Egyptian Stuff

(Revised December 2003)

Contents Of This Section...

This section contains stories and information on various topics connected with Egypt. It is not intended to be a news service. Each link below takes you to an overview of the subject being covered with onward links to the full story. Some of the items started life as news stories which, although now "time expired", have been retained because they still provide useful background material for those new to this area of interest.

From The Antiquity Archives...

Antiquity logoFor those interested in the Great Pyramid and theories about its use, The Towers On-Line is pleased to present an excerpt from an article entitled Pyramids And Their Purpose by Noel F. Wheeler. It was published in the Spring 1935 edition of Antiquity, an international journal of expert archaeology. The excerpt firstly gives a description of how the Great Pyramid may have been used in the funeral rites of the Pharaoh, secondly identifies discrepancies in its construction that suggest it was never used as a tomb, and thirdly presents a theory on where Khufu was actually buried. It still makes for fascinating reading today, sixty four years after it was first published. The Antiquity website is also highly recommended. (added 30/01/99)

Digging Up The Past - A Dig Too Far...?

Join the Daily Mail's 'Special Correspondent' on a daytrip to Meidum back in 1930. Read the eyewitness account of how it all went wrong when the excavators tried to recover the contents of a newly discovered intact burial. Some might say it was a A Dig Too Far. It serves to remind us how much of the past has been lost. The article is reproduced by kind permission of and remains the copyright of The Daily Mail.(added 30/01/99)

Construction Of The Great Pyramid...

The Sphinx and Pyramids

The following is a description of the construction of the pyramids as told to a Greek called Herodotus by various foreigners who had lived in Egypt. According to Encarta '95, Herodotus (484?-425 BC), was a Greek historian, known as the father of history, born in Halicarnassus (now Bodrum, Turkey). He recounts the construction of the Great Pyramid as follows: "The pyramid was constructed in tiers or steps, something like battlements, and when the base was completed the remaining blocks were lifted by a kind of crane made of short timbers onto the first tier. On this first tier there was another lifting-crane which raised the blocks a stage higher, then yet another which raised them higher still. Each tier had its own crane or it may be that they used the same one which being easy to carry, they shifted up from stage to stage as soon as its load was dropped into place. I describe the two procedures given in the two versions which I have heard about. The finishing off of the pyramid started at the top and worked downwards, ending with the parts nearest the ground. An inscription on the pyramid in Egyptian characters records the amounts spent on horse-radish, onion and heads of garlic, and if I remember correctly what the interpreter who read me the inscription said, the sum involved was 1600 talents of silver (41,884 kilogrammes). If this is true, how much must have been spent on the iron used, on other foodstuffs and on the clothing of the labourers? Not to mention the time it took, which cannot have been negligable, to quarry and haul the stone and to build the underground burial chamber". It is interesting to note that Herodotus makes reference to an underground burial chamber, but no reference to the "King's Chamber" or "Queen's Chamber" as burial chambers. Four centuries after Herodotus, the historian Diodorus of Sicily (1st century B.C.) visited Egypt. His account speaks of all three pyramids which he presents as being a funerary ensemble of the fourth dynasty. He also evaluated the sum spent on horse-radish, onions and garlic for the labourers on the Great Pyramid at 1600 talents. He disagreed with Herodotus in that he believed the pyramids did not contain the bodies of the pharaohs, which according to him, had been buried in safe and secret hiding places. The above information is taken from a book titled "All Of Egypt" published by Bonechi.The photograph of the scene at Giza is © 1996 S. R. Simpson.

Door Into The Dark...

Door Into The Dark is the title of an article published in the London Sunday Telegraph back in January 1995. It tells the story of the delays and politics regarding the exploration of the "air shafts" in the Great Pyramid at the time. The article is reproduced here with the kind permission of The Telegraph Group Limited. It remains the copyright of The Telegraph Group Limited.

The Investigation Of The Queen's Chamber Airshafts...

This section tells the story of the delays in the exploration of the Queen's Chamber southern airshaft. In 1998, Dr Zahi Hawass, Director General of the Giza Plateau and Saqqara made some statements regarding the continued exploration (or not) of the shaft with which Rudolf Gantenbrink was not in agreement. Rudolf's views on the matter at the time are reproduced with his kind permission. We also relate his thoughts regarding the breakdown and subsequent replacement of the Great Pyramid ventilation scheme which he designed and installed in 1993. The section also bring matters more up-to-date with the investigation of the airshafts in September 2002.

Rudolf has his own official website called The Upuaut Project which gives a complete technical report on the investigation of the "air shafts" from the beginning right up to the end of the work in 1993.

The full interview with Dr Hawass can be found on his official website The Plateau on the interviews page under the title "Guardian's Spotlight - Interview".

Dr Zahi Hawass Official Website / Guardian's Egypt...

Dr Zahi Hawass now has an official website known as The Plateau. Having read his article on the future conservation of Egypt's treasures and several other articles he has written, I have no doubt whatsoever about his passion for his work or for his concern about the long term future of Egypt's heritage. It is unfortunate that his alleged "withholding of information" and dismissal of alternative theories where no supporting evidence has been produced seems to upset some people, resulting in the never-ending "conspiracy" stories. It is noteworthy that Dr Hawass is now on amicable terms with some of those with whom he had (and still has) significant disagreements. Statements of support from these individuals have been posted at Dr Hawass's website, presumably to make everyone's position clear. This coming together of parties can only bode well for the future.

From the same stable comes Guardian's Egypt - the place to go for a comprehensive tour of Egypt's monuments without leaving the comfort of your own home. The site has won many awards for its presentation and certainly deserves a look.

Egypt Plagued By New Age 'Pyramidiots'...

The antics of "crystal-clutching new agers" are giving cause for concern. They are also upsetting national pride by claiming that aliens rather than the pharaohs built the Pyramids of Giza. In 1996, five thousand people paid six hundred dollars each for an experience like the one provided by Power Places Tours of California. This particular outfit offers an opportunity to enter the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid, lie down in the stone sarcophagus and "connect to spiritual experiences once available only to Egypt's highest initiates". To orthodox muslims, such activities look like blasphemy and some think they should be forbidden. The authorities are keeping an open mind about it, maybe because the Supreme Council for Antiquities can charge two thousand egyptian pounds for a night inside the great pyramid. Zahi Hawass, director of the Giza plateau has recently stated that the new age ideas offend him. He says they are stealing Egypt's history and he refers to them as pyramidiots. He is particularly annoyed with the writings of Robert Bauval, Graham Hancock and John West who all argue that the pyramids were built by beings from Atlantis, by extraterrestrials or by angels. The culture minister, Farouq Hosni has stated "This is piracy. Our history and our civilisation must be respected." - source London Sunday Times.

Excavations Around The Sphinx...

Click on the link for the official line on excavations around the Sphinx as told by Doctor Zahi Hawass, the egyptian government official in charge of conservation work and excavations at Giza..

New Chambers Found Inside The Great Pyramid?

On Saturday 18th April 1998, The London Daily Mail published an article entitled Will this tunnel lead us to the treasure of the Pharaoh? The article quoted a team of British researchers, namely Simon Cox, Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett. A rebuttal of the article was subsequently issued by Mr Cox. The Daily Mail article and Mr Cox's rebuttal are reproduced in full. Thanks is due to the Daily Mail for giving permission for the article to be reproduced here and to Simon Cox for permission to reproduce his rebuttal.

The Shaft, The Subway And The Causeway...

What is the story behind the shaft which passes through the subway under Khafre's Causeway? Is it a shaft tomb of the twenty sixth dynasty as described by famed archaeologist Dr Selim Hassan? Does it have some connection with the ancient mystery schools of Egypt? Is it a symbolic "Tomb of Osiris"? The Shaft, The Subway and The Causeway is a series of pages that try to cast some light on these questions. See the Contents Page for a full rundown of the material available. Alternatively, click here to go directly to our report on how the FOX TV Special broadcast in March 1999 covered the location and an analysis of the issues raised, or to cut to the chase, see the conclusion which finally reveals whether the beautifully decorated chambers described by the Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC in the appendix to his book "The Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid" actually exist.

See also Doctor Hawass's own article entitled The Osiris Shaft.

Duat Magazine / The Daily Grail...

... which is no surprise because it is run by the editorial and news team that helped to set up Phenomena magazine after being enticed into taking The Daily Grail under Phenomena's wing but then split away again to reemerge, pheonix-like as Duat Magazine. My head hurts. Anyway, this excellent site run by Greg Taylor is rare indeed in that it has a real sense of community. It is updated daily with links to stories covering the latest developments in both mainstream and alternative egyptological research and beyond. At the end of each month, the daily reports are added to the site archive for reference purposes. The site is also used by well-known authors to provide updates on work-in-progress as well as featuring interviews with them that cannot be found elsewhere.

Luxor Sheraton Hotel Band Video...

If you feel like some light relief, take a look at this two minute video (RealVideo format) filmed outside the Sheraton Hotel, Luxor in February 1998. Things start to get interesting around one minute into the video... Click on the low, medium or high speed link depending on your connection to the internet. Please advise if you cannot watch the video, contact details at the end of the page.

The Trumpet Of Tutankhamun

This remarkable program by Hans van den Berg contains a recording of one of the trumpets found in the boy-king's tomb actually being played in Cairo back in 1939. The program is divided into three sections. The first section describes the discovery of the trumpet, and gives information on its probable use in Ancient Egypt. The second section lets you hear the trumpet being played in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo for BBC radio and gives a description of this unique event. The third section contains a photograph showing the decorative features on the trumpet bell. You may download the program as a zip file (487k, runs under Windows 3.x. and Windows 95/98 and presumably later editions as well). Just unzip it and the executable is ready to go. The program is ©1996, CCER - Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and may be freely distributed without cost provided it is not changed in any way.

Important Notice: The Towers On-Line has checked the executable program "The Trumpet Of Tutankhamun" for viruses using McAfee VirusScan and believes it to be virus-free, however The Towers On-Line cannot accept liability for damage caused either to your data or your computer system by using this program. If you do not agree with these conditions, you should not use the program.

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