Queen's Chamber shafts to be investigated in February 2007
The latest news as revealed in a
Channel item dated 30th November 2006 is that in February 2007 a new robot
will investigate the Queen's Chamber north and south passages to try to find
out what is behind the blocking slabs. The work will be undertaken by teams
from Egypt and Singapore, and a joint group from the United Kingdom and Hong
Kong. The same information is repeated in another
item dated 1st December 2006. These items concentrate on investigating what
will be found behind the "doors" but it is interesting to note that in a
2005 item posted on Dr. Hawass' website he mentions receiving a proposal
for the collection of the pins and debris (presumably from the northern shaft)
from a Dr. T. Ng from Hong Kong. The inclusion of a Hong Kong group element
suggests that this may indeed be going ahead. Dr. Hawass stated in an
in December 2005 that he does not want to do the investigation live because he
wants to do the scientific work first and then maybe do a live broadcast if
something important is found.
What's Behind The Door...?
As we all know, not one but two new "doors" have been found inside
the Great Pyramid. There is much speculation about what will be found behind
the "doors" and I'd like to take a moment to put the Towers Online viewpoint.
I'd appreciate any feedback or opinions you may have on it. Personally, I do
not think that chambers of any description will be found when the outer
blocking stones (however many there may be) are finally penetrated. For the
sake of argument, let us assume that the Great Pyramid was replanned during its
construction and that there was a time when the Queen's Chamber (so-called) was
intended to be the main burial chamber. We know that the blocking stones in the
northern and southern shafts are equidistant from the Queen's Chamber. Could
they have been placed close to where the shafts would have exited on a
smaller-scale pyramid? We have a tentative parallel for this if we examine the
shafts leading from the King's Chamber.
On the 12th February 1837, John Perring came across the mouth of
the King's Chamber northern shaft on the north face of the Great Pyramid.
Perring and his men set to work clearing the shaft. It actually turned out to
be a forced passage with dimensions 3 feet by 2 feet nine inches which followed
the actual channel for 37feet, after which the channel continued on with the
original dimensions of 9 by 9 and a half inches. We have no idea who originally
forced the passage from the north face or what obstacles were found. On the
21st May 1837, Perring found the mouth of the King's Chamber southern shaft in
the same relative postion on the south face of the pyramid and once again work
began to clear the shaft. Not far into the core masonry, a Mr. Hill found a
piece of iron blocking the way. From its position, it was not thought possible
for it to have been placed there following the original construction of the
pyramid. Having cleared this obstacle, and at a distance of seven feet from the
surface, Hill found the way blocked by a large stone. Once removed, we are told
that air rushed into the King's Chamber. Could this have been a slab like those
found in the Queen's Chamber shafts? Is it the case that we will eventually
find iron plates and then nothing? We know that the Queen's Chamber shafts do
not appear to have exits on the exterior of the pyramid. Do we know for sure
that the King's Chamber shafts penetrated all the way through to the original
polished exterior casing blocks, or through them?
This hypothesis does have two flaws. Firstly, the height at which
the Queen's Chamber shafts would have reached the exterior of the smaller
pyramid would have been at roughly the same elevation as Campbell's Chamber
(the highest of the relieving chambers). Is it likely that the builders would
have continued to construct the Queen's chamber shafts to their intended height
if they knew that the pyramid was to be enlarged anyway? There again, is it
possible to hypothesise that the pyramid was not actually constructed level by
level and that the shafts were essentially complete when the decision was taken
to extend the pyramid? Secondly, Rudolf Gantenbrink discounts the idea that
niches discovered in the upper reaches of the southern King's Chamber shaft
could have held a blocking stone similar to that found in the Queen's Chamber
southern shaft. See the item ' Cheops Niches' on the Cyber Drawings page of
Rudolf's excellent site The Upuaut Project
for his reasons why. We shall never know if there was a similar niche in the
upper reaches of the northern King's Chamber shaft because it would have been
destroyed by the forced tunnel found by Perring. Despite these potential flaws,
I do believe there are parallels to be drawn.
Introduction To Gantenbrink
The "Queen's Chamber Air Shaft Investigation" and "Great Pyramid
Ventilation Scheme" items below first appeared here in 1998. They were written
using information supplied by Rudolf Gantenbrink and published with his kind
permission. They reflect his views on the situation subsequent to his
exploration of the shafts in the Great Pyramid and are retained here as
historical background information.
Please note that the "Air Shaft" and "Ventilation Scheme" items
must be read in the context of the situation back in 1998. The first section
highlights disagreements with statements made by Dr Hawass at the time
regarding further investigation of the "air shaft" door. The second section
provides an insight into the state of the ventilation system installed in 1992.
A final section has been added by Towers Online to bring matters
up-to-date. It lists the various failed initiatives and gives what we
understand to be the latest news on the further exploration of the shafts.
Rudolf's own website
The Upuaut Project went live
in early May 1999. It gives a full account of Rudolf's work up to the end of
the 1993 season and is essential reading. The account is accompanied by over
sixty photographs of exceptional clarity and interactive CAD plans of the Great
This page was originally added to this site in June 1998.
Queen's Chamber Air Shaft
Rudolf issued the following statement in April 1998 The
word "recent" in the first sentence must be taken in that context. The
statement was as follows:
"In a recent meeting between Dr. Zahi Hawass and myself in Cairo,
I explained to Dr. Hawass several details related to the so called "air shafts"
inside the Cheops Pyramid. One of the issues discussed with Dr. Hawass was
reported on a interview from
Dr. Hawass: We are not discovering anything in the Great
Pyramid, there is nothing really remaining to be discovered inside. Even though
we were prepared to investigate the so-called "door" inside the pyramid that
was found by Gantenbrink. We found that in Gantenbrink's report when he
recently visited me, looking more closely at the video tape, we see that there
really is no crack or an open area that we can send a robot. We found that
there is no shaft or small area, underneath this stone to send a small robot or
anything, this means that we are not going to be able to investigate and see
what's behind it.
Guardian: There's no crack on the bottom of the slab
found by the robot at the end of the shaft that would allow even a small
Dr. Hawass: There's no crack on the bottom, exactly. This
is what the media created and I never received a proper report from
Gantenbrink, because of the problems that we had with him. But when I met him
last week and when he showed me in the videos here what it looks like in there,
we did not really see any crack in the fitting. And therefore, it's very
difficult to decide to do anything further with this.
"This interview has, and might further lead to misunderstandings.
For this reason I would like to clarify the following. I had a meeting with Dr.
Hawass in March of this year in Cairo. The reason for this meeting was to
inform Dr. Hawass personally about additional - still unpublished - facts and
observations made during my work in 1992 / 1993 on the so called air shafts
inside the Cheops Pyramid. In this meeting I have pointed out that a further
investigation of the closure stone at the end of the southern lower shaft by
means of a fibre optic has little chance to achieve the expected results. This
is due to the tremendous costs, and the poor results (due to light source
limitations) that can be expected in the worst case. The "fibre optic"
procedure had never been suggested by myself, and is therefore indeed a true
"Nevertheless, in that meeting I have informed Dr. Hawass equally
about far better high tech methods for a possible continuation of the
exploration. I do not at all agree with Dr. Hawass statement (that was probably
intended differently) "that there is nothing really remaining to be discovered
inside". It is, and remains a fact, that only further research will allow this
conclusion to be drawn. I am convinced that Dr. Hawass - especially after our
meeting - also sees the immediate need to solve the questions that my work from
1992 / 1993 has raised."
Rudolf Gantenbrink Munich April 1998
When this item first appeared on usenet, clarification was
requested on what the '"far better high tech methods" were. Rudolf replied as
"It is a bit complicated. One of the procedures works by
injecting a specified quantity of gas (FCKW) through the gap (5-8mm) below the
"door" by means of capillary stainless steel tubes (one for injection and one
for the analysis). If there is a purpose built volume (which is to be expected
relatively tight) we will get a certain gas concentration after some time (in
relation to the volume) that we can measure. So we can determine the size of
the volume as well. If there is just the nucleus behind (open joints), the gas
will just decrease in its concentration progressively. The equipment for the
procedure is worth about 2 000 000 $ and can be purchased from one of my
sponsors (for me free of costs).
Another procedure: I am very much convinced, that we see only
the backside of the "door". If an engineer is supposed to fix something on a
stone slab (without glue and anchors), he would do the following: 1. The
"thing" that has to be fixed has two bolts fixed to it. 2. The bolts are
inserted in two holes which are drilled though the slab, so that they penetrate
the slab through the backside for some centimetres. 3. Now the bolts can be
bent 90° to fix the whole arrangement safely. So what we see from the
backside are only the bent bolts, and that is exactly what we see on the
"door". To find out if this is really the case the robot can put a current to
one of the copper bolts. If this current can be measured at the other bolt (we
have a closed circuit), we know that the main part (and so the functional one)
of the "door" is located on the other side. There are many more procedures, so
take the two above (not a secret matter*) just as examples. Greetings
*already published in the book IM SCHATTEN DER PYRAMIDEN by
THORSTEN SASSE / ECON VERLAG 1997
Why The Delay In Probing Beyond the Door?
Rudolf was often asked "Why doesn't the work continue?" The
following section contains his response. Once again, it is important to read it
bearing in mind that it reflects the situation in 1998. Several years had
passed since the "door" had been discovered, yet to the outside world it seemed
there was little interest from the egyptian authorities in finding out what lay
beyond. Towers Online has made some minor corrections to improve readability
and has been very careful not to change the intended meaning.
The Nature Of The Find:
1. Can the nature of the find be determined safely?
The result of the find is purely based on visual data . This
data has only two dimensions in space. There are no parallels to the find. No
ancient texts are known describing this arrangement. There are no known ancient
objects that can be compared in detail with the details of the find. The answer
therefore is NO.
2. Do all directly involved parties have all available
The digitally prepared visual data collected during the
investigation - showing details and evidence of Egyptologycal value - was never
evaluated by any Egyptologist. No request was ever put forward to obtain such
data, nor was any interest shown to take part in the process of digital
evaluation. The answer therefore is NO.
3. Are there any theories that can be backed by evidence about the
nature of the find?
Due to the points 1 and 2, there is no solid academic base for
any credible theory. The answer therefore is NO.
Conclusion No. 1: The Nature of the find can not be
The Need For Further Investigation:
4. Can further research not be useful?
There is still very little known about Old Kingdom Pharaonic
burials. The so called air shafts of the Great Pyramid appear to be closely
related to such a Pharaonic burial and ancient beliefs. The shafts had been
misinterpreted as being only a few metres long and abandoned for nearly one
century, so proving that interpretation cannot replace complete investigation.
The northern shaft is not yet completely explored and remains largely as a
still totally unknown area. This shaft could possibly hide evidence which would
allow the whole nature of the find to be understood. The answer therefore is
5. Is a further investigation only of minor importance?
We are dealing with one of the most important and highly exposed
monuments in history. There is huge public interest in further investigation.
Due to this and to point 4, the investigation has major importance. The answer
therefore is NO.
Conclusion No. 2: Further investigation is scientifically
6. Are there technical problems in resuming further
The robot UPUAUT-2 is modified and tested for the exploration of
the northern shaft of the Queens Chamber and has been for more than four years.
Additional plug-ins for remote sensing, probe collecting, and surveying have
also been present for more than four years. Remote analysing equipment was
engineered three years ago and has been available for more than two years. The
answer therefore is NO.
7. Are there financial problems in resuming further
The UPUAUT-2 project had been totally financed though private
sources. The preparation of the equipment for the next operations has been
financed since four years ago, and there is also a budget for the operational
costs. No additional funding is needed The answer therefore is
8. Are there manpower problems in resuming further
From the technical side no additional manpower is needed. As the
whole of the UPUAUT project worked and works only with non-destructive recorded
imaging and remote sensing processes, it can be seen as a "total archive
system". Throughout the whole UPUAUT-2 campaign, no Egyptologist or other
academic person was present, proving that there is no excessive need of
manpower from this side. The answer therefore is NO.
9. Are there political problems in resuming further
The Robot UPUAUT-2, now housed at the British Museum in London,
has been offered for further exploration to the Egyptian S.C.A. The robot is
already modified to be able to explore the northern shaft. The training of a
person to manoeuvre the robot was equally offered to the S.C.A. Due to this the
S.C.A. can resume the work without the involvement of any other nation. The
answer therefore is NO.
Conclusion No. 3: The resuming of the expedition has been
easily feasible for 4 years
Summary Of Conclusions:
- The Nature of the find can not be determined.
- Further investigation is scientifically needed.
- The resuming of the expedition has been easily feasible for 4
years This pragmatic analysis has been forgotten about in the world of
Egyptology. Downplaying, ignorance, academic shyness, and common belief has
replaced the process of science. Don't you call this a scandal ?
The Great Pyramid Ventilation
On visits to the Great Pyramid in 1998, Towers Online often
wondered why conditions inside were so uncomfortable considering that the
pyramid was closed for some considerable time in 1992 for the installation of a
new ventilation system. The following item was written using information
provided by Rudolf Gantenbrink. It describes the original scheme and gives the
reasons for the situation in 1998.
The Great Pyramid Ventilation Scheme was designed and installed by
Rudolf Gantenbrink with the help of the German Archaeological Institute in
1992. The task was divided into five main activities
- To clear the upper air shafts which at the time were completely
filled with rubble, sand and jammed stones.
- Lining out the damaged exit of the northern shaft (11m long) by
means of tubes at a height of 80m.
- Design and construction of protections for the outlets of the
shafts against falling stones, debris and sand.
- Erecting a wall inside the tunnel excavated by Caviglia at the
point where it meets the upper northern "air shaft" to create a defined sealed
section for a fan.
- Installing a complete new electric power source and cables for
the ventilation units.
The ventilation scheme utilised two double stage ventilators. One
was installed at the inlet of the upper southern "air shaft" of the GP, and the
other was installed inside a tunnel excavated by Caviglia (not visible for
tourists) where it meets the upper northern "air shaft". The system improved
conditions inside the Great Pyramid to the maximum extent possible (i.e. the
humidity level inside the Great Pyramid was made equal to the level outside)
while utilising only one third of the total system performance to do so.
In 1997, the fan fitted to the upper southern "air shaft" inlet
was removed. After strong protests from Gantenbrink, it was replaced, however
no attempt was made to reestablish a proper connection to the "air shaft", for
example it was not even bolted back into position. The replaced fan performed
no function other than to create a great deal of noise. Gantenbrink approached
the Supreme Council for Antiquities on several occasions and offered to repair
the system at no cost. The offer was always declined. Gantenbrink estimates
that the original system could have been brought back into full working order
in about two days. It would seem that rather than accept his offer, the SCA
decided to install another system.
Gantenbrink makes the following statement about the situation at
the time (quoted verbatim):
"So all was done in 1992 with great success! It worked perfectly
for about two years, and than by lack of maintenance, mistreatment and
ignorance from the responsible person DR: ZAHI HAWASS (they switch it off for
the spiritual people, and forget to start it again) worked with less and less
performance until the last year where the ventilators were removed for no
reason at all (they still worked when they were switched on, which was seldom
the case)! Now Hawass hails to the world that the French will install a "new"
air-condition. Bullshit, there is no need for a new air-condition! There is
simply a minor repair work of two days to do! But obviously somebody else would
like to get a bit of glory here. That is the single reason for the French
business (wouldn't it be a bit more logic to let me do the little repair).
Didn't Hawass already claim in the New Yorker that he himself installed the
air-condition? It is a true scandal, that what counts in preservation is only
the glory which comes out of it. Prof. Stadelmann from the G.A.I. and Zahi
Hawass both claimed to be the holy preservators. None of them was ever
interested to keep this preservation intact, which was purely based on my work
and my initiative."
From a layman's point of view, it does seem most odd that Dr
Hawass and the SCA have now installed a replacement system when Rudolf
Gantenbrink offered to repair the original six year old system for no charge
and little effort.
Bringing Matters Up-To-Date...
The following briefly documents the various announcements that
have been made regarding further exploration of the southern "air shaft"
leading from the Queen's Chamber. For the most part, the information has been
taken from pp398 - 403 of the hardback edition of "Giza: The Truth" by Chris
Ogilvie-Herald and Ian Lawton. Other sources are identified where
- At a presentation to the California Chapter of the American
Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) in November 1995, Doctor Hawass stated that an
attempt to see what lay beyond the "door" would take place around May
- An article in the Egyptian Gazette of the 31st March 1996
stated that in September 1996 a team led by egyptian scientist Dr. Farouk
El-Baz would explore the shaft using another robotic camera. The team was to
include a Canadian company called Amtex and the German Institute for
Archaeology. Amtex, headed by Peter Zuuring subsequently went bankrupt and
Zuuring disappeared. (see also "Secret Chamber" by Robert Bauval, p290)
- In an interview broadcast by the Art Bell Radio Show in January
1998, Doctor Hawass stated that he hoped to get beyond the door by May
- In July 1998, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald received information
that Joe Schor of the Schor Foundation was funding the construction of a
sophisticated robot. (In March 1999, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald were told by Joe
Jahoda that Schor had looked into helping to fund a robot to get the project
started, but that Dr. Hawass had apparently found another approach that would
be put into operation at the end of 1999)
- In September 1998, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald received
information that a new robot designed and operated by NASA personnel was to go
ahead in Winter 98/Spring 99.
- An article in the Al Ahram newspaper of the 5th November 1998
reported Dr. Hawass as saying that the door would be opened during the
- In April 1999, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald received information
that the opening would be delayed until at least the 12th January 2000.
- In a presentation to National Geographic in early December
1999, Dr. Hawass "promised" that the door would be investigated in May
- At a conference in London held on the 20-21st October 2001, Dr.
Hawass announced that a new robot had been designed by NASA and that tests to
explore the southern shaft will start in March 2002. Chris Ogilvie-Herald
attended the conference and in the Q & A session following Hawass's lecture
asked if there were any plans to explore the northern shaft further to see if
it was also blocked by a slab similar to the "door" in the southern shaft. The
answer was "no" which seems surprising because it would add to our knowledge of
the interior construction of the pyramid and might also shed some light on the
purpose of the shafts.
- March 2002 came and went. The Towers is unaware of any activity
connected with the exploration of the southern shaft. On the 21st April 2002,
Chris Ogilvie-Herald posted a message to the YahooGroups Amun forum in which he
said, "Last I heard, from a producer working for the National Geographic,
something should happen this September.
- On Thursday 8th August 2002, I attended a lecture at the
Egyptian Educational and Cultural Bureau in London given by Mr. Mansour Radwan,
Chief Inspector, Giza Pyramid Area on "Most Recent Discoveries in and around
the Pyramids of Giza". The illustrated talk concentrated on excavations carried
out south of the "Wall of Crows", this being the location of the tombs of the
workmen, builders of the pyramids. Towards the end of his presentation, Mr.
Radwan mentioned that a robot will go behind the 'door' blocking the Queen's
Chamber southern airshaft on the 16th September 2002. I had a brief
conversation with Mr. Radwan after the lecture. Being puzzled as to how a robot
could get past the 'door', I asked how the exploration would be conducted. He
kindly explained that a robot designed by NASA will be sent along the shaft to
the 'door'. An attempt will be made to feed a fibre-optic camera through what
looks to be a small gap at the bottom right hand corner of the 'door'. If this
is unsuccessful, a very small hole will be drilled through the 'door' and the
fibre-optic camera passed through it. At the time, I wrote, "Notwithstanding
any mishaps, it sounds like we do not have long to wait to find out what lies
beyond the 'door'.
- Writing on 1st October 2002, we now know that two new "doors"
have been found. My thoughts can be found at the top of this page. I see that I
was wrong in my report of the 8th August in stating that the robot was designed
by NASA for which I offer my 'umble apologies. We'll have to wait and see what
will happen next. I believe Doctor Hawass has said that it will take several
months to analyse the data and work out a way to proceed.
- On the 20th November 2003, at a presentation in London, Dr
Hawass stated that he hopes to investigate beyond the airshaft "doors" in 2005.
He also said that in the short term he will be examining the Great Pyramid
exterior to see if he can find the Queen's Chamber airshafts emerging at the
The latest news as revealed in a
item dated 1st December 2006 is that in February 2007 a new robot will
investigate the Queen's Chamber north and south passages to try to find out
what is behind the blocking slabs. The work will be undertaken by teams from
Egypt and Singapore, and a joint group from the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
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