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A door to another millennium?

By miasma in Culture
Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 04:15:33 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

On September 16, 2002, National Geographic promises to air, on live TV, the opening of the so-called "Gantenbrink door", a sensational discovery made in 1993 by German engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink, at the great pyramid of Giza. The two shafts of the so-called "Queen's Chamber", a small but well designed room below the sarcophagus chamber, do not end blindly after a few meters (as scientists believed until then), but continue for several meters, changing angles in all 3 dimensions. One of the shafts ends on a blocking stone with two metal objects protruding from it. The idea is that this blocking stone may be a door.

With this article, I'd like to pique your interest into perhaps having a glance into another millennium.

(thanks to loteck for the English correction)

Some background

The Giza plateau, on the western edge of Cairo, is the rocky base of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. They are named "great" because out of the approximately 150 pyramids in Egypt, they are the tallest ones, with a height of about 150 meters.
Both are astounding pieces of engineering art, however, the slightly taller one appears to have a more complicated internal design, as this draft shows.

The graves are estimated to be around 4500 years old, when the use of hieroglyphs in graves was not very common. That's why there is still a little uncertainty about who actually built them. However, two sources exist which name the pharaoh of the great pyramid: Cheops in Greek, or Khufu as he seems to be spelled in his age. Herodot, a Greek traveler and historian, visited the Pyramids about 2000 years after they were built. He met with priests of a nearby temple which had, as he wrote, ancient knowledge about the creator, and about the above named Cheops. Also, in 1836, the British Colonel Howard-Vyse found an inscription in the 2nd layer of blocking stone of the roof of the King's chamber, where the famous empty sarcophagus is placed, with hieroglyphs circled by a cartridge spelling out Khufu's name. There has been some doubt whether Howard-Vyse maybe made up the inscription by himself, but it seems to be settled now and the inscription is considered authentic.

Cheops' pyramid has, as mentioned above, a complicated internal structure. Today's entrance leads to a long hall called the Great Gallery, which ascends to the King's chamber. This would normally be the burial place of the pharaoh, since a large, and empty sarcophagus is placed in this room. Two so-called "air shafts" lead from here to the north and south surface of the pyramid.
However, from the beginning of the gallery, a second way leads to a much smaller "Queen's Chamber" (the queen had a smaller pyramid of her own, so the name is incorrect). Two additional shafts start at this room, but do not end at the surface. Until 1993, common scientific opinion was that the shafts end after some meters, possibly because the Queen's chamber was the initial Pharaoh's chamber, but that plans changed during construction.

Gantenbrink's discovery

The interested public was very surprised when Rudolf Gantenbrink, an engineer working within a team of the German Egyptology institute, built a robot named UPUAUT to ascend the 20 x 15 cm small shaft, and found out that the northern shaft continues for approximately 15 meters, changing angle and direction several times. At this point, the robot got stuck. Where the northern shaft ends is still unknown.
The southern shaft ascends in a similar way, ending at a blocking stone with two metal objects on it. The last 2 meters appear to be better polished than before, as if special attention has been paid on this final part.
Details and images of the robot, the shafts, and his discoveries, including a CAD-applet for 3-dimensional drawings (Note: Java and IE required) can be found on Gantenbrinks own great webpage http://www.cheops.org

Gantenbrink himself never claimed it, but the idea of a "door" found in the great pyramid, untouched after all this time, was very seductive to many people. Since then, a discussion arose about if it is indeed a door, and if so, what may lie behind it.

The discovery's aftermath

Unfortunately, after the discovery a fight started between Gantenbrink, the German Egyptology Insitute, and Dr. Zawi Hawass, the chief archeologists and godfather of the Giza plateau. Casus belli was Gantenbrink's impatience of the Egyptian authorities announcing the sensation, and doing it by himself by giving an interview to an English newspaper 2 months after the findings. The Egyptian authorities are very sensitive to matters of their own archaeology sites, and reacted immediately by taking back the concession to the entire German team. The Institute declared that Gantenbrink's action has not been and never would have been permitted, turned his back on him and referred to him only as the "technician" from then on.

However, there seems to be a second problem why Gantenbrink has been denied any chance to continue his exploration with a second, better designed robot: He embarrassed the entire community of Egyptologists. While most of them are digging somewhere in the Egyptian sand for just another cup which belonged to the 2nd daughter of a minister of some unknown pharaoh of the XIIth dynasty, this engineer, who even can't read hieroglyphs, made a discovery which might be equally important to Egyptology as Tutankhamen's tomb.

National Geographic's upcoming show

Since then, nothing has happened. Dr. Hawass made several promises to open the door "soon", and then denied completely that the structure even was a door, and then made new promises of an opening date. The Queen's chamber has been closed for some years now for repairs, which led to the accusation that the Egyptian authorities had opened the door in secret already, and either hid the findings because they'd prove something contrary to Islamic beliefs, or to just sell them on the black market.

Since there are almost no writings from that period, and the structure of the chambers was unknown to Egyptologists' knowledge before, no expert dared to have a theory about them. But since August 2002, a new shaft exploration with a new robot has been officially announced for September 16, authorized by Hawass and financed by National Geographic. More info is provided on this page:
The event will be shown in the UK live on TV, as they promise. Whether it is available in the US or the rest of Europe is unknown to me.

Open questions, hopefully until September 16

First of all, is it a door? If not, what was the purpose of the shaft? Given the complex structure of the surrounding stones, it appears to be carefully planned from the beginning of the construction of the pyramid. But why all this work? On Gantenbrink's page you'll find some information why it was surely not intended to be an air shaft, and why it seems to be questionable to believe the pre-`93 scientific explanation of it being an escape for the pharaohs' soul (an ancient Egyptian belief).
And if it is indeed a door? What may lay behind it? As long as it is not empty, every little piece in there would be priceless. First, because it would be very likely preserved untouched, while around it a couple of pharaonic dynasties, the Romans, Jesus, the Arabs, the French and the English (to name a few) rose and fell, until Egypt finally became self-ruled again in 1952. It would be an object transported through time from almost the beginning of civilization to today! Second, every piece of organic material could once and for all stop the claims of several people that the pyramids were built a lot longer ago then 4500 years, either by ET, the people of Atlantis, or some other superior but yet undiscovered race. Third, it could give us a little more information about this strange historical person, Khufu, who seemed to be powerful enough to build a mountain of stone that's still superior to everything afterwards. His obvious desire of eternal remembrance was definitely achieved, even though there is nothing left from his own physical appearance on the planet other than one 10cm tall figurine.

So on Monday, September 16, the door might be opened to another millennium.

National Geographic webpage about the event:

Homepage of Dr. Zawi Hawass:

Rudolf Gantenbrink's page:

Draft of the interior of the Cheops pyramid:

Cheops figurine:

...and when researching on google, try "-extraterrestrial" ;)


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


After studying http://www.cheops.org: Is it a door?
o Yes 34%
o No 6%
o I don't know 30%
o I don't care 27%

Votes: 43
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o loteck
o draft
o http://www .cheops.org
o Dr. Zawi Hawass
o http://www .nationalgeographic.co.uk/egypt_chambers/egyptchambers.shtml
o figurine
o http://www .guardians.net/hawass/
o http://www .world-mysteries.com/mpl_2shafts.gif
o http://lex icorient.com/e.o/khufu.htm
o Also by miasma

Display: Sort:
A door to another millennium? | 68 comments (57 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Possible bad thing (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by Deltastorm on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:54:34 PM EST

Can anybody find a layout of the pyramid? I started thinking that it might be a booby-trap. What are their escape routes if the thing starts pouring out sand?

"I'll goatse OS X and gui an emacs in soviet russia." --rusty
Probably not (none / 0) (#16)
by gnovos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:49:27 PM EST

Well, BOTH sides of these shafts were completely sealed off originally (they were found completely by luck), so I don't think they would funtion well as booby traps.  The big question is, what OTHER sealed shafts have we yet to find?

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
I know, I know! (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by mercutio on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:39:18 PM EST

Really, really ultra-secret ones?

[ Parent ]
We've finally found the StarGate! (3.50 / 2) (#12)
by xriso on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:37:06 PM EST

That would be pretty funny, no?
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
I was just watching that, too. (none / 0) (#26)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:05:17 PM EST

See, people don't realize that "Intel" is actually an acronym for "Intergalactic Egyption Lens". Andy Grove's grandfather was actually the first guy into the pyramid, back in 1909. He saw everything before it was announced that the thing was actually "empty".

Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.

[ Parent ]

Just Take The Thing Apart (3.00 / 8) (#14)

The simplest way to discover once and for all all all the intricacies of this wondrous monument, the great pyramid of Khufu, would be to simply disassemble the pyramid, and then reassemble it after carefully notating the contents and layout.

The advantages of this plan include making unprecedented gains in our knowledge of the pyramids and ancient Egyptian culture, as well as creating numerous employment opportunities in the Egyptian construction industry. I feel these benefits greatly outweigh the potential risks involved, mainly the possibilty of workmen being squished by mammoth blocks of granite, and the ever-present possibility of mummy attacks, sinister curses, the wrath of Anubis, etc.

Our modern society throws up tremendous 400-foot-plus buildings on a regular basis, integrating within them electrical, telecommunications and plumbing systems, air-conditioning, and more. It will be a simple matter for us to disassemble and rebuild a simple pyramid made of stone blocks. All we need is a few interested billionaires or a funding bill to be passed by congress. Write your congressperson today.

I agree even though (none / 0) (#25)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:03:35 PM EST

you stole the idea from Roger Zelazny.

Just make sure you use several thousand actors in historically accurate costumes, thread the film backwards, and you number all the blocks so you can put it back, later.

Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.

[ Parent ]

Who is Roger Zelazny? (none / 0) (#28)

[ Parent ]
Groundbreaking SF writer (none / 0) (#32)
by ehintz on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:20:22 AM EST

Following text was stolen from here and is the obituary from the Houston Chronicle on his death:

SANTA FE, N.M. - Writer Roger Zelazny, who helped pioneer "New Wave" science fiction by delving into the psychology of his characters and won some of the genre's most prestigious awards, has died at age 58.

Zelazny, who had cancer for several months, died Wednesday at St. Vincent Hospital of kidney failure associated with the cancer, said a friend, Susan Parris.

Zelazny, a 20-year resident of Santa Fe, won many awards for his work, including six Hugos, which are awarded by science fiction fans; and two Nebulas, which are awarded by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He also won honors from France and Japan, and one of his novels, Damnation Alley, was made into a movie.

"He was the finest writer of his generation in science fiction. He changed the whole field," said George R.R. Martin, another science fiction writer who lives in Santa Fe. "And he was one of the nicest guys I've ever known."

He first had a story published in 1962, and he went on to publish more than 150 short stories and 50 books.

The beginning of his career coincided with the rise of science fiction's "New Wave" movement, and Zelazny was considered a leader of that school.

He and others of the movement used new ways to tell stories, with an emphasis more on the psychology of characters in often nightmarish futuristic settings.

Some of his best known novels were based on mythology of various cultures. His Lord of Light, 1967, was based on the Hindu pantheon. Egyptian gods and goddesses populated his Creatures of Light and Darkness in 1969, while his Eye of Cat in 1982 featured elements of Navajo religion and folklore.

Ed Hintz
[ Parent ]
Here's the book I was thinking of... (none / 0) (#41)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:56:29 PM EST

Click here for a link to Amazon's copy of the book This Immortal.

It isn't his best book, but the idea is entertaining - the Earth has become a sort of historic park for alien tourists who come to see exactly how much damage you can do to a planet if you really try. The few people who are left on earth are not really fond of being treated like, well, savages.

At one point, an alien visitor discovers the protagonist - Earth's "Minister of Art" is deliberately dismantling the pyramid just to piss off the aliens. It doesn't quite have the desired effect, though, because the alien noticed that they were numbering the blocks for later reassembly.

Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.

[ Parent ]

Yes indeed, do write to your (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by ZanThrax on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:22:13 PM EST

Congressman. After all, Egyptian authorities will have to let a bunch of american engineers rip the last surviving Great Wonder of the Ancient World into its component parts if enough Americans want them to!

I can't decide which to be more disturbed by, the thought of destroying the pyramid in order to understand it, or the arrogance of the assumption that the US Congress has the power to make such an attrocity happen.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

I posted this link before, (2.50 / 2) (#15)
by wedman on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:35:29 PM EST

but here it is again. It puts a different spin on egyptology.

DELETE FROM comments WHERE uid=9524;
If you like sodomy (1.85 / 7) (#17)
by medham on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:02:09 PM EST

I'd strongly encourage you to read Mailer's Ancient Evenings for a less positivist view of this topic. Even if you don't, perhaps.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

US Airing info (courtesy of "TOS") (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by dreancha on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:15:52 PM EST

The Other Site linked to the US National Geographic Site's Story, which says:
The National Geographic Channel special Pyramids Live: Secret Chambers Revealed airs in the United States on Fox Television on Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The same show will air worldwide later in the week under a different title, Egypt: Secret Chambers Revealed, on the National Geographic Channel. Check local listings for more information.

chamber underneath the Sphinx? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by cyberbuffalo on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:01:52 PM EST

Wasn't there also supposed to be a chamber underneath the Sphinx? Whatever became of that?

Bit of bias, eh? (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by pla on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:16:17 PM EST

Second, every piece of organic material could once and for all stop the claims of several people that the pyramids were built a lot longer ago then 4500 years, either by ET, the people of Atlantis, or some other superior but yet undiscovered race.

Now, don't take this as me supporting the "out there" explanations for the pyramids...


The proper "scientific" way to phrase what you said goes more like "...could once and for all CONFIRM OR DENY the claims..."

Speculation about UFOs (or Atlanteans, or even "real" things that don't yet exist, like useful quantum computers) gets us nowhere in terms of the advancement of human knowledge. This INCLUDES speculation *AGAINST* the existance of such things.

Y'know, I'd like very little more than for them to open this "door" and find proof that aliens built the pyramids. But I certainly wouldn't bet on it, and it won't crush me to find out it contains nothing but dust, statues, papyrii, and perhaps a body or two. Or nothing at all, just a spiffy ornamental end-of-tube plug with 20 feet of solid rock behind it.

On the other hand, it *does* annoy me that BS politics and PR opportunisim control even such a seemingly immune field as archaeology. I *do* have to suspect Hawass has only allowed this after opening the chamber in secret and already knows and has possibly removed the contents, based on his delays and stonewalling, and find it reprehensible that he would remain the "chief archaeologist" in control of one of the single most important archaeological sites on Earth. I can appreciate the need to protect such sites from the West, which *does* have a history of plundering famous digs, but "protecting" does not mean "make the world wait until we get a corporate sponsor."

So, for *my* vote on what will happen:

1) The robot gets stuck.
2) A "mysterious" and insoluble power failure or other electronics-related problem occurs.
3) The door doesn't open.
4) The door leads to a completely empty room, or to a wall of solid rock.

In the case of #3 or #4, I would bet it takes about two minutes after the National Geographic show for rumors to start flying that certain features of the tunnel and "door" differ substantially from what previous exploration (ie, by Gantenbrink) found. And, I would not feel overly inclined to doubt the truth of those claims, unless Hawass did a *very* clean job of plundering whatever lies beyond.

How would they plunder anything? (none / 0) (#44)
by Fon2d2 on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:20:05 PM EST

Given the details of the nature of the shaft and the difficulties of getting the first robot to even get to the door, how the hell are they going to have managed to plunder anything that lies beyond it, especially if is a room larger than the shaft and/or the shaft is not flush with the floor?

[ Parent ]
How to plunder... (none / 0) (#45)
by pla on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:36:53 PM EST

First, the possibility exists that this little tunnel leads to something "near" another workable open space. In that case, they just need to go in from the side and cover it up when done.

For anything "small", they could make a robot that has an extendable claw-arm to grab it and carry it back.

Actually, though, I do wonder about why they use a "robot" at all... It seems to me that a modified (for length rather than width) version of the same equipment used by doctors to do arthroscopic surgury would work *perfectly* here, at a hell of a lot less expense. Perhaps with some sort of power-assist module at the end, since 150m does seem a bit far for actual fly-by-wire controls. But that sort of equipment has very good ability to navigate twists and turns, excellent articulation, and rapidly interchangeably tools at the business end.

[ Parent ]
Okay, a *slight* change in my answer... (none / 0) (#54)
by pla on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:07:27 PM EST

After seeing the show, I'll change my last answer to "through the back door". ;-)

[ Parent ]
Could be a big disappointment (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by andrewhy on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:47:39 PM EST

Ha! This could end up being just like Al Capone's Vault. Will Geraldo be hosting this special? (:snicker:)

If "Noise" means uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise to me -- Masami Akita, aka "Merzbow"

Postponed until the 17th? Rescheduled? What? (none / 0) (#22)
by gr3y on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:51:16 PM EST

The National Geographic website says:

"Tuesday 17th September LIVE at 1.00 am and re-broadcast at 9.00 pm".

I am a disruptive technology.

LIVE and in Technicolor! (none / 0) (#27)
by imadork on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:09:06 PM EST

The writer provided the link to the Geographic's UK website.

9/17 1.00 am UK Time = 9/16 8:00 PM US Eastern Time.

Or something like that.

Approximately 50% of us are below average..
[ Parent ]

Unfortunate. (none / 0) (#31)
by gr3y on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:35:42 AM EST

We'll just have to wait the week, I suppose. I'm sure MSNBC or CNN will carry the story if there's news.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

close-up images of the "door" (none / 0) (#23)
by Delirium on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:57:02 PM EST

There's an image taken by the robot of the sealing block at the end of the shaft here, with the two corroded copper "handles" visible, and a close-up of those handles here.

My predictions... (none / 0) (#30)
by gnovos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:46:31 PM EST

The plug was set from the inside by a slave or devoted servant who sealed himself in after pulling the mumified actual body of the real pharoah.  The north tunnel is the same except.  The grappling hook found in the 1870s looks like just the kind of thing that might be used to drag a mumified body up the tunnel.  What will be found is the actual burial place of the king...  And boy howdy is the curse of THAT one gonna hurt.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
up a 8in X 8in tunnel (none / 0) (#46)
by wameku on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:23:06 PM EST

The "tunnel" is very small, There's no way a devoted priest or slave could crawl up there and seal himself in. Unless, starting from birth, he broke and reformed his bones to the 8inx8in required dimensions. yeah, thats the ticket. CubeSlave!

[ Parent ]
No no (none / 0) (#47)
by gnovos on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:32:11 PM EST

He was literally buried alive when it was built.  They stuck hin in there with a sack of food while they built the walls around him.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#63)
by wameku on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:20:52 PM EST

Yeah I hadnt considered that. it 'IS' possible to build a room around a slave.

[ Parent ]
Ooh, just like a Bonsai Kitten! (nt) (none / 0) (#66)
by fluffy grue on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 09:16:07 PM EST

[ Parent ]
My prediction (none / 0) (#33)
by tottori on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:45:30 AM EST

They'll yank on that thing and the whole pyramid will fall down.

German TV times (none / 0) (#34)
by anno1602 on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:02:33 AM EST

In Germany, ZDF is going to air the event live on Tuesday, 17.09.2002 at 3:35. So either stay up late or get a really loud alarm clock.
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
Put this article on the classics page (none / 0) (#35)
by cestmoi on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:30:36 AM EST

Rusty maintains a "Classics" page that introduces a person new to Kuro5hin to some of the best articles on Kuro5hin. It was that page that made me realize Kuro5hin was a site worth reading.

This article is so fine that I think it ranks as a k5 classic. It's well written, informative and links to other sites that are equally engaging. This one's a keeper.

As an aside, where is the Classics page? I wandered around k5 looking for it and finally gave up. Am I the only one who thinks its URL ought to be on the link bar at the top of every page?

Kuro5hin Classics (none / 0) (#38)
by Yekrats on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:01:30 AM EST

Where would that be?

[ Parent ]
Tiamat was right - it's not on k5.. (none / 0) (#65)
by cestmoi on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:31:04 PM EST

It's not a K5 page. The K5 Classics page is maintained by Ko4ting, not Rusty. How I ever came across it the first time is beyond me.

If you've never read the gambling article, it's well worth the time.

[ Parent ]

It's not on K5. (none / 0) (#40)
by tiamat on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:56:43 AM EST

It's somewhere else. I don't think it's maintained by Rusty, but that's based on thin memory at best . . .

[ Parent ]
Just a thought.... (none / 0) (#36)
by RainyRat on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:59:57 AM EST

Userfriendly.org's take on the idea...

Eagles may soar, but rats seldom get sucked into jet engines.
Bigger problem than the rock. (none / 0) (#57)
by eviltwinimposter on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:36:32 PM EST

From the look of that illustration, that board is holding up the entire top half of the tunnel.

Would have been funny though if the top of the Great Pyramid dropped 6" all of a sudden in the middle of a live TV broadcast.
"Bought Big Lizard only a dollar fifty / Well, that's pretty neat / Yeah, it's fuckin' nifty / But I just can't afford to feed it. / And you should see the way it shits.." -- Dead Milkmen
[ Parent ]

Great article (none / 0) (#37)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:45:20 AM EST

Very interesting and informative! Good stuff!

Tomb Polisher 2000(BC) !!! (none / 0) (#39)
by dcheesi on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:45:39 AM EST

I saw the original robot footage on TLC/PBS/wherever a few years ago. From what I saw, my guess is that the "door" is really a block of stone used to polish and/or test the dimensions of the shaft. It either got stuck or was abandoned when plans changed. Just my two cents' worth. (Darn it, somebody beat me to the Geraldo reference ;)

It's awfully misleading (none / 0) (#42)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:59:52 PM EST

I agree with you - it's awfully misleading to refer to something as a "door" when it's the size of a cinder block.

Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.

[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#49)
by luserSPAZ on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:43:06 PM EST

If you read Gantenbrink's site, specifically this page, you would find he says:
Close examination of the broken, lower right corner shows that it is held in place by a groove or recess, and that, at this point, the stone is only about 5 millimeters wider than the shaft itself.
So it looks to have been set there on purpose. He makes some other interesting remarks there, too.

[ Parent ]
I bet.... (none / 0) (#43)
by thekubrix on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:55:33 PM EST

$5 says Jimmy Hoffa is in there

it is a door until proven otherwise. (none / 0) (#48)
by metagone on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:37:30 PM EST

saves all the ambiguity and mystery.
A door the sized of a freaking cinderblcok. (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:34:22 PM EST

I was more interested in the overseer's tomb, but that was disappointing, too. You'd think they would have buried him with his slide rule - but no, all they found was beer.

Wait. On reflection, Beer's good, too. I want to be buried with beer, too!

Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.

[ Parent ]

Anyone watching it ? (none / 0) (#50)
by salsaman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:04:54 PM EST

I wonder if anyone who's watching can give a live commentary, the website seems to be overloaded....

OK, I found the TV broadcast... (none / 0) (#51)
by salsaman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:30:40 PM EST

Not much to see yet.

[ Parent ]
The grand secret (none / 0) (#53)
by MadDreamer on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:58:58 PM EST

Ta-DAAA!!!! It's.... another block. Somebody stop the excitement, it's too much for me.

[ Parent ]
***Spoiler Warning***! (none / 0) (#52)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:56:36 PM EST

So they drilled through the door, sent the camera through, and found... another door!

At least that's what Dr. Hawass called it. For all it looked like to me it could have been a blank wall, but I'm no Egyptologist.

For the conspiracy theorists among us, he did decide that it was another door REAL QUICK if that was really a live broadcast - he proclaimed it a door within a few seconds, when all I could see was some stone, but again IANAEgyptologist...

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

Maybe too quick (none / 0) (#60)
by On Lawn on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:36:14 AM EST

But he explained that assessment came from observing the existence of a visible gap on the bottom where the crack met with the edge.  I can see where he'd get that idea, if that next block was the end, it would stand to reason that it would not be roughly the same size as the shaft.

Another trick is their treatment of doors that don't go anywhere.  In retrospect, that is probably why they made such a big deal about the "false door" in the first pyramid.  They maybe expected to see another relief carved door that would have been symbolically Kufu's door to the afterlife.

But the guy made it pretty clear that where there were lines that looked like relief carvings, looked more like cracks.  As if he was dissapointed and commenting on what was probably on all of their minds.

But all in all, I found the speach writing to be excellent.  "Its a discovery, YAY!  No matter what, we've made a discovery and that was important." That was a great way to write a speach that you could say no matter what happened.  I keep thinking to myself that whether it was a wall, or a 4500 year old spirit with a beer jug and bread asking "Where y'all been?" they would have made (and practiced) the same speach.

[ Parent ]

The"Door" (none / 0) (#55)
by grandpa jive on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:22:40 PM EST

I was really surprised they didn't make some sort of attachment to the camera so it could look around. You'd think that they'd want to look around at least. I just really, really liked the part when they cracked open the tomb of the Mayor of the town [or whatever he is] and the interviewer guy was asking about possible germs or toxins that might exist. With Dr. Hawass saying "theres no need, its closer to you. If there are any, they'll get you and not me". Twas the best part of the show.

I liked where Hawass said (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:41:21 PM EST

something about the overseer's tomb being an answer to all those "idiots" who believe the pyramids were built by a lost civilization, or by aliens.

Greetings, new user. Please replace this text with a witty or insightful saying before using this software.

[ Parent ]

Just finished watching, and behind the door was... (none / 0) (#59)
by Imperfect on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:04:44 AM EST

...another door. ... Anyone surprised, really?

Not perfect, not quite.
No not really (none / 0) (#61)
by salsaman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 06:18:18 AM EST

Though I suspect there may be *an infinite number* of such doors...

[ Parent ]
pfft real easy (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by shrubbery on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:25:22 AM EST

Just give Lara Croft a call. This is her specialty isn't it?

My theory (none / 0) (#64)
by salsaman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:47:17 PM EST

This is my theory, which I just posted on The Other Site.

The Queen's chamber is some way below the King's chamber and was obviously constructed first since the pyramid was built from the bottom up (duh). At one point in the program they mentioned how building spaces higher up in pyramids was a fairly recent accomplishment. Prior to that, spaces higher up were thought impossible, due to the weight of stone outside such chambers collapsing them.

My theory is that the so called Queen's chamber was a fallback (if you'll excuse the pun), in case the higher, King's chamber, were to collapse during construction. Above the King's chamber are several other spaces which are believed to be load bearing gaps to prevent the pyramid falling in on the King's chamber. It seems likely to me that the engineers could not have been 100% sure that the King's chamber would be structurally sound, until all of these load bearing gaps were completed (or maybe not even until the last stone was put in place).

I'm making a guess that that is why the Queen's chamber has these shafts; if the King's chamber had collapsed, then the Queen's chamber would have been used as the burial chamber, and these shafts would have been connected to the outside (to let the Pharaoh's soul escape). However, once it became obvious that the King's chamber was sound, work on the Queen's chamber stopped, and the shafts were blocked.

Re My theory (none / 0) (#67)
by YellowSnow on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 06:49:57 PM EST

How does building chambers higher up cause them to be exposed to greater loads? as there is less stone both above and to the sides at a greater height. Unless the cross sectional area of the chamber (horizontally) is a large percentage of the cross section of the pyramid at the same height. I am also interested in your idea of "load bearing gaps" could you post a reference to this idea, perhaps on a basics of architecture site. I think it's more likely that the the lower chamber/shorter shafts were in proportion to the original draft of the plans for the pyramid until, "I don't believe it he wants it twice as high now!" Notice that to build a Pyramid twice as high takes 16 times as much energy to lift all the stones into place, three times as high requires 81 times the energy to lift all the blocks. In general to build N times higher requires N to the 4th power as much energy for lifting. It soon mounts up!

[ Parent ]
The gaps (none / 0) (#68)
by salsaman on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 04:16:24 PM EST

OK, I checked out about the gaps. They're not really 'load-bearing' structures as I mistakenly called them; actually, they're generally refered to as 'Relieving Chambers' and their purpose seems to be to reduce the mass of stone above the King's chamber. The best description I could find about them was here, starting about halfway down the page.

I like your suggestion of the plans changing during construction.

As for not being able to build higher chambers, they didn't really explain it too well in the program, but you're right, I think, that a higher chamber would have less stress on it.

[ Parent ]

A door to another millennium? | 68 comments (57 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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