The Search for Hidden Chambers on the Giza Plateau, Part III: In Search of the Hall of Records

The Search for Hidden Chambers

On the Giza Plateau, Part III: The Hall of Records

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Alan Winston

>> Pyramid Index / Giza

An early photo pror to the Great Sphinx at Giza, Egypt being uncovered from the sand

If any one monument has garnered more attention in the last several decades than Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu, it is the Great Sphinx at Giza, probably built by his successor, Khafre, or possibly by Khufu himself. Interest in what lies beneath, within and around the Sphinx has captured the imagination of the public, researchers, writers, theorists, mystics and crazies alike. This frenzy can probably be pinpointed to the predictions by Edgar Cayce in the first half of the 20th Century that the Great Sphinx guarded the Hall of Records, or at least the entrance to it, which contained records of the lost civilization Atlantis brought to Egypt by its survivors. In more recent years, much debate led the Sphinx back into the mainstream media as its age came into question from various sources.

Photo clearly showing the opening for one of the tunnels under the Great Sphinx at Giza

Some of the earliest modern excavations of the Great Sphinx at Giza were conducted by Baraize on behalf of the Egyptian Antiquities Service between 1925 and 1936. He was responsible for excavating the Sphinx enclosure and he also made repairs to the monument during that period. It was he who finally removed the sand from about the Sphinx in modern times, afterwards building a retaining wall to help keep the monument clear of the surrounding desert sand. After rescuing the monument from the surrounding sand, he found it to be in a dilapidated state, riddled with large cracks and with much of its pharaonic period repair blocks fallen away.

In the course of this work, he also discovered two entrances, one located on the rump just north of center, and the other on the left or northern side of the monument about halfway between the front and rear paws, that from ground level, led to dead end subterranean passageways. He recorded these finds, takings about 226 photos, and then sealed the entrances over with repair blocks and cement. Afterwards, these discoveries were mostly forgotten.

Dr. Zahi Hawass

Not until the late 1970's would interest in these tunnels resurface, when the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO) carried out a series of restoration work, along with some additional surveys in the area of the Sphinx. This work continued for some ten years, but during the early part of the projects, the overseer of workmen, Mohammed Abdelmawgud Fayed, reported the existence of the shaft in the rump to the antiquities officials. The shaft was later, in 1980, investigated by two of the most famous Giza Egyptologists, Mark Lehner, and now Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass. They reported that the passage went up and down, but led nowhere, and had nothing within it of much interest.

Having obtained information from Baraize's original investigation, Lehner and Hawass were also made aware of the second entrance on the northern flank. They investigated this shaft as well, but again found that it was a dead end passageway. This entrance was later sealed over.

There was also a third shaft found by Baraize on top o the Sphinx's body behind the head, which had been bored to a depth of 27 feet by Vyse and Perring, and this too was investigated with little results.

While the investigation of all of these tunnels resulted in no material discoveries, they nevertheless became a source of speculation for the alternative thinkers for years to come, again with conspiracy theories of government cover ups.

The SRI International team also conducted research at the Great Sphinx in 1977, using resistivity technology in front of the Sphinx's paws, along its flanks and diagonally across the left-hand rump. This resulted in their discovery of three small subterranean anomalies. Also on the southern flank near a Roman era alter, the team found indications of the presence of an anomaly which they identified as a possible vertical shaft.

The huge paws of the Great Sphinx at Giza in Egypt

It is very possible that the two minor cavities found by the team, found on the southern flank, could related to end of the known northern shaft, though Dolphin, one of the lead researchers from SRI, described them as only a "minor anomaly, nothing very big or very long".

However, given the readings of Cayce regarding the Atlantian "Hall of Records", the SRI's findings in front of the monument became a main focal point for many alternative thinkers, partly due to the inconclusive results reported by SRI:

"There are two anomalies in front of the front paws of the Sphinx. The bedrock in front of the Sphinx is covered with Roman-era paving stones - and poor electrical contact between the paving stones and bedrock gave somewhat noisy resistivity traverses. However one anomaly occurs on a large electrode spacing, suggesting a cavity or shaft as much as 10m deep. The cavity, if present, is probably filled with rubble.

The resistivity anomalies we found around the Sphinx are not defined sufficiently to allow us any absolutely certain conclusions, and we fell that a more detailed survey should be conducted."

However, due to the rampant speculation of this discovery, there would be follow up work in 1978. Edger Cayce's son, Hugh Lynn Cayce, who was then president of ARE (Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc.) had always sought to affirm his fathers predictions about the Hall of Records. Therefore, he set about organizing a mission to Egypt, forming what became known as the Sphinx Exploration Project. Obviously, its mission was to further examine the findings of the earlier SRI work. Hugh Lynn Cayce even managed to enlist the cooperation of the SRI team, as well as the EAO.

Paths explored around the Sphinx for the Sphinx Project of ARE (Conducted by SRI)

Hence, SRI agreed to add the ARE sponsored project to their 1978 field season at Giza. Now it so happened that SRI had that year teamed up with a drilling company owned by Kent Wakefield of Westec Metals. Wakefield had met the Dolphin, the SRI project director and agreed to form a new company called Recovery Systems International (RSI), which brought drilling equipment, air compressors and optical instruments to Egypt. This equipment would allow the drilling and insertion of bore scope cameras to investigate any anomalies found by the SRI team.

On the EAO side of this project were Zahi Hawass and Mark Lehner, who prior to his conversion to mainstream Egyptology had actually been an Edgar Cayce follower. However, even at this point, Lehner did not dismiss the Cayce readings out of hand and in any case, it was an opportunity for him to repay the Edgar's son, who had assisted in his Egyptology education.

Mark Lehner

Again, the SRI team conducted a series of resistivity and acoustic surveys around the Sphinx and the Old Sphinx Temple, where they did find a number of anomalies. This time, of course, they were prepared to further investigate these findings. The RSI people were brought in to drill down them with bore scope cameras. They drilled five, four inch holes, including two in the floor of the temple. One of these looked promising, but when the bore scope camera was lowered, all they found was a natural cavern. The other three holes were drilled around the Sphinx where, one of the largest anomalies, as detected close to the Sphinx's right paw. However, when they investigated this, all they found was a small crack in the bedrock.

The investigations were a bust. Many stories by the alternative camp were put out about the SRI team being limited in their ability to drill wherever they wished, but this was not actually the case. They were in fact given wide latitude for their investigations. With nothing to show for their efforts, and investment, RSI was soon abandoned by its investors, and the project thus ran out of funds. With it, so died the hopes of Edger's son. Dolphin later summed up his views on the project as follows:

"My overall impression is that the entire Sphinx area had no significant anomalies other than minor cracks here and there.

At the time this work did not seem any more important than any of the other tasks we had in front of us, and the Cayce funding allowed only a limited amount of time and effort. Hugh Lynn and I talked after the work for him was over and I remember he felt quite satisfied with our work, and of the opinion that his father's best work was in healing people and not in archaeological predictions. I had the distinct feeling Hugh Lynn was quite satisfied there was no Hall of Records anywhere under the Sphinx.

" While all of this work might seem to have produced nothing, in reality it was of considerable importance. Mostly, it put to rest more than a quarter of a century of speculation. Today, Dr. Hawass frequently invokes the SRI findings when challenged on the Hall of Records, and Mark Lehner has become a solid member of the traditional Egyptology camp.

Nevertheless, some people remain convinced that one day the mysterious chamber holding the records of the lost civilization of Atlantis will one day be found, perhaps in a deeper location (highly unlikely considering the high water table).

See also:

The Search for Hidden Chambers on the Giza Plateau, Part I

The Search for Hidden Chambers on the Giza Plateau, Part II

The Search for Hidden Chambers on the Giza Plateau, Part III: In Search of the Hall of Records

The Search for Hidden Chambers on the Giza Plateau, Part IV: More Recent Investigations

See Also (Recent News Reports)

Secret Chambers of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (08/31/2004)

New Robot to Explore Shafts in the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) (08/11/2004)






Reference Number

Complete Pyramids, The (Solving the Ancient Mysteries)

Lehner, Mark


Thames and Hudson, Ltd

ISBN 0-500-05084-8

Excavating in Egypt: The Egypt Exploration Society 1882-1982

James, T. G. H.


University of Chicago Press, The

ISBN 0-226-39192-2

Giza The Truth

Lawton, Ian; Ogilvie-Herald, Chris


Virgin Publishing Ltd.

ISBN 0-7535-0412-x

Treasures of the Pyramids, The

Hawass, Zahi


American University in Cairo Press, The

ISBN 977 424 798 1