Section of the papyrus belonging to Nesmin, with the fourth hour of the Amduat. The Amduat (literally "that which is in the netherworld"), is also known as the Book of the Hidden Chamber. Papyrus from The Royal Collection Trust, c.300-275 BC. RCIN 1145263. https://www.rct.uk/collection/1145263/section-of-the-papyrus-belonging-to-nesmin-with-the-fourth-hour-of-the-amduat
The Underworld Amduat Text of the Hidden Chamber is describing the Hauling of the impactor of the Great Pyramid of Khufu inside the Grand Gallery.
This post is about the Grand Gallery's operating and its metaphoric representation in the Amduat, the "Book of the Hidden Chamber", as well as its personification in the ancient Egyptian "God of the Horizon" : Aker (Akeru, plural).
The Grand Gallery : in the Hour 4 of this book, the "sloping passageways" of an "oval-shaped cavern" are described as "the mysterious paths of the place of Hauling".
The inclined well : "during the night the sun journeyed through a tunnel that existed in the earth - its entry into the tunnel caused the night, its emergence again bringing the day once more." Source
We'll see that this place of Hauling was the Grand Gallery (the Land of Sokar), that the Rosetau was the eastern and western benches of the gallery and we'll also see that the so called "Hidden Chamber" was the Queen's chamber, the only chamber of the Great Pyramid located on its central axis.
In this post :
1 • The Land of Sokar in the Amduat and the Act of Towing/Hauling region
2 • God of the "Horizon" Aker and its two lions real meaning
3 • The Hidden Chamber of the Amduat is the Queen's chamber
Most excerpts about the Amduat are coming from Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amduat , RCT https://www.rct.uk/collection/1145263/section-of-the-papyrus-belonging-to-nesmin-with-the-fourth-hour-of-the-amduat and Sofiatopia for the huge amount of raw data (and obvioulsly not their interpretations of the Amduat) http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/hidden_chamber03.htm
1 • The Land of Sokar in the Amduat and the Act of Towing/Hauling region
1-1 • The real meaning of the Duat-Underworld : the (entire) inside layout of the Great Pyramid, including the grand gallery, the inclined well (ascending passage), the horizontal cooling passage and the Queen's chamber
I've already approached the Duat-Underworld in the post about Apep, and I've said that the Underworld was a representation of the inclined well, but I was wrong : the inclined well is only a part of the Underworld.
At the time when the Great Pyramid was operating, meaning that cold was produced in its Lower part and used on its Upper part, where the Solvay reaction chambers were set and needed to be cooled down, the main activity was on this particular Upper part : on the "flat roof" of the pyramid.
That was on that level that the master engineers, contractors and site managers had their headquarters. So everything underneath this level is what have been called "the Underworld", and that includes the Grand Gallery, the inclined well (the ascending passage), the horizontal passage and the Queen's chamber.
We'll see on the Amduat Hour 5, that the Queen's chamber was the Hidden Chamber.
1-2 • The representation of the grand gallery in the Amduat : "the mysterious paths of the sacred passageways of Hauling"
"Hours 4 and 5 are designated the realm of Rosetau, the place of Hauling, the sloping passageways of Hour 4 more specifically termed "the mysterious paths of the place of Hauling, sacred roads of Imhet" is talking about the 2 ramps of the Grand Gallery where the crewmembers of the wooden scarab were walking on.
"The name of this cavern is : "With living forms"
Most probably, the Grand Gallery was the only place where people were actually working in the Lower Great Pyramid : there was obviously nobody in the inclined well, as well as in the horizontal cooling passage (though they would nethertheless have to get in from time to time for maintenance reasons on the fog nozzle and the plate cold exchanger).
"The name of the gate of this cavern is : "Which hides the towing"
Functioning diagram of the evaporative cooling process in the Great Pyramid of Khufu
Updated November 17, 2021 : I keep changing the upper granite block position at the time of the operating of the pyramid, that is before the shutdown procedure and the draining of the inclined well. I decided to keep that block inside the G5 girdle stone because of the following :
Excerpt from “The Gods of the Egyptians; Studies in Egyptian Mythology, Volume 1” by Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge (originally published: 1904), that is about the Book of the Dead, in chapter 108 : "At about noon, the barque of Ra reaches the summit of a mountain where a serpent 50 cubits (26 meters) in length is found whose foremost 3 cubits are of silex." […] "This serpent swallows in one gulp part of the stream. Set, at the front of the boat, directs his lance of fire against him, and causes him to cough up all that he had swallowed". Behind the boat, a lion headed entity runs a blade through the serpent Apep."
This data of a serpent 50 cubits in length may not be correct at all, but at least it does set the discussion : it would set the end of the flooded part of the ascending passage right between G4 and G5. The only certainty here is that there is absolutely no chance that this block would ever be at its present location, close to the middle granite plug during the pyramid operating.
1-3 • The representation of the inclined well in the Amduat : "the sloping tunnel of the underworld"
"Ancient Egyptian mythologists believed that during the night the sun journeyed through a tunnel that existed in the earth - its entry into the tunnel caused the night, its emergence again bringing the day once more." http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/aker.htm
Amduat Papyrus Inscribed for Tiye from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York ; Accession Number: 25.3.33 (ca. 975–945 B.C). https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/549650
1-4 • The Amduat is the story of god Ra through the Duat-Underworld
"The Amduat, literally "That Which Is In the Afterworld", also translated as "Text of the Hidden Chamber Which is in the Underworld" and "Book of What is in the Underworld"; is an important ancient Egyptian funerary text of the New Kingdom of Egypt. Like many funerary texts, it was found written on the inside of the pharaoh's tomb for reference. Unlike other funerary texts, however, it was reserved only for pharaohs (until the Twenty-first Dynasty almost exclusively) or very favored nobility."
"It tells the story of Ra, the Egyptian sun god who travels through the underworld, from the time when the sun sets in the west* and rises again in the east*. It is said that the dead Pharaoh is taking this same journey, ultimately to become one with Ra and live forever."
"The underworld is divided into twelve hours of the night, each representing different allies and enemies for the Pharaoh/sun god to encounter. The Amduat names all of these gods and monsters. The main purpose of the Amduat is to give the names of these gods and monsters to the spirit of the dead Pharaoh, so he can call upon them for help or use their name to defeat them."
*Sunset is symbolising death, and sunrise is symbolising rebirth.
The Amduat Book of the Hidden Chamber, Hour 4. Burial chamber of the tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III - ca. 1426 BCE. Drawing by A.G. Shedid (digitally enhanced) - Hornung (1999).
1-5 • The Amduat Hour 4 : the Rosetau "Act of Towing/Hauling" region is the Grand Gallery
"In the fourth hour of the Amduat, Re enters a dark and dry new region called Rosetau, meaning 'act of towing'. His solar bark is indeed depicted as being towed by four gods over a dry, sandy land populated by snakes. The solar bark itself has been transformed into a double-headed serpent as only snakes can successfully get across this desert and dangerous region."
"The zigzag path, repeatedly closed by doors, gives access to the 'Land of Sokar, who is upon his sand', which Re visits during the fourth and fifth hours."
1-6 • The "Zigzag Towing/Hauling Land of Sokar" region represents the Grand Gallery
1-7 • The "Zigzag Towing/Hauling" of the solar barque, constantly blocked in its progression (cut into pieces) is the representation of the 25 progression steps of the wooden gantry beetle scarab operating
That zigzag cut into pieces towing of the solar barque is a metaphor of the latch bolts powered progression steps of the wooden gantry beetle scarab that was allowing the impactor to be lifted up to the top part of the gallery.
Once again, ancient Egyptians used the knife as a metaphor : the progression steps enabled, or limited by the latch bolts operating were described as knives, cutting the progression.
The god Sokar, with the triangular shape he sometimes shows, is most probably the representation of the latch bolts themselves.
Operating of the towing beetle scarab in the grand gallery of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, side view (updated November 18, 2021)
Photograph of the Grand Gallery taken from the lower platform (with the entry to the horizontal passage behind the man in the foreground) : Great Pyramid Passages Volume 1, (1910 edition) by John and Morton Edgar, plate CLVIII at the end of the book. https://archive.org/details/GreatPyramidPassagesVol11910Edition/page/n301/mode/1up
The theory of the Grand Gallery purpose
My theory stipulates that the progression of the impactor, from the lower part of the grand gallery to its upper part, was made in 25 steps, each one being secured by latch bolts inserted in the eastern and western walls of the gallery.
This progression inside the grand gallery, in fits and starts, is exactly what is described in the fourth hour of the Amduat : "In this fourth hour, Re is repeatedly blocked by doors called "knife", cutting the way into pieces."
The light inside the gallery would have also more probably be very limited and the team leader on the top platform would have had much difficulty to see the bottom of the gallery and his own men : "In the 4th, Re cannot be more powerless, for he cannot see those he cares for, relying on his voice alone."
Ptah-Seker-Osiris figures showing the squatting falcon representation of god Seker (Sokar), put onto the wooden base of the figure. The general shape of that falcon is most probably representing the latch bolts that were inserted inside the niches of the eastern and western walls of the grand gallery of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
Left : figure of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris 86.1.88a–d, ca. 600–525 B.C. from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York (Late Period, Saite) https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/551504. Right : painted wooden figure of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris EA47577 excavated in Asyut, from the British Museum (664BC-305BC), https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA47577
1-8 • The Land of Sokar is the Grand Gallery's vision, focused on the latch bolts operating
As usual, the artistic part of the scene is more important than the architectural design accuracy, everything is here but misplaced : if the lions are facing east and west correctly, the cavern isn't located between the two of them, because the cavern is the Grand Gallery :
"The lower register continues the "secret paths" of the Land of Sokar of the 4th Hour, closed by two doors. Between them is the interior, or "core" of Sokar's land, with an "oval", "cavern", "cave" or "egg" in its centre, embedded in the two halves of the double sphinx Aker, the god of the Earth."
Inside the cavern, Sokar is spreading out his wings, but not in the same way that the beetle scarabs do : his wings are not attached to him, but seem to emerge from the ground.
That is another reason to believe that Sokar is the representation of the latch bolts that were designed to get in and out of the niches of the eastern and western walls of the gallery.
Detail of the Amduat Papyrus Inscribed for Tiye from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York ; Accession Number: 25.3.33 (ca. 975–945 B.C). https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/549650
The above scene of the Amduat is another evidence, or clue, that Sokar is the representation of the latch bolts. What we have here is the schematic metaphoric representation of the towing scarab, with the 3 major elements of the operating :
• the snake for the water that descends the slope both in the central gutter for the impactor to move, but also for the water that were used inside the 2 hollow section rails in which the scarab sledges were moving.
• the legs of the crewmembers that made the scarab moving
• and the 2 wings of Sokar, the latch bolts, the "knives" that were cutting the progression into pieces.
Please note that these 2 wings aren't just wings : some structures are clearly marked, of course I am seeing into them the niches of the eastern and western walls. These niches were the cavities where the latch bolts were retracted in by the scarab.
The above image from Kairoinfo4U from the tomb of Irynefer TT 290 at Deir el-Medina, could be another confirmation that the squatting falcon Sokar was a metaphoric representation of the latch bolts of the Grand Gallery : the cow looks like it is gonna run over the falcon, exactly like the towing scarab would do on the latch bolts. Source (flickr) : https://www.flickr.com/photos/manna4u/11433106165
The cow is most probably another representation of the hauling beetle scarab and its horns symbolizing that the impactor was designed to ram into the inclined well waters.
Detail of the Book of the Dead of the Priest of Horus (section 2), Imhotep (Imuthes), ca. 332–200 B.C. from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number: 35.9.20a–w : https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/551786
The 2 Sokar representations, facing each other
This part of the Book is particularly interesting because the falcon Sokar is represented 2 times. The first one is on the left, and Sokar appears exactly like in the Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures (except the 2 additional spread wings), but the second one is what's worth really looking at : here, Sokar is represented twice and they are facing each over; there is no more wings, but their legs are somehow suggesting that same 45° angle that many squatted falcons of the figures are showing.
That facing representation of that "double Sokar" reinforce one more time the idea that Sokar is a metaphor of the pairs of latch bolts that were facing each other themselves.
Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures from the National Museums Liverpool, World Museum (left), 332 BC - 30 BC Accession number 56.21.601 : https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/artifact/ptah-sokar-osiris-figure-17 ; from the Metropolitan Museum of Art at New-York (center), Accession number 86.1.88a–d : https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/551504 ; and from the Louvre in Paris (top right image), Numéro principal : N 3512 : https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl010018325
The hollow underneath the Sokar squatted falcon
These Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures really show the original purpose of the Sokar falcon representations as latch bolts. Also, these squatting falcons aren't just put onto the figurine base, as we can see on the figure from the MET : they are sometimes put on a sliding board and most of the time, the falcon covers a hollow in the wooden base. Most probably this sliding movement to put the falcon into place on the figurine base is a reference to the sliding movement of the towing scarab itself on the hollow section rails, and the hollow itself is a reference to the hollow in the wall where the latch bolt would be pushed by the scarab progression.
These hollows are the 25 pair of niches of the eastern and western walls of the gallery.
Tomb KV 9 of Ramesses V-VI, corridor H Amduat Hour 4, photographed by Kairoinfo4U and posted on flickr : https://www.flickr.com/photos/manna4u/38745537034/in/photostream/
1-9 • The inverted position of the latch bolts in the hauling beetle scarab of the Amduat
On the reliefs of the Amduat Hour 4 on the above image, both the impactor and the beetle hauling scarab are represented. We've already seen in the post on Apep that the solar barque was a metaphor of the impactor, and here also appears the metaphoric representation of the hauling scarab, and that is the rectangular structures going down the slope.
If we look at the enlarged image of the structure, it is like hanging in mid air by some kind of magic trick. But actually the trick is also depicted : that is the triangular black shape that is holding the entire structure.
The triangular black shape is the latch bolt.
So why did they represented the latch bolts on the bottom side of the scarab structure, while I'm positioning them on the upper side? Well, they are 2 possibilities :
1 • I am wrong about the way that the towing scarab was operating the axle beam, and it is a very legitimate possibility as I am everything but an engineer myself…
2 • I am right about this part, and the explanation could be as follows : on these reliefs, the ropes and the axle beam aren't depicted, there are just the structures on "the slopping paths of the towing region", and that makes another story where nobody would have ever understand that some "triangular stopping elements" would have been put on the upper part of the structure.
I've only put the latch bolts on the upper side of the structure because the axle beam would have redirected the towing forces 180°. The axle beam is inverting the towing forces. So on the reliefs, if the story is "some structure was going down the slope, one step at a time in a constant cutting progression by some kind of "knives" in a "zigzag" movement, well what do you do about the latch bolts : you put them on the lower side of the towing structure, so that the progression still appears logical and secure.
1-10 • The Fire-Water is also introduced in this fifth Hour : the pressurized water
"This Lake of Fire is a place of fiery punishment for the damned, but the blessed dead drink cool water from it. This "fire-water" is a powerful alchemical symbol, related to Philosophical Mercury (Aqua Mercurii). Dependent on one's attitude and condition, this water changes function. Constructive (blue) to some, it is destructive (red) to others."
The fire-water, is in my opinion, the pressurized water itself.
When it is said that this fire-water can either be "constructive" or "destructive", it could refer to the danger that is representing pressurized water but also the fact that it is at the very origin of the cold production : "the blessed dead drink cool water from it."
Ironically, the fire-water could be the one producing the cold.
1-11 • Is the "who is upon his sand" reference another metaphor of the stop-and-go progression ?
It is still unclear to me what is the meaning of this "sand" reference. The only sand I could think of in this part of the Great Pyramid is the sand filter that was set in what is used today as an electrical room, located between the top platform and the antechamber, on the western side.
In my opinion, this sand filter was most probably a bio-sand filter, able to produce large amount of drinkable water from the dirty water tank that was the King chamber. But I don't see why Aker (the two axle beam holders set in the eastern and western holes), would have been described as "who is upon his sand".
It is also possible that this sand reference could be another metaphor of the zigzag progression : when you are walking on sand, the progression is difficult and slow and most of the time it is impossible to walk straight. So that sand could be just another metaphor here, the same way the gates, or the doors are : the operating of the towing scarab was hard, slow and in an endless stop and go progression.
1-12 • The start of the cold production
In the Amduat, the "Book of the Hidden Chamber", it is said that the process of regeneration, meaning the cold production, starts at the end of the fourth hour, and that corresponds with the deepest and darkest point RA's voyage.
That deepest and darkest point is about the grand gallery ; as soon as the impactor enters the inclined well, its water is pressurized and the cold can be made : "Arriving at the deepest, darkest point (the end of the 4th Hour), attention is brought on the process of regeneration itself (the 5th & 6th Hour)."
God Aker (Akeru, plural). Drawing by Jeff Dahl : "Aker, an ancient Egyptian personification of the horizon. Two lions symbolize 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow' with the sun-disk rising between the symbolic horizon between them. The hieroglyph for 'sky' spans across the top. Based on New Kingdom tomb paintings and the book of the dead." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aker_(deity)#/media/File:Aker.svg
2 • God of the "Horizon" Aker and its two lions real meaning
2-1 • The Amduat Hour 5 introduces Aker (represented most of the time as a two lions god) : the representation of the top platform layout of the Grand Gallery with the axle beam and its two eastern and western holders
2-2 • Aker / The academic point of view : god of the "Horizon"
Above the lions, are supposed to be the horizon (white), ended by mountains (colored pikes), the red sun and the blue sky (blue straight).
"In Egyptian mythology, Aker (also spelt Akar) was one of the earliest gods worshipped, and was the deification of the horizon. There are strong indications that Aker was worshipped before other known Egyptian gods of the earth, such as Geb. In particular, the Pyramid texts make a sinister statement that the Akeru (plural of "Aker") will not seize the pharaoh, as if this were something that might have happened, and was something of which to be afraid. "Aker" itself translates as "(one who) bends", and thus "Akeru" translates as "benders", though in what sense this is meant, is not fully understood. […] these heads were usually those of lions. Over time, the heads became full figures of lions (still facing away from each other), one representing the concept of "yesterday" ("Sef" in Egyptian), and the other the concept of "tomorrow" ("Duau" in Egyptian)."
"As the horizon, Aker was also seen as symbolic of the borders between each day, and so was originally depicted as a narrow strip of land (i.e. a horizon), with heads on either side, facing away from one another, a symbol of borders."
Menat necklace from Malqata at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York (left and center) 1390–1353 B.C. New Kingdom, Dynasty 18. Reign of Amenhotep III, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544509. Right : the same necklace, photographed by Eric (Wsrmatre Stpnre) and posted on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/wsrmatre/40919418864
2-3 • Aker / Bruno's point of view : the grand gallery axle beam and its eastern and western holders representation
On the representations of god Aker, he is depicted as two lions looking east and west and clearly holding something on their backs. To understand the real meaning of this, we need to look at the Menat Necklace from Malqata at the Metropolitan Museum of Art : what is important in the two lion representations isn't their backs, but the hole between their paws and their bellies. The Menat necklace clearly indicates that a "beam" was supposed to pass through the cat bellies.
These same cats are also looking east and west and their general shape seems to have been designed to perfectly fit in the eastern and western holes of the top platform of the Grand Gallery.
To understand the link between the two opposite cats (or lions), we need to look at some figures of the Four Sons of Horus.
Image on the left and center : Funerary Figure of Duamutef. 400–30 B.C. Late Period–Ptolemaic Period. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 133. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/551149
2-4 • Aker / The Grand Gallery layout replica of the Four Sons of Horus figures at the MET
The first photograph is one of the Four Sons of Horus figures, visible at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at New-York, and is showing a jackal-headed figure representing Duamutef, the god who protected the stomach of the mummies.
The half lower part of this image had been magnified and partially enlightened on the second picture of the figurine so that we can see clearly the different structures depicted.
My assumption is that what we have here is a complete representation of the grand gallery layout of the Great Pyramid of Khufu :
1/ The eastern and western ramps (painted white), with 2 hollow section rails by ramp
2/ The central gutter (yellow painted)
3/ The top platform (yellow painted), with the axle beam for operating the 3 ropes
4/ The south wall of the grand gallery (with the openings)
5/ The opening of the antechamber (black line)
6/ The opening of the passage to the King's chamber (black square)
In my opinion, the crucial element here is the one that is represented in a greenish color and that seems to be put onto the top platform. That element is the axle beam.
Funerary Figures of the Four Sons of Horus, with Imsety (human head) second from the left. 400–30 B.C. Late Period–Ptolemaic Period. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York. Imsety is the only one with a human head, the three other Sons of Horus figures have heads representing a jackal (god Duamutef), a baboon (god Hapy) and a falcon (god Qebehsenuef). https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/564551
2-5 • Aker / The axle beam for operating the 3 ropes of the gallery was inserted into the 2 holes of the platform
The second magnified image is from the figurine of Imsety, the god that protected the liver, and who was one of the Four Sons of Horus. This image clearly shows the eastern and western holes of the platform and it also depicts that the greenish element was "inserted" inside these holes.
This Imsety figurine is telling us that the main axle beam on which the 3 ropes of the grand gallery were attached to, was anchored into the platform. Also, it is crucial to really keep in mind that this platform is way bigger that what we can see in the first place : it is one of the biggest stone of the entire structure of the pyramid.
The southern part of the single block that formed the top platform of the grand gallery, was under tremendous charge by the structure weight, that perfectly anchored the block. It was necessary to resist to the huge structural stress induced by the endless operating of both the beetle wooden scarab, and the moving caisson. God Aker (Akeru, plural), drawing by Jeff Dahl : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aker#/media/Fichier:Aker.svg
2-6 • Aker / The single block platform of the grand gallery
The platform of the gallery has a very specific design : it is made of one single giant block, that goes way after the south wall of the gallery towards the antechamber.
Charles Rigano mentioned : "The single block forming the Step does not stop at the Gallery wall but extends an additional 66 inches* into the Ante Chamber".
* For Petrie, it was 64.90 inches. Source : The pyramids and temples of Gizeh. Antechamber and passages, section 47 (page 75). Petrie, W. M. Flinders (William Matthew Flinders), Sir, 1853-1942. https://archive.org/details/cu31924012038927/page/n113/mode/2up
Menat Necklace from Malqata at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (left), Accession Number: 11.215.450 (Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep III) and the same necklace photographed by Eric (Wsrmatre Stpnre) and posted on Flickr.
Center : the top platform stone of the grand gallery in the Great Pyramid of Khufu, showing the 2 eastern and western holes of the platform. Aker drawing by Jeff Dahl on Wikipedia.
Funerary Figure of Imsety, one of the Four Sons of Horus (with human head) from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York, 400–30 B.C. Late Period–Ptolemaic Period (Accession Number: 12.182.37b). Granite fragment with Khufu's Horus name Medjedu on it from the British Museum, photographed by CaptMondo and posted on Wikipedia (en).
A better representation than the one found on the Imsety figure, can be found on the granite fragment with Khufu's Horus name at the British Museum : the axle beam and its holders are perfectly drawn on what looks like the exact same top platform of the Grand Gallery.
The MET necklace from Malqata, not only shows the axle beam holders, but if we look closely, two straight lines are materializing the location where the axle beam itself should be (see a couple of photographs back).
Original ropes of the Solar Barque of pharaoh Khufu, photograph by Jon Bodsworth : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cordes-originales-barque-kh%C3%A9ops.jpg
More, the small beads of the necklace are also representing the 3 ropes themselves, while the bigger beads are 3 over large oblong beads, one of them with a unique set of symmetrical set of colors that maybe could be a representation of the axle beam itself.
2-7 • Aker / The opened mouth reference
"Aker was first depicted as the torso of a recumbent lion with a widely opened mouth. Later, he was depicted as two recumbent lion torsos merged with each other and still looking away from each other."
In both cases, the metaphor is here about the axle beam holders : the widely opened mouth and the 2 lions facing one another.
The entire Lower Pyramid cooling process started in the grand gallery of the Great Pyramid with the operating of the axle beam and the 3 ropes that were attached to the wooden beetle scarabs (one on each ramp), and the impactor (in the central gutter).
The maneuvering of the axle beam allowed the impactor to get inside the inclined well (the underworld).
From Academic.com : "Aker was said to guard the entrance and exit to the underworld, opening them for the sun to pass through during the night. As the guard, it was said that the dead had to request Aker to open the underworld's gates, so that they might enter." Source : https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/59798
Here again, everything is nothing else than metaphors : there is no door to open to get to the Duat-Underworld, but you had to operate the ropes and the axle beam has to be in action, rotating in both ways.
2-8 • Aker / The forwards and backwards references to the axle beam operating
"From Middle Kingdom onwards Aker appears as a pair of twin lions, one named Duaj (meaning "yesterday") and the other Sefer (meaning "tomorrow"). Aker was thus often titled "He who's looking forward and behind". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aker_(deity)
"In the later period of Egyptian theology the two lions making up the Akeru were named Sef and Tuau - 'yesterday' and 'today' respectively." http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/aker.htm
That reference to yesterday and tomorrow (or today) is in y opinion echoing the fact that the axle beam was operated in both directions of rotation : both the towing scarab and the impactor were moving forwards and backwards, again and again, day after day.
My interpretation of the operating of the 3 ropes as represented on the above drawing, isn't probably the only solution to get the job done, but it is simple and could be sufficiently efficient to be correct. It doesn't require any pulley, and according to scholars, ancient Egyptians didn't use this kind of equipment at the time of the construction of the pyramids.
The forwards and backwards reference is about the perpetual direction of rotation changes of the axle beam.
2-9 • Aker / The axle beam that bends and imprisons the coils of the snake
"More importantly, he imprisons the coils of the snake, Apophis (Apep), after it is hacked to pieces by Isis, and Aker could, along his back, provide a secure passage for the sun-god's boat as it traveled from west to east during the hours of the night." http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/aker.htm
"The name Aker means '(one) who bends'". https://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/aker/
It is known that the name Aker means "(one) who bends", and it is conceivable to imagine that the axle beam would indeed bend a lot. Maybe one day we'll even find out in what wood that beam was made of, like we know that the impactor was made out of Sycomore tree wood.
That reference to the bending of Aker is easy to apprehend, and maybe the reference to the coils of the snake imprisoning is that easy : it could simply refer to the winding of the ropes on the axle beam.
Detail of The Amduat Book of the Hidden Chamber, Hour 5. Drawing by A.G. Shedid (digitally enhanced) - Hornung (1999). Burial chamber of the tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III - ca. 1426 BCE.
Detail of the Amduat "Book of the Hidden Chamber" Hour 5, showing the oval cavern of the Land of Sokar (the Grand Gallery), with god Sokar spreading or opening wings from the ground, inside the cavern, that is "closed" by two lions, facing east and west. These two lions represent the god Aker (Akeru in its plural form).
This scene is a metaphorical representation of the grand gallery of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The two doors (the lions), that were "closing" the Land of Sokar, were a metaphor of the representation of the axle beam and its two eastern and western holders that were set onto the Grand Gallery's top platform : what was allowing the solar barque to get in the tunnel of the Underworld, were precisely what represent god Aker : the axle beam and its two eastern and western holders.
The two lions were controlling the impactor progression to the top of the gallery before being released, hence metaphorically, these two lions were seen as the gates of the Underworld tunnel.
The Amduat Book of the Hidden Chamber, Hour 5. Burial chamber of the tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III - ca. 1426 BCE. Drawing by A.G. Shedid (digitally enhanced) - Hornung (1999).
2-10 • Aker / The "grasp of the Akeru"
Until now, we haven't discussed at all about the danger that were facing the crewmembers of the wooden beetle scarab. When they were inside the gantry, they most probably didn't risk anything : their work would have been excruciating but not that dangerous.
I suggested the idea that when the impactor was at the top of the gallery, ready to be released in the slope, the crewmembers first had to get the wooden gantry lifted back up as well, so that the entire crew would most probably be on the top platform just before releasing the impactor.
I also suggested that one crewmember on each ramp was on the top platform, hauling the ropes of the gantry while the 4 other crewmen, on each ramp, were pushing the scarab back up.
During these two phases of operating, crewmen would have been close to the axle beam while the ropes would have been winded on, and they would certainly have fear the danger of their hands being grasped by the winding ropes on the axle :
"Later the Egyptian priests created magical spells to protect ordinary mortals from the grasp of the Akeru, the primeval, lion earth gods." https://www.landofpyramids.org/aker.htm
"There was also a more threatening side to Aker that can be seen when he is pluralized as Akeru in the form of multiple earth gods. In passages from the Pyramid Texts, the Akeru are said not to seize the monarch, but later there is a general hope for everyone to escape the grasp of the earth gods." http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/aker.htm
Apep (also Apophis) was the ancient Egyptian Great Serpent god of Chaos ("isfet") that reigned over the Underworld and fought sun and creator god Ra in his solar barque, in endless fights, night after night. Image from Soutekh67 and posted on Wikimedia Commons : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barque_solaire_contre_Apopi.jpg
2-11 • Aker / The protection from the Great Serpent Apep and the snake bite immunity
"He guarded the eastern and western borders of the netherworld and protected the sun god Ra when he first entered the netherworld at sunset and again when he returned to the world of the living at sunrise and bore the sun on his back through the underworld. He also welcomed the dead Pharaoh into the underworld."
"He defended the sun god from the serpent Apep (Apophis) and was considered to be able to neutralize a snake bite. In his role as a protective deity, twin lion statues representing Aker were placed at the doors of palaces and tombs to protect against evil spirits, a practice adopted by both the Greeks and Romans."
This part is absolutely essential because it links the Akeru (the axle beam and its holders) to the inclined well (pressurized) waters (the Great Serpent Apep).
Aker was the metaphor of the equipment that used the energy of the working crew of the beetle scarab to lift, again and again the impactor on top of the gallery, before its release in the slope.
When the impactor hits the waters of the well, it could be described as an attack on that waters, an attack on Apep.
Also, when the impactor is recovered from the well for another cycle to begin again and again, it could be depicted as some kind of immunity from Apep ; hence the reference to the snake bite : "He defended the sun god from the serpent Apep (Apophis) and was considered to be able to neutralize a snake bite."
No matter how many times Aker attacked Apep, he would always be able to safely escape from Apep's grip, unharmed.
Drawing from "The pyramids and temples of Gizeh" by Petrie, W. M. Flinders (William Matthew Flinders, Sir, 1853-1942), from the original copy at the Cornell University Library ; publication date : 1883. Plate XII, at the very end of the book : https://archive.org/details/cu31924012038927/page/n295/mode/1up
2-12 • Aker / The Sun and Horizon real meaning
To be honest, if I have no doubt about the two lions interpretation, I'm not sure of anything about the rest of Aker's emblem. I first thought that it could maybe represent a part of the axle beam holder and that the sun was a cross section of the axle beam itself, even if I didn't understand why the top section wouldn't have been drawn ; and then I stumbled on the Petrie's representation of the hollows in the top of the granite wainscot of the west wall of the antechamber.
I'm not sure of anything for this part, but I must admit that the similarity between these hollows and the "cradle" in Aker's emblem is troubling. I agree we must be careful with "look alike" similarities, but that is a pretty good one, and most of all, it would complete the all thing about the representation of the 3 ropes operating.
Photograph on the left : the 4 grooves on the south granite wall of the King's antechamber of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. Please notice that the entire chamber is built with massive granite blocks, but surprisingly the top of this south wall is made of very worn out and very low-quality limestone. In my opinion, this limestone had been added after the pyramid shut-down, when this chamber didn't need to be connected to the exterior anymore for ventilation.
2-13 • Aker / The Antechamber ventilation
The problem with the 3 ropes of the Grand Gallery, is that they were made of natural fibers, most probably papyrus, and that they were used in permanent humid conditions : the gallery was completely surrounded by water sources (the King's chamber, the inclined well, the horizontal cooling passage and water was also running inside the central gutter itself).
Because a natural fiber rope will rot if stored in humid conditions, a special chamber had to be prepared for this role, and equipped with a very effective ventilation system to assure a perfectly efficient dry storage.
That special chamber was the antechamber.
If no portcullis have ever been found in this antechamber or anywhere else in the pyramid, it is because there never was any portcullis in the first place.
The antechamber never had any portcullis, it was the 3 ropes storage chamber, with 3 independent compartments. The ventilation of this chamber came from a little opening that was located on the top part of the south granite wall and that appears today filled with a limestone cement of very low quality.
Interestingly, these same 4 grooves are also found in the Lady Arbuthnot's chamber, and from that we can reconstruct these grooves and imagine the entire vent piping system in its original design : in these granite grooves, were most probably inserted 4 ventilation pipes that had to be connected to the exterior of the pyramid.
Original drawing by Franck Monnier : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza#/media/File:Kheops-chambre-roi.jpg
Please note that these 4 air ducts would have pass through what is described today as a part of a forced tunnel, presumably digged by Vyse (?).
Book of the Hidden Chamber, Amduat Hour 6. Burial chamber of the tomb of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III - ca. 1426 BCE. Drawing by A.G. Shedid (digitally enhanced) - Hornung (1999).
3 • The Hidden Chamber of the Amduat is the Queen's chamber
3-1 • The Amduat Hour 6 : the regenerative powers originate from both the primordial waters of Nun and the Mehen serpent
This 6th hour is very important, it perfectly separates the Grand Gallery representation (the Land of Sokar) from the inclined well (the "Water hole filled with Nun", the primordial ocean).
It is also clearly saying that Nun (the water of the well) is at the origin of the magical "regenerative" powers (the creation of the cold) :
"In the 6th Hour, the Land of Sokar is left and the water hole filled with Nun is reached."
"Nun, the primordial ocean, is the guardian of this hour."
"The 6th Hour is the "waterhole" of those in the Duat, filled with Nun, the primordial ocean and its regenerative powers, i.e. the presence of a creative potential (or Ba) within this darkness, namely : Atum."
In the previous excerpt the regenerative powers are linked to the primordial waters of Nun, and in the following excerpt, that same regenerative powers are this time linked to the Mehen serpent : "In the sixth hour the most significant event in the underworld occurs. The ba (or soul) of Ra unites with his own body within the circle formed by the Mehen serpent. This event is the point at which the sun begins its regeneration".
But the previous excerpts are also linking the regenerative powers (the cold) to Atum, and we've already seen that Atum was the representation of the small amount of pressurized water ejected from the inclined well towards the fog nozzle. Atum created the fog of microdroplets (represented by Tefnut, the god of humidity and moisture) , and was simultaneously accompanied with fresh dry and warm air (represented by Shu, the god of…dry and warm air... and fog).
The ancient Egyptian gods (and the Great Serpent of the Underworld Apep) involved in the cold production of the Lower Great Pyramid of Khufu : Atum who created 2 other gods by spitting them out of his mouth : Shu (the god of dry warm air and fog), and Tefnut (the goddess of moisture and humidity) ; and Nefertem that represented the fog nozzle itself, and who "had arisen from the primal waters" and was the "beautiful one who closes" or "one who does not close"; as a perfect "tap" or "valve" analogy.
"In the Book of the Dead, [...], the sun god Atum is said to have ascended from chaos-waters with the appearance of a snake, the animal renewing itself every morning."
The Serpent god Atum spat out Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture
"Early myths state that Atum created the god Shu and goddess Tefnut by spitting them out of his mouth. Other myths state Atum created by masturbation…"
"He produced from his own sneeze, or in some accounts, semen, Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture."
My comments : when it is said Atum was created by masturbation, it is of course another metaphor here. When Isis is breastfeeding Horus, it is not milk he is receiving, but the cold liquid solution ; the same way when Atum is depicted masturbating, or when semen is invoked, it is only a way of depicting the high pressurized water coming out of the fog nozzle into microdroplets.
Once again, there is no breastfeeding, no masturbation, no semen and no spitting snake (see the Dendera Light post). These are only metaphors of the cooling fluids and the fog nozzle functioning with pressurized water.
God Shu (spat out by the Serpent Atum) was associated with dry warm air, cooling and fog
"The ancient Egyptian god Shu is represented as a human with feathers on his head, as he is associated with dry and warm air."
"As the air, Shu was considered to be a cooling, and thus calming, influence, and pacifier. Due to the association with dry air, calm, and thus Ma'at (truth, justice, order, and balance), Shu was depicted as the dry air/atmosphere between the earth and sky, separating the two realms after the event of the First Occasion."
"Fog and clouds were also Shu's elements and they were often called his bones. Because of his position between the sky and earth, he was also known as the wind."
Source : Wikipedia page on ancient Egyptian god Shu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shu_(Egyptian_god)
God Tefnut (also spat out by the Serpent Atum) was associated with spat water and moisture
"Tefnut (tfnwt) is a deity of moisture, moist air, dew and rain in Ancient Egyptian religion."
"Literally translating as "That Water", the name Tefnut has been linked to the verb 'tfn' meaning 'to spit'."
Source : Wikipedia page on ancient Egyptian god Tefnut, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tefnut
In short :
The Land of Sokar = the grand gallery and its latch bolts
The water hole of the Duat = the inclined well
The Mehen serpent cuts are the origin of the regeneration powers = the cold needed for the natron manufacturing
The Lake of Fire = pressurized waters of the Nun primordial ocean, that is another way of describing Apep
"After igniting the alchemical fire in the 5th Hour (in the Cavern of Sokar erected on the Lake of Fire), the soul of Re moves to the First Time (spiritualizes by becoming Akh) and returns rekindled."
"This hour is one of great magic : the pivotal moment is represented by the Tail-in-Mouth-serpent, called "Many Faces", and surrounding the five-headed serpent."
If these interpretations are correct, it means that the Hidden chamber is the Queen's chamber, the one that terminates the cold production process.
The wooden base of the Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures
The operating of the grand gallery / The wooden beetle gantry scarab
The fight between Sun god Ra and Apep / The restraint of the inclined well waters / The equal length cuts of Apep
The 14 Girdle Stones of the Inclined Well / The Dormant Breach and the Draining of the Well
The description of the horizontal evaporative cooling passage
The 32 meters collecting ramp
The Dendera Light on the reliefs at the Hathor temple is the fog of microdroplets of the theory
The Dendera Light Bulb / The double outline of the characters offering the cold / The arms and Djed Pillar
Horus represented holding the fog nozzle that transformed the pressurized water of the inclined well into a fog of microdroplets, after it had been hit (rammed) by the impactor of the Grand Gallery
Pharaohs represented holding the 2 final products of the Solvay process
All the posts on the natron manufacturing cooling of Sneferu's Red Pyramid and the Great Pyramid of Khufu : click here or on the "LE BLOG" button
The Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza
The scarab amulets : the representation of the wooden gantry of the grand gallery
The sarcophagus : a bio-sand filter for the production of drinking water
The horizontal passage : an evaporative cooling unit
The grand gallery : the heart of the operating cycle of the pyramid, with the wooden scarab
The shut-down of the pyramid : the grotto and the draining of the inclined well
The pyramids of Sneferu
Sneferu : the revolutionary quest for immortality
The Bent Pyramid : the chemical sand filter and the last trials before the Great Pyramid
The Disc of Sabu : a counterflow chemical reaction perforated plate used in Solvay towers
Abstract (english) : "The Khufu's Great Pyramid Air Processing Unit"
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