First, i'll have to say it is not entirely clear if there is a mystery at all. But, with a title claiming there is, i know it is bit anticlimactic to
relativize the initial premise and therefore, the purpose of the thread. The reason for this is the lack of reliable information, documentation and
missing crucial evidence. That would be in itself one aspect of this two-fold mystery. Even after a reasonably exhaustive search for all relevant
details, i was unable to conclusively verify the determining facts. Having said that, the claim that there is indeed a mystery surrounding the persian
tombs, remains open for discussion.
The persian tombs ( saite tombs, persian shafts) are located to the south of the Unas Pyramid in northern Saqqara, 15km south of Giza. The tombs are
attributed to three officials of 26th dynasty (late period, ca. 670-330 BC) namely, Djenhebu -‘Overseer of Royal Freight Boats’, Psamtik - ‘The
Greatest of the Physicians’ and his son, Pediese - ‘Secretary of the Royal Weaving’. All of the three lived and were supposedly buried during
the reign of Ahmose II. The first who excavated the tombs in modern times (early 20th century) was Alessandro Barsanti, he's also being credited with
Pyramid of Unas
-Links to more backround info
Late period tombs
Pyramid of Unas
I will leave out any further information regarding the decoration of the burial chambers, the artifacts found etc. for now, except for the details
relevant to explain the mystery.
- the Mystery
As said before, the shaft entrance is located directly to the south of the Unas Pyramid (see Satellite image & map below) and this is exactly the
point from where it becomes almost impossible to provide conclusive evidence.
All (reliable) sources specify the depth of the vertical entrance shaft with 20m/82ft (in some rare cases 25m), making the tombs one of the deepest
burial chambers in Egypt. The single shaft is said to be the only entrance (again, according to the sources i consider most reliable), on the
Satellite images and the pictures from the surrounding area are no other shafts/entrances discernible.
Location of the persian tombs
Some sources mentioning connecting tunnels constructed in modern times, this either incorrect or in relation to any of the other persian tombs (e.g.
Tomb of Amen-tefnakht). The shaft was originally directly carved into the bedrock, with the purpose to "constructed in such a way in an attempt to
outwit ancient tomb-robbers". Allegedly this attempt has failed and it is stated that it were tomb-robbers who had carved a spiral entrance passage.
The problem with this statement is one, the lack of verifiable information (i was unable to find a detailed report, documentation or any drawings from
the Barsanti excavation, there are no pictures of shaft entrance or the steel-staircase build into the shaft by modern excavators) two, the
contradicting information regarding the artifacts that have been found, especially in the Djenhebu tomb.
If the tomb was raided then the question remains why modern excavations were able to find gold pendants, inscribed cloth and so on. Whatever the case
is, for the mystery at hand the question is of secondary nature, it was mainly raised to point out the difficulty to establish the facts.
To summarize, the location of the persian tombs is known, there is no confirmed second entrance, either from the surface or through connecting tunnels
from other underground structures in the area. Today, the entrance is concealed by a small stone hut with an iron door.
It is sometimes stated that it would be possible to access the tombs by bribing a guard, however there are no reports from people who were able to do
so in recent times, most tourist information sites only giving a short notice that access is currently restricted for visitors, this has been the case
for the last several years. The interior is also confirmed fact, two chambers are empty with the third chamber containing the mystery.
- Size does matter.
Until information to the contrary surfaces, the size given for the shaft is: 20m deep (vertical) 1,4m x 1,5m wide. From the bottom end of the shaft,
two horizontal shafts leading to the east and to the west and after one (or resp. two) right-angle turns to the burial chambers (Pediese, Psamtik,
Djenhebu - from east to west).
The size given for the shaft to the western chamber is: 4m long, 1,50m high and 0,80m wide. The passage directly in front of the western chamber is
described to be made of limestone blocks with the door way made of large rectangular granite blocks. The sizes for the chamber itself are 3.5m high
(at the highest point), 5m long and 3m wide.
Inside, on the bottom of the chamber lies a so called anthropoid sarcophagus, the outer form directly carved into the bedrock and the inner basalt
sarcophagus seamlessly fitted into the form. Above it, today resting on six limestone pillars, sits a large granite monolith, which was originally
lying directly on the bottom floor, on top of the sarcophagus.
Passage/shaft into the chamber
It is the existence of this monolith, inside the chamber what is making the persian tombs an unsolved mystery. If all the available information is
correct, it shouldn't be there, but it is.
Monolith, top view
The size of the monolith: 4m long - 2.5m wide - 1.25m high with an estimated weight of 37 tons. It is almost filling out the entire chamber from left
to right, but does not touch the wall on any point.
The only source confirming that it is most certainly (Assuan) rose granite, is a construction engineer who was able to visit the tombs in the late
90's. There is no other official record even discussing the existence of the stone, let alone providing any information about its substance or how it
got there. The only unofficial information from a local egyptologist is the statement that the stone's material is currently being tested (date
In northern Saqqara, south of the Pyramid of Unas, inside a tomb 20m deep underground, lies a 37 ton monolith made of a different material than the
surrounding bedrock, far to large to fit through the narrow entrance shafts (vertical and horizontal).
This mystery can be solved, if it turns out:
-There is another entrance leading directly into the chamber.
-The monolith is of the same material as the surrounding bedrock stone.
If any of the local expert can provide additional information, it would be highly appreciated.
When i try to fathom how the AE were able to do this:
I feel a bit like a toddler trying to solve this:
edit on 11-1-2013 by talklikeapirat because: rstw
edit on 11-1-2013 by talklikeapirat because: typ o