THE FIRST ASCENDING PASSAGE
Having we believe thoroughly examined the Subterranean Chamber of the Great Pyramid we now follow the Edgar’s back up the Descending passage and out through the little gate which led us to the pit.
“Immediately above or north of the granite stone on which the grill-door is fixed, there is an irregular opening in the west wall of the Descending Passage (In the second picture presented above you are looking down from this opening to the grill-door or gate which they have just passed, which implies that you are coming up and under toward the western side of the granite plug standing on or about the level of the 6th or 7th course of masonry.)
When we stepped through this opening, we found ourselves in a large cavernous space. This cavity with its opening from the Descending Passage was hollowed out in the masonry eleven hundred years ago by Caliph Al Mamoun, son of Harun Al Raschid of Arabian Nights’ fame. After entering the cavity, when we turned round and looked up, holding our candles above our heads, we saw that the west side of the upper two-thirds of the Granite Plug, already mentioned, had been exposed by Al Mamoun’s excavation.
The small space between the lower end of the Granite Plug, and the roof-line of the Descending Passage, was originally closed by a smooth limestone block similar to the other stones which form the roof of the Descending Passage, and in line with them (as depicted in the diagram above). So effectually did this limestone block conceal the entrance of the First Ascending Passage, that none of the classic nations knew of the existence of the upper passages and chambers. Later, the little of what was once known by ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, was lost, for even the site of entrance to the Great Pyramid became forgotten. Consequently, when Caliph Al Mamoun, with the mistaken idea that the Great Pyramid contained treasures of gold and precious stones, desired to enter it and explore its wonders, there was only an indistinct rumor to guide him towards trying the northern rather than any other side 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 mass of the Pyramid. (This theory of course has been debated by many scholars as discussed in one of our earlier post, The Great Pyramid, Part 11).
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 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 already described. There they found that the noise had been caused by the falling of the large angular stone, 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 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.
But the workmen, though they had discovered the First Ascending Passage, found that access into it is prevented by the Granite Plug, which is so tightly wedged that it is impossible to remove it entire, and so hard that it would be extremely difficult to break up. They chose the easier plan of breaking and removing the limestone blocks to the right or west of the Granite Plug, and so forced their way upwards into the passage above. This discovery of the upper passages was made in the year 820 A.D.; and as the Great Pyramid was built about the year 2140 B.C., their existence must have been unknown for practically three thousand years!
Imagine, when they laid the first of the great ceiling stones above the Kings Chamber this would be the last time any man would set foot in these upper passages, and when the second stone above that was laid the last time light would shine in its grand corridors for nearly three thousand years. Think of the history that transpired during this time. 155 years after its completion (roughly B.C. 2140), God would establish his covenant with Abraham. 430 years after this (after the covenant made with Abraham), the Jews would begin their Exodus from Egypt and God would establish the Law Covenant with the nation of Israel. Nearly 1600 years later (1553 to be precise) Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and not soon after the Jewish age would end and the Gospel Age would begin. It would yet be another 800 or so years later shortly following the crowning of Charlemagne as Emperor that the upper passages would be discovered once again.
To resume: having passed through the forced hole in the west wall of the Descending Passage into the cavernous hollow, and then, taking advantage of a ledge and a series of notches on the high south-east wall of the hollow (Today replaced by carved steps in the stone as noted above), we climbed to the upper end of the Granite Plug and gained access to the First Ascending Passage, which runs in the same vertical plane and at the same angle to the horizon as the Descending Passage. We were now able to inspect the upper butt-end of the Granite Plug, which is shown to advantage in the second photo above.
To proceed up the First Ascending Passage, we required to stoop uncomfortably low, for, like the Descending Passage, its roof is scarcely four feet above its floor. When, however, we reach the place where, to our joy, we found a level floor, and abundance of room to stand erect and so relieve our aching backs, we were now at the lower end of the noblest passage in the Great Pyramid, which has been well name the Grand Gallery. This Gallery ascends in the same vertical plane, and at the same angle, as the First Ascending Passage, the inclined floors of both being continuous. The reason why we stepped on to a level floor on emerging from the First Ascending Passage is because another passage, called the Horizontal Passage, also has its beginning at this place. We will examine these areas more thoroughly later, but for now we would like to continue our examination of the First Ascending Passage. (“The Great Pyramid Passages and Chambers”, Page 59-65)
Continued with next post.