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retired. Having measured and examined the different parts of it we came out, and descended by the ladder.'-pp. 354–356.
This brief account of Mr. Davison's discoveries will enable us to appreciate the labours of another enterprizing traveller, of whose extraordinary exertions, courage, and perseverance, and the brilliant discoveries to which they led, we have been favoured with ' a very interesting account, drawn up roughly by our consul-general, Mr. Salt, by whose zeal, personal exertions, influence with the pashaw, and great pecuniary liberality, many of the hidden treasures of Egypt have been brought to light; some of which have already found their way, and others are following, to that magnificent depository of nature and art, the British Museum.
The person to whom we allude is Mr. Caviglia, the master and, we believe, owner of a mercantile vessel in the Mediterranean trade, who,' Mr. Salt informs us, was most actively employed, for a period of nearly six months, in carrying on his researches with a disinterested zeal that merits general admiration, and will ensure him the gratitude of all who take pleasure in the studies of the antiquarian. In tracing the progress of those researches, we cannot do better than adhere as closely to the words of Mr. Salt as our necessarily abridged narrative will admit.
Mr. Caviglia (who is described as a gentleman with whose amiable character is blended an ardent enthusiasm for such pursuits) had long entertained an opinion that, among the antiquities so justly celebrated in Egypt, much yet remained to be explored that might throw a light upon the peculiar rites and usages of its ancient inhabitants, and as nothing had excited his attention more than the stupendous pyramids of Gizeh, he had determined, whenever the opportunity occurred, to exert his utmost efforts in clearing up the mystery which still hangs over the real intention of the numerous passages and the interior chambers of those venerable structures. With this determination he set out from Alexandria for Cairo, where he arrived on the 26th December, 1816, and immediately entered into an arrangement with two gentlemen of the names of Kabitziet and La Fuentes, in consequence of which they were to accompany him, with ropes and other necessary apparatus, to the grand pyramid; this they accordingly did on the Sth January following
The first object which Mr. Caviglia had in view was to examine the Well' in the chamber of the great pyramid, the descent of which, as it would seem, both he and Mr. Salt considered as an enterprize never yet accomplished ;-that Well (it is Mr. Salt who speaks)' which had so long baffled all research, and respecting which various rumours had been propagated of persons having been let down at different times, who never had returned to explain the mystery in which it was enveloped, a circumstance that had deterred many others from what was so generally considered as a desperate attempt.'
Mr. Caviglia, on reaching the chamber into which the mouth opens, fixed a rope round his waist, and, with a lamp in his hand, immediately began to descend, his friends remaining above to secure the ropes. He describes the several shafts of this Well pretty nearly in the same terms as Mr. Davison; and be met with the same difficulty in persuading an Arab to go down and assist him in the removal of several stones of granite which had choaked up the second shaft. The only novelty which we perceive is the fact of the shaft being lined with masonry above and below the grotto, to support, as was supposed, one of those insulated beds of gravel which are frequently found in rock, and which the masons call flaws. There was no difficulty in reaching the bottom; but the heat was found to be excessive, the air very impure ; and the lamp soon began to burn with a faint and glimmering light. Finding nothing there but a collection of loose stones and rubbish, he hastened to return to his companions, but had scarcely time to reach the grotto, when all the lamps went out in rapid succession ;-a circumstance that occasioned considerable alarm, and obliged the whole party to make a precipitate retreat.
On their arrival at Cairo, Mr. Salt says, they were overwhelmed with congratulations from those who had blamed their rashness and predicted their failure: those,' he adds, who have visited the pyramids and have seen the stoutest men faint in getting up even to the gallery, who have experienced the enervating effect of the foul air in these subterranean chavnels, and have heard the various histories current at Cairo of persons supposed to have formerly perished in the attempt, will know how to appreciate the firmness of nerve, undaunted resolution, and admirable presence of mind displayed through this adventure; the rare union of which could alone have brought it to a successful termination.'
Mr. Caviglia, however, was by no ineans satisfied with the result of this supposed first discovery of the bottom of the Well; but from the circumstance of the ground giving a hollow sound under bis feet, he was satisfied that there must be some concealed outlet. With the view of making further discovery, he pitched his tent in front of the entrance of the great pyramid, determined to set about excavating the bottom of the Well. He hired some Arabs to draw up the rubbish with baskets and cords; but from the extreme reluctance of these people to work, notwithstanding the enormous wages given to them, he was compelled to suspend his operations and give up the enterprize, till an order from the Kiaya-bey had been procured, which had the effect of subduing their indolence, and, to a certain
degree, of removing their prejudices, It is still,' says Mr. Salt,
almost inconceivable how he could so far surmount the prejudices of these people as to induce them to work in so confined a space, where a dight, after the first half hour, would not burn, and where, consequently, every thing was to be done by feeling and not by sight; the heat at the same time being so intense and the air so suffocating that, in spite of all precautions, it was not possible to stay below an hour at a time without suffering from its pernicious effects. At length, indeed, it became so intolerable that one Arab was brought up nearly dead, and several others, on their ascending, fainted away; so that at last, in spite of the command laid upon them, they almost entirely abandoned their labour, declaring ihat they were willing to work but not to die for him.'
Thus discouraged, Mr. Caviglia next turned his attention to the clearing of the principal entrance or passage of the pyramid which, from time immemorial, had been so blocked up as to oblige those who entered to creep on their hands and knees; hoping by this to give a freer passage to the air. He not only succeeded in carrying his purpose into effect, but, in the course of his labours, made the unexpected discovery that the main passage, leading from the entrance, did not terminate in the manner asserted by Maillet, but (having removed several large masses of calcareous stone and granite, apparently placed there to obstruct the passage) that it still coitinued in the same inclined angle downwards, was of the same dimensions, and had its sides worked with the same care, as in the channel above, though filled up nearly to the top with earth and fragments of stone. Having proceeded to the length of 150 feet in clearing out this passage, the air began to be so impure and the heat so suffocating that he had the same difficulties again to encounter with regard to the working Arabs. Even his own health was at this time visibly impaired, and he was attacked with a spitting of blood; nothing, however, could induce him to desist from his researches.
By the 14th March he had excavated as low down as 200 feet in the new passage without any thing particular occurring, when shortly afterwards a doorway on the right side was discovered, from which, in the course of a few hours, a strong smell of sulphur was perceived to issue. Mr. Caviglia having now recollected that when at the bottom of the Well, in his first enterprize, he had burned some sulphur for the purpose of purifying the air, conceived it probable that this doorway might communicate with it, an idea which, in a little time, he had the gratification of seeing realized, by discovering that the channel through the doorway opened at once upon the bottom of the Well, where he found the baskets, cords and other implements which had been left there on his recent attempt at a further excavation. This discovery was so far valuable
as it afforded a complete circulation of air along the new passage, and up the shaft of the Well into the chamber, so as to obviate all danger for the future from the impurity of the atmosphere. Mr. Salt, after this, made the tour of the long passage, and up the shafts into the great gallery, without much inconvenience.
It will be seen, on referring to our Thirty-third Number, that our notions respecting this Well were tolerably correct, though we could not at that time exactly appreciate the accuracy of Dr. Clarke's experiment of throwing down the stone, nor the validity of his reasoning upon it. We have now the means of estimating the value of both; and they must be allowed to form a very curious instance of the force of imagination bolstering itself up on ancient authority. This ingenious traveller says, “ We threw down some stones, and observed that they rested at about the depth which Greaves has mentioned (twenty feet); but being at length provided with a stone nearly as large as the mouth of the well, and about fifty pounds in weight, we let this fall, listening attentively to the result from the spot where the other stones rested. We were agreeably surprized by hearing, after a length of time which must have equalled some seconds, a loud and distinct report, seeming to come from a spacious subterraneous apartment, accompanied by a splashing noise as if the stone had been broken into pieces, and bad fallen into a reservoir of water at an amazing depth. Thus,' continues the Doctor, does experience always tend to confirm the accounts left us by the ancients! for this exactly answers to the description given by Pliny of this well!'
Now it is quite obvious, from Messrs. Davison and Caviglia's better experience, that Dr. Clarke's
large stone' could not, by any possibility, travel an inch beyond the bottom of the first shaft, or about twenty feet; unless we are to suppose that, on reaching the first bottom, it took a horizontal roll due south eight feet, dropped down the second shaft of five feet; then took a second roll of about five feet, and finally tumbled down the third shaft: but even thus there would be no splashing,' though the inundation of the Nile was nearly at its height;' as a new chamber, discovered by Caviglia, which is even lower than the bottom of the Well, is stated to be thirty feet above the level of the Nile at its greatest elevation. Of this chamber we have now to give some account.
The new passage did not terminate at the doorway which opened upon the bottom of the Well. Continuing to the distance of twentythree feet beyond it, in the same angle of inclination, it became narrower, and took a horizontal direction for about twenty-eight feet farther, where it opened into a spacious chamber, immediately under the central point of the pyranid. This new chamber is sixty-six feet long by twenty-seven feet broad, with a flat roof, and,
when first discovered, was nearly filled with loose stones and rubbish, which, with considerable labour, Mr. Caviglia removed. The platform of the floor, dug out of the rock, is irregular, nearly one half of the length from the eastern or entrance end being level, and about fifteen feet from the ceiling; while in the middle it descends five feet lower, in which part there is a hollow space bearing all the appearance
of the commencement of a well or shaft. From hence it rises to the western end, so that at this extremity there is scarcely room between the floor and the ceiling to stand upright, the whole chamber having the appearance of an unfinished excavation; though Mr. Salt thinks, after a careful comparison of it with other subterranean chambers which have been disfigured by the combined effects of time and the rude hands of curious inquirers, that it may once have been highly wrought, and used, perhaps, for the performance of solemn and secret mysteries. Some Roman characters, rudely formed, had been marked with the flame of a candle on the rock, part of which having mouldered away rendered the words illegible. Mr. Salt says, he had flattered himself that this chamber would turn out to be that described by Herodotus as containing the tomb of Cheops which was insulated by a canal from the Nile; but the want of an inlet, and its elevation of thirty feet above the level of the Nile at its highest point, put an end to this delusive idea. He thinks, however, from an expression of Strabo, purporting that the passage from the entrance leads directly down to the chamber which contained the Quid, (the receptacle of the dead,) that this new chamber was the only one known to that author. Whatever might have been the intention of this deeply excavated chamber, no vestige of a sarcophagus could now be traced. “It was left for a mussulman,' says Mr. Salt, to discover the real sanctuary and to despoil the tombs of their contents. Al Mamoun, the son of Haroun al Raschid, prompted by the treasuresearching spirit of the age, effected this laborious undertaking, which, though not so arduous as it is described to have been by Maillet, might well defy any efforts but those of a sovereign enthusiastic in the pursuit.' To Dr. Clarke, who, in defiance of numerous authorities, affects to consider the researches of the early Arabs within the pyramids as a legendary tale, we recommend the perusal of the Arabic inscription found by Belzoni in the chamber of the pyramid of Cephrenes.
On the south side of this irregularly formed or unfinished chamber, is an excavated passage just wide and high enough for a man to creep along on his hands and knees, continuing horizontally in the rock for fifty-five feet-where it abruptly terminates. Another passage at the east end of the chamber commences with a kind of arch, and runs about forty feet into the solid body of the pyramid.