The Shaft, The Subway & The Causeway / 5

"Opening The Lost Tombs" - The Broadcast

On the 2nd of March 1999, the FOX Television Network broadcast a programme entitled 'Opening The Lost Tombs: Live From Egypt.' The closing section of the programme dealt with the 'Tomb of Osiris', the location described in these pages. Here was an opportunity for the man in charge of the excavations to end the speculation about what lies beneath Khafre's causeway.

The text below is a full transcript of this part of the programme. For accuracy, no attempt has been made to correct any grammatical errors that were made by the participants. They are identified in the transcript with the following initials: MP - Maury Povich (FOX), SK - Suzy Kolber (FOX), ZH - Doctor Zahi Hawass. Details of camera shots are in italics.

The preceding section of the programme dealt with the prophecies of Edgar Cayce. Maury Povich used the references to a chamber located underneath the Sphinx to link to the item on the 'Tomb of Osiris'. We join Maury Povich as he starts his introduction

MP: "Two years ago, an American research team came to Giza and using ground-penetrating radar reported odd readings underneath the Sphinx.

[camera shot running alongside the right paw and body of the Sphinx]

MP: "The findings suggested the possibility of an underground chamber. More recently however, Doctor Hawass discovered just that - a subterranean chamber and it lies at the bottom of a long shaft not far from the Sphinx. This long-hidden chamber honours the greatest of Egyptian Gods, Osiris."

[an animated graphic swoops over the Giza plateau, around Khafre's pyramid, back down to the Sphinx, and up alongside the causeway]

MP (voiceover): "In ancient myth, he's the principal figure of the country's genesis, a benevolent God-King who brought civilisation to Egypt but then was brutally murdered by his brother. Osiris was reborn as the Lord of Eternity, Ruler of the Dead, the chief judge at the trial of all souls, and as we now learn, he is part of the wonders at Giza."

[exterior shot looking into the northern subway entrance. Suzy is standing just inside the entrance]

SK: "Maury, we talk so much about dispelling myths - how about confirming one?

[shot from inside the subway. Suzy walks south through the subway towards the bars guarding the shaft entrance. Doctor Hawass is waiting at the open gate]

SK: "About 2,500 years ago, the Greek historian Herodotus who I guess you could call the world's first foreign correspondent visited this site. Local guides and villagers told him that he could find the tomb of a King buried deep beneath the Giza plateau. Well, about a year ago, Doctor Zahi Hawass, who joins me here at the mouth of the shaft, embarked on what he calls his greatest adventure ever. Zahi, you've been doing this for some 30 years. Why is this so amazing?"

ZH: "Well you know Suzy, it's amazing because this is the first time that I excavate underneath 100 feet in water. Before I excavate on sand and dirt and also the same time, I discovered that this is what Herodotus talked about, and I found that this is the 'Tomb of Osiris'. let's go and see what we're talking about."

[animated graphic depicting the layout of the three levels. Note that the orientation of this graphic is incorrect. The correct chamber orientations are given in the following descriptions.]

SK (voiceover): "Our first descent is about 20 feet, a chance to get warmed up to the rickety rusty ladders. Now it gets intimidating. The second leg is a major drop as the shaft narrows before opening into a room once obscured with dirt and sand. Zahi and his men cleared it to find a burial chamber with six rooms."

[Shot of Suzy entering the second level chamber. The chamber is rectangular in shape and orientated on a north/south axis. The shaft enters the chamber on the southern side. There are three small side-chambers along the west side, the centre one containing a large sarcophagus with the lid moved to one side. There is also a small chamber in the north side and three more side-chambers along the east side, the southernmost of which contains the shaft to the third level. The chamber and side-chambers appear to be undecorated.]

SK: "So this is the second level 55 feet down right?"

ZH: "Yah."

[Suzy and Doctor Hawass make their way across the chamber as they talk, halting next to a pile of pottery fragments and bones]

SK: "What did you find here?"

ZH: "You know, I excavated this part. I found six rooms cut in the rock, two red granite sarcophagus, and pottery and bones."

[Doctor Hawass, now crouching down, picks up a pottery fragment]

SK: "What did the bones teach you?"

ZH: "Bones tell us about the people. Pottery gave me the date of this place, 500 B.C., 2,500 years ago."

SK: "And what made you think that there was anything beyond this?"

ZH: "You have to look for the other level. This is the adventure."

[shot looking down the shaft to the third level, then back up to Suzy and Doctor Hawass as they walk over]

ZH: "Let me take you to show you the most amazing thing that you'll ever see in your life, but let us take our jackets off because it's so hot there."

[Suzy takes a good look down the shaft and says...]

SK: "Oh my!"

[animated graphic showing a shaft descending from the second level to the third level chamber - the 'Tomb of Osiris']

SK (voiceover): "Upon discovery, the third level was submerged. When the water was pumped out, Doctor Hawass had the find of his life."

[shot from the bottom of the shaft looking up as Suzy and Doctor Hawass descend the ladder]

SK: "No fear of the unknown?"

ZH: "Yes, but there is great adventure - adventure in archaeology."

[The next scene shows the interior of the third chamber. The chamber is orientated on an east/west axis. The shaft enters the chamber on the eastern side. The camera, positioned towards the western side of the chamber, pans round to show Doctor Hawass helping Suzy to step from a ladder into the chamber. There is a raised rectangular area in the middle of the chamber, the centre of which is hollow and filled with water. Two workmen are operating a winch attached to ropes which are looped around a sarcophagus lid hanging above the hollow area. After a while, Doctor Hawass tells the men to stop, by saying "Halas", meaning "enough".]

SK: "So we're a hundred feet down now. What is this?"

ZH: "Suzy, this is the 'Tomb of Osiris'."

[animated graphic showing how the 'Tomb of Osiris' might have looked when it was intact]

SK (voiceover): "The God of the underworld. This once extravagant mausoleum, a moat with four pillars engraved with hieroglyphics constructed thousands of years ago was intended to be a symbolic shrine for the keeper of the afterlife."

[Suzy and Doctor Hawass crouch down by the raised lid. As they speak, the camera looks into the water to reveal the dim outline of a submerged sarcophagus]

ZH: "If you will look down here, I will show you what is here. Look. There is the second part of the sarcophagus, goes down [measures the distance with a tape measure] I think about one feet.down, and up you see what we did. The lid is up. You will see the length of that lid? O.K. Let us watch out..."

SK: "How much would something like this weigh?"

[as they talk, Suzy and Doctor Hawass measure the length of the sarcophagus lid]

ZH: "Oh, the weight of this was eleven to twelve tons. What's the length?"

SK: "About nine feet."

ZH: "Nine feet. With the whole lid and the second part is about eleven to twelve tons weight."

SK: "And how could they get twelve ton down a hundred feet?"

ZH: "You know when they cut the shaft they filled the shaft with sand and they cut side shafts. They take the sand from the side shafts and the sarcophagus will come down piece by piece."

[animated graphic showing tunnels extending from the third chamber]

SK (voiceover): "And there's more. Archaeologists agree that below the Giza plateau lies a network of tunnels. Could this be the centre, a gateway? Our first evidence is stunningly revealed"

ZH: "I will go now and show you this exciting place."

[Doctor Hawass walks over a ladder placed as a bridge from the centre island to a 'tunnel entrance' located in the northwest wall of the chamber. He turns round to face Suzy]

SK: "Zahi, the American prophet Edgar Cayce talked years and years ago about a lost civilisation, hidden tunnels that would lead to answers about it. Can this have anything to do with that?"

ZH: "You know Suzy, Cayce, Edgar Cayce and lost civilisation, it's a legend, it's a myth. The arabs in the last century, they talked about all this and psychic brought the past back, but, to be fair, I did not excavate this tunnel yet. Then really, I don't know where it leads us but I always say you never know what the sand and the tunnels of Egypt may hide of secrets."

SK: "Zahi, thank you so much for allowing us to experience this adventure with you."

ZH: "You are welcome Suzy."

SK: "And Maury, I guess on a personal level, I am in awe of this whole thing. What a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of this great discovery that will certainly fuel the fire and the speculation that we can find the answers , perhaps details of a lost civilisation, instructions for our future - maybe..."

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