June, 2008.

Queen's Chamber in Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)

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The photo shows the niche in the eastwall
(towards the Nile). The perpose is uncertain.
The height is 4.67 m (183.8 inch, Petrie).
The square shaped opening with bars is
not a part of the original wall. Photo from

The Queen's Chamber too is a misnomer, as no single pyramid has burial chambers for both
queens and kings. Like other parts af the interior architecture, the perpose of the Chamber is
a question. The dominating presumption is that it is an abondoned burial chamber like the
Subterranean Chamber.

Mark Lehner has proposed that the Chamber was a serdab chamber, as a serdab statue could
have been placed in the niche or alcove in the eastwall. And perhaps the serdab was never
placed or removed by vandals. A serdab was a physical representation of the ka (the "soul") of
the deceased body. The word 'serdab' is arabic and means 'cellar'.

The far best known serdab statue was placed in the courtyard of Djoser's Step Pyramid. The
northern wall was fittet with a peep hole, giving the serdab - and the ka of Djoser - a free sight
to the northern sky and the place of the Goods. The statue is today at the Cairo Museum
and the statue in the Courtyard is a replica.

Many proposals about perpose of the Pyramid's architecture is problematic, and Lehner's pro-
posal is problematic too, as the serdab statue would have been placed inside the pyramid and
without free sight to the sky and looking to the west and not north.

The height of the niche is 4.66 m (183,80 inches, Petrie) and is 1 cm less than the height of
the eastwall of the chamber. The niche is often illustrated remarkably higher than the eastwall.


Unlike the King's Chamber all of the Camber is made of limestones. Walls are built up of 5
courses as in the King's Chamber. The cieling is formed by 12 blocks, each is app. 1.2 m x
2.10 x 7.0 m (WxHxL). Volume for each is 17.6 cubic meters and the weight is about 37
impressive tons, when density is put to 2.2. In total about 440 tons.

The pointed or gabled cieling has an angle very close to 30 degrees (varies between 30° 10' and
30° 48', Petrie). Was a measure rod used, then 16 units vertical and 28 horizontal would give
the angle 29.7 °. And 16.5 and 28 would give 30,5° (use the "Tangent-1"-function on your

A gabed cieling is repeated over the entrance of the pyramid and on the top of the 5th and
uppermost relieving chamber. It seems to be a new and succesful invention, repeated by many
successors, including Khafra and Menkaura.


The photo shows the opening to the northern
channel in the entrance wall. The opening is
22 cm heigh and 20 cm wide (8.6" and 8", Petrie)
and was - like the southern opening - concieled
by a wall block until 1872. A part of the block is
still visible.
It remains a mystery why the channels were
closed in the Queen's Chamber and not in
the King's Chamber.
The photo was taken by the Edgar brothers
in 1906. Photo from

The channels are unique for Khufu's Pyramid and the perpose was for a long time a puzzle.

From both chambers the channels stretch from the north- and southwall and towards the
facade of the pyramid in angles between .. to be continued about physical dimensions and
recently explorations.

The openings of the channels in the King's Chamber has "always" been known, but in the
Queen's Chamber they were discovered as late as 1872. It was the English engineer Wayn-
man Dixon who found the covered openings in the Chamber. It was done by knocking on
wallblock after wallblock while listening for differences in sounds. Luck stroke on both north-
and southswall, and the blocks were penetrated. The Chamber has therefore ka-channels in
quit the same way as in the King's Chamber.

It was long believed that the purpose of the simelar channels in the King's Chamber could be
for ventilation for the workers during the constuction. But the discovery of fully closed chan-
nels in the Queen's Chamber made the idea of ventilation impossible. The leding expert on
Egyptian pyramids during many decades, I.E.S. Edwards (1909-1996), propagate the idea
that the perpose of the channels was to conduct the ka - the spirit - of the king from his body
and to the heaven and thereby joining the gods. Today, this perpose is widely accepted.

Did the builders use a cubit of 52.3 cm?

Is it possible to find the lenght of the unit - a cubit - used by the Egyptians? A part of the pyra-
mid where one can come closest to an answer is in the Queen's Chamber. It seems likely that
the floor is planned as 11 x 10 cubit and the floor of the niche as 3 x 2 cubits. And with a rod
close to the lenght 52.3 cm or 20.6 inch. The height of the north- and southwall will be close to
9 cubits.