Zahi Hawass has a history of firing off rash accusations against others so I’m not surprised at the way this case has turned out.
I will ask Zahi about it when I debate him in April. My friends Robert Bauval and Robert Schoch have done a great service in clearing the names of Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, at least of the accusation that they took a sample from, and damaged, the so-called Khufu cartouche. It’s unfortunate, though, that the report does not mention the Egyptians who, as I understand it (unless there have been developments I’m unaware of) are still in prison in Cairo accused of aiding and abetting Goerlitz and Erdmann in a ‘crime’ that we now know they did not commit.
Again Robert Bauval has done excellent work in campaigning to get these unfortunate individuals released (further background here: http://disinfo.com/…/scandal-cartouche-khufu-great-pyramid…/). As to the issue of iron in the Great Pyramid, this has been known for some time. An iron plate was found near the end of the southern shaft of the King’s chamber in 1837 and about one-third of that plate is presently in the British Museum although not on display to the public. Bauval and I have both seen and handled the plate and we reported on it in our 1996 book ‘Keeper of Genesis’ (published in the US under the title ‘Message of the Sphinx’).
The plate has been analysed by metallurgists and it is categorically NOT meteoritic iron, which is extremely interesting as it suggests a much earlier dawning of the ‘iron-age’ in Egypt that archaeologists currently accept. The first detailed paper written on the subject is by El Gayer and Jones, “Metallurgical investigation of an iron plate found in 1837 in the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, Egypt” (Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, Vol. 23 No. 2, 1989, pp. 75-83).The paper concludes that ‘the plate was originally manufactured by welding together a number of laminations of iron metal…The quality of the forging operations used to weld the iron fragments together is often exceedingly poor and it is possible that the plate was produced by a very primitive and, in consequence, a very inefficient or inexperienced iron smithy…
It is concluded, on the basis of the present investigation, that the iron plate is very ancient. Furthermore metallurgical evidence supports the archaeological evidence which suggests that the plate was incorporated within the Pyramid at the time that structure was being built.’ Interestingly El Gayer and Jones reported finding traces of gold on the iron plate. Their conclusions, however, have been disputed in a subsequent study by Craddock and Lang (‘Gizeh Iron Revisited’), which is summarised here:http://www.catchpenny.org/iron.html. Bauval and I commented on Craddock and Lang’s opinion in Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx. As usual at Giza nothing is ever quite what it seems.
In December 2013 Dr. Zahi Hawass, former Minister of Antiquity under the now discredited president Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, publicly accused Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann of “stealing the famous Cartouche of the Pharaoh Khufu inside of the pyramid.” The “Khufu-Cartouche” is regarded as the Holy Grail of Egyptology since it is the “smoking gun” evidence that conclusively proves the ownership of the Great Pyramid to this 4th dynasty pharaoh.
Goerlitz and Erdmann, however, strongly denied that they touched the Khufu-Cartouche, let alone stole or damaged it. They claimed that they had official written permission to enter the Great Pyramid after hours, as well as implied permission to collect only a few milligrams of ancient paint from another inscription as well as some small amount of scratching of ‘black stains’ from the granite beams of the King’s Chamber which they wanted for later scientific testing in an accredited laboratory in Germany. The taking of samples took place under the supervision of inspectors from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities as well as security officials. Goerlitz and Erdmann later duly returned the paint samples to the Egyptian authorities after these had been scientifically tested in Germany.
Meanwhile, to defend themselves from the malicious accusations made against them by Dr. Hawass, Goerlitz and Erdmann obtained the help from author and investigator Robert Bauval and Professor Robert Schoch of Boston University. The latter provided photographic and video evidence proving that the Khufu-Cartouche had already been damaged between 2004 and 2006 – which, most ironically, was during the tenure of Dr. Hawass as Director-General of the Giza Pyramids. Nonetheless, and in spite of the conclusive evidence provided to the Egyptian authorities by Goerlitz and Erdmann, the accusations by Dr. Hawass had already provoked a violent reaction in the world media, and unfortunately led to legal action taken by the Egyptian authorities against Goerlitz and Erdmann both in Egypt and, indirectly, in Germany. On February 17, 2015, however, the German Courts decided to close the case, and a settlement was reached with Goerlitz and Erdmann that included a minor penalty as compensation to the Egyptian authorities.
Opening a new Doorway to the Past: The Use of Iron in the Great Pyramid at Giza
Notwithstanding the politics, distractions and shenanigans caused by the rash accusations made by Dr. Hawass, the samples that were collected and scientifically tested in Germany for Goerlitz and Erdmann may have solved the age-long mystery concerning the use of iron and possible advanced technologies used by the Pyramid Builders of Giza.
Goerlitz and Erdmann are not the first discoverers of iron in the Great Pyramid – but their research results finally could close the necessary chain of evidence. The particular importance lies in the proof that they can demonstrate ancient Egyptian wrought iron in the original finding context. Both, the occurrence of 18 black magnetite traces on the ceiling and the iron plate found by J.R. Hill in 1883 (metallurgically investigated by El Gayar & Jones, 1989) provide the physical proof for the use of iron in the Fourth Dynasty. The presence of magnetite and “