by Barbara Keller

The annual Egypt Rises Again Conference, held at the A.R.E. headquarters in Virginia Beach, on August 14 - 17, gave a rare opportunity for the public to learn about the most recent Giza Plateau discoveries. Key players in the escalating international Sphinx controversy Dr. Joseph Schor, Robert Bauval, and Dr. Zahi Hawass described the status of their current work in Egypt.

Schor, whose Giza exploration permit has not been renewed by the Egyptian Antiquities Committee, confirmed the rumors that his ground-piercing radar equipment found a room or natural cavity 25 to 40 feet underground near the Sphinx. He acknowledged that his research validated the earlier seismic research done by John Anthony West. If and when the authorities renew his permit to dig, Schor insisted that his team could clear the rubble-filled shaft leading to this chamber within a day and a half. Could this chamber possibly be the Hall of Records that Edgar Cayce predicted would be found in 1998?

Robert Bauval, speaking of the language of the ancient skies, said that the Pyramid Texts also suggest that there is something here. He said, We have now reached the point where the evidence is very, very strong. We have theoretical evidence, and we have radar evidence. What happens now? We have to wait to see what Dr. Zahi Hawass has to say!

Although only 8 percent complete, Schor's radar mapping of the Giza Plateau has also indicated a second underground chamber located near the Great Pyramid. Schor graphically described the presence of very unusual formations within the Great Pyramid itself, beneath the floor of the King's Chamber. He told the attentive audience:

 We've done some radar work in the King's Chamber and the Queen's Chamber. The Queen's Chamber shows nothing unusual to us just normal construction. The King's Chamber is very strange. Under that level floor, there is not level support; there is undulating support. So there is a space it goes in a sort of wave form underneath. There's enough support because the stone goes up to the bottom of the floor and then goes down again, like a corrugation. We don't understand that. Now on the wall nearest the sarcophagus (the sarcophagus is only about 18 or 24 inches away from that wall) they come to sharp points. That wall is also corrugated, but there is room for a small corridor there it's about 2 feet or 2-1/2 feet but it's wide enough for a person to walk along that wall on the other side of what you can see. Again we do not understand the corrugation, and we do not understand where that little corridor leads to, but it goes from one end of the wall to the other.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director of the Pyramids, emphasized the ongoing critical need for preservation and restoration as well as exploration and excavation. Aware of the mounting scrutiny of his own activities on the Giza Plateau, Hawass described himself as a guardian of these fragile world treasures. He reiterated his reluctance to allow drilling without further independent sonar verification that there are, in fact, chambers. Hawass reminded his listeners that he was only one member of the Egyptian antiquities authority. When decisions are made to either issue or renew permits, the committee of experts meets and makes the final decision together

During the question and answer period, Bauval asked Hawass if he would be open to independent archaeological research. Hawass responded to the question by citing that the Egyptian Antiquities Committee requires that:

(1) the research must be affiliated with an institution either a museum or university;

(2) there must be a written proposal; and

(3) any filming must be secondary to the research and not released without Egyptian government permission.

Hawass confirmed the existence of the room or cavity and tunnels described by Schor. While describing other new discoveries on the Giza Plateau, Hawass surprised the audience by stating that the Queen's Chamber is the only actual amazing mystery that we do have in the Great Pyramid. He stated that he is looking for the right people with the right degrees who have the robot that can reach the door in the Queen's Chamber air shaft. Hawass promised,

By the end of 1998 we are going to look and to see what is behind this door. This is something very important that we care about . . . and we will make it available to everybody all over the world. This is really something that we are planning to do.

Hawass then addressed the issue of the recent tunneling above the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid. He said that he did arrange to have workers clean up dirt and loose stones in the area of the Second Chamber above the King's Chamber. It does not mean that every work I have to do, I have to make a press conference. He again states,

I am not the only person who gives permission. I am just one individual of a committee of 24 people.

But if Hawass has influence on this committee, he will suggest that within the next six months, the interior of the Great Pyramid be closed to tourists! Why? He is alarmed by the rate at which deterioration is occurring from humidity created by the breath of the very tourists who seek the eternal within its mystery.