I'm investigating proposed alignments between pyramid* shafts and constellations for a video project, and for it, I need to know shaft angles and directions, the directions with respect to true North on Earth (or easily convertible). My problem in looking into this has been that the pyramids are so steeped in new- (and old-) age pseudoscience that online resources I find are all of questionable veracity (i.e., they seem legit but then conclude that the angles are harmonic magical things therefore it was built by aliens).

Can someone point me to the answer via a reputable resource? I would assume with all the study of the pyramids over the centuries that these things are known and agreed upon by legitimate archaeologists.

*I'm referring to the three main ones in Egypt -- Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.

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    Technically this is a request for reference, but I think this is perhaps the ideal request for a reference. I believe this is entirely in scope for H:SE; it is asking for a fairly specific reference, with fairly specific characteristics. If anyone disagrees, let's continue the discussion on meta
    – MCW
    May 22, 2014 at 16:29
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    @TylerDurden Technically, asking for reference material as the question is not on topic; providing sources to backup assertions given in answers move the answer from personal opinion to supported fact. While you may be correct here, the fact is your answer is personal conjecture without giving sources to show that you didn't just "pull it outta your third point of contact."
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 24, 2015 at 17:16
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    @TylerDurden someone asks for help, someone maybe willing to help. Whats the bone in our meat , to vote to close it? Besides, its an interesting one. If 100's of 'not worth' questions can lie unanswered in the bosom of H:SE , whats the problem with having a valid question not closed?
    – Rohit
    Apr 25, 2015 at 16:16
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    Look, this is really a basic question with no intent to start a war. I do a blog and podcast called "Exposing PseudoAstronomy," and I've been getting into movies, too. I want to do one on the Orion-Pyramid correlation "theory" and show it's bunk. One aspect of it claims the shafts of the Great Pyramid would align with Sirius but only in 10500 BC. Therefore I need shaft angles. As I said in my post, I've looked but can't find reputable sources. I'm an astrophysicist, not an archaeologist nor historian, I don't know where to look for this. If you want to complain I'm lazy, then just don't post. Apr 26, 2015 at 16:42
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    I'll say it again: This is not inherently a "source request." This is a request for a cited answer. I want the answer. But I want to make sure that it's not something randomly begatten from a new-age website. May 13, 2015 at 2:15

4 Answers 4


A resource for the directions of the shafts would be the webpage of the discoverer Mr. Gantenbrinck: http://cheops.org/ But you would need a Java plugin to view the CAD-drawings.

That said, and as Tyler Durden has pointed out and has been IMHO wrongly downvoted:

  • Only Khufu's pyramid has shafts, not Khafre, not Menkaure and no other pyramid.
  • The shafts are not leading continuously into one direction. Gantenbrincks drawings show that well. They change angle and direction several times, especially the lower northern shaft in order to avoid hitting the grand gallery.
  • Their purpose remains a mystery (and will continue to do so until new findings appear IMHO). Certain aspects seem to indicate a practical one, others a ceremonial one. For example, it is possible that the Kings chamber shafts provided air flow during construction. Then again, the shafts of the Queens chamber lead inside the chambers wall stone, but did not break through into the chamber. They were discovered in the 1800s by someone who noticed the shafts in the Kings chamber, then tested with a hammer in the Queens chamber if he could find a similar structure there by sound. He did and opened the shaft for the first time.
  • There is no reputable resource on a relationship between the direction of the shafts and star constellations. It is a fringe theory and not accepted by Egyptology. That's why you find only pseudoscience resources. There are numerous problems with the theory, for example no mentioning of Orion (the constellation they claim they point to) in any of the many Egyptian resources and no direct alignment with a constellation (you have to wiggle and rotate to match).

This answer is a little late, I know :)


Mark Lehner talks about this a bit in The Complete Pyramids, he mentions that they are oriented to Orion. (cf. Bauval R.G., 'A master-plan of the three pyramids of Giza Plateau based on the configuration of the three stars of the belt of Orion', Discussions in Egyptology 13 (1989), 7-18) His bibliography is very useful.

"The 'air shafts' extend like antennae through the body of the pyramid from both the King's and the Queen's Chambers. Those from the King's Chamber penetrate all the way to the outside, though very possibly the pyramid casing closed of these purely cultic shafts which may also have been originally plugged in the chamber." (p112)

"Rudolf Gantendrink's robot, Upuaut II, carried a video camera up the southern shaft of the Queen's Chamber, just 20cm (8in) square. It was stopped after about 65m (213ft) by a fine limestone plug with two embedded copper pins." (p112)

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    he wants reputable sources, not some pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo about astral alignment...
    – jwenting
    Oct 30, 2015 at 6:53
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    Yeah, unfortunately, it's Bauval's claims themselves that I'm trying to figure out if they're real or not. Therefore, using him as a reference for the numbers would not be fair. Nov 10, 2015 at 4:38

There are shafts only in the largest pyramid and none have been found in the others.

The shafts actually make strange and irregular turns at various points, so there is no single "angle" or visage at a particular location in the sky. The depictions you see in books are idealized.

The mode of construction of the shafts is utilitarian and they seem to have some as-yet undiscovered mechanical function. The design and execution of the shafts is consistent with an engineering purpose, not a ceremonial purpose.

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    I don't get the down-votes: it sounds like a valid and informative answer to the question.
    – Greg
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:08
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    @Greg the question asked for a reputabler source and this answer didn't cite any. Apr 28, 2015 at 15:38
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    @CrèmeCaramelita Maybe my English is to weak, but my understanding is that according to the answer there is no that kind of source for the simple reason the statement is a lie / oversimplification. In that sense it is a logical and valid answer.
    – Greg
    Apr 29, 2015 at 10:20

The problem is indeed in the differences; rational approach by scientists and esoteric approaches by others. If you are trying to find out what they point at you should also consider what they give access to (or not) from the outside and as an inspiration check out the ingenious solutions Vince Brown gives with his hypothesis published on pyramidofman.com

The shafts have a reason and ventilation is out of the question. So I hope you can provide answers that can be linked to the projection of the shafts to the figure. We need science to debunk the worst esoteric ideas and try to understand those in correspondence with Ancient Egyptian belief.

Also consider north to astronomically be associated with the plough constellation and septentrio (meaning north as a compound of seven plow/ox) as the seven stars of Ursa Major. The interior of Menkaure and Khafre differ from Khufu’s who seems a man/king figure while the interiors of the other two seem ploughs that are pointing at the heavenly oxen that pull it so the body of the pharaoh in the sarcophagus would be the planted seed to emerge with Osiris (the vegetation rebirth around the spring equinox. The 2 smaller ones clearly refer to the fields of Aru being plowed to give life. Bread was life in Egypt. The sarcophagus of Khufu is in the position of the mouth in Brown’s projection with 2 shafts connected to the jaws thus sarcophagus (flesh eater) containing a Son of Ra has in mythology a counterpart in Cronos eating his children and Zeus is replaced with a stone (the empty sarcophagus?). I don’t believe in aliens. The Ancient Egyptians were a people that culminated a lot of ideas in the pyramids and Khufu’s pyramid is not only the largest but also the most interesting for its interior. And that interior shows a plan. And that plan is not just revealed by measures alone. Good luck and you have a lot of support! We could chat more about this if it helps the context of your finds.

On Egyptian ploughs: https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/inventions/5-amazing-ancient-egyptian-inventions5.htm

Sarcophagus etymology https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/sarcophagus

The interior www.pyramidofman.com/introduction.html


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