7 Jan 2001

Email from correspondent Keith Hamilton suggesting an explanation for the lateral deviations of the two northern 'star shafts'

Dear Ian

Further to my last e-mail I now provide another observation that may be of assistance. This will deal with your comments in G:TT in respect of the deviation of the northern shafts from the KC & QC.

You state on page 339, referring to the the N.shaft of the KC, "It is clear from the scale diagram that it does not need to do this in order to avoid the antechamber or the southern tip of the Grand Gallery, .." you also go on to say that their is no obvious need for the change of direction for the N.shaft of the QC. But the fact remains that both north shafts deviate, for which there must be a reason.

I offer the following explanation. The north shaft of the KC exits the north wall 4 cubits west of the passage system axis which has been placed 14 cubits east of the pyramids N-S axis, such that if the KC shaft continued its course without deviating it would be 2 cubits west of the lower wall of the GG, these blocks that make up the GG are possibly quite wide especially as they are corbelled, such that the shaft could well interfere with them. We see from the AP how the girdle stones restrain the sliding forces of the masonry, (girdle stones not being required in the DP as the sliding forces are contained by the bedrock of the plateau) in the GG the north wall according to M&R is made up of large blocks and they suggest this is so to restrain the sliding masonry of the GG. I would suggest also that the unknown masonry behind the east & west walls maybe specially laid and keyed into the GG walls to dissipate forces (we see such an idea at work in the masonry that makes up the shafts and noted by Gantenbrink).

So what evidence do we have of masonry that hides behind the finished walls of the GP? We have a clue in the tunnel that was excavated deep behind the niche of the QC of which M&R say "Upon a close examination of this tunnel we found that for about 6-7 metres, starting from the niche end wall, the masonry is composed of large well squared and dressed limestone blocks. Beyond these, there is the usual inner nucleus masonry made up of great blocks which are roughly dressed.." We see here that the QC appears to be surrounded by a sizeable depth of good quality masonry and therefore it is possible that other chambers are similar. I would suggest that this is indeed so behind the GG walls and that the shafts had to deviate around this to such a distance that satisfied the designer, such that the different masonry required for the construction of the shafts in no way interfered with the masonry and structural integrity of the GG. Further this may explain the question posed above as to why the shaft swings gradually eastward from the N-S axis, as once clear of the GG masonry they had more scope for direction. This brings us to the QC N-shaft, this would have to deviate sharply to the west as coming up to the base of the GG we should expect the maximum thickness of fine masonry to support the GG. I suspect that if ever this shaft is explored it to will follow closely under the KC shaft.

I hope the above may provide some answers, let me know what you think.

Regards, Keith

[In my view this is a highly plausible suggestion. Very roughly the QC north shaft starts to bend away when it is something less than a third of the way along the GG looking from above, even though the classic 'side-view' of the GP shows it only intersecting with the base of the GG about half way along it. But this extra allowance is to be expected if there was considerable supportive masonry underneath the GG floor. And, of course, we can immediately see that the KC north shaft deviation is consistent with an allowance for some 6-7 metres of supportive masonry behind the west wall of the GG. COH has pointed out that it would be useful to attempt to verify this general approach by establishing whether or not high quality supportive core masonry is in place behind the KC north wall, and indeed behind the west wall of the horizontal KC passage and antechamber, by examining it via the intrusive tunnel dug by Caviglia, that starts just before the antechamber and then follows the northern shaft for some distance. At least the first part of this tunnel lies within a 6-7 metre distance of the KC north wall, and of course of the horizontal passage. COH has also pointed out that the possible existence of sand-filled cavities behind the west wall of the QC passage tends to be at odds with the idea of supportive masonry for all passages and chambers - IL]

29 Apr 2004

Important amendments to G:TT Figure 30 (originally Figure 27) concerning a second kink in the QC north shaft, based on results of Pyramid Rover investigations in 2002, and kindly brought to my attention by Jean-Pierre Houdin

During my recent conversations with researcher Jean-Pierre Houdin he has brought it to my attention that the Pyramid Rover, sent up the north QC shaft during the National Geographic-sponsored investigations, found that after the first kink in the shaft it then travelled for approximately 8 metres in a north-westerly direction before bending once again back towards due north. It's final total length was found to be very similar to that of the QC south shaft, with another 'door' at the end. Anyone who wants to verify this should obtain a copy of the 2002 documentary 'Into the Great Pyramid' from National Geographic. The relevant animation is at the end.

Jean-Pierre also has some interesting ideas about the shafts which he will reveal in due course. They are related to his views about the construction of the GP (see here). In the meantime he explains the bend in the north QC shaft as being necessitated by the wide trench that would have been above the Grand Gallery during construction when it was being used as part of the counterweight system for bringing up the largest granite blocks.

Jean-Pierre further pointed out that the east-west line shown in Figure 27 of G:TT was in the incorrect place, being too far to the south.

As a result I have redrafted this figure as below.


(prepared with the kind assistance of Rudolf Gantenbrink and Jean-Pierre Houdin)

4 Jun 2011

Link to New Scientist article about the latest robot exploration of the air shafts by the Djedi project, which has found painted hieroglyphs or quarry marks between the two doors in the south shaft.