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        Underground Constructions: (Form and Function)

There are several well known examples of ancient underground complexes ...

...and a great many more rumoured to exist.


Featured Underground Sites - Quick links:

Apart from the obvious benefits of protection, underground sites served as symbolic entrances to the underworld, as demonstrated by the 'sybill's' of ancient Greece, who invariably frequented natural openings in the ground for their Oracle centres. The Greeks used to place 'Omphalus' over smaller 'entrances to the underworld'. The same traditions exist throughout megalithic Europe and around the ancient world.


Recent Discoveries:

Article: (Sept, 2012)

'First Ever Etruscan Pyramids Found in Italy'.

Archaeologists have started clearing an underground pyramid-shaped vault, the top part of which has been used as a wine cellar in recent times. As they cleared away the top part, a series of tunnels, again of Etruscan construction, ran underneath the wine cellar hinting to the possibility of deeper undiscovered structures below. Beneath the cellar floor, they found 6th and 5th century B.C. Etruscan pottery with inscriptions as well as various objects that dated to before 1000 B.C. Digging through this layer, the archaeologists found 5 feet of gray sterile fill, which was intentionally deposited from a hole in the top of the structure.

"Below that material there was a brown layer that we are currently excavating. Intriguingly, the stone carved stairs run down the wall as we continue digging. We still don't know where they are going to take us," The material from the deepest level reached so far (the archaeologists have pushed down about 10 feet) dates to around the middle of the fifth century B.C. "At this level we found a tunnel running to another pyramidal structure and dating from before the 5th century B.C. which adds to the mystery,"

'The lead archaeologists are still perplexed as to the function of the structure though it is clearly not a cistern. Dr. Bizzarri notes that there is nothing like these structures on record anywhere in Italy or the Etruscan world. Dr. George, notes that it could be part of a sanctuary, and calls attention to the pyramid structures that were described in the literary sources as being part of Lars Porsena�s tomb. Lars Porsena was an Etruscan king who ruled Chiusi and Orvieto at the end of the 6th century. Dr. Bizzarri is however cautious that even this parallel is not exactly what is beginning to appear here, but it does open up intriguing possibilities. Both agree that the answer waits at the base level which could be 4, 5 or more metres below the layer they have now reached'.   (Quick-link)

(More about the Etruscans)


Article: (Mail Online. August, 2011).

'Massive European Network of Stone-age Tunnels'

Stone Age man created a massive network of underground tunnels criss-crossing Europe from Scotland to Turkey, a new book on the ancient superhighways has claimed. German archaeologist Dr Heinrich Kusch said evidence of the tunnels has been found under hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over the continent. In his book - Secrets Of The Underground Door To An Ancient World - he claims the fact that so many have survived after 12,000 years shows that the original tunnel network must have been enormous.

'Across Europe there were thousands of them - from the north in Scotland down to the Mediterranean...Most are not much larger than big wormholes - just 70cm wide - just wide enough for a person to wriggle along but nothing else...They are interspersed with nooks, at some places it's larger and there is seating, or storage chambers and rooms...They do not all link up but taken together it is a massive underground network.'

(Click here for full article)


Featured Underground Locations:


   Beneath Giza:

The Giza plateau is composed of limestone, a geological feature which creates natural crevices and pockets in the stone somewhat like Swiss cheese. Perhaps not so strange then that Giza was known anciently as 'Rostau', meaning the "mouth of the passages". The existence of lost tunnels and chambers running beneath the surface of the Giza complex has been suspected for a long time and recent surveys have supported the idea that there is still much to learn. However, the discovery of illicit tunnelling in the houses in front of the Sphinx has opened a new chapter on the history of Giza.

In 2009, a story emerged of a collapsed illegal tunnel in the Giza village of Nazlet El Smaan, causing the deaths of 6 men. Although very little was made of the story, a selection of photographs and recorded conversations proved that tunnelling beneath the houses was being financed and operated surreptitiously and rumours were surfacing that that major finds were being discovered.

Picture of the tunnel before it collapsed

(Photo Credits:

Following the collapse, the site was abandoned and now lies derelict in the middle of the village. Perhaps less well known is that the very same spot had been identified in publications years before by Zahi Hawass and Mark Lehner as the most likely position for the undiscovered Palace/Tomb of Khufu.

(Link to Full Article)


   Longyou Caves, China:

These 24 hand-carved caves were only discovered late in the 20th century. Until then they were thought of as natural reservoirs within which villagers used to collect fish. In 1992, a local villager decided to pump one of the caves of its water, revealing the startling immense carved chambers running as deep as 30m and covered with a beautiful pattern of chisel marks on all the walls and ceilings.

Although the overall excavation involved almost a million cubic metres of stone, there is no historical record of them or evidence of the removed stone.

Their origin is a complete mystery.

(More about the Longyou caves)



   The Mayan Portal to the Underworld (Xibalba):

 Article: June 2009:

In August 2008, Mexican Archaeologists discovered the place where Mayans prepared for life after death on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Archaeologists have been exploring a maze of stone temples in underground caves, some submerged in water and containing human bones.

The ancient Mayans believed Xibalba was a portal where dead souls entered the underworld.

Researchers discovered the stone ruins of eleven sacred temples and what could be the remains of human sacrifices at the site in the Yucatan Peninsula. Archeologists say Mayans believed the underground complex of water-filled caves leading into dry chambers, including an underground road stretching some 330 feet, was the road to a mythical underworld, known as Xibalba.

According to an ancient Mayan scripture, the Popol Vuh, the route was filled with obstacles, including rivers filled with scorpions, blood and pus and houses shrouded in darkness or swarming with shrieking bats, Guillermo de Anda, one of the lead investigators at the site. Excavations in the Yucatan caves have so far revealed stone carvings and pottery left for the dead.

Different Mayan groups who inhabited southern Mexico and northern Guatemala and Belize had their own entrances to the underworld which archaeologists have discovered at other sites, almost always in cave systems buried deep in the jungle. In the Yucatan site they have found one 1,900-year-old ceramic vase, but most of the artefacts date back to between 700 and 850 A.D.


Teotihuacan, Mexico.

Recent archaeology (Aug. 2010), has revealed a tunnel system running under the Pyramid of 'The Feathered Serpent' at Teotihuacan in Mexico. It is believed to date from before the pyramids and is hoped it will be found to contain the remains of the ruling elite and their funerary regalia.

(Teotihuacan and the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent)

(More about Ancient Mexico)



   The 'Lost' Labyrinth of Egypt:

It was recently announced that the lost labyrinth of Egypt at Hawara has been re-discovered by an expedition funded by NRIAG, Ghent University/Kunst-Zicht & Louis De Cordier, with the cooperation of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Horus Foundation & Isel Foundation.

The Great Labyrinth of Egypt.

This colossal temple was described in the past by authors such as Herodotus and Strabo, and was said to contain 3,000 rooms full of hieroglyphs and paintings. When Petrie first discovered the great artificial stone surface (304m by 244m) in 1889, at the depth of several meters, he interpreted it as the foundation of the labyrinth. New evidence suggests that the stone plateau may in fact be the roof of the great complex.

(More about the 'Lost Labyrinth')



   The Hypogeum, Malta:


This underground spectacular takes one straight to the heart of the prehistoric psyche. It includes features such as carved trilithons, spirals, 'speaking' chambers, and the possible use of 'Ergot'. These fantastic chambers reek of ritual and mystery.

The Hypogeum is orientated so that the 'holy of holies' inside faces the equinoxial sun. Such a feature, combined with the discovery of several thousand skulls, makes it extremely likely that the site was used as a connection to the afterlife.

(More about the Hypogeum)



A second hypogeum (The Hypogeum II), has been discovered on Gozo Island (next to Malta), it is directly under and in the centre of the prominent Xaghra stone circle.



   The Osireion (Strabo's Well), Abydoss, Egypt:

The Osirion, 'Strabo's well', Abydoss, Egypt.


This fantastic underground structure dates back to the earliest roots of  dynastic Egypt. The stark, unadorned masonry can only be seen in one other place in Egypt; The 'Valley-temple' beside the Sphinx at Ghiza.

It is noticeable that while the Osirion at Abydoss is connected to Osiris through myth (being the resting place of his 'Phallus', which was swallowed by cat-fish...),  the Valley-temple at Ghiza on the other hand,  is associated with Isis through the 'Inventory stele', found inside the temple, which says of Khufu...

He found the house of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, by the side of the hollow of Hwran (The Sphinx)


 The water of the Osireion is connected to the Nile, meaning that it creates a 'moat' around the central 'island' when the waters are down. The rock is cut deep into the waters so that the bottom is not visible in places.



   Derinkuyu, Turkey:

Derinkuyu, Turkey


This underground city is one of five in the area that connect together, making an underground complex with the potential for 100,000 people. The 'city' has apartments, running water, air-conditioning, and large doors roll across the entrances, locking from the inside, presumably protecting the inhabitants from...???       

These unique underground cities are currently being excavated and access is restricted. We would welcome any eye-witness or photographs of this site...

(More about Derinkuyu)




   Chavin Du Huantar, Peru:

Chavin du Huntaar, Peru


This ancient site (dated at 800 BC), includes a network of underground tunnels at the heart of which sits this monolith, called El-Toro ('The Bull'). The fully decorated stone stands at 4.5m high and the top protrudes through the ceiling and into the room above.

This classic 'Chavin' site also includes other great feats of masonry, including cyclopean masonry (a 30 ft long lintel) and several similarly carved standing stones.

(More about Chavin du Huantar)





   Other Underground Sites:

Location - Cuenca, Equador. - Vast tunnel network. (17).


Location � Columbia. San Augustin. Underground sanctuaries with connecting passages. (18). These supposed underground sanctuaries are in fact the underground Hypogea at relatively nearby Tierradentro, which was inhabited by the 'San Agustin' civilisation, however, there is no evidence ofany  connected tunnels.

(More about Tierradentro, Columbia).


Location � Peruvian Andes, Huascaran, 22,203 ft high, near the village of Otuzco. 

Cave entrances closed with slabs of rock. First recorded by Francis Pizzaro (1478-1541). An expedition was organised in 1971, an account of which was given in the periodical �Bild der Wissenschaft�.

�Vast tunnels which would leave even modern underground constructors green with envy began behind six �doors�. These tunnels lead straight towards the coast, at times with a slope of 14 per cent. The floor is covered with stone slabs that have been pitted and grooved to make them slip-proof. It is an adventure even today to penetrate these 55 to 65 mile-long transport tunnels in the direction of the coast and finally reach a spot 80 ft below sea level. The great ocean lurks at the end of the underground passage of �Guanape�, so called after the island that lies off the coast of Peru here, because it is assumed that the passages once led under the sea to the island. After the passages have gone uphill and downhill several times, and after a downhill slope, they end in ocean water". (18).

(More about ancient Peru)

Location - India. Kanheri, near the Malabar coast. 

The �Rock Temples�, consisting of 48 ft high caves, blasted from granite they run several stories deep. The ceilings are supported by granite pillars, carved from the rock. Decorated in relief. (18).



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17). E. Von Daniken. In Search of Ancient gods. Corgi. 1976
18). E. Von Daniken. According to the evidence. Corgi. 1997.


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