Andrew Collins Newsletter Vol. 12 No. 3(October 2009)

i. Beneath the Pyramids Published and Latest on Giza's Cave Underworld

Inside the Tomb of the Birds (Reisner's NC # 2)in the north cliff
of Giza's Moqattam Formation (copyright Andrew Collins, 2009).

Next week sees the publication of my much anticipated new book BENEATH THE PYRAMIDS. It fully documents my investigation and rediscovery of Giza's cave underworld, with the help of Nigel Skinner Simpson, engineer Rodney Hale and my wife Sue. It is a work I am very pleased and excited about, and I do hope that it is something that will interest you.

The story goes as follows.

In March 2008 we went on to the Giza plateau and located the entrance to a previously unrecorded cave underworld, entered via an enigmatic tomb some distance due west of the Great Pyramid. This find was achieved after piecing together clues left in the 200-year-old memoirs of a nineteenth century British diplomat and explorer named Henry Salt. He recorded how in 1817 he and Italian explorer Giovanni Caviglia entered and explored "catacombs" at Giza for a distance of "several hundred yards" before coming upon spacious chambers and "labyrinthick" passages that penetrated the darkness still further.

Underlying geology hints that this cave system might extend beneath the Second Pyramid and link with a whole network of cave tunnels, compartments and chambers existing right the way down to the Sphinx on the eastern edge of the plateau.
The existence of the cave tunnels argue that ancient Egyptian mythology is based on truth. Ancient funerary and creation texts speaks of the existence in the vicinity of Giza, ancient Rostau, of just such a cave underworld - one through which the soul of the pharaoh had to pass in order to achieve rebirth among the stars. Thus the pyramids were very likely built where they were because of the known presence beneath the plateau of this cave underworld. The pyramids' cave-like passages enabled symbolic access to this underground realm, where the soul of the pharaoh, in its role as Osiris, was expected to achieve transformation within a mystical chamber known as the Shetayet, quite literally the "Tomb or God", called also the Duat n Ba, or "Underworld of the Soul". This deep structure was thought to exist somewhere in the vicinity of Giza, in what was known as the Duat of Memphis or Duat of Rostau.

Beyond this is the politics and intrigue surrounding the cave discoveries. How were amateurs like ourselves able to make such finds? Why have the caves' existence been denied by Egypt's head Egyptologist? Why has their discovery stirred up so much interest worldwide? The clue is that they help fulfil age old, and more recent, prophecies surrounding the imminent discovery of just such a cave complex at Giza - one that might well provide undeniable evidence of early human activity on the plateau that goes back beyond even the age of the pharaohs.

The book's publisher is 4th Dimension Press, an imprint of The ARE Press, Virginia Beach, VA. Initially, the book will be available to purchase only via online book services, such as (click here), or directly from the publisher (click here). Copies will then reach other bookstores in the US, and publication in the UK (including - click here) will be in November. This too is when I shall receive my first batch of books for resale. I shall be offering a special signed and numbered edition, with a unique stamp, but if you wish to get your hands on a copy as quickly as possible I suggest applying to the sources given here.

If you do purchase BENEATH THE PYRAMIDS from an online bookstore like Amazon, I want you to do something for me. Once you have read the book, or even before if you wish, click on the page selling the book (click here) and give it a star rating and brief review. I ask this since it is important for a book's sales promotion, which in turn affects its overall ranking. I appreciate this. I'll remind you again later.


Sue Collins peers inside the opening chamber of Giza's cave underworld.
Note the breached stone wall. Is it modern or ancient? Who breached it, and when?
What age is the tomb?(copyright Andrew Collins, 2009)

With respect to the cave discoveries at Giza, Egypt's top Egyptologist Dr Zahi Hawass is still denying their existence, claiming that we merely got confused inside an already recorded tomb, and thought that its 35-meter length was longer than it actually is. Yet as the dozens of pictures taken inside the caves show, we are well aware of what a tomb looks like and know the difference between 35 meters and a conservative estimate of 90 meters travelled inside the natural cave system, which constitutes the only known hard evidence for the existence of Giza's cave underworld.

On the subject of the tomb in which the caves are accessed. Dr Hawass claims that it is fully recorded, but the only modern evidence which has come to light since the cave
controversy began
is a previously unpublished plan drawn in 1939 by a draftsman working with American Egyptologist George Reisner (click here to see the plan and here to read my response), as well as a rough plan sketched in the Expedition diary for the date Friday, April 28th, 1939 (link to follow). The latter is slightly more detailed, and shows the opening in the wall that provides access to the cave complex. However, the caves themselves are not shown. How could this possibly be? How it is that a methodical Egyptologist like Reisner failed to record the existence of a massive cave system unique to the plateau? Somehow, it just doesn't make sense. Perhaps he just wasn't interested in exploring natural caves, or simply did not have the time to venture further. Since the ominous shadow of the Second World War was looming ever closer, and the tomb had already been ear-marked as a makeshift air raid shelter for his workers, I suspect that he had other things on his mind.

The only people known to have entered the tomb other than Salt and Caviglia is Col. Richard Howard Vyse and British engineer John Shae Perring. Their team explored the tomb in 1837, discovering the remains of bird and animal mummies (the reason why we refer to it as the "Tomb of the Birds"). It is likely that the tomb came to be venerated as the site of a local bird god, most obviously the falcon-headed Sokar, the patron of the Giza necropolis, due to the presence of the caves. This might well have been seen as the entrance to the underworld of Giza-Memphis, over which Sokar had dominion. As you also read in the book, the caves (el-kahf in Arabic) are in local tradition said to be haunted by a giant snake called el-Hanash, a memory perhaps of the serpents that the ancient Egyptians believed frequented the cave underworld that the pharaoh had to pass on his way to the afterlife. I talk also about the tradition existing through to medieval times that either the Great Pyramid or Second Pyramid was thought to be the tomb of Agathodaimon, the "good spirit", a Gnostic god in the form of a serpent, which was said to "repose", i.e. rest, beneath the plateau.

To buy BENEATH THE PYRAMIDS, Andrew's new book on the quest to find Giza's cave underworld, from Amazon click here.

To buy straight from the publisher, 4th Dimension Press, click here.

Secure the special edition of BENEATH THE PYRAMIDS signed, numbered and stamped direct from the author by clicking here and sending an email with "Beneath the Pyramids" in the contents box (with no final obligation to buy)

Listen to an exclusive interview with me on the discoveries beneath the plateau on the Philip Coppens website by clicking here.