This is a picture of the north face of the Great Pyramid below right of the true entrance to the Pyramid is Al Mamoun’s force entrance now used as the main entrance to the Pyramid as the original entrance has been seal shut with a gate.
“According to historical evidence, beautiful smooth limestone blocks, similar to those at the north base, encased the entire Pyramid till 820 A.D., when Caliph Al Mamoun, in his greed to gain possession of supposed hidden treasure, forced his way into the Pyramid’s interior. This was the beginning of the destructive work; and in the years that followed, the outer casing was torn off piecemeal for building purposes.
The existence of the forced passage which extends inward in a horizontal direction till it meets the junction of the Descending and Ascending Passages, proves that the position of the doorway of the true entrance, though evidently well known in earlier times, was (supposedly) unknown to Al Mamoun. Professor Petrie claims that originally, the entrance must have been closed by a stone door, swinging horizontally on side pivots, and having its outer surface flush with the general angle of the casing. He compares the entrance of the South Pyramid of Dashur, which bears evidence of having been closed in this matter. A door such as this would possess no external marks by which its situation could be identified; and knowledge of it having been lost, Al Mamoun was compelled to force an entry for himself.” (We will examine this aspect more thoroughly in our next post) Great Pyramid Passages, Page 139
“Consequently, when Caliph Al Mamoun, with the mistaken idea that the Great Pyramid contained treasure… desired to enter it and explore its wonders, there was only an indistinct rumor to guide him towards trying the northern face rather than any other face of the monument. He selected a spot in the middle line on the seventh course of masonry, and, therefore several feet below and to the right of the true entrance. Here he caused his workmen to force a passage horizontally into the great solid mass of the Pyramid.
It is reported that after weeks of fruitless quarrying, the Caliph’s despairing workmen were disposed to abandon their task, when one day they heard a noise as if something had fallen in an interior space a few feet (actually about 20 feet) from where they were. They immediately set to work eastwards in the direction of the sound, and soon burst into the Descending Passage thus forming the irregular opening found in the west wall of the Descending Passage.
This is a view of the Descending Passage looking south or down toward the pit, the red arrow marking where the irregular opening intersects the passage.
This second photo is a view as if you were standing in the irregular passage looking back down to the Descending Passage you can see the gate below which was seen in the first photo which closes off access to the remainder of the Descending Passage leading to the Subterranean Chamber or pit.
Upon bursting forth into the Descending Passage Al Mamoun’s men found that the noise which they had heard earlier had been caused by the falling of the large angular stone (shown below), which for ages had formed part of the roof of the Descending Passage and had sealed up the entrance to the upper passages and chambers. In this way, the Pyramid’s most important structural secret was revealed for the first time since the erection of the building; and had it not been (supposedly) for the shaking of the masonry which caused the roof-stone to become dislodged and fall, the upper passages might even yet have remained unknown.” (Great Pyramid Passages, Page 63)
Having reviewed the typically accepted view of the events leading up to the discovery of the upper passages and chambers we would here like to take another look at this event from another prospective, one which when sound reasoning is applied I believe has its merits.
“Supposedly according to most versions, Al Mamoun arrived at the Pyramid with an army of scholars (workmen, engineers, architects and masons). For days they scoured the surface for an entrance, but drew a blank. He apparently decided to enter by force at the 7th level of masonry. (The actual entrance is on the 19th course). Having dug or blasted their way through approximately over 30 meters of masonry, they apparently heard (from about 24 ft away through solid masonry), the sound of a stone falling, at which point they turned towards the noise and eventually broke into the descending passage. At this point, they apparently realized that the fallen prismatic block had previously concealed the mouth of the ascending passage and so dug around the granite blocks.”
There are however several problems associated with the Al Mamoun story:
A number of pyramids had already been opened prior to this, and the descending polar passages would have been general knowledge by the time of Al-Mamoun. The presence of an entrance and internal tunnels in the great pyramid had been recorded by Pliny, Strabo, etc. As we are told that the pyramid was sealed when he arrived, one has to ask why he started digging where he did (off-center), and why he continued to dig horizontally into the pyramid for so long a distance (over 30 meters), when according to what was then known no other pyramid had upper chambers or corridors.
His passage leads in an almost (uncannily) direct line to the junction of the ascending and descending passage. Although Petrie states the tunnel to have been cut through the Seventh course of masonry, he also shows it to run through the Sixth course. At present, it is cut through at least two (the height of an average person). It is a curious fact that the Sixth course of masonry is also the top level of the bottom stone (or large angular stone) that hid the granite blocks. This means that they would have been digging only one level above the actual junction of the descending and ascending passages. While the tunnel certainly bears down and left, it only does so at the end, after the ascending passage, and at the point of the granite plugs and junction.
Now ask yourself is it really possible to hear (i.e. feel) a stone drop 4 feet, from behind approximately 24 feet of solid stone, and identify its exact direction, presumably while men are at work digging with picks and shovels?”
Question – Was Al-Mamoun trying to reach the granite ‘plugs‘ specifically?
Answer -If the original, northern entrance was truly lost when he arrived, he took an incredible risk (almost foolish), digging into the pyramid the way he did. As ‘polar‘ passages in pyramids were already well known, it is likely that he had more information available to him at the time then some imagine.
(“Historical Accounts of the ‘Great’ Pyramid” http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.u/ghizahistoricaccounts.htm#1.31)
The foregoing remarks do deserve some consideration,
Why did he have his men dig horizontally into the Pyramid when all the evidence gathered from the other Pyramids indicated no upper chambers? Why not start from a much lower course and dig horizontally and downward from the start?
Some speculate that Al Mamoun did have knowledge of the entrance to the Pyramid, and the Descending Passage, but what he was specifically looking for was access to the Ascending Passages, passages which he deduced were there based upon his examination of what has become known as the “Trial Passages” found hewn into the desert rock of the Giza Plateau to the east of the Great Pyramid approximately 87 meters out from its base.
Below is a picture of the northern entrance to the Trial Passages, off in the distance is one of the satellite pyramids.
When they were first examined by Vyse and Perring in the 1840s they were thought to be passages from an abandoned pyramid or tomb, possibly even a fourth subsidiary (or satellite) pyramid of the Great Pyramid. However, later on W.M. Flinders Petrie noticed that the passages seemed to be a very precise copy of the passages inside the Great Pyramid under the shadow of which they were cut.”
A comparison of the Trial Passages with the interior of the Great Pyramid shows the similarities. “Petrie recognized, these passages clearly as a kind of foreshortened copy of the passages in the Great Pyramid” Passage widths, heights and angles mirror the system of passages found inside the Great Pyramid. We have a Descending passage, an Ascending passage, the start of the Grand Gallery and the beginning of the Queen’s Chamber passage. To further add weight to the idea that we are dealing with a replica of the inside of the Great Pyramid, the Ascending passage of the Trial Passages – where it meets the Descending passage – contracts as it does in the Great Pyramid as if it were ready to accept plug-blocks. No plug-blocks have been found in the trial passages yet the builders went to the trouble of adding this feature.
Furthermore, Flinders Petrie in his work The Pyramids and Temples of Giza adds that there is also a passage that corresponds to the top of the well shaft found in the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid, however in this case the location is not in any way identical to the position of this feature in the Great Pyramid.
From this we can ascertain that a great deal of effort was expended to duplicate the internal passages of the Great Pyramid out on the desert floor, a stone’s throw from the pyramid itself. Furthermore, the fact that the mean differences in the cut passages are little more than in the Great Pyramid itself (the passages of which are very highly praised by Petrie for their accuracy) raise the likelihood that the two constructions were carried out by the same builders and that a high degree of accuracy was a requisite for both sets of passages.
Let us assume for a moment that many visitors were also aware of the Trial Passages to the East. How many puzzled explorers entered these corridors only to ponder why they were there? They led nowhere and there was no chamber at their conclusion. Instead they ended in a blank wall. Was Mamoun the first to realize they bore a resemblance to the Great Pyramids passages? Anyone measuring the width and height and angle of the entrance to the Great Pyramid and comparing them with the Trial passages would have seen a similarity. Was Mamoun the first to do this and then notice that inside the Trial Passages there was a further passage leading up from the roof of the Descending passage? Did this make him wonder whether a similar passage existed inside the Great Pyramid?
After having come to the conclusion that there was indeed an ascending passage Al Mamoun must have thoroughly examined the Descending Passage looking for any clues to its entrance. The clue would be found in a comparisons with the scored lines carved into the walls of the Great Pyramid’s Descending passage and their similarity to the sloped face found at the top of the Trial Passages’ Descending Passage. It would have been possible to compare the distance between this feature and the beginning of each Descending passage to work out what scale would be needed to calculate the position of the start of the Ascending passage.
The problem with these calculations is that the ground around the start of the Descending passage of the Trial Passages is very worn and it is difficult to ascertain where the passage originally started. However, if it originally started at the height of the seemingly leveled ground above the passages as a whole, this would have enabled Al-Mamoun to have identified the exact spot on the roof of the Descending passage to within a few inches. This would have been more than accurate enough bearing in mind that the hidden lintel (or large angular stone) would have resembled one of the large roofing stones so being correct to within a few inches would have highlighted which stone was actually the hidden lintel and not simply another roofing slab.
Of course he may not have taken this into account and may just have tried examining all of the roofing blocks one by one until he located the right one! The truth is we will never know but it is very interesting to note that it could well have been possible for him to locate the entrance in this manner if he had studied the Trial Passages closely enough and made the connection between the scored lines and the flat surface of rock inclined at the same angle at the head of the Trial Passages.
Locating the hidden lintel Mamoun then removes it and expecting to see an Ascending passage he is suddenly surprised to find that it is indeed there but travels only a few inches before being plugged by huge granite stones! After a few vain attempts at chiseling through the granite plugs themselves proved ineffective he ordered that they be dug around and in doing so he revealed the Ascending Passage. (“Trial Passages, A Message in Stone?” http://www.artifice-design.co.uk/rosetau/trial.html)
But what now are we to make of the “forced entrance”? What purpose would there be for this particular access to the Pyramid if one could simply enter the descending passage and then bypass the granite plugs around through where Al Mamoun’s men cleared an entrance? Perhaps as suggested by the author of the above mentioned website there is another possibility.
“It is highly probable that the real reason for the forced tunnel was not to get into the pyramid, but rather to get ‘something’ OUT. Whatever it was, though, it must have been small enough to go down the first part of the ascending passage, but it was too long to go around the bend between the descending and ascending passageways. The only alternative for the intrepid explorers, was to dig a tunnel directly outwards from the junction of the two passageways, bypassing the constriction.
This explains both of the questions posed above. The original entrance had been known about, and the accuracy of the forced tunnel is because it was started from inside and dug outwards. This may also explain why so much rubble was later found in the bottom of the descending passage, it came from the forced tunnel’s excavations.”
But what was it that was removed from the Great Pyramid that required this alternative entry way?
Now the author purposes that Al Mamoun finding no treasure in the Pyramid was not about to leave the Pyramid empty handed without some token for all his work and efforts, and so seeing as he could not remove the entire granite coffer itself as its great weight and size would have prevented it from traversing the Ascending Passage he settled simply for the lid itself, conspicuously missing from the coffer. But here too he would run into another problem as once the lid was navigated down the Ascending Passage there would not be enough clearance for the lid to make the turn back up the Descending Passage thus it would prove necessary to force a new tunnel horizontally straight out the Pyramid in order to avoid this problem, however it seems reasonable that most likely having determined the approximate level upon which the granite plugs resided Al Mamoun simply had his men work from both directions excavating both from within and from without the Pyramid, thus expediting the work at a much faster pace.
For the most part I believe the author of this article has presented some valid points, the typical or traditional account has far too many holes in it to justify its truthfulness, however I do have one problem with this scenario of events, it would seem that if the reason for the force entry was indeed in order to facilitate the removal of the coffer lid, that it would have been much easier to have simply enlarged the tunnel cut into the limestone around the granite plugs then the lid could have simply been lowered to the Descending Passage and then brought up out the original entrance, just a thought of course. Needless to say upon further enlightenment in respects to the events, I am leaning toward the belief that Al Mamoun did indeed know the true entrance to the Pyramid however as regards the forced entry that’s still debatable.
Understand however that whether one chooses to stick with the traditional account of events or to consider an alternative possibility this in no way affects either the symbolic significance or the chronological aspects depicted in the pyramid itself it is simply a case of wishing to reason through the various facts in order that we might gain a little more insight into the pyramid.
We will continue with or look at the Great Pyramid shortly.