News flash from Giza as of December 1, 1999

What lies beyond the "door" at the upper end of the narrow passage leading up from the "Queen's Chamber" in the Great Pyramid may have recently been explored, in secrecy. It has been reported to us that on October 20, 1996, the Gantenbrink experiment has now been realized. As previously reported in the Egyptian Gazette newspaper, Zahi Hawass' choice of Dr. Farouk El Baz to complete this project to explore the passage, apparently has come to fruition.

This story was obtained from two separate security guards at Ghiza, and independently confirmed via a media person working with the Sphinx expedition of Dr. Joseph Schor, currently in the excavation phase. This is the report:

At the end of the ascending passage, 8 inches square, leading from inside the Great Pyramid's "Queen's Chamber" is a small "door" with two metal "handles." On October 20, 1996, Dr. El Bas and two assistants sent a fibre optic camera lens through a flaw in this door. What was allegedly found was a 2 meter by 1.5 meter chamber inside of which was a statue. The statue seemed to be in the image of a black male, holding an Ankh in one hand. On the opposing wall of this chamber was a round shaped passage leading out.

It has been suggested that because the 'Queens' shafts terminate before the exterior, (the northern one apparently at masonry level 50, the 'Kings' chamber), that there was a 'change of plan' in the construction. If however this was the case, why build them sealed off at the bottom ends and why did work on the southern shaft continue above the 'Kings' chamber level.

Comment - While the exact function of the shafts is a mystery, the expenditure of effort presumes them to be most important features. The shafts are a point that requires more interpretation. Again the world awaits the Egyptian authorities response. It seems bizarre therefore that no effort is being made to pursue this point.??

(Return to Top)




   External Features of the Great pyramid:


2.11). The Missing Capstone (Benben):

The missing capstone was only first mentioned by Diodorus Siculus at around 60 BC. He wrote that in his day when the Pyramid stood with its casing stones intact, the structure was:

 "complete and without the least decay, and yet it lacked its apex stone".

Tompkins and Stechini quote a reference by a second-century BC Greek writer, Agatharchides of Cnidus, on the presence of a golden capstone at the apex of the Great Pyramid.

As all other Egyptian pyramids have a capstone one would assume there to have once been one, and although several capstones have been found near Giza, none are believed to have belonged to the Great pyramid.




2.12) The Casing stones:

It is now realised that all the large 'Memphite' pyramids were also originally faced with white Tura limestone casing-stones, so this feature of the 'Great' pyramid is not a unique one. The importance of achieving a smooth face can be deduced from the amount of extra labour they represent and we must assume that the flat surface was an essential part of any pyramid. In some cases it can be seen how the casing stones were also carved at the back to fit existing stones. Davidson (2), pointed out the following:

 'Another remarkable feature of construction (which) confirms the high degree of accuracy and smoothness of the surface that was considered necessary. Flaws in the visible surfaces of the casing stones were cut out and refilled with accurately fitting pieces of limestone, invisibly cemented in'.

But what purpose or function could this serve? Davidson reasonably concluded that the intention was:

 ' present a polished unbroken reflecting surface on all four sides'. He also concludes 'It is obvious that it was from the brilliant reflexions  from its casing stones that the great pyramid is named, in the inscriptions of the pyramid period, and in inscriptions of later times, "Khuti - The lights".

It was Davidson's belief that one of the functions of the Great pyramid was to act as a 'beacon' which reflected the light of the midday, solstice and Equinox suns (Although, this does not explain the presence of 'Tura' casing-stones on other contemporary pyramids).

great pyramid casing stones

William Fix found conclusive proof that the exterior of the 'Great' pyramid (or at least a part of it), was once painted red. This remarkable piece of information creates a clear connection with other 'Solar Temples' or pyramids that were also painted red. We can see similarities with the Tibetan religious buildings that are also painted red.




2.13) The Cornerstones:

Petrie showed that the primary purpose of the corner sockets was to fix the diagonals of the pyramid (2). However, there is a suggestion that they were also associated with rituals and ceremony. For example, the Lisht pyramid of Senusert I (Dynasty XII), yielded some interesting articles from under its Corner stones. Dr. A. Lithgoe described the discovery;

'Under the platform (of the pyramid) there was found at each of the four corners of the pyramid a "foundation deposit". These were practically identical in character, and in each instance had been placed in a square pocket about 80cm in diameter, and 1 metre in depth, excavated in the bed-rock upon which the platform rested. The bottom of the pocket had been covered, in each case, with about 5cm. of clean gravel upon which there where some 25 to 30 small pottery model dishes and vases, while scattered among them were a number of lozenge-shaped blue glass beads. On these objects were laid the skull and some of the bones of an ox which had been sacrificed as a part of the ceremonial. The pocket had then been completely filled with gravel, on which, at about half its depth, was laid a small model brick of sun-dried Nile mud. Finally the pockets were covered by massive limestone blocks, which in each case formed the corner blocks of the pyramid'. (2)

There are sufficient references in Egyptian hieroglyphs to the ceremony of 'stretching the cord', a procedure which appears to refer to the initial layout and orientation of sacred temples and pyramids etc. It is possible that this ceremony was simply the result of tradition or, as is suspected by many, it may have been a means of 'endowing' buildings with some form of  'sacred' potential.




2.14) The 35th row:

(Diagramatic Persepective of External Masonry)

This particular course of masonry has led to much debate. It is at the same height as the top part of the gabled roof of the Queens chamber. It is noticeable because it is the level at which the masonry becomes larger again, having got progressively smaller each course it rose below. This effect is repeated several times and it's significance is as yet unknown.

It has been suggested that this row may represent the height of an earlier construction.


 Stonehenge and Great pyramid dimensions

Measurements in Pyramid Inches.

 It is noted that it is exactly the height of a 'quarter araura' a unit of Egyptian measurement (associated with the solar year). Whether by design or accident, it's height is the exact same dimension as the diameter of Stonehenge (3652.5 pyramid inches).



2.15) The Entrance:

Strabo mentioned a hidden 'South' door, which presumably remained until Al-Mamun's time, as he apparently failed to find it. We know that doors were put into other pyramids. For example: (Extract from Petrie, 1883)

'The traces of a stone flap door, or turning block, in the mouth of the South Pyramid of Dahshur, have been already described (section 109), as well as the signs of a wooden door behind that. Such a formation of the passage mouth is unmistakable in its purpose; but after drawing conclusions from that doorway, it was a most satisfactory proof of the generality of such doors, to observe the following passage from Strabo on the Great Pyramid. "The Greater (Pyramid), a little way up one side, has a stone that may be taken out , (exairesimon, exemptilem) which being raised up (arqentoV, sublato) there is a sloping passage to the foundations." This sentence is most singularly descriptive of opening a flap door; first, the stone is taken out, or lifted outwards from the face; and then, being thus raised up, the passage is opened. The two different words exactly express the change in the apparent motion, first outwards and then upwards; and they show remarkable accuracy and precision in their use. Besides this description, there is another statement that the Pyramids of Gizeh had doors, in an Arabic MS., quoted by Vyse; this was written in 850 A.D., and, therefore, only twenty or thirty years after Mamun had forced his way into the Great Pyramid, and thus re-discovered the real entrance'.

An original translation of Strabo's Geographica dating to 1857, says: "…a stone, which may be taken out; when that is removed"—not "raised up". The translation of the original Greek is clearly important.

Conclusion - Strabo talks specifically of a 'hidden' entrance on the South (North) face with an opening door. The fact that the entrance and descending  passage was not described for so long after this suggests that it was 'closed' until the entry by Al-Mamun. This clearly suggests that there was a door which could be either open or closed and 'Hidden'.

Petrie's study of the Bent (Vega) Pyramid (The only pyramid with remaining doorways around the intact entrance), found that on either side of the entrance, there were holes cut opposite each other, about 9cm in diameter by 14 cm deep. These holes were just inside the entrance and only 15cm from the top of the passage. Petrie interpreted these as being hinge sockets to swing a stone door from. Behind these sockets, the passageway contained more door sockets. These were smaller vertical sockets for a very lightweight door.

The following two prints are from Petrie, 1882.


The mechanical proofs of the existence of a door to the Great Pyramid are of some weight, though only circumstantial, and not direct evidence like that of the above authors. No one can doubt that the entrance must have been closed, and closed so as not to attract attention at the time when the Arabs made their forced passage, about a hundred feet long, through the solid masonry. Moreover, it is certain that the entrance was not covered then by sand or rubbish: (i) because the Arabic hole is some way below it, and the ground-level at the time of the forcing is seen plainly in the rubbish heap; (ii) because the rubbish heap, which is even now much below the original doorway, is composed of broken casing, and the casing was not yet broken up at the time of forcing the passage. Therefore the doorway must have been so finely closed that the various accidental chippings and weathering on all the general surface of the casing completely masked any wear or cracks that there might be around the entrance; and so invisible was the door then, that, standing on the heap from which they forced their hole, the Arabs could not see anything to excite their suspicion on the surface only 35 feet above them; they, therefore, plunged into the task of tearing out the stone piecemeal, in hopes of meeting with something in the inside. Yet we know from Strabo that the Romans had free access to the passage, though he says that it was kept a secret in his time. No extractable plug or block, weighing necessarily some tons, would have been replaced by every visitor until the Arab times, especially without there being any shelf or place to rest it on while it was removed.*

* Exactly the same reasoning applies to the Second Pyramid. Diodorus Siculus mentions the foot-holes up to its entrance, and Herodotus correctly describes the form of its passages and yet the Arabs forced a large passage in it, in entire ignorance of the real entrance, which must, therefore, have had a door like the Great Pyramid. (This all assumes that the 'Arab's' had no knowledge of the door, whereas it is also possible that they had complete knowledge of it).

The restoration of a door would agree to these various historical requirements, and be in harmony with the arrangement at Dahshur such a block would only need a pull of 2.5 cwt. on first taking it outwards, and 4 cwt. to lift it upwards to its final position; it would leave no external opening; it would also allow just half of the passage to be quite clear; and from the passage being halved in its height by two courses at the beginning, such an opening is the most likely. Though the general form is thus indicated, the details are of course conjectural.

Some photos of the Gabled entrance:-

The whole entrance is considerably set back from the face and is not easily visible from below. These features would have all been hidden by the original casing stones.

Note: It was suggested by Lepre that the perforated stone in the bottom-left photo is one of the missing 'Portcullis stones' from the 'Kings' ante-chamber.


According to Walter Marshall Adams, the triangular area above the doorway was meant to symbolize the 'door of the horizon', the hieroglyphic sign for the horizon… having been carved inside the triangle, which from a distance, assumes the form of a pupil. Thus, Adams believes, the hieroglyphic sign must be the pyramids divine name". (16)  

This symbol should be considered of the highest significance...It serves no structural function and is therefore representative of something. It is one of the most unique and unexplained architectural features of the Great Pyramid.





   Associated Architectural Features:


2.35) The Iron Plate:

On Friday, 26 May 1837, after a few days of blasting and clearing, J. R. Hill (working for Vyse), discovered a flat iron plate about 26 cm (10.2") long, 8.6 cm (3.4") wide, with a thickness ranging from .4 cm (.2") to nearly zero, from a joint in the masonry at the point where the southern airshaft from the King's chamber exits the pyramid. Engineers agree that this plate was left in the joint during the building of the pyramid and could not have been inserted afterwards. Colonel Vyse sent the plate to the British Museum.

Hill affirmed that his find was legitimate:

This is to certify, that the piece of iron found by me near the mouth of the air-passage, in the southern side of the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, on Friday, May 26th, was taken out by me from an inner joint, after having removed by blasting the two outer tiers of the stones of the present surface of the Pyramid; and that no joint or opening of any sort was connected with the above-mentioned joint, by which the iron could have been placed in it after the original building of the Pyramid. I also shewed the exact point to Mr. Perring, on Saturday, June 24th. (Vyse, Pyramids of Gizeh, I, p. 276)

The plate was examined by the famous Sir Flinders Petrie in 1881. He felt it was genuine and stated that "no reasonable doubt can therefore exist about its being a really genuine piece".

Extract from Petrie - That sheet iron was employed we know, from the fragment found by Howard Vyse in the masonry of the south air channel; and though some doubt has been thrown on the piece, merely from its rarity, yet the vouchers for it are very precise; and it has a cast of a nummulite on the rust of it, proving it to have been buried for ages beside a block of nummulitic limestone, and therefore to be certainly ancient. No reasonable doubt can therefore exist about its being really a genuine piece used by the Pyramid masons; and probably such pieces were required to prevent crowbars biting into the stones, and to ease the action of the rollers.

H.R. Hall wrote of the plate in "Note on the Early Use of Iron in Egypt" (Man 3, 1903):

'Now that Professor Petrie has discovered iron in deposits of VIth Dynasty date at Abydos, the contentions of those Egyptologists who have always maintained that iron was known to the Egyptians from the earliest times must be acknowledged to be correct. The fact that iron was known to, and used by, the Egyptians over 2,000 years before it came into use in Europe is very remarkable, and it is hard to square with current theories, but it is a fact. Professor Petrie's find is a lump of worked (?) iron, perhaps a wedge, which is rusted on to a bent piece of copper...

This is the third find of iron which can be attributed to the Old Kingdom. In 1837 a fragment of wrought-iron was discovered in an inner joint of the stone blocks in one of the 'star'-passages which pass upwards from the interior of the Great Pyramid to the outer air [Vyse, Pyramids of Gizeh, I., 276; Beck, Geschichte des Eisens, I., 85]. This is now in the British Museum, Egyptian Department, No. 2433 (3rd Egyptian Room, Case K, 29). In 1882 Professor Maspero found iron in the pyramid of a Vth Dynasty king at Abûsîr. Professor Petrie has now found iron in a VIth Dynasty deposit at Abydos... The presumption now is that the iron fragments from Abûsîr and from the Great Pyramid are of a Vth and IVth Dynasty date respectively. The Gîza fragment will be about 150 years older than the piece from Abydos. (pp. 147-49)

Tests were actually made in the British Museum Laboratory, and since it seems desirable that the matter should be cleared up, Dr. J.H. Plenderleith reported the following: The Pyramid piece was found to consist 'of a thin film of metallic iron with a more or less thick coating of its oxides.' Samples were examined and 'no nickel could be detected.' This was in November 1926; in April 1932 it was examined again, and the results 'completely bear out the findings of the previous analytical report as regards to the absence of nickel;' separate tests were applied to the exterior scale and to the surface of the metallic iron itself, and nowhere could nickel be detected. As Dr. Plenderleith was advised that 'all known meteoric iron contains some nickel, about 4-30 per cent,' he considered it 'unnecessary to go any further in the matter of chemical investigation.' The account of the result quoted from Man (cf. also Dr. Rickard's Man and Metals 1932, II, 834) seems therefore to have mislead Mr Wainwright. The pyramid piece contains no detectable 'traces' of nickel.

In 1989, an analysis of the iron plate was made by El Sayed El Gayar and M.P. Jones, published in their article "Metallurgical investigation of an iron plate found in 1837 in the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, Egypt" (Journal of Historical Metallurgy Society, Vol. 23 No. 2, 1989, pp. 75-83). El Gayar and Jones, using a hacksaw, carefully cut off a small corner of the plate for analysis. This fragment was triangular in shape with an area of 1 cm and a weight of 1.7g. After again determining that the iron contained "only a trace of nickel", thus confirming a terrestrial origin (p. 81), the authors found that the plate consists of numerous laminates of wrought iron and that these laminates have been inexpertly welded together by hammering. The various layers differ from each other in their grain sizes, carbon contents, the nature of their non-metallic inclusions, and in their thicknesses... None of the iron layers contains siliceous, slaggy inclusions. Furthermore, none of the other phases within the iron laminates shows any metallic copper globules, nor do they show more than small traces of the element copper. These features suggest that the Gizeh iron plate had not been produced as a by-product of copper smelting operations. The outer layers of the iron have been badly corroded and now exist as complex banded iron oxides. Small, but significant, proportions of gold were found in one of the oxidised layers and it is thought possible that the plate may, originally, have been gold-plated.

Drs. Jones and Gayer concluded the following: "It is concluded, on the basis of the present investigation, that the iron plate is very ancient. Furthermore, the metallurgical evidence supports the archaeological evidence which suggests that the plate was incorporated within the pyramid at the time that structure was being built".

A more recent analysis of the plate, however, has cast doubt on the findings and conclusions of the study by El Gayar and Jones. In their article "Gizeh Iron Revisited" (Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, Vol. 27 No. 2, 1993, pp. 57-59), Paul Craddock and Janet Lang of the British Museum reported that they were at first unable to obtain the section cut by El Gayar and Jones, consequently the initial study was confined to the larger portion of the plate. A new section was cut adjacent to the original section, and it was examined under a scanning electron microscope both at the British Museum and independently at the Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage (the work was carried out there by Dr. G. McDonnell). It was also analyzed by x-ray fluorescence. Surprisingly, no gold was detected in the metal or in the corrosion. Craddock and Lang further wrote:

Since the last report the original section has been returned to the Museum and we have been able to carry out a thorough investigation. Once again we must report that despite extensive searches no trace of gold could be detected, and it is our firm opinion that the original report of gold is incorrect.

The authors agreed with El Gayar and Jones regarding the structure of the iron plate, but they did not agree on the interpretation. They conclude the following - 'The structure of the plate is consistent with iron-making in the post-medieval Islamic era'.

Comment - The plate has been determined of terrestrial origin. It was declared of ancient origin because of the numulite imprints in it. This was a specific observation, as was the determination that it could not have fallen in at a later date. Other contemporary findings of iron support the idea that this could at least be genuine.

The royal funerary Pyramid Text §907 reads: The doors of bA-kA [an unknown region of the sky] which is in the firmament are opened for me, the doors of iron which are in the starry sky are thrown open for me, and I go through them ...

And finally, this extract from Miracle in Stone. (It does seem strange that none of the learned professors above ever noticed it): 'The Siniatic Mountains and hills are known to be full of iron of the most excellent kind. A Mr. Hartland some years ago, established himself in that region for mining purposes, and there, near Surabit-el-Khadem ,and not far from Wady Meghara, he found, not traces merely, but colossal remains, of iron works and furnaces, belonging to the earliest kings of ancient Egypt, and on a scale so vast as to be testified to by almost mountainous heaps of genuine iron slag and veritable iron furnace refuse (see proceedings Soc. Antiq., Vol V, 2d series, June 1873). Nay. What is more remarkable, here also, is a tablet containing the cartouches of Shufu (Cheops) and Nem-Shufu, the same as the quarry-marks discovered by Colonel Howard Vyse on the hidden stones in the Great Pyramid! These records are engraved in a soffit in the face of the natural rock, where they directly overlook the scene of the furnaces. They begin with the name of Soris, the immediate predecessor to Cheops, under whom the Egyptians seem to have been put through an apprenticeship of working in iron. One of Egypt's ancient kings also appears on the monuments with a name which means "A lover of Iron".' Apart from the obvious implications of an Iron works with the cartouches of fourth dynasty kings on it, it is interesting that the name 'Soris' is mentioned, as this seems to confirm Manetho's chronology. It also implies that Iron was understood and forged before the pyramid was built. Just how big is this mine and where is the Iron?

As final supporting evidence for the use of metal at this time we are told by Mendelssohn that 'grooves for metal bars ' were found in the casing stones of the Meidum pyramid.


Article: (May, 2013)

'Ancient Egyptian (3.300 BC) Iron Beads Linked To Meteorite'

'The "Tube-shaped beads excavated from grave pits at the prehistoric Gerzeh [Giza] cemetery, approximately 3,300 BC, represent the earliest known use of iron in Egypt,"

(Link to Full Article)



A list of other 'lost and found' objects from the Great pyramid.


2.40) Missing pieces of the puzzle. - There are a number of pieces of the 'Great' Pyramid missing!

The most obvious noticeable missing features from the outside have to be either the lack of casing stones or the fact that the pyramid has no top. It is generally agreed that the casing stones have been gradually removed and used as masonry for local building projects in Cairo. The capstone or 'Ben-Ben', which one would normally assume to be found on top of any pyramid, is however, conspicuously missing. Although there are various myths surrounding it, there are no recorded eye-witness accounts, which suggests that it either never existed or that it was 'lost' at some time in the distant past. There is no myth or story (That I know of), of it having been stolen or destroyed. It is not mentioned by Herodotus (which more suggests that it was there). In fact historians as far back as the time of Christ described it as both 'perfect and topless'.

Except for Al-Mamuns' hole, the casing stones apparently remained intact when the Great Pyramid was visited by an Arab historian in the early thirteenth century. But, over the course of the fourteenth century, apparently following an earthquake which dislodged some casing stones (and destroyed Cairo), the rest were systematically stripped off to rebuild the mosques and palaces of Cairo. A century later, during the Italian renaissance, Girolamo Cardano, a Milanese physician and mathematician, and close friend of Leonardo Da Vinci, maintained that an advanced science must have predated the Greeks. He suspected that knowledge of a far more exact degree of latitude must have existed hundreds, if not thousands, of years before the Alexandrian Greeks, and he believed that the place to look for it would be in Egypt (He also predicted the 'star'-shafts before they were found, but for ventilation).

Extract from Petrie : - After the time of Mamun the exterior was used as a quarry; the casing was apparently stripped off by Sultan Hasan for his mosque in 1356, since he is said to have brought the stone hence, and William of Baldensel* in 1336 mentions both the large Pyramids as being "de maximis lapidibus et politis." It was also Hasan, or a near successor of his, who stripped the Second Pyramid; as I found a coin of his deep down in the S.E. foundation. The top was not much denuded in the 17th century; Lambert (Trois Relations de l'Ægypte) in 1630 mentions 12 stones as forming the top of the core, and says that the platform was 20 spans wide; by his span measures of the coffer, this would be 230 inches; among these 12 stones was "une qui surpasse en largueur et longeur Ia croyance des hommes." Greaves in 1638 found 9 stones, and reports two as missing. Thevenot in 1667 reports 12 stones; but as he understood Arabic well he probably accepted a statement of what had been there thirty years before. Other stones of the top and edges of the core were thrown down at intervals, until the beginning of the present century, as is evident from the weathering marks, and the dates of the graffiti.

Internal Missing Features:

The first thing to notice is that the top of the top of the upper granite 'plug' is mostly gone. Al Mamun apparently dug around all three existing plugs before entering the ascending passage, so why is the top plug missing so much (in comparison with the others).

At the junction of the ascending passage and the horizontal passage, the entrance to the 'well shaft' is missing, along with part of another stone next to it.

The false ceiling/floor at the entrance to the passage leading to the Queens chamber is gone, as are any 'blocking-stones' to the chamber. ' (if there ever was one), is missing. The chamber is reported to have once had a coffer in it and the floor is also missing.

The approach to the antechamber of the 'Kings chamber' has been mutilated as has the mechanism that once existed there. The entrance to the Kings chamber has also suffered damage, which looks like a 'forced entry'. Within the Kings chamber the 'coffer' appears to have 'lost' a corner, (and possibly the lid). Most people are aware that a 'mummy' of a pharaoh has never been found in a pyramid (With the singular exception of the Pyramid of Palenque, in Mexico; the tomb of which also had two corners of the lid missing).

The Gallery - There is a suggestion that the groove running along the 'grand gallery gables originally served a function, and that it might have held a 'false ceiling' (also missing if true). The sockets along the wall of the 'Queens' entrance and the grand gallery wall are curious. Whatever they were for or whatever went in them originally is also now missing.

Extract from Petrie : - When, then, was the Pyramid first violated? Probably by the same hands that so ruthlessly destroyed the statues and temples of Khafra, and the Pyramids of Abu Roash, Abusir, and Sakkara. That is to say, probably during the civil wars of the seventh to the tenth dynasties.




2.50) Extra Pieces of the Pyramid:

The list so far is as follows :- A Basket from the Queen's chamber, The piece of wood and ball from the Queen's star-passage, an iron plate, debris in the well shaft, beetle 'exfoliate' and the following.

Extract from 'Miracle in Stone' - 'After a rain Prof Smyth paced about among the gutters which the wash cut into these piles of chips and splinters of stone, to see what he could find. "Towards the top of the heap and just in front of, though at a great distance from the pyramids entrance portal", he found "frequent splinters and fragments of green and white Diorite". It is the material of which the celebrated stone statue in the Boolak museum is cut. It is not native to the region'. (15) As well as this, the Edgar brothers also reported finding 'several small pieces of green idols' from the descending passage and subterranean chamber.

Petrie points out that a quantity of debris from a black rock was found near the niche in the Queens chamber. (16)



2.55) The Trial Passages:

The trial passages are an almost identical replica of the junction between the ascending and descending corridors.

Petrie said this of them:

30. 'The trial passages (P1. iii b.) are a wholly different class of works to the preceding, being a model of the Great Pyramid passages, shortened in length, but of full size in width and height'... ...'The vertical shaft here is only analogous in size, and not in position, to the well in the Pyramid gallery; and it is the only feature which is not an exact copy of the Great Pyramid passages, as far as we know them. The resemblance in all other respects is striking, even around the beginning of the Queen's Chamber passage, and at the contraction to hold the plug-blocks in the ascending passage of the Pyramid (see section 38). The upper part of the vertical shaft is filled with hardened stone chips; but on clearing the ground over it, I p 51 found the square mouth on the surface. The whole of these passages are very smoothly and truly cut, the mean differences in the dimensions being but little more than in the finely finished Pyramid masonry. The part similar to the gallery is the worst executed part ; and in no place are the corners worked quite sharp, generally being left with radius about .15. The N. end is cut in steps for fitting masonry on to it; and I was told that it was as recently as 1877 that the built part of it was broken away by Arabs, and it appeared to have been recently disturbed ; in Vyse's section, however, the roof is of the present length, so the removal must have been from the floor. By theodolite observations the plane of the passage is straight and vertical within 5' or less.

(The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh by W. M. Flinders Petrie)

And Zahi Hawass had this to say:

'To the east of the Great Pyramid, Petrie found passages cut into the rock floor that are very similar to the passages inside the Great Pyramid. These he called "trial passages", thinking they were a trial run for making the actual pyramid passage. The trial passages are just north of the cause-way of Khufu beside the tomb of Hetepheres.

They lie 87.50 m. from the eastern base of Khufu's pyramid and 43.50 m. north of the east-west axis. The passages are oriented north to south, the rock was cut carefully and well squared, and some parts were encased with mortar. The passages have a total length of 22 m. and a total vertical depth of 10 m. At the north end there is an opening in the bedrock when is cut in steps. This becomes a sloping passage 1.05 m. wide and 1.20 m. high, which continues at an angle of 260°3''. From the north entrance of this passage, a second passage, of almost identical cross-sectional dimensions, begins. This second passage ascends southward at approximately the same angle as that by which the first passage descends. At 5.8 m. from its beginning, this second passage reaches the surface of the bedrock and widens into a corridor which is open to the sky. A square shaft, about 0.72 m. m width, was cut vertically from the surface of the bedrock to the point where the two passages meet.

About 6 m. west of the trial passages and parallel to them is a long and narrow trench considered the third trial passage. This runs parallel to the other passages, and is almost exactly equal in width to the vertical shaft in the trial passages. Its southern end is well-cut but its northern end was left rough. It measures 0.15 m. deep at the north end and 0.43 m, deep at the south end. This narrow trench is 0.71 m. wide and 7.35 m. long. Lehner believes that it has some connection with the trial passages.

The function of these trial passages has been debated by scholars since their discovery by Perring and Vyse, who believed that they were part of the substructure of the fourth queen's pyramid which was left without a superstructure. They offer as evidence for this view the fact that these passages lie on the same north-south axis as Khufu's queens' pyramids designated by Reisner as GI-a, b, and c. They also note that the rock around the north entrance to the passages was levelled, indicating that there was a superstructure planned. Petrie, who examined and mapped these passages, noted the similarity of these passages to the passages inside the Great Pyramid.

He suggested that the trial passages functioned as a model for the Great Pyramid's interior structure. Petrie found that "the trial passages" had the same height and width as the passages in the pyramids but were shorter in length. The only feature that differs in the two primary sets of passages is the vertical shaft, which he did not recognize as appearing in the pyramid.

According to Maragiogho and Rinaldi, the trial passages reproduce the following features of the Great Pyramid passages: the descending corridor, the ascending corridor, the northern end of the grand gallery with the lateral benches, and one middle horizontal corridor, which is only roughly outlined. A final point of evidence that these passages were models of the interior of the Great Pyramid for Maragioglio and Rinaldi is the fact that the rock was leveled on the sides of the north opening, which they interpret as an indication of the point where a passage built in masonry continued hewn in the rock'.


Of particular interest is the vertical shaft directly above the junction of the Descending and Ascending corridors.





   Conclusions from Architectural Analysis:


  • The Capstone was first noted as being absent in 50/60 BC by the Greek, Diodorus Siculus.

  • The casing stones were made as flat as possible, even to the extreme of 'invisibly' repairing faults. (2).

  • All the major 'Memphite' pyramids had Tura limestone polished casing-stones.

  • Traces of red (Ochre) were found on the face of casing-stone fragments from the 'Great' pyramid. (Fix).

  • The purpose of the corner-stones was to fix the diagonals of the pyramid.

  • Other corner sockets in Egypt have revealed ritualistic deposits.

  • The 35th row is at the same level as the top of the gabled roof of the 'Queens' chamber.

  • Strabo mentions a 'Hidden Door' in the Great pyramid.

  • There are traces of a 'Door' in the 'Bent' pyramid at Dashur.

  • One of the missing 'portcullis' stones is possibly sitting to the left of the original entrance.

  • The 'Trial passages' contain similar dimensions as those found in the Great pyramid.

  • Although most of the dimensions are the same, there are differences.

  • The 'Cult' pyramid by the 'Bent' pyramid contains internal features similar to the 'Grand Gallery'.

  • The 'Water shaft' fulfils the requirements for Herodotus' description of 'Khufu's' tomb.

  • The lower level (With visible columns), is underwater and has yet to be fully explored.

  • The upper surface of the top granite 'Plug' in the 'Great' pyramid is rough.

  • Other pyramids show evidence of 'Plugging stones'

  • The Edgar brothers cleared 'several pieces' of 'coarse red plaster' from above the 'Plugs'.

  • The start of the ascending passage was cut through existing masonry.

  • There is evidence of a 'forced-entry' prior to Al-mamun.

  • The 'Subterranean' chamber appears unfinished.

  • The 'Southern passage is neatly cut.

  • The 'Ascending' passage passes through three 'Girdle' stones.

  • At least one of the Girdle stones is in the area which was cut through existing masonry.

  • The 'Queen's' chamber has similarities to the 'serdab' of Kagemni at Saqqara.

  • The 'Queens' chamber occupies the central position of the pyramid.

  • Petrie found fragments of black stone in the 'Queens' chamber.

  • The floor is missing from the 'Queens' chamber.

  • The masonry of the upper-parts of the 'Well-shaft' can have only been fitted as the pyramid rose.

  • The 'Well-shaft' is on the same level as the 'Queens' chamber.

  • One section of the 'Well-shaft' was cut through existing masonry.

  • The upper entrance of the 'Well-shaft' shows 'chisel marks'.

  • The rubble found at the bottom of the 'Well-shaft' probably came from an excavation of the 'Grotto'.

  • The excavation of the 'Grotto' was done after the after the completion of the tunnel.

  • There is possibly a piece of the 'Portcullis' in the 'Grotto'.

  • The third corbel of the 'Grand gallery' has a slot running along its length both sides.

  • The finishing of the masonry of the 'Grand gallery' becomes progressively worse the higher one gets.

  • There are twenty eight slots along the length of the 'Grand gallery'.

  • Pochan notes that Khufu was the 28th pharaoh (16).

  • Other pyramids have corbelled chambers.

  • The tunnel to 'Davidson's' chamber was cut through exiting masonry.

  • There is probably a piece of the 'Portcullis' in the 'antechamber' to the 'Subterranean' chamber.

  • There is probably a piece of the 'Portcullis' at the bottom of the 'Subterranean' passage.

  • Some of the Granite stones in the 'relieving' chambers above the 'King's' chamber are cracked.

  • The Kings' chamber was plaster 'repaired'.

  • The 'Kings' chamber show signs of subsidence.

  • The damage appears localized.

  • The sarcophagus had a lockable 'sliding-dovetailed' lid.

  • The Sarcophagus is similar in design to Unas, Medium and Kafre's too.

  • The 'Kings' chamber appears like a 'Djed'.

  • The Djed symbol was a symbol of Osiris (backone) and represented stability.

  • The 'Relieving' chambers contain the only known inscriptions in the whole pyramid.

  • The 'Relieving' chamber granite blocks were polished on one side only.

  • Davidson' chamber, which was later opened, has no inscriptions.

  • The top chamber is constructed of limestone blocks.

  • The top chamber contained salt deposits.

  • The lowest chamber was found to contain insect exfoliate.

  • The 'Relieving' chambers do not 'relieve' the weight below them.

  • The quality of the air inside the pyramid improved when the Star-shafts were re-opened.

  • The beginning and the ends of the star-shafts are precisely online.

  • The Shafts are neatly worked along their length.

  • The Kings Northern shaft shows signs of 'settling'.

  • The Queens shafts were sealed at the bottom with 5 inches of uncut masonry.

  • The Queens Chamber-shafts both end at the same distance, with 'Doors'.

  • Several objects were found in the Queens northern-shaft.

  • The Queens Southern shaft appears to have a cavity behind the 'Door'.

  • Each 'Door' has two copper 'handles' on it.

  • One of the Queens star-shafts reaches the up to the 50th level (Kings chamber floor-check).

  • No other pyramid has 'Star-shafts'.

  • Their location on the wall (E-W, N-S) appears important.

  • It appears important that they are opposite each other.

  • A small sheet of terrestrial 'Iron' as found at the end of the southern shaft.

  • A 4th Dynasty iron works was found in the Sinai Mountains with the name 'Soris' (Manetho) engraved there

  • There are other known 'Old Kingdom' finds of Iron, some from before Khufu.

  • The same engraved record has both 'Khufu's' and 'Khnum-Khufu's Cartouche on it.

  • The top (ben-ben), is missing.

  • There are no historical eye-witness accounts of it, or any accounts other than speculative.

  • The casing stones were recorded as being intact in the 13th century.

  • The 14th c. earthquake which destroyed Cairo is also believed to have dislodged the first casing-stones.

  • The casing-stones are believed to have been used to rebuild Cairo.

  • Girolamo Cardano, a friend of Leonardo Da Vinci, predicted the 'star-shafts' before they were found?

  • The latitude of the Giza pyramids suggests a deliberate geodetic placement.

  • The top of the top granite plug appears to be 'missing' or 'unfinished', yet still in its original state.

  • The blocking-stone to the 'Well-shaft's' upper entry appears to have been 'cut-out'.

  • The blocking-stone to the 'Queens chamber' is missing.

  • The wall approaching the Antechamber' from the 'Grand gallery' has been mutilated.

  • The wall approaching the 'King's' chamber from the 'antechamber' has been mutilated.

  • The 'Kings-coffer' appears to have 'lost' a corner.

  • The 'Kings-coffer' has no lid.

  • The floor appears to be missing from the 'Queens' chamber.

  • A coffer was recorded as being in the 'Queens' chamber.

  • All the pyramids appear to have been entered previously, at some time in the distant past.

  • Fragments of green and white Diorite were found in debris associated with the great pyramid

  • Several pieces of 'green idols' were found by the Edgar brothers, on clearing the lower passage and chambers.

  • A 'quantity of black rock' was found near the niche of the 'Queens' chamber.

  • There is an extra vertical shaft in the 'Trial Passages' outside the pyramid.


There are several unique architectural features at Giza which combine to represent one of the pinnacles of human achievement. Although the pyramids show different building styles, the design of the plateau shows evidence of an overall design (connected to Heliopolis through the alignment of the corners).

The next section deals with the question of Who it was that built Giza. The oldest references of Giza talk of an immigration of people from the east at the same time that the  Early dynastic pyramid building phase began .

(Next Section: Who Built The Great Pyramid)


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1). Alan. F. Alford. Pyramid of Secrets. The Architecture of the Great Pyramid Reconsidered. 2003. Eridu Books.
2). D. Davidson & H. Aldersmith. The Great Pyramid: It's Divine Message. 1924. Williams and Norgate.
5). Kurt Mendelssohn. The Riddle of the Pyramids. 1974. Book Club Associates.
10). Ian Lawton & Chris Ogilvie -Herald. Giza The Truth. 1999. Virgin Publishing.    
13). W. M Flinders Petrie. The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. 1990. Histories and Mysteries of Man Ltd.
14). J. & M. Edgar. Great Pyramid passages and Chambers. 1910. Bone and Hulley.
15). Joseph A. Seiss, D.D. The Great Pyramid: A Miracle in Stone. 1973. Steiner Books.
16). A. Pochan. The Mysteries of the Great Pyramids. 1978. Avon Books.


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