Part One of The Giza Discovery
The Search for the Hidden Tomb
By Peter Goodgame
"I really personally believe that the secret chamber of Khufu is hidden inside the pyramid."
Zahi Hawass, from a lecture in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in early July of 2005
In October of 2005 the world will witness another serious effort to uncover some of the mysteries that lay buried under the rock and sand at Giza. There is a very good possibility that this effort will not be in vain, and that it will result in the greatest archaeological discovery ever made in the history of mankind. This series of articles will explain what that discovery might be and, more importantly, what that discovery could mean for the world not only archaeologically and historically, but spiritually as well.
The major components of the Giza complex include the the three major pyramids and also the enigmatic massive stone statue known as the Sphinx. The Great Pyramid, the largest of the three main pyramids, was the first built and is also the last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It is a well-established fact that the Great Pyramid was built by King Khufu, of Egypt's Fourth Dynasty, whose reign began around approximately 2500 BCE. What is not an established fact, although it is the common explanation, is that Khufu built the Great Pyramid to be his own personal burial chamber. That was not the purpose of the Great Pyramid—the truth is much more interesting.
Zahi Hawass himself explains that the Giza Plateau was known by the Egyptians as the "House of Osiris, Lord of the Underground Tunnels."  So if we want to understand Giza and the Great Pyramid we must understand the ancient Egyptian god Osiris, rather than focus on Khufu the king who was merely tasked with initiating the construction of this enduring monument. To begin this story we will go back to 1998, when Dr. Hawass had just made what he called his greatest discovery, a discovery that definitely did concern the Egyptian god Osiris.
You may be asking, 'Who is Dr. Zahi Hawass?' Well, his official titles are 'Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt' and 'Director of the Giza Pyramids Excavation.' In other words, Dr. Zahi Hawass is the top man in charge of Egyptian antiquities. Nothing happens archaeologically in Egypt without his approval and signature, and nothing happens in Giza without him usually being physically present, either personally directing the research or excavation or else observing with a keen and critical eye.
The Hallway of Osiris
Back in November of 1998 Hawass made a discovery that he relates here in his own words, as taken from a press release at the time :
"I have found a shaft, going 29 meters [95 feet approximately] vertically down into the ground, exactly halfway between the Chefren Pyramid [the middle pyramid] and the Sphinx. At the bottom, which was filled with water, we have found a burial chamber with four pillars. In the middle is a large granite sarcophagus which I expect to be the grave of Osiris, the god... I have been digging in Egypt's sand for more than 30 years, and up to date this is the most exciting discovery I have made... We found the shaft in November and began pumping up the water recently. So several years will pass before we have finished investigating the find."
Zahi Hawass believed at the time that he had found the burial place of Osiris the god and he referred to this as the greatest discovery of his entire career. This discovery eventually became known worldwide and the FOX television network broadcast a special program on March 2, 1999, entitled "Opening the Lost Tombs: Live From Egypt." The special was a huge success for FOX as far as ratings were concerned, but as far as the academic world was concerned it was a travesty and an embarrassment both to archaeology and to Egyptology, despite what appeared to be the good intentions of Zahi Hawass. 
The so-called grave and sarcophagus of Osiris was eventually explained by Hawass as being "symbolic," probably having been used for initiatory and/or ritual purposes as a part of Egyptian religion, and dating to 2000 years after the building of the pyramids (665-525 BC). In any case, the shaft in which it was located did open up previously unexplored tunnels, but the world is still waiting for Hawass to make a public presentation documenting where these tunnels go, how extensive they are, and what they lead to.
This story is not dead but it has been quiet for some time now. To examine it further readers may click to an excellent series of articles written by Nigel Skinner-Thompson called "The Shaft, The Subway & The Causeway," or they may click to an article entitled "Ananda in the Hallway of Osiris" which contains a first-person account of what the tunnels and chambers contain and a number of color photographs.
From this adventure we can deduce that Zahi Hawass maintains a belief that Osiris was in fact a historical figure and that his grave, and possibly his mummified body, must still exist somewhere within the Giza complex. What is also clear is that, for some unknown reason, Hawass wants to make sure that when this tomb is found the whole world will be able to watch when its contents are revealed.
The French Initiative
From past excitement concerning the possible discovery of the tomb of Osiris we now direct our attention to current excitement regarding the "tomb of Khufu."
From September 6-12 of 2004 the 9th International Congress of Egyptologists met at Grenoble, France. This conference included a presentation given by two French researchers who publicized their theory (and book) that structural anomalies suggested the existence of a hidden chamber within the Great Pyramid itself. Gilles Dormion and Jean-Yves Verd'hurt admit to being amateurs in areas such as Egyptian history, culture and religion, but their specialty is in the field of architecture and their method has achieved success in the past when they were able to locate two previously unknown chambers in the Meidum Pyramid to the south of Giza.
Dormion and Verd'hurt's theory is that this hidden chamber exists underneath the Queen's Chamber at a symbolic location at the very heart of the Great Pyramid. As evidence for it they argue that the hole in the floor of the niche in the east wall of the Queen's Chamber was used to pass ropes through to install what are called "portcullis blocks" which are used primarily to block the entrances and exits of chambers or passageways.
Their theory appeared to have been confirmed in September of 2000 when ground probing radar was used on the floor of the Queen's Chamber revealing a passageway or void 3.5 meters below. Dormion and Verd'hurt also provided evidence that the paving stones of the Queen's Chamber had at one time been removed to gain access to this alleged passageway, which is illustrated in an article located here. 
Dormion and Verd'hurt appear to have gained the support of much of the French Egyptological establishment, including Jean-Pierre Corteggiani of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, and Nicolas Grimal the head of Egyptology at the Collège de France. Grimal even wrote the preface to their book La Chambre de Chèops (The Chamber of Cheops), writing that their ideas may lead to "without doubt, one of the greatest discoveries in Egyptology." 
While this French initiative appears to have both solid evidence and high-level backing on its side it will inevitably go nowhere without the support of Dr. Zahi Hawass. To test their theory the French team has been lobbying for permission to drill through the floor of the Queen's Chamber and Zahi Hawass, who attended the Grenoble conference and listened to the presentation, refuses to allow this.
There are a couple of reasons why Hawass is opposed to the French initiative. In the first place, Dormion's theory is based on the idea that the Egyptian builders of the Great Pyramid were incompetent and that the location of Khufu's Tomb had to be changed from the King's Chamber to underneath the Queen's Chamber because the pyramid exhibited signs of structural failure as it was being built. This possibility does not appeal to Hawass, who happens to be an Egyptian himself, and neither does it appeal to the other two individuals consulted by Hawass, Mark Lehner of the USA and Rainer Stadelmann of Germany, who Hawass considers to be the top experts on the Great Pyramid.
The other reason that Hawass refuses to allow the French initiative to move forward is because he wants to focus on his own theory of where this hidden "tomb of Khufu" might be found within the Great Pyramid.
The Hawass Initiative
The current theory that Hawass holds regarding the location of the "Hidden Chamber of Khufu" traces back to the 1992-93 UPUAUT PROJECT led by Rudolf Gantenbrink. This was the project in which a robot was sent up the two anomalous shafts that project up and out, north and south, from the Queen's Chamber. On March 22, 1993, this robot made its way to the end of the southern shaft, 210 feet up and 54 feet from the surface of the pyramid, where it found what looked like a stone door fitted with metal handles. Subsequent testing showed that this "door" was only about three inches thick.
The discovery of a "door" at the end of the southern "star-shaft" created a storm of media attention and debate, but nothing was done about it until 2002. That was when another TV special was set up, funded by the National Geographic Society and broadcast live, as before, by the FOX TV Network on September 16, 2002. The world watched as a robot ascended the shaft to drill a tiny hole through "Gantenbrink's Door" after which a camera was inserted offering pictures of the other side. What it showed was simply the end of the shaft in the form of a rough hewn block, this time without metal handles. The robot was also able to successfully ascend the northern shaft and it found another smooth stone "door" with metal handles. However, in this case a decision was made not to drill through the "door."
To bring this story up to date we must go to the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology where Zahi Hawass gave a lecture in early July of 2005. According to a report carried by The Daily Star, this was when Zahi Hawass voiced his confidence that "the secret chamber of Khufu is hidden inside the pyramid." 
Hawass explained that his hopes lay in what is beyond the "end" of the Queen's Chamber's southern shaft, and what is beyond the "door" of the northern shaft. According to Hawass, in October of 2005 a robot built by the University of Singapore will be sent up the shafts to drill through both of these blocks. This time, to avoid any major disappointment as before, Hawass says that the drilling will not be broadcast live, but the results will be announced in a press release. However Hawass did explain that "If something interesting is discovered, we're going to show it to people all over the world."
At the same time that the drilling is taking place in the Great Pyramid there will also be a team from Birmingham, England, performing radar mapping at select locations on the Giza plateau. Perhaps this has to do with the new tunnels that were opened up with the discovery of the so-called "Tomb of Osiris"?
The Giza Wall
Whatever may be in store for Giza this October, it appears that Zahi Hawass and the Egyptian authorities have been preparing for something big. In 2002 construction began of a massive concrete security wall to surround the Giza plateau which, for reasons unknown, also extends into the empty desert to encompass a total area of about eight square kilometers. Egyptologist and mystic J.J. Hurtak comments on this wall saying that such a wall was never needed for tourists, but can only be in preparation for a major discovery :
"The psychological reality of guards stationed as sentries at intervals along the entire wall carries the intrigue of a major feature film set, designed for the few experts who are to find an underground sphinx or obelisk, or a connection between Osiris and the constellation of Orion, rather than an open-door feature for thousands of well-behaved international students of history and archaeology who have never needed to be extensively controlled."
It is now 2005 and this wall must now be almost certainly complete. What kind of event could possibly be scheduled to demand such a high level of security and safety? What kind of discovery could possibly be expected?
It is interesting that Hurtak referred to the possibility of finding evidence connecting Osiris with Orion. This connection is something that is well-known to many researchers of the religion and history of ancient Egypt, but it is still unaccepted within the mainstream academic community of Egyptology. In the next article we will examine why this connection is important and we will argue that the Great Pyramid of Egypt, if it was indeed built as a tomb, is more likely to contain the mummy of Osiris, rather than that of Khufu the builder of the pyramid.
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2005 has passed and there has been little activity regarding the search for the hidden chamber. However, in a December 12, 2005 interview Dr. Hawass remained unshaken in his expectation that it will be found. Whether it exists near the top of the Great Pyramid or not remains a matter of debate. Perhaps it exists in the heart of the pyramid as argued by Dormion and Verd'hurt, or perhaps there is indeed a 250-foot high chamber near the base of the pyramid as alleged by independent researcher Larry Dean Hunter. Read on to learn how this discovery, whether it occurs as soon as 2006 or as late as 2012, will be remembered as the greatest archaeological discovery ever made in the history of mankind.
2. From a newspaper article entitled "Sandpit of Royalty" by Dorte Quist taken from
3. See this page for two critical reviews:
4. Secret Chamber: The Quest for the Hall of Records, Robert Bauval, 1999, p.83
5."A Secret Chamber in the Great Pyramid?" :
6. "Secret Chambers of the Great Pyramid of Khufu" by Jimmy Dunn:
7. "The Great Pyramid may still contain Khufu's intact pharaonic tomb" by Kyle Cassidy:
8."New Walls Encircle Pyramidal Complex at Giza" by Dr. J.J. Hurtak:
— A book review of Robert Bauval's Secret Chamber:
— The Search for Hidden Chambers On the Giza Plateau by Alan Winston (four parts)
— Website of Larry Dean Hunter: www.larryhunter.com
September 4, 2005