Surrey GU6 7PE
September 9th 1979
Thank you for your letter of 3rd August, concerning the Giza pyramids. I think you will agree that you were not exactly forthcoming in reply to my question about what you were expecting to find by excavating in the plateau. - and I think this is understandable. Any speculation on such a matter inevitably leads to a suspicion of "crankiness". because the plain fact is that there is no direct evidence to suggest any purpose For these pyramids other than that indicated by the existence of sarcophagi in the main chambers - namely their use as tombs. I agree that one does not have to be dead to lie in n sarcophagus. but to follow such an apparently perverse line of thought requires some pretty positive evidence to support it, at least if the idea is to gain any credence in scientific terms.
To take some of the points you raise: the tomb of Hetepheres is actually without any form of wall-decoration. the reason being that this tomb lacks the chapel or offering-room in which decorations are usually found. There is only a burial shaft and tomb-chamber - equivalent to the passages and chambers inside a pyramid - and these were never decorated up to the time when the funerary pyramid texts were first inscribed on tile chamber walls at the end of the Vth Dynasty. In the pyramid-complex, the equivalent to the decorated chapel of the private tomb is found, not within the pyramid itself, but in the temple on the east side; and these are known to have been decorated from the reign of Seneferu onwards. You might refer, for example, to "The Pyramids" by Ahmed Fakhry (Univ. of Chicago Press)
The question about the air-shafts is more difficult to answer, but some would say that these were not air-shafts at all but had a symbolic or mystical significance, perhaps connected with the ka of the king. In any case, neither the Second or Third Pyramids have these shafts, and in all three a practical function is almost ruled out by the inaccessibility of the entrances in the casing, and the fact that the passages seem to have been blocked from the outset with plugs and granite portcullises. As to the small chambers above the "King's Chamber" in the Great Pyramid, these were certainly constructional devices intended to spread the load of the masonry.
In the above I have simply given the standard answers to your questions. As a matter of fact, my personal view is that nobody in their right mind would regard the Giza Pyramids either as tombs or as constructions of the IVth Dynasty. The unquestionable IVth-Dynasty use of these pyramids is easily explained as being due to the appropriation of the monuments for use as tombs by kings of this time - as opposed to their actual construction - especially considering that the style of construction is quite different to that of the IIIrd and Vth Dynasties. Consequently, statues of the kings were placed in the adjoining temples, and the originally undecorated walls were inscribed with reliefs.
As to the question of original purpose, my inclination is towards a theory which you seem to reject in your letter, namely that the three pyramids are the manifestation of an extraordinary spiritual insight - but also one which would include, in a certain sense, a continuing functional though not material purpose up to the present time. I know of a book which deals with this question in some detail, and sells in this country for £5 Sterling. I could probably obtain a copy for you, but unless you happen to be particularly interested in the occult or psychic side of life, I hesitate to say any more about it.
The dimensions of Mercury and Venus must have changed dramatically in the past year or two, as my calculations indicate much larger errors in the proportions relative to the three pyramids, than you suggest. I wonder what happened to the pyramid representing Jupiter - with a base-area of 2,1/2 square miles. it shouldn't be hard to find! No doubt there are an endless number of arbitrary coincidences linking the pyramids to the dimensions of the solar system, the number of days in the year, or the weather in Detroit... hope you don't find this letter too discouraging.