Some authors claim, that the great pyramid is completely different from all other pyramids in Egypt. Because, they say, it is completely unadorned on the inside. Without any hint to its builder, and that is, according to Erich von Däniken, an impossibility. Therefore he claims, for example in his TV show "Außerirdische - kehren sie zurück?" (Aliens? do they return?) from 1998 (Translation FD):
"This is it, the King's Chamber, the sweat runs from every pore because of the heat And as everyone recognizes immediately..... Not a tiny hieroglyphic inscription Nothing That absolutely contradicts the tyrant Cheops. When Khufu would actually have been the builder, it would teem from inscriptions in his honour and in honour of the gods, but there is nothing.. Complete anonymity ".
Well, the great pyramid is bare on the inside. The question is: Is this something special? There are at the moment 110 known pyramids in Egypt. I listed on the previous page 41 from the old kingdom, in addition there are about 10 that I didn't consider. Either because they were so incomplete that we can expect them to have no funeral, or because they are clearly cult pyramids with a symbolic chamber which simply could hold no funeral.
But even the pyramids which are so severely damaged that they could not searched for burial remains were inspected to determine whether they contain inscriptions or relief in some form or not. In the following table I have listed all pyramids with inscriptions. Together with the dynasty, the estimated age and whether it is a kings or queens pyramid. [ 1 ]
Zoser's pyramid is really not a pyramid, but a mastaba, which was later expanded into a step pyramid. Mastabas always had decorations in them. The first true step pyramid (which was planned from the outset as a pyramid), contained no more inscriptions. Like all the other pyramids of the 3rd and 4 Dynasty, and most of the buildings of the 5th Dynasty. Only the very last pyramid of this dynasty pyramids texts, together with four other kings and three queens pyramids of the 6th Dynasty. Most of the texts appeared during the reign of the last ruler of the Old Kingdom: Pepi II and his 3 wives built 50% of all inscribed pyramids of the Old Kingdom. Only one later pyramid, that of Ibi of the 8th dynasty had some of the so-called pyramid texts in it, all later pyramids were again without texts on the inside.
The "Fashion" to put texts on the walls of pyramid chambers and passages began about 130 years after Khufu, and lasted, with the exception of Ibi, less than 100 years. The last great king pyramid was built towards the end of the 13th Dynasty, around 1650 BCE. So the era of building large pyramids lasted about 1,000 years, and only in 10% of this time period they were built with texts in them.
We get the same result when we compare the numbers: 9 of 110 pyramids contained texts, that's 8%. So the fact that there are no inscriptions in Khufu's pyramid is no exception, as von D?niken tries to tell his readers, but the rule in ancient Egypt.
It is fascinating, when we stumble in his best-seller The eyes of the Sphinx over a passage which proves that he knew this, more than 10 years before the TV program! Because the chapter "The anonymous wonder of the world; pyramid walls full of texts" we find the following statement:
"Only two hundred years after Khufu ruled Egypt in the last king of the 5th dynasty, Pharaoh Unas (2356-2323 BC). His pyramid at Saqqara was with a height of only forty-seven meters rather puny, but the examination gave the excavators a sensation.
The walls in the grave chamber, the vestibule and the entrance to the middle chamber walls are covered with hieroglyphic texts. In side by side in rows, the columns run from right to left and from top to bottom. These are the oldest inscriptions, and (should probably be "in" FD) Pyramids - but not the only ones."
He spread the claim that the not inscribed Great Pyramid was a unexplainable mystery clearly against better judgement! Well, what can I say?
|Fig. 1 - Typical Mastaba tomb|
Nevertheless, there is the legitimate question: Why are mastabas (and rock tombs) decorated and pyramids are not? And why are there some pyramids with inscriptions and others without? The answer to this question is important because it contributes to the understanding of the whole unfortunate affair.
Mastabas were in the time of the pyramids the tombs of the "common man". Officials, priests, members of the family of the Pharaoh, but also richer craftsmen used this grave form. They were in the pyramid age not as large as the royal mastabas of the early days. They were, as the accompanying picture [ 2 ] shows, usually flat, above-ground tombs of a few meters in length and width. Due to the low height of 2.5-3 meters, the whole building looks like a typical Arab bench, which itself is called mastaba. The Arabs have given the private tombs thus this name.
These mastabas consist of two clearly separate complexes: the upper pre-chambes and chapels, and the underground, or at least deeper and spatially separated grave chamber. While the pre-chambers always were decorated, the grave chamber remained bare until the end of the 5th Dynasty. The Step Pyramid of Zoser, which is seen as an example of a decorated pyramid by some, is really an expanded mastaba. While the galleries below are richly decorated, the burial shaft and grave chamber are bare, aside from the star decoration on the granite plug.
The superstructure of a mastaba was usually was divided into an outer and an inner part. The outer area, to enter through ordinary doors, had the function of an offering chapel. The inner region, however, was the "house" of the dead. In it lived his ka, his life force, which remained near the corpse. The dead expected in his after life his usual surroundings and his wealth, which was given to him by paintings and reliefs. Some mastabas had a slot between the inner and outer areathrough which offerings could be made to the "living area" of the soul (eg Metjen from the time of Sneferu)[ 3 ]
Now let's come back to pyramids. If, for example, a pyramid, was not intended for being the dwelling lace for the pharaoh's soul, the lack of decoration and lettering would be natural and not something special. For then the entire interior of the pyramid had the same purpose as the single grave chamber in the mastaba.
And in fact, the Pharaoh was not a normal, mortal person. He was the incarnation of a god, and should not live forever in the pyramid. His successor, the new Pharaoh, continued his tradition, and the dead rose to the heavens to become a companion of Re's rowing team in the day barque.
|Fig. 2 ? mutilated hieroglyphics|
Further evidence for the special meaning of the inside of a pyramid can be found during the transition to the short period of inscribed pyramids. The chief architect of the Pharaoh Djedkare Asosi, Senedschem Ib Inti, was the first to put inscriptions into the grave chamber of his mastaba. It was simple, not more than an offering list written with ink, but it and other following inscriptions from other grave chamber of officials of this time give the missing pieces to the puzzle. For these inscriptions have a particular style: In the grave chamber strangely altered signs are used; dangerous animals like lions were maimed, and special characters like people were only partially shown (like the example opposite [ 4 ]). This form of writing has been used exclusively in the grave chambers, while the rest of the mastaba was inscribed with ordinary hieroglyphics.
And precisely this new font was later used in the Pyramid Texts. In all pyramid chambers! This proves that the whole interior of a pyramid is equivalent to the grave chamber of a mastaba.
|Fig. 3 - Texts in Tetis pyramid|
Däniken expected texts praising the deeds of the Pharaoh in the pyramids. And also, together with other authors, accurate descriptions of how the pyramids were built for. Unfortunately, the Egyptians were not interested in what we would expect in the pyramids. Even the found text do not fit into the expected scheme, because[ 5 ]
"It is a collection of very different religious texts. [...]
The major theme of the Pyramid Texts is the existence of the dead king in the afterlife, but this is not dealt with in the form of teachings or a description of the afterlife, but with sayings describing ritual acts in connection with the funeral, which will help the dead to future existence. ... "
Nothing with praises of the Pharaoh or his deeds in this world. Not even the existing inscriptions fulfil Däniken's claims. Perhaps the Pharaohs should have asked Däniken before writing such an irrelevant stuff into his pyramid :-)
Here again we see, that it would be better if the re-writers of history, like von Däniken, would know the history they want to rewrite at least a little bit :-)
I think the following is a fair question: Would WE expect to find in OUR graves descriptions that provide information about its construction? And: Has there any tomb ever been found with construction plans or building details chiselled into its walls? Honestly, I know of none. None of the tens of thousands of tombs from 5000 years of written history was AFAIK provided with a description of its construction (if you know one: please tell me). And just in Khufu's pyramid it has to be expected? Why?
Well, because it was just the largest building of ancient humanity, the representatives of alternative history tell us. Yes, that's correct, but only in retrospect. The first "greatest building of humanity" was Zoser's step mastaba. After that Sneferu built three "greatest buildings of the human race." And Khufu could not know that his building stayed the largest monument of antiquity. His son Khafre planned an even larger building, as some peculiarities in the pyramid entries suggest. This reasoning makes no sense at all.
Even the other "largest buildings on earth" are not playing together with von Däniken in including detailed building plans. Neither the Acropolis in Athens or the Coliseum in Rome contained blueprints. What is known of debris from the lighthouse at Alexandria, this was not the case here, nor find we such information in the Gothic cathedrals or the Empire State Building. By what authority are demanding Däniken and other authors that from the pyramids? This argument also makes no sense at all regarding the plan-lessnes of other historical large buildings.
The question remains, why no plan of the architect of the great pyramid has survived at all. Neither on or in the pyramid, nor in archives or caches. No plan, that proves it, that no human architect has had anything to do with the building, right?
Well, but then you could explain 99% of all buildings to be ancient alien artifacts. Because from almost none ancient monument, not even from many buildings from the Middle Ages, plans have survived. All our castles - alien landing sites? Our churches and cathedrals - with few exceptions - alien designs? The city of St. Petersburg would be a hotbed of extraterrestrials. Built in the 18th Century, all the plans are missing. And that was less than 300 years ago, what can you expect with 4500 year old buildings?
Until the early 17th Century ships were built completely without plans, only with the experience of the ship builder. And before I forget: After the cancellation of the Apollo space program, all the construction documents for the Saturn V rocket disappeared. Is it now of extraterrestrial origin?
|Fig. 4 - Transport ships on the causeway of Unis|
While there are no descriptions iof the building process or praises for the Pharaoh inside the pyramids, there were some of them outside. The pyramids stood not around alone in the desert, they were surrounded by several temples and buildings. There was the mortuary temple on the east side of the pyramid, the enclosure (temenos) wall, the valley temple on the banks of the Nile (or al lake), and the so-called "causeway", a tunnel hundreds of meters long, connecting the two large temples.
In these temples WERE inscriptions of the asked for kind, telling about the life of the Pharaoh. And we know from fragments of causeways, that THERE descriptions of the building process were located. They showed scenes of the life of the Pharaoh, and also described the construction of the pyramids. Herodotus admired the causeway of the Khufu pyramid, and its elaborate reliefs, almost more than the Great Pyramid itself.
The picture shows a fragment of Unis causeway at Saqqara, which shows a scene of the transport of stone pillars down the Nile. And in the ruins of the causeway of Sahura, the first king of the 5th Dynasty, a relief was found describing how pyramidion, covered with electron, was dragged by workers to the top of the pyramid.
Unfortunately, all those elaborate cause way carvings are lost, they fell victim to robbers and were burnt to lime except for a few miserable remnants. In Giza, the centre of stone robbers, looting even began in pharaonic times.
|Fig. 5 - Slab from Khufu's causeway|
This is perhaps a good thing, because that was the reason why we could rediscover some slabs from Khufu's causeway and mortuary temple which would have burned to lime by the Romans and Arabs and therefore lost forever. Thus, in the core of the pyramid of King Amenemhat I from the 12th Dynasty in Lisht (built about 800 years after Khufu's) several blocks were found, which are clearly from the causeway of Khufu, and often bear, as in the picture on the left, his name. The picture shows the symbolic representative of a "Pyramid domain" with the name "Khufu's perfect". Pyramid domains were lands which were assigned to a pyramid and produced their goods (food, textiles, beer, wine ...) only for this pyramid. The goods were used to obtain the consent sacrificial cult, but also, for example, to provide emergency relief goods (which are then brought to the needy countrymen of the living or deceased Pharaoh).
Further reliefs are showing the "bulls of Khufu," a procession of bulls where each one represented a herd similar to the pyramid domains, and parts of a royal procession, with fronds carriers, in which unfortunately, just the part where Khufu would be seen is missing . Also we have a craft scene that belongs to the representation pyramid building. It shows a lumberjack felling a tree for the construction of transport ships, tin which rare rock such as basalt and granite was brought to the pyramid site (as in the transport representation of Unis above). [ 6 ]
But why should Amenemhat use in Lisht blocks from Giza, a few dozen kilometers away? Some suspect a temple of Khufu in Lisht, but temples outside of pyramid sites are not known from this time. In addition, there is also relief rubble that waw found directly in Giza at the upper causeway of Khufu, with a style that is very similar to that in Lisht. There is therefore no doubt, that the "praise of Pharaoh" Däniken has expected to be inside an inqccessible burial chamber were where they have been found on other pyramid sites: in temples and causeways. Many of the causeways are not yet fully explored, and it remains to be seen what the future will show.
A still unresolved question is whether the pyramids themselves were inscribed on the outside. The earliest evidence comes from Herodotus, who writes:
"On the pyramid is recorded in Egyptian characters, which quantities of radishes, onions and garlic was consumed by the workers. If I remember the sum, the interpreter who deciphered the inscriptions told me, it were 1600 talents of silver. " 
Truly a strange diet. However, Herodotus clearly mentions "Egyptian letters" on the pyramids. Egyptologists think, that they were only later, handwritten graffiti as found in other pyramid sites, and that the writings did not came from the pyramid age. This is supported by the fact that none of the many 100 casing blocks from the Old Kingdom had any hieroglyph on it.
Several inscription-proponents cite a passage from the Hitat, which says:
"On these stones are inscriptions in that old, unknown letters -. th4re has been no one in Egypt found yet who can understand them. These inscriptions are so extremely numerous that when you only copy what is written on the stones you need 10,000 sheets." 
Unfortunately, this document describes only the INTERIOR of a pyramid (which one can see by reading the previous sentences of the section), the unknown Arabian author is of the opinion that it was the Great Pyramid. But from the description in the other sentences is clear that this is a description of the inscribed pyramids at Saqqara.
But the Hitat contains other descriptions that seam to describe the outside, so this puzzle is still waiting for a solution ...
However, there is other information about planning, construction, ownership and purpose of the pyramids. Left by the Egyptians themselves! These are found in the surrounding tombs, on stelae, in ancient papyri and other documents.
1. Names of pyramid sites
|Fig. 6 - Horizon of Khufu|
Just around the pyramids of the pharaohs his relatives, the high priest and his entourage were buried. Specifically, the priest of a Pharaoh are of interest because they give their allegiance not only to a Pharaoh, but also to his pyramid. Even the construction workers, whose tombs were found several years ago, are an important clue. For each pyramid had a special name, which contained the name of the Pharaoh and had a small pyramid sign at the end of it. Khufu's pyramid was, for example, known as "Horizon of Khufu". When a priest was called "High Priest of the horizon of Khufu", or even the "construction manager of the horizon of Khufu" was discovered, it is clear that the pyramid was meant.
"Fair enough, but maybe this means not the pyramid alone whole complex of the cemetery" is one of the most popular counter-arguments. How do we know that the Egyptians really meant only the pyramid itself?
Because there are several grave inscriptions, fortunately, that make the identity between the pyramid and the name unmistakably clear. The first one is directly from the time of Khufu's son Khafre[ 9 ]:
"This is the decree which I made concerning it: I have not empowered ? any of my brothers, my sisters, or my daughter's children, inferior mortuary priests, or assistant mortuary priests, to take lands, people or anything which I have conveyed to them, for making me mortuary offerings to me therewith, whether their man-servant ?, their brothers or their sisters save to make mortuary offerings (?) [in] my eternal tomb which is at the pyramid "Great-is-Khafre". ....
The term "in / at my eternal tomb which is in the cemetery at the pyramid "Great-is-Khafre" is repeated at least four times (some lines are lost). This inscription is important because it definitively shows a separation between pyramid and necropolis, and that only the pyramid had the name "Great-is-Khafre". It doesn't get clearer.
Well, it can get clearer. In the tomb of Debhen, an official during the reign of Menkaure, a grandson of Khafre. He describes a day when then king visited Giza personally to inspect the progress on his pyramid. Debhen writes[ 10 ]:
"... As for his tomb, it was the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Menkaure, [living forever], who caused that it be [made], when [his majesty] was [upon] the road beside the pyramid, Hirc (the name of one of the three satellite pyramids, FD) in order to inspect the work on his pyramid "Divine-is-Menkaure".
[there came the [naval] commander and the two high priests of Memphis, and the [work]men, standing upon it, to inspect the work on the pyramid "Divine-is-Menkaure". 50 men were assigned to work on it (Debhens tomb, FD) every day..."
This text clearly indicates, that it is the name of the pyramid itself, because in this context a worker can not stand upon a whole cemetery, but only on a building. And it also shows that "Divine-is-Menkaure" does not mean a satellite pyramid, because that had another name.
This makes it clear that the name with the pyramid symbol on its end really means the pyramid itself, and that a "construction manager of the horizon of Khufu" really means a construction worker of the pyramid itself.
2. Direct allocations by Egyptians In addition to the more indirect evidence, there are also some Egyptian sources that directly connect Khufu with his pyramid. These are:
- Westcar Papyrus
This is a story from the Middle Kingdom, probably going back to the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. In it the legitimation of the first king of the Fifth Dynasty, Userkaf, for the creation of a new Dynasty is told, more precisely a prophecy of the miraculous birth of Userkaf. The setting of the tale is the court of Khufu in the Fourth Dynasty. The sons of Khufu are entertaining him with stories about marvellous events from the past, then the last son introduced a real magician to the court who tells the prophecy. The magician Djedi lives in the pyramid in the city of Djed-Sneferu (Sneferu endures forever). Sneferu was the father of Khufu and his pyramids are the ones at Dahshur.
The key passage says, that Djedi knew something about the chambers of a secret Thoth-sanctuary. Whether the number of chambers, or the layout is still controversial. It is essential that Khufu was interested, because he wanted to incorporate this feature into his pyramid[ 11 ]:
"...And he knows the number of the secret chambers of the sanctuary of Thoth."
Now the majesty of King Khufu had been spending time searching for the secret chambers of the sanctuary of Thoth in order to copy them for his pyramid. ..."
The narrative shows that have all of this occurred before or during construction of the pyramid, because one can't plan features for a pyramid that is already finished.
We had this some pages before. "He built his pyramid besides the temple of this goddess and he built a pyramid for the king's daughter Henutsen beside this temple" ? clear enough.
The high priest Manetho, who lived at the beginning of the Hellenistic period, made the first known chronology of Egypt and had, as he told, access to all archives in Egypt.
Unfortunately, no copy of the original work has survived to modern times. We only have a number of partially contradictory copies and reviews of later authors. Sextus Julius Africanus wrote around 220 AD in his work Chronicle a detailed version, while Eusebius wrote around 320 AD, a very different version. Around 800 AD, made the well-known monk Syncellus a compilation of these two transcripts of Manetho, in addition to this source an Armenian copy of Eusebius and other fragments exist.
All three copies containing the Fourth Dynasty tell that a king called Suphis (a Greek translation for Khufu) built the great pyramid which was built according to Herodotus built by Cheops. The sources only differ in the number of the king. According to Africanus it was the second king of the Fourth Dynasty, Eusebius lists him as the third king.
3 Indirect allocation and pyramids as tombs In Egyptian literature sometimes the burial characteristic of pyramids is directly mentioned. Even the kings from Giza are mentioned in that context. The clearest indication that I know about the function of a pyramid can be found at the pyramid of Pepi I. A wooden head (catalogue number T1134)[ 12 ], found in the mortuary temple directly on the pyramid wall says:
The position of the head is marked with the red arrow, so there is no doubt that he meant his pyramid with "tomb".
Admonitions of Ipuwer
Best known is the lament of Ipuwer from the Middle Kingdom, which describes the events in the so-called "first intermediate period" (FIP), more than 250 years after Khufu. In it, the cruelty of this government-less time, when the beggar became king, the architect became a farmer and the king became a beggar, was bemoaned.
First Ipuwer explains why so few documents have survived from the Old Kingdom [ 13 ]:
"Lo, the private chamber, its books are stolen...
Lo, offices are opened,
their records stolen
Lo, scribes are slain,
their writings stolen.
Lo, the scribes of the land-register,
their books are destroyed..."
This was probably the first book burning in history...
Later Ipuwer mentions the pyramids[ 14 ] :
"See now, things are done that never were before,
The king has been robbed by beggars,
See,one buried as hawk (Pharaoh, FD) is (...)
What the pyramid hid is empty."
We see from this text, that the plundering of the pyramids, which were explained as burials of the kings, began only a few years after the pyramid age. No wonder that so few burial remains survived the more than 4000 years to our times.
Sphinx-Stele of Amenhotep II
On it a tale from the youth of the king is told. The relevant passages:[ 15 ] :
"He raised horses that were unequaled. They did not tire when he held the reins; they did not drip sweat in the gallop. He would yoke (them) with the harness at Memphis and would stop at the resting place of ? Harmakhis. He would spend time there leading them around and observing the excellence of the resting-place of Kings Khufu and Khafra, the justified. His heart desired to make their names live. But he kept it to himself, until there would occur what his father Re had ordained for him (i.e., when he would be king) ...
Then (after he was made king, FD) his majesty remembered the place where he had enjoyed himself,in the vicinity of the pyramids and of Harmakhis. One (the King, FD) ordered to make a resting-place there, and to place a stele of limestone in it......"
Here again the attribution is clear. Sphinx (Harmakhis) and resting places of the Pharaos, followed by the mentioning of the sphinx and tha pyramids. The ?resting places? are the pyramids, and they belong to Khufu and Khafre. I don't see how this could get any clearer than this.
There are two more texts from the First Intermediate Period that followed the pyramid age, declaring the pyramids to be tombs. One is the tale of a man talking to his Ba, and a harpers' song. The Ba , the soul of a person containing its personality, explains the man in the first story, that death is not desirable, because [ 16 ]:
"If you think of burial, ...It is taking a man from his house, casting him on a hill. You will not go up to see the sun. Those who built in granite, who erected pyramids[ 18 ]: of excellent construction ? when the builders have become gods (i.e. died, FD) their offering stones are desolate, as if they were the dead who died at the riverbank..."
In the harpers song of Intef it even gets clearer[ 17 ]:
other stay, since the time of the ancestors.
The gods who were before (the dead kings, FD)
rest in their pyramids[ 18 ]:.
blessed nobles too are buried
in their pyramids[ 18 ]:."
There are more text assignments, for example, a restoration stele from the New Kingdom ? but I thing the material collected so far is sufficient.
Well, for some, this is still not sufficient. An author of books about pyramid building aliens told me recently: "As long as you can not show a papyrus in which the building process of Khufu's pyramid is shown in the tiniest detail, there is absolutely no evidence at all." Well, whatever ...
Dating from nach:
Beckerath, Jürgen von; Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten, MÄS 46, Zabern 1997
|||Arnold, Dieter; Lexikon der ägyptischen Baukunst, Artemis 1994, p. 147|
|||Schlott, Adelheid; Schrift und Schreiber im alten Ägypten, C.H.Beck 1989, p. 138 ff|
|||according to Schlott. Beginning on p. 164 she discusses this interesting topic.|
|||Helck, W & Otto, E.; Kleines Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Harrassowitz 1999, p. 239 f|
|||All blocks are discussed and shown in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, Metropolitan Museum of Art 1999, p. 223 ff|
|||Herodot; Historien, Book 2 §125|
|||Graefe; Hitat p. 85|
|||Breasted, James Henry; Ancient Records of Egypt (BAR), University of Chicago press 1906, Vol. 1, p. 91, 93 (§§ 202, 209)|
|||BAR Vol. 1 p. 94, 95 (§211).|
|||Brunner-Traut, Emma; Altägyptische Märchen,Diederichs 1963, S. 48 f|
|||Labrousse, Audran; Regards sur une pyramid, Paris o.J., p. 153f|
|||Lichtheim, Miriam; Ancient Egptian Literature, University of California Press 1973, Vol. 1 p. 155|
|||Lichtheim, Vol. 1 p. 155, 156|
|||Lichtheim, Vol. 2 p. 42|
|||Schlott, p. 187|
|||Schlott, p. 188|
|||Lichtheim translates here "halls" or "tombs", but in the original texts the word "mr" is used, which means in a burial context explicitely pyramids.|