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The well shaft and the decending passage in Khufu's pyramid
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virta
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:13 pm    Post subject: The well shaft and the decending passage in Khufu's pyramid Reply with quote

When the well shaft was dug into the bedrock below the pyramid, how did they manage to hit the decending passage? It would not have been so easy.

Its total length is 50 metres of which about 35 metres locates in subterranean. The well shaft doesn't declines vertically but approximately in an angle of 40 degrees, making the hitting more difficult.

Digging exactly downwards may not be very difficult but hitting a certain point after 35 meters of dug shaft surely is.
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123paul
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure of the exact methodology here, but the ancient Egyptians seem to have had a pretty good understanding of geometry. There are a couple of mathematical papyrus (Moscow & Rhind?), I think. So, with an understanding of volumes, distance, angles & calculation...
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jorge A. Trench : Geometrical Model for the Ascending and Descending Corridors of the Great Pyramid. - In: Proceedings of the First International Symposium on the Application of Modern Technology to Archaeological Explorations at the Giza Necropolis; Cairo, December 14- 17, 1987. - Cairo : Egyptian Antiquities Organization Press, 1988. - pp. 279 - 288.

This article appeared as well in: Göttinger Miszellen - GM 102. - 1988. - pp. 85 - 94, 10 fig.

Maybe also of interest in this connection ... David Furlong:

Sekeds and the Geometry of the Egyptian Pyramids - A comparison between the angles generated by Sekeds and the angles of gradient of the pyramids

Sekeds and the Geometry of the Great Pyramid - A consideration of the Sekeds used in the construction of the Great Pyramid

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

virta, et al.:

"How" they dug it is a great question. Other important questions are,
    - "WHEN was that shaft dug?
    - WHO dug the shaft?
    - WHY did they dig the shaft?
As of this moment, there are no definitive answers to those questions.
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virta
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another interesting thing is that why the shaft wasn't dug directly downwards, as shown with the red line in the picture. It would have been much shorter and easier to dig, if the only purpose of digging the shaft was to hit the decending passage.

Also: why isn't it straight inside the pyramid?

By the way, what is this empty space pointed with the blue arrow in this old drawing?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romer suggests that the shaft was used to re-establish the baseline of the pyramid as it rose during construction. On pg 325 of his book 'The Great Pyramid, Ancient Egypt Revisited' he writes, "This could have served in the manner of the so called 'chimneys' of King Sneferu's pyramids, accommodating a cord and plummet set right on the plane of the two grids. Made in the same manner as the burial shafts of the tombs of Sneferu's and Khufu's courtiers, lined that is, with courses of odd-sized rough-squared blocks...this square shaft is the only place in Khufu's Pyramid where such modest stonework can be found, a fact that by itself suggests this was not a work of architecture but built for utilitarian purposes."
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, it is always helpful for the reader (and in my view also a matter of respect to the original author) to give a source where a picture or a quote comes from...

As far as I remember, the ascending shaft generally and by most authors is interpreted as an possible exit for the people responsible within the pyramid with the closure of the official entrance ("First Ascending Passage") from inside. The non-orthogonal shape can have many reasons... The well goes through grown rock. Perhaps there were layers that were not to penetrate and were simply bypassed? This can be seen for example in Theban tomb sites.

If I remember correctly the "empty space pointed with the blue arrow" is "modern" and the result of the searching for an access. The entry for visitors is still there today.

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No doubt, the drawing is from one of the publications of the Edgar Brothers.

There is no credible theory regarding the purpose or origin of the Well Shaft. It conflicts with the tomb theory, it conflicts with the traditional story of al Mamoun, it conflicts with the "workman needed air" theory, it conflicts with the "priests needed a way out after the funeral" theory, and it conflicts with the granite plug "security mechanism" theory.

It doesn't match the workmanship found in the rest of the masonry, and it is not a practical means for people to enter or egress the pyramid.

It's tortuous excursion, even above bedrock level, defies the "plumb line" theory.

Lutz, the blue line is not pointing to empty space, it's pointing to solid rock. Those large white rectangles represent the cross section of the huge limestone slabs that form the roof of the Main Entrance on the north face.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Origyptian wrote:
... There is no credible theory regarding the purpose or origin of the Well Shaft. It conflicts with the tomb theory, it conflicts with the traditional story of al Mamoun, it conflicts with the "workman needed air" theory, it conflicts with the "priests needed a way out after the funeral" theory, and it conflicts with the granite plug "security mechanism" theory. ...

Where is the conflict that the well was perhabs build for "priests [/ workers] needed a way out after the funeral" ?

Origyptian wrote:
... Lutz, the blue line is not pointing to empty space, it's pointing to solid rock. Those large white rectangles represent the cross section of the huge limestone slabs that form the roof of the Main Entrance on the north face.

You are right, the modern (visitors) entry is further below.

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Where is the conflict that the well was perhabs build for "priests [/ workers] needed a way out after the funeral" ?


Thanks Lutz.

As I understand the configuration and the inferred history of the Great Pyramid, it seems to me that if the Well Shaft was there from day 1 as an exit for the priests, it's not clear why that same shaft couldn't be used in the opposite direction by thieves as a breach to the upper passages. Is there any documentation supporting other examples of priests using exit routes like this?

Likewise, a common conventional hypothesis is that the Subterranean Chamber and perhaps the Queen's Chamber served as "decoys" to keep thieves away from the Grand Gallery and King's Chamber. But having access to the Well Shaft from the Descending Passage directly to the Grand Gallery completely circumvents the premise of that hypothesis.

Having such an escape/entrance route also would obviate the need for the so-called granite "security" plugs that have been postulated to prevent intruders from entering the Grand Gallery from the Descending Passage (via the Ascending Passage), with easy access to the King's Chamber. The Well Shaft completely bypasses the need to block the Ascending Passage with the 15 ton granite plug in the first place (I've published an article on those plugs here: http://egyptological.com/2011/09/09/the-granite-plugs-of-the-great-pyramid-5415 ).

It's also not clear why the upper aspect of the Well shaft takes an erratic bend in an otherwise completely vertical 30 feet if it was intended to be an exit route for "priests". As repeatedly documented by 19th Century explorers, descending the Well Shaft from the Grand Gallery is an extremely tight and treacherous undertaking. Had the designers directed the Shaft at a more manageable angle aimed at a more northern aspect of the Descending Passage, less manpower would be required to carve it (it would be a shorter shaft at that angle than a purely vertical drop), and it would also end up closer to the exit, thereby relieving the priests of the unnecessary strife of climbing up a longer segment of the steep, slippery, and cramped Descending Passage.

As I understand it, the theory that "the Well Shaft is original equipment intended to be an escape route" totally contradicts the bulk of traditional thought about most of the fundamental functional/design specs of the entire structure.

- Phil
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the only purpose of the shaft was to hit the descendign passage, why didn't they carve it from the Grotto perpendicularly to the descending passage, as shown with the green line? That would have been the easiest way.

Is there any information on to which direction the shaft was carved, downwards or upwards? If it had been carved upwards, the debris would simply have fallen downwards to the bottom of the descending passage.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Origyptian wrote:
Quote:
Where is the conflict that the well was perhabs build for "priests [/ workers] needed a way out after the funeral" ?

As I understand the configuration and the inferred history of the Great Pyramid, it seems to me that if the Well Shaft was there from day 1 as an exit for the priests, it's not clear why that same shaft couldn't be used in the opposite direction by thieves as a breach to the upper passages. ...

Maybe he was also used by thieves? So far as I know it is not really clear when the pyramid was looted.

Origyptian wrote:
... Likewise, a common conventional hypothesis is that the Subterranean Chamber and perhaps the Queen's Chamber served as "decoys" to keep thieves away from the Grand Gallery and King's Chamber. But having access to the Well Shaft from the Descending Passage directly to the Grand Gallery completely circumvents the premise of that hypothesis. ...

There is a clear triple-chamber system in all genuine Egyptian kings pyramids (also in some of the earliest known royal tombs from Dynasty 0 at Abydos are 3 chambers). And all (not the Red) of them have also an unfinished chamber as I think. These "unfinished thing" you can also find in some of the kings tombs in the Valley of the Kings, by the way. One of the main problems I have with most of the authors on the subject is, that they consider the Great Pyramid and the chamber system isolated. But you have to look at it as a royal tomb in a development series.

Also on the Westbank in Luxor is the tomb TT 33 - Padiamenopet. It is from the reign of Psammetique I. and highly interesting. It contains on his walls all by then known afterworld literature, also the royal, which was written in Egypt. In one chamber the workers have not processed consciously the floor finish. It is a kind of rock / island in the middle of the room remained. In this chamber, we find on the walls the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom. Coincidence? Or is the creation myth and the theology from Iunu / Heliopolis greet?

Origyptian wrote:
... As I understand it, the theory that "the Well Shaft is original equipment intended to be an escape route" totally contradicts the bulk of traditional thought about most of the fundamental functional/design specs of the entire structure.

I can not understand (but I have to say I am not really the pyramid specialised). In my view the well can simultaneously have served as exit way after closure of the First Ascending Passage from the inside and as air supply to the workers in the rock chamber. The pyramid was, as far as we know, never entered by tomb robbers through his original entry. At least there is no evidence for it, but quite the hints it was so? I see no problem...

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Lutz.

Do you know of any other structure that includes such a "back door" for priests and/or workers to escape after the structure was sealed?

I agree there are other structures that include three chambers and at least one so-called "unfinished" chamber. With respect to the Great Pyramid, no other pyramid contains chambers that are located above ground within the man-made masonry, no other pyramid is as large and devoid of inscriptions, no other pyramid has a corbelled chamber whose floor is constructed at an angle, and no other pyramid has as little information available about the person to whom it is attributed (Khufu).

In this sense, the Great Pyramid can indeed be considered "isolated", or rather, unique.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

virta wrote:
If the only purpose of the shaft was to hit the descendign passage, why didn't they carve it from the Grotto perpendicularly to the descending passage, as shown with the green line? That would have been the easiest way.

Is there any information on to which direction the shaft was carved, downwards or upwards? If it had been carved upwards, the debris would simply have fallen downwards to the bottom of the descending passage.

Virta,

I have to agree with you. There is no doubt that the bottom of the Well Shaft is in the worst possible position for it to be an escape route. And the vertical drop of the initial segment is simply deadly. No handholds or steps have been carved anywhere on the walls of that shaft. I must say, it is clearly and obviously is NOT designed to be an escape route.

Since there is virtually no evidence that there were ever more than those three short granite plugs blocking the Ascending Passage, it would have made even MORE sense to simply cut an escape route around that 5 meter segment.

But of course that begs the question: "Well, if they cut an escape route and sealed it up in a way that convinced them no one would ever find it, then why did they need to go through that granite plug configuration in the first place?"

I mean, they obviously didn't bring the granite "sarcophagus" up those passages after the Pyramid was built (the passages are too small to fit the box!), so why not just escape back out of the already-carved Ascending Passage, seal it up, just like they did the Well Shaft, and be done with it?

I think it's pretty clear that the answer is that the granite plugs were NOT intended to be a security mechanism and that the Well Shaft was NOT intended to be an escape route.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Virta,

By the way, to address your question about which direction the Well Shaft was hewn, most Egyptologists agree that it is way too problematic to excavate from below because the diggers would constantly be pummeled with the excavated rock fragments falling from above, and it would be virtually impossible to apply tools effectively in that orientation. Working from above, however, offers the added convenience of having gravity work in your favor for drilling, hammering, allowing vinegar time to soften the limestone, etc. .

The only method that has been proposed to make practical sense is excavate downward from the Grand Gallery, and haul out the rubble from above.

If this is the case, then the Well Shaft was made either before the Ascending Passage was blocked with the granite plugs, or else after Mamoun's tunnel was excavated between the Ascending Passage and north face of the Pyramid.
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