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Month: September 2017

The Great Pyramid, Part 30

The Great Pyramid, Part 30

The Ante-Chamber Continued

Some writers have suggested that the three opposite pairs of broad vertical grooves originally contained sliding portcullises of granite, which at one time cut off all entrance to the King’s Chamber. This suggestion was supported by Col. Howard Vyse, who was quite of the opinion that the King’s Chamber once contained the body of a dead king. He based this view on the resemblance of the Coffer to a sarcophagus, and on the fact that the other pyramids in Egypt, all carefully examined by Mr. Perring (his active partner in the work), as well as by himself, had given unmistakable evidences of having been erected as monumental sepulchers. His idea was that, during the lifetime of the king, the now-missing portcullises were suspended above the floor of the Ante-Chamber on a level with the top of the low passages, just as the Granite Leaf is now suspended; but that after the death and interment of the king, they were one by one lowered gradually by chiseling away the supporting granite immediately below them on the side walls, until, sinking down by their own weight, they finally rested on the floor and closed the entrance of the King’s Chamber. This, he believed, explains why these grooves run down the whole height of the wainscots. For some reason, which he fails to explain, the ancient workmen had not lowered the fourth portcullis (i.e., the Granite Leaf), and it was still to be seen suspended in its original position.


Except for a few mechanical difficulties, this theory seems reasonable; and those who have little interest in the matter might be inclined to accept it without further question. When, however, we begin to investigate the subject more closely, and with due “respect for the intelligence of the Pyramid architect” (to quote Professor Smyth), we find that there are distinctive peculiarities about the “Granite Leaf ” (first so named by Professor Greaves in 1638 A.D.), which make it certain that it, at all events, had not been intended by the architect to serve as a *Portcullis.

As a portcullis, the Granite Leaf would be unaccountably small when compared with its companions, for its grooves are four and a half inches less in width than theirs; and as it is formed of two stones placed horizontally one upon the other (See Plate CXXXVII), it could have been lifted out of its position or broken up with comparative ease.

If the Granite Leaf had originally been intended to act as a portcullis and had been lowered to the floor in the manner claimed for the missing three, it would have been quite useless as a protection against intruders; for its uneven upper surface would then have been only six inches higher than the top of the doorway; and the space of 21 inches between it and the north wall would have permitted workmen to enter the chamber in order to break and remove the other portcullises Plate CXXXVI.

The grooves which contain the Granite Leaf stop short at the level of the top of the passages, but the others, as is shown in the Plates, sink a few inches below the level of the floor. This is sure proof that the latter grooves were not chiseled out after the completion of the building, but that, on the contrary, the granite wainscots were previously cut and finished in this fashion, and then built in position at the sides of the chamber, before the granite floor-stones were laid down between them. (In the King’s Chamber the same method of construction was adopted, for the four granite walls of that chamber dip down about five inches in an unbroken line below the level of the floor—Plate XX.) An additional proof is that the lower portions of the grooves do not present the rough appearance which must have resulted had they been cut in the manner suggested by Col. Howard Vyse.

A close examination of the Granite Leaf makes it quite certain that the architect did not design it as a fourth portcullis, not only because it never has been, nor could have been effectually so used, but also because it is firmly cemented into its present position (and, probably, also mortised into its place, although this is not so easy to determine).


We believe that the Granite Leaf was intended for a very different purpose; and I should like to draw your attention to a unique feature in connection with it. The Granite Leaf appears to be an inch narrower than its corresponding grooves in the wainscots; it is 15 ¾ inches thick, while the grooves are 16 ¾ inches wide (These are approximate measures; NOTE 2 on page 316 gives the dimensions in Pyramid inches). Close examination shows, however, that this difference is made up by narrow one-inch projections or rebates on the north face of the Leaf, which make it fit tightly into its grooves. With the exception of these rebates (which are an evidence of special design), the whole of the north face of the Leaf has been dressed or planed down one inch, in order that one little part near the center might appear in relief. This little part is generally known as the *Boss. It is in external shape like a horse-shoe, and is 5 inches wide by 5 inches high on its outer face, which is level with the side rebates. It is situated on the upper of the two blocks which form the Leaf, its lower edge being 5 inches up from the horizontal joint between the blocks, and its center nearly midway between the east and west walls of the chamber, but one inch nearer the west. The horizontal joint between those blocks can be seen in the photograph of the south side of the Leaf —Plate CXXXVII.

The extra labor which was necessary to reduce so carefully and uniformly the whole north surface of both the blocks, with the exception of the Boss and the projecting side rebates, to the extent of one inch, shows that this little Boss is an intended feature in the Great Pyramid; and Professor C. Piazzi Smyth saw much significance in it. He claimed that both in its size and in its position it forms a key to the length of the Pyramid unit of measure, called by him the “Pyramid Inch” and also to the length of the “Pyramid Cubit” of 5-times 5 Pyramid Inches; both of which measures he proves, as we ourselves have also proved, to be abundantly evident everywhere throughout the Pyramid Par. 19 (See bottom of page).

Everything in this wonderful little chamber has symbolical significance, and the Granite Leaf is a most important feature. You will remember how beautifully, in the 3rd Volume of Scripture Studies, C. T. Russell points out a number of these symbolisms, which the photographs we have taken are intended partially to illustrate—See Chapter VII, Section (E). On page 316 I have added NOTE II, drawing attention to some of the scientific features indicated in the Ante-Chamber by the Granite Leaf.



One other photograph taken in the Ante-Chamber (Plate CXXXIX) shows on the right side a portion of the west wall with its broad shallow grooves and its broken pilasters, and on the left the low passage, only three and a half feet in height and about eight feet five inches in length (or 100.8434 + Pyramid inches), leading to the King’s Chamber. The narrow rebates on each side of the door-way are clearly apparent, as also the four vertical and parallel grooves, measuring 3 ¾ inches in width by 2 ¾ inches in depth, reaching from the ceiling of the Ante-Chamber down to the fractured door top. (In the colored photos you can likewise see the extensive repair work which has been done in more recent times to square off the doorway.) All of these details are shown to better advantage in K. Vaughan’s drawing (Plate XXXV), even to the small section at the top of the southern wall which is of limestone, all the rest being of granite. The five spaces marked off by these four vertical grooves and the two side walls, stand out distinctly, and are of equal width, namely, six inches. The white line across the floor at the further end of the low passage is the dividing line between the granite floor of the entrance passage, and the granite floor of the King’s Chamber beyond. The prominence of this line is due to the fact that the floor of the King’s Chamber is about three-quarters of an inch higher than that of the Ante-Chamber and the entrance passage.” (Great Pyramid Passages Pages 286-303 par.474-492)

We will take a more extensive look at the symbolic significance of the Grand Gallery and the Ante- Chamber in our next post.

*Portcullis: (especially in medieval castles) a strong grating, as of iron, made to slide along vertical grooves at the sides of a gateway of a fortified place and let down to prevent passage.

*Boss: a knob, stud, or other circular rounded protuberance, especially an ornamental one on a vault, a ceiling, or a shield; (Mechanical Engineering) a. an area of increased thickness, usually cylindrical, that strengthens or provides room for a locating device on a shaft, hub of a wheel, etc. b. a similar projection around a hole in a casting or fabricated component.; an ornamental, knoblike architectural projection.

In Classical Greek and Roman construction, when stone components were rough-cut offsite at quarries, they were usually left with bosses (small knobs) protruding on at least one side. This allowed for easy transport of the pieces to the site; once there, the bosses also facilitated raising and/or inserting them into place.

Par. 19 “The Great Pyramid unit of measure. As a result of pains- taking investigation, Professor C. Piazzi Smyth ascertained that the unit of measure employed by the builders of the Great Pyramid, is a cubit, divided into five parts, and each of these into five smaller parts, named by Professor Smyth, Pyramid inches. Thus there are 25 Pyramid inches in a Pyramid cubit. To convert a British-inch measure to its corresponding value in Pyramid inches, we must deduct one-thousandth part of the British-inch measure from itself. Therefore, a round 1,000 British inches equal 999 Pyramid inches.’ Sir Isaac Newton, in his Dissertation on Cubits, claimed that the sacred cubit of the Israelites approximately equaled 25 British inches, while the Egyptian cubit measured 20.68, and the Greek and Roman cubit 18.24, British inches.”

The Great Pyramid, Part 29

The Great Pyramid, Part 29

The Ante-Chamber

“Later in the day we resumed our work in the interior of the Great Pyramid. Placing the camera in front of the Step at the head of the Grand Gallery, we took a picture of it in order to show how dilapidated it now is after the wear of fully a thousand years’ traffic (Plate CXIV); for since 820 A.D., when Caliph Al Mamoun forced his way into these upper passages, they have ever been free of access to all. This photograph also shows the low passage which leads from the Grand Gallery to the Ante-Chamber and beyond this the second low passage leading out of the Ante-Chamber to the King’s Chamber. The lower edge of the Granite Leaf in the Ante-Chamber is also distinguishable (More so in the color photo). You will also note from the newer black and white photo and the color photo that an attempt was made to repair the worn down step.)

The drawing by K. Vaughan (Plate XXXIII) shows the surroundings of the upper (southern) end of the Grand Gallery more fully; and from this one can form a clearer idea of the appearance of this part. In this drawing, also, Caviglia’s excavation in the Ante-Chamber’s west wall is more distinct. Originally the west wall, like the east wall, was continuous and unbroken from its commencement at the south wall of the Grand Gallery to its termination at the King’s Chamber. The continuity of the east wall is shown in another photograph which we took with the camera erected on top of the Step to the west Plate CXXXV below. This photograph shows the square but somewhat dilapidated doorway of the small passage as it appears in the south wall of the Grand Gallery, and, to the left, part of the east wall of the Grand Gallery. (In the second photo below we are kneeling down looking into the first little passage which leads into the Ant-Chamber.)

Without entering into full details at this juncture, I shall mention that as the result of our careful measuring, and by comparing with the former figures of Professors C. Piazzi Smyth and Flinders Petrie, we conclude that the theoretically correct measures are: from the north, front, edge of the Step at the head of the Grand Gallery, horizontally southward to the south wall of the Ante- Chamber, 229.1989 + Pyramid inches; and to the north wall of the King’s Chamber, 330.0423 + Pyramid inches; while between the south end-wall of the Grand Gallery and the north wall of the King’s Chamber, the distance is 269.0828+ Pyramid inches.  But though we accept these as the standard measures, we can see that the Pyramid’s inspired architect purposely designed this part of the building to show more than the one measure between two given points. For example : between the north edge of the Step, and the south wall of the Ante-Chamber, other measures ranging approximately between 229, and 230, inches are obtainable ; and all of these measures can be demonstrated to be intentional, and all of them indicate scientific features. The same may also be said of the length of the Ante-Chamber: it is well known that the theoretically correct length for this chamber is 116.2602 + Pyramid inches; for this length is equal to the diameter of the solar tropical year circle, that is, the circle, the circumference of which is as many inches as there are days in the year. Yet this little chamber has been so constructed that measures of its length range between, approximately, 116, and 117, inches, as the figures of Professors Smyth and Petrie show. This range of measures is intentional, and not the result of carelessness on the part of the ancient builders as Professor Petrie understood. We hope to make this clear in Vol. III of Great Pyramid Passages.

We secured photographs of several parts of interest in the Ante-Chamber. One shows John standing in the twenty-one inch space between the north wall of the chamber behind him, and the Granite Leaf in front—Plate CXXXVI. He is leaning against the east wall, which at this part is, like the north wall, composed of limestone. The floor is of special importance. You will no doubt recall how Professor C. Piazzi Smyth and others point out that, while the floor of the king’s Chamber is composed entirely of granite, that of the Ante-Chamber consists mostly of granite, but partially of limestone—Plate XX. The latter portion is a continuation of the limestone block which forms the Step in the Grand Gallery and the floor of the short passage leading into the Ante- Chamber. This limestone portion ends a few inches to the north of the Granite Leaf. John is seen standing on it, his toes touching the first granite floor-stone which is raised a quarter of an inch above the other stones of the Ante-Chamber floor. Before he can rest his feet firmly on solid granite, he will require first to bow down and pass between the granite walls under the Granite Leaf into the Ante-Chamber proper. The length of the granite portion of the Ante-Chamber floor is 103.0329 + Pyramid inches.

In the color photo above we are kneeling in the second little passage leading into the Kings Chamber looking back north through the Ante-Chamber toward the Grand Gallery. The tan colored stone a bit before you is the lower portion of the granite leaf; however what we really would like to draw your attention to is how it clearly shows the transition from the limestone part of the floor to granite part, and if you look closely you can see the ¼ inch lift in the first granite stone leading into the Ante-Chamber. Due to the extreme decline of the Grand Gallery what you are seeing way out in front of you is the jagged ceiling of the Grand Gallery.

Another photograph (Plate CXXXVII) shows John in the act of passing under the Granite Leaf. By actual trial we found it impossible to raise our heads on the inner or south side of the Granite Leaf, without first lifting our feet from the limestone floor, and placing them on granite. With the exception of two small limestone blocks in the upper corners of the south and east walls, this, the main portion of the Ante-Chamber, is formed entirely of granite. The drawing by K. Vaughan (Plate XXXIV above) shows more of the floor of the Ante-Chamber, as well as a better view of the lower part of the east wall. The fragmentary pilasters, and the deep rectangular hollows at the side of the floor, are shown to advantage.

As there is only a width of about three and a half feet between the east and west walls of the Ante-Chamber, we could not have taken the photograph of the small space to the north of the Granite Leaf, had it not been for Caviglia’s excavation in the west wall. By taking advantage of this excavation, we were enabled to set back the camera far enough to secure a view of sufficiently wide angle to show John at nearly full length.

We find it necessary to use our special wide-angle lens, which has a focus of only 3 ⅛ inches, in nearly all our photographs of the interior of the Great Pyramid; in such confined spaces as that mentioned above, it is of great advantage. For views outside we have another lens with a focus of 6.3 inches, which can also be converted into a focus of 11¼ inches by an arrangement lately devised by lens-makers. Both of these lenses were made by Carl Zeiss of Jena, and are in our opinion the best possible for careful work. In addition to these, we have a “Tele-photo” lens (also made by Carl Zeiss) capable or giving up to five magnifications; but so far we have not had many opportunities to make use of it.

A third photograph (Plate CXXXVIII) taken inside the Ante-Chamber, with the camera placed on the flat upper surface of the east wainscot, shows the upper portion of the west side of the Granite Leaf where it fits into its groove in the granite wainscot of the west wall. Above this, on the right side of the photograph, are seen the upper and middle of the three limestone blocks which form the north wall of the Ante-Chamber. Of the two blocks shown above the west wainscot, the one to the north is limestone, and the other is granite. The extreme blackness of the granite roof is due to the smoke from the torches and candles of the countless visitors who have passed below on their way to and from the King’s Chamber.

More of the Granite Leaf would have been shown in the above photograph had it not been for an unfortunate incident. According to our usual method we had set light to the touch-paper inserted in the powder, and had retired to a safe distance till the flash should be over. After waiting for a longer interval than usual without hearing the explosion, we concluded that the touch- paper had become extinguished, as had happened on other occasions. I therefore edged over in the direction of the camera along the top of the east wainscot, so as to cover the lens before adjusting a fresh piece of touch-paper. When quite close to the camera, but before I had time to cover the lens, the powder suddenly ignited. The result is that part of the field of view is intercepted by my knees; there is sufficient in the photograph, however, to give a general idea of the appearance of the upper portion of the Ante-Chamber.

I had a little difficulty myself at first in comprehending this photo so I added some perspective lines to help me see more clearly what was being shown. You may still be wondering what exactly we are looking at and how exactly this photo was originally shot so I have included another shot at what is being shown taken from the floor of the Ante-Chamber looking up to this position or corner of the chamber.


The two “wainscots” form a very distinctive feature of this little chamber. Their distance apart is the same as the width of the walls of the low passages, i.e., about three and a half feet. They are each approximately a foot thick, the width; therefore, of the Ante-Chamber is about two feet more in its upper than in its lower part. The whole height of the chamber from floor to roof measures twelve and a half feet. The east wainscot reaches upward to within 46 inches of the roof, but the west wainscot is 8 ¾ inches higher. This difference in height is well shown in the photograph by the fact that my position, as I sit on the upper surface of the east wainscot, is seen to be distinctly on a lower level than the top of the west wainscot.

Each wainscot is characterized by four broad vertical grooves, 3 ¼ inches deep; those on the east side are of the same dimensions as, and exactly opposite to, those on the west side of the chamber. The grooves into which the Granite Leaf is fixed are about 16 ¾ inches wide and stop short at the bottom of the Leaf; but the other grooves are cut the full height of the wainscots, and are 21 ½ inches broad. The vertical ridges or pilasters which divide the three broad grooves on each wall measure about 5 inches wide; whilst the width of those which retain the Granite Leaf on the south is 3 ¾ inches. The upper surface of the west wainscot is differentiated from that of the east by three deep semi-cylindrical horizontal grooves, which correspond in position with the three broad vertical grooves—See Plates XXXI and XXXV below.

We will continue with out look at the Ante-Chamber with our next post.