It can be easily considered as one of the greatest discoveries of Ancient Egypt. It was named ‘Labyrinth’ by the Greeks after the complex maze of corridors designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete, where the legendary Minotaur dwelt. Yet today, nothing remains of this supposedly grand temple complex – at least not on the surface. And yet only few know about the existence of the incredible underground Labyrinth of ancient Egypt.
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.
This labyrinth, I have actually seen, is a work beyond words. Put together the buildings of the Greeks and the display of their labours, they would seem lesser in both effort and expense compare 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).
This mysterious underground complex of caverns and chambers is believed to hold the secrets to mankind’s origin, 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. It is also thought to hold sacred ancient text from the lost civilization of Atlantis. And 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.
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 heard about only… 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 beyond it, and from 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 a roof made of stone like the walls; and the walls are covered with figures carved 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 forty fathoms, upon which large figures are carved, and to this there is a way made under ground. Such is this labyrinth. Herodotus
There is a high level of consistency between the different descriptions of the labyrinth written over six centuries between the 5 th century BC to the 1 st century AD. All of them, for example, describe a roof made out of a single stone slab, and all of the accounts are in agreement about its immense beauty. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (1 st century BC) gives one of the most colourful descriptions:
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.
The detailed and consistent descriptions of the labyrinth indicate that it is a place that did indeed exist in the ancient past. In fact, as we will soon discuss, it appears to have already been found…
The enigmatic underground complex is located less than 100 km 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.
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.