Could ancient Egyptians have reached the Grand Canyon and established some sort of settlement there long ago? That was the assertion back in 1909 in a front page story that appeared in the Phoenix Gazette. According to the story an ancient Egyptian tomb was discovered in the Grand Canyon inside a cave at the time. The story was published on 5 April 1909 and it gave a highly detailed account of the discovery and excavation led by Professor S.A. Jordan of the Smithsonian Institute. However, the Smithsonian today claims to have no knowledge of such an expedition back in 1909 or of one Professor Jordan.
Reportedly several artifacts were found in the cave and sent back to the Smithsonian for analysis and dating but they never saw the light of day again. Any wonder? Inside the cave alleged ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs were also found. Ironically, in the area of the canyon where the cave is alleged to be many of the vistas have been named after ancient Egyptian deities such as Isis, Set, and Ra. In a smaller canyon inside the Grand Canyon some of the vistas carry names such as the Cheops Pyramid, Buddha Temple, Manu Temple, and Shiva Temple. This area of the national park is off limits to visitors, hikers, and even National Park Service personnel and the claim is that the caves are just to dangerous. Is the real reason this area of the national park is off limits due to some coverup involving the Smithsonian?
The Egyptian tomb cave was discovered by G. E. Kinkaid who claimed that he was the first white man born in the State of Idaho. He was an explorer and hunter who spent 30 years working for the Smithsonian. He kept a journal and documented his discovery in the Grand Canyon. In that journal he says he was going down the Colorado River in a boat looking for “minerals” ( in other words Gold) when he noticed unusual “stains” in the rock. He says he noticed steps leading up to a cave entrance and he say chisel marks a wall inside an entrance to the cave. He decided to go into the cave and see what he could find. KinKaid says he gathered a “number of relics” and carried them down the Colorado to Yuma, Arizona where they were shipped to the Smithsonian in Washington DC along with details of his discovery. He then goes on to say the Smithsonian made preparations for an extensive investigation of the site and was sending 30-40 archaeologists to the site to excavate it.
There were several chambers and passageways discovered inside the cave leading in various directions and some of them were in the shape of a wheel going outward from a common center. Several hundreds of rooms were discovered. Inside were allegedly found war weapons, copper instruments, and other artifacts that indicated they came from a high civilization. The passageways were chiseled out “as straight as could be laid out by an engineer.
Kinkaid goes on to say that in a cross hall hundreds of feet from the entrance an “idol” was discovered “of the people’s god.” The idol was sitting cross legged with a lotus flower or lily in each hand. “The cast of the face was oriental,” Kincaid wrote in his journal and added, “The idol almost resembles Buddha.” Further, Kinkaid said that taking everything found into consideration it was possible that the worship of this god most resembled the ancient people of Tibet. Smaller images surrounded the idol including figurines apparently representing good and evil. There were two large saguaro cactus with protruding arms on each side of the dais the idol was mounted upon. According to his journal the entire structure was carved out of “hard rock resembling marble.”
Many tools made of copper were found inside the cave including copper vases and urns. Enameled ware and glazed vessels were also discovered along with copper and gold cups that were “very artistic in design.” Granaries were also found “such as are found in Oriental temples,” according to the journal. These contained “seeds of various kinds. Kinkaid also wrote that a gray metal was found throughout the cave that was puzzling the archaeologists. Reportedly they could not identify the metal which resembled platinum. Further, Kinkaid reported that “cat’s eyes” (yellow stones of no great value) were found strewn all over the floors of the cave system and each one of them was engraved with a head of the Malay type. Malays are from Indonesia and by definition the Malaysian Constitution defines a Malay as being someone born in Malaysia who professes to be a Muslim.
Kinkaid goes on to write that carved on every doorway, urn, and stone tablet were “mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute hopes to discover.” Similar “hieroglyphs have also been found in Southern Arizona he writes. One thing that must be noted is that what people of Kinkaid’s time thought were ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs were actually Native American petroglyphs!
The cave system also had a crypt according to Kinkaid. The walls of this crypt sloped back at a 35 degree angle and they were lined with tiers of mummies with each mummy occupying “a separate hewn shelf.” Each mumm was stood upright on a shelf of stone and also on the shelves were copper cups and pieces of broken swords. According to the journal some of the mummies were were covered with clay and wrapped with “bark fabric.” The mummies near the floor of the chamber were somewhat deteriorated while the higher up mummies were better preserved according to Kinkaid. He called this chamber the “Warriors’ Barracks” but most likely it was the warriors tomb.
No animal bones or skins were found inside the cave system. No clothing and no bedding were found either. In fact, many of the rooms were bare save for what apparently were water vessels. One large room Kinkaid believed was a “main dining hall” as in that room cooking utensils were discovered. It was postulated that whoever these people were they came south in the winter to dwell in the cave system and returned to some unknown location in the north during summer. They may have farmed in the valleys of the Grand Canyon during the warm months it was suspected. It was estimated that about 50K people could have lived in the cavern and it was also postulated that Arizona’s Native Americans might have been the descendants of the serfs or slaves of the people who lived in the caverns.
One chamber discovered had a “deadly, snaky smell” and the room could not be penetrated with lights until larger lights were brought in. It was believed the room contained snakes or it may have been filled with some deadly gas or chemicals used by the ancient people of the cavern. No sounds of snakes were heard coming from the room, however.
Another possibility is that these caves in the Grand Canyon might have been part of the infamous Aztlan, the legendary place of origins of the Aztecs of Mexico. Aztlan means “land to or of the north.” It was said to be an island but today the Grand Canyon is not an island. However, it could have been surrounded by water at some time in the past making the area an island. According to the Nahuatl (Aztec) legend there were once seven tribes that lived at a place called Chicomoztoc, meaning “the place of the seven caves.” These tribes represented seven Nahua groups specifically the Mexica, Chalca, Acolhua, Tiahica, Tiaxcalan,Tepaneca, and Xochimilca.
For some reason these seven Nahua speaking groups left their caves and settled as one group near Aztlan. However, there arrival there was preceded by another group called the Chichimecas who were less civilized according to the Aztec legend. The Mexica were the last group to travel to Aztlan and may have had their journey slowed due to drought between 1100–1300 AD. Together all these people became known as the Aztecs or Azteca. They later migrated to the Valley of Mexico leaving behind the paradise land of Aztlan. But why? Was there some great cataclysm that happened there? Some stories say the reason for their leaving Aztlan is because the ruling elites known as the Chicomoztoca became very oppressive and tyrannical. So, an Aztec priest led the people away from Aztlan and into the Valley of Mexico where they established the great Aztec Empire. However, their legends say that the god Huitzilopochtli told the people they could not call themselves Azteca any longer in the Valley of Mexico so they began calling themselves the Mexica. The migration from Aztlan to the Valley of Mexico where they built the great city Tenochtitlan began on 24 May 1064 which marks the beginning of the Aztec solar year. You can find out more about the Aztecs and Aztlan at:
So who occupied these cave in the Grand Canyon if Kinkaid was telling the truth and the whole find was covered up by the Smithsonian? Assuming Kinkaid was telling the truth then it could have been ancient Chinese explorers or other Asians, the Egyptians, or even the Aztecs. The Buddha-like idol reportedly found in the center of the cave system is mysterious indeed. The Egyptians did not worship Buddha but they did in ancient China and Asia and that leads me to believe that they were the ones who inhabited these caves. It is also possible that perhaps after they abandoned the caves that the Aztecs moved into them and called them Aztlan. Until we have proof that this cave system even exists then all we can do is speculate and theorize. What is needed is archaeological evidence! But that evidence seems unlikely since the area is off limits to everyone including most NPS personnel with the reason being the caves in the area are “to dangerous.” Well at least the NPS admits there are caves in the area!
In a future post I’m going to take a look at some ancient Chinese explorers. Did they reach the Americas? Considering that they reached India, Arabia, Kenya, and Tanzania the idea of them reaching the Americas is not so far fetched as one might think. For now you can read my post about Ancient Chinese in America that I posted a few days ago on this site.
To read more about the discoveries and caves in the Grand Canyon see: