Along with the three main pyramids, the Giza plateau is home to many other amazing attractions. The so-called Tomb of Osiris, also known as the Osiris Shaft, is one such amazing feature. This intriguing tomb, which is comprised of several finely carved levels, is situated beneath the stone causeway of the Pyramid of Khafre. Although the structure’s presence has been known for a while, it has lately been properly excavated and recorded.
In ancient times, the shaft was used as a swimming hole since it was filled with water. In the 1930s, Selim Hassan and his colleagues were among the first investigators of the shaft, but Zahi Hawass and his colleagues fully excavated the shaft in 1999 because the Giza plateau’s water levels had receded enough to allow for a thorough excavation. It took continuous pumping operations to get to the complex’s lowest chamber. The crew led by Hawass discovered three distinct shafts with three distinct floors.(Source)
“During this period, it was the custom for well-to-do persons to cut for themselves very wide and deep shafts ending in a spacious hall out of which opened a series of small chambers, each containing a sarcophagus… Sometimes the shaft is cut abnormally deep and in this case, it is divided into stages as it descends. The most striking example of this type of shaft is that which was cut in the causeway of the Second Pyramid and discovered by me in our sixth season’s work. [italics mine] Upon the surface of the causeway, they first built a platform in the shape of a mastaba, using stones taken from the ruins of the covered corridor of the causeway. In the center of this superstructure they sank a shaft which passed through the roof and floor of the subway running under the causeway to a depth of about 9.00m.
At the bottom of this shaft is a rectangular chamber, in the floor of the eastern side of which is another shaft. This descends about 14.00m and terminates in a spacious hall surrounded by seven burial chambers in each of which is a sarcophagus. two of these sarcophagi, which are of basalt and are monolithic, are so enormous that at first we wondered if they contained the bodies of sacred bulls.In the eastern side of this hall is yet another shaft, about 10.00m deep, but unfortunately it is flooded. Through the clear water we can see that it ends in a colonnaded hall, also having side chambers containing sarcophagi. We tried in vain to pump out the water, but it seems that a spring must have broken through the rock, for continual daily pumping over a period of four years was unable to reduce the water level…” (excerpted from “Excavations At Giza Vol. 5 1933-1934” by Selim Hassan with the collaboration of Mahmoud Darwish, Cairo Government Press, Bulaq 1944, page 193.)
These side chambers consist of a number of artifacts, including ceramic beads, pottery fragments, and ushabtis (small servant figurines). Additionally, basalt “sarcophagi” were discovered in Chambers C, D, and G. The sarcophagi in Chambers C and G included severely deteriorated skeletal remains. The objects, including the sarcophagi, were dated to the 26th dynasty on the basis of stylistic considerations.
One of the most significant gods in ancient Egypt was Osiris, the father of Horus. He was allegedly assassinated by his evil brother Seth, according to folklore (otherwise known as Seti or Sutekh). He was resurrected as the overseer of the afterlife and judge of the dead after being buried by Isis, his wife. He had the appearance of a man who had been mummified and was donning a white feathered cone. (Source)
The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned the existence of this tomb in his description of Egypt in the middle of the fifth century BC, but it had never been possible until now to access it due to the high water levels. Although it was dismissed as a myth by conventional academics, it turned out Herodotus was correct all along.
A perfectly preserved and empty sarcophagus is located inside the lowest chamber of the shaft, which resembles a subterranean hall. It is discovered that the Osiris Shaft’s third level is more intricate in terms of design and architecture.
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The most significant find on the third level of the Osiris Shaft was red-polished earthenware with white paint traces. The pottery remains were traced back to the end of the Old Kingdom during the sixth dynasty, according to experts. As a result, the pottery found in the third level is the earliest piece that could be dated from the entire complex.
It would be an incredibly difficult task to carve such a vast network into the bedrock of Giza, and hardly the work of slaves using bronze tools during the 6th dynasty, which ruled from 2345 to 2181 BC. Iron did not appear in any significant amounts until the eighth century BC.
Based on studies and archaeological evidence uncovered over the years, the Osiris Shaft is thought to have originated in the Old Kingdom, specifically the Sixth Dynasty. In 2017, the Osiris shaft was first made accessible to the general public.