Egypt’s Mysterious “Area 51”

By Derek Olson

I recently interviewed (linked at bottom of page) renowned Egyptologist and tour guide Mohamed Ibrahim, and asked him about a mysterious structure located about three miles southeast of the Giza pyramids called “Zawyet El Aryan,” or as he calls it, “Egypt’s Area 51.” Since the EgyptIan military seized control of this ancient site in the early 1960s, no one is allowed to enter it. Any further excavation or research of this site has been forbidden. The only photos we have, which are featured here, are from the excavations of Italian archaeologist Alessandro Barsanti who found the remains of this megalithic marvel in 1900, and started excavating in 1904. According to Mohamed Ibrahim, Alessandro Barsanti found the title “Stargate” in a stone next to this enigmatic structure.

The descending corridor is 100 meters long, 25 meters wide and 30 meters deep. Alexandre Moret, a French Egyptologist (1869-1938) who visited the site after it had been excavated by Barsanti), was impressed by the sheer quality of the construction: “The walls of the cavity (corridor and chamber) are simply cut out from the the limestone plateau; the profiles have such a sharpness to it that it seems that they have been cut out from the rock with a stretched thread, as if it was a clod of butter.”

Barsanti was struck by the sheer quality of the stone work of the descending shaft and the open room at the bottom. The entire base of Zawyet El Aryan is cut out of the local limestone rock. Its base is 200 meters or 660 feet, which would make it almost as tall as the Great Pyramid in Giza! A large descending shaft was cut out of this rock leading to a subterranean chamber. A North-South corridor leads directly to a chamber that is located exactly under the vertical axis of the pyramid. The chamber measure 11.7 x 24 meters (38 x 78 feet). The entire floor of the chamber is dressed with massive granite blocks. The blocks measure 4.5 m (15 feet) long and 2.5 m (8.2 feet) thick and weigh up to 9 tons each. At the West end of the chamber is a curious feature: an oval tub cut into one of the granite blocks of the foundation. It is usually referred to as a sarcophagus, but this is clearly not the case when you read Barsanti’s original description below.

When clearing the descending corridor Barsanti found at the bottom end a strange construction made from granite blocks: “Right at this point we encountered a large block of granite weighing about thirty tons, which was placed horizontally on the surface of other blocks which seemed to form the pavement of the pit. At first I imagined that I was standing in front of the gate of the monument, but descending still lower, I met two other blocks of the same or similar size, which were placed side by side, then below two blocks, also of granite, and 1 meter 6 centimeters thick, but placed on the same rock.”

Although Barsanti never called it a sarcophagus because he clearly saw that this was not the case, modern archaeologist still call it so. Alexandre Moret, the French archaeologist mentioned before, also did not call it a sarcophagus; he called it a vat: “In one of the granite blocks an oval vat has been cut out; it is two meters long and one meter deep; a beautiful lid with four ear cups protects it; The whole thing is polished like a mirror and shaped with the same care as an ornament.”

Barsanti’s description of the chamber and the curious oval “tub,” and how it was sealed and protected is truly remarkable…

“While this search was continuing on the north side, almost in the center of the west side, on March 12, I discovered an object of an entirely new form. It is a large oval vat (Plate III), made of pink granite, polished like a mirror, and with a depth of 1 meter and 5 centimeters. It is carved out of one of the blocks of the pavement which occupies the bottom of the pit, and the Egyptian architects had taken their measures carefully to protect it. They had spread over the lid a layer of lime, and over the lime a thick bed of well-spread clay, which entirely prevented it from contact with the limestone blocks stacked over it. These had, moreover, been placed regularly on the clay side by side, so as to enclose the precious form with a kind of insulating protection. The lid was luted in the vat with plaster, and it was with real emotion that I put myself in a position to lift it. All precautions taken made me hope that the contents would be most precious, but I was once more deceived: when the inside of the tank appeared, I found it completely empty. I only noticed that the side walls were lined with a black band that was 0 meter and 10 centimeters in height. It is probably the very light deposit of some liquid enclosed in the vat as an offering or libation, and which would have evaporated over the years. It has been hypothesized that this tank was an unused sarcophagus, but I do not think so. The care with which it was protected, proves that it contained something, and the blackish deposit indicates the nature of this content. One would not have taken the precaution of concealing it under an enormous mass of blocks if it had been empty at that time.”

Why do you think this subterranean structure has been placed under military control since the early 1960s and is restricted from further research? Listen to the full podcast interview below



One thought on “Egypt’s Mysterious “Area 51”

  1. Hmmm… if you had a sample of that black residue from the inside of that vat, you might have a clue as to what some of the other mysterious stone vats found in Egypt were used for. As researchers, didn’t Moret or Barsanti take samples of it? Could these still be around somewhere in a major museum’s back rooms?

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