Back to Home
Introduction Bookshop Exploded Planet Hypothesis Ancient Astronauts News and Views Biography
The Official Alan Alford Website
Order Form


On an isolated limestone plateau, a few miles west of Cairo, there stands a group of monuments that counts collectively as the sole survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the three pyramids of Giza. Here, among this elegant triple arrangement, we find one structure in particular that has befuddled the minds of scholars and laymen alike for hundreds of years. It is known as the Great Pyramid.

Foremost among the Egyptian pyramids in its size, and unique in its precision of build and complex interior design, the Great Pyramid has generated endless speculation on three central issues: Who built it? How was it built? Why was it built? It is the “why” question – arguably the most controversial of all – that is the exclusive focus of this book.

Why did the architect of the Great Pyramid require such phenomenal size and exceptional precision? Why did he require such an extraordinary array of passages and chambers? There are few clues in ancient Egyptian writings, and still fewer in the Pyramid itself, whose uninscribed stones stand in mute testimony to the monument’s essential mystery.

In search of an answer, the logical first step is to study the civilisation of ancient Egypt, which left behind a legacy of more than one hundred pyramids in all. Such has been the task of modern Egyptology, which has justifiably made the connection between the pyramids and the kings who each, in their personage, encapsulated the mystery of ancient Egyptian religion. Since the death of the king was indisputably a defining moment in ancient Egypt, it is logical to suppose that the pyramid was a tomb for his mummified body. Moreover, since the rebirth, or resurrection, of the king’s soul, or spirit, was an integral part of the same defining moment, it is logical also to suppose that the pyramid effected the translation of the king’s soul to the sky and ‘other world’. Indeed, this second supposition is confirmed absolutely in the names of the pyramids and the inscriptions (the Pyramid Texts) which were included in certain pyramids some two centuries after the Great Pyramid was built (according to the official chronology). Thus Egyptology arrived at the same conclusion that had been reached by the ancient Greeks: that the pyramids were the tombs of the kings, and that the Great Pyramid was the tomb of Khufu (Cheops). But, going one stage further, it declared, in the immortal words of E.A. Wallis Budge, that the Pyramid was ‘a tomb and nothing but a tomb’.

And yet, doubts have persisted. For, in the case of the Great Pyramid in particular, it is not readily apparent why a tomb needed to be built so big; nor why a tomb needed to be built to such an unprecedented degree of precision; nor why a tomb needed to be given such a complex array of passages and chambers. It is because of these doubts – these unexplained anomalies, as it were – that alternative Pyramid theorists have queued up to suggest that the Pyramid is something more than a tomb, or something other than a tomb. The problem, in a nutshell, is that whilst the Pyramid is a pyramid, it is a very exceptional and unusual pyramid.

Over the centuries, dozens of different theories have been suggested. For nearly two thousand years, it was claimed that the Pyramid was the Granary of Joseph. In the 19th century, the Pyramid was regarded as a biblical prophecy in stone, or a repository of divinely-inspired weights and measures. Then, in the 20th century, came a deluge of theories: the Pyramid was interpreted as a giant water pump or power plant, a sundial or almanac, an astronomical observatory, a repository of wisdom from a lost civilisation, a temple of initiation, a navigation beacon for alien spacecraft, or an air raid shelter against meteorite impacts.

Whilst history has yet to judge all of these alternative theories, it does reveal a common pattern in that the theorist tends to see in the Pyramid a reflection of his own contemporary culture and the prevailing technology of his day. The monument thus acts as a mirror to modern opinions and beliefs, and, being bare and devoid of inscriptions, is wholly incapable of contradicting the prejudices and preconceptions that are projected onto it in man’s over-keen and eager attempts to solve the enigma. In short, the Pyramid tells us more about ourselves than it does about itself.

In consequence, alternative Pyramid theories, lacking for the most part an authentic ancient perspective, are destined to collapse like waves upon the firm shore of common sense (although, to be fair, some useful ideas have occasionally emerged).

This leaves us with the orthodox theory, which, having its roots in the religion of ancient Egypt, has uniquely withstood the test of time, and has even gained strength from the diversity of the speculation that has been arrayed against it. Indeed, such has been the durability of the ‘tomb and tomb only’ theory that it is nowadays often presented as a fact rather than a theory.

But although Egyptology has made great strides in understanding the civilisation of ancient Egypt, it too has been compromised inevitably by modern-day prejudices and preconceptions, which have coloured its view of Egyptian religion, with a knock-on effect for its interpretation of the pyramids. Here, the main problem has been the Judaeo-Christian bias of Egyptology’s founding fathers, who tried to explain Egyptian religion by reference to modern concepts such as monotheism and polytheism. But there have been other biases at work too, such as uniformitarianism, or anti-catastrophism. Together, these biases have left an indelible mark on the modern interpretation of ancient Egypt – an interpretation which has been used unquestioningly by pyramid experts such as I.E.S. Edwards, J.P. Lepre, Mark Lehner, and Miroslav Verner.

How serious is this problem? In 1993, the Egyptologist Dimitri Meeks penned a devastating indictment of his predecessors and colleagues for the bias they had shown in their interpretations of ancient Egypt. In his acclaimed book La Vie Quotidienne des Dieux Egyptiens (Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods), he wrote:

From the beginnings of Egyptology, the specialists have always been inclined to make qualitative judgements – this is a symptom of their often well-disguised concern to show us an Egypt that conforms, on the one hand, to notions of moral and aesthetic decorum palatable to a majority, and, on the other, to our mode of logical thinking. Whether in the domain of beliefs, artistic expression, lifestyle or writing, Egypt is glorified, in the scholarly works or the proliferating exhibitions devoted to it, only for those aspects of its civilisation that command an approving consensus based on the most widely shared contemporary values. Egypt becomes acceptable only when fitted out with the identity we, applying our modes of thinking and being, foist upon it – at the cost of seeing what is alien to us in Egyptian culture as no more than a mask behind which a higher reality is concealed. Indeed, this reality is considered the ‘higher’ the more it can be made to seem like the ultimate source of our contemporary world. We are less interested in acquiring knowledge of Egypt than in recognising ourselves in Egypt... Appeals to the latest philosophical theories and speculations, or to modern scientific research on multivalued logic and the founding principles of rationality, show to what extent all the questions asked have to do, first and foremost, with the researcher’s own way of thinking... What would Egypt become if it were finally taken for what it was – neither morally acceptable nor morally shocking, and still less the mother of our own conceptions – what if not something completely other? The time is ripe for posing the question... The moment has come, then, to read or reread the texts, not to bring them into line with our own fantasies, as in the past, but to try to understand what they really mean.

Is it possible that Egyptology, saturated by 19th and 20th century modes of thinking, has missed the full significance of ancient Egyptian religion, and thus misinterpreted the architecture of the Great Pyramid?

In a companion volume to this book, to be published shortly, I argue that ancient Egyptian religion was not a solar monotheism, or Sun cult, as Egyptologists believe, but rather a ‘cult of creation’, i.e. a cult whose primary aim was to celebrate and re-enact perpetually the myth of the creation of the Universe. Furthermore, I argue, the king did not personify the Sun-god, or the son of the Sun-god, as Egyptologists maintain, but rather the creator-god, in that his personage embodied the soul, or spirit, of the creator. The pyramid, therefore, was not a symbol of the Sun and a Sun-king, as Egyptologists suggest, but rather a symbol of the creation and a creator-king – a simulacrum of the creator-god in his act of rising from the abyss into the nascent sky. The ancient Egyptian name of the Great Pyramid, Akhet Khufu, proves that it was no exception to this rule.

This reinterpretation of Egyptian religion has a major bearing on our understanding of the Great Pyramid in that it indicates unequivocally that it was not just a tomb, but something more than a tomb. Under the solar interpretation of Egyptian religion, the position of the tomb vis-a-vis the pyramid is a moveable feast. Egyptologists thus argue that, despite the general rule to place the tomb beneath the pyramid, the architect of the Great Pyramid raised the tomb into the monument’s superstructure, in a bold attempt to keep robbers at bay. Accordingly, the complex interior design of the Pyramid is interpreted as ‘a tomb and nothing but a tomb’. Under the creational interpretation of Egyptian religion, however, this argument becomes wholly untenable, since it was a fundamental rule that the body of the king be placed in the earth, beneath the pyramid, in order that his soul, or spirit, would become one with the pyramid; this in accordance with the religious axiom ‘the body to earth, the spirit to the sky’. That the architect of the Pyramid would have broken this cardinal rule is inconceivable, for it would have destroyed the vital magic of the pyramid building ritual.

In this book, I use the creational framework to reinterpret the Great Pyramid on three significant levels.

Firstly, I argue that the outstanding scale and precision of the Pyramid was required for religious reasons, in line with the creational symbolism of the monument. In other words, the creational interpretation provides the profound motive for the building of the Pyramid which is lacking in the orthodox, solar interpretation. This idea, if it be accepted, resolves at a stroke two of the three crucial anomalies that form the raison d’etre for alternative Pyramid theories.

Secondly, I argue that the king was buried underneath the Pyramid, at ground level, in a cave-like room called the Grotto, where his mummy may remain hidden to this day.

And thirdly, I suggest that the Pyramid’s upper system of passages and chambers – unique to this pyramid – had nothing to do with the tomb of the king, but served an altogether different purpose, namely that of a repository and time capsule.

It is this third level of reinterpretation – the most controversial without a doubt – that accounts for the bulk of this book, and indeed its title Pyramid of Secrets.

Today, the Pyramid stands bare and empty, having been plundered in antiquity. But what did its upper chambers originally contain? And might there be additional chambers, yet undiscovered, whose contents remain intact? In attempting to answer these questions, it is all too easy to fall prey to one’s preconceptions. What would we deposit in a time capsule? What would we like to find if a secret chamber is opened? What is in it for us? But such an approach would serve only to bring the Pyramid into line with our own fantasies (to borrow Meeks’ phrase). Instead, we must ask: what would they have deposited in the Pyramid?

On this question, I have taken my lead firstly from the architecture of the Pyramid’s chambers, and secondly from the creational theory of the pyramid. For each chamber, I ask: “how might its features make sense if the pyramid is a symbol of the creation of the Universe, and the religion a cult of creation?” By taking this approach, I arrive at the view that the Pyramid was not simply a repository of artefacts, but rather a repository of a religious idea, which was expressed in a variety of ways. And, if the reader finds my specific suggestions – which I will leave him to discover – passing strange, then it may be that his surprise is proportionate to my success in eluding the bias of the modern point of view.

I offer this book to the reader not as a complete solution to the mystery of the Great Pyramid, but rather as a penultimate solution that might conceivably act as a platform for future investigations and theories – and, with a fair wind, some dramatic discoveries.

ALAN F. ALFORD, Walsall, England, April 2003.

Copyright Notice

'These pages are the copyright of Eridu Books 2004. The images and diagrams are the copyright of Alan Alford or of other photographers, where indicated. Eridu Books welcomes the reproduction and dissemination of these pages, in original, unaltered form, for non-commercial purposes, but permission must be sought for any other usage, other than 'fair dealing' quotations.'

Introduction Bookshop Exploded Planet Hypothesis Ancient Astronauts News and Views Biography
Site Comments