D2 - The Great Gallery 2

Article first time online May 2009.
Completely reworked October 2019.

Really everything that has been discovered to date in the pyramid are technical shafts and spaces and nothing more. There is nothing in the pyramid of Cheops, but nothing at all that was useless or unnecessary. Every visible construction, down to the last minute detail, has been useful. It must therefore be possible to explain all of this as one logical whole.

A monolith with a length of exact 75 cubit and the great gallery about 89 cubit.

The same “monolith” (purple) now standing in the great gallery.
87 cubit x cos26° = 87 cubit x 0.8988 = 78,2 cubit = 73.2 + 5 cubit.

Why did the great gallery had to be so large? Just because the "monolith" (green) was original standing at the very top in that gallery (purple). In the beginning, it was just the other way around, at the top there was only a small ascending corridor and at the very bottom was a large gallery, which ended at the point where the ascending corridor now begins.

From now on the word "monolith" is always used, although this is not correct because this immense block consists of several large blocks of limestone. The "monolith" now standing below and in which the ascending was spared, has of course the exact same length as the ascending shaft itself. They have both a length of 75 cubit. The great gallery as we know it today has a total length of 89 cubit.

If, below in the great gallery, we look at the very top above the ascending corridor, it should become clear that the upper layer of stone is part of the solid core of the pyramid, so that "monolith" standing there counts one layer less.

The ceiling of the great gallery is toothed, the roof beams laying on it are held in this way so that they can’t slide down. The monolith did not reach all the way to the ceiling precisely because he counts one layer less than the gallery itself. The monolith must have an enormous weight, holding it at the very top of that sloping surface certainly wasn’t easy. The monolith rested in the great gallery on the two balustrades (ledges) with those 28 holes on either side. The true function of the two times 28 constructions in these ledges and in the side walls of the gallery was to hold this enormous monolith in place. So the lime stone blocks in these holes have served as clamp blocks for the monolith.

The great gallery has a length of about 89 cubit and the monolith, the stone block that originally stood in it, has a length of 75 cubit. At the top, that block just came up against the threshold before the entrance to the king’s chamber. At the time both ledges were built, they were provided with holes along the entire length, at uniform distances from each other (3 cubit). Over the entire length there are 28 holes in each ledge on both sides of the great gallery. When the side walls were placed above it, it was already clear to the pyramid builders that the monolith didn’t have to be that long, that block would certainly not extend beyond the 26th clamp. So no more holes were made in the side walls above the clamps 27 and 28, these were no longer needed at that time. At the end, clamp 26 wasn’t used either.

Detail of the limestone clamps (red) and the holes in the balustrade (blue).
The clamps are three cubits apart.

In the monolith the first clamp is on ½ part (1.5 cubit), each time one part (3 cubit) further is the next clamp. At the end, ½ part remains. In total 25 parts x 3 cubit / part = 75 cubit. In the monolith "only" 25 clamps were needed. There are 28 holes in the large gallery, so it's logical that the bottom three clips look completely different, they were never used. The large gallery itself is about 89 cubit long and (28 x 3 cubit = 84 cubit), so there was some reserve.

Those 50 clamps have held the monolith in its starting position, at the very top of the great gallery. The holes in the side wall, as well as the stones in it, have a width of approximately 4.5 (hand)palms and an average height of 1 cubit. Given the weight of the monolith that was clamped by those limestone blocks, its size is quite understandable.

Below the monolith there was one huge empty space (gallery) which continued downwards until the descending shaft. This was a gallery into which that monolith fitted perfectly. So in the start-up phase it was exactly the reverse situation, at the top there was a small ascending corridor and at the bottom there was a large gallery.

Somewhere there were also these three granite plugs to close off the shaft in the monolith, where exactly those plugs were laying is of the least importance. As mentioned earlier, the king's chamber has nothing to do with a tomb. All the so far known spaces in the pyramid are nothing more than technical shafts or rooms, they are completely subordinate to the really secret rooms that still haven't been discovered yet. Probably it were only the workmen who ever have come into these shafts and have crawled over these granite plugs.


One of the lower of the 28 openings in the ledge and side wall of the great gallery, here the limestone
(clamping block) has been removed.
Photo taken by Jon Bodsworth [1]

Detail of the 28 holes and clamping blocks in the great gallery.
The three granite plugs laying a little lower.

During the construction of that monolith, on site in the great gallery, limestone blocks were put in the rectangular holes of the side walls. These blocks sat also partially in the monolith and held it in that position. Most likely there sits a mechanism in the monolith with springs or levers, possibly made from hardstone or even from bronze. That mechanism must have pushed these stone clamps out of the monolith, all at the same time. This released the monolith and slid down. Doing so, wide, rough grooves were carved in those clamps and also in the side walls of the gallery. These grooves naturally run parallel to the direction of the ledge.

There’s a lime stone in opening 26, but there's no groove in it. Whereas at a later stage still 26 clamps were foreseen, only 25 were ultimately used. The above drawing shows why this is the case, the monolith with a length of 75 cubit passes clamp 25 just a little bit but doesn't reach clamp 26. The clamps number 26, 27 and 28 come beyond the monolith and were therefore not used, the limestone at 26 didn't have to be pushed in the side wall, so there is no groove in that stone nor in the side wall.

In the initial phase the monolith was in the very top of the great gallery and filled it up almost completely (position A). Even before the monolith could slide down, it had to be closed first with the granite plugs. Location B was completely empty, the three granite plugs (1,2 and 3) were laying a few meters lower than the “bridge” in this large empty space. It can therefore not have been a problem for the workmen to avoid these granite plugs or even to climb over them.

The three granite plugs had to be pushed upwards until they got all the way into the monolith. It is the lower part of the ascending corridor that becomes narrower, not the monolith. So, the three plugs will have fitted perfectly into the monolith. However, this must have been a difficult task, the workers must have had a hold somewhere to get this job done.

The west wall at the lower end of the great gallery.
Rough and untidy carved holes in both the side walls of the great gallery.
Photo taken by Jon Bodsworth [1]

Slightly lower than the point where the monolith ended when it was still in its starting position, there is a rough and sloppy carved hole in both the west and east wall of the great gallery, these holes were filled up with lime mortar afterwards. These holes are striking and apparently must have been already there during the time the pyramid was built, but it is unclear what their function once was.

It is quite possible that the pyramid builders have cut these two holes in the side walls of the great gallery and possibly have placed a wooden beam in it to have a support point. They may have attached ropes to the granite plugs and laid them around the wooden beam to pull those plugs up, or they may also have used that beam as a support point for levers or something like that.

The bridge at the bottom of the great gallery.

Photo by John & Morton Edgar – 1910, 1913. [4]

Original text: The entrance of the horizontal passage leading to the queen's chamber in the great pyramid of Gizeh; Showing the sheer cut-off of the grand gallery floor.

The bridge at the bottom of the great gallery.
View to the south, towards the king's chamber.
At the bottom behind the gate, the shaft towards the queen's chamber.
Photo taken by Jon Bodsworth [1]

The bridge at the very bottom of the great gallery, further up the so called ascending corridor (goes downwards from here!). View to the north towards the intersection of both shafts, where the three granite plugs are still in situ. In the middle the shaft that leads to the queen's chamber.

Photo taken by Jon Bodsworth [1]

To push those plugs up into the monolith and then let slide this downwards in its entirety, including those plugs, it was of course necessary that the opening from the horizontal corridor to the queen's chamber was bridged. The construction at the bottom of the large gallery clearly shows that there once has been a "bridge". Archaeologists don’t have the slightest doubt about the existence, however several solutions were devised about the construction. So, it’s not clear at all how exactly this bridge looked like.

At the bottom of the great gallery,

the horizontal corridor (8) towards the Queen's Chamber.
Drawing based on a sketch by Auke A. Tadema. [3]


Explanation with the original sketch:

1. In the great gallery the walls are formed by seven layers of lime stone that jump in more and more, so that the space towards the ceiling becomes narrower.

2. In the side walls there are at the bottom, always opposite each other, twenty-eight holes with transverse grooves and a hollow in the balustrade underneath. The holes have been carefully filled and roughened afterwards.

3. Ceiling of the great gallery, the roof plates lie against cams in the side walls so that they do not slide down due to the enormous pressure.

4. Balustrade or ledge.

5. The floor of the great gallery.

6. Lowered end of the floor of the gallery.

7. Five holes (for beams?) on either side of the begin of the horizontal corridor.

8. Horizontal corridor to the queen's chamber.

9. Outlet of a shaft, the infamous "well".

10. Narrow grooves to which floor slabs have once been connected.

11. Angled raised edge.

The "bridge" at the bottom of the great gallery.
Perhaps the most obvious solution is the reconstruction according to Borchardt.
Drawing based on a sketch by Auke A. Tadema. [3]

Explanation with the original sketch:

1. Wide rough groove chopped in this stone layer.

2. Twenty-eight holes for beams, wedges or a second floor, or for anchoring the stone plugs lying on the balustrades, or for wooden paneling.

3. Roof plates from the great gallery.

4. Balustrade or so-called ledge.

5. Floor of the great gallery, between the two ledges.

6. Recess in the floor, apparently to close the bridge with stone plates.

7. Ascending corridor that was later closed by stone plugs.

8. Horizontal corridor to the Queen's chamber.

9. The lower part of the western balustrade hid the "well" that leads to "the cave".

10. Connecting edges in the side walls.

11. Horizontal beams.

12. Stone blocks from the horizontal corridor placed as fall doors.

13. Hole in the same place as in the east wall.


Although nobody knows exactly what that bridge (bridging that gap) looked like, the representation of Borchardt is a plausible solution. It is especially important that the bridge must have been a very sturdy construction that could support the weight of the plugs. The above solution may not be entirely correct, but it meets most requirements.

Brakes on the monolith.

That monolith must probably weigh a few hundred tons and was completely disconnected at some point. That monolith stood on a long slope, going downwards under an angle of 26°. Normally, that colossus would have slid down at high speed. In that case the monolith could even shot right through the pyramid, ending up outside in the sand next to the pyramid. As a result, the pyramid could have collapsed entirely. But, the pyramid is still intact and that monolith sits nicely in place just as the designers had planned it. How have pyramid builders solved this problem?

All things considered, the monolith is much more than just a few huge limestone blocks that are connected to each other, apparently there are also some complex mechanisms inside it.

The wide, rough groove in both side walls of the great gallery.
Photo taken by Jon Bodsworth [1]


A wide, rough groove over the entire length of the great gallery.

In the great gallery, in the third layer of the overlapping side walls, there is a wide, rough groove. The roughness and shape are comparable to the grooves that cross the inserts just above the ledges on both sides of the large gallery. The slope of the ledges is 26 degrees, the designers of the pyramid must have realized that the speed of the gliding monolith would be much too high. They probably built a system inside this monolith with a kind of chisels which pressed against the side walls. As the monolith slid down, these chisels scratched a rough groove in the side walls of the gallery, slowing down the monolith. Whether it were hard stone or bronze chisels, we can't know of course. At least they must have been hard and strong enough not to break despite the enormous forces that must have acted on it. Anyway, the system seems to have worked perfectly.

And then what? Once the monolith was at the bottom, did it continue to put pressure on the pyramid, on the descending corridor? That’s impossible right?

Securing the monolith : The Girdle Stones in the ascending shaft.

Generally explained, girdles are large blocks of stone that are made in one piece and where a passage was carved in the middle. A girdle stone, placed in a tunnel, serves simultaneously as the floor, ceiling and side walls of that tunnel.

A complete girdle stone from the ascending shaft. There are three such complete girdle stones in the ascending corridor of the pyramid. They have sloping edges because they follow the 26° angle of the ascending shaft.

The girdle stone stands vertical but is sitting around the ascending shaft
which makes a slope of 26 degrees.

Example of a long half girdle stone.

If a half girdle stone lies on the floor, the recess in it forms the lower half of a tunnel. Also two half girdle stones can be placed upside down on each other to form a complete tunnel, each half girdle forming half of that tunnel. Also in the ascending shaft some of these long half girdle stones were used.

There are sitting three complete girdle stones in the ascending shaft.

Somewhere halfway in the ascending shaft there are three complete girdle stones at a mutual distance of 10 cubits from each other. It are large blocks of stone where the opening of the ascending corridor was carved out in the middle. There are one pair of half girdle stones just before and just after each complete girdle stone. In the half girdle stone that forms the roof, just below every complete girdle stone, two rather remarkable stones were used in the side walls.

There sits always one insert in each side wall, just below each complete girdle stone, they look like markers (pointers). The complete girdle stones aren’t fixed with mortar but they’re sitting loose (floating) in the whole. The girdle stones are placed vertically, they are the only ones that doesn’t follow the slope of 26 degrees.


See also: (girdle stones)


Securing the monolith with three Girdle Stones in the ascending shaft.

While the monolith was sliding downwards, these girdle stones sat completely inside the monolith itself. The moment the monolith had come all the way down it had to be anchored as quickly as possible. Once the monolith was at the bottom, the three girdle stones slid down into the massive part of the pyramid, just between two large half girdle stones in the floor. The upper half of these girdle stones are sitting in the large monolith and the lower half sits in the side walls and floor of the ascending corridor, in the massive part of the pyramid.

As long as the monolith wasn't completely at the bottom
the three girdle stones were sitting completely inside of it.
Only when the monolith stood completely at his lowest point,
the girdle stones could slide into a recess in the floor of the ascending corridor.

The girdle stones, 1 should fall in A, 2 in B and 3 in C.

The difficulty with these girdle stones was that while the monolith descended, the stone 1 could already fall into the recess C. This of course had to be avoided at all costs and this was probably the function of these inserts (pointers), keeping the girdle stones in position until the moment the monolith was completely below.

Cheops hydraulics.

Although, letting the monolith just slide down, even with all these precautions was not feasible. There must have been something else that strongly curbed the monolith. Moreover, what now was the use of this monolith? What has been the true purpose of it?

How immense the great gallery and this monolith may be, it comes down to the fact that the lower part of the (double) large gallery can be a hydraulic cylinder and the monolith itself the piston. The system apparently has worked, the Djed (piston) is now located completely inside the cylinder and the storage location of that piston, especially the large gallery, is of course an immensely empty space. A hydraulic system naturally requires a pressure fluid, in this case it was water.

What has been the trigger that set the mechanism in motion?

Well, believe it or not, water was the trigger that has put the system inside the pyramid into operation. But how one can completely fill a pyramid with water?


References to Chapter D.

[1] - Photos taken by Jon Bodsworth.

See: Photo Gallery 2

[2] - The pyramids of Egypt.
Edwards, I.E.S – De piramiden van Egypte (1947).
Uitgeverij Hollandia – Dutch translation
Derde druk - 1985 - ISBN 90 6045 559 2

[3] - De Piramiden van Egypte.
Bob Tadema Sporry & Auke A. Tadema
Unieboek b.v. Bussum - 1971, 1977, 1980
ISBN 90 228 3315 1

[4] - Photos taken by the Edgar Brothers.
Great Pyramid Passages, Volume 1 & 2 , (1910 & 1913)
John Edgar & Morton Edgar.
Photos obtained from Jon Bodsworth's website in August 2009.
Photos public Domain, see Wikimedia:

Books online:

[5] - Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853 – 1942)
See Wikipedia:
See also: The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh – 1883
Book online by Ronald Birdsall: