Past Press Releases

CONTENTS: Opening of the Great Pyramid \ Other Sites that Will be Opened to the Public \ Dating the Sphinx \ Lectures \ Publications \ Exhibits \ The Tomb of Osiris


I. Opening of the Great Pyramid

The opening of the Great Pyramid was delayed because we are planning to do a big opening, therefore the timing depends on Mr. Farouk Hosni, Minister of Culture.

We finished the restoration work of about 50 areas that had cracks. Also, the salt has been removed from the pyramid, about 5 cm thick. As we know, the salt comes from the breathing and perspiration of the tourists.

A new lighting system was installed as well as a camera for surveillance to prevent graffiti.

I stated in the newspaper recently that I would like the Great Pyramid to be closed to the public because it suffers from the visits, up to 4000 a day. Therefore, I believe that some of our great monuments in Egypt should be closed, also including the tomb of King Tut, Nefertari and Seti. Those monuments cannot be repeated and if we continue to visit them as we do now then we cannot know what will happen after 50 years to them.

We have to think about:

1) Making copies of them for the public to visit and study;
2) Limit the daily number of tourists who enter inside.

I do not want the next generation to say that we did nothing to save them.

The Great Pyramid is not closed for any secret reason, as many write on the Internet. We still open it to all those who ask to meditate and also others who request to open it.
   I hope that those who have information about the spreading of misinformation will contact me or Mr. Ahmed El-Hager and Mr. Mohamed Efifi, Chief Inspectors of the pyramid. It seems to me that those people always like to create stories and problems.

II. Other Sites that will Be Opened to The Public

A) The Tomb of Seshemnefer

This tomb is located south of the Great Pyramid and is dated to Dynasty 6 of the Old Kingdom.

Seshemnefer was the Director of the two seats in the mansion of life and he was also the secretary of all secret commands of the king and Chief of bat.

The tomb was discovered by Junker, a German Egyptologist. The tomb has a forecourt and is fronted with pillars. It also has a vestibule, court, and a pillared hall.

The tomb also contains an inner hall, an outer hall, and finally an offering room. We did restore the tomb, and it is wonderfully preserved.

B) The Sphinx Temple

The Sphinx temple is a unique temple and is the first sun temple known to have existed. The Sphinx temple lies to the north of Khafre's lower temple, it is located directly in front of the Sphinx. It was built of local limestone, and cased on the inside with fine Tura limestone, granite and alabaster. On the exterior only, the portals were lined with granite. The temple was never completed during the Old Kingdom.

The temple has two entrances on the east, one on the north, and the other on the south. These may represent doorways for Upper and Lower Egypt.

Against the masonry building, the central court, between the opening leading to the peripheral corridor, are a series of rectangular depressions cut into the rock floor. These may have held statues representing the king who built the temple. It is believed that the eastern set (niche) of stepped recesses are for a ritual to the rising sun, and that the western recesses are for the setting sun.

We think that the twenty-four pillars around the hall (six on each side) represent the twelve hours of the day and the twelve hours of the night, and that the four pillars in front of the two innermost recesses represent the arms and legs of the goddess Nut. We believe that the open court is connected with a solar cult or a temple of Ra. This open court is similar to the courts of the upper temple of Khufu and Khafre.

We did an architectural restoration to the temple. Huge stones about 6 - 10 tons were moved from on the ground to the top and our restoration department finished restoring the walls of the temple The temple is beautifully restored and now with the Sphinx and the temple can be seen as complete architectural components.

III. Dating the Sphinx

Read the following article Remnants of A Lost Civilization?

I believe we should close the subject and the argument of the Sphinx date.

IV. Lectures

On January 18th at 3 PM I gave a talk to his majesty King of Sweden (Gustov) and 75 people from the royal family. His majesty was very interested in the pyramids. The palace architecture is wonderful. At the end the king asked me very interesting questions and I presented to him my books, as a gift.

At 6:30 on the same day I gave another talk at the History Museum in Stockholm, about 450 people in attendance. Local television recorded part of the lecture. H.E. Sameh Drar, Ambassador of Egypt in Sweden and Anwar Abou El-Elq, the head of our tourist office, arranged for the lecture and made a reception. The crowd showed interest in Egypt.

Another lecture I gave at the University of Upsala, Sweden. I met the students of Egyptology, and Lana Troy.

The Queen of Denmark
On Wednesday Jan 20, 1999, I gave a talk at the Danish Industries, the room topped with pyramid. The lecture hall had 400 invited persons. At 7:25 Queen Margaret of Denmark arrived. Mr. C. Witten Kamp welcomed the queen and I. Mr. Torben Hoilm Rasmussen introduced me. I gave a one hour lecture and we had one half hour with the Queen. She asked me questions, especially about the Tomb of Osiris.

After the reception I gave another one hour lecture. I traveled the next day with Torben to Helsingborg, Sweden. We took a boat from Copenhagen and I gave a talk to the Association of Friends of Egypt.

On 22 January, I gave a talk about the secrets of the Sphinx at the national Museum arranged by the newspaper, Polotikken.

On Saturday Jan 22, we flew to Aalborg with Mr. Inan Galali, who owns Helnan Hotels, and gave a talk about the pyramids.

Our ambassador in Denmark, Dr. Mohamed Sabaan made a nice reception for me. I left Copenhagen on Jan 25 with good memories of kings and queens.

Lecture To The Queen of Spain
On March 1 the prince of Belgium came to the pyramids. I took him to see the sunset at the pyramids.

I traveled to Madrid by invitation of the Egyptian Association in Madrid. The Director is Ana and thanks to Mrs. Mather Kandiel who arranged for my trip and also my friend Hamdy Zaki, the director of the tourist office. The lecture was given in a beautiful place in Madrid, about 400 people attended.

queensp1.jpg (26137 bytes)
I waited on the Queen in a salon, it was nice to see her majesty. I had met Her Majesty twice before, once in 1988 and the second time in 1996.

Her Majesty came with the king. She insisted to see the tombs of the pyramid builders and it was nice to go without a prior notice.

I talked to her Majesty about the Sphinx and the pyramids. I gave Her Majesty my books as a gift. I gave my talk and also answered questions and accompanied the Queen again to the salon. We talked and invited her to visit my excavation at Giza.

I went to Philadelphia and gave a talk at the University Museum, with over 500 in attendance. David Silverman, the head of the Egyptian Section, introduced me and Dr. Jerry Sabloof, the director of the Museum, made me a wonderful reception and a very special dinner for 20 people.

V. Future Lectures

1. From the beginning of August I will teach a summer course on pyramids at UCLA.

2. On August 21 I will give a talk at the Cayce Foundation on my discoveries at Giza. I hope that after all these lectures and TV appearances that people can understand that what Cayce said about ancient Egypt is a myth. The Arabs from the 9th century talked about this legend and psychics like Cayce and others have brought this myth back. I found that the public need to hear the evidence that we discovered, and all the archaeological records as an answer to the question of who built the pyramids.

3. There are other lectures that I will give in December at the National Geographic in Washington, DC, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.


VI. Publications

1. I wrote a chapter on the discoveries of the Egyptian Archaeologists at Memphis, published in French for the Old Kingdom Exhibit at the Louvre. The same article will appear in a catalog in English for the Metropolitan Museum.

2. A book about Abou Sir will appear soon and be published by the American University Press.

3. I wrote a chapter about the Old Kingdom in a beautiful book called "Treasures from the Cairo Museum", published by White Star in Italy.

4. Mark Lehner and myself are finishing a book about Giza. Thames and Hudson will publish this book. We divided the chapters between us, but this book will answer all the questions that people have. I promised Mark that by June 1st all my writing in the book will be finished.

5. Also, I wrote an article on "Pyramid Construction, New Evidence found at Giza. This article in Rainer Stadelmann's feast Schrift and it gives all the evidence that we discovered at Giza about building the pyramids.

6. I wrote another article published about the intact Tomb of Iuf-aa, in Abou Sir. You can read an article about it HERE.

7. I wrote a few other articles for different scientific journals.

VII. Exhibits

The Louvre Museum and the Metropolitan Museum are organizing an exhibit about the Old Kingdom and the pyramid age. They took artifacts from different museums all over the world including the Cairo Museum. For the first time, the Supreme Council of Antiquities agreed to send fine statues of what I discovered in my excavation in these exhibit. We sent the fine statues to be exhibited for two months. I was very sad that day because they were taking my children away from me.

The statues and the exhibit were opened at the Louvre on 6 April. I could not attend the opening. It will then be opened at the Metropolitan on 13 September 1999.

The first statue is my famous dwarf pr-ny-ankhw, made of basalt, and has an inscription on the right leg that reads "who he pleases his majesty every day". I found these statues in my excavation west of the Great Pyramid.

The other four statues are found in my excavation of the tombs of the pyramid builders. They belong to Inty-shedw, and represent life in different stages.

VIII. The Tomb of Osiris

Material on the Osiris shaft and other discoveries, with photos will be posted here shortly.

Dr. Zahi Hawass
Undersecretary of State For the Giza Monuments

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Past Press Releases:
Opening of tombs and Queen's Pyramids in Giza (2/98)

World Celebrates Successful Restoration of the Sphinx(5/98)

Dr. Hawass Promoted (7/98)

Horse and Camel Stable at Giza/Restoration of Great Pyramid (11/98)