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The Nelson's Chamber Cartouche


Scott Creighton

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Posted (edited)

Hey UM,

The observation below, though presented briefly in another thread here on UM, I consider to be deserving of a thread of its own. So here it is.

Recently the World Scan Project released a video of the so-called ‘Chambers of Construction’ within the Great Pyramid which, naturally, captured some of the painted ‘quarry marks’ upon the various chamber walls.

My attention was immediately drawn to this group of painted markings that are found upon the west wall of Nelson’s Chamber (the 2nd of the four chambers blasted open by Colonel Howard Vyse in 1837):

image.jpeg.f6c7cd6db2b83ef637e728bce8fcdccd.jpeg

According to his Private Journal entry of April 27th 1837 (below), Colonel Vyse entered Nelson's Chamber and apparently drew his own copy of these wall markings:

image.thumb.jpeg.9d8e8349209a5463005de023e6f751fe.jpeg

 

Due to the importance of these markings, Vyse instructed 2 surveys of them to be made. A small-scale survey by J. S. Perring and a second 1:1 survey of the markings by J. R. Hill.  From Vyse’s published account of 10th May 1837 (below), it seems evident that Mr Perring carried out his survey before Mr Hill began his:

image.jpeg.0286bc42abb4b3df7362e836a1220858.jpeg

Perring produced the following copy of these wall markings from Nelson’s Chamber:

image.jpeg.37d6886bca85460eed3f6f1eb79f59ec.jpeg

New York Public Library (Digital Collections)

Some point after May 9th (but before 19th May), J.R. Hill produced a 1:1 version of the same marks, painted onto 2 separate sheets:

image.png.21e6468ea198e7eedfe1219b95e3340e.png

J. R. Hill’s facsimile drawings of the Nelson’s Chamber markings (western wall). 

On 19th May, Hill’s 2 facsimile sheets of these painted markings in Nelson’s chamber were compared against the wall markings and four individual witnesses (R.K. Arbuthnot, Col. Howard Vyse, Joseph Brettell and Henry Raven) all attested to the accuracy of Hill’s facsimile drawings by placing their signatures on the sheets.

In their notes on Hill’s facsimiles, the British Museum write the following:

19. A red ink and brush copy of hieroglyphic graffiti. 'These are, as far as circumstances will admit an exact / facsimiles (sic) of the characters which are found on the walls / of Nelson's Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Ghizeh / opened on the 25th of April 1837 - / Ghizeh May 19th 1837. [signed] [RK?] Arbuthnot - / Col: Howard Vyse / Joseph Cartwright Brettell - Civil Engineer / Henry Raven.' 'on the Second Stone of the Western Side. No.1. / Drawn by JR Hill'. In red ink: 'N.C. N 3'. (see here).

As can be seen in the British Museum notes (from the above UM post), the four witnesses' signatures have been noted by the museum on all of Mr Hill’s facsimile drawings (except those in Campbell’s Chamber which would not be open until 27th May ).

In 1931, Egyptologist Alan Rowe also drew these markings, thus:

image.png.a4d3d9b3f250b995b65353676034e674.png

So, to summarise all of this we have the following:

image.thumb.jpeg.f6db4d2431cfffc7f65436175d5807bc.jpeg

What becomes immediately apparent is the appearance of the long vertical line (the ‘Stick’) in the drawings of Vyse and Hill (witnessed also by 4 men on 19th May 1837) and the disappearance of this stick in the drawing of Perring (1837), Rowe (1931) and the modern photo:

image.thumb.jpeg.15f353cb66571bc53dad7a8d954b4300.jpeg

Anyone on UM care to offer up a rational and logical explanation for this apparent paradox / conflicting information?

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton
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 #1 )

1 hour ago, Scott Creighton said:

...  this group of painted markings that are found upon the west wall of Nelson’s Chamber ...

Anyone interested in this question might (or might not ... ) find it helpful to learn that there is at present a (lengthy) thread on this very subject on another forum.

I suppose that debate might best be described as lively, not to say impassioned, incorporating many full and frank exchanges of views ...

Unfortunately, Scott himself will probably remain in ignorance of this, as he has informed me that my posts no longer deserve the privilege of being read by him, and that, consequently, I have been placed on his "Ignore" list.  :(

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Just now, Windowpane said:

 #1 )

Anyone interested in this question might (or might not ... ) find it helpful to learn that there is at present a (lengthy) thread on this very subject on another forum.

I suppose that debate might best be described as lively, not to say impassioned, incorporating many full and frank exchanges of views ...

Unfortunately, Scott himself will probably remain in ignorance of this, as he has informed me that my posts no longer deserve the privilege of being read by him, and that, consequently, I have been placed on his "Ignore" list.  :(

I was going to to mention the other thread as well. 

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20 minutes ago, Windowpane said:

Anyone interested in this question might (or might not ... ) find it helpful to learn that there is at present a (lengthy) thread on this very subject on another forum.

That's not a reason not to have a discussion about it here, though - I'm sure every topic is covered on more than one website.

( Obviously we would prefer not to be encouraging members to go to another forum to discuss this topic instead of doing so here.  )

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2 hours ago, Scott Creighton said:

 

image.thumb.jpeg.15f353cb66571bc53dad7a8d954b4300.jpeg

Anyone on UM care to offer up a rational and logical explanation for this apparent paradox / conflicting information?

SC

Different copies done by different people, not mysterious at all really. It is reasonable to expect that people make mistakes all the time when they copy someone else's stuff. Because it does happen.

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26 minutes ago, Trelane said:

Different copies done by different people, not mysterious at all really. It is reasonable to expect that people make mistakes all the time when they copy someone else's stuff. Because it does happen.

Obviously it means Vyse found a secret cache of documents, forged stuff and then blew them up. What other reasonable explanation is there?

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18 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

Obviously it means Vyse found a secret cache of documents, forged stuff and then blew them up. What other reasonable explanation is there?

Well there you go. See? My ignorance on this topic is showing again. 

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3 hours ago, Scott Creighton said:

Anyone on UM care to offer up a rational and logical explanation for this apparent paradox / conflicting information?

The "stick" has almost completely vanished today so it must have been very faint in 1837. Perring didn't notice it.

Rowe didn't draw the bottom end of the stick in 1931 even if we can see it on the picture from 2024.

Mistakes happens - rational and logical.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Stokke said:

The "stick" has almost completely vanished today so it must have been very faint in 1837. Perring didn't notice it.

Rowe didn't draw the bottom end of the stick in 1931 even if we can see it on the picture from 2024.

Mistakes happens - rational and logical.

Thanks Morten. 

This is, of course, quite possible. And yes, rational and logical too. However, imo, I doubt it is probable and I say that for the following reasons:

  1. Using just a candle (about 13 lumens), five individuals witnessed the ‘stick’ (at least 2 of them witnessing it on at least 2 separate occasions). It seems improbable to me that all these separate observations were apparently made of this line but Perring somehow missed it.
  2. This is especially so given that Perring was a trained surveyor doing important work.
  3. He managed to observe the small section of the ‘stick’ within the cartouche (that looks like there was an attempt to erase it). If Perring could observe that small section, I see little reason why he could not have observed the rest (as 5 others had done, before Perring and after him).
  4. It seems just too big a coincidence to me that, of all the signs Perring has copied from these chambers, the one sign that he seemingly missed just also happens to be the one that's missing from modern photos (as well as from Rowe’s 1931 rendition). In short, Perring's drawing of this fragmented cartouche accords better with the modern photo of it than does Vyse's or Hill's version.

So, colour me unconvinced.

Anyone any other ideas?

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton
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Posted (edited)

So are you saying the stick appeared in some 150 year old drawings and didn't appear in some other 150 year old drawings, and is currently in a state of disappeared in modern photos in exactly the position as it is disappeared in some 150 year old drawings?

So some old drawings are true to the modern photo. ie No stick?

So some other old drawings  somehow grew a stick?

How many old drawings grew a stick?

Were all the old drawings that grew a stick by the same artist?

Edited by Jon Ellison
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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Jon Ellison said:

 

Hi Jon,

Nice of you to join us here. Your expertise in all things artistic, I'm sure, will be much appreciated by many of the UM peeps here.

Quote

JE: So are you saying the stick appeared in some 150 year old drawings and didn't appear in some other 150 year old drawings, and is currently in a state of disappeared in modern photos in exactly the position as it is disappeared in some 150 year old drawings?

SC: Yes, that's correct.

Quote

JE: So some old drawings are true to the modern photo. ie No stick?

SC: Yes, again.

Quote

JE: So some other old drawings  somehow grew a stick?

SC: Sort of, yes. Kinda - now you see it, now you don't. Now you see it again, now you don't again.

Quote

JE: How many old drawings grew a stick?

SC: Two grew it (Vyse and Hill). Two 'ungrew' it (Perring and Rowe) - though, as Eric Morecambe once famously said, "Not necessarily in that order."

Quote

JE: Were all the old drawings that grew a stick by the same artist?

SC: No. First by Vyse 27th April 1837, second by Hill some time between 9th - 22nd May 1837.

Cheers,

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton
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22 hours ago, Scott Creighton said:

Anyone on UM care to offer up a rational and logical explanation for this apparent paradox / conflicting information?

SC

Easy: the angle of lighting was different every time a copy of the inscription was made.

The 'stick' may not have been part of the inscription because it was just a ridge on the rock.

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35 minutes ago, Scott Creighton said:

Hi Jon,

Nice of you to join us here. Your expertise in all things artistic, I'm sure, will be much appreciated by many of the UM peeps here.

Thank you Sir!

Cool.

So four artists, four drawings, two no stick, two grew a stick .

Question ...

Did the two artists that drew one drawing each with grown sticks.      Draw the grown stick in exactly the same position and in same proportion on both drawings?

In other words.

Did two artists suffer the exact same illusion (The Stick)?

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Jon,

Quote

 

JE: Did the two artists that drew one drawing each with grown sticks.      Draw the grown stick in exactly the same position and in same proportion on both drawings?

In other words.

Did two artists suffer the exact same illusion (The Stick)?

 

I'll let you decide (obviously Vyse's version is much smaller being drawn on a sheet of foolscap):

image.thumb.png.9355ff0fe901891da333d83a406abf4e.png

Edited by Scott Creighton
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Okay. there's only one solution. 

Any image that does NOT include the stick (an omission) cannot be first generation.

Does the painted wall include the stick?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Jon Ellison said:

Okay. there's only one solution. 

Any image that does NOT include the stick (an omission) cannot be first generation.

Does the painted wall include the stick?

Not quite sure what you mean by that, Jon.  The modern photo has no 'stick'  on the wall (as per Perring and Rowe) although there appears to be a fragment of it seen within the cartouche (and looks to me like someone has tried to cover it over with something or rub it away).

image.thumb.png.532bc3288111f371fd79ccd3e1446846.png

 

Can you tell, using your artistic and photographic skills, if that line ever was drawn on the block outside the cartouche?

SC

 

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Okay if the painted wall state is "No Stick" then the painted wall cannot be first generation.

Do we have the first generation image that does by necessity include the stick?  The first generation image from which all subsequent generations of images, with and without stick are derived?

 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Jon Ellison said:

Okay if the painted wall state is "No Stick" then the painted wall cannot be first generation.

Do we have the first generation image that does by necessity include the stick?  The first generation image from which all subsequent generations of images, with and without stick are derived?

 

Hi Jon,

The earliest drawing of the 'stick' appears in Vyse's private journal (see post here). This was drawn in Vyse's journal on 27th April, 1837. Is this the first generation?

My guess is no because my own (long held) view is that Vyse & Co discovered and used markings from outside the GP (probably found in the northern and southern rubble piles) and copied these into the Vyse Chambers. (There's a recent thread here presenting evidence of this). So, if anything is to be considered  an original source, it would be those.

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton
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Okay so we have drawings that could be first generation that include the stick by necessity, but we cannot be sure which one if any is the true first generation image.

set that aside for now. 

There are two possibilities .

1...  Two artists suffered the same illusion (A Stick) independently of one another and went on to record that illusion by drawing near identical images. (With stick).

2...  All images Without a stick are incorrect second generation or onwards copies of the first generation image with stick..

 

Next Question...

Regarding the large facsimile, about A1 sized, white with highly dilute red water color characters.

"Facsimile" by definition being a copy of a document or artwork and not a depiction of an object.

Do we have a copy of the first generation source for the above mentioned facsimile?

 

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5 minutes ago, Jon Ellison said:

Okay so we have drawings that could be first generation that include the stick by necessity, but we cannot be sure which one if any is the true first generation image.

set that aside for now. 

There are two possibilities .

1...  Two artists suffered the same illusion (A Stick) independently of one another and went on to record that illusion by drawing near identical images. (With stick).

I take it you imagine the poor lighting (candle or oil) would cause this "illusion"?

Quote

2...  All images Without a stick are incorrect second generation or onwards copies of the first generation image with stick..

That would surely depend on what you regard as "first generation", no?

Quote

 

Next Question...

Regarding the large facsimile, about A1 sized, white with highly dilute red water color characters.

"Facsimile" by definition being a copy of a document or artwork and not a depiction of an object.

Do we have a copy of the first generation source for the above mentioned facsimile?

 

If you're meaning what Vyse refers to as "Hill's Facsimiles" then, as far as orthodoxy goes, these drawings of Hill's were copied directly from the chamber walls - there was no intermediary drawing as far as orthodoxy goes. Is that what you're asking?

SC

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A facsimile is a copy of an artwork or document.

A drawing or artwork is a depiction of an object.

The facsimile does depict the "stick", therefore it is a "factually similar" copy of an artwork, possibly first generation, which of course would by necessity have to have included the stick for it to have been copied.

Therefore the painted pyramid wall, which does not include the stick cannot have been the first generation source for the facsimile and any previously mentioned drawings that do include a stick.

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Posted (edited)

The facsimile has been signed off as being a good representation of an "original".

Question...

Do we know for sure what that "original" was? Or is it an assumption?

Do we have a copy of the "original" that the large red/white facsimile is a copy of. An "original" that would by necessity have to include the stick for it to be copied into the facsimile? 

Edited by Jon Ellison
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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Jon Ellison said:

Therefore the painted pyramid wall, which does not include the stick cannot have been the first generation source for the facsimile and any previously mentioned drawings that do include a stick.

But don't you think some "illusion" could have caused this stick to be present in some of the drawings (poor lighting or whatever)?

Quote

 

The facsimile has been signed off as being a good representation of an "original".

Question...

Do we know for sure what that "original" was? Or is it an assumption?

 

As I said previously, orthodoxy assumes the original source are the Vyse Chamber wall markings and Hill's drawing a facsimile being a copy of that (original?) artwork.

Quote

Do we have a copy of the "original" that the large red/white facsimile is a copy of. An "original" that would by necessity have to include the stick? 

According to modern photo, this is not what is on this wall of Nelson's, if that is what you are asking? And, if Perring is correct, it wasn't there in 1837 either.  Are you suggesting there was another (true original) source that did have the 'stick'?

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton
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Posted (edited)

In my humble opinion the painted pyramid wall, the large water color facsimile and all drawings that depict a stick are derivatives of a first generation drawing that did depict a stick. The stick being accidentally omitted in some of the above mentioned images.

The progression may well have not been linear or in the sequence often described.

For example the facsimile may have been copied from an "original" (to quote Vyse) image (with stick) before the pyramid wall painting was copied from the same "original" (to quote Vyse) image (without stick). An omission due to poor working conditions and the difficulty in seeing red under near red lighting conditions.

Also in my humble opinion the facsimile was painted on a flat level surface in clean office conditions. No running or streaking of highly dilute water color.

I'm of the understanding that the facsimile was signed off as being an accurate depiction of the (to quote Vyse) "original". 

There is the distinct possibility that the "original" (to quote Vyse) was in fact the first generation drawing.

The above would account for the non existence of the stick in the pyramid wall painting and yet the appearance of the stick in an allegedly subsequent facsimile and some drawings.

In that they are both dissimilar depictions of a first generation portable artist sketchbook image.

One with stick,

One without  stick

Edited by Jon Ellison
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I have no idea where the first generation "original" image would have been obtained from or where it's subject was located. I'm not an Egyptologist.

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