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.”