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Roughly 87 metres East of the Great Pyramid there lies a set of passages, hewn into the desert rock of the Giza Plateau. When they were first examined by Vyse and Perring in the 1840s they were thought to be passages from an abandoned pyramid or tomb, possibly even a fourth subsidiary pyramid of the Great Pyramid. [1] However, later on W.M. Flinders Petrie noticed that the passages seemed to be a very precise copy of the passages inside the Great Pyramid under the shadow of which they were cut.

He considered them to have been built before work on the Great Pyramid commenced, as an attempt to mock-up the layout of the internal passages in the edifice. Therefore they were named the Trial Passages.

Is this really their purpose? Why have we not uncovered trial passages for any of the other 4th Dynasty pyramids or for a pyramid of any Dynasty for that matter? Egyptologists tell us that Khufuís father Snefru built both of the giant pyramids at Dashur before Khufu started work on the Great Pyramid. Both the Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid contain complex chambers and passages yet there are no trial passages related to these buildings. Why have we also found no trial passages surrounding the Second and Third Pyramids at Giza?

What if the Trial Passages had some other purpose that has been overlooked?

Before we head down this route letís study the Passages in a bit more detail.

Take a look at Figures 1 and 2 and you will see the comparison. Figure 1 shows the passages inside the Great Pyramid whereas Figure 2 shows the Trial Passages.

Mark Lehner also agrees with the striking similarity and comments;

"As Petrie recognized, these passages clearly are a kind of foreshortened copy of the passages in the Great Pyramid". [2]

Passage widths, heights and angles mirror the system of passages found inside the Great Pyramid. We have a Descending passage, an Ascending passage, the start of the Grand Gallery and the beginning of the Queen's Chamber passage. To further add weight to the idea that we are dealing with a replica of the inside of the Great Pyramid, the Ascending passage of the Trial Passages - where it meets the Descending passage - contracts as it does in the Great Pyramid as if it were ready to accept plug-blocks. No plug-blocks have been found in the trial passages yet the builders went to the trouble of adding this feature.

Furthermore, Flinders Petrie in his work The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh [3] adds that there is also a passage that corresponds to the top of the well shaft found in the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid, however in this case the location is not in anyway identical to the position of this feature in the Great Pyramid. We will return to look at this passage in more detail later on.

Leaving the matter of the well shaft to one side, the remaining passages bear such a close relationship to those in the Great Pyramid that Petrie concluded: [4]

"The resemblance in all other respects is striking, even around the beginning of the Queen's Chamber Passage, and at the contraction to hold the plug-blocks in the Ascending passage of the Pyramid......The whole of these passages are very smoothly and truly cut, the mean differences in the dimensions being but little more than in the finely finished Pyramid masonry."

From this we can ascertain that a great deal of effort was expended to duplicate the internal passages of the Great Pyramid out on the desert floor, a stones throw from the pyramid itself.

Furthermore, the fact that the mean differences in the cut passages are little more than in the Great Pyramid itself (the passages of which are very highly praised by Petrie for their accuracy) [5] raise the likelihood that the two constructions were carried out by the same builders and that a high degree of accuracy was a requisite for both sets of passages.

Having looked at the layout and features of the Trial Passages letís now look at their purpose. I am going to put forward the hypothesis in this article that these passages were never intended as a trial for the internal passages of the Great Pyramid, rather that they had some other, hitherto unknown, purpose.

Firstly, I mentioned above that they seem to be unique in that we have found no traces of other trial passages connected with any other pyramid constructed in Egypt. If this was a standard practice in Ancient Egypt I would at least expect to find trial passages connected with the 4th Dynasty Dashur Pyramids or the Second Pyramid at Giza. Unless new evidence presents itself in the near future we will have to assume that the Trial Passages as we know them are unique and an anomaly that has nothing in common with any other Pyramid. I fail to see what context there is for Ancient Egyptians having used trial passages to construct their monuments. There is simply no evidence to suggest that this was the case. If the Great Pyramid was the first pyramid constructed by the Ancient Egyptian builders then I could be persuaded that they may have needed such a set of trial passages for their first construction. However, Egyptology tells us this is not so and that prior to the Great Pyramid several other impressive pyramids were constructed, all with complex internal passages and chambers and all without trial passages built first to mock-up their internal layout.

Secondly, I could accept the possibility that they might be trial passages if they had been constructed out of masonry. The fact is they were not, they were instead carved out of the bedrock of the Giza plateau whereas the majority of the corresponding passages were formed from masonry in the Great Pyramid. (Take a look at figure 2 again to establish what proportion of the Trial Passages are above ground in the Great Pyramid and therefore formed from masonry).

I fail to see the benefits of carving these passages out of hard rock when you are going to build in a completely different fashion when the time comes to start work on the Great Pyramid itself. Surely any experience gained would be negligible once the real construction began? I accept that a large part of the Great Pyramidís Descending passage was carved into the bedrock beneath the pyramid but if the architect was attempting to practice this art alone why did he then proceed to also carve passages into the bedrock that would be constructed from masonry in the Great Pyramid? If nothing else, the contraction of the Ascending Passage in the Trial Passages should make us sit up and take notice that something is not right here. Carving such a feature out of the bedrock would have required great effort and the experience gained would surely be virtually useless when repeating this feature with cut stones later in the Great Pyramid?

Because of these facts I surmise that these passages could never have functioned as trial passages. Is it simply the case that they have only been labelled as such merely because their true function has been overlooked?

So what possible function could they have had?

I certainly agree that the Trial Passages (I will continue to call them this for convenience despite my belief they do not assume this role!) were meant to represent the internal layout of the Great Pyramid. Furthermore, the builders went to great trouble to convince us that what we arelooking at is a representation of the Great Pyramid Ė Iíll draw your attention again to the contraction of the Ascending Passage Ė so that we could be left with no doubt in our minds. Think for a moment about a map or the key to a puzzle. With a key we are able to solve a puzzle precisely. What if the Trial Passages were such a key left for someone to solve the "puzzle" of the Great Pyramid at a later date? For such a key to work we would have to be left in no doubt as to what the key was pointing us to and this seems to fit what we know about the Trial Passages. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to carve the Trial Passages for apparently no practical reason Ė unless they were leaving us a very big clue carved in stone.

You will recall that history teaches us that it was the great Caliph Ma'mun who first discovered the granite plug-blocks stopping up the lower end of the Ascending passage like a huge series of corks in an even bigger bottle. In a recent article with Ralph Ellis we covered in detail this story and so I will not recount every point here but will instead refer you to that article. However, it is important for us to briefly recall some of the details.

Some time ago I was not happy with certain aspects of the tale of Ma'munís discovery of the Ascending passage. We are told he was unable to locate the original entrance despite other sources that tell us that the entrance was known and open centuries before Ma'munís time. We are then told that he arbitrarily began tunnelling into the pyramid at such a point that meant he struck the junction of the Ascending and Descending passages on his first attempt. The fact that this junction is offset by some 24 feet East of the centreline makes this all the more remarkable! My colleague Ralph Ellis then came up with the original and illuminating idea that Ma'munís tunnel was actually dug from the inside out. [6]

If this is so we are left with one problem. If Ma'munís tunnel was not a way into the pyramid but rather a way out then how did Ma'mun find the start of the Ascending Passage?

Firstly, I believe it has been demonstrated that the entrance to the Great Pyramid was accessible at this time and that Ma'mun would have ventured first down the Descending Passage into the Subterranean Chamber. [7] We are told that the beginning of the Ascending passage was covered with a hidden lintel that not only covered the plug-blocks behind but also meant that the passage was totally hidden from view and was indistinguishable from the other blocks forming the roof of the Descending passage at this point. Prior to the removal of this lintel entering the interior of the Great Pyramid would have been a very similar experience to entering the Red Pyramid at Dashur. You would have descended down one long passage before emerging into a chamber far below the entrance (there are differences due to the fact that the Red Pyramidís passage is built wholly into masonry but the effect is the same). In those days, The Ascending passage in the Great Pyramid would not have been visible at all and many early visitors to the Great Pyramid must have gone straight past it, completely ignorant of what lay above their heads!

Let us assume for a moment that many visitors were also aware of the Trial Passages to the East. How many puzzled explorers entered these corridors only to ponder why they were there? They led nowhere and there was no chamber at their conclusion. Instead they ended in a blank wall. Was Ma'mun the first to realise they bore a resemblance to the Great Pyramidís passages? Anyone measuring the width and height and angle of the entrance to the Great Pyramid and comparing them with the Trial passages would have seen a similarity. Was Ma'mun the first to do this and then notice that inside the Trial Passages there was a further passage leading up from the roof of the Descending passage? Did this make him wonder whether a similar passage existed inside the Great Pyramid?

I think it is highly possible that Ma'mun, fresh from this flash of inspiration in the Trial Passages goes back into the Great Pyramid and starts looking for a hidden passage in the roof of the Descending Passage. Without knowing it he has taken the builders clue and has started the process of unravelling the puzzle.

At this point we have to consider how Ma'mun came to find the exact location of the hidden Ascending passage. Peter Lemesurier in his book The Great Pyramid Decoded raises the interesting point that a pair of scored lines carved into the walls of the Great Pyramidís Descending passage seem to bear a similarity with a sloped face found at the top of the Trial Passages' Descending Passage. [8] Looking at both these features they do indeed seem to indicate a precise point in both sets of passages.

It occurred to me that it would have been possible to compare the distance between this feature and the beginning of each Descending passage to work out what scale would be needed to calculate the position of the start of the Ascending passage. The problems I have encountered with these calculations is that the ground around the start of the Descending passage of the Trial Passages is very worn and it is difficult to ascertain where the passage originally started. However, if it originally started at the height of the seemingly levelled ground above the passages as a whole, I have estimated that this would have enabled Ma'mun to have identified the exact spot on the roof of the Descending passage to within a few inches. This would have been more than accurate enough bearing in mind that the hidden lintel would have resembled one of the large roofing stones so being correct to within a few inches would have highlighted which stone was actually the hidden lintel and not a roofing slab.

Of course he may not have taken this into account and may just have tried examining all of the roofing blocks one by one until he located the right one! The truth is we will never know but it is very interesting to note that it could well have been possible for him to locate the entrance in this manner if he had studied the Trial Passages closely enough and made the connection between the scored lines and the flat surface of rock inclined at the same angle at the head of the Trial Passages. To further highlight this point it must be mentioned that the purpose of the scored lines within the Great Pyramid has yet to be argued conclusively so I find it highly likely that they are there for just this purpose, as a marker, a point from which measurements should be taken when compared to the Trial Passages for the sole purpose of locating the hidden Ascending passage.

Locating the hidden lintel Ma'mun then removes it and expecting to see an Ascending passage he is suddenly surprised to find that it is indeed there but travels only a few inches before being plugged by huge granite stones!

The fact of plugging the Ascending Passage seems to have been designed to intrigue and pique our curiosity even more. First the builders leave us a clue in the form of the Trial Passages. Once this clue is deciphered and the lintel removed Ma'mun finds to his dismay that the passage is plugged! What would anyoneís reaction be in that instance? Anyone who tells me they would walk away and leave the plugs in place is a liar! Ma'mun did what any of us would have done, he tried desperately to get past them. After a few vain attempts at chiselling through the granite plugs themselves proved ineffective he ordered that they be dug around and in doing so he revealed the Ascending Passage. What happened next is well documented in the article co-authored by Ralph Ellis and myself and does not concern us here. Whatever was found in the upper chambers is an important but separate issue here. What is vital for our discussion here is that the plugs had been breached and modern mankind had progressed to the next stage in the puzzle. Ma'mun had done his part, he had taken us past the first stage of the riddle. The next part of the puzzle was to remain a secret for nearly 1,000 years until a man called Waynman Dixon started exploring the Great Pyramid.

At this point I would just like to consider the point of just why the builders would have left such a key for us. Firstly, readers of my work will have appreciated that I consider it highly unlikely that the Great Pyramid was merely a tomb. Whether it was ever the tomb of Khufu is debatable but I do believe from my own research that it is highly probable that the Great Pyramid was standing before Khufuís reign and had a purpose other than being a tomb. For the record, I do believe that the Pyramids of Giza were constructed by Egyptians, it is just that I attribute their civilisation a greater period of time than history currently affords it.

Therefore, leaving us a map of the insides of the Great Pyramid becomes slightly more interesting. The question now turns to why?

To my mind the Trial Passages are simply a pun carved in stone. Again this is not out of context with what we know of the culture of Ancient Egypt.

Scattered throughout Egyptian Texts we come across a variety of puns that were deliberately placed in the spells and lines of The Book of The Dead and other funerary writings. The Egyptians seemed to have a delight in such puns and great pains were taken to place them for dramatic effect.

One of countless examples is pointed out by Dr. Ogden Goelet in the Papyrus of Ani, Chapter 147 (speaking of Osiris);[9]

"The one purified by your own efflux (setau) against (r) which the name of Rosetau was made." By noting that the word Rosetau sounds much like the phrase 'against the efflux,' the fluids issuing from Osiris's body were thus made innocuous.

While this example is taken from a text dating to circa 1250 BC there are numerous examples all throughout Egyptian literature including the Pyramid Texts inscribed onto the walls of the 5th Dynasty Pyramids of Saqqara so it is evident that this kind of word play and punning was prevalent right throughout Egyptian history. While some of these puns were cleverly designed to enhance the power of the particular line, as above, others were much more simply a play on words for everyday objects, superimposing the meaning of one onto another for dramatic and sometimes humorous effect.

So the question is could they have incorporated such puns into their buildings? I think it is certainly within the realms of probablity if the Egyptian culture used them this extensively in their funerary writings.

It would appear that this was indeed the case as the Trial Passages are not the only example of such a pun being left in stone at Giza.

I mentioned it would be almost another 1,000 years or so before the next clue was found. Waynman Dixon began his survey of the inside of the Great Pyramid with his brother in the year 1872. It is well documented that there were at that time shafts present in the King's chamber but none in the Queen's chamber below. Then Dixon looking at the shafts in the upper King's chamber wondered if there might be similar shafts hidden in the Queen's chamber. Measuring the position of the shafts in the upper chamber he estimated where they might be found in the Queen's chamber. Asking his man-at-work to get to work with a chisel two shafts were suddenly revealed.

Amazingly, the shafts leading from the Queen's chamber were not cut through into the chamber itself but instead were hidden some eight inches behind the walls! Furthermore we know now that the Southern shaft definitely does not make it to the outside of the Pyramid and it is very likely to be the same with the Northern shaft (this shaft has not been explored fully at the time of writing but there is certainly no evidence for the shaft emerging on the outside of the pyramidís face). Could it be the builders had left another pun for us to work out here? I certainly feel it is in keeping with the mind of the builders. The fact that the Southern shaft has now been explored only highlights the point. Gantenbrinkís discovery of what appears to be a door or portcullis slab at the end of the shaft only adds to the mystery. [10] Whatever the so-called door turns out to be it is evident there is something there, something we would never have found had Dixon not solved this particular riddle.

I donít think it is irrelevant that the shafts themselves are only eight inches square. This speaks volumes to me concerning the mind of the builders. What better way of frustrating and intriguing the mind of the explorer than to build a passage that no man could ever ascend! Dixon tried exploring the shaft and failed, losing part of his iron rods in the process (they can still be seen stuck around a bend in the Northern Queen's shaft). It was only after Rudolf Gantenbrink's exploration by robot that we realised there was something at the end of the Southern passage.

Yet still the pun of the builders is at work because even though we now know there is a door, portcullis slab or something else at the end of the passage we are unable to get up there and open it. We know there is something of importance there because just before we reach the door the passage is suddenly lined with fine Turah limestone, reserved solely for chambers and casing in the Great Pyramid. I interpret this as the builders attempting to show us that there are indeed further chambers high up in the Great Pyramid . But what is the point of showing us there is such a chamber only to then highlight that there is no way we can get up to it?

Unless there is another way up?

Could the point here be that having shown us there is another chamber we have to find another way to reach it? Another passage that at the present time is unknown and hidden from us.

To solve this we must try and think the way the builders would have. I sat and thought about this for a while then realised it was time to go back to the original key, the Trial Passages, and look to see if anything had been missed. I was instantly surprised by what I found. It became clear to me that the purpose of the Trial Passages is to focus attention on one particular part of the Great Pyramid only, the junction of the Ascending with the Descending passage. This becomes clearer the more you look at it. Everything centres on this feature, and other features such as the Grand Gallery are only sketched in so we that we are able to work out that we are indeed being shown a map of the internal passages of the Great Pyramid. Features like the Subterranean chamber are not shown at all, neither is the Queen's chamber. Furthermore, if you examine it, it is evident that this is the only portion of the whole set of passages that is completely to scale, other features are foreshortened but the junction does not suffer from this problem of scale, it is there complete. It is evident from this that we are being forced to look long and hard at the junction of the Ascending with the Descending for some very important reason.

Therefore, taking this lead from the passages themselves I studied this junction until I realised that I had been staring at the solution all along without actually seeing it. The answer could be there right in front us there screaming for attention but we have failed to see it up until now.

There is a passage in the Trial Passages that does not appear in the Great Pyramid. Or put another way, a passage that is there but we simply havenít uncovered yet. Remember that before Ma'mun discovered the Ascending passage nobody knew it was there! Could it be that there is another passage we are walking past everyday, one that leads up into the upper reaches of the pyramid?

Take another look at Figure 2, reproduced again here. You will notice the vertical passage slightly to the North of the start of the Ascending passage. We have yet to find a passage inside the Great Pyramid that corresponds to this feature in the Trial Passages.

I believe that this fact has been overlooked because it has been assumed it represents the Well Shaft. Petrie certainly believed this is what it represented, saying; [10]

"The vertical shaft here is only analogous in size and not in position, to the well in the Pyramid gallery; and it is the only feature which is not an exact copy of the Great Pyramid passages, as far as we know them." [Petrieís own emphasis.]

I have to take issue here with Petrie and while I have the greatest respect for his work I have to conclude he has made a serious error here in comparing this shaft to the Well Shaft. If we look at the position of the Well Shaft in the Great Pyramid it can be seen that it begins in the Descending passage and after many twists and turns emerges at the base of the Grand Gallery, arriving beneath a loose stone that formed part of the West ramp of the Grand Gallery. Look again at the shaft in the Trial Passages. How can this passage be comparable with this feature in the Great Pyramid? The position of the two shafts is not even remotely close. A vertical passage in such a place in the Great Pyramid would be nowhere near emerging at the base of the Grand Gallery. To my mind to state that the two are analogous is stretching a point too far. I can only conclude that they relate to separate features and can in no way be thought to be the same feature.

However, in reading Petrieís words again I am forced to consider the fact that he actually suspected himself that they were not the same feature. What does he mean by the words "the only feature which is not an exact copy of the Great Pyramid passages, as far as we know them"? Did he suspect that one day it might be revealed that this feature could indeed be found in the Great Pyramid? We will never know but what we can do is take his lead and think about what he is saying.

Having surmised that it is highly likely that this is not actually the Well Shaft we have to take onboard the message the Trial Passages seem to be pointing out to us here.

There is another passage in the Great Pyramid, one we have not uncovered yet.

Furthermore it leads up vertically into the body of the pyramid from the junction of the Ascending passage with the Descending. If this passage was indeed to be found inside the Great Pyramid where would it lead? It does not necessarily have to remain a vertical passage. It could quite simply lead anywhere, it could develop into a separate passage system and lead to new chambers. The truth is it is impossible to tell. The Trial Passages leave this question unanswered. The beginning of the vertical shaft only is represented in the Trial Passages in much the same way as the beginning of the Grand Gallery. I believe this is so for the reasons outlined above, it is the junction of these passages only that the Trial Passages are attempting to bring to our attention. They seem to want us to make a breakthrough and discover the passage. Where it leads will become evident at that time.

So does this passage really exist in the Great Pyramid and if so why has it been missed?

I believe it is highly probable it really is there. The reason it has remained hidden for so long is due in part to the ingenuity of the architect. Look again at the plug-blocks in the Great Pyramid. Now refer back to the vertical passage in the Trial Passages. It is clear that the plugs start at exactly the spot where we would expect to find the beginning of the vertical passage and do not cover the spot where we would expect to find the entrance to the vertical passage. Why then can we not see the passage?

I believe this passage was designed not to be found by accident. Therefore I believe it is hidden in almost a similar way to the shafts found in the Queen's chamber. Remember that those shafts were always there, hidden behind the wall. It was only the foresight of Dixon that revealed them. I do not believe it is unreasonable to suppose the vertical shaft really is there, exactly where the Trial passages show it to be, it is simply a case that the lower end has been made to look identical to the roof of the junction between the Ascending and Descending passages. Again, this is not an unreasonable suggestion given that we have already encountered a similar method of hiding a passage within the Great Pyramid itself (the Queen's shafts).

Furthermore the fact that the plugs slope up at the angle of the Ascending passage indicate that their prime purpose is to block that passage only. Using granite for the first three plugs (Ma'mun found further limestone plugs blocking the Ascending passage which he was able to remove) seems also to be part of the design because it ensures anybody uncovering them would dig around them rather than try to remove them. Had they been limestone like the rear plugs they would have been easier to remove. This ensures that the correct sequence is followed by anyone following the clues hidden in the Trial Passages. Therefore Ma'mun dug around the blocks in the direction of the Ascending passage and so came to discover the Grand Gallery and the upper chambers without disturbing the vertical passage. Putting the plugs so close to the vertical passage means if there is a lintel hidden above the plugs it is protected by the plugs.

So, how much stone prevents us from gaining access to this new passage? Could it be as little as eight inches as in the case of the Queen's chamber. It is an exciting prospect.

I hinted earlier at where such a passage would lead us to. If there were chambers and other passages leading from this vertical passage it would follow that these may impact upon the passages and chambers we already know about. A few final pieces of evidence present themselves here.

Firstly, some way up the Ascending passage the construction of the passage changes in several places and it has been revealed that there are three Girdle stones fixed in place. These are obviously designed to strengthen the passage at this point. If we look at a diagram of the Ascending passage it is obvious they only occur in one section of the passage. Why is only this point of the passage strengthened? Why was it not necessary to place girdle stones along the length of the whole passage? There is no evidence of similar girdle stones in the upper part of the Descending passage or in the corridor leading to the Queen's chamber so why here at this precise point?

Could it be that it was necessary to strengthen the corridor at this point because there was something above this part of the passage? I think this is a very plausible suggestion. A chamber directly above the Ascending passage would cause the weight of the surrounding core blocks to be shifted unevenly around it, possibly to such an extent that strengthening blocks were needed to keep the passage below intact. It seems very possible to me that the presence of girdle stones at this particular spot indicates the position of an, as yet, unknown chamber. The position of the girdle stones is very close to my suggested vertical passage as the diagram on the left shows. I don't think it is outside the realms of possibility to suggest the two features share a connection.

Our second piece of evidence comes from Rudolf Gantenbrink's survey of the shafts found in both the King and Queen chambers. In particular, from anomalies he found some way up both the Southern shafts. Here is an extract first from his exploration of the Queen's Southern shaft; [12]

"At the beginning of Block No. 26, a large section of the floor has broken away. This is the worst damage we observed anywhere in the shaft sequences so far investigated. At this point, however, the pressure on the shaft amounts to only one-third of the maximum value. Near the Queen's Chamber, 115 meters of pyramid material press downward on the shaft. But only 35 meters of material press down on this spot, where we observe the greatest shaft damage. This highly unusual finding can have resulted only from one of two possible causes:

1. Extremely inept construction work below Block No. 25 and 26. It must be remembered, however, that it is this final section of the shaft which otherwise displays the highest quality workmanship observed anywhere in the shafts system.

2. The existence of an as yet undiscovered structure below or above this shaft section. Such a structure could produce a pressure peak, which could in turn focus considerable additional force on the shaft and possibly cause the observed damage."

Furthermore, he later finds more evidence further up this shaft that seems to reinforce the idea that there might be an undiscovered structure in the pyramid somewhere in this vicinity when cutting marks are found on the floor of certain blocks forming the shaft; [13]

"Based on the grooves found in the shaft, we can assume that, before their insertion as floor slabs, these blocks served as a base for the cutting of precision joints.

This gives rise to a crucial question: exactly which precision joints were cut here?

The shaft blocks themselves were only dressed with the chisel. We observed ample evidence of this in the Caviglia Tunnel, on the lower sides of the shaft blocks, as well as at several sites of block displacement, which exposed the abutting edges. At the upper southern shaft outlet, both outer sides of the blocks are visible. These, too, were worked only with the chisel. Thus, as 9 of a total of 10 surfaces of a shaft block were definitely chiselled, we can well assume that the shafts were constructed without recourse to sawing.

The pyramid's nearest casing stones, which lie 19 meters distant from this spot in the shaft, were cut in their final position. We know this because the stones located directly beneath the casing stones display cutting grooves.

The pyramid's corridor and chamber system, which also displays precise, cut joints, had been completed long before this shaft construction level was reached.

Taken together, these findings constitute a compelling case for a possible, as yet undiscovered structure - for which precision joints where made - in this upper region of the southern, Queen's Chamber shaft."

To add yet more weight to this hypothesis are his findings in the King's Southern Shaft, at a point directly above the anomalies found in the lower, Queen's Southern Shaft; [14]

"Between Block No. 15 and 16 we discovered a vertical joint. In the shafts such joints, which have a distinct static function, otherwise occur only proximate to the chambers.

It is a complete anomaly to find a vertical joint fully isolated in the nucleus of the pyramid. Since it requires much greater effort to shape and fit the blocks in such an arrangement, we can assume that the builders must have had significant structural justification for going to the trouble of deflecting forces into the horizontal plane.

This vertical joint is located about 12 meters above a point in the lower southern shaft which is subject to extraordinary static influences. The overall static's in this area seem to differ from those in the other shaft segments. For a construction engineer this is a significant clue to the possible existence of an as yet undiscovered structure in the vicinity of these static anomalies."

This coupled with the evidence I have put forward concerning the Girdle Stones in the Ascending passage I believe shows we should expect to find further chambers within the Great Pyramid, possibly even a whole new set of passages and chambers leading from my proposed vertical passage. As for the question of whether this new set of passages leads ultimately to the other side of the door found at the end of the Queen's shaft, I am afraid I will have to leave that question to the first person who enters the vertical passage! I will simply say that it is not beyond the realms of possibility bearing in mind it is highly likely there is something on the other side of the door and we cannot possibly reach it via an eight inch passage.

Thankfully we live in an age where it is no longer necessary to destroy large parts of the Great Pyramidís internal passages in order to answer some of these questions. Had Howard Vyse stumbled upon what I have revealed he would have undoubtedly had his men dynamite the junction of the Ascending passage with the Descending to establish what lay beyond, simply because they were the only means available to him at the time. Today though we have developed less intrusive methods and I believe it should not be beyond modern technology to confirm whether this vertical passage is really there or not.

For my own part I trust the message of the Trial Passages and believe there is a very strong likelihood that this passage could be found if we only take the trouble just to look. Exactly what we will find and why the builders of the Great Pyramid went to such lengths to lead us on this voyage of discovery are questions I cannot answer right now. If the passage exists as I think it does then all will become clear once we follow where it leads us.

I am confident that even if we do not heed the clue at this moment in time somebody will at a later date. Maybe, as it was in Ma'munís time, it will be another 1000 years before someone takes the next step.

© Copyright Mark James Foster 2001

I would like to thank the following without whose help this article would not have appeared;

Ralph Ellis, for his many discussions regarding Ma'mun and his exploration of the Great Pyramid and for also helping me see that the possible vertical passage in the Great Pyramid may be hidden in a similar fashion to the Queen's shafts.

Simon Cox, for his research into Vyse's diaries, for supplying source material, for help with the original draft and offering numerous suggestions as well as encouraging me to finish the article!

Greg Taylor, for proof reading and correcting my poor grammar!


1. Vyse, H, Operations Carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh (3 vol) 1840-1842, London

2. Lehner, M, The Pyramid Tomb of Hetep-heres and the Satelitte Pyramid of Khufu, DAI

3. Petrie, W.M.F, The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, 1990, HMM

4. Ibid

5. Ibid

6. Ellis, R & Foster, M.J, Tunnel Vision

7. Ibid

8. Lemesurier, P, The Great Pyramid Decoded, 1977, Element

9. Faulkner, R & Dr. Goelet, O, The Egyptian Book of The Dead, The Complete Papyrus of Ani, 1994, Chronicle

10. The Upuaut Project - A Report by Rudolf Gantenbrink

11. Petrie, W.M.F, The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, 1990, HMM

12. The Upuaut Project - A Report by Rudolf Gantenbrink

13. Ibid

14. Ibid