What is the layout of Ancient Egyptian pyramid shafts?

What is the layout of Ancient Egyptian pyramid shafts?

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I'm investigating proposed alignments between pyramid* shafts and constellations for a video project, and for it, I need to know shaft angles and directions, the directions with respect to true North on Earth (or easily convertible). My problem in looking into this has been that the pyramids are so steeped in new- (and old-) age pseudoscience that online resources I find are all of questionable veracity (i.e., they seem legit but then conclude that the angles are harmonic magical things therefore it was built by aliens).

Can someone point me to the answer via a reputable resource? I would assume with all the study of the pyramids over the centuries that these things are known and agreed upon by legitimate archaeologists.

*I'm referring to the three main ones in Egypt -- Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.

A resource for the directions of the shafts would be the webpage of the discoverer Mr. Gantenbrinck: http://cheops.org/ But you would need a Java plugin to view the CAD-drawings.

That said, and as Tyler Durden has pointed out and has been IMHO wrongly downvoted:

  • Only Khufu's pyramid has shafts, not Khafre, not Menkaure and no other pyramid.
  • The shafts are not leading continuously into one direction. Gantenbrincks drawings show that well. They change angle and direction several times, especially the lower northern shaft in order to avoid hitting the grand gallery.
  • Their purpose remains a mystery (and will continue to do so until new findings appear IMHO). Certain aspects seem to indicate a practical one, others a ceremonial one. For example, it is possible that the Kings chamber shafts provided air flow during construction. Then again, the shafts of the Queens chamber lead inside the chambers wall stone, but did not break through into the chamber. They were discovered in the 1800s by someone who noticed the shafts in the Kings chamber, then tested with a hammer in the Queens chamber if he could find a similar structure there by sound. He did and opened the shaft for the first time.
  • There is no reputable resource on a relationship between the direction of the shafts and star constellations. It is a fringe theory and not accepted by Egyptology. That's why you find only pseudoscience resources. There are numerous problems with the theory, for example no mentioning of Orion (the constellation they claim they point to) in any of the many Egyptian resources and no direct alignment with a constellation (you have to wiggle and rotate to match).

This answer is a little late, I know :)

Mark Lehner talks about this a bit in The Complete Pyramids, he mentions that they are oriented to Orion. (cf. Bauval R.G., 'A master-plan of the three pyramids of Giza Plateau based on the configuration of the three stars of the belt of Orion', Discussions in Egyptology 13 (1989), 7-18) His bibliography is very useful.

"The 'air shafts' extend like antennae through the body of the pyramid from both the King's and the Queen's Chambers. Those from the King's Chamber penetrate all the way to the outside, though very possibly the pyramid casing closed of these purely cultic shafts which may also have been originally plugged in the chamber." (p112)

"Rudolf Gantendrink's robot, Upuaut II, carried a video camera up the southern shaft of the Queen's Chamber, just 20cm (8in) square. It was stopped after about 65m (213ft) by a fine limestone plug with two embedded copper pins." (p112)

There are shafts only in the largest pyramid and none have been found in the others.

The shafts actually make strange and irregular turns at various points, so there is no single "angle" or visage at a particular location in the sky. The depictions you see in books are idealized.

The mode of construction of the shafts is utilitarian and they seem to have some as-yet undiscovered mechanical function. The design and execution of the shafts is consistent with an engineering purpose, not a ceremonial purpose.

The problem is indeed in the differences; rational approach by scientists and esoteric approaches by others. If you are trying to find out what they point at you should also consider what they give access to (or not) from the outside and as an inspiration check out the ingenious solutions Vince Brown gives with his hypothesis published on pyramidofman.com

The shafts have a reason and ventilation is out of the question. So I hope you can provide answers that can be linked to the projection of the shafts to the figure. We need science to debunk the worst esoteric ideas and try to understand those in correspondence with Ancient Egyptian belief.

Also consider north to astronomically be associated with the plough constellation and septentrio (meaning north as a compound of seven plow/ox) as the seven stars of Ursa Major. The interior of Menkaure and Khafre differ from Khufu's who seems a man/king figure while the interiors of the other two seem ploughs that are pointing at the heavenly oxen that pull it so the body of the pharaoh in the sarcophagus would be the planted seed to emerge with Osiris (the vegetation rebirth around the spring equinox. The 2 smaller ones clearly refer to the fields of Aru being plowed to give life. Bread was life in Egypt. The sarcophagus of Khufu is in the position of the mouth in Brown's projection with 2 shafts connected to the jaws thus sarcophagus (flesh eater) containing a Son of Ra has in mythology a counterpart in Cronos eating his children and Zeus is replaced with a stone (the empty sarcophagus?). I don't believe in aliens. The Ancient Egyptians were a people that culminated a lot of ideas in the pyramids and Khufu's pyramid is not only the largest but also the most interesting for its interior. And that interior shows a plan. And that plan is not just revealed by measures alone. Good luck and you have a lot of support! We could chat more about this if it helps the context of your finds.

On Egyptian ploughs: https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/inventions/5-amazing-ancient-egyptian-inventions5.htm

Sarcophagus etymology https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/sarcophagus

The interior www.pyramidofman.com/introduction.html

Great Pyramid: Queen’s Chamber

The so called Queen’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza received its name from Arab explorers, but scholars now agree that it was not actually intended to be the burial chamber of a queen. You enter through a horizontal passageway from the lower end of the Great Gallery.

About five meters from the end of the passage, there is a step, before the passage slopes downward a further sixty centimetres to the floor level of the Queen’s Chamber. There is some speculation regarding this step. Some argue that the pink granite floor blocks originally started at the edge of the step and ran to join the floor of the chamber (so in fact there was no step). They suggest these blocks (being easier to remove) were stolen in antiquity. Others suggest that this feature is the result of the “changes in building plans” often referred to in discussions regarding this monument.

The chamber is made entirely of beautifully finished limestone blocks with a gabled ceiling. It sits on the twenty-fifth course of masonry on the pyramid’s east-west axis. The walls are bare with no inscription, but there is a niche in the east wall about four and a half meters up from the floor. The niche also has a corbel ceiling. It is possible that a statue of the king or his ka (soul) might have stood in the niche, but this is pure speculation. Lehner argues that the Queen’s Chamber would have been sealed off, transforming it into a Serdab (a room for the king’s spiritual soul or Ka as found in many pyramids and in Djoser’s Step Pyramid Complex).

Inside the Great Pyramid

There is a story, regrettably apocryphal, about Napoleon and the Great Pyramid. When Bonaparte visited Giza during his Nile expedition of 1798 (it goes), he determined to spend a night alone inside the King's Chamber, the granite-lined vault that lies precisely in the center of the pyramid. This chamber is generally acknowledged as the spot where Khufu, the most powerful ruler of Egypt's Old Kingdom (c.2690-2180 BC), was interred for all eternity, and it still contains the remains of Pharaoh's sarcophagus—a fractured mass of red stone that is said to ring like a bell when struck.

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Having ventured alone into the pyramid's forbidding interior and navigated its cramped passages armed with nothing but a guttering candle, Napoleon emerged the next morning white and shaken, and thenceforth refused to answer any questions about what had befallen him that night. Not until 23 years later, as he lay on his death bed, did the emperor at last consent to talk about his experience. Hauling himself painfully upright, he began to speak—only to halt almost immediately.

"Oh, what's the use," he murmured, sinking back. "You'd never believe me."

As I say, the story is not true—Napoleon's private secretary, De Bourrienne, who was with him in Egypt, insists that he never went inside the tomb. (A separate tradition suggests that the emperor, as he waited for other members of his party to scale the outside of the pyramid, passed the time calculating that the structure contained sufficient stone to erect a wall around all France 12 feet high and one foot thick.) That the tale is told at all, however, is testament to the fascination exerted by this most mysterious of monuments–and a reminder that the pyramid's interior is at least as compelling as its exterior. Yes, it is impressive to know that Khufu's monument was built from 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing on average more than two tons and cut using nothing more than copper tools to realize that its sides are precisely aligned to the cardinal points of the compass and differ one from another in length by no more than two inches, and to calculate that, at 481 feet, the pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for practically 4,000 years—until the main spire of Lincoln Cathedral was completed in about 1400 A.D. But these superlatives do not help us to understand its airless interior.

The interior of the Great Pyramid. Plan by Charles Piazzi Smyth, 1877.

Few would be so bold as to suggest that, even today, we know why Khufu ordered the construction of what is by far the most elaborate system of passages and chambers concealed within any pyramid. His is the only one of the 35 such tombs constructed between 2630 and 1750 B.C. to contain tunnels and vaults well above ground level. (Its immediate predecessors, the Bent Pyramid and the North Pyramid at Dahshur, have vaults built at ground level all the others are solid structures whose burial chambers lie well underground.) For years, the commonly accepted theory was that the Great Pyramid's elaborate features were the product of a succession of changes in plan, perhaps to accommodate Pharaoh's increasingly divine stature as his reign went on, but the American Egyptologist Mark Lehner has marshaled evidence suggesting that the design was fixed before construction began. If so, the pyramid's internal layout becomes even more mysterious, and that's before we bear in mind the findings of the Quarterly Review, which reported in 1818, after careful computation, that the structure's known passages and vaults occupy a mere 1/7,400th of its volume, so that "after leaving the contents of every second chamber solid by way of separation, there might be three thousand seven hundred chambers, each equal in size to the sarcophagus chamber, [hidden] within."

But if the thinking behind the pyramid's design remains unknown, there is a second puzzle that should be easier to solve: the question of who first entered the Great Pyramid after it was sealed in about 2566 B.C. and what they found inside it.

It's a problem that gets remarkably little play in mainstream studies, perhaps because it's often thought that all Egyptian tombs—with the notable exception of Tutankhamun's—were plundered within years of their completion. There's no reason to suppose that the Great Pyramid would have been exempt tomb-robbers were no respecters of the dead, and there is evidence that they were active at Giza—when the smallest of the three pyramids there, which was built by Khufu's grandson Menkaure, was broken open in 1837, it was found to contain a mummy that had been interred there around 100 B.C. In other words, the tomb had been ransacked and reused.

The subterranean chamber in the Great Pyramid, photographed in 1909, showing the mysterious blind passage that heads off into the bedrock before terminating abruptly in a blank wall after 53 feet.

The evidence that the Great Pyramid was similarly plundered is more equivocal the accounts we have say two quite contradictory things. They suggest that the upper reaches of the structure remained sealed until they were opened under Arab rule in the ninth century A.D. But they also imply that when these intruders first entered the King's Chamber, the royal sarcophagus was already open and Khufu's mummy was nowhere to be seen.

This problem is one of more than merely academic interest, if only because some popular accounts of the Great Pyramid take as their starting point the idea that Khufu was never interred there, and go on to suggest that if the pyramid was not a tomb, it must have been intended as a storehouse for ancient wisdom, or as an energy accumulator, or as a map of the future of mankind. Given that, it's important to know what was written by the various antiquaries, travelers and scientists who visited Giza before the advent of modern Egyptology in the 19th century.

Let's start by explaining that the pyramid contains two distinct tunnel systems, the lower of which corresponds to those found in earlier monuments, while the upper (which was carefully hidden and perhaps survived inviolate much longer) is unique to the Great Pyramid. The former system begins at a concealed entrance 56 feet above ground in the north face, and proceeds down a low descending passage to open, deep in the bedrock on which the pyramid was built, into what is known as the Subterranean Chamber. This bare and unfinished cavern, inaccessible today, has an enigmatic pit dug into its floor and serves as the starting point for a small, cramped tunnel of unknown purpose that dead-ends in the bedrock.

Above, within the main bulk of the pyramid, the second tunnel system leads up to a series of funerary vaults. To outwit tomb robbers, this Ascending Passage was blocked with granite plugs, and its entrance in the Descending Passage was disguised with a limestone facing identical to the surrounding stones. Beyond it lies the㺚-foot-high Grand Gallery, the Queen's Chamber and the King's Chamber. Exciting discoveries have been made in the so-called air shafts found in both these chambers, which lead up toward the pyramid's exterior. The pair in the Queen's Chamber, concealed behind masonry until they were rediscovered late in the 19th century, are the ones famously explored by robot a few years ago and shown to end in mysterious miniature "doors." These revelations that have done little to dampen hope that the pyramid hides further secrets.

The forced tunnel in the north face of the Great Pyramid, supposedly dug on the orders of Caliph Ma'mun early in the ninth century.

It is generally supposed that the Descending Passage was opened in antiquity both Herodotus, in 445 B.C., and Strabo, writing around 20 A.D., give accounts that imply this. There is nothing, though, to show that the secret of the Ascending Passage was known to the Greeks or Romans. It is not until we reach the 800s, and the reign of an especially curious and learned Muslim ruler, the Caliph Ma'mun, that the record becomes interesting again.

It's here that it becomes necessary to look beyond the obvious. Most scholarly accounts state unequivocally that it was Ma'mun who first forced his way into the upper reaches of the pyramid, in the year 820 A.D. By then, they say, the location of the real entrance had been long forgotten, and the caliph therefore chose what seemed to be a likely spot and set his men to forcing a new entry—a task they accomplished with the help of a large slice of luck.

Popular Science magazine, in 1954, put it this way:

It was then, modern accounts continue, that Ma'mun's men realized that they had uncovered a secret entrance. Tunneling around the impenetrable granite, they emerged in the Ascending Passage below the Grand Gallery. At that point, they had defeated most of Khufu's defenses, and the upper reaches of the pyramid lay open to them.

That's the story, anyway, and—if accurate—it adds considerably to the mystery of the Great Pyramid. If the upper passages had remained hidden, what happened to Khufu's mummy and to the rich funerary ornaments so great a king would surely have been buried with? Only one alternate route into the upper vaults exists—a crude "well shaft" whose entrance was concealed next to the Queen's Chamber, and which exits far below in the Descending Passage. This was apparently dug as an escape route for the workers who placed the granite plugs. But it is far too rough and narrow to allow large pieces of treasure to pass, which means the puzzle of the King's Chamber remains unresolved.

The granite plug blocking access to the upper portion of the Great Pyramid. It was the fall of the large limestone cap concealing this entrance that supposedly alerted Arab tunnelers to the location of Khufu's passages.

Is it possible, though, that the Arab accounts that Egyptologists depend on so unquestioningly may not be all they seem? Some elements ring true—for instance, it has been pointed out that later visitors to the Great Pyramid were frequently plagued by giant bats, which made their roosting places deep in its interior if Ma'mun's men did not encounter them, that might suggest no prior entry. But other aspects of these early accounts are far less credible. Read in the original, the Arab histories paint a confused and contradictory picture of the pyramids most were composed several centuries after Ma'mun's time, and none so much as mentions the vital date� A.D.— so confidently stated in every Western work published since the 1860s. Indeed, the reliability of all these modern accounts is called into question by the fact that the chronology of Ma'mun's reign makes it clear he spent 820 in his capital, Baghdad. The caliph visited Cairo only once, in 832. If he did force entry into the Great Pyramid, it must have been in that year.

How can the Egyptologists have got such a simple thing wrong? Almost certainly, the answer is that those who spend their lives studying ancient Egypt have no reason to know much about medieval Muslim history. But this means they do not realize that the Arab chronicles they cite are collections of legends and traditions needing interpretation. Indeed, the earliest, written by the generally reliable al-Mas'udi and dating to no earlier than c. 950, does not even mention Ma'mun as the caliph who visited Giza. Al-Mas'udi attributes the breaching of the pyramid to Ma'mun's father, Haroun al-Rashid, a ruler best remembered as the caliph of the Thousand and One Nights—and he appears in a distinctly fabulous context. When, the chronicler writes, after weeks of labor Haroun's men finally forced their way in, they:

It should be stated here that least one apparently straightforward account of Ma'mun's doings does survive Al-Idrisi, writing in 1150, says that the caliph's men uncovered both ascending and descending passages, plus a vault containing a sarcophagus which, when opened, proved to contain ancient human remains. But other chroniclers of the same period tell different and more fantastical tales. One, Abu Hamid, the Andalusian author of the Tuhfat al Albab, insists that he himself entered the Great Pyramid, yet goes on to talk of several large "apartments" containing bodies "enveloped in many wrappers, that had become black through length of time," and then insists that

What, though, of the earliest accounts of the tunnel dug into the pyramid? Here the most influential writers are two other Muslim chroniclers, Abd al-Latif (c.1220) and the renowned world traveler Ibn Battuta (c.1360). Both men report that Ma'mun ordered his men to break into Khufu's monument using fire and sharpened iron stakes—first the stones of the pyramid were heated, then cooled with vinegar, and, as cracks appeared in them, hacked to pieces using sharpened iron staves. Ibn Battuta adds that a battering ram was used to smash open a passage.

Nothing in either of these accounts seems implausible, and the Great Pyramid does indeed bear the scar of a narrow passage that has been hacked into its limestone and which is generally supposed to have been excavated by Ma'mun. The forced passage is located fairly logically, too, right in the middle of the north face, a little below and a little to the right of the real (but then concealed) entrance, which the cunning Egyptians of Khufu's day had placed 24 feet off center in an attempt to out-think would-be tomb robbers. Yet the fact remains that the Arab versions were written 400 to 500 years after Ma'mun's time to expect them to be accurate summaries of what took place in the ninth century is the equivalent of asking today's casual visitor to Virginia to come up with a credible account of the lost colony of Roanoke. And on top of that, neither Abd al-Latif nor Ibn Battuta says anything about how Ma'mun decided where to dig, or mentions the story of the falling capstone guiding the exhausted tunnelers.

Given all this, it is legitimate to ask why anyone believes it was Ma'mun who entered the Great Pyramid, and to wonder how the capstone story entered circulation. The answer sometimes advanced to the first question is that there is a solitary account that dates, supposedly, to the 820s and so corroborates Arab tradition. This is an old Syriac fragment (first mentioned in this context in 1802 by a French writer named Silvestre de Sacy) which relates that the Christian patriarch Dionysius Telmahrensis accompanied Ma'mun to the pyramids and described the excavation that the caliph made there. Yet this version of events, too, turns out to date to hundreds of years later. It appears not in the chronicle that De Sacy thought was written by Dionysius (and which we now know was completed years before Ma'mun's time, in 775-6 A.D., and composed by someone else entirely), but in the 13th century Chronicon Ecclesiasticum of Bar-Hebraeus. This author, another Syrian bishop, incorporates passages of his predecessor's writings, but there is no way of establishing whether they are genuine. To make matters worse, the scrap relating to the pyramids says only that Dionysius looked into "an opening" in one of the three monuments of Giza—which might or might not have been a passage in the Great Pyramid, and might or might not have excavated by Ma'mun. This realization takes us no closer to knowing whether the caliph really was responsible for opening the pyramid, and leaves us as dependent on late date Arab sources as we were before.

As for the story of the falling capstone–that remains an enigma. A concerted hunt reveals it first appeared in the middle of the 19th century, published by Charles Piazzi Smyth. But Smyth does not say where he found it. There are hints, which I still hope to run to ground some day, that it may have made its first appearance in the voluminous works of a Muslim scientist, Abu Salt al-Andalusi. Abu Salt likewise traveled in Egypt. Very intriguingly, he picked up much of his information while held under house arrest in an ancient library in Alexandria.

The problem, though, is this: even if Smyth got his story from Abu Salt, and even if Abu Salt was scrupulous, the Muslim chronicler was writing not in the 820s but in the 12th century. (He was imprisoned in Egypt in 1107-11.) So while there may still be an outside chance that the account of the falling capstone is based on some older, now lost source, we certainly can't say that for certain. It may be equally likely that the story is a pure invention.

You see, the forced entry that has been driven into the pyramid is just a little too good to be true. Put it this way: perhaps the question that we should be asking is how a passage dug apparently at random in a structure the size of the Great Pyramid emerges at the exact spot where the Descending and the Ascending Passages meet, and where the secrets of the upper reaches of the pyramid are at their most exposed.

Coincidence? I hardly think so. More likely someone, somewhere, sometime knew precisely where to dig. Which would mean the chances are that "Ma'mun's passage" was hacked out centuries before the Muslims came to Egypt, if only to be choked with rubble and forgotten—perhaps even in dynastic times. And that, in turn, means something else: that Khufu's greatest mystery was never quite as secret as he'd hoped.

Jean-Baptiste Abbeloos & Thomas Lamy. Gregorii Barhebræi Chronicon Ecclesiasticum... Louvain, 3 volumes: Peeters, 1872-77 Anon. 'Observations relating to some of the Antiquities of Egypt. ' Quarterly Review XXXVIII, 1818 JB Chabot. Chronique de Denys de Tell-Mahré. Quatrième partie. Paris, 2 vols: É. Bouillon, 1895 Okasha El Daly, Egyptology: The Missing Millennium: Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings. London: UCL, 2005 John & Morton Edgar. Great Pyramid Passages. Glasgow: 3 vols, Bone & Hulley, 1910 Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne. Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte. Edinburgh, 4 vols: Constable, 1830 John Greaves. Pyramidographia. London: J. Brindley, 1736 Hugh Kennedy, The Court of the Caliphs: the Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004 Ian Lawton & Chris Ogilvie-Herald. Giza: The Truth. London: Virgin, 1999 Mark Lehner. The Complete Pyramids. London: Thames & Hudson, 1997 William Flinders Petrie. The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. London: Field & Tuer, 1873 Silvestre de Sacy. 'Observations sur le nom des Pyramides.' [From the "Magasin encyclopédique."]. Paris: np, 1802 Charles Piazzi Smyth. Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid. London: Alexander Strahan, 1864 Richard Howard Vyse. Operations Carried Out at the Pyramids of Gizeh in 1837. London, 3 vols: James Fraser, 1840 Robert Walpole. Memoirs Relating to European and Asiatic Turkey. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1818 Witold Witakowski, The Syriac Chronicle of Pseudo-Dionysius of Tel-Mahre. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiskell International, 1987 Witold Witakowski (trans), Pseudo-Dionysius of Tel-Mahre Chronicle (Also Known as the Chronicle of Zuqnin). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1996.

What Is Inside a Pyramid?

Inside the Pyramids, ancient Egyptians built a series of burial chambers, ventilation shafts and passageways. The Pharaoh's sarcophagus was placed in the king's burial chamber. The ancient Egyptians believed that a part of the Pharaoh's spirit remained with his body after death and so they buried with him anything that he might need in the afterlife including gold, favorite objects and pottery.

Many of the items believed to be sealed into the Pyramids with the mummified bodies of the pharaohs were not present when the pyramids were explored by archaeologists, leading to the belief that the Pyramids were looted by thieves at some point in the past. The Pyramids have hieroglyphic paintings on some of the inside walls that tell the story of the king buried there and related religious tales. The shafts built into the walls are dual purpose. They provide ventilation to the inside of the pyramid, and they also provide an exit for the Pharaoh's soul or ka, the part of the spirit believed to stay with the body. These shafts allow the spirit of the deceased to travel through the pyramid and out to the stars. The Great Pyramid, the largest and most complex of the Pyramids, has a king's chamber, a queen's chamber and a third burial chamber that is unfinished.

Star Shaft Pointing - Busted: Debunking the Star Shaft Theory of the Great Pyramid

To the west of Cairo stands the great brooding mass of the Great Pyramid. And within that great edifice there lies four small and almost insignificant shafts, that rise up from the pyramid’s internal chambers like four arrows loosely arranged in a megalithic quiver.

But while these shafts may look insignificant, the complexity of their construction led Rudolf Gantenbrink, the engineer whose small robot explored these shafts, to suggest that they were the most important elements in the entire pyramid. These shafts dart out at (almost) fixed angles from the internal chambers, piercing and severely disrupting the horizontal layers of stone that form the bulk of the pyramid. The architectural danger this creates is that this great shaft of stones, inclined at anything up to 45º from the horizontal, becomes so disconnected from the surrounding construction that it simply slides back down into the chamber below - just like an unsecured child whizzing down a water-slide. And so these sloping stones had to be securely connected to the rest of the pyramid with interlocking ‘girdle stones’, to prevent them sliding downwards into the chambers below.

Fig 1. Inner structure of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Public Domain

Fig 2. The construction of the small shafts in the Great Pyramid is very complex. A flat lower stone is surmounted by a stone containing a channel. But all these stones need tying into the rest of the pyramid, to stop them slipping.

So these ‘insignificant’ small shafts were actually very significant indeed, and Gantenbrink speculated that the disruption caused by this additional architectural complexity may have doubled the construction time for the pyramid. But if these shafts were a central and very important component of the Great Pyramid’s design, then they must likewise have a very important function. But what was that function? And after so many millennia have passed since this great cathedral has been constructed, could we ever divine what that purpose was? One person thought he had.

Like arrows released from a bow, these four shafts appear to dart out at specific angles, perhaps to specific locations in the night sky. And so Robert Bauval devised a theory that these small shafts were designed to point towards particular stars in a particular era. Furthermore, Bauval went on to claim that because the elevation of these stars changes with the advancing millennia, due to the precession of the equinox (the slow precessional wobble of the Earth), a precise date for the construction of the Great Pyramid could be derived. As can be seen in fig 4, the southern shafts were said to point towards Sirius and Alnitak. These were significant stars because Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, while Alnitak is the brightest star in the belt of Orion. But the northern shafts were much less convincing in their trajectories, because they appeared to point randomly into the northern skies. The insignificant stars pointed to in the northern skies were said to be Kochab and Thuban, with the latter being claimed as the pole star in 2450 BC.

Fig 3. Inside one of the small shafts in the Great Pyramid. There were some regions in these shafts, like this one, that were less than expertly carved. Rudolf Gantenbrink referred to them as ‘Monday morning blocks’.

And this star-pointing theory has been put forward so tenaciously over the years that it has begun to be accepted as a fact, even within the Egyptological world, and so many publications will now portray the small shafts as pointing towards specific stars in the night sky. But the simplistic diagrams that these publications reproduce are rather disingenuous. While Orion and Sirius may be significant stars in the night sky, the star pointing is not simultaneous, as these simplistic diagrams appear to show.

Alnitak, the largest star in Orion, reaches an altitude of exactly 45.0 °, the elevation of the K.S. shaft, at midnight in 2480 BC. But it does not achieve this on any special or significant date, for this coincidence occurs on about November 9th. But at midnight on this very same day, Sirius is nowhere near the Q.S. shaft angle of 39.5 °. We need to wait another one hour forty minutes for Sirius to reach its culmination in elevation of 39.4 °. So this is not actually a simultaneous conjunction of events on a significant date. In fact, the diagram in fig 4 represents just two stars - only one of which is associated with Orion and therefore with Giza - whose elevation-dates have been specifically chosen to match the angles these shafts. And they match these shaft angles at different times on a calendrical date of no consequence. (Data derived from the Voyager 4.0 computer planisphere.)

The situation for the star-pointing theory gets even worse when we turn to the northern shafts in the Great Pyramid, for neither of these northern stars is significant in brightness, position or significance. And the claim that Thuban was the ‘pole star’ is not entirely correct. In reality, Thuban was displaced by 2° from the celestial pole in that era, and displaced a further 0.5˚ from the position that the shaft angle points to. Yet despite the star-pointing theory being contrived to fit a chosen date in this fashion, it has almost become established as a fact. Open any serious historical report or book on the pyramids, and there will invariably be a picture of this star-pointing theory, and a therefore a positive date for the construction of the Great Pyramid of about 2450 BC.

Fig 4. The star-shaft pointing theory championed by Robert Bauval. The shafts are said to point at specific stars in a specific era, and so we can supposedly date the construction of the Great Pyramid from these angles.

But there is more. In a similar fashion to this star-shaft theory, it is likely that the Sphinx was designed as a megalithic image of the constellation of Leo, and so it too can provide us with a precessional date for the construction of the entire Giza plateau. (And perhaps the Second Pyramid too.) The Sphinx achieves this by observing its stellar counterpart, the constellation of Leo, rising at dawn at the vernal (spring) equinox. This correlation will only happen in certain eras, and therefore we can derive a date for this distinctive correlation.

Fig 5. The Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. (Eviljohnius, Flickr/ CC BY 2.0 )

But while the star-shaft pointing date for the Great Pyramid gave a date of about 2450 BC, the date derived from the rising of Leo is 10,500 BC, which implies that the entire Giza plateau is very ancient indeed. But there is a huge disparity between these two dates, and so the book Keeper of Genesis , which was co-authored by Robert Bauval, concluded that Giza was designed in 10,500 BC but the designers did not get around to constructing the Great Pyramid for another 8,000 years. Clearly there was something drastically wrong with this combination of incompatible theories and that something is the false star-shaft pointing theory, which is wrong with a capital ‘W’. Or perhaps that should that be more accurately described as being wrong with a capital ‘B’.

However, it is fairly obvious why Egyptologists decided to jump upon the star-shaft dating bandwagon, rather than the rejected and dejected Leo dating theory. Egyptological ‘experts’ date the construction of the Great Pyramid to about 2550 BC. But this date is based upon some highly disputed evidence for a poorly daubed cartouche of Pharaoh Khufu, situated way up in the attic-chambers above the King’s Chamber. But the 4th Dynasty pharaoh associated with this pyramid was not called Khufu his name was Pharaoh Ufura, a different spelling completely. And so the provenance of the cartouche in the attic chambers is not only disputed, it is also spelt incorrectly.

In addition, no pharaoh in his right mind would ever design a tomb that did not have its internal walls carved and painted with the king’s great name with images of the supportive and approving gods and with extensive quotes from the Book of the Dead. Clearly, the Great Pyramid was not the tomb of a pharaoh, and no royal mummy has ever been discovered in an Egyptian pyramid. Conversely, just because a succession of English kings are buried in Westminster Abbey, does not mean that this great cathedral is merely a tomb. The megalithic pyramids at Giza and Dahshur were most definitely not tombs, they were cathedrals.

So the star-shaft date and the classical date for the construction of the Great Pyramid ended up being within a century of each other, which was highly convenient for all concerned. And the result was an informal ‘conspiracy of mutual confirmation’ between Robert Bauval and academia, which championed and propagated a false theory simply because it supported a dubious official construction date for the Great Pyramid. Had Bauval’s theory derived a date of 7450 BC, these same self-serving academics would have ridiculed it, just as they ridiculed the ‘absurd’ 10,500 BC Leo date. But the star-pointing date was confirmatory and seemingly scientific, so nobody within academia wanted to investigate the issue further, because it was not in their interests to do so.

Fig 6. They pyramids of Giza, Egypt. (Bruno Girin, Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0 )

However, the truth of the matter is that the elevation angles of these small shafts are mathematical, and therefore the star-pointing theory is completely false. The Great Pyramid has a base-length of 440 tc and a height of 280 tc. (Dimensions measured in thoth or royal cubits of 52.35 cm.) And if we divide these measurements by the esoteric biblical number 40, we can derive a fundamental pyramid ratio of 11:7. And this happens to be half the fractional approximation of Pi, which is 22:7.** So the Great Pyramid is actually a Pi pyramid, it represents a fundamental mathematical function. (In fact, it represents 2 x Pi x r, or a circle.) And in a similar fashion, the Second Pyramid just next door is a Pythagorean 3-4-5 pyramid. And so it would appear that one important aspect of these megalithic monuments’ design, is that they are representations of mathematical functions indelibly carved in megaliths.

In which case, we might suspect that other aspects of this grand design are also mathematical. And we would be right, for the angles of elevation depicted by the four small shafts inside the Great Pyramid are 45°, 39.5°, 39.5° and 32.5°. And the numerical differences between these angles are as follows:

This gives us a ratio of 5.5:7, which is obviously half of the Great Pyramid ratio of 11:7. So here are those same Pi ratio numbers yet again, but this time involving angles rather than lengths. It would appear to be undeniable that these shafts angles have been derived from the mathematical function of Pi, because the design of the Great Pyramid itself is also based upon Pi, as has just been demonstrated. In which case these are Pi shafts, not star shafts. And the book K2, Quest of the Gods goes on to prove that the relationship of these shafts to Pi was a cognitive component in this design.

In which case, the angles chosen for these complex little shafts are related to Pi, not stars - their angles of elevation have been designed to resolve into a ratio that represents 1/4 of Pi. But an angle derived from a mathematical function cannot be amended so that it neatly points towards a particular star on a particular date in a particular era. A star-pointing shaft needs some flexibility in its angle, so it can be arranged to point at the intended star. However, a random star in a random era can always be arranged to match these fixed Pi-shaft angles, to force things to fit. And this is what Robert Bauval has done - force a date to match the shaft angle.

But the methodology is in error, and so the results are wrong. And the resulting erroneous 2450 BC date is why Keeper of Genesis ended up with a highly unlikely 8,000 year interlude, between the start and the finish of the Giza construction project. Unfortunately for Robert Bauval a fixed Pi-based shaft angle cannot be arranged to point at a specific date in a specific era, and so a large number of otherwise respected reference texts will have to be amended to delete this error.

Note: In reality, these shaft angles are actually terrestrial map coordinates. And they are based upon the Pi-ratio of the Great Pyramid, because they were designed to draw a stylized imitation of the Great Pyramid on a map.

Hailed as one of the most revolutionary monuments in Egypt, the Step Pyramid of Djoser is also regarded as the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt and the earliest large-scale cut stone construction made by man.

This, however, is untrue for two main reasons. First, there’s a massive enclosure located not far from the Step Pyramid known as Gisr el-Mudir , which predates Djoser’s pyramid and was built almost entirely out of cut-stone. And secondly, the pyramid of Djoser was built during a time when halfway around the world, the civilization of Caral —in present-day Peru—also built massive stone pyramids, temples, and other structures.

Furthermore, we can’t overlook another striking ancient monument that predates the Step Pyramid by several millennia Göbekli Tepe , one of the largest ancient “stone” complexes known to man.

Structure Of A Mastaba

The structure of the mastaba may have come from Mesopotamian ideas, as this civilization was constructing similar buildings and structures at the same time. Built from Nile mud bricks or stone, the mastaba had a distinct bench-like shape with a flat roof and sloping sides.

Mud bricks from the Nile were used exclusively in the beginning of mastaba construction, and they made up most of the construction even when stone became available. The builders would build the important areas of the tomb with stone and then construct the rest with mud bricks. This likely had much to do with the easy availability of mud-bricks and the fact that the mastaba eventually became a commoner's tomb rather than a royal one.

© future15pic - Mastaba Blocks

The mastaba usually stood as high as 30 feet and stretched about four times longer than its width. The location of the mastaba had much to do with the Egyptians' afterlife beliefs. Building it with a north-south position made sure that the soul would be granted entry to the afterlife.

The part of the mastaba that stood above ground contained a small chapel for offerings. This chapel also had a fake door. During the body's rest, the family of the deceased and priests continued to bring food and various other offerings. This was part of the ancient Egyptians' belief that the soul could use items brought to its tomb on Earth to sustain its existence in the afterlife.

The interior of the mastaba consisted of a deep chamber hollowed out of the ground and reinforced with stone or a combination of stone and brick. The chamber that contained the body was dug as deep as possible, even past the bedrock. It was then lined with wood. Another chamber was hidden deep within to keep items for the soul safe. Items might be anything from food, clothes and beer, to personal, precious effects from the person in life.

© viajeyturismoaldia - Mastaba Chamber

Another hidden object deep within the mastaba was a statue of the person. This was usually well-hidden inside the masonry to protect it. In the hidden chamber, small openings were cut into the walls at the very top. These holes allowed the soul to come and go, which was something essential for its continued existence. Incense, spells and rituals were often performed with the intent of reaching the statue.

© Guillén Pérez - Mastaba Statue

Great Pyramid of Giza shafts 'could explain purpose of ancient Egypt structure'

IT is one of the biggest enigmas in history, but an ancient Egypt expert may finally have revealed the function of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The entire Giza plateau is one of the last remaining ancient wonders of the world but speculation of its purpose has been long questioned.

But one little-known theory could explain the true purpose of the iconic structure.

In his 2012 book We The Skythians – The Lie of the Land of Aegypt, David Allen Richie gave a unique take on the purpose of the four well-known shafts in the Great Pyramid are.

After decades of research, he revealed his theory that the Queen’s Chamber – where two shafts originated from inside the pyramid – was a source of sound.

David went on to say that the four so-called airshafts were, in fact, resonant pipes – channels to transmit sound through the pyramid.

That sound would travel from the Queen&aposs Chamber, throughout to the rest of the tunnels before reaching the King’s Chamber.

The King would be within that chamber and would hear a sound, which had been finely tuned by the unique pyramid internal layout, as part of a kind of "initiation ceremony" – which David believed could be the true function of the pyramid.

Matthew Sibson, an ancient history and civilisations expert, spoke about the compelling theory in a recent YouTube video.

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Citing David, the historian explained how these sounds were focused on delivering “specific frequencies” to the King’s Chamber.

The tunnels created a "precise acoustic manner for what can only be described as an initiation ceremony", Matthew explained.

“It was carefully designed for acoustic reasons, to produce specific powerful and transformative sounds for initiation purposes for elevating the soul so the person inside, the King could see and experience the other world.”

While Matthew was compelled by the theory, he is continuing to research some of the lesser-known anomalies and finer details of the Great Pyramid to gain a full understanding of this mysterious architectural wonder.

It comes after the Great Pyramids original entrance may have been revealed.

Cutting blocks

A quarry floor showing quarrying marks made by the ancient Egyptians © There has been much debate concerning the techniques used by ancient Egyptians to cut and dress rough-quarried granite boulders or blocks for use in masonry. No remnants of the actual drilling equipment or saws have survived, leaving Egyptologists to make guesses about drilling and sawing techniques on the basis of tomb-scenes, or the many marks left on surviving granite items such as statues.

. copper alloy drills or saws would have worn away rapidly if used to cut through granite without assistance.

In recent years, however, a long series of archaeological experiments has been undertaken by the British Egyptologist Denys Stocks. Like many previous researchers, Stocks recognised that the copper alloy drills or saws would have worn away rapidly if used to cut through granite without assistance. He therefore experimented with the addition of quartz sand, poured in between the cutting edge of a drill and the granite, so the sharp crystals could give the drill the necessary 'bite' into the rock, and found that this method could work. It seems a practical solution, as no special teeth would have been needed for the masons' tools, only a good supply of desert sand - and this theory is gaining acceptance in academic circles.

. there is still a great deal that remains mysterious about the basic structure of pyramids.

As the recent robotic explorations of the so-called air-shafts in the Great Pyramid have demonstrated, there is still a great deal that remains mysterious about the basic structure of pyramids, and the technology that created them. If we are to gain a better understanding of pyramid-building, the best way seems to be a blend of detailed study of the archaeological remains and various kinds of innovative experimental work. Above all, this is the kind of research that relies on collaboration between Egyptologists and specialists in other disciplines, such as engineering, geology and astronomy.

Tomb or no tomb?

The purpose of the pyramid remains unclear, just as the debated purpose of all other ancient Egyptian pyramids, starting from the first Egyptian Pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser.

It is disputed in the Egyptological community whether or not the pyramid was Ahmose’s eternal resting place, or whether there is a possibility it was a cenotaph– an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person.

Initial explorations of the pyramid revealed no traces of internal chambers, and it is agreed that it is very unlikely that a burial chamber could be located in the midst of the pyramid’s rubble core.

The pyramid did not survive the harsh conditions it was exposed to in the desert and poor construction work with materials unworthy of a pyramid.

Following the mysterious similarities to other ancient Egyptian pyramids, the mummy of Ahmose I was discovered in 1881 within Deir el-Bahri “the Monastery of the Sea,” a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, part of the Theban Necropolis.

This means that just as the first pyramid ever built in Egypt, around 2,600 BC lacked the Pharaoh’s mummy, the last pyramid ever built in ancient Egypt also lacked a mummy. Despite these facts, it still continues to be claimed that the ancient Egyptians were tombs of the Pharaohs, built to safeguard their journey in the afterlife.

For more than 1,200 years the ancient Egyptians constructed Pyramids. Some of them were a success like the Pyramid of Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure, as well as the Step Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid (the third largest in Egypt). But these are just some of the many pyramids that have been built throughout the years, starting in the Third Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, circa 2686 – 2613 BC, and concluding with Ahmose’s pyramid during the 18th Dynasty, circa 1550 – 1292 BC.

Curiously, the last three ancient Egyptian pyramids, Neferhotep I, Sobekhotep IV, and Ahmose I were built at Abydos. It is noteworthy to mention that the pyramids of Neferhotep I and Sobekhotep IV are said to be most likely a pyramid, similar in design to the pyramid of Khendjer, but also possibly a mastaba.

After all, pyramids in Egypt are thought to have evolved from mastabas. After Ahmose’s I reign the pyramid was abandoned, and the rock-cut shaft tombs in the Valley of the Kings would be where the Pharaohs and royalty were buried, leaving no need for Pyramids any longer.

Therefore, it can be said with confidence that Ahmose’s I pyramid was the last royal Egyptian pyramid ever constructed, bringing to an end a chapter in history that saw mankind built some of the largest, most impressive structures in Egypt.

Watch the video: Ανοίγουν δύο αρχαίες πυραμίδες της Αιγύπτου


  1. Daicage

    Wonderful, this is very valuable opinion

  2. Hurlbart

    This message is incomparable))), it is very interesting to me :)

  3. Ioakim

    Funny question

  4. Jeff

    Not in it the essence.

  5. Kazrakinos

    Fun topic

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