THE WELL SHAFT
Key to the Pyramid
“The Well-Shaft is in truth the “key” to the entire symbolism of the Great Pyramid. Just as the ransom-sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central theme of the whole Plan of God, and is the key that unlocks the teaching of the Bible, so the understanding of the Well-Shaft in the Great Pyramid opens up the true meaning of all the passages and chambers in the building.
From the structural standpoint the Well-Shaft is entirely with-out meaning. It can serve no useful purpose so far as the building itself is concerned. That is why some investigators, such as Professor Flinders Petrie, are of the opinion that the Well-Shaft was an after-thought on the part of the builders—that they cut it through the rock and masonry after the Pyramid had been erected. Close investigation of the masonry and rock, however, demonstrates beyond question that the Well-Shaft was not an afterthought, but was part of the original design of the whole building. We our-selves (The Edgar brothers) gave particular attention to this part of the building during our visits to the Pyramid, and we have no hesitancy in saying that the Well-Shaft is indeed an integral part of the monument’s original design. In our Volume 1 of “Great Pyramid Passages,” to which specially attention was drawn by Brother Russell in the “Watch Tower” of 1st August, 1910, we go into this matter at some length, presenting diagrams to illustrate the important architectural features at the upper end of the Well-Shaft; for we have always considered that a correct understanding of this part of the Pyramid is essential.
Let us repeat: Structurally speaking the Well-Shaft is meaningless, but symbolically it is absolutely necessary—it is the key that unlocks the meaning of all the other parts of the building. As anyone can see, by a contemplation of the chart above, it is not possible for one to reach the upper passages and chambers except by the Well-Shaft, because the First Ascending Passage is rendered impassable by the obstructing Granite Plug. In symbolical language this means that neither the spiritual nor human conditions of life (represented by the two chambers high up in the masonry of the building) can be gained by the works of the Law (represented by the First Ascending Passage); but it is possible to gain them through faith in the ransom-sacrifice of Jesus Christ (represented by the open Well-Shaft).” Pyramid Discourse-1929, Page xi-xii
The Well-shaft not an Afterthought, Page 346
“The theory held by Colonel Howard Vyse, and others of an Egyptological turn of mind, as to the original purpose of the Well-shaft in the Great Pyramid is that, it was intended to be used as a way of escape from the upper parts of the monument, to be used by those men who carried the dead monarch up the ascending passages to the sepulchral King’s Chamber where they interred him. After the work of entombing the king in the “King’s Chamber” (and the queen in the “Queen’s Chamber” ; for this tombic theory is responsible for the distinctive names given to these two chambers), these men are supposed to have pushed down the blocks of granite which form the Granite Plug in the First Ascending Passage, and which till that moment had been stored in the lofty Grand Gallery, so as to effectually close the upper parts, and then to have climbed down the Well-shaft to the lower end of the Descending Passage, up which they made their way to the outside of the Pyramid.
Note: it would have been near impossible to attempt to push these granite blocks from the Grand Gallery all the way down the First Ascending Passage (122.5 feet) as each of these three stones comprising the granite plug weight nearly seven tons a piece, even at the unique 26 degree angle of the passage the narrowness of the passage as well as friction itself would make this a very difficult task to perform. If by chance one of the stones became wedged somewhere along the passage way it would destroy the whole design and purpose of the structure.
There are however too many objections to this theory for anyone to seriously entertain it for long; and some of these objections are architectural, or constructional, ones, and all of them are dictated by common sense. That Col. Howard Vyse lacked real confidence in this theory is demonstrated in the building itself in a very practical way, for he left here and there large, and deeply excavated holes in the masonry, where he had been searching for the “body,” anywhere, in fact, but in the King’s Chamber where the theory demanded that it was placed !
Had the Well-shaft been intended by the Pyramid’s designer to serve as a means of egress in the way suggested, there could have been no need for it to have taken the course it does, away down to the lower end of the Descending Passage. But when we understand the true significance of the Great Pyramid, we perceive how necessary this peculiar well-like shaft is to complete, and, indeed, give “life ” to, the symbolical building’s interior system, and how necessary that its upper and lower openings should be precisely where they are. From the purely symbolical standpoint the Well-shaft is essential, and reasonable; from the Egyptological standpoint which regards the Great Pyramid as simply a huge monumental tomb, its existence, and especially the direction of its course, is not only unnecessary, but meaningless. ” (Great Pyramid Passages, Pages 252, 255, par. 416-418)
As stated above some Egyptologists like Professor Flinders Petrie claim that the Well-shaft was not contemplated in the first instance, but was merely an after- thought. This is how Professor Petrie states his opinion:
“The shaft, or `Well,’ leading from the north end of the Gallery down to the subterranean parts, was either not contemplated at first, or else was forgotten in the course of building; the proof of this is that it has been cut through the masonry after the courses were completed. On examining the shaft, it is found to be irregularly tortuous through the masonry, and without any arrangement of the blocks to suit it; while in more than one place a corner of a block may be seen left in the irregular curved side of the shaft, all the rest of the block having disappeared in cutting the shaft. This is a conclusive point, since it would never have been so built at first.”
Our comment upon this reasoning is that: because a section of the tortuous part of the shaft may have been cut through while some of the masonry blocks were in situ, this is not at all a conclusive proof that the Well was not in the original design; for the same thing is evident in the bore of the First Ascending Passage, especially at the lower end of that passage, as we have already noticed (Pars. 461,468); and Professor Petrie does not suggest that the First Ascending Passage was a mere afterthought. And then it is in the tortuous part only that such cutting seems to have been made; for Professor Petrie says nothing of the long section of the shaft which is not tortuous, that is, the top, vertical part, which is square in bore, and presents every appearance of having been built while the building-operations were in progress.
Continuing his argument, which he claims to be conclusive, Professor Petrie says: “A similar feature is at the mouth of the passage, in the Gallery. Here the sides of the mouth are very well cut, quite as good work as the dressing of the Gallery walls; but on the south side there is a vertical joint in the Gallery side, only 5.3 inches from the mouth [He means a joint on the Ramp side, which is about 5 ½ inches to the south of the Well-mouth]. Now, great care is always taken in the Pyramid to put large stones at a corner, and it is quite inconceivable that a Pyramid builder would put a mere slip 5.3 thick beside the opening to a passage. It evidently shows that the passage mouth was cut out after the building was finished in that part. It is clear, then, that the whole of this shaft is an additional feature to the first plan.”
As Professor Petrie does not present his readers with a diagram to illustrate the vertical joint he speaks of, it is almost impossible for the student who has not been to the Pyramid to judge the soundness or otherwise of the argument. When I visited the Pyramid again in 1912 (my second visit), I took the opportunity to carefully measure every stone and joint both on the west side of the Gallery where the Well-mouth is situated, and on the opposite east side as well; and from these measurement I have drawn the diagram here presented—Plate CLXXI.
For the sake of easier comparison I have drawn the vertical elevation of the Gallery’s east side as if it were possible to see it thus while looking west, or as if the wall and Ramp on this east side were transparent. An examination of this diagram will convince you that the masonry-blocks were all specially cut as to size, and arranged as to position, with direct reference to the open mouth of the Well on the west side. And the “large stone at the corner,” which Professor Petrie declares must always be found where a passage begins, is not missing in this case also; for a very large corner stone is there to be seen very clearly, placed right at the southern boundary of the Well-mouth; and the “mere slip” of stone to which Professor Petrie refers is safely below this protecting corner block; and for over four thousand years it has stood as it is, uninjured in the main. And immediately over the mouth of the Well, and spanning the Ramp-stone which was purposely broken-away for symbolical reasons, there is a specially-placed large wall-stone, to still further strengthen the masonry surrounding the open mouth of the Well.
I am assuming the small “slip” of stone mentioned as residing beneath the large corner stone (the “ramp stone”?) is that which we have highlighted in red above. It’s very difficult to locate this vertical joint supposedly located 5 ½ inches south of the well mouth given what photos and illustrations we have.
You will notice how squarely and symmetrically arranged the masonry-blocks are, which form the Ramp on the west side, and to the south of the Well-mouth. Anyone can easily see that the masonry of this part of the Grand Gallery was particularly designed on account of, and for the sole purpose of, the originally contemplated Well-mouth and shaft. And as if to further accentuate this special arrangement of the masonry on the west side, the masonry on the opposite, east side is altogether different. Therefore, from the purely architectural aspect, even apart from our belief in the necessity of the Well because of its symbolical importance, we are abundantly justified in stating that all the evidences prove that the Well-shaft is indeed an integral part of the Great Pyramid’s passage and chamber system as originally designed and completed. This is the opinion that was held by Professor C. Piazzi Smyth, and other competent authorities.” (Pages 346-351, par. 532-536)
We will continue with our examination of the well shaft with our next post.