The Shaft, The Subway & The Causeway / 3
This section reproduces a description of the discovery of the
chambers and shafts under the causeway as reported in the London Daily
Telegraph of the 4th March 1935 and a report from the Illustrated London News
of the 6th April 1935. The Illustrated London News item is accompanied by two
breathtaking shots of the excavated causeway. The section goes on to reproduce
a description of the site as reported by Chris Ogilvie-Herald and Ian Lawton
via EGYPTNEWS after making their own exploration in October 1998.
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From Our Own Correspondent...
The following report is taken from the London Daily Telegraph of
the 4th March 1935. I am indebted to The Telegraph Group Limited for allowing
it to be reproduced below and also to Chris Ogilvie-Herald for drawing it to my
attention. The report remains © Telegraph Group Limited, London, 1935
SUBWAY FOUND BELOW THE PYRAMIDS
NEW DISCOVERIES IN
COLONNADED HALL IN ROCK
2,500 YEARS' OLD
FROM OUR OWN
A subway connecting Khephren's Pyramid City to Cheops'
Pyramid City has been discovered in the course of recent excavations. This had
been cut through the living rock.
More remarkable still, a shaft, 11 yards long, was found to
lead from the subway to the heart of the rock. When examined, it was found to
end in a chamber some 6 yards by 11 yards.
From one side of it there was a second shaft leading 16
yards farther down into the rock and ending in a hall somewhat larger than the
upper chamber, with seven smaller chambers leading from it. In two of these,
basalt sarcophagi were found.
From one of these side-chambers a third shaft runs down
another 14 yards into the rock, ending in a colonnaded hall, in which three
more basalt sarcophagi were found. So far, the bottom-most chamber, which is
some 65 yards below the surface of the causeway, has not been investigated, as
it is partly under water.
4th DYNASTY TOMBS
The chambers are, according to Prof. Selim Hassan, the
Egyptian excavator, of the Saitic period (about 600 B.C.). It is known that
between the Saitic and Ptolemaic periods (600 B.C.-200 B.C.) the pyramid area
was used as a burial ground, and, that materials from the 4th Dynasty tombs,
dating some 2,800 years earlier, were used for these later burials.
Indeed, Prof. Selim has been able to reconstruct some of
these 4th Dynasty tombs with original material collected from several points
half a mile or so from the tomb itself. But these later burials have almost
always been above the earlier ones.
This quest of a burial place so far below an older burial
ground is most unusual, and recalls the now historic tomb of Hetepheres, mother
of Cheops, which Dr. Reisner so dramatically found hidden in the living rock
some 32 yards below the causeway leading from Cheops Pyramid to the Pyramid
Prof. Hassan also found that both the paths on either side
of the causeway leading from Khephren's Pyramid to its temple had been paved.
The latter undoubtedly permitted the undisturbed passage of the King's "Ka"
(spirit) from and to the burial-place.
© Telegraph Group Limited, London, 1935
The following item was published in the Illustrated London News
edition of the 6th April 1935. It deals primarily with the excavation of the
causeway and also includes a short reference to the subway, shafts and chambers
beneath the causeway. The photographs of the causeway immediately after its
excavation are of particular interest. Full-screen images optimised for 800 by
600 display and 70k each in size are available by clicking on the pictures in
the page below.
I am indebted to the Illustrated London News Picture Library for
providing a photographic print of the page and for permitting the text and
pictures to be reproduced here. The material remains © The Illustrated
London News Picture Library and may not be reproduced elsewhere without their
A CAUSEWAY TO THE SECOND
PYRAMID: "SECRETS OF THE SPHINX"
click on the pictures to
see the full-size images
Recent excavations under Professor Selim Hassan, undertaken
on behalf of the Egyptian Univeristy, have revealed the nature and extent of a
causeway, whose existence had long been suspected, stretching for nearly half a
mile from the Second, or Khephren's Pyramid at Gizeh to Khephren's valley
temple (the so-called Temple of the Sphinx). The work of clearing the causeway
was extremely arduous, since it was covered with debris, sand, and stones to a
depth that varied between one and fifteen yards.
Once cleared, the causeway proved to be divided into three
separate parts, with a total breadth of some 25 yards. The middle part was
originally a covered road specially devoted to the passage of the Pharaoh's
statue on days of ceremony. The other two ways were for visitors and
sightseers, the priests alone being allowed to pass up the central causeway and
enter the temple at either end.
The covered way is about 650 yards in total length, and for
the whole distance is finely paved with limestone. Its discovery confirms the
belief that the Sphinx dates from Khephren's reign, which began in 2766 B.C.
Khephren reigned for eighteen years, but did not live to see the completion of
Other recent discoveries on the site of the royal causeway
include a tunnel, about 300 yards fron the valley temple, connecting the
necropolis of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid, to the north with that of
Khephren to the south. Near its entrance were found shafts leading to several
small burial chambers which contained sarcophagi. Two of these sarcophagi are
of huge size and are made of basalt stone. Further excavations here are
necessary to complete the work. © Illustrated London News Picture
On Friday 27th November 1998, at a time when hard facts were still
in short supply, co-authors Chris Ogilvie-Herald and Ian Lawton issued a 'Press
Release' via EGYPTNEWS entitled
"The Water Shaft -
The Facts" in an attempt to end the speculation about the shaft under the
causeway. The press release included a comprehensive description of the
location which is reproduced below. See the
full text for
additional background information.
"Upon climbing down 20 or so feet to the first level chamber of
the "water shaft" one proceeds north to a set of two ladders that drop down
some 45+ feet. There is nothing worthy of note at this upper level. Climbing
down to the second level and turning round to view this chamber, which is
oriented north - south, one sees seven rock cut sub-chambers: 3 on the right, 3
on the left and one at the far northern end. Most are empty except for one sub-
chamber on the left and another on the right. Within these two sub-chambers lie
granite sarcophagi, with lids slid to one side and empty save for some rubbish.
These most probably date to the 26th Dynasty.
Over to one's right, on the eastern side, is another vertical
shaft proceeding down to the third level, perhaps some 25 feet below the second
level. Reaching the bottom of the ladder and facing the shaft wall, one turns
around to see a most unusual rock-cut chamber some 100+ feet below ground
level. This third chamber or level is orientated east - west.
Within the centre of this, is a sarcophagus set in a rectangular
depression in the ground, covered by a shallow level of natural water.
Surrounding the coffer is a raised level of rock/soil that forms a rectangle
around the depression, some 2-3 feet wide. On the outside of this is an outer
channel filled with water, itself surrounded by the chamber walls.
In the north-western corner of the chamber wall is a channel
that diminishes in size, and could have once been a natural water inlet. In any
case it becomes far too small to form a secret passageway to the pyramids. All
levels in the "water shaft" are unadorned and without hieroglyphs. Although
this is an unusual and perhaps unique chamber, there are no secret passageways
heading towards the Pyramids, Sphinx or underground cities."
About the Authors...
You might also like to know that Chris and Ian have written a
Giza: The Truth, full details of which can be found on the
Amazon website. Click on the book cover for more information. The book has
certainly generated some heated debate, particularly regarding the age of the
Sphinx. Ian has set up the
"Giza : The
Truth" Discussion Site so that we can share in the on-going discussions
between the researchers whose theories have been challenged and the
Now continue onward to page 4 where we
take a look at stories of a network of tunnels and chambers connecting the
pyramids to the Sphinx.
The Shaft, The
Subway & The Causeway - Contents
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