Feature Articles – Giza’s Wall of Crows
Giza boasts the biggest ancient sculpture, the Sphinx, and the last surviving wonder of the world, the Great Pyramid. But the biggest man-hewn stone is not to be found in either of them. An impressive stone worked into a wall, situated off the beaten track, weighs an estimated three hundred tons.
by Philip Coppens
West of the Sphinx lies the so-called “Wall of Crows”. It is rarely mentioned in the literature; tourists rarely get a glimpse, unless they cater for a half hour horse or somewhat longer camel ride to the west of the complex. Even then, no-one will point out the existence of the Wall of Crows, even though the drivers take you to within just a few feet.
The structure has a tunnel going through it. This is not a unique feature, as the causeway between the Sphinx and the Second Pyramid also has a tunnel. Unlike that tunnel, the tunnel in the Wall of Crows is towered by an impressive, single stone, believed to weigh about three hundred tons. This immediately puts the Wall in its proper context: why would such a heavy and awe-inspiring stone be used in what today is considered to be a neglected aspect of the complex? Obviously because it wasn’t considered a minor structure by the builders of the Giza complex. Though it is labeled a wall, Mark Foster, a frequent traveler to Egypt with a keen eye on the unreported, believe it has more in common with a giant causeway. It could be seen as a continuation of the causeway of Menkaure’s pyramid, were it not that it is set at a slight angle to it and, more importantly, it is beyond the Valley temple of Menkaure, therefore there should be no reason for a causeway for Menkaure anymore.
All three pyramids have a causeway, the most impressive one today connecting the second biggest pyramid in the world with the Sphinx. But, as Foster point out, “if we assume that it is a causeway and not a wall, we are left with one problem.” For causeways seem to connect places and lead somewhere. But this “causeway” leads to nowhere. It ends in a modern Muslim cemetery below a rock outcrop, an outcrop offering a unique view of all nine pyramids on the plateau. Its Eastern end ends in the desert sand.
Foster point out that certain modern researchers state the Giza structures have been designed with very strict geometrical patterns. In 1989 and again in 1994, the Belgian-born human resource manager Robert Bauval pointed out the three main pyramids on the plateau echo a part of the Orion-constellation, Orion’s Belt. Other researchers, however, concentrate their research on the entire plateau. One of these researchers is Alfonso Rubino, who believes that the center of the Great Pyramid and the center of the third Pyramid (attributed to Menkaure/Mycerinos), together with a spot coinciding with the Eastern end of the Wall of Crows marks a sacred triangle. It seems, however that Rubino in his mathematical deduction was unaware of the existence of this Wall of Crows. Mark Foster wonder whether there might have been, or still be, something on this position, perhaps currently underground. British Egyptologist Simon Cox believes the Wall of Crows marks the boundary of the Giza complex. He believes the opening in the Wall marks the original entrance to the complex. As such, the visitor would immediately be welcomed by the biggest single block of stone used in the entire complex, an apt welcome to an area where stones were placed on top of each other with an apparent disregard for gravity.
What would visitors see if they were to enter the complex? On their left, they would see the causeway and pyramid of Menkaure. Closest to them would be the Valley Temple of Menkaure, the Valley Temple of Kafre, the Sphinx Temple and, of course, the Sphinx. Towering above these temples would be the two biggest stone pyramids. To the East, modern research suggests, would be an artificial lake, leading down towards to the Nile. Next to the Wall of Crows is a rock outcrop. It gives, as stated above, a unique view of the nine major pyramids and Sphinx. Nowhere else can all nine major pyramids be seen then from this rock outcrop and its immediate surrounding. Some tourists have observed the rock outcrop looks artificial. Indeed, its horizontal layers of rock look like an artificial structure. It is, however, natural. It is the highest outcrop of a semi-circular ring of hills surrounding the Giza complex.
Certain archaeologists, considered slightly “far out” by their conservative colleagues, have stated their conviction that certain archaeological monuments, also in Egypt, can be found near rocks that bear “artificial” marks. Though entirely natural, the human eye observes the natural structure as resembling something alive, like a bird, a face, etc. This is called subliminal art and it is believed that certain ancient people used this deliberately in their monuments. The stones at Avebury, England, are a very good example: it seems as if faces have been sculpted in them.
Such natural, subliminal stones have been found in the Valley of the Kings and near Edfu. Could the rock outcrop near the Wall of Crows join them? The rock looks like a serpent, for several reasons: it has a “mouth” (a cave), two “eyes”, apparently natural rock outcrops on top of the rock outcrop, and has the general profile and upfront view of a serpent’s head. The serpent being particularly important to the Egyptians, it could be that both the Sphinx and this “serpent” were considered to be protecting the complex. For, as many authors, including Andrew Collins, have pointed out, the pyramids were build on a hill which seems to have been identified with the primeval hill, from which the Egyptian god Atum created the world. As such, the hill would similar to the biblical “Garden of Eden”, which is nothing more (and less) than an enclosed sacred space. And if the Wall of Crows would be the enclosing wall, that would be exactly what Giza would be: sacred space, dedicated to the creator God. This article originally appeared in Legendary Times, No. 1, November 1998.