The Shaft, The Subway & The Causeway

(Revised November 2003)

The Shaft, The Subway and The Causeway is a rare example in which suggestions of an underground network at Giza by a past Imperator of a modern day mystery school, the Rosicrucian Order AMORC, are actually backed up in print with references to hard archaeological research by an eminent egyptologist. If the references could be authenticated, might this not add weight to the stories of passages and chambers under the Giza plateau? On this page you can find an introduction to the story.

On page 2 we look at how documentary film maker Boris Said came to find himself deep beneath the Giza plateau, what he uncovered there and how Dr Zahi Hawass became involved.

On page 3 we present two newspaper reports dating from 1935 about the discovery of the location visited by Boris Said along with an eyewitness description from October 1998.

On Page 4 we look at the alleged underground layout at Giza as documented by early twentieth century mystic H. C. Randall-Stevens and how his diagrams bear an uncanny resemblance to ancient manuscripts allegedly held by the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC.

On page 5 we give an account of how the FOX television programme 'Opening The Lost Tombs' broadcast in March 1999 revealed the location to the world as a new discovery by Dr Hawass - a symbolic "Tomb of Osiris".

On page 6 we give an analysis of the appendix to the book "The Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid" (the original trigger for this series of pages) and news of the ongoing hunt for information.

On page 7 we give accounts of lectures and broadcasts by Doctor Hawass on his discovery of the "Tomb of Osiris".

To get straight to the outcome of the research to-date see page 8.

An annotated version of the article "Tunnel Talk" written for issue 2 of Phenomena magazine can be found on page 9.

See also the Contents page for a full list of the material covered in these pages.

Contents Of This Section...

The following links are local links to the sections on this page. You can use 'Back' to return to the links after visiting a section.

The Start Of The Puzzle...

subway locationBack in 1997, I came across a book first published in 1936 entitled "The Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid" written by H. Spencer Lewis, Ph.D., F.R.C. Until his death in 1939, Dr Lewis was the Imperator of a modern-day mystery school known as the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC. My interest was aroused by the appendix to the book which describes an article written in the January 1935 edition of a magazine editted in Egypt and "more or less privately published in London". Unfortunately, the magazine is not identified. It was said to contain an article written by Hamilton M. Wright describing discoveries then being made by Dr. Selim Hassan during his sixth season of work at Giza. The article was apparently accompanied with photographs taken by Wright of the excavations. It was during this season's work in 1934/35 that Hassan cleared the causeway linking the Valley Temple of Khafre, pharoah of the second pyramid, to his Mortuary Temple. In the course of these excavations, Hassan found a subway running underneath the causeway from one side to the other. Inside the subway he found a series of shafts descending deep below the causeway and leading to a number of chambers. At the time I had no idea that this same location was already attracting interest from other quarters and would end up being named by Dr. Zahi Hawass as one of his great discoveries - a symbolic "Tomb of Osiris".

A detailed description is given in the appendix to Lewis's book. It describes an interconnected series of rooms with walls beautifully decorated with coloured friezes and refers to many magnificently carved figures. The style of decoration is described as showing characteristics of the period following Amenhotep's mystical reawakening of Egypt (presumably Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhnaton) and it is suggested that the complex was used by an ancient mystery school. A number of sarcophagi were found implying that the complex is a tomb, however the book suggests that they were used for initiatory practises. I was intrigued. The article as quoted in the book states that the find was in a remarkable state of preservation. Furthermore, it claims that photographs were taken at the time and artifacts were recovered. Where are they now? What was the name of the publication quoted in the book?

The reason why this struck me as being of significance is that elsewhere in the book, it claims that The Rosicrucian Order, AMORC is in possession of ancient manuscripts that indicate the existence of underground passages and chambers connecting the Sphinx to the three main pyramids. The appendix to the book seems to suggest that Dr Hassan's discovery of the series of chambers beneath the causeway might in some way corroborate the existence of at least some of these underground passages and chambers. An overview of the appendix is given on page 6

In February 1998, I visited Giza to try to find some answers. The subway passing beneath the causeway linking the second Pyramid to the Sphinx was easy enough to find. A deep shaft descends vertically through the rock, however it is located to the side of the subway passage rather than being in the centre as stated in the book. Any further investigation was blocked by railings placed around the shaft and a locked gate, however the entrance to what was presumably the first chamber described in the book could be clearly seen cut into the north wall at the bottom of the shaft. On-the-spot discussions with a "local" revealed that there was a further vertical shaft descending from the unseen chamber and that the shaft led to two rooms with heiroglyphs on the walls. Unfortunately, this information was obtained via a "shaky" interpreter and so needed confirmation. From what I had already seen and heard, there were noticeable differences from the description given in Lewis's book. It struck me that the facts should be easily verifiable. Dr. Hassan worked at Giza for the University of Cairo for ten seasons starting in 1929 and his findings are documented in the ten volumes of "Excavations at Giza" published by the Government Press, Cairo. I thought I just needed to look up the report for the sixth season's work to find the answers but needless to say, this was not the case.

Take The Surface Sightseeing Tour...

When this section first appeared back in the summer of 1998, there were very few photographs of the location on the internet. The pictures here were grabbed from some videotape I shot in the first week of June 1998. You can click on them to see full-size images, some of them are marked with explanatory captions.

subway location You are standing to the south of Khafre's causeway looking north. The Great Pyramid can be seen in the top left corner. The camel rider is travelling along the causeway towards the Valley Temple. The top of the shaft is surrounded by bricks on three sides. The south entrance to the subway can be seen below the causeway. Note the cables leading into the subway. (53k)
location You have turned to the right and are looking in an easterly direction along the side of the causeway towards the Sphinx. Note the power cable in the forground. (38k)
the grill You have walked into the south entrance. The shaft is on the west side. Note the new-looking padlock, the water pipe descending into the shaft (the top section looks almost white because of reflection) and the top of the metal ladder. (46k)
the subway You have walked further along the subway and turned around to face the south entrance. The grill surrounding the shaft can be seen at top centre. Note the various utility services running along the floor. (53k)
upper shaft You are now back at the padlocked gate. The north entrance can be seen bottom right. Looking up, you can see light entering from the causeway surface. Note the disconnected water pipe in the foreground. (52k)
looking down the shaft You have walked past the shaft and turned around to look down it. The metal ladder can be seen at left descending into the shaft with the waterpipe to the left of the ladder. The horizontal openings in the shaft wall do not continue for any distance. Note the rope or cable on the right. (37k)
bottom of shaft You are looking closely at the bottom of the shaft. The entrance to the first chamber can be seen leading away from the right (north) wall. Discarded rope or cable can be seen on the floor. (44k)
tunnel You are looking into the entrance to the first chamber on its south side. The second vertical shaft is located at the northern end of the chamber. (34k)

Hassan's Description - A Lucky Find...

On returning to the U.K. in February 1998, I visited the Egypt Exploration Society library as part of the search for a copy of "Excavations At Giza." Unfortunately, it did not possess volumes 6 to 10 but while thumbing through volume 5 for no particular reason, I came across a reference to the subway and the shaft under the heading "Shafts Of The Saitic Period." It states:

"During this period, it was the custom for well-to-do persons to cut for themselves very wide and deep shafts ending in a spacious hall out of which opened a series of small chambers, each containing a sarcophagus... Sometimes the shaft is cut abnormally deep and in this case it is divided into stages as it descends. The most striking example of this type of shaft is that which was cut in the causeway of the Second Pyramid and discovered by me in our sixth season's work. [italics mine] Upon the surface of the causeway, they first built a platform in the shape of a mastaba, using stones taken from the ruins of the covered corridor of the causeway. In the centre of this superstructure they sank a shaft which passed through the roof and floor of the subway running under the causeway to a depth of about 9.00m. At the bottom of this shaft is a rectangular chamber, in the floor of the eastern side of which is another shaft. This descends about 14.00m and terminates in a spacious hall surrounded by seven burial chambers in each of which is a sarcophagus. two of these sarcophagi, which are of basalt and are monolithic, are so enormous that at first we wondered if they contained the bodies of sacred bulls.In the eastern side of this hall is yet another shaft, about 10.00m deep, but unfortunately it is flooded. Through the clear water we can see that it ends in a colonnaded hall, also having side chambers containing sarcophagi. We tried in vain to pump out the water, but it seems that a spring must have broken through the rock, for continual daily pumping over a period of four years was unable to reduce the water level..."

(excerpted from "Excavations At Giza Vol. 5 1933-1934" by Selim Hassan with the collaboration of Mahmoud Darwish, Cairo Government Press, Bulaq 1944, page193)

The description above is certainly very similar to the description in the appendix to H. Spencer Lewis's book but differences in interpretation are clear. Hassan is talking about a shaft tomb of the twenty sixth dynasty whereas Spencer Lewis suggests that it may well have been connected with an ancient mystery school and could possibly indicate the existence of other as yet undiscovered passages in the vicinity.

I was convinced that if I could locate a copy of Volume 6, Dr Hassan was sure to have fully documented the find complete with a plan of the layout. I am indebted to Dr David Jeffreys of University College, London for pointing me in the direction of The Griffith Institute, Oxford, and to Dr John Spencer for allowing me to visit the library one Saturday morning. The site excavation plan in volume 6 clearly shows the position of the subway under the causeway and confirms that it was excavated during the sixth season. Unfortunately, I could not find a single mention of the subway or the shaft and its chambers. The extensive descriptions dealt only with the excavation of the Old kingdom tombs to the south of the causeway. Where to look next? Continue

The Shaft, The Subway & The Causeway - Contents

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