Textual Evidence for Robert Bauval & Adrian Gilbert’s Star Shaft Theory: The Queen Chamber’s Northern Shaft

In 1993, Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert published The Orion Mystery. The basic elements of the theory the authors present are that the three Giza Pyramids were intentionally laid out according to the three belt stars of the star constellation Orion in the southern celestial hemisphere below the ecliptic as seen from the north, and that the shafts emanating from the Great Pyramid's "Queen Chamber," like the ones emerging from the higher-up "King Chamber," were headed for certain stars: Sirius in Canis Major to the south, and Kochab in Ursa Minor to the north. For the corresponding paper, see Bauval (1994) in Discussions in Egyptology, 29, pp. 23-28.

Image from Robert Bauval's Official Website.

This "Star Shaft Theory" has been met with resistance early on from authors like John Legon and R. J. Cook, for example, who argued instead for pragmatic geometric designs to supply air to the chambers, and the engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink who investigated the shafts and concluded that they could not have been star-oriented because of the several bends on the way he discovered. A more recent critique can be found here, written by surveyor and author Ralph Ellis. In a recent video, French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin proposed that the shafts were designed to be communication channels, and British engineer and author Christopher Dunn has proposed that they were liquid chemical reservoirs used to generate Hydrogen gas used to generate electromagnetic energy in the King Chamber.

From John Legon's critique of the "Star Shaft Theory", I cite the following excerpt, relevant to this blog post:

The notion that the ba of the king required a physical passage to pass through is in
any case contrary to everything we know about the Egyptian way of thinking
in such matters. A people who believed that the spirit of the king could
pass through the solid core-masonry of his pyramid to visit his offering-
temple on the one hand, did not need to provide a real physical means to
assist the king in his journey to the stars on the other.

Here, then, I would like to present evidence in support for Bauval's and Gilbert's Star Shaft Theory, as it pertains to the north side: The concept of a physical shaft can be observed in the West Field G4000 cemetery, where George Reisner and Hermann Junker excavated master-planned core mastabas displaying stereotypical features.

The typical features observed were so-called "Reserve Heads" placed into an outside niche of the burial chamber's north wall, behind the blocking stone slab into which 2-3 holes were drilled such that the sculptured head would peek out into the vertical shaft, but clearly not at the sky. This is the mastaba version of the b3-soul canal, a physical, bent, conduit through which the soul returns to the interred mummy from the north. Conceptually, this is not the same idea as the k3-life force false door.

In the recent publication on You Tube, Matt Sibson from #AncientArchitects published images originally screen-shot of video film recorded by a National Geographic Society-sponsored 2002 exploration of the Queen Chamber's Northern Shaft (QCNS), called Pyramid Rover. The footage shows that the shaft, like the other three, is bent. Like its counterpart on the south side, called "Gantenbrink's Door", the QCNS terminates in a stone slab with two copper fittings, possibly secured with plaster seals as observed by Gantenbrink on the south side. This is a crucial feature that matters in the later textual evidence I present. There are also marking that may or may not be intentional, let alone writing, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.

The QCNS ends with a limestone slab similar to Gantenbrink's Door. Image from #AncientArchitects, cropped.

If the markings are writing, they may represent hieratic, a cursive form of hieroglyphic that was used in the Old Kingdom and later. For a primer as to how symbols changed as time went on, see Joshua Aaron Robertson's online article. Based on my interpretation of the markings as hieratic, I translated as follows: "Pull, I am the sky boat"

And so the prediction I make is that the QCNS was a miniaturized, symbolic water canal to be traveled by the b3-soul and which had to be opened using spell magic. This is the pretext for the textual evidence I would now like to present: The Pyramid Texts inside the Pyramid of Unas, the Fifth Dynasty's last ruler. This pyramid, uniquely in terms of Fifth Dynasty pyramids, had an architectural relationship with the Fourth Dynasty Great Pyramid. It is also the first known pyramid into which the Pyramid Text were inscribed.

The virtually recreated interior lay-out of the Pyramid of Unas and the online text resource can be found at the Egypt Exploration Society and Pyramid Texts Online. The Pyramid Texts proceed in a specific, topographic sequence from the burial chamber, through the connecting corridor, into the ante-chamber, and out the entry corridor. The serdab to the east is not inscribed in Unas' Pyramid, although in Teti's Pyramid, the Morning Ritual is written there.

The final 43 columns of text inside the ante-chamber are on the north wall and the last symbol is the dšrt, the Red Crown. It is inscribed into the right lower corner. In PT 268, written on the south wall of the ante-chamber, the coil of the Red Crown is said to impart to the king the power to be at the fore of the imperishable stars in the northern, circumpolar star zone, the j.ḫmw skjw.

The Red Crown, therefore, was an emblem of this part of the night sky. In my reconstruction, the crown was modeled after the constellation Ursa Minor, also known as the sheepfold. This asterism contains the star Kochab, the target of the QCNS, according to Bauval and Gilbert.

Immediately following, the next text column is on the western wall of the corridor. It explicitly states that a sealed door is to be opened for Unas to travel into the sky on "Horus' glide path." The corridor continues without writing onward to three portcullis stones, now no longer in situ.

The textual evidence that relates this corridor to the QCNS can be found on the ante-chamber's northern wall, and I have highlighted the relevant passages.

Modified image from Pyramid Texts Online.

Nestling the mouth of the northern corridor are textual elements that speak of wpw3wt/Upuaut, the Path Parter, the opening of a path for Unis, and of a ferryman who operates day and night barques.

In conclusion, therefore, the text and its topographic placement with respect to the interior architecture of the pyramid of Unas confirm that the aim of the soul was to head north, through the corridor, through the portcullis stones, and toward the sky on an ascending gliding path. The reason why this corridor had to be simulated using the shafts inside the Great Pyramid has to do with the fact that the chambers are uniquely elevated from the ground level. In order to create an ascension channel to the sky, the shafts had to be symbolically hinted. Since they were not direct visual conduits, but only passages, they could be bent, just as their mastaba counterparts in the West Field. The potential written message on the slab, a mini portcullis with symbolic handles or closing bolt fittings in this model, suggest that this journey was believed to occur on a sky shuttle. This shuttle is the crescent Moon in the Pyramid Texts, facing either forwards or backwards. That explains the epithet of the ferryman in the texts.

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