Those loose Granite Stones found in the Pyramid
“Wedged in at the east edge of the deep hollow in the floor of the Grotto is a large granite stone, which, judging by its broken appearance is a fragment of a larger block. It has two worked surfaces at right angles to each other, and, most wonderful of all, parts of two large holes drilled through it! The north-east upper corner of this stone may be seen at the lower left-hand corner of our photograph of the Grotto (Plate CLXXV); but K. Vaughan’s drawing enlarges upon the photograph (but not by much), and shows more of this stone, as well as the floor of the Grotto at the small doorway Plate XXXII. The second picture below gives a much better view; the man in the background has his hand upon it.
There are similar granite stones elsewhere in the Great Pyramid. At that time, three lie on the floor of the Descending Passage. One of these, the largest, was discovered by Professor Flinders Petrie, a little below the junction of the First Ascending Passage. It is across the top of this stone, as mentioned before, that the iron grill-door is fixed. It has five worked surfaces and the remains of one drill-hole four inches in diameter.
In more recent times a new gate to the descending passage has been provided one which no longer requires the use of the before mentioned stone, I believe this stone has since been removed to the outside entrance to the descending passage as shown below.
Another stone lies on the floor of the Descending Passage a little above the opening of the lower end of the Well. Like the one in the Grotto there are two drill-holes in it. This second stone now lies below the Well opening. On the day our men began to clear the debris from the Descending Passage, they had uncovered a third but smaller granite stone, which lay on the floor a little below the iron grill-door. Taking away too much of the supporting debris, this stone began to move, and quickly gathering impetus on that steep floor, it plunged down the 200 feet or more of the passage and crashed with great force into the granite stone with the two drill-holes, knocking it to the bottom. Nevertheless, no damage was done to either of the blocks. As these two stones now prevented entrance to the Small Horizontal Passage leading to the Pit, I had them removed a few feet up the passage, and laid against the east wall, taking care so to place the larger block that the drill-holes might be examined readily by interested visitors.
In one of our photographs of the lower end of the Well, taken before this incident occurred, this larger stone may be seen lying further up the passage; and part of one of the worked surfaces, and even the upper ends of the drill-holes may be discerned Plate CLXXVIII. Judah is seen reclining on the floor of the Descending Passage above the stone, supporting his head on the board which the American excavator had placed across the passage to keep back the debris when he was clearing away the rubbish below that point—Par. 235. This board, of course, is no longer required, as the entire length of the passage is now clear.
I believe the granite stone pictured in the above black and white photo to be the same one now located on the ledge of the first square shaft in the subterranean pit.
There is still another granite stone (shown below) lying in the small Recess in the passage leading to the Pit… It has worked surfaces, but no drill-holes. There are also several small fragments of granite lying in the Pit.
At first we were greatly puzzled to know how one of these granite stones found its way into the Grotto, of all places! It appears, however, that among the large stones which formerly blocked the irregular portion of the Well-shaft above the Grotto, one was of granite; for we find in M. Caviglia’s list of measurements of the Well, the following item: “Depth of the Well to a block of granite that had fallen into it-38 feet.”
Some active operator at the Pyramid (probably Mr. Caviglia himself) must have had this granite stone lowered by means of ropes until it hung opposite the small doorway of the Grotto, into which it was then pulled out of harm’s way. Although this operation must have been attended with considerable difficulty and danger because of the weight of the block, it was the easiest way to get rid of it; for had it been thrown down the lower part of the Well, it would have again become tightly wedged somewhere in the narrow shaft, completely blocking the passage.
A more difficult problem, however, is to discover the original site and purpose of these five blocks of partly dressed granite stones with their drill-holes. The fact that one of the three largest is now in the Grotto, and has been traced to a point several feet higher than its present lodging place, would seem to indicate that they all originally occupied a position somewhere in the upper parts of the Pyramid.
When Professor Flinders Petrie made his discovery of the large granite block on the floor of the Descending Passage at the junction of the First Ascending Passage (he seems not to have known of the others), it occurred to him that it might have come from the Ante-Chamber. The three pairs of grooves on the sides of that chamber suggest the possibility of other granite leaves or portcullises stretching across between the walls like the present Granite Leaf See Plate CXXXVII. It is the only likely place he could imagine; but he saw too many objections to this theory to advance it as anything more than a mere suggestion. Why, he asks, should there be a [four-inch] drill-hole through the block [and we have seen that the two next largest also have each a pair of drill-holes], if it originally formed part of another Leaf?
He anticipates that some might claim that the hole is modern, made for smashing up the block more easily; but objects that “it is such a hole as none but an ancient Egyptian would have made, drilled out with a jeweled tubular drill in the regular style of the fourth dynasty [the period during which this Great Pyramid was built], and to attribute it to any mere smashers and looters of any period is inadmissible.”
The grooves in the Ante-Chamber are, in any case, too wide, being an inch more than the thickness of the stone. Professor Flinders Petrie remembers that the blocks of the Granite Leaf are also an inch narrower than their grooves; but seems to forget what he himself points out later, and as we have already seen (Par. 489), that the extra inch is filled in by corresponding projections or rebates on the blocks, which are wholly lacking in the block discovered by Professor Flinders Petrie; nor are any to be seen on the other blocks.
Without doubt, these granite stones with their unique drill-holes, form a mystery which must be left for some future investigator to make plain; we cannot think what was their original purpose, and are bound to confess as did Professor Flinders Petrie, that, to use his words, “something has been destroyed, of which we have at present, no idea.”
(Great Pyramid Passages, Pages 362-364 par. 553-563)
We will attempt to wrap up the well-shaft in our next post.