The Great Pyramid, Part 11
This is a picture of the north face of the Great Pyramid below right of the true entrance to the Pyramid
is Al Mamoun’s force entrance now used as the main entrance to the Pyramid as the original entrance
has been seal shut with a gate.
“According to historical evidence, beautiful smooth limestone blocks, similar to those at the north
base, encased the entire Pyramid till 820 A.D., when Caliph Al Mamoun, in his greed to gain
possession of supposed hidden treasure, forced his way into the Pyramid’s interior. This was the
beginning of the destructive work; and in the years that followed, the outer casing was torn off
piecemeal for building purposes.
The existence of the forced passage which extends inward in a horizontal direction till it
meets the junction of the Descending and Ascending Passages, proves that the position of
the doorway of the true entrance, though evidently well known in earlier times, was
(supposedly) unknown to Al Mamoun. Professor Petrie claims that originally, the entrance must
have been closed by a stone door, swinging horizontally on side pivots, and having its outer surface
flush with the general angle of the casing. He compares the entrance of the South Pyramid of Dashur,
which bears evidence of having been closed in this matter. A door such as this would possess no
external marks by which its situation could be identified; and knowledge of it having been lost, Al
Mamoun was compelled to force an entry for himself.” (We will examine this aspect more thoroughly
in our next post) Great Pyramid Passages, Page 139
“Consequently, when Caliph Al Mamoun, with the mistaken idea that the Great Pyramid contained
treasure… desired to enter it and explore its wonders, there was only an indistinct rumor to guide him
towards trying the northern face rather than any other face of the monument. He selected a spot in
the middle line on the seventh course of masonry, and, therefore several feet below and to the right
of the true entrance. Here he caused his workmen to force a passage horizontally into the great solid
mass of the Pyramid.
It is reported that after weeks of fruitless quarrying, the Caliph’s despairing workmen were
disposed to abandon their task, when one day they heard a noise as if something had fallen
in an interior space a few feet (actually about 20 feet) from where they were. They
immediately set to work eastwards in the direction of the sound, and soon burst into the
Descending Passage thus forming the irregular opening found in the west wall of the
This is a view of the Descending Passage looking south or down toward the pit, the red arrow marking
where the irregular opening intersects the passage.
This second photo is a view as if you were standing in the irregular passage looking back down to the
Descending Passage you can see the gate below which was seen in the first photo which closes off
access to the remainder of the Descending Passage leading to the Subterranean Chamber or pit.
Upon bursting forth into the Descending Passage Al Mamoun’s men found that the noise which they
had heard earlier had been caused by the falling of the large angular stone (shown below), which for
ages had formed part of the roof of the Descending Passage and had sealed up the entrance to the
upper passages and chambers. In this way, the Pyramid’s most important structural secret was
revealed for the first time since the erection of the building; and had it not been (supposedly) for the
shaking of the masonry which caused the roof-stone to become dislodged and fall, the upper
passages might even yet have remained unknown.” (Great Pyramid Passages, Page 63)
Having reviewed the typically accepted view of the events leading up to the discovery of the upper
passages and chambers we would here like to take another look at this event from another
prospective, one which when sound reasoning is applied I believe has its merits.
“Supposedly according to most versions, Al Mamoun arrived at the Pyramid with an army of scholars
(workmen, engineers, architects and masons). For days they scoured the surface for an entrance, but
drew a blank. He apparently decided to enter by force at the 7th level of masonry. (The actual
entrance is on the 19th course). Having dug or blasted their way through approximately over 30
meters of masonry, they apparently heard (from about 24 ft away through solid masonry), the sound
of a stone falling, at which point they turned towards the noise and eventually broke into the
descending passage. At this point, they apparently realized that the fallen prismatic block had
previously concealed the mouth of the ascending passage and so dug around the granite blocks.”
There are however several problems associated with the Al Mamoun story:
A number of pyramids had already been opened prior to this, and the descending polar passages
would have been general knowledge by the time of Al-Mamoun. The presence of an entrance and
internal tunnels in the great pyramid had been recorded by Pliny, Strabo, etc. As we are told that
the pyramid was sealed when he arrived, one has to ask why he started digging where he
did (off-center), and why he continued to dig horizontally into the pyramid for so long a
distance (over 30 meters), when according to what was then known no other pyramid had
upper chambers or corridors.
His passage leads in an almost (uncannily) direct line to the junction of the ascending and descending
passage. Although Petrie states the tunnel to have been cut through the Seventh course of masonry,
he also shows it to run through the Sixth course. At present, it is cut through at least two (the
height of an average person). It is a curious fact that the Sixth course of masonry is also the top level
of the bottom stone (or large angular stone) that hid the granite blocks. This means that they would
have been digging only one level above the actual junction of the descending and ascending passages.
While the tunnel certainly bears down and left, it only does so at the end, after the ascending
passage, and at the point of the granite plugs and junction.
Now ask yourself is it really possible to hear (feel) a stone drop 4 feet, from behind
approximately 24 feet of solid stone, and identify its exact direction, presumably while men
are at work digging with picks and shovels?”
Question - Was Al-Mamoun trying to reach the granite 'plugs' specifically?
Answer -If the original, northern entrance was truly lost when he arrived, he took an incredible risk
(almost foolish), digging into the pyramid the way he did. As 'polar' passages in pyramids were
already well known, it is likely that he had more information available to him at the time then some
(“Historical Accounts of the 'Great' Pyramid” http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.
The foregoing remarks do deserve some consideration,
Why did he have his men dig horizontally into the Pyramid when all the evidence gathered
from the other Pyramids indicated no upper chambers? Why not start from a much lower
course and dig horizontally and downward from the start?
Some speculate that Al Mamoun did have knowledge of the entrance to the Pyramid, and the
Descending Passage, but what he was specifically looking for was access to the Ascending Passages,
passages which he deduced were there based upon his examination of what has become known as
the “Trial Passages” found hewn into the desert rock of the Giza Plateau to the east of the Great
Pyramid approximately 87 meters out from its base.
Below is a picture of the northern entrance to the Trial Passages, off in the distance is one of the
When they were first examined by Vyse and Perring in the 1840s they were thought to be passages
from an abandoned pyramid or tomb, possibly even a fourth subsidiary (or satellite) pyramid of the
Great Pyramid. However, later on W.M. Flinders Petrie noticed that the passages seemed to be a
very precise copy of the passages inside the Great Pyramid under the shadow of which they
A comparison of the Trial Passages with the interior of the Great Pyramid shows the similarities.
“Petrie recognized, these passages clearly as a kind of foreshortened copy of the passages in
the Great Pyramid" Passage widths, heights and angles mirror the system of passages found inside
the Great Pyramid. We have a Descending passage, an Ascending passage, the start of the Grand
Gallery and the beginning of the Queen's Chamber passage. To further add weight to the idea that we
are dealing with a replica of the inside of the Great Pyramid, the Ascending passage of the Trial
Passages - where it meets the Descending passage - contracts as it does in the Great Pyramid as if it
were ready to accept plug-blocks. No plug-blocks have been found in the trial passages yet the
builders went to the trouble of adding this feature.
Furthermore, Flinders Petrie in his work, The Pyramids and Temples of Giza adds that there is also
a passage that corresponds to the top of the well shaft found in the Grand Gallery in the Great
Pyramid, however in this case the location is not in any way identical to the position of this feature in
the Great Pyramid.
From this we can ascertain that a great deal of effort was expended to duplicate the internal passages
of the Great Pyramid out on the desert floor, a stone’s throw from the pyramid itself. Furthermore,
the fact that the mean differences in the cut passages are little more than in the Great Pyramid itself
(the passages of which are very highly praised by Petrie for their accuracy) raise the likelihood that
the two constructions were carried out by the same builders and that a high degree of accuracy was a
requisite for both sets of passages.
Let us assume for a moment that many visitors were also aware of the Trial Passages to the
East. How many puzzled explorers entered these corridors only to ponder why they were there? They
led nowhere and there was no chamber at their conclusion. Instead they ended in a blank wall. Was
Mamoun the first to realize they bore a resemblance to the Great Pyramids passages? Anyone
measuring the width and height and angle of the entrance to the Great Pyramid and comparing them
with the Trial passages would have seen a similarity. Was Mamoun the first to do this and then notice
that inside the Trial Passages there was a further passage leading up from the roof of the Descending
passage? Did this make him wonder whether a similar passage existed inside the Great Pyramid?
After having come to the conclusion that there was indeed an ascending passage Al Mamoun must
have thoroughly examined the Descending Passage looking for any clues to its entrance. The clue
would be found in a comparisons with the scored lines carved into the walls of the Great Pyramid’s
Descending passage and their similarity to the sloped face found at the top of the Trial Passages'
Descending Passage. It would have been possible to compare the distance between this feature and
the beginning of each Descending passage to work out what scale would be needed to calculate the
position of the start of the Ascending passage.
The problem with these calculations is that the ground around the start of the Descending passage of
the Trial Passages is very worn and it is difficult to ascertain where the passage originally started.
However, if it originally started at the height of the seemingly leveled ground above the passages as a
whole, this would have enabled Al-Mamoun to have identified the exact spot on the roof of the
Descending passage to within a few inches. This would have been more than accurate enough bearing
in mind that the hidden lintel (or large angular stone) would have resembled one of the large roofing
stones so being correct to within a few inches would have highlighted which stone was actually the
hidden lintel and not simply another roofing slab.
Of course he may not have taken this into account and may just have tried examining all of the
roofing blocks one by one until he located the right one! The truth is we will never know but it is very
interesting to note that it could well have been possible for him to locate the entrance in this manner if
he had studied the Trial Passages closely enough and made the connection between the scored lines
and the flat surface of rock inclined at the same angle at the head of the Trial Passages.
Locating the hidden lintel Mamoun then removes it and expecting to see an Ascending passage he is
suddenly surprised to find that it is indeed there but travels only a few inches before being plugged by
huge granite stones! After a few vain attempts at chiseling through the granite plugs themselves
proved ineffective he ordered that they be dug around and in doing so he revealed the Ascending
Passage. (“Trial Passages, A Message in Stone?” http://www.artifice-design.co.uk/rosetau/trial.
But what now are we to make of the “forced entrance”? What purpose would there be for this
particular access to the Pyramid if one could simply enter the descending passage and then bypass
the granite plugs around through where Al Mamoun’s men cleared an entrance? Perhaps as
suggested by the author of the above mentioned website there is another possibility.
“It is highly probable that the real reason for the forced tunnel was not to get into the
pyramid, but rather to get 'something' OUT. Whatever it was, though, it must have been small
enough to go down the first part of the ascending passage, but it was too long to go around the
bend between the descending and ascending passageways. The only alternative for the intrepid
explorers, was to dig a tunnel directly outwards from the junction of the two passageways, bypassing
This explains both of the questions posed above. The original entrance had been known
about, and the accuracy of the forced tunnel is because it was started from inside and dug
outwards. This may also explain why so much rubble was later found in the bottom of the
descending passage, it came from the forced tunnel's excavations.”
But what was it that was removed from the Great Pyramid that required this alternative
Now the author purposes that Al Mamoun finding no treasure in the Pyramid was not about to leave
the Pyramid empty handed without some token for all his work and efforts, and so seeing as he
could not remove the entire granite coffer itself as its great weight and size would have prevented it
from traversing the Ascending Passage he settled simply for the lid itself, conspicuously missing
from the coffer. But here too he would run into another problem as once the lid was navigated
down the Ascending Passage there would not be enough clearance for the lid to make the turn back
up the Descending Passage thus it would prove necessary to force a new tunnel horizontally straight
out the Pyramid in order to avoid this problem, however it seems reasonable that most likely having
determined the approximate level upon which the granite plugs resided Al Mamoun simply had his
men work from both directions excavating both from within and from without the Pyramid, thus
expediting the work at a much faster pace.
For the most part I believe the author of this article has presented some valid points, the typical or
traditional account has far too many holes in it to justify its truthfulness, however I do have one
problem with this scenario of events, it would seem that if the reason for the force entry was indeed
in order to facilitate the removal of the coffer lid, that it would have been much easier to have
simply enlarged the tunnel cut into the limestone around the granite plugs then the lid could have
simply been lowered to the Descending Passage and then brought up out the original entrance, just a
thought of course. Needless to say upon further enlightenment in respects to the events, I am
leaning toward the belief that Al Mamoun did indeed know the true entrance to the Pyramid however
as regards the forced entry that’s still debatable.
Understand however that whether one chooses to stick with the traditional account of events or to
consider an alternative possibility this in no way affects either the symbolic significance or the
chronological aspects depicted in the pyramid itself it is simply a case of wishing to reason through
the various facts in order that we might gain a little more insight into the pyramid.
We will continue with or look at the Great Pyramid shortly.
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