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

newspaper article






CAIRO, Sunday

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.


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 Temple.

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

Illustrated News From Gizeh...

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 written consent.


Illustrated London News - April 6th, 1935

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 his pyramid.

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 Library

The EGYPTNEWS Report...

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...

Giza : The TruthYou might also like to know that Chris and Ian have written a book called 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 authors.


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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