In March 1993, a small "door" made of marble or limestone with two copper handles fixed on it was discovered by a mechanized robot (Upuaut II, "Me opener of the way" in ancient Egyptian) at the end of a long narrow shaft (8 x 8 inches and 200 feet long). Since then the discoverer, robotics engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink from Munich, has been banned from resuming the exploration and opening the door. The official reason given by the Egyptian Antiquities Authorities (known as the Supreme Council of Antiquities -- SCA) was that Gantenbrink leaked the news of the discovery to the British Press in April 1993 and thus, apparently, broke a "rule" of archaeology.
The Director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, Dr. Rainer Stadelmann, sided with the Egyptians and condemned Gantenbrink for his press action. Dr. Stadelmann was adamant about the non-importance of the find. "This is not a door; there is nothing behind it." The President of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, Dr. Muhamad Bakr, went as far as claiming a "hoax." "The orifice of the shaft is too small for the robot to go through," and he accused the "German scientist" of not having the correct "approvals" from the SCA to carry out the exploration. Dr. Bakr fired the Chief Inspector of the Giza Pyramid Plateau, Dr. Zahi Hawass, although the official reason given was that a valuable ancient "statue" under the custody of Hawass was stolen from Giza.
Three months later, in June 1993, Dr. Bakr himself was fired and replaced by Dr. Nur El Din. Amid accusations of malpractice and fraud, Dr. Bakr spoke of a "mafia" which had been involved with the Pyramids for "the last twenty years." Refusing to give names, Dr. Bakr said, "I wanted the whole matter investigated by the prosecution authorities, but my request was refused."
Meanwhile, Dr. Hawass, who went to the USA, claimed that the discovery of the "door" was "THE discovery in Egypt," and speculated on important artifacts behind it. In early 1994, Dr. Hawass was reinstalled at his post at the Giza Pyramids. Meanwhile, Gantenbrink offered his robot to the Egyptians and also offered to train an Egyptian technician to man the equipment and open the door. The Egyptians rejected the offer. "We are very busy at the moment," replied Dr. Nur El Din. About the same time, Dr. Hawass was to declare that "I do not think this is a door, and there is nothing behind it." In March 1996 however, Dr. Hawass changed his mind once again and declared Gantenbrink's find as being one of huge interest and that the door would be opened in September 1996 by a Canadian "mission," but not including Rudolf Gantenbrink or his robot.
The Canadian "mission" is owned by Amtex Corporation of Canada, a multimedia CD-ROM company, which is reported to be raising the huge sum of million to promote a staged a "live opening" of the door on television networks. "I'm working with a private guy who is a personal friend of Hawass, and we are absolutely going to drum this thing to death. Whatever the event we are going to stage, it will be televised live," reported Amtex Corporation's president, Mr. Peter Zuuring.
Tunnels and Chambers Under the Great Sphinx
I. In a series of expeditions between 1991 and 1993 led by John Anthony West, an independent Egyptologist, scientific investigators conducted geological and seismic surveys around the Great Sphinx of Egypt. The chief geologist was Dr. Robert Schoch, Professor of Geology at Boston University, and the chief seismologist was Thomas Dobecki, from the highly respected Houston consulting firm, McBride-Ratclif & Associates.
II.The team's conclusions were as follows:
A. Geology, The pattern of erosion on the Sphinx indicates that it was carved at the end of the last Ice Age, when heavy rains fell on the eastern Sahara -- perhaps more than 12,000 years ago. This contrasts starkly with the "orthodox" Egyptological dating for the Sphinx of around 4,500 years ago.
B. Seismography. The seismic survey indicated the existence of several unexplored tunnels and cavities in the bedrock beneath the Sphinx, including a large rectangular chamber at a depth of some 25 feet beneath the monuments front paws.
III. In 1993, John West and his team were physically expelled from the site by Dr. Zahi Hawass then (and now) the Egyptian government's Chief Inspector of Antiquities for the Pyramids and Sphinx. He appeared to be angered by the suggestion that the Sphinx might be far older than the civilization of Egypt itself -- and thus the work of a lost civilization -- and was particularly incensed by an NBC television film that was made about the team's work This film linked the Sphinx to Atlantis and suggested that the chamber beneath the paws might contain the legendary "Hall of Records" of Atlantis. Hawass called these claims, "American hallucinations. There is no scientific basis for any of this. We have older monuments in the same area. They definitely weren't built by men from Atlantis. It's nonsense and we won't allow our monuments to be exploited for personal enrichment. The Sphinx is the soul of Egypt."
IV. An article in the Egyptian press responding to the NBC film quoted Dr. Hawass on his further reasons for expelling John West and his team from the Sphinx enclosure: "I have found that their work is carried out by installing endoscopes in the Sphinx body and shooting film for all phases of the work in a propagandistic but not scientific manner. I therefore suspended the work of this unscientific mission and made a report which was presented to the permanent commission who rejected the mission's work in the future."
V. The NBC film was produced by a certain Boris Said and partially financed by investments from the members of the Association for Research and Enlightenment. The ARE, headquartered in Virginia Beach in the US, is a multimillion dollar organization that exists to promulgate the teachings and prophecies of an American psychic, Edgar Cayce, who died in 1947. Prominent amongst Cayce's pronouncements were many statements to the effect that the Sphinx had been built in 10,500 BCE by the survivors of the lost civilization of Atlantis and that the survivors had concealed beneath it a "Hall of Records" containing all the wisdom of their lost civilization and the true history of the human race. Cayce prophesied that this Hall of Records would be rediscovered and opened between 1996 and 1998. He connected the opening to second coming of Christ.
VI. In 1995, John West and Professor Robert Schoch of Boston University put in an application to the Egyptian authorities to resume their research. Their application was ignored.
VII. In April 1996, the Egyptian authorities granted a one-year license to a new team to conduct surveys around the Sphinx. This team, which claims academic sponsorship from Florida State University , is largely financed through the Schor Foundation of New York -- by Dr. Joseph Schor, an American multimillionaire. Dr. Schor is a life member of the ARE and wrote on 24th May 1994 of his great personal interest in corroborating "the Cayce records which indicated that the culture which led to the building of the Pyramids dates to 10,400 BCE." He also stated his wish "to further delineate that civilization."
VIII. On April 11th, 1996 Dr. Schor stated of his current project at the Sphinx, "We do not work for the Edgar Cayce Group. The major purpose of the Schor Foundation and Florida State University is to aid in the preservation and restoration of the Pyramids and Sphinx. In addition, we are surveying the underground of the Giza Plateau to find faults and chasms that might collapse. This will increase the safety of the plateau."
IX. Also financed by Dr. Schor is a short video film shot at the end of 1995 by Boris Said and produced in early 1996. The film opens with Dr. Zahi Hawass scrambling into a tunnel leading under the Sphinx. When he reaches the bottom, he turns to face the camera and whispers to the viewer, "Even Indiana Jones would never dream to be here. Can you believe it? We are now inside the Sphinx in this tunnel. This tunnel has never been opened before. No one really knows what's inside this tunnel. But we are going to open it for the first time." In commentary, the film's narrator goes on to state, "Edgar Cayce, America's famous Sleeping Prophet, predicted that a chamber would be discovered beneath the Sphinx -- a chamber containing the recorded history of human civilization. For the first time, we'll show you what lies beneath this great statue -- a chamber which will be opened tonight, live, for our television cameras."
X. Dr. Schor has stated that this video is not a promotional venture aimed at hooking a major US network to televise a live opening of a chamber under the Sphinx. He insists, "It was made to test script and equipment and was made in November 1995, which was many months before we received approval for our expedition. We have abandoned its use."
XI. On April 14, 1996 Dr. Zahi Hawass announced in the Egyptian press that there were secret tunnels under the Sphinx and around the Pyramids and stated his belief that these tunnels would prove to "carry many secrets of the building of the Pyramids."