“Man fears time, but time fears the pyramids.”
– Arab proverb.
Conspiracy Theory: The Great Pyramid was built by some group other than the ancient Egyptians and Egyptologists are covering up or downplaying the evidence of this.
Among the most popular conspiracy theories in the world is that the Great Pyramid was built by parties hitherto unknown. The theoretical builders range from extra terrestrials, to Enoch (from the Bible), to ancient Atlantis, or some combination of those things.
Is the dispute reasonable?
Put this another way, is the archaeological evidence that the Great Pyramid was constructed by the Dynastic Egyptians so compelling that alternative theories are unreasonable to consider? Is the archaeological evidence that someone other than the Egyptians so convincing that the continued belief in the mainstream narrative indicative of a coverup? Let’s examine some of the evidence. This is certainly not comprehensive of the Great Pyramid’s mysteries but it covers a lot of ground.
Is it possible to carbon date the construction?
No. Stone cannot be carbon dated and the continuous presence of human activity on the site for the last five thousand years makes it difficult to isolate organic material to the time of the pyramid’s construction.
Here are some of The Great Pyramid of Giza’s basics. We’ll look one-by-one at these things and decide whether it was possible for ancient people to have achieved this.
- The Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed with two million stone blocks weighing on average between 2.5 and 15 tons each. The limestone blocks – which comprise most of the blocks used – were quarried 8 miles away in Tura. The granite was quarried from as far as 500 miles away. Dozens of the individual blocks weigh as much as 70 tons.
Could the Egyptians at the time of the Pharaoh Khufu have cut these blocks?
- This is a hotly contested point of debate. While archaeology has generally been able to provide examples of how it *might* have been done, the methodology is not known for certain. You can observe videos HERE, HERE and HERE and HERE demonstrating potential techniques.
- On the one hand, these techniques generally seem to run counter to the need for an industrial scale of production that is needed. On the other, though, the Egyptians had a large army of craftsmen doing the work.
- The army of craftsmen seem to be an answer to most of the “how” questions – though admittedly many do not think this is an adequate answer – but an army does not explain The Great Pyramid’s unique precision. It is one thing for an army of men with water, sand, and bronze saws to cut blocks. It is another thing for them to do so with modern precision.
+ This section of the debate is somewhat subjective. How do you even define modern precision? It’s a term that presumes an answer. If the work is sufficiently good, then it is deemed to be “modern” and thus not possible for ancient people.
+ It is also worth remembering in this section of the debate that the most precisely cut stones are fewer in number than the less precisely cut ones – meaning that it is much less unreasonable to believe that they could have been done with some great care over a long span of time. A team of craftsmen shaping a couple hundred granite stones to near perfection is much different than a team of craftsmen shaping 2 million such stones.
+ For examples of the “precise” cuts at the Great Pyramid of Giza, look HERE and HERE and HERE. For other precisely cut granite objects in Egypt, look HERE and HERE and HERE.
CONCLUSION: I believe that evidence suggests the ancient Egyptians *could* have performed the cuts. The scale of the stone-cutting is such that – if given years – craftsmen could have accomplished the work. Efficiency is not as much at issue with the precision cut granite stones because there were fewer of them by far. That said, the achievement would have been accomplished with an effort so significant that I do not find it unreasonable to question whether it was the Dynastic Egyptians who did the work.
Could the Egyptians at the time of the Pharaoh Khufu have transported and raised these blocks?
- Thanks to the recent discovery of a 4,500 year old papyrus scroll, we actually know (see HERE and HERE) how the ancient Egyptians moved limestone blocks from their quarry site in Tura. The scroll includes logbooks of the work done and details the daily lives of the workers.
- So… case closed, right? This proves the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid and that Egyptologists have been correct all along as to who did it and when… right? Not exactly. Despite some news reporting which says otherwise, the logbook does not detail how the much heavier granite was moved to the site from MUCH farther away. It also does not answer the question of whether the Great Pyramid project was original or whether it was repair work done to something inherited from a much earlier time period. Keep in mind, the argument from the community that does not believe the pyramid was built by Egyptians is that Egyptians inherited it. As the log book does not tell us with any amount of certainty that the work was original, rather than repair or expansion work, then we proceed on as we were before.
- To clarify the point above, notice that The Daily Mail argues HERE that the papyrus logbook answers the question of how the stones were moved from Aswan, more than 500 miles away, before the article then contradicts this argument by saying the papyrus describes moving stone blocks from Tura, only eight miles away. The extra miles to Aswan and extra tonnage of the blocks to be transported makes a lot of difference. It is the difference between moving the weight of one car and moving more than fifty. It is fair to argue that the papyrus gives us a possible indicator of how the Egyptians might have moved the heavier Aswan stones but there is a tremendous difference in the scale of the tasks. It is also worth mentioning, however, that the significantly increased difficulty of moving stones from Aswan is offset by the fact that so few of them were needed, comparatively.
- However, as of now, the transportation method the Egyptians used to move the granite stones – some weighing as much as 70 tons – from Aswan remains unknown.
- It’s one thing to get the stone blocks from the quarry to the construction site, but that does not tell us how the stones were raised up and placed once they arrived at the construction site. This element of the project also remains a bit of a mystery. There are theories, though:
+ We know that the Egyptians utilized ramps at other sites (see HERE) so some speculate that ramps were used in the pyramid construction as well. Other theories can be found HERE.
- An independent theory (discussed HERE) which accounts both for the transport and the raising up of the limestone blocks, as well as the precision leveling of the structure, posits that the limestone blocks were not cut stone but were instead a geopolymer comprised of the quarried limestone, mixed with other readily available binding agents, which were then pours in place rather than stacked. The theory does not explain, though, the granite stone blocks, how they were transported, precisely cut, raised up, and made level. The granite blocks comprise less than one percent of the structure but they require these answers just as much as the limestone blocks do, because the project is impossible if those blocks are not done properly.
CONCLUSION: I believe the evidence tells us outright that the Egyptians could have transported most of the blocks used for The Great Pyramid’s construction, though I am less certain that this method works at a 2M blocks scale. Additionally, no one knows how they could have moved the significantly heavier granite blocks with any certainty, though the known transport method from Tura could possibly have been modified for heavier blocks and used over a much longer distance. Since the larger granite stones are fewer in number, efficiency in moving them would not have been as important for the project. Again, I do not think that proposing alternatives to the mainstream belief is unreasonable but it does seem likely that the Egyptians could have moved these blocks – using technology that we know they possessed – with a lot of effort. I also think that if Egyptians were able to get the quarried stone blocks out of the ground and onto transport systems, it is likely that they could lift them at the construction site as well – even if we do not yet know the precise mechanism. However, the important caveat here is that this applies primarily to the comparatively smaller and lighter weight limestone blocks.
Could the Egyptians at the time of the Pharaoh Khufu have made the surface of the project as level as we know it was?
- The surface was level to within 2 centimeters.
- No one knows how this extreme precision was achieved but there are two primary theories:
+ Workers poured water into the excavated site and leveled all material above the waterline. Then they lowered the water level and removed more material, continuing the process until the foundation was level.
+ The builders installed posts at regular intervals. A line, leveled with plumb bobs, was pulled taut across the posts at a reference mark to ensure alignment. Then they could excavate the foundation down to the reference marks.
- Many modern engineers seem surprised this method could have produced results so precise.
CONCLUSION: As someone who is not an engineer, it is difficult for me to answer on this point. What I can do, though, is look for reactions from engineers and those who are willing to go on the record seems baffled on this point in particular. It is worth remembering, too, that Egyptologists – the upholders of the mainstream arguments regarding the pyramids and their history – are usually not engineers. Is it possible that the Egyptians were doing engineering work thousands of years ahead of their time? Of course. Is it possible that they are being credited for work they inherited from an older unknown people (or aliens)? Sure.
Could the Egyptians at the time of the Pharaoh Khufu have aligned The Great Pyramid so precisely to True North (within a tenth of a degree)?
- The Great Pyramid of Giza is built to True North with extremely exact precision. Without a compass or a visible “North Star” in the sky, the prevailing theory as to how the True North alignment was achieved is that it was done using sighting rods and circles, from which they could trace arcs of the rising and setting stars or the sun’s shadow, measure the angles to the ends of the arc, and calculate true north. Once they established that, they could find the other directions with lines and right angles.
- To expound on that, the pyramid faces True North to within five one hundredths of a degree – something only matched recently. According to a documentary, “The Revelation of the Pyramids” humanity was five times less precise in the seventeenth century using the same methods.
CONCLUSION: As with the issue of the levelness of the structure, the alignment seems to be another strong argument for making an alternative explanation for the pyramid’s construction.
[Note: There are some other engineering feats which seem to fall in this same camp – such as the fact the pyramid has eight sides (though it appears from the ground to be only four) and that it has ascending and descending passages. I might focus on those in a follow-up if good answers arrive for the previous two points.]
Could the Egyptians at the time of the Pharaoh Khufu have designed the pyramid using “pi” without a knowledge of pi?
The construction of the pyramid includes a use of pi.
- It is believed that the Egyptians made a trundle wheel carved out of rock with diameter of exactly 1 cubit. Then they rolled it on flat ground so the trundle wheel rock rolled exactly 140 times around for each of the four sides of the Pyramid. Therefore, it was rolled a total of 280 times around from one corner of the Great Pyramid to the farthest corner on the other side. Through this they obtained precise locations of the corners of the Great Pyramid and then they started to pile the massive blocks to build the pyramid. They piled the blocks of the pyramid until they obtained a height of 280 cubits. The point to note here is that they couldn’t easily roll the trundle wheel straight up, so instead, they counted the same number of cubits to obtain the height. So they counted 280 turns of the trundle wheel from one corner to the opposite corner and measured 280 cubits high from the ground to the peak. Because they used a trundle wheel which has the value of π built into it with the relationship between the circumference and the diameter, the value of π was automatically built into the Great Pyramid without the Egyptians knowing the value of π.
CONCLUSION: Is this a plausible theory as to how The Great Pyramid of Giza includes pi without an actual knowledge of pi? I think so. However, does the use of a trundle wheel as a mechanism of measurement seem somewhat less precise than we know the project to have been? That is a debate for engineers but I am inclined to think so.
Some other claims regarding the pyramid also exist that are so fantastical that if true force a shift in the burden of proof regarding reasonability. If the facts below are true, then we must either completely reevaluate who we believe the Egyptians to have been, or we must assume that someone else did the construction. The Old Kingdom Egyptians – as we believe them to have been – could not have been the builders if most of the below is true.
For a list of fantastical claims, I invite you to view the following:
- The number of days for the earth’s circumference around the sun are encoded in The Great Pyramid of Giza’s design.
+ Each of the Pyramids four walls, when measured as a straight line, are 9,131 inches, for a total of 36,524 inches. At first glance, this number may not seem significant, but move the decimal point over and you get 365.24. Modern science has shown us that the exact length of the solar year is 365.24 days.
Conclusion: This seems impressive but it relies on 1) an Egyptian knowledge of inches, and 2) very exact measurements. The measurements I have found do not match these. As a result, I do not believe this claim stands up to scrutiny. The claims made by the Ancient Aliens video above, using cubits rather than inches, are even more vague as to specifics and thus cannot be fact-checked as to the math.
- The Length (3043.433 ft) and Width (3023.139 ft) of The Great Pyramid of Giza correspond to an exact fraction of both the latitude and longitude measurements at the equator.
I’m not really sur what this means.
The earth’s polar radius is 6,356.752 km.
The circumference of the equator is 40,075.017 km.
I think the claim is an abridged version of the idea that the pyramid serves as a model of the northern hemisphere. For that:
“The distance the Earth spins or rotates at the Equator in 2 seconds is equal to the Perimeter of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. Since there are 86,400 seconds in a day, 2 seconds is 1/43200th of a day.
Multiplying the Height of the Great Pyramid by 43,200 equals the polar radius of the Earth.
Multiplying the Perimeter of the Great Pyramid by 43,200equals the equatorial circumference of the Earth. The Great Pyramid therefore is a 1:43,200 scale model of the Northern Hemisphere of Earth and represents a 1:43,200 ratio of time in a day.”
Another way of putting it is this:
The height of the Great Pyramid of Giza multiplied by 43,200 = the polar radius of the earth. The base perimeter of the Great Pyramid, multiplied by 43,300 = the equatorial circumference of the earth. Thus, the monument has encoded into it the dimensions of the planet, on a scale of 1 to 43,200. The number 43,200 is derived from the precession of the earth’s axis (i.e. the earth wobbles on its axis at a rate of 1 degree every 72 years… and 43,200 is a multiple of 72.)
481.1ft (height of The Great Pyramid) x 43,200 = 20,783,520 ft (alleged polar radius)
3,023.154 (perimeter) x 43,200 = 130,600,252.8 ft (equatorial circumference of the earth)
Is it true? Let’s convert feet to km.
Polar Radius: 20,783,520 ft = 6,334.8169 km (actual number is 6,356.752 km)
Circumference: 130600252.8 ft = 39,807.957053 km (actual number is 40,075.017 km)
The numbers are not exact though they are quite close and arguably suggestive of a relationship. The issue is made more difficult inasmuch as we do not precisely know the pyramid’s actual height when constructed (the capstone was removed centuries ago,) how gravity or other forces may have effected any measurements, and we do not know if repair work altered any measurements.
Conclusion: It’s hard for me to square the still-present precision of the structure itself with the fact that these numbers are not closer to matching up. Perhaps it is an issue of perspective. These numbers represent ancient precision but not modern precision. Either way, it’s really interesting but I would need someone more learned in engineering to convince me that this relationship was done on purpose.
- The Great Pyramid of Giza is located in the exact center of earth’s land mass.
I have been unable to find a good explanation as to what “center of the earth’s land mass” actually means, and to the extent that I have, there are differing answers.
+ In 1864, Charles Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, gave in his book Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid the coordinates with 30°00′N 31°00′E, the location of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. He stated that this had been calculated by “carefully summing up all the dry land habitable by man all the wide world over.
In October of that year, Smyth proposed to position the prime meridian at the longitude of the Great Pyramid because there it would “pass over more land than [at] any other [location]”. He also argued the cultural significance of the location and its vicinity to Jerusalem. The expert committee deciding the issue, however, voted for Greenwich because “so many ships used the port of London”. Referring to Smyth’s book, Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard wrote in his 1884 book, The Imaginary Metrological System of the Great pyramid of Gizeh, that the perfect location of the Great Pyramid along the longitudinal line could only have been purposefully done by its builders.
+ Scott Creighton, featured in the ancient Aliens video above, argues in the clip that if you draw lines from the cardinal and orbital directions from The Great Pyramid of Giza, that the lines will cross more land mass than at any other point on earth.
That’s quite a claim. I looked for the evidence to support the claim and could not find it. I invite anyone else to do so.
+ From QuestionSpace.com:
In 2003, a refined result (as to the center of the earth’s land mass) was yielded by Holger Isenberg: 40°52′N 34°34′E, in Turkey, near the district of İskilip, Çorum Province, approx. 200 km northeast of Ankara. In 2016, Google Maps marked Isenberg’s result of 40°52′N 34°34′ECoordinates: 40°52′N 34°34′E as the geographical center of Earth.
CONCLUSION: If you perform a google search of “Great Pyramid Center of Earth’s Land Mass” you will pull up a lot of really interesting maps with crisscrossing lines on them, all intersecting in Egypt. Most of them have the Americas on the far left and east Asia on the far right. So it is not hard to then imagine Giza as right in the middle because it is in the middle of the map. How effective is this argument if we center the map of earth on the Americas instead, with Europe and Africa on the right and east Asia on the left? Less so, I think. The bottom line here is that this is definable and provable – in theory – and the proof “for” seems to be lacking.
- The Great Pyramid of Giza, taken as a coordinate, matches exactly the speed of light traveling through space, measured at meters per second.
+ The actual coordinates of The Great Pyramid of Giza are as follows:
DD: 29.97416777 31.1339477975
DMS: 29°58’27.00″ N 31°08’2.21″ E
The speed of light, measured at meters per second = 299,792,458 meters per second
Both numbers begin with 2997. Both units of measure are derived from the earth itself (so the relationship is not automatically disqualified due to lack of future knowledge of measuring systems.) Nevertheless this feels like a stretch.
CONCLUSION: This is another instance of the case being interesting but also arguably a coincidence.
- The Great Pyramid of Giza’s design is capable of focusing electromagnetic particles.
This is incredible. For our purposes, though, we have to decide if it was designed in this way on purpose. Can it be a coincidence? Do a lot of things (relatively speaking) do this?
This is an argument for the pyramid perhaps having a different original purpose than one as a tomb AND that this purpose was scientifically advanced.
As for the “conspiracy” itself, do I think that Egyptologists are guilty of covering up or downplaying evidence that someone else built the pyramids? No. It seems that they are diligently working to provide answers within the context of known history and abilities. Over and over, they continuously demonstrate that those abilities could have existed… in theory. That said, there are a few anomalies for which the proposed explanations seem to be a reach or where the dismissal of something as coincidence seems more convenient than scientific. That does not prove a coverup. It just illustrates the limits of one research field (Egyptology) when it brushes up against another (science and engineering.) I hope that the future sees more cooperation and interdisciplinary work on subjects like these.
Do I think the people accusing Egyptologists of coverup, or of not listening to alternative theories, seem to be guilty of quite a few stretches of the truth themselves? Absolutely. One of the biggest hurdles I faced in writing this post was debunking many “exact match” statements made by “other builder” proponents. An example of this is with the arguments about an encoded speed of light in the structure, or an encoded model of the Northern Hemisphere in the building’s measurements. “Close match” would be more accurate but less provocative and attention-grabbing.
Do I think the argument for an older and now lost or forgotten builder should be explored? Absolutely. It’s not a completely silly idea. The Egyptians themselves are – according to Plato – the originator of the Atlantis myth, with said myth traveling from them, to Solon, to Plato. They allegedly believed they were descended from Atlantis as a former colony. As “lost civilizations” go, we know that the start of the Egyptian Dynastic period coincides with a climate change event across northern Africa (the transition of the green Sahara to desert) so it is possible that a long lost civilization is buried under the desert and lost to time for now.
The situation is a mystery. The reality of the mainstream view is that in the early Bronze Age, when we believe most of the world was still barely agricultural, we also believe that Egyptians designed a structure with mind-boggling precision and engineering complexity – with some of that complexity only matched in recent decades. We cannot say with certainty how the work was done, what tools were used, where the knowledge for the work was learned, and why this particular pyramid complex seems to so greatly eclipse work from its own alleged time period. There should be room in the conversation both to embrace and praise the work that is undisputedly Egyptian and to leave open the possibility that a few of the structures and artifacts attributed to them were actually something they inherited from someone unknown. (Leaving open possibilities, though, is not the same as taking credit away outright without proof. Entertaining an idea is not the same as accepting an idea.)
If you want my opinion, though, I think the most likely answer to the question of who built The Great Pyramid is that the Egyptians were the builders. This belief has the benefit of not having to find a hitherto invisible civilization. The Late Bronze Age suffered a significant collapse. It is not too difficult to imagine an event sending Egypt back many centuries with respect to knowledge (math, engineering, astronomy, etc.) and that this knowledge was either never fully recovered or that it was found and then lost again and forgotten again (Nile flooding, earthquakes, plagues, the burning of the Library of Alexandria, etc.) Europe experienced something like that with The Dark Ages. Egyptology may simply just be wrong about the capabilities of the early Egyptians in comparison to their abilities in later times. If this seems so far-fetched, keep in mind that modern technology emerged in the last 150 years. We went from a species that was primarily agrarian, and horse-riding, to a species a century and a half later with instant global communication ability and limitless information storage, capable of traveling to the moon, and sending picture-taking space probes to the edges of the solar system. A sufficiently terrible event now could send us back to living as our not-long-gone ancestors lived. In a few thousand years, it may be impossible to believe our current civilization ever actually existed. In the grand sweep of things, it is but a blip.
One can wonder if we will present as great a mystery as The Great Pyramid – which will likely still be standing then where it stands now.