“The Pyramid which is the Place of Sunrise and Sunset”
Fourth dynasty; approx. 2575 BC ?
the reader will know the pyramids at Giza are amongst the greatest and
most mysterious structures ever built. I hesitate before saying “ever
built by man”. We do not know who really built them, when or why!
it is generally believed that these massive structures were built over
about 70 years, anyone with any knowledge of even the most up-to-date
engineering technology available today will know that this would be an
impossible task now, let alone thousands of years ago before they had
even invented the wheel or the pulley. Classic Egyptologists tend to
rely on their readers ignorance or lack of imagination when they state
figures like 100,000 men taking 20 years to build the Great Pyramid.
quick calculation reveals the impossibility of such a feat, using ropes
and rollers and dragging stones up to 70 tons up ramps, placing them in
incredibly accurate positions which aligned perfectly with the stars.
They seldom consider how these ancient workers could have dragged and
lifted the stones weighing 200 tons used to build the temples and
causeways around the pyramids and Sphinx.
is often stated that the Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure ordered
the building of these wonders in the fourth dynasty, there is no actual
evidence of this. Quarry marks inside the Great Pyramid may be
forgeries; the tiny statue of Khufu found, upside down as if dropped, in
a crack in the ground outside the pyramid no more suggests that he was
the builder than would the finding of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar
Square suggest that Nelson engineered the Square.
only are these impressive structures surrounded by mystery, but it
appears that even the Egyptian authorities are keen to suppress any new
discoveries and many explorers have in recent days been stopped from
continuing their work on the point of possibly momentous discoveries.
This is precisely what happened to the work of scientist Rudolf
Gantenbrink who, using a robot, examined the so-called ventilation
shafts leading from the so-called Queen’s Chamber in 1993. Having found
evidence of a small door at the end of one shaft and seen (through the
robot eye) a piece of wood which could be dated to reveal the true age
of the pyramid, his work was halted and he has not been allowed to
continue since. Others, like John West and the geologist Robert Schoch
of Boston University, have been ignored, because the results of their
work would seriously effect the classic Egyptologists view of the past;
their work on the weathering of the Sphinx would suggest it is much
older than Egyptologists want it to be. It certainly appears that
either there is some hidden knowledge which us common folk are not
privilege to, or else there is some sort of anti-intelligence
There are hundreds of books written on
the Great Pyramid. Authors approach the monuments from a variety of
angles. For some it is evidence of extra-terrestrial life or of an
advanced civilisation from the past. Others see the Pyramid as a cosmic
message, either warning us of some great disaster or promising us the
coming of a Messiah. Measurements, undeniably precise, can be
interpreted as magical, astronomical or numerological. Some claim the
Pyramid was a tomb, others an observatory of the stars and yet others
believe it was a centre for mysterious initiation ceremonies. Whatever
its true purpose, it is now certain that a great number of
inscriptions, paintings and papyri refer to Giza in terms we are only
just beginning to understand.
As the author of this
presentation, I would have thought the whole thing was no more than
science fantasy, if I had not myself been able to walk around, enter and
climb upon the Great Pyramid.
Items found within the Great Pyramid of Giza
Plate 2.6 cms x 8.6 cms, discovered by J.R.Hill (1837) stuck inside
joint inside southern shaft from King’s Chamber. Purpose and origin
unknown. Now in British Museum.
Three items found in northern ‘ventilation’ shaft from Queen’s Chamber: *
1.Piece of cedar wood: may have been a measure
2.Bronze forked hook-like item, believed to have been used for Opening of the Mouth ceremony, with part of wooden handle.
3.Green granite ball, 0.850 kg (1 lb 3 oz)
All discovered by Wayman Dixon and Grant in 1872.
: These so-called ‘ventilation’ shafts where these objects were found
do not appear to have run as far as the outside of the pyramid.
Size and comparison of size
Height 418.9 feet (146.0 m)
North side755 feet 4.9818 inches
West side755 feet 9.1551 inches
East side755 feet 10.4937 inches
South side756 feet 0.09739 inches
Corner Angles : SE 89o 56’27”; NE 90o 3’ 2”; SW 90o 0’ 33”; NW 89o 59’ 58”
Area 53,000 square metres
Estimated number of rocks = 2,500,000; average weight 2.6 tons
91,000,000 cubic feet
Estimate of tonnage of rock = 6,300,000 tons
The following size comparisons have been made:
The pyramid contains more solid masonry than all the cathedrals, churches and chapels built in Britain since the time of Christ.
The Great Pyramid could contain the cathedrals of Florence, Milan, St. Peter’s, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s.
The base of the pyramid occupies 13 acres, equivalent to 7 New York city blocks!
casing blocks were removed by Arabs to build the mosques of Cairo; the
mosques contain less material than than the outer casing of the
It seems likely
that the Great Pyramid was open through most of the New Kingdom and then
sealed up, maybe due to local superstitions that it housed powerful
magic or a powerful and frightening magician.
Within the period of
fairly ‘modern’ history there was a report by the historian Strabo in
24 BC, that the entrance to the Great Pyramid was through a hinged stone
door, which, once replaced, was indistinguishable from the rest of the
outside of the pyramid. There is no evidence of this, although one of
the pyramids at Dahshur does have such a doorway. At this time it must
have been an even more magnificent building since the outer layer of
polished limestone was still intact. Remember that the pyramid was, to
Strabo, as ancient as Strabo is to us today.
first major attempt to re-find or create an entrance after the original
entrance was lost, was in 820 AD by the young caliph Abdullah Al Mamun.
Convinced that the pyramid contained much treasure the caliph used the
services of many men to try to burrow in through the side. Hammers and
chisels failing they then tried cracking the stones by throwing cold
vinegar onto the stones heated by red hot fires, knocking out the
pieces. This process enabled them to tunnel in one hundred feet. They
met up with a passageway 3_ feet wide by nearly 4 feet high, sloping
at an angle of 26o. They discovered a large stone on the floor, which
seemed to have been dislodged from the roof. They then discovered the
original secret entrance ninety feet to the North and some forty-nine
feet above the base of the pyramid. Following this tunnel, the
‘Descending Passage’ as it became known later, they came upon the empty
‘pit’. Returning to the fallen stone they attempted to dislodge further
stones from the ceiling but were unable to do so.
decided to dig in along side this huge ‘plug’. After six feet they
found another plug, then a third. Eventually they came to limestone so
hard that they could go no further so they forced there way into the
‘Ascending Passage’, again 4 feet high, at a slope of 26o again. They
crawled 150 feet along this slippery passageway, reaching a horizontal
passage which itself led to a rectangular limestone chamber with a
gabled limestone ceiling, which later became known as the ‘Queen’s
Chamber’, although there was no evidence that it related to any ancient
queen; in fact it was the Arabs who buried their women in tombs with
gabled ceilings. There was an empty niche in one of the walls, which
attracted Mamun’s attention further, which could have once housed a
statue or hidden another passage or chamber. Mamun decided to get his
men to burrow into this niche, but they gave up after 3 feet.
to the Ascending Passage they discovered they were in a narrow gallery,
some 28 feet high, stretching up at a slope of 28o. This became known
as the ‘Grand Gallery’. With great difficulty they climbed 150 feet to
find a huge stone which they had to climb over. Beyond this stone the
passage levelled out, the ceiling now only 41 inches high. The
explorers found another chamber (the ‘Antechamber’) and a larger chamber
made from massive polished granite blocks, 34 feet long, 17 feet wide
and 19 feet high. Notice the ratio of the length to breadth of this
chamber is 2 : 1. The roof here was level and the chamber became
known as the ‘King’s Chamber’ because that was the type of ceiling used
in Arab tombs for the men. Unfortunately this chamber was empty except
for a sarcophagus without a lid, although this in itself became
fascinating to later explorers because it is slightly too big to pass
through the chamber door. There were reports that a stone statue had
been found in the sarcophagus although there is no other evidence of
this. Mamun and his men had become so frustrated with the lack of
treasure that they attacked the floor!
after an earthquake had destroyed much of the Arab city El Kaherah, the
Arabs removed 22 acres of outside covering from the pyramid, to rebuild
the city, as well as two bridges! In 1356 AD Sultan Hassan removed
stone to build his mosque which still stands in modern Cairo. There was
much rubble left piled up and this eventually covered Al Mamun’s
entrance Although the removal of the outer layer had uncovered another
two possible entrances, there were now rumours of black magic and nobody
wanted to enter the pyramid.
The next entry of
interest was made by John Greaves, a mathematician and astronomer. He
climbed the rubble and followed Mamun’s route to the Queen’s Chamber
which now stank so bad he had to abandon it. He visited the King’s
Chamber and collected much data and measurements. Greaves also
discovered the ‘Well’ in the Grand Gallery. He descended 60 feet into
this well (there was no water in it) finding that it widened into a
rough chamber later called the ‘Grotto’. Unfortunately the stench and
the large volume of bat dung forced his retreat. He then climbed the
outside of the pyramid counting the courses and estimating the height to
be 481 feet without the missing top layers.
was entered again in 1765 by Nathaniel Davison, an explorer, only to
find the bottom blocked in. Davison also made another remarkable
discovery, the area above the roof of the King’s Chamber, by climbing
the Grand Gallery and crawling down a hole only 2 foot wide. The
chamber he found had been made from rough granite slabs, weighing each
some 70 tons. How these slabs could ever have been lifted and placed so
perfectly is yet another mystery. The chamber is now known as
‘Davison’s Chamber’. The ceiling of this low crawl space is also made
from 70 ton slabs.
In 1798 Napoleon arrived in Egypt
and visited the Pyramid with a unique group of scientists and soldiers,
to search for knowledge of the ancient past. Napoleon was a man
convinced of supernatural powers and fascinated by magic, but they found
nothing more except even more bat dung. On August 12 1799 Napoleon
himself entered the King’s Chamber and asked to be left alone. Upon
exiting he was asked what he had found as he looked shocked and pale.
He answered nothing and never spoke about his experience, until his
dying day when he started to speak but then said “What’s the use, you’d
never believe me” (in French, of course).
discovery was made by an Italian, Caviglia, who cleared the bat dung
from Davison’s Chamber and dug a tunnel off it, finding nothing. Then
Caviglia descended the Well and tried to clear the rubble that had
collected since Mamun’s men had burrowed up into the ceiling. He
struggled 150 feet down a stifling passage, the Ascending Passage and,
despite sickness from heat and smell, he pressed on another 50 feet,
finding a low doorway leading into a hole. Digging into this they
emerged into the bottom of the Well.
About this time
an Englishman, Colonel Howard-Hyse, arrived on the scene at Giza. His
team dug up the floor of the Queen’s Chamber but found nothing there, so
thoughtfully refilled the holes! Discovering a crack in the roof of
Davison’s Chamber they tried to dig into the roof, but were unable to do
and so blasted their way up. Here Hyse discovered another chamber, the
floor of which was the roof of Davison’s Chamber. The ceiling was made
of 50 ton blocks. Continuing upwards they found another similar
chamber made of 8 granite blocks. Over the next four moths they found
three more chambers, all empty, except for a fine black dust originating
from decayed insects. Howard-Hyse named these chambers after Nelson,
Lady Ann Arbuthnot and Colonel Campbell. They are now seen to be a
means of relieving the immense pressure that would otherwise be directly
on the roof of the King’s Chamber; the topmost chamber also had a
gabled roof. Red painted cartouches (upside down so probably quarry
marks rather that decoration), were found on some of the stones up here
and proved to be of a fourth dynasty Pharaoh called Khufu. Khufu was
believed to be the Cheops whom the historian Herodotus had heard of and
reported. It was therefore concluded that Khufu built the Great
Pyramid, although there is very little direct evidence to support this
conclusion. Howard- Hyse also found two shafts running from the King’s
Chamber through 200 feet of solid masonry to the outside of the pyramid;
there is no knowing whether they ever went through the original outer
layer, although it is now widely accepted that these were ventilation
shafts - air poured through when they were unblocked. Incidentally
Howard-Hyse also took the sarcophagus from the third pyramid at Giza,
that of Menkaure, but this was lost off the coast of Spain in a
shipwreck and now lies deep in Davy Jones’ Locker.
The Subterranean Chamber
passage only 3 feet 6 inches (1.1 m) wide and 3 feet 11 inches (1.2 m)
high, at an angle of 26o, descends 345 feet (105 m) from the true
entrance, into the bedrock. It ends in a roughly hewn pit measuring
46’ x 27’1” x 11’ 6” (14 m x 8.3 m x 3.5 m), 600 feet (183 m) below the
apex of the pyramid. There is a hole sunk into the floor, leading
nowhere. In the western side there is a squared, polished, passage, cut
horizontally, 100 feet (30 m) long, leading nowhere. In 1992 Professor
Jean Kerisel used radar to examine the walls and floor of the
subterranean chamber and reported that he found evidence of an
undiscovered system of corridors within the Great Pyramid.
Unfortunately the Egyptian Government has not allowed this to be
further investigated. Strangely Herodotus had reported being told of an
underground chamber at Giza.
The Ascending Passage
passage leads up into the pyramid, at an angle of 26o, matching the
Descending Passage. It is 129 feet (39 m) long, but too low to stand up
in. Where the passage levels out, it forks, one way to the Queen’s
Chamber, the other down steps to the Grand Gallery.
The Grand Gallery
Height 28 feet (8.52 metres)
Length 157 feet (48 m)
Angle of ascent 26o
courses of limestone, each course corbelled in 3 inches over the lower
course.. The gallery is 62” wide (1.6 m) at the bottom but only 41” (1
m) at the top. In present times the gallery is fitted with a wooden
The King’s Chamber
Size : 34’4” (10.45 m) E-W; 17’2” (5.23 m) N-S; height 19’1” (5.81 m)
= 20 x 10 Egyptian Cubits
by a passageway from the top of the Grand Gallery, it is empty, apart
from a broken sarcophagus which is too wide to have been carried through
the passageway. The passage leads to an antechamber with three deeply
cut grooves, which may have been to house a portcullis. A pair of
granite leaves are set above the portcullis entrance, with a small
protuberance or seal on the granite face, on the lower leaf. The
meaning of this is unknown, it is not hieroglyphic. The antechamber
becomes a restricted passage for a few feet, then opens up to the King’s
The floor is made from 15 massive granite paving stones.
The floor plan of the chamber is the ratio 2:1; the height is in the
ratio of the diagonal of the floor, representing the Golden Section, or
Phi, the formula _(1+˚5) .
The walls are formed from 5
courses of stone containing exactly 100 blocks, each about 70 tons. The
ceiling is formed from nine immense red granite stones, some of which
weigh over 50 tons.
The sarcophagus is still inside the King’s
Chamber. As mentioned already it is bigger than the doorway so it could
not be moved out. The sarcophagus has inside measurements of 6 foot
6.6 inches long, 2 foot 2.81 inches wide and 2 foot 10.42 inches deep,
whilst its outside measurements are 7 foot 5.63 inches long, 3 foot 2.5
inches wide and 3 foot 5.31 inches deep. This makes it about an inch
wider than the doorway, so it could not have been carried through the
lower entrance (now plugged). The sarcophagus is made of chocolate
coloured granite with hard granules of feldspar, quartz and mica. It is
wondrous how such a piece could ever have been cut in the Stone Age.
It would require saws 8 feet long, made of some material such as bronze
and jewels - diamond was extremely rare in those days. How on earth
such a block could be hollowed out remains a mystery, as no saws or
drills have ever been found.
There are small ‘ventilation holes’ on the North and South walls, although these may have been wrongly named.
The Queen’s Chamber
horizontal passage, 127 feet (39 m) long, from the Grand gallery leads
to the Queen’s Chamber; the floor of this passage drops two feet
towards its end. There is a stepped niche cut into the chamber’s
southern wall. The floor of the chamber has been left rough. Two
‘ventilation shafts’, left sealed at the outer extremity, run from the
Above the roofing
slabs of the King’s Chamber, closed to the public, a series of rough
hewn blocks set in 4 layers, rise to a roofed compartment. This causes
an echo in the King’s Chamber. It was discovered by Davison in the
eighteenth century and it is believed to be a device for relieving the
pressure on the roof of the King’s Chamber. On one of the upper levels
were found quarry marks containing the cartouche of Cheops - Khufu.
The Well or Grotto
the junction of the Ascending Passage and the passage to the Queen’s
Chamber is a sealed entrance to a narrow, roughly hewn, shaft, running
partly perpendicular, partly obliquely, to the Descending Passage, near
its lowest point in the bedrock.
How Did They Build It?
in mind the huge size of the pyramids, classical Egyptologists have
kindly calculated that it must have taken something like twenty years
and 100, 000 men to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. I think this
statement must require some quantitative analysis.
we must not, of course, forget that this building was achieved (we
think) in the Stone Age, before (we think) the invention of the pulley
or the wheel. However the work was done it would involve (as far as we
know) only the power of human and animal muscles, along with basic
rollers, ramps and levers. We do not know whether such human muscle
would have been provided by reluctant slaves or devoted servants, but
one thing is sure, it would take several highly experienced generals of
the calibre of Napoleon or Caesar to organise such a work-force in one
place. Then there is the question of the number of highly trained
engineers needed constantly on site, supervisors for lifting and
dragging the stones weighing from 1 to 25 tons each. We must not, of
course, forget the huge task force required to feed the workers.
consider how the stones were actually lifted and moved. “Dragged up
ramps”, the Egyptologists explain. But here we are considering dragging
huge stones along rollers, probably wooden and constantly in need of
replacement, up a ramp from river level to an eventual height of
hundreds of feet, to be then placed perfectly. Such a ramp would in
fact involve something like three times the material involved in the
pyramid itself - some 8 million cubic metres - and would need to be
something like 4800 feet long. This material would need to be very
strong and hard and would itself require a huge task force to transport
it ( and, presumably move it away afterwards, since it doesn’t seem to
be around any more). Now for a little mathematics. It is estimated
that the Great Pyramid contains some 2,5000,000 stones, a total weight
of about 6,300,000 tons ( an average of about 2.6 tons each). The 23rd
course alone consists of several hundred 5 ton limestone blocks. Now we
are told that the workers built only during the time of the annual
inundation, when they were not required on the land. But let’s be
generous and assume that the work force worked 365 days a year for the
twenty years and each day they worked 16 hours. This gives us a total
of about 116,800 hours. So they had to cut, transport, drag, lift and
place some two and a half million 2.6 ton (average - a lot weighed over
20 tons) stones in 116,800 hours. That is one stone every 3 minutes!
Quite a feat trying to imagine the large numbers of men crowded into the
available places, pulling and pushing to the shouts of their
supervisors “Left a bit, up a bit, back a bit, down - no, up and
forward a bit - now down again - oh sand, we’ll have to move that one
again!”. I very much doubt that any construction company in the world
today, with all the technology and power available, would take on the
task. 54 tons of solid stones moved each hour, 16 hours a day, 365 days
a year, for 20 years. Obviously, we cannot sensibly accept these
figures based on what we know today, let alone in Stone Age times.
here we have a problem. How can we cook the books? How can we adjust
the figures to make this construction more feasible. To increase the
work force would be difficult, since only so many men can occupy the
space. We do not know any way of making the stones smaller or lighter.
We cannot increase the hours worked per day, or the number of days in a
year, so the number of years must be changed. So far we calculated the
time taken to lift and place a stone to be 3 minutes. This in itself
cannot be possible given our technological knowledge. Safely lifting
huge stones takes a lot longer. But if we estimate 30 minutes the
overall time factor is increased tenfold, that is it will take 200
years. This is all being on the generous side; it would, of course,
have taken longer still. This means workers and bosses alike dying off,
as well as the Pharaoh himself. Then there would be the Second Pyramid
of Giza, as huge as Cheop’s, to build - another few hundred years. We
are now faced with the prospect of a huge organisation spanning over
several hundreds or a thousand years and many successive Pharaohs (many
of whose names we seem to have lost). Do you believe it?
I can only conclude that such as feat as the building of three pyramids
at Giza is physically impossible given our technological knowledge (
hardly considering the other 70 odd pyramids in Egypt). The problem is
that the pyramids are not science fiction, but real, I have been inside
them, like millions of tourists over the last few hundred years. Sure,
there must be some explanation, it was done. But how? Alien
technology, lost magic, the will of the gods? I’ll leave you to think
about that one!
The Valley Temple
as fascinating as the pyramid is the nearby so-called Valley Temple,
composed of hundreds of limestone blocks as large as 30 feet by 12 feet
by 10 feet and weighing up to 200 tons each (yes 200!). How could
these blocks be lifted 40 feet into the air and placed so precisely. In
1997 AD there are only two cranes in the world capable of lifting such a
massive stone and these require 6 weeks preparation by a team of 20
specialised men, as well as a huge counter-weight. Egyptologists seem
to ignore these questions.
The Ground Plan of Giza
are a remarkable number of coincidences in the way in which the three
main pyramids at Giza are laid out. As well as the representation of
mathematical concepts such as PI (22/7) and the alignment of the
pyramids with the poles, it has now been suggested that the ground plan
may be a representation of part of the sky at night. Certainly an
aerial photograph of the pyramid plateau reveals a great similarity with
the shape of the stars in the belt of the constellation of Orion, with
the third pyramid slightly out of line with the other two. Recently,
with the aid of computer generated images of the sky thousand of years
ago, it seems that at least one of the so-called ventilation shafts
pointed directly at Orion. What is even more incredible is that if you
look at the situation of the other pyramids in that part of Egypt, they
represent even more stars of Orion, with the Nile representing the Milky
Way. Maybe there is some significance in this, because we know the
Ancient Egyptians were fascinated by the night sky. Why Orion? Could it have been the home of Osiris?