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gypseyman
28th August 2002, 11:19 PM
Personal note: Having been an avid Egyptologist for as long as I can remember, this event ranks amongst the most exciting developments in the history of the Giza Plateau. But it's been a political hot potato, with much criticism having been levelled at Zahi Hawass and his team, who have been working on this for the past five years under a cloak of secrecy - the Great Pyramid was closed to the general public three years ago with the excuse that it was," undergoing cleaning and restoration" work. Critics have accused Hawass of lording over the project in its entirity, refusing access to and witholding information from scholars who are not in his inner circle of confidantes.

Regardless, the much-written about 'chamber' ( if that's what it is...) has been viewed almost as the Holy Grail of alternative archaeology - some have gone so far as to suggest that it contains the lost texts of The Great Library... or even the keys to mankind and the history of our civilisation!

I obviously don't know and I'm not one for wild speculation either. But I know this - whoever designed the Pyramid included the shaft, the 'door' and whatever is behind it, with purpose. On September 17th, we'll get to find out why... I for one, can hardly wait! :nod:

Gyp. :cool:

A mysterious passage in the Great Pyramid at Giza will be explored by a robot next month in an attempt to unravel one of the final secrets of the last remaining wonder of the Ancient World.

The Pyramid Rover will be sent to find out what lies beyond a blocked, 8in-square shaft that has puzzled researchers since its discovery in 1872.

The custom-built machine will climb 210ft along the channel, which leads upwards from an unusued and apparently unfinished room known as the Queen’s Chamber, until it reaches a stone plug with two copper handles which ended a previous attempt to chart the passage a decade ago.

On arrival, it will use the world’s smallest ground-penetrating radar antenna to look beyond the blockage for the first time since the pyramid, built to house the remains of the Pharaoh Cheops, or Khufu, was completed about 4,500 years ago. If the radar reveals a structure of interest behind the seal, such as a third great chamber, Pyramid Rover will pass a fibre-optic camera through cracks to capture the first pictures.

The entire procedure, which is headed by Zahi Hawass, director of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Mark Lehner, director of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project, will be screened live on the National Geographic Channel, starting at 1am on Tuesday, September 17. It will be repeated at 7pm that night.

The Pyramid of Khufu contains two great rooms: the King’s Chamber, holding Khufu’s tomb, and the Queen’s Chamber, which is smaller and directly below it and which, despite its name, was probably not meant for his wife.

It is unique not only for its size, but also because it was built with two small shafts running diagonally upwards from the two chambers. The shafts running from the north and south wall of the Queen’s Chamber are especially curious because they are blocked at each end.

There are many theories as to their purpose. It seems unlikely that they were for air or water, being blocked at both ends. Some experts believe that they are 'star shafts' pointing to Sirius and the constellation Orion: it is widely thought that the layout of the three pyramids at Giza mimics the stars in Orion’s belt.

Another explanation is that they are 'soul shafts', built to allow a soul to escape to heaven. Again, however, the passages are blocked, and archaeologists do not think that the Queen’s Chamber ever held a tomb. One popular theory is that the room was originally designed for Khufu before it was decided to build a larger chamber for the pharaoh and abandon the lower room.

Some experts even believe that the southern shaft, the longer of the two, leads to a third, undiscovered chamber. It ends 54ft from the outer face, leaving ample space for a room, and the seal is made of Tura limestone, a rock found only in the central chambers.

Kate Spence, of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University, said that Pyramid Rover’s mission ought to shed important new light on the mystery, even if all it does is to debunk some of the most outlandish theories.

" Opinion is very divided as to what the shafts are for", she said. " It’s the only pyramid that has this sort of shaft so we have nothing to go on in terms of comparison. The huge question is why they are blocked. It is incredibly difficult to say".

" My own expectation is that there won’t be anything behind the blockage, but we just don’t know. It’s possible they just stopped building, but if that’s the case, why did they plug it so elaborately? The great thing is that whatever they find, even if they find there’s nothing there, that’s absolutely fascinating. You can’t lose. It’s going to be interesting whether there’s nothing there or a chamber full of treasure and statues".

Pyramid Rover will build on the achievements of Rudolf Gantenbrink, a German scientist whose robot, Upuaut 2, explored the southern shaft and discovered the blockage in the early 1990s. The new probe, based on models used to search for World Trade Centre survivors after September 11, is less than 5in high and wide and about 1ft long.

Its' ground-penetrating radar has a range of more than 3ft through concrete and much farther through the more porous limestone of the pyramid. It also carries an ultrasonic transducer that can measure the thickness of the stones.

A force gauge will detect whether the blocking stone moves, and other tools will seek out cracks through which fibre-optic cameras can pass. A conductivity sensor will also be applied to the copper handles to determine whether they form an electrical circuit, which would show that they are linked on the other side.

Theories about monument's unknown heart
Ventilation or water shafts: at first the obvious explanation, this is now rejected because the shafts are blocked.

Star shafts: the top of the shafts appear to be aligned with Sirius and a star in Orion’s belt, mirrored in the layout of the pyramids. The shafts, however, have several bends, so do not point to any spot in the heavens.

Numerology: the angles in the shafts conform to a numerological plan, the details of which remain obscure.

Soul shafts: the shafts were built to allow the pharaoh’s soul to escape. They are blocked, however, and no pharaoh was buried in the Queen’s Chamber.

Secret chamber: there is enough space to house another room. The passage, however, is just 8in square — too small for an access tunnel.

Stairway to the stars: leading the 'pyramaniac' fringe is Zecharia Sitchin, who believes that the pyramid was the work of aliens from a mythical twelfth planet. Sitchin claims these aliens created humans through genetic manipulation. Perhaps the aliens were small enough to use an 8in tunnel.

By Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent - Times Online

gypseyman
28th August 2002, 11:34 PM
For those of you who would like to know more, HERE (http://www.cheops.org/) is a full report of the initial discovery of the 'door', as made by Rudolph Gantenbrink in 1990.

gypseyman
16th September 2002, 02:04 PM
At 8 p.m. on the evening of Sept. 16, Egyptology buffs and robotics fans will get a special treat: Fox and the National Geographic Channel will both present a two-hour program featuring the exploits of a little robot named the Pyramid Rover, specially built to crawl up a mysterious shaft deep inside Egypt's Great Pyramid.

The narrow, 9-inch-square (20-cm) shaft ascends some 246 feet (65 meters) from the south wall of the Queen's Chamber. At its end is a stone slab with two copper handles. What lies beyond, nobody knows -- yet. But we may have a better idea after the robot's exploits are beamed live from the Giza Plateau.

The shafts have been subject of plenty of speculation since they were discovered in 1872. One theory is that they supplied air for workers. But if so, why were they fitted with stone seals before work was completed -- the Queen's Chamber was never finished. And why don't they have openings on the pyramid's surface? Another suggests that a secret chamber is behind the stone door.

SOUL GUIDE? An older theory called the passageways "star shafts" because they seemed to point toward the Canis Major and Orion constellations -- perhaps to help guide the Pharaoh's soul toward the heavens. But that notion was partially debunked in 1993 by Rudolf Gantenbrink, an engineer working with the German Archaeological Institute.

He sent a little robot crawling up the shafts and discovered that they bend, so they don't point at particular stars. However, that doesn't rule out the possibility they were designed as "soul shafts" to help the Pharaoh begin his afterlife journey. Even since Gantenbrink's robot found the stone slab the end of the southern shaft, archeologists have been itching to mount a more sophisticated expedition. Egypt finally gave a go-ahead to a team led by Mark Lehner, a University of Chicago archeologist, and Zahi Hawass, National Geographic Society's explorer-in-residence and head of Egypt's antiquities council.

CEILING-HUGGER. To build the high-tech rover, National Geo tapped iRobot Corp., a Sommerville (Mass.) spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its creation will crawl up the shaft on tank-type treads that can grip both the floor and ceiling. When it arrives at the stone slap, it'll launch a battery of tests. A special radar system will probe for a secret room. If this indicates a hidden chamber, the robot will try to poke tiny optical-fiber video cameras through any cracks around the slab to give viewers the first peek in more than 4,500 years.

In addition, a force gauge will detect if the stone moves, and in what direction, when the robot pushes on the slab. If the door remains in place, an electric-current tester will contact the copper pins in the door handles to see if they connect to some other copper object on the reverse side. If a current flows, the length of the copper will be determined by measuring electrical resistance. And an ultrasonic system will gauge the thickness of stones along the shaft as well as the slab at the shaft's end.

Perhaps by the program's end, iRobot's little rover will answer one of the remaining mysteries about the world's largest pyramid.

Bozo
16th September 2002, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by gypseyman

...On arrival, it will use the world’s smallest ground-penetrating radar antenna to look beyond the blockage for the first time since the pyramid, built to house the remains of the Pharaoh Cheops, or Khufu, was completed about 4,500 years ago. If the radar reveals a structure of interest behind the seal, such as a third great chamber, Pyramid Rover will pass a fibre-optic camera through cracks to capture the first pictures.


...Its' ground-penetrating radar has a range of more than 3ft through concrete and much farther through the more porous limestone of the pyramid. It also carries an ultrasonic transducer that can measure the thickness of the stones.

A force gauge will detect whether the blocking stone moves, and other tools will seek out cracks through which fibre-optic cameras can pass. A conductivity sensor will also be applied to the copper handles to determine whether they form an electrical circuit, which would show that they are linked on the other side.




According to the news today they are planning on using the robot to drill a small hole through which the fibre optic cable will be pushed. Didn't catch anything about radar though.

jema
16th September 2002, 02:25 PM
Presumably we are talking 3am or something over here? any idea when/where we can keep up with the news on this?

jema

zeke
16th September 2002, 04:07 PM
Wouldn't it be cool if when they applied a voltage source to the copper connects, the door slid open?

gypseyman
16th September 2002, 06:11 PM
For anyone missing tonight's action, I'll post comprehensive follow-up's in the days ahead. :nod:

Starts at 1 a.m. BST, btw.

gypseyman
17th September 2002, 02:12 AM
Although... having seen the show, there won't be much in the way of any revelations... :(

Behind the door was... another door! Mmm... :rolleyes:

But you have to love mankind's inherent fascination. Kinda reminds me of the Money Pit, if anybody can recall that one.

Reactions soon.

Bozo
17th September 2002, 10:37 AM
So why didn't they continue past the second door?

TGC
17th September 2002, 10:41 AM
Originally posted by gypseyman
Although... having seen the show, there won't be much in the way of any revelations... :(

Behind the door was... another door! Mmm... :rolleyes:

But you have to love mankind's inherent fascination. Kinda reminds me of the Money Pit, if anybody can recall that one.

Reactions soon.

I'm not sure it was another door, if so from the pictures we were shown it was not as finely crafted as the first 'door' as it appeared to to be rough cut stone.

SteveS
17th September 2002, 11:27 AM
For anybody who missed this, the program is being repeated on Tuesday 17 September Time: 9:00pm to 11:00pm BST on the National Geographic Channel under the title Egypt: Secret Chambers Revealed

More information on the programme can be found here (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/09/0910_020913_egypt_1.html)

S.

Rids
17th September 2002, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by gypseyman
But you have to love mankind's inherent fascination. Kinda reminds me of the Money Pit, if anybody can recall that one.


Yeah, I remember the money pit, almost as many theories there as with the pyramids :lol:
Still makes me want to go and get a shovel though ;)

Fireblade
17th September 2002, 03:28 PM
I stayed up and watched it thinkin' I woz gonna be privvy t' a part of history... what a let-down it turned out t' be :rolleyes:

Still... the build-up woz fascinatin'... and the young female presenter woz worth watchin' whatever the outcome :D

Hope they televise the opening of the next chamber as well tho' ;)

zeke
18th September 2002, 07:06 PM
Is the Money Pit the island that has tunnels from the ocean that cause the pit to flood? Remember hearing something about that a long time ago. Some guy was welding tank cars together and standing them up to keep it from caving in.

gypseyman
18th September 2002, 07:32 PM
Yeah. It's called Oak Island. No-one knows how this particular pit came into being (historical records indicate the initial 'discovery' dating back to the late 1800's) but, so far, they've dug down 70 meters and STILL not found anything, but the man-made, architectural structure remains.

Even more intriguingly, it now appears as thought the entire island may have been artificial..! Evidence of underground tunnels and drainage systems has been found that stretch some 30 metres out onto the seabed...

Stranger and stranger, no? :rolleyes:

Ooh, I found a site! Look HERE (http://www.activemind.com/Mysterious/Topics/OakIsland/)

zeke
26th September 2002, 08:21 AM
Thanx Gyp. Great link

Bozo
26th September 2002, 10:19 AM
Not heard of this before....most peculiar.:confused:

phoenix
26th September 2002, 12:50 PM
Tis is stunning, but no-one seams to be asking the obvious questions.

Firstly whatever Oak Island is its eleborate, many aspects have been well thought out and all have reason.

This raises the quetion as to why this was so damn easy to find, why go to so much trouble to prevent someone digging a hole thats way deaper than anybody would normally ever dig a hole in an 180 acre island and then pepper the whole affair with clues to encourage anyone to go digging.

Thirdly was anybody ever supposed to recover whatever is at the bottom, if so how, if not, why not? why would anybody go to that much trouble to dig a hole and put something at the bottom if they never intended it to see the light of day again?

All those layers of board are senseless, why are they there? If the object of the exercise was to hide or protect something why every 10-20 feet put another layer of archeology to encourage the diggers to keep digging.