© Ian Lawton & Chris Ogilvie-Herald 1999
The Great Pyramid looms large before us in the darkness, seeming even more vast than usual. We thread our way through the never-ending back streets of the village of Nazlet el-Samman. The locals sleep mainly in the day, but they’ve seen us around here many times in the last week. We have made sure of that. We wave to them nonchalantly, greet them quietly with ‘Salaam Alaikum’, and no-one bothers us.
We reach the edge of the plateau. It is a quick climb up the rocky escarpment, but steep, and at the top we stop to catch our breath. We are lucky. The night is relatively murky. We stop to slip on the local galabayas, which we hope will blend in with the meditation group we intend to tag onto. Underneath we have waistcoats whose pockets bulge with torches, cameras, notebooks, and other essential equipment. We trust that in the darkness we’ll just look as if we’ve feasted on too much shish kebab.
It is now 2am. We are nervous but calm. If the gods are on our side, all will be well. And if we believe in our hearts that what we’re doing is for the general good, not just for our own selfish ends, then the gods will be on our side. We hope.
Right on cue, the group arrive from their sumptuous hotel in their air-conditioned coach. How the other half live! But we’ve no time to ponder the inequalities of life, and the apparent benefits money can bring. We have work to do.
Again luck is on our side. No guards yet. We run quickly towards the rear of the coach, then slow our pace. Our timing is perfect. We join the back of the line of white-robed innocents, and blend in perfectly. No-one suspects. Now we need our next piece of luck. As we climb the steps up to the entrance, we pray that there won’t be a headcount. The guards welcome us nonchalantly, for we’re just another group who bring in money, but not much to them. We are in!
Slowly we climb the ascending passage, bent double under the low ceiling. Our hearts beat faster as we wait to see if the final piece of luck is on our side. We emerge into the Grand Gallery, and crane our necks to the top. Yes! The ladder up to the Relieving Chambers is there, and in place against the wall! Someone is definitely looking after us.
At the top, we all creep down the passage into the King’s Chamber. The guide chats for a few minutes about what will happen. Then the guard leaves. In a few minutes we’re plunged into darkness. All is quiet, except for the welcome noise of the fan in the wall. It is quieter than the old one, but it’s enough. We wait. Gradually the group enters its state of karma. We are at the back, by the passage. Quietly and slowly we creep out. Back down the passage. Back to the base of the ladder.
The guard has retired to the entrance. We are alone in the Grand Gallery. All systems are go. We remove our galabayas, because we know from experience that they don’t make ideal garments for exploration. Quietly and slowly we climb up, one rung at a time. At the top we stop briefly to don our head torches. We are high above the floor, nearly 30 feet up. Thankfully the ladder is tied to the wall, for it’s steeply inclined. In perhaps the scariest part of the operation we lever ourselves off the ladder and into the passage, and begin the crawl towards our goal. The loose stones on the floor scrape at our exposed knees, but we hardly notice.
At the end of the passage, we come out into a small chamber in which we can stand. We see that a succession of short ladders lead up to the higher chambers, but we must ignore these for the moment. Our target lies ahead. We have to lie on our sides to squeeze through the narrow slit which gives access to the first chamber, Davison’s. And as we pick ourselves up, our torches reveal a long low room matching the size of the King’s Chamber beneath it. There is some rubble in the far corner, and the unevenness of the floor blocks is in stark contrast to the smoothness of the monolithic ceiling blocks. But as our heads turn to the corner nearest us, our torches reveal what we’ve come to explore. A passage leading off to the side.
We know this passage was begun by Captain Caviglia in the nineteenth century. But rumours have been abounding for several years that it has been extended to look for a secret chamber. We have been told on the grapevine that supposedly eminent researchers have been sharing video footage of this secret excavation, all under strict non-disclosure agreements. Many people have suggested this is the real reason why the Pyramid has been closed to the public for some time now. We must discover the truth.
We hurry towards it, excitement mounting. Crawling inside, we can see that after about 10 feet it turns sharp right to follow the south wall of the chamber, heading west. Faster now... we must get to the corner to see where it leads. Scrambling around it, we see the passage extends for a further 15 feet. By the time we’re halfway along, we can already see what lies ahead. We have waited for so long for this moment. Now we know the truth…
The passage ends in a blank wall!
This is just one of the many experiences we’ve shared in writing this book. It is not untypical. Time and again we’ve been regaled by local Egyptians, fellow researchers and a variety of other sources, all claiming in hushed conspiratorial tones to have information on clandestine operations at the Giza Plateau. These usually involve the discovery and exploration of secret passages and chambers in and around the Great Pyramid and Sphinx, and, often as not, the fabled Hall of Records is introduced into the mix. As open-minded individuals who believe in the possibility that an advanced civilisation could have existed millennia ago on Earth, and could have stored some form of records to enlighten or warn future civilisations, we were initially flushed with excitement at these apparent revelations – a feeling many of you will have shared when reading about or discussing such awesome possibilities.
However, coupled with official and other denials, these stories became so conflicting that we could stand the confusion no longer. We had to research these rumours first-hand, on location, if only to clear our heads! It would be arrogant and foolish of us to suggest that, in two busy weeks at the Plateau in the autumn of 1998, we were able to investigate all these rumours in full – and can now present a complete picture in this book with no questions left unanswered. Of course we can’t. But what we can do is shed considerably more light on the picture than has been cast before. And we do see a clear trend which emerged almost as soon as exploration commenced at the Plateau, and which has become exacerbated in recent years – at least in part due to a combination of millennium fever and the ability of new internet technology to spread rumours like wildfire, so that to many they become reality. What we’ve undoubtedly uncovered, and will prove in this book, is that much of the rumour mill surrounding the Plateau is at best misleading, and at worst complete garbage.
It would be churlish of us to suggest that all researchers of the Plateau are charlatans who deliberately mislead the public merely to enhance their status and their bank accounts. Many do fervently believe what they’re saying, but appear to be motivated by one common factor – a desire to stamp their name on history by finding the elusive answers to the enigmas of the Plateau. In this quest they seem to become taken over by a kind of ‘Plateau Fever’ – perhaps a special strain of ‘Millennium Fever’ – which inhibits their ability to look independently and objectively at the evidence.
Does this mean that everything that orthodox science and archaeology tells us about the Plateau is correct? Undoubtedly no! There is a balance to be struck between orthodoxy and open-mindedness which in our view is rarely achieved by protagonists on either side.
What this book therefore hopes to accomplish is to provide you, the reader, with a balanced picture of the four main aspects of the Plateau. Its exploration from ancient times to the present day. The theories surrounding its edifices – who built them, when, how, and why? (And note that we have no ‘pet’ theories of our own to promote at the expense of others.) The Hall of Records – does it exist, and if so where, and what does it contain? And the politics which have come to dominate the Plateau in recent years.
This type of book has been attempted in part before, most notably in a seminal work by Peter Tompkins entitled Secrets of the Great Pyramid, first published in 1971, and recently republished. However even this highly regarded work suffers from some major defects. As its title suggests, it takes little account of the other edifices on the Plateau apart from the Great Pyramid itself, which is in our view a fundamentally flawed approach which has been copied by most ‘alternative’ (i.e., non-orthodox) researchers both before and since; for as we’ll see context is king in understanding the enigmas of Ancient Egypt. It concentrates heavily on the mathematical properties supposedly inherent in the structure of the Great Pyramid – and since Tompkins is clearly an advocate of these theories it can hardly be regarded as an entirely independent and objective study. The Hall of Records, which was not as commonly discussed then as now, is not mentioned. And of course much of the political excitement and intrigue surrounding the Plateau has only occurred since Tompkin’s book was published.
One might also suggest that various studies by orthodox Egyptologists have already fulfilled our objective. Most notably Dr Eiddon Edwards’ Pyramids of Egypt – a standard reference text which has been updated repeatedly since its first publication in 1947, and Dr Mark Lehner’s The Complete Pyramids – the most current treatise which was only published in 1997, are superb reference works. However they’re relatively ‘dry’ textbooks, and again they only tell some of the story. Because their authors refuse to accept any alternative theories, these are not discussed at all. The Hall of Records is a no-go area for them – even though in his early days prior to his conversion to the orthodox cause, Lehner wrote an entire book devoted to the subject. And of course they can’t, by their nature, delve into the politics and personalities which make the subject come alive, as well as being essential to a proper understanding.
In order to cover all these aspects and more, this book is split into three parts. Part 1, Prologue, provides the essential background information required to place recent explorations and political wranglings into context. It examines the history of exploration of the Plateau from classical times to the middle of this century, ensuring that all edifices on the Plateau are considered and not just the Great Pyramid. It summarises the various theories which have been put forward about when, why and how the pyramids were built, ensuring that due attention is paid to all the 3rd and 4th Dynasty pyramids – not just those on the Plateau – and as a result allowing both orthodox and alternative views to be considered. And it looks at the various legends of the Hall of Records throughout history, ensuring that some of the less well-known esoteric material on this subject is presented.
If we’ve succeeded in our objectives, this will be the first time you’ll have encountered such a balanced treatment of these topics. We believe that determining the truth about the Plateau and its incredible structures requires that due deference be paid to the centuries of scholarship of orthodox Egyptologists. However at the same time our minds must be a little more open to unorthodox possibilities than this body allows – for example of the existence of advanced ancient civilisations, and of the potential value of material which has supposedly been ‘channelled’ from other dimensions. Whilst covering all viewpoints, the authors won’t however remain entirely sat on the fence. Where we consider any theory – of whatever persuasion – to be flawed or even downright crackpot, we’ll comment accordingly; similarly if we regard a theory as being particularly persuasive when all the evidence is considered, we’ll say as much. In this way we hope to provide you, the reader, with the best perspective you can possibly obtain, and haven’t hitherto been able to in distilled form.
In Part 2, Modern Methods, we’ll document the true story of the explorations of the Plateau in the last 30 years, most of which involved searches for secret chambers in the Great Pyramid and others, and an underground network of tunnels and chambers under the Plateau – and especially under or near the Sphinx. The details of much of this work have never before been made readily available to the public in their entirety, and we’ll rectify that omission. We will also examine the much publicised and ground-breaking research which led to the questioning of the age of the Sphinx; the discovery of a ‘door’ in one of the shafts in the Great Pyramid by a small remote-controlled robot; and the equally well-known theories which suggest that the Pyramids align with certain star constellations. Are these theories and discoveries really as ‘orthodoxy-shattering’ as they’re made out to be? We will find out…
In Part 3 we bring the picture right up to date with a review of the various explorations, discoveries and associated controversies which have rocked the Plateau in the 1990s. We will reveal new details about the most highly-publicised recent search for the Hall of Records. We will get behind the multiple rumours which have been proliferated by the emerging power of the internet, many of them dealing with secret tunnelling and excavation, and the various pieces of ‘evidence’ which purport to back them up. We will look at the various supposedly newly-discovered shafts which have been excavated recently on the Plateau. And we’ll reveal that, intertwined in all these projects, are a number of ‘key players’ whose relationships have ebbed and flowed – sometimes dramatically hostile, sometimes cordial and respectful – with huge implications for the projects themselves and the way they’ve been presented to, or in some cases hidden from, the public.
It is hardly surprising that politics has come to dominate all exploration and discussion of the Plateau over the last decade. Consider the rewards on offer for major new discoveries which could challenge the whole basis of humankind’s understanding of his past and his future. At the very least they could lead to considerable riches and worldwide recognition – even immortalisation in humankind’s ‘Hall of Fame’. In a more sinister light, the keys to Ancient Wisdom could unlock untold power – perhaps even the power to change humankind forever. As a result ‘Plateau Fever’ is kicking in with a vengeance, and some egos are vibrating at a new, higher frequency! Where such egos appear to take themselves a little too seriously – some even appearing to proclaim themselves as new ‘messiahs’ – we’ll take sharp aim and let the arrows fly!
In an ideal world a work such as this wouldn’t have to dirty its hands with political machinations. Indeed both the authors attempted to shrug off the coil of the commercial world precisely because we wanted to escape these often negative aspects of our lives. But humankind being what it is this is an idealistic viewpoint, and unless you want to bury your head in the sand and cut off from the rest of society completely, it’s impossible to avoid the inevitable interaction with these forces. It is all very well suggesting that a new dawn of spiritual understanding is overtaking the old materialism, but even many of those who espouse this view are continually proving by their own hypocritical actions that this is an extremely slow process. Idealism is often caught up with a kind of blind hope which unfortunately requires naivety to underpin it – exactly the conditions which allow the unscrupulous to exploit the innocent.
When the stakes are this high, some people become ruthless. There are even suggestions that major governmental organisations are involved: we’ll examine whether or not this is likely; and if they are, have they decided that paternalism is called for – to protect humankind from its own ignorance? Who really is involved in the exploration of the Plateau, and what are their motives? We will delve into the recesses of apparent cover-ups and conspiracies, claims and counter-claims, in an attempt to deliver the truth to the public in the run up to what many see as a pivotal point in our history – the millennium.
And let us never forget – according to many, the time for the discovery of the Hall of Records is at hand…
 For his part, Chris has an entirely open mind on the issue of ‘lost civilisations’; however he emphatically doesn’t subscribe to the High Civilisation/Atlantis/Catastrophe model proposed by the American psychic Edgar Cayce and many modern alternative researchers.