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To write a popular alternative book on the pyramids of Egypt ideally requires three essential qualities: 1. a total disdain for Egyptologists; 2. a passing knowledge of the subject concerned; and 3. an alternative theory that verges on the incredible. All three of these qualities come together in Christopher Dunn’s provocative study of the Great Pyramid, The Giza Power Plant (Bear & Co, 1998).

Dunn, a master craftsman and engineer, has long argued that the ancient Egyptians used advanced power tools in their cutting and working of granite and other hard stone. This led him to contemplate the source of the energy required by the power tools, and ultimately to propose that the Great Pyramid of Giza was the power plant at the centre of an ancient, hi-tech national grid!

Underlying Dunn’s theory of the Great Pyramid is his unswerving belief that the Egyptian pyramids must have been something more than tombs for the pharaohs. Following William Fix (Pyramid Odyssey, 1978), Dunn hinges his view on two key observations: 1. the failure of Egyptologists to find an original (as opposed to intrusive) pyramid burial, and 2. the sheer redundancy of stone in the earliest true pyramids, the giant pyramids of Giza and Dahshur. If the pyramids were merely tombs of the pharaohs - for which the direct evidence is lacking - why were they built to such enormous sizes? And, in the case of the Great Pyramid, why was it given such a unique and complex array of internal passages and chambers?

Dissatisfied with the conventional explanation of the Great Pyramid - and of course the many alternative theories proposed as of 1998 - Dunn set out to reverse engineer the Pyramid’s design in accordance with his considered view that it was in fact a hydrogen-fuelled power plant.

It has captured the imagination of thousands of readers, but can Dunn’s theory possibly be true? Or, if not, could he at least be on the right lines when he argues that the Pyramid was some kind of power plant?

As I am not an expert on hydrogen power, I will not address the technical feasibility of Dunn’s theory. But I would like to identify some areas where the fit between his theory and the design of the Pyramid is not as neat as he would like to think it is. Whether these discrepancies are fatal to his theory, or merely require some subtle modifications, I will leave it to the reader to judge.

The Queen’s Chamber
Let us begin in the Queen’s Chamber, which is the engine of the alleged power plant. Here, according to Dunn, two chemicals - hydrated zinc chloride and dilute hydrochloric acid - were mixed together to create hydrogen gas. But where did these chemicals come from? Dunn argues that they were pumped from an underground chamber up a vertical shaft and then fed by gravity through the so-called ‘airshafts’ which exit in the north and south walls of the Queen’s Chamber. Moreover, he surmises that the flow of chemicals was triggered via copper cables which were attached to the back of the copper ‘handles’ in the so-called Gantenbrink ‘door’.

Three facts, however, militate against this theory.

Firstly, there is no evidence for the vertical shaft, nor the copper cables. Quite the opposite. When National Geographic’s robot drilled through the ‘door’ at the top of the ‘airshafts’ in September 2002 (four years after Dunn’s book was published), it revealed only a hollow cavity measuring about 8 by 8 by 8 inches. Dunn’s hypothesised vertical shaft was not in evidence; nor was there any sign of the copper cables which supposedly ran from the ‘handles’ into the mouth of the vertical shaft. While it may be possible that the camera angle prevented these things from being seen, it would take a brave man to bet on it given that the next phase of robotic exploration is imminent.

Secondly, Dunn supposes that each ‘airshaft’ released chemicals into the Queen’s Chamber via a tiny crack in the wall. But the case for this is not convincing. Although it is true that Waynman Dixon spotted a crack in the south wall and hence discovered the southern shaft in 1872, the historical record indicates that no such crack was apparent in the north wall at that time. The opening up of the mouths of this pair of shafts has unfortunately destroyed the evidence either way. Nevertheless, the most likely scenario is that the shafts were originally sealed at their lower ends - perhaps as conduits to secret chambers - and that the crack in the south wall was caused by settlement over thousands of years.

Thirdly, even if we give Dunn the benefit of the doubt concerning the two points above, it remains hard to understand why the builder would go to the immense trouble of building tiny sloping shafts 213 feet long when they could have created the same head pressure and flow by means of two reservoir pools situated immediately above the Queen’s Chamber, saving on pumping costs as well as building costs. Dunn fails to explain the length and bearings of the shafts, and ignores the evidence cited by Gantenbrink for the existence of secret chambers beyond the ‘doors’ and stone plugs.
Still, for the sake of argument, let us put these difficulties to one side, and follow Dunn’s theory as the hydrogen gas emerges from the Queen’s Chamber.

The Well Shaft
According to Dunn, hydrogen gas and spent chemicals flowed down the Queen’s Chamber Passage toward its intersection with the bottom part of the Grand Gallery. There, the hydrogen gas passed through perforations in the bridging slab and travelled up the Grand Gallery, while the spent chemicals drained off into a large hole, 28 inches square, at the bottom of the west wall of the Gallery. Let us focus for now on those spent chemicals.
Once again, we hit problems.

Firstly, if the flow of chemicals was determined by two tiny cracks in the walls of the Queen’s Chamber, why was it necessary to have a drainage shaft measuring 28 inches square? Dunn attempts to get around this problem by supposing that the drain - the entrance to the Well Shaft - was enlarged by the guardians of the Pyramid when they entered and inspected its upper parts, long after it was built. In his support, he quotes Petrie, who asserts that the entire Well Shaft was cut out by the builders as an afterthought. But both Dunn and Petrie overlook the point that the uppermost part of the Well Shaft is built with neatly squared blocks, whereas the section immediately below it is a rough tunnel through the lowermost layers of masonry. Therefore, while the inspection scenario may explain the rough tunnel and the violent removal of the ramp stone at the Gallery’s bottom west corner, it does not provide any basis for the belief that the shaft in between was enlarged. Furthermore, Dunn seems to accept (p. 214) that the next section of the Well Shaft, the part lined with limestone blocks immediately below ground zero, was part of the original design and construction. The evidence, therefore, suggests that the upper section of the Well Shaft was cut with dimensions of 28 by 28 inches from the outset - a size inconsistent with the function that Dunn attributes to it.

Secondly, Dunn supposes that the spent chemicals flowed down the Well Shaft into the Grotto, where they were directed into a hole six feet deep; they then soaked away through the floor which consists of packed earth. To make this scheme work, he has to assume that the original Well Shaft terminated at the level of the Grotto. The lower part of the shaft, he believes, was cut by the guardians in order to inspect the upper parts of the Pyramid (as proposed by David Davidson in 1927). But Dunn misses a key piece of evidence which indicates that the Well Shaft was cut from the top downwards through the bedrock. To quote J.P. Lepre: ‘The Well Shaft was dug out from the top down. This is indicated by the fact that its bottom end penetrates a few feet below its lowermost doorway. If it had been hewn from the bottom up, this bottom section would surely have been level with its doorway at that point.’ Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald likewise write in Giza The Truth: ‘There is incontrovertible evidence that the Well Shaft is an original feature which was dug from the top down’.

This in itself is not fatal to Dunn’s argument. He could modify his theory to have the chemicals drain all the way down the Well Shaft into the Subterranean Chamber and its Pit (and he does indeed allow for this possibility on p. 206 of his book). But if this was the aim, why did the builders connect the Well Shaft into the side of the Descending Passage and not take it directly into the Subterranean Chamber? Why make the chemicals drain along the lower forty feet of the Descending Passage - an area in which sensitive machinery and equipment would surely have been housed if the Pyramid was a power plant?

The Grand Gallery
Returning to the hydrogen gas, Dunn claims that it filled the Grand Gallery and travelled into the King’s Chamber, where it was used to create microwave energy. To this end, it was necessary to excite the hydrogen atoms by means of acoustic and electromagnetic (piezoelectric) energy.

How was this achieved?
Acoustic energy is the key to Dunn’s hypothesis. One of the most interesting ideas in his book is that the Pyramid was coupled acoustically with the Earth and resonated in harmony with it. He makes a strong case that the King’s Chamber in particular was designed to resonate at certain frequencies, hence the granite beams in its tower-like superstructure and the nodular design of its floor. The purpose of this, according to Dunn, was to generate piezoelectric energy from the quartz-bearing granite of which the chamber was made.

But Dunn must also explain the unique design of the Grand Gallery, and for this reason he makes the crucial - and in my view mistaken - assumption (p. 160) that the vibrations of the Earth were of insufficient amplitude to drive directly the granite beams above the King’s Chamber. The purpose of the Gallery, he surmises, was to collect the vibrational energy over a large area and direct it into the King’s Chamber - in the form of airborne sound - to increase the acoustic energy to the required level.

Here in the Grand Gallery further problems emerge. Dunn claims that the Gallery was fitted with twenty-seven sets of Helmholtz resonators, fixed into position by means of the twenty-seven pairs of niches in the side ramps and the pair of grooves in the side walls. But both the niches and the grooves testify against this theory.

The niches in the side ramps of the Gallery are tucked away next to the walls, where they are overhung by the first of the seven corbels that give the Gallery its distinctive design. They are not in a suitable position to act as supports or anchor points for any kind of structure - hence the peculiar shape of the ladder holding the resonators in figure 41 of Dunn’s book. The true purpose of the niches remains a mystery, but they would not have contained anything taller than 7 feet 6 inches, well short of the 28 feet height of the Gallery.

The grooves in the side walls are also a problem. Dunn suggests that the ladders of resonators were held in place by ‘shot pins’ (presumably made of metal or stone) which slotted into the grooves. But this is inconsistent with the fact that the grooves are continuous, running the whole way up the Gallery from bottom to top. If Dunn’s theory was correct, we would expect to see fifty-four bolt holes in the walls, not two continuous grooves.

It gets worse. J.P. Lepre reports that there are chisel marks all the way along the grooves, indicating that something was once contained between them. In his book The Egyptian Pyramids, p. 82, he writes: ‘Among the interesting architectural features of the Grand Gallery are two grooves cut into the east and west walls... Hundreds of rough chisel marks are staggered along the top edges of these grooves... It is certain that something did traverse the Gallery’. Lepre speculated that the Gallery might have been roofed by ‘cedar panels inlaid with gold’, while for my part I have suggested wooden panels painted with stars (signifying the creation of the stars). But whatever it was that once spanned the Gallery at half its present day height, it completely fouls up Dunn’s theory, as well as a few other theories to boot.

The Granite Plugs and The Antechamber
Dunn’s theory of the Grand Gallery also drives his interpretation of the Granite Plugs (in the Ascending Passage) and the Antechamber to the King’s Chamber.

The Granite Plugs, he suggests, performed two critical roles in the power plant. Firstly, they would have allowed the operators to monitor the energy level in the Gallery, by means of vibration sensors attached to the bottom plug. And secondly, they would have allowed the operators to transmit an out-of-phase interference sound wave into the Gallery, to prevent the vibrating system from running out of control. But if this was the purpose of the Plugs, then why did the builders not fit a single plug? Why was it necessary to fit three? Dunn does not explain. Moreover, he does not explain why the bottom plug was hidden behind a camouflaging stone, the so-called prism stone. Why would the builders have done this, if the operators needed regular access to the Plugs?

The Antechamber, according to Dunn, contained an acoustic filter that allowed only certain desirable frequencies (apparently an F-sharp chord) to enter the King’s Chamber. These input frequencies were matched to the prime resonant frequency of the King’s Chamber. However, there are some aspects of the Antechamber’s design that Dunn’s theory does not address, such as the four vertical grooves in the south wall, and there are other aspects that are not adequately explained, for example the purpose of the Granite Leaf and the standing space in front of it, and the fact that the Antechamber is made primarily of granite (as if to suggest that it was built to resonate in its own right, like the King’s Chamber).

The King’s Chamber
Finally, we come to the King’s Chamber, where the acoustic energy supposedly caused piezoelectric energy to be released by the quartz in the granite. According to Dunn, the prime resonant frequency of the chamber would have been matched to that of hydrogen, thereby ensuring that the hydrogen gas which filled the room would absorb the acoustic and electromagnetic energy efficiently and be pumped to a higher energy state.
But how was this potential energy harnessed and utilised by the Great Pyramid builders?

Here, Dunn stretches our credulity to the limit. His proposal goes like this: a microwave signal from space entered the King’s Chamber via its northern ‘airshaft’ and had its power boosted by a ‘crystal box amplifier’ contained in the sarcophagus. This microwave signal then stimulated the energised hydrogen atoms, causing them to emit microwave energy. This process having repeated itself exponentially, the microwave energy was collected in a receiver contained in the mouth of the southern ‘airshaft’ and thence up through the shaft to the outside of the Pyramid. There, it was beamed up to an orbiting satellite, which in turn channelled the energy back to Earth to provide electricity.

There are several comments to be made here.

Firstly, the mouth of the northern airshaft is cut too high in the wall to align with the sarcophagus, so any incoming microwave signal would have passed right over the top of it. It is not clear how it could have interacted with any equipment inside the box.

Secondly, Dunn assumes that the sarcophagus had no lid (pp. 189, 222) and that the signal interacted with hydrogen atoms inside the box. But there is clear evidence that the sarcophagus did originally have a lid and that it was hermetically sealed (see my book Pyramid of Secrets, pp. 73-74). I am not entirely certain how this affects Dunn’s theory, but there could not have been any hydrogen in the box.

Thirdly, the mouth of the southern airshaft is cut too high in the wall to align with the sarcophagus, so it is difficult to see how the output from the box could have been channeled into the shaft.

Fourthly - and worst of all - Dunn insists that the entire lengths of the northern and southern airshafts would have to have been lined with gold- plated iron in order to have an efficient conduit for the electromagnetic radiation (pp. 186, 221-22). This is quite simply at odds with the facts, as Dunn well knows. For both the shafts have been surveyed by robot and not a trace of a metal lining has been found (the iron plate found by Vyse in 1837 was embedded in masonry close to the southern shaft but it is not clear whether it actually formed part of the shaft). So, what happened to the iron? How was it removed from tiny shafts measuring approximately 8 by 8 inches to their entire lengths of 235 feet and 174 feet respectively? A job for the tooth fairies?

Conclusion - My Personal View
Dunn’s power plant theory has some good points, notably the idea of resonance in the King’s Chamber, but on too many aspects it is at odds with the physical evidence inside the Great Pyramid. The theory requires, at the very least, a major overhaul, and in its present form is unlikely to become the rallying point for an attack on orthodoxy which Dunn sees as an urgent necessity. On a personal note, Dunn is a likeable and intelligent man who evidently possesses boldness of thought and an open mind, and it will be interesting to see whether he can now extend these qualities to the revision - or even abandonment - of his theory!

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'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.'

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