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No. 89: Sep-Oct 1993

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The Great Pyramid looking west and possible chamber
A cross-section of the Great Pyramid looking west. The King's Chamber is #1 on the diagram, the Queen's Chamber is #8, the ventilation shafts are #6. The arrow marks the location of the newly discovered "door" and possible chamber. (Adapted from: W. R.; Pyramid Odyssey, 1978
A German roboticist, R. Gantenbrink, was hired to clean out the debris clogging the 8-inch-square "ventilation" shafts in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Remotely controlling a robot resembling a miniature tank, Gantenbrink subsequently explored the cleared shafts. Finding nothing worth noting there, he requested permission to send the robot crawling up a similar shaft in the Queen's Chamber below. Early archeologists had already plumbed this shaft with long pipes and had concluded that it ended after about 9 feet. Gantenbrink's robot, using its camera eye, found that this shaft did not end where expected but instead veered upward at a 45 angle. Climbing the incline, the robot found that the texture of the limestone walls changed from the rough-hewn, locally quarried limestone to the highly polished tura limestone often found in the entryways of tomb chambers.

"At the end of the polished section was what appears to be a door, made of the same tura limestone and with tongue-and-groove fittings on the side that suggest it can be raised and lowered. It has two corroded copper fittings in the center; a piece of one fitting had broken off and was found lying in front of the stone. A small gap exists at the bottom of the stone, but the camera could not peer through it."

But what could lie beyond this tiny door deep in a shaft too small for humans? Is there a hidden chamber? Might it contain the body of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid, whose remains have never been found? A suspicious layer of black dust outside the door suggests the past presence of organic matter.

Egyptologists find the whole business "very annoying." German archeologist R. Stadelman stated, "There is surely no other chamber."

Meanwhile, Gantenbrink plans to slip a fiber-optic camera through the crack under the "door" to resolve the matter.

(Maugh, Thomas H., II; "A Robot's Mysterious Discovery," San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 1993. Cr. J. Covey. Also found in the Wellington, New Zealand, Evening Post. May 1, 1993. Cr. P. Hassall.)

From Science Frontiers #89, SEP-OCT 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987