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always located next to the
SECOND 1992 CAMPAIGN
May 3rd to 22nd
copyrights Rudolf Gantenbrink 1999
From here on, it may be interesting to relate the major events of the Upuaut story more or less straight from the notes I kept in my diary at the time.
At a height of 80 meters there is a little opening measuring about 30 by 30 cm. Behind that opening, a tunnel over 11 m long had been dug out along the shaft by unidentified plunderers.
Kapp squeezing down through the opening of the "Mankiller"
The tunnel is just big enough – about 70 by 70 cm – to allow one man to squeeze in, but it has been filled up with about four cubic meters of sand, stones and debris, which we have to clear out. Once that backbreaking chore is done, we refer to the tunnel as the "Mankiller," because once anyone forces his way through the narrow entrance, he immediately slides down to the bottom of this dark and narrow chute, caught up in an avalanche of choking dust and stone. Inside, there is little air to breathe but plenty of dirt and grime to swallow.
"Mankiller" Tunnel before we cleared out the debris and junk.
security reasons, before we could do any work on the
As we clear the tunnel we also uncover the remains of a previous mission that had failed, probably carried out by Petrie in 1881-82.
We find a badly-corroded,
four-wheeled vehicle which would just fit into the shaft.
"battering ram" probably left behind by Petrie.
There we attach a rope to the rear end of our improvised ram and then send it sliding down the chute. It accelerates for a few seconds and then crashes into the plug of debris, with the desired effect of breaking up the larger stones into smaller pieces, some of which slide down the shaft. But once is not enough.
Only on our third run do we achieve our breakthrough, and hundreds of kilos dust and debris, surrounding our axle, pour down in the Caviglia Tunnel. The interior of the Pyramid is clouded with dust for several hours – but for the first time in at least hundreds of years, the upper northern shaft is clear.
But there is still too much sand and gravel in the shaft and the small robot sledge bogs down. The tension on the towline increases until finally it snaps. The sledge, along with another mass of dust, sand and gravel tumbles down to the bottom of the shaft, landing in the Caviglia Tunnel. Luckily the sledge suffers only minor damage.
We fit the "Mankiller" tunnel with a 12 meter long plastic water pipe, which extends outside the upper opening. Then we close up the tunnel with masonry to prevent stones from falling into the shaft.
4-meter sections of plastic pipe 80 meters up the
(At the southern
side, we solve this problem by mounting a steel roof over the outlet. The
dangerous work on the outside of the pyramid, preparing the ground for
the ventilation, requires a total of two weeks.)
and I, proudly, at the finished outlet
the roof to the non-original stones at
We establish that
both the upper northern and southern shafts have bends in their length
axis. This effectively disproves Robert Bauval's "Orion theory." The openings
of the shafts are not in line, in other words, from the bird's eye view,
they are not parallel to the N-S axis.
And there's a very
special surprise awaiting us in the upper southern shaft.
5.9 meters before it reaches the outside the pyramid, the shaft features
an arrangement of small niches, like recesses in the wall.
niches on both walls of the shaft.
I modify the camera on the robot to give us a side-view arrangement, so we can inspect those niches more closely.
ventilator we installed inside the
We also survey the
exterior of the pyramid, hoping to pinpoint the potential outlets of the
lower shafts. My computer analysis indicates that, if they penetrate to
the outside, they should do so near the 90th layer. Despite some dangerous
climbing and several hours of careful searching from the 80th to 101st
layers, we find no sign of any such outlets. For me, this is one
of the most intriguing findings of the campaign, because it means that
enormous effort went into constructing the lower shafts in such a way as
to remain for all time invisible.
Our test of the new ventilation system is supervised by the still skeptical Egyptian authorities in the person of Mostafa Abd El-Kader Eissa, Director Restoration / Conservation of the Giza Plateau, and three inspectors.
Today's test results:
Prof. Stadelmann urges Ulrich Kapp and me to write up a statement for the press, which we are happy to do. After all, we are very pleased with and proud of our accomplishments.
In a very short period of time we have helped save one of the most important monuments in the world from further damage by humidity. We have also inspected and measured about 120 meters of previously unknown area in the shafts, and have discovered a hitherto unknown element - the niche in the upper southern shaft. We have thus demonstrated that with high-tech, it is possible to explore areas previously regarded as totally inaccessible.
A press conference is scheduled for Saturday 23, my last day in Cairo.
Bewildered and frustrated,
I pack up and return to Germany.
UPUAUT STORY THE
FIRST 1992 CAMPAIGN THE
DISCOVER THE UNKNOWN III CULTURE BY TABAC