4th Dynasty

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…]