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Article First time online: December 2008.
Addition on 10 June 2011.
Reworked October 2019.


The Cheops Pyramid: C - Cheops Shafts.



For the picture and copyright see: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cheops-Pyramid.svg


The 4 small shafts of the Cheops pyramid.

10S - The southern air shaft in the king's chamber.
10N - The northern air shaft in the king's chamber.
7S - The southern small shaft in the queen's chamber.
7N - The northern small shaft in the queen's chamber.


The exact meaning of those "air shafts" has not yet become clear, their cross-section is barely 3 by 3 palm and therefore much too small for a person to crawl through, so they could never have served as a passage. The upper shafts leave the king's chamber and go diagonally through the massive pyramid all the way out. It is therefore not surprising that some people regard these as ventilation channels.


The lower shafts leave from the queen's chamber and in the beginning they were closed. The large limestone blocks in the walls where the shafts would end up in the queen's chamber were not completely carved out. Between the shafts and this room a thickness of about 1.5 palm was left over in the wall. Originally there was nothing to see of those shafts in the queen's chamber, it was only in 1872 that the English engineer Waynman Dixon discovered and opened them. These shafts first run horizontally a few meters and then bend obliquely upwards. Because of their small dimensions, it was almost impossible to examine them. Exits from these lower shafts were never found on the outside of Cheops pyramid, it has always been assumed that the latter only continued a few meters in the massive part of the pyramid. These couldn't therefore have been ventilation channels, which is why many archaeologists are of the opinion that they only had a ritual function. They were shafts along which the soul of Pharaoh could ascend to the stars.


The interior of the pyramid is very difficult to ventilate, because of the many tourists who visited the inner rooms, the humidity was always too high. They were looking for a solution and therefore Rudolf Gantenbrink, a German robotics engineer, was called in to do something about the excessively high humidity. The intention was to really use the "air shafts" in the king's chamber as such. Rudolf Gantenbrink started that work in 1992, the shafts had to be examined along their entire length and the rubble had to be cleared. That is why he built a small, beautiful robot that could pass through the air shafts, it was given the well-fitting name UPUAUT. After overcoming many obstacles, that work was brought to a successful conclusion and a powerful fan was finally installed. The humidity dropped to 53%, the results were very satisfactory and the project was fully successful.


In 1993 Rudolf returned to the pyramids again, this time for the lower shafts of the queen's chamber. These had never been investigated along their entire length and nobody knew how far they actually went through the massive stone mass of the pyramid. Also Rudolf himself couldn't find an exit from these channels anywhere on the outside of the pyramid, it was now certain that they would not extend beyond the pyramid. Rudolf stopped his research in the northern shaft due to obstacles and sharp turns around the Great Gallery.


It is strongly recommended that you read the full story on the original website itself, see www.cheops.org [1].
The text and explanation are very enlightening, highly recommended.



The southern shaft of the queen's chamber almost reaches the outside of the pyramid.
© CAD drawing by Rudolf Gantenbrink.



He then continued his research in the southern shaft of the queen's chamber. Great was the surprise when he discovered that the southern shaft runs through the pyramid for about 60 meters, the shaft stops barely 12.5 meters from the outer blocks of stone (seen as an extension of the shaft) or 15.4 meters including the original cover plates that have long since disappeared.

Moreover, he also discovered that this shaft was closed with a stone in which metal "handles" were attached. People quickly talked about a door and because it was Rudolf's discovery it was soon called Gantenbrink's door. At that time it was actually not at all clear what the use of these metal strips was. Were it really handles to place the stone or were it rather hooks to block the stone?



A door at the end of the southern shaft of the queen's room?
Metal handles in the door?
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.



Let’s take a closer look at that door.


The "door" at the end of the southern shaft.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink



The southern shaft of the queen's chamber measures approximately 3 by 3 palm, so the visible part of the door at the end of the shaft is the same size. How thick that stone really was couldn’t yet be determined at that time. Measurements with a "ground radar" in a later investigation have shown that that stone has a thickness of approx. 1 (hand)palm. For that measurement a pressure of 18 kg was required on the stone and the "door" didn’t move. Either that stone is larger so that it weighs more than 18 kg or it is anchored in a slot.


If we look at those metal levers in close-up, there are even more details to see.


The handles on the door. Explanation according to Rudolf Gantenbrink on his website.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.


According to Rudolf Gantenbrink (and others), two holes were made in that little door where the metal strips were inserted.  These metal strips are made of either red copper or bronze. According to Rudolf, those metal strips were fixed in those holes with a tar-like substance, these can be seen at the top as those black spots. A little lower there are two circular paler spots, these would be remnants of two white seals.


In the description Rudolf Gantenbrink gave on his website as well as in a documentary "the Upuaut" in connection with those handles, it suggested that he knew much more about it than he could tell. Attention was focused on that tarry material and the mention of seals gave rise to the suspicion that he knew more than he mentioned. It was as if he gave a hint to study the matter more thoroughly.


A piece of the left lever had already broken off when he discovered the door.
That broken piece is a few meters lower in the shaft.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.



On this picture you can see the broken piece of the handle.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.


Why was that metal piece broken off halfway and not at the top? In addition, during a later investigation when a ground radar was pressed on that door with a force of 18 kg, a piece of the right lever was broken off in exactly the same way as the left one.

The bizarre thing is that the right-hand lever also breaks off in the middle and not at the top where those metal strips would be stuck with that black tar-like substance. In the queen's chamber, at the end of the northern shaft is also a door at about the same height and distance as in the southern shaft. There are very few photos of that door, but on one of these one can see that there are also 2 levers on it. However, there are no black spots of a tarry substance here.

Link to an article by Dr. Zahi Hawass in which photos are to see of the door in the northern shaft of the queen's chamber, the two photos (screen shots) show the door with the two levers, but no trace of black tar mass.


Those levers were not fixed at the very top with tar mass, it is more logical to assume that the white circles in the middle aren't imprints of seals, but that these are the holes in which the metal strips were attached with lime mortar.



It was assumed here that both white circles were holes in the stone door and that the copper (or bronze?) strips were fixed therein. What the back of the door looked like at that time was not yet known, whether or not those holes went through the back could not yet be said then. Either the side view 1 or 2 on the above drawing could be correct, in the second case those metal strips would really have served as handles to hold the stone from the rear.





Corrosion on the copper or bronze handles.


The holes were filled afterwards with white lime mortar. In this way it is normal for the metal strips to break off at that exact location, it is a crease line and the only line that came into contact with both the moist air and the chalky mortar. Due to the effect of a little moisture and the somewhat aggressive components of the lime mortar, it makes perfect sense that the most corrosion could occur precisely on that crease line and that the strips would break off just there.




Addition of 2011, June the 10th.

Initially a small hole was drilled through the "door" which was about 1 palm thick. Rob Richardson and colleagues from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom had developed a new (a third) robot with which the back of that door and the "room"  behind it could be filmed in more detail.

The word “room” is exaggerated for this small cavity because the air shafts have a section of only about 3 by 3 palm. Behind that door (thickness 1 palm) is another very small piece of shaft with a length of 4 palm or something like that. Further on, the shaft appears to be blocked with a large, rough piece of limestone. It is currently assumed that the shaft stops here and that the last limestone block is part of the solid core of the pyramid, in other words that there wouldn’t exist no room anymore behind it.


With a small camera mounted on a flexible thin tube, this team succeeded in taking pictures of that "room" as well as the back of that door. Those photos were published on May 25, 2011 in the article below on the website of newscientist.


From the photos and the accompanying article it became clear that those "handles" go all the way through the door. The metal strips are folded at the back so that they form a nice loop on that side, so it is exactly like side view 2 on the previous drawing. There is not much that can be deduced from those small, rather unclear photos. However, when we magnify that photo from the rear, there are no black spots around the metal strips.

Although details can only be seen very faintly, it seems that those metal strips were fixed with white lime mortar, on the left handle it seems that there is still a small remaining lime mortar. That limestone slab is not a door but rather a seal plate, from this point the pyramid was sealed.

The loops on the back suggest that they once served as handles to place the small scale plate in the right position. To determine the thickness, a ground radar with a force of 18 kg was pressed against the underside of the door, this force was perhaps greater than the weight of the door itself, but it still remained in place. So, there's a great chance the  limestone plate is some way anchored in the shaft.

Archaeologists believe that higher up, above the end of the shaft, there is no longer any corridor or room. The door, which they consider to be an ornament, must therefore have been fitted during the construction of the pyramid because it simply was no longer accessible afterwards. Possibly it was held at the rear by those bent loops in order to place it in a tightly fitting cavity. No one knows it for sure, so they can be right.



A supposed secret chamber at a height of 56 meter.
Shafts from the queen's chamber (blue).
 Possibility of two small corridors from secret chamber towards the end of the shafts (red).
Shafts and corridors not on scale.

However, these shafts stop approximately at the same height of the center of the pyramid, about 56 meters above ground level. This is the same height where we expect one or more secret rooms. In theory it is therefore possible that a small corridor runs to the end of each shaft.



Seals on that little “door”?

Let's examine those levers more thoroughly.



As explained earlier, a very small shaft leaves the queen's chamber and goes diagonally upwards in a southerly direction.
That shaft doesn't reach the open air but stops about 12.5 meters from the outside.
At the end of that shaft is a little "door" with 2 handles as can be seen on the photo above.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.




The photo of the same door with these "handles" but now turned upside down.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.




If we look at a close-up of this handle, there is a remnant lime mortar which has slid down a bit.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.


It looks like the limestone “door” was standing upside down when the bronze strips were fixed into this stone. If one looks at the close-up of the handle above, you can see remnants of lime mortar that have slid down from the round hole. The bronze strips weren't fixed at all with black tar, but instead they were fixed in those white holes with lime mortar. The question remains as to what those black "spots" may be, it must be worthwhile to investigate this further.


The following pictures are edits of the original, an attempt was made to display those black "spots" more clearly. In the first instance, the left black "spot" was cut out from the original photo. Then this picture was turned upside down. No tricks were applied to the photos, only a way was sought to obtain a better image. There was so little contrast in the positive image that we obtained that nothing could be made out of it, it looked like an image but it was far from clear. That is why a negative of the photo was made in the hope that more contrast would be obtained. To convince you that no tricks are involved, you can copy this photo from Rudolf's website and edit it yourself. You have to put the photo in negative and you also need to experiment with brightness and contrast to get the best result.



Positive picture                                        Negative picture



The above picture can’t be an optical illusion, the negative photo clearly shows the image of a bearded man in a long robe that falls to the ground. Moreover, it can be seen that the man is wearing a crown that is arch-shaped above and has horizontal stripes in the middle. It looks like we are dealing here with a seal in the form of a small statue, an amulet. The metal strips have the color of copper or bronze, the statue is completely black and therefore could it be made of silver. This metal has always been scarce in ancient Egypt but was used sporadically. Precisely because of the scarcity of silver, it was actually even more valuable than gold. This statue can be only about four cm high and barely a few cm wide.



The other handle.
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.


It seems that this metal strip comes out of the above hole and is again attached with lime mortar. Apparently here again a seal is attached to the metal strip. It's a small statue, again something like an amulet. Here too there is a part that is completely black and differs from the color of the copper or bronze strip above the figure. It can therefore be silver again, on the other hand the part in V-shape above it has a completely different color and seems to reflect the light from the camera spot. Metal that sparkles after all those centuries can indicate that it could be gold. This seal (amulet) must be approximately 3 cm high and 1.5 to 2 cm wide.



The handle, magnified (left) and contrast updated (right).
© Photo Rudolf Gantenbrink.



Here it is much more difficult to clearly distinguish something. It looks like a man's torso. The color of the clothing or uniform is black and above it there is a kind of V-shaped armor that lies over the shoulders. It looks like a breastplate in which male muscles are depicted in relief,  breastplates like the Roman generals wore.

The photo is not clear enough to see details from the head and we certainly have to take into account that it can be an optical illusion. In the beginning one will try to distinguish a human head in that photo but they will not succeed, even after days studying it. Suddenly it becomes clear, it is a rather surprising experience. It is a torso of a man but with the head of a jackal, it is an image of the god Anubis.



For picture and copyright see Wikimedia Commons:
For Anubis see Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anubis


Anubis is a god in Egyptian mythology. He was depicted as a jackal or as a human with a jackal's head. A jackal is a scavenger, and the association with this animal would probably have been earlier to protect the dead against destruction.

Just about every scholar is convinced that all the rooms in Cheops pyramid are known and were looted long ago. How is it then that the southern shaft of the queen's chamber was sealed,  about the height of the center point from the pyramid, with a limestone on which two "amulets" are attached, the first from a king (?) with a crown and another from the jackal god.

The clothing (long cloak and crown) that can be seen on the first amulet is certainly not the that of a pharaoh. Is this perhaps the image of one of the first kings? One of their ancient Egyptian gods? In addition, an image of the jackal god! Finding Anubis here at this height in the pyramid, the protector of the dead! If there are no more rooms here, where then are those mummies buried? So we'd better search further in the pyramid!

The Egyptologists are firmly convinced that the three pyramids on the Giza plateau were built by Cheops, Chefren and Menkaure. Ok, they probably can be right. Robert Bauval [2], on the other hand, has shown that the three pyramids were set up according to a specific plan. The moment Cheops started on his pyramid, it must have already been clear by then where exactly the other two had to come. Cheops, Chefren and Menkaure may have built those pyramids, but the question is for whom they were built or what was the intention of such a master plan.




References to Chapter C.

1] Pictures by Rudolf Gantenbrink - see his website www.cheops.org
© Pictures Copyright Rudolf Gantenbrink.

[2] Robert Bauval – Book: The Orion Mystery. © 1994
Dutch version: Het Orion Mysterie.
ISBN : 90 269 6130 8/CIP