Gantenbrink's Door

Queen's Chamber shafts to be investigated in February 2007

The latest news as revealed in a Discovery 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 news 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 December 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 interview 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 Articles...

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 Pyramid.

This page was originally added to this site in June 1998.

Queen's Chamber Air Shaft Investigation...

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 camera?

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 media creation."

"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 follows:

"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 Rudolf"

*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 information?

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 determined.

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 NO.

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 needed.


6. Are there technical problems in resuming further investigations?

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 investigations?

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 NO.

8. Are there manpower problems in resuming further investigation?

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 investigation?

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:

  1. The Nature of the find can not be determined.
  2. Further investigation is scientifically needed.
  3. 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 Scheme...

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

  1. To clear the upper air shafts which at the time were completely filled with rubble, sand and jammed stones.
  2. Lining out the damaged exit of the northern shaft (11m long) by means of tubes at a height of 80m.
  3. Design and construction of protections for the outlets of the shafts against falling stones, debris and sand.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 applicable.

  • 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 1996.
  • 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 1998.
  • 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 Millennium celebrations.
  • 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 2000.
  • 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 surface.

The latest news as revealed in a news 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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