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Orthodox Theory

According to Egyptologists, the Well Shaft may have originally been cut to supply air to workers in the Subterranean Chamber. But it was then extended to provide an escape route for the workmen who became trapped in the Grand Gallery when they released the granite plugs into the Ascending Passage, immediately after the king’s burial in the King’s Chamber. These workmen then concealed the shaft’s lower entrance by inserting a secret door in the western wall of the Descending Passage. As for the Grotto, which is accessed via the Well Shaft, this cave-like feature is thought to be of little or no consequence for our understanding of the Pyramid.

Alford Theory

The ventilation theory and the workmen’s evacuation theory encounter a number of serious problems.

It is more likely, in my view, that the lower section of the Well Shaft, B-C-D-E, was cut to provide access from the Descending Passage to the Grotto, this room having been sacred for centuries prior to the construction of the Pyramid. The need for this access may be explained by the need for ongoing rituals, but I favour the idea of a one-off use for the secret burial of the king.

The rough section of the Well Shaft above the Grotto, A-X, was probably an inspection tunnel, dug by the Pyramid’s guardians in order to inspect earthquake damage to the King’s Chamber (in support of this idea, a second tunnel has been cut from the top of the Gallery into the lowermost cavity above the roof of the King’s Chamber).

The purpose of the upper section of the Well Shaft, X-Y-Z, immediately beneath the Grand Gallery, remains a puzzle.

The burial of the king in the Grotto, with the Subterranean Chamber acting as a decoy tomb, would have been an ideal plan from a security point of view. However, an even better plan would have been to use the Grotto as a secondary decoy (hence the deep hole in its floor), with the real tomb being concealed in the vicinity (suggestions for the real tomb’s location are reserved for readers of my book).

A burial of the king’s body in the Grotto – or in its vicinity – would have accorded with the religious axiom ‘the body to earth, the spirit to the sky’, but, more than that, the positioning of the tomb amidst the height of the stepped plateau outcrop beneath the Pyramid would have corresponded to the primeval mound (the risen earth) of the creation myth.

In addition, it may be significant that the total distance from the Pyramid’s main entrance to the Grotto, via the Descending Passage and the Well Shaft, is almost exactly equal to the height of the Pyramid. Perhaps this amazing little fact did not go unnoticed in the mind of the architect.

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