Andrew Collins, Author of the Month for December 2009
Giza's Cave Underworld Rediscovered - It is the Entrance to the Tomb of Hermes? (cont.)
By Andrew Collins
The Hall of Records
Yet despite this astounding ground-sky relationship, Cygnus's brightest star, Deneb, remained to be matched with a substantial marker on the ground at Giza (it did match with a fairly large mastaba tomb in the western cemetery, but one to which very little is known, other than its designation Lepsius LG 14, given to it by the nineteenth century German Egyptologist Karl Lepsius). The matter puzzled me, and it was not until I presented my findings to a colleague that I was given an unexpected insight into this baffling mystery. Having listened to my discoveries regarding the Cygnus-Pyramids correlation, he looked at the designated Deneb spot on the plateau and said: "What's there?"
Nothing of any significance, I told him.
"Perhaps what you're looking for is underground, and no one has found it yet," he offered, quite matter-of-factly. "Perhaps it's the entrance to the Hall of Records."
It was an interesting and somewhat tangential observation, but one that I was not prepared to accept.
Fig 9 - The Cygnus constellation roughly overlaid over the Giza plateau, showing the approximately position of the star Deneb in the western cemetery.
The Hall of Records was the name given to Giza's lost underworld by the American psychic Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), who as early as 1925 predicted that just such a hidden chamber, containing the records of the ancients, would one day be found in the vicinity of the Sphinx. It is for this reason that the Edgar Cayce Foundation, and its research division, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), has sponsored a number of high profile scientific expeditions at Giza over the past 40 years in the firm conviction that one day the Hall of Records will be found.
The rediscovery of the lost cave underworld explored in 1817 by Salt and Caviglia might go some way to fulfilling Cayce's predictions in this respect. This seemed especially so, for the entrance to these catacombs seemed to lie not far away from the Deneb spot in the Cygnus-Pyramids correlation. It would appear possible that the dynastic Egyptians saw this bright star as marking the navel of the sky-goddess in her role as the Milky Way - her "legs" being formed by the starry trail's bifurcation to create what is known to astronomers as the Dark Rift, or Cygnus Rift. It is from this perceived celestial "birth tube" that separates the Milky Way between the Cygnus region and the zodiacal constellation of Sagittarius that the much-anticipated new sun of 2012 will be born according to aficionados of the New Age movement.
It was from this same area of sky, marked by the stars of Cygnus, that the ancient Egyptians might well have believed that the soul of the deceased pharaoh would be born anew on the dawn horizon, prior to his ascension as a star among the firmament (Wells, 1992, 1993, 1994). It was probably for this reason that the King's Chamber inside the Great Pyramid was offset slightly from the monument's north-south center line in order that someone lying in its famous granite sarcophagus could have gazed upwards, through the position of the capstone, to the point where the star Deneb would have daily crossed the meridian at its highest point in the sky.
Fig 10 - The Kings Chamber's offset of 6 degrees, 15 seconds, might well reflect an alignment through the pyramid's capstone with the daily culmination of Cygnus's bright star Deneb.
Finding that the entrance to Salt and Caviglia's cave complex was in the same general area as the Deneb spot in the Cygnus-Pyramids correlation seemed oddly relevant. So, having determined to locate Salt and Caviglia's lost cave underworld, I now sought the help and support of Edgar Cayce's A.R.E., and made preparations to fly out to Egypt at the beginning of March 2008. Our group's intention was to conduct a second investigation of the tomb, which, I now concluded, might well conceal a hidden entrance to Giza's cave underworld.
Having journeyed to the site on Monday, March 3rd, Nigel, Sue and I entered the tomb and explored its every nook and cranny without discovering the entrance to any lost catacombs. After deciding to abandon our search in favour of exploring other smaller tombs in the same area, we chanced upon a small breach in a stone and mortar wall at the southeast corner of the tomb, something I had missed on our earlier visit. Peering inside, an incredible sight greeted us - a vast chasm-like chamber filled with fallen rock debris. It was a natural cave chamber, over 15 meters square, enhanced in order to make it more rectilinear in appearance. As we gazed inside, flocks of bats, no doubt disturbed by the intrusion of torchlight into their natural habitat, began escaping through the tiny exit.
Fig 11 - Breached wall inside the Tomb of the Birds leading into the cave underworld.
Knowing that we could not leave without exploring further, I sank into the depths of the darkness and examined the cave's opening chamber. After exploring some cave compartments in its northwest corner, which were also littered with rock debris, I found and entered a long cave tunnel that headed roughly south. In the pitch black, I navigated a seemingly never ending carpet of huge natural boulders, caused by constant falls from the cave ceiling, which towered to as much as 15 feet (4.5 meters) in height. Strewn across the floor were discarded animal bones, just as Salt had recorded. Here and there, wedged between rocks, were perfectly preserved skulls of large vertebrates that I could not identify.
Fig 12 - Inside the opening chamber of Giza's cave underworld, looking towards the northwest.
I penetrated the blackness still deeper, being careful to avoid any unseen pits and holes, our camel guide having joined me. Suddenly, a rush of warm air heralded the imminent approach of more bats that flew just inches away from our scalps. Rising too soon, one hit me squarely in the face, almost knocking me to the ground. Reaching a natural bifurcation in the cave tunnel, we felt it the right time to double back and return to the surface, having taken some 20 minutes to travel just 75 yards (69 metres). Yet I knew from Salt and Caviglia's account that the cave tunnels carried on for a minimum distance of "several hundred yards" before they reached a spacious chamber that connected with three others of equal size, from which went further labyrinthine passages that disappeared into the darkness.
Fig 13 - Andrew Collins in the north-south cave tunnel.
A few days later, Nigel, Sue and I returned to the Tomb of the Birds, as we now referred to it, and Sue and I explored the cave system as Nigel kept watch in the antechamber. The deeper into the rocky darkness we got, the more we became aware that the air was becoming thinner, while the effects of the airborne bat guano were also beginning to take their toll on our bodily systems.