July, 2008

Escapeway in Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)

Escapeway in profile

The socalled Well is one more misnomer. It has nothing to do with water and does not
reach as far down as to the waterlevel of the Nile. The Well is a narrow, crude cut and
nearly vertical escapeway - a tunnel or a shaft - for the pyramid workers, when they had
sealed the Ante-Chamber and thereby the King's Chamber. The shaft is leading downwards
from the floor of the lower end of the Gallery and almost to the bottom of the Descending
Corridor which leads to the entrance of the Pyramid. And freedom.

Start of the escapeway
Above Edgar Brothers' drawing, 1906. From

How escape likely was done, can be described in the following steps:

When the entrance to the Burial Chamber was sealed by the portcullis blocks in the Ante-
Chamber, the entrance to the outside of the Pyramid has to be sealed too. In previous
pyramids it could be done relatively easy by pushing sealing blocks from outside the en-
trance of the pyramid and down through the corridor to the entrance of the burial chamber
in a lower level. Block by block would fill up the intire corridor and the gravity assisted the
workers. The low level of the burial chamber, relative to the entrance, is seen in Snefru's
Collapsed Pyramid at Medium and in his Red Pyramid at Dashur north.

In Khufu's Pyramid this way of blocking the ascending corridor was not possible, as the
Burial Chamber was at a higher level than the entrance. To push the blocks upwards and
against gravitation would have been impossible. A solution seems to be the use a tempo-
rarily storage inside the Pyramid, and it is difficult not see the ramp in the floor of the Gal-
lery as the place of such a storage. The blocks were, suggested by some, possiblely hold
on to there position by wooden beems attached to the gabs in the walls. After release the
blocks were pushed down the ascending corridor. It's an open question whether this was
actually done or remained intended, as only 3 sealingblocks are ever found and in the bot-
tom of the Ascending Corridor. Fact is that the ramp (app. 46 m) with ease could have
stored the blocks needed to fill up the ascending corridor (39,3 m) from the bottom of
the Gallery and to the joint with the Descending Corridor.

After blocking the Ascending Corridor, the workers would have imprisonned themselve in
the Gallery without the possibility of reaching the entrance of the Pyramid. The solution
was the shaft, bypassing the Ascending Corridor. The shaft begins in the bottom of the
floor at the westwall in the Gallery. A block, once hiding the gab, is missing today. See
drawing. From the floor the shaft goes down and connects to the westwall of the Descending
Corridor, a few meters from the entrance of the Subterranean Chamber. From the Corridor
the workers had unhindered access to the entrance of the Pyramid.

Next step in sealing the Pyramid was to fill up the Descending Corridor with bocks, pushed
from outside the Pyramid and down to the Ascending Corridor, already blocked, and perhaps
further down. This could be done in the same way as known from previous pyramids. Sealing
bocks have not been found in any part of the Descending Corridor, so either it stayed as an
intension or blocks were later removed by rubbers.

Finally, the outside of the Pyramid was sealed by a number of casingblocks and the ope-
nings in the wall surrounding the pyramid aswell.

In eternal times ahead the Pyramid was physical - but in no way spiritual - isolated from
the living society. The physical isolation was quit opposite the Mesopotamian ziggurates
and the later American pyramids, as both types were constructed for active use and applied
with outside stairs giving acces to temples on the top.