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HomeCinemaThe ‘Lost Egyptian Labyrinth' Of Hawara: Is A 2,000-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved?

The ‘Lost Egyptian Labyrinth’ Of Hawara: Is A 2,000-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved?

Archaeologists uncovered what is believed to be the remains of a “lost labyrinth” below the sand of a famous pyramid site, in what was previously thought to be a mythical structure. Known also as the Labyrinth, the Pyramid of Hawara (built by Amenemhet III) was the most visited sites of the ancient World. Herodotus claimed to have counted three thousand rooms in the pyramids funeral complex during the 5th century BC.

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There are many discoveries beneath the surface of our planet which could potentially change the way we look at history itself. One of them is a forgotten world of underground chambers and tunnels that have remained unexplored for centuries. Mentioned in ancient texts and local legends, these mysterious chambers have been considered as a myth up until they were actually discovered.

The ‘Lost Labyrinth of Egypt’ is without a doubt one of those incredible ancient sites that are a lost jewel in today’s history.

This I have actually seen, a work beyond words. For if anyone put together the buildings of the Greeks and display of their labours, they would seem lesser in both effort and expense to this labyrinth… Even the pyramids are beyond words, and each was equal to many and mighty works of the Greeks. Yet the labyrinth surpasses even the pyramids. Herodotus (‘Histories’, Book, II, 148),

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This mysterious underground complex of caverns and chambers was described by authors such as Strabo and even Herodotus who had the opportunity to visit and record the legendary labyrinth before it disappeared into history. According to writing by Herodotus I the IV century BC: the labyrinth wassituated a little above the lake of Moiris and nearly opposite to that which is called the City of Crocodiles (‘Histories,’ Book, II, 148).

The labyrinth (as it has been called by some in the distant past) is said to be an extraordinary underground complex which could hold the key to mankind’s history. It is said that there, we could find details about unknown civilizations in history, great empires, and rulers that lived on the planet before history as we know it began.

“When one had entered the sacred enclosure, one found a temple surrounded by columns, 40 to each side, and this building had a roof made of a single stone, carved with panels and richly adorned with excellent paintings. It contained memorials of the homeland of each of the kings as well as of the temples and sacrifices carried out in it, all skilfully worked in paintings of the greatest beauty.”

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Based on the descriptions of ancient texts such as those from Herodotus, and others who visited the magical labyrinth in the distant past, a 17th century German Jesuit scholar called  Athanasius Kircher, created the first pictorial reproduction of the enigmatic labyrinth just as Herodotus described it: “It has twelve courts covered in, with gates facing one another, six upon the North side and six upon the South, joining on one to another, and the same wall surrounds them all outside; and there are in it two kinds of chambers, the one kind below the ground and the other above upon these, three thousand in number, of each kind fifteen hundred. […]The upper set of chambers we ourselves saw, but the chambers underground we only heard about. For the passages through the chambers, and the goings this way and that way through the courts, which were admirably adorned, afforded endless matter for marvel, as we went through from a court to the chambers to colonnades, and from the colonnades to other rooms, and then from the chambers again to other courts. […]Over the whole of these is roof made of stone like the walls; and the walls are covered with figures craved upon them, each court being surrounded with pillars of white stone fitted together most perfectly; and at the end of the labyrinth, by the corner of it, there is a pyramid of fourty fathoms, upon which large figures are carved, and to this there is a way made under ground. Such is this labyrinth.”

Reconstruction of the Egyptian Labyrinth by Athanasius Kircher (copper-plate engraving) 1670.

Reconstruction of the Egyptian Labyrinth by Athanasius Kircher (copper-plate engraving) 1670.

According to these authors, the underground temple consists of over 3000 rooms which are filled with incredible hieroglyphs and paintings, the enigmatic underground complex is located less than 100 kilometers from Cairo at Hawara. There, in 2008 a group of researchers from Belgium and Egypt arrived to investigate the enigmatic underground complex, with the aid of ground penetrating technology which was used to study the sand in hopes of finding and solving the mystery behind the mysterious underground complex. The Belgian-Egyptian expedition was able to confirm the presence of the underground temple not far from the Pyramid of Amenemhat III.

Possible location of the tunnels.

Possible location of the tunnels.

With no visible remains, the story was thought to simply be a legend passed down by generations until Egyptologist Flinders Petrie uncovered its “foundations” in the 1800s, leading experts to theories the labyrinth was demolished under the reign of Ptolemy II, and used to build the nearby city of Shedyt to honour his wife Arsinoe. Without a doubt, the expedition led by Petrie stumbled upon one of the most incredible discoveries in the history of Egypt, and they did not even need to excavate in order to confirm the finding.

But, in 2008, archaeologists working on the Mataha Expedition made a stunning find below the sands, researcher Ben Van Kerkwyk revealed on his YouTube channel ‘UnchartedX’. The results of the expedition ere published in 2008, shortly after the discovery in the scientific journal of the NRIAG and the results of the research were exchanged in a public lecture at the University of Ghent, which Media from Belgium attended. But the finding was quickly suppressed since the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (Egypt) put a hold to all further communications about the discovery due to Egyptian National Security sanctions.

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