The Great Pyramid

Fig. 5. The tip of the pyramid, the pyramidion, was apparently a model of the benben stone of Heliopolis, a sacred symbol of the solar religion founded on the sun god Ra; benben comes from the verb wbn, “to rise.” The pyramidion of Khafra’s pyramid, like the others, is gone, but some of the white Tura limestone casing remains.

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 5 — The Mansion of Millions of Years

A series of articles like this, or a book, lecture or Egyptology course, could be focused on Egyptian art, architecture, history, culture, politics, sociology, medicine or virtually anything, and still be about Egyptian religion. Conversely, this series on religion is likewise about everything else. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in ancient Egypt, the tree is religion. In this installment, we will follow the deceased king into his his eternal home, the “Mansion of Millions of Years,” and begin to explore the meanings there — the ideas expressed in architecture. In Part 6, we will continue with a look at the grave goods, art and words that perpetuate life in the world beyond. The immediate purpose is to see the correspondences between Old Kingdom and New Kingdom tombs as they reflect religious ideology. [more…]

Edition - February, 2012

Sphinx and Pyramid

Gantenbrink’s Door – Part II, the Second Robot Mission

The first part of this series tells how, in the early 1990s, modern science revealed the existence of something at the far end of the small shaft heading upwards and outwards from the north and south walls for the Queen’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid. These shafts had attracted little attention since the 19th century. Gantenbrink’s discovery, and explosive pictures, of a door at the end of the southern shaft changed the game. [more…]

Figure 1. Fig. 1. Vertical cross section of the Great Pyramid of Giza showing the main passages and chambers. The rectangle insert shows the region of Fig. 2. The red arrow points to the granite plugs at the bottom of the Ascending Passage. (modified from Piazzi Smyth, Life and Work at the Great Pyramid, Vol.1, Plate 3, 1866).

The Granite Plugs of the Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid on the Giza plateau at the apex of the Nile delta is one of the oldest and largest and yet perhaps the most enigmatic manmade structure in recorded history. Egyptologists have determined that it was commissioned by the pharaoh Khufu in the 4th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom to be his royal tomb. Figure 1 shows a vertical cross section indicating the main passages and chambers. However, within these passages and chambers are many elements of construction that are difficult to explain within the context of a royal tomb. This article focuses on one such enigma: the set of three massive granite blocks that plug the lower end of the Ascending Passage. [more…]

Edition - June, 2011

Gantenbrink’s Door – Part I: the Orginal Discovery

Although we now know that there is chamber at the end of the shafts in the Queen’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid, I still remember first hearing in the late 1990s that something had been found. The whole affair was shrouded in secrecy, back in the days when Dr. Hawass was the Director in charge of the Giza Plateau rather than Minister of State, the position he holds today.  [more…]