Sphinx and Pyramid Conspiracy?

What’s this I hear about every time someone wants to find out if there are passages underneath the Sphinx and what is behind the metal plate in one of the shafts of the Great Pyramid, the authorities forbid further research? Look up Bauval, who has looked into all this, and Gantenbrink, who made the little robot that went up the shaft and found the door, and Gantenbrink was forbidden to send it up the shaft again. And when he offered to make another robot that would have a tv or better tv in it to take pictures, this was refused. And the authorites like Hawass said yes there are chambers under the Sphinx but then don’t let anyone investiate this! Also the authorities all have connections with the Edgar Cayce institute! The chief pooh-pooher of the theory that the Sphinx dates back to 10,500 BC instead of just to the time of Khafre WAS SENT TO GET HIS WHOLE DEGREE by the Edgar Cayce people, but these are the people that believe in Cayce’s prediction that there would be chambers found underneath the Sphinx (with knowledge scrolls or inscriptions in them). This chief
pooh-pooher has a top degree from a high calibre university and is accepted in the field by the official of the field of Egyptology! What is going on here, has anyone heard anything? Look up Sphinx on the internet for details.

Hmm… how to approach this?

As a serious student of Egyptology, anything that smacks too loudly of mysticsm or metaphysics -including Edgar Cayce- involving the pyramids or the Sphinx makes my hair stand on end. But, believeing that anything is possible, I read it all.

If I remember right, the passage under the Sphinx is filled with water. There was a special on TV (hosted by Omar Scharif) a few years back that showed it. Even the pathway down had standing water in it. I believe they said it was just too dangerous to send divers down there because the water was supposed to be very cold and they had no idea the length/depth/condition of the passage. At the time, the robotic camera they had sent a ways in just wasn’t good enough to pick up anything but murk. I have it on tape and can dig it out and watch it if it will help.

The Department of Antiquities in Egypt has become very protective of their monuments and treasures, and who can blame them after all the treasure hunters that have been through in the early part of the Twentith Century and the just general decay that modern civilization is causing? Pollution and traffic vibrations are eating away at everything above ground and a lot of what’s below. It may really be a safety issue.

I don’t know about a cayce-cabal theory (and strongly doubt anything so paranoid sounding) or about chambers under the Sphinx (can someone provide an online cite for this?), BUT:

It’s very frustrating that the Gatenbrink/Upauat pictures of the Queen’s Chamber shaft clearly showed in 1993 that there may be an unexplored chamber in the Great Pyramid, and now, eight years later, there’s been no follow-up.

The Upauat pictures seemed like one of the most exciting and tantalizing discoveries in Egyptology in decades, but nothing seems to be happening to find out what this really means. I really doubt a conspiracy, as in the OP, but this seems maddening.

Gatenbrink has a web site devoted to the Upuaut project, if anyone is interested. It’s at http://www.cheops.org/. Some interesting stuff there.

Yeah, it would be nice to find out what the shafts were for, but it would probably turn out that they were just air shafts or light shafts for the people working in the queen’s chamber when they built the thing.

About the Sphinx; supposedly, a reputable geologist demonstrated that the Sphinx base had been eroded by water, not wind blown sand. This is evidence that the Sphinx may actually be thousands of years older than egyptologists suspected. Also, if you enter the chambers in the great pyramid, you will find no soot on the ceilings (as would be deposited by torches or candles). how on earth did the ancient egyptians see while working inside? this is inded a puzzle.

There are some tombs and such in Egypt now where they don’t allow any kind of artificial light. So the guides have someone stand outside the entrance to the tomb with a mirror and shine the reflected light into the tomb, and may even have a few people to act as relays within the tomb if there’s a long shaft with some bends in it. I’ve actually seen this, it definitely happens.

So perhaps the builders of the pyramid did the same thing (OK, probably with polished brass or something and not glass, but the idea is the same). No, I don’t know that, but it’s a perfectly plausible explanation.

The geologist’s name is Robert Schoch; he’s from Boston University. He gave a presentation at last year’s Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Reno, NV, which I attended. His evidence relies on weathering patterns of the rectagular pit in which the Sphinx sits, noting that erosion of the carved walls is greatest on those sides of the pit that would have received runoff from the Giza plateau prior to the construction of (I think) a wall and some other buildings in Khufu’s time. To rebut those who say that the water erosion is merely the result of episodic heavy downpours that Egypt experiences to this day, Schoch noted that carvings firmly dated to Khufu’s time on the opposite sides of the Sphinx’s pit barely show any signs of water erosion at all. His bottom line argument - that the pit in which the Sphinx lies was carved at a time when Egypt’s climate was considerably wetter than in it now (i.e., well before 2500 BC). The age of the Sphinx itself can’t be determined by cosmogenic isotopes, as it is known to have been “repaired” (recarved) more than once after it was built.

His talk, which was well publicized by GSA, drew a big crowd and precipitated a huge argument afterwards. I wish I knew who the protesters were, but it sounded as though they were from the archaeological community.

I have a couple of comments on this topic:

  1. I would like very much to see serious scientific efforts directed toward resolving some of the “ancient mysteries” that float around, if only to put a lid on folks like Graham Hancock who weave fact with a great deal of fiction. The evidence Schoch presented is IMHO plausible on its face, if a bit weak at present; he would do himself an enormous favor if he shied away from seeking the endorsement of folks like Hancock in drawing attention to his work.

  2. The archaeological community, especially those involved in the classics, would do themselves a favor if they’d open their minds a bit to at least consider evidence from the natural sciences. The reaction I saw to Schoch’s talk reminded me of a scathing and derisive book review of Noah’s Flood I read awhile back in Archaeology, in which the reviewer made plain his disdain for the geologists daring to address archaeological issues, and basically said the book was a crock. Wonder how he feels now that Bob Ballard has found archaeological remains beneath the Black Sea, just where the geologists thought there might be something left…

Robert Bauval has written a book about what he has seen of the entire Giza conflict. It’s called “Secret Chamber”, and I picked it up when in Ireland. Other folks associated with the situation have written a book called “Giza: The Truth”, which I have not yet read. I gather that the various camps represented by Bauval/Hancock, Gantenbrinck, Zahi Hawass (and the Egyptian authorities) are not cooperating, and that orthodox Egyptologists are probably annoyed with all of them.

I was, I must admit, impressed with Bauval’s first book where he suggests that the placing of the Pyramids was done in imitation of the “belt stars” of Orion. He showed a great deal of restraint, allowing his Cayce-believing tendencies to show, but not to affect his points. Since then, especially in his collaborations with Hancock, he has gotten more colorful and, to someone with orthodox tastes like myself, less belieavable.

I’d like to see more Gantenbrick stuff, too. As Bauval presents it, no one in authority ever looked on him as a serious researcher – he was there to put in a ventilation system, mainly, and Upuaut was a bonus. Bauval would like to see the work continued, too. But he describes a great deal of skullduggery involving the Upuaut expedition and the resulting videotape that I find very confusing. I personally doubt that there is a vast secret chamber behind that door, or extensive Egyptian documents, or anything else so “sexy”, but the existence of that carefully made and closed door does invite investigation.

How many Pyramids are there anyway. I say lets disassemble one, stone by stone and find out exactly whats in there.

my $0.02

Given that the Egyptians would regard that as we would someone taking the Washington Monument apart, and that each stone is several cubic meters, I presume that you jest.

And there’s the fact that I don’t recall hearing a single Egyptologist or engineer say we could possibly put it back together.

I am half Egyptian and I have had opportunity to see the pyramids of Giza several times, as well as the pyramid of Saqqara and some amazing underground chambers in Saqqara not open to the public. In fact, as a child I climbed very high up on the Great Pyramid, something which was forbidden then and still is.

The reason why Egyptians are reluctant to have people running all over the place is that these monuments are UNBELIEVABLE. No matter how much you think about them, nothing can prepare you for the moment when you stand before these giants. The Egyptians simply don’t want foreigners (and especially nutcases looking for “mysterious energies”) running around all over their precious antiquities–and Egypt is an ancient land.

As for the pyramids–tunnels leading to false ends, tunnels sloping upwards to the chambers. The Ventilation holes were by far the most amazing feat I could see–to leave openings through all that stone, what a work of genius.

The bottom line is that any number of whackos can say anything they want in their books or TV shows. Before you believe them implicitly you have to actually be there, an insignificant insect in the sand before the pyramids, and experience the feeling–and then step inside. It is a feeling that will probably go to your head, and will make you think in the wildest of manners. Perhaps a lot of these conspiracy theories come simply from an over-reaction to these awe-inspiring monuments. It’s difficult to remain cool and collected in the face of such ancient magnificence, and I can understand why some people lose the plot in their pyramid obsessions.

No need to look for the supernatural explanation though; as overpowering as the feeling is, I recognize it as a composite of several other feelings including sheer awe as well as a form of pride (that ancient humans half my size could build something so grand and enduring).

Since I can see the Pyramids on a good day from my apartment…

First, I don’t know why the whackos and those taken in by them believe there are any conspirances. A few facts, the world of archaeology is not exactely awash in cash. Given limited resources, very limited resources in fact, it makes a lot more sense to concentrate on more productive (if less sexy) endeavors. Eight years. So what. Is the pyramid going anywhere?

As for dissembling one of the Pyramids, sure we could do that, but why? (And certainly one could put it back together) It would be a collassal waste of resources. Egypt has better things to spend its money on, and so do international donors.

I’ll back Abe and others in noting the Egyptians have become quite protective of their monuments (although frankly I find the Pyramids uninspiring, including the Gizan ones. Really, they’re nothing more than big piles of stone in the service of an ancient ego capable of marshaling vast amounts of forced labor… )

Strange and wacky obsessions folks get.

Forced labor?
I heard the vision of overseers whipping slaves to build the pyramids was found untrue when upon inspecting some of the blocks, they found grafitti (unofficial) inscriptions or they could have been official, with the names of the TOWNS and their workmen who had come up to build the pyramids, and they said things like proud and happy to be here. I think one source is Kurt or maybe Eric? Mendelsohn’s book on the pyramids. The idea he and others have is that the towns would be fighting in the off-crop season, so the pyramids were mainly a adevice to give people something to do, and they were happy to be building such great monuments. Given human nature, this is a very believable theory. Then when farming season was on, they would go back to their villages and cities and be praised. Thus the pyramids were partly a public works project like Roosevelt and Cleisthenes thought of or maybe it was Peisistratus, one of the rulers of Athens before Pericles… Next time you see an enormous palace or monument, etc., consider what the people would have been doing if they weren’t working on something they could be proud of, namely killing each other. Mendelsohn’s idea is that the pyramids were what unified the country, not Narmer or Menes, or at least the pyramids were what kept the country unified. (I know Menes was a long time before the Pyramids).

Nota Bene: I said forced labor, not slave labor. I am precise in my usages. Compelled labor if you will. Let me develop below.

Observations: Graffiti, even positive graffiti neither confirms nor denies the compulsory nature of the work. Recall that (a) literacy was an elite phenomena only. Learning to write in hieroglyphics was a non-trivial time investment. (b) insofar as literacy and thus any writing is an elite phenomena, they represent elite opinion which is certainly distinguishable from the experience of the non-elites. Frankly, the record will be forever silent regarding the opinions of the illiterate majority. However, looking at how enthusiastic folks are now, and historically, for such… © let us not forget propaganda.

Is it now? Let’s consider this. After a season of back breaking labor, which is what traditional Egyptian agriculure entailed, you are happy to forgo your resting season to engage in back-breaking and apparently largely uncompensated labor for the Pharoah.

My take on human nature is (a) the elites who would get kickbacks, recompensation from the Pharoah of course did not mind (b) the average peasant was drummed into the work.

See above. One has to distinguish between various social levels. I very much doubt anyone doing the manual labor was all that enthused, except insofar as certain specialists actually gained from the work.

A fundamentally ahistorical and anachronistic interpretation in my mind.

I think Mendelsohn needs a reality check. But this is not really my area of interest.

Let’s not forget the Pharoah was not just the king but the god of the egyptians. The desire to erect monuments for your god (or God) is present throughout history, and that sort of public effort is pretty easy to summon up even today. Imagine if the pope asked for a tomb to be buried in in Poland. Or consider the public support of projects like the repairs on the statue of liberty. The world is simply lousy with churches and stone monuments and other demonstrations of faith.

Should the priorities of the Egyptian Antiquities Service be determined by one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘prophecies’? No, of course not.

To CalMeacham and anyone else who hasn’t read it, I would strongly recommend Ian Lawton and Chris Ogilvie-Herald, “Giza: The Truth”. Its discussion of the archaeology seems sane and its account of the infighting between the various personalities is most entertaining. Both Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald have websites.


But still the question remains, why would the Cayce
group have paid for the university education (and thus the elevation of the man to the top of his field of Egyptology)
of the very man that pooh-poohs Caycean ideas about the Great Pyramid? It doesn’t make sense. The Cayce institute according to Bauval and the other guy’s statements should want things that are newly known about the Sphinx and the Pyramid to be generally known. Cayce said that things would be discovered in 1998 but the information would be withheld from the public for awhile, and then it would be revealed.
I’m still waiting.
Meanwhile some people insist on the beaten slave theory of building ancient monuments, forgetting how eager people are for masochism and/or “devotion” without being coerced. The thoughtlessness of the human race will always guarantee credulity enough for people to be WILLING to serve the will of the strong.

One last comment on this:

I specifically said forced labor, not beaten slaves. Re the religious motivation: it may or may not have been there. From my admittedly thin readings it was my understanding that elite religion appears to have substantially diverged from popular religion. A reasonable hypothesis regarding the workings of the ancient Egyptian polity should, in my mind, recognize elements of both coercion and positive motivation. I am not willing to assume ipso facto that the ancient peasants were tripping overthemselves to build massive piles of stone.

In any case, this is rather an aside to the subject on hand.

In re the Cayce chowderheads paying for someone’s education (and not necessarily elevation to top of field, you get that through hard work and publication in respected peer-reviewed journals) perhaps he suckered them.