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Monday, May 21, 2012

Great Pyramid - PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS - 12,13:It Is Written in Greek/Latin


PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS

BOOK: THE PYRAMIDS AN ENIGMA SOLVED
Prof. Joseph Davidovits
Chapter 12
It Is Written in Greek

Not to be overlooked is the classical historical account of pyramid construction, the well-known account of Herodotus. His account reflects beliefs popular in Egypt during the fifth century BC, which Egyptologists assume have no significant bearing on the actual method of pyramid construction. In any case, they agree that it com- plies fully with the standard carving and hoisting theory. But does it?
Herodotus was a remarkable and reliable historian, a unique figure of antiquity. He is called the Father of History for producing the first comprehensive attempt at historical narrative based on scientific inquiry. His work marks the beginning of the Western approach to historical reporting. His writing shows superb analytical skills; it is anecdotal, charming and entertaining.
Born in Asia Minor around 485 BC, he began seventeen years of extensive travel in the ancient world while in his twenties. The journey for which he is most well known is a four-month stay in Egypt, which he recounts in his entire se- cond book of The History. One summer, sometime after 460 BC, Herodotus arrived in the western Delta at the town of Canapé, Egypt. He visited several renowned sites and encountered many people until his departure from Pelusuim in the eastern Delta before the following winter.
He was captivated by Egypt’s wondrous monuments and geography. He reported what he learned of these and of history, arts, folklore, customs, and beliefs. During his visit to Memphis, he discussed the construction of the Great Pyramids with local guides. Herodotus’s work has been translated several times since AD 1450 from the old Ionic Greek, with each translator attempting to improve on the precise meaning of the text. The relevant portion of his re- port of their account is presented below. I have emphasized certain words and phrases vital to the true method of pyramid construction. The account begins [73]:
“ Now they told me, that to the death of Rhampsinitus there was a perfect distribution of justice, and that all of Egypt was in a high state of prosperity. But that Cheops (Khufu), the next king to reign,brought the people absolute misery. First he shut all the temples, and forbade the offering of sacrifice. Then he ordered all of the Egyptians to work for him. Some were appointed to drag stone from the quarries in the Arabian mountains to the Nile. Others he ordered to receive the stones which were transported in boats across the river, and drag them to the hills called the Libyan. ”
The group of emphasized words refers to the transportation of stone. Instead of stone blocks, this description could just as well relate to the hauling of stone rubble. The limestone material used for the casing blocks was most likely hauled from quarries in the Arabian mountains. The quote continues:
“ And they worked in gangs of 100,000 men, each gang working for three months. For ten years the people were afflicted with toil in order to make the road for the conveyance of stone. This work, in my opinion, was not much less than that of the pyramid itself; for the road is five stades [3,021 feet] in length, and its width ten orgyae [60 feet], and its height, where it is the highest, eight orgyae [48 feet]; and it is built of polished stone and is covered with engravings of animals. ”
Again, a reference to hauling stone may just as well relate to the hauling of rubble. Above, and again in the next portion provided below, the word polished appears to describe smooth stone bearing no tool marks. This is the same word, xeston, used about 200 years later by Manetho to describe Imhotep's invention. As discussed in Chapter 10, this word does not mean hewn. Herodotus’s account never states that the pyramid blocks were carved.
Another word above is translated engraved. Engraving is assumed by Herodotus, who does not understand the cons- truction method. Just the same, inscriptions or impressions do not require carving. Assuming agglomeration, hieroglyphic figures were impressed in objects such as the Colossi of Memnon and monolithic sarcophagi by the mold. Herodotus continues:
“ As I said, ten years went into the making of this road, including the underground chambers on the mound upon which the pyramid stands. These the king made as a burial place for himself.These last were built on a sort of island made by introducing water by canals from the Nile.Twenty years were spent erecting the pyramid itself. It is a square, each face is eight plethra [820 feet], and the height is the same; it is built entirely of polished stones, and jointed with the greatest exactness; none of the stones are less than thirty feet. ”
Again, we see a reference to the xeston polished or scraped stones, actually the casing of Khafra's pyramid. Herodotus could not describe the pyramid made of stairs and tiers, the way one sees it in modern times. His visit to Giza took palace 1800 years before the inhabitants of Cairo started dismantling the casing of all pyramids. There is also men- tion of canals extending from the Nile to the site. As mentioned in Chapter 6, on-site canals would be necessary for introducing water onto the Giza plateau for disaggregating the limestone and for the production of enormous quantities of cement. Mythology also supports the existence of on-site canals. According to mythology the pyramids would be connected to the Nile so that the spirit of the pharaoh could travel in his boat each night to the underworld.
Residues of cement production have long since vanished. There is, however, another historical account that implies that the river was let in through a canal to disaggregate limestone and natron, as would be necessary for cement production. This comes from Historical Library, by Diodorus Sicilus a later Greek historian visiting the pyramids [74]:
“ And the most remarkable part of the account is that, though the surrounding land consists of nothing but sand, not a trace remains either of ramps or the dressing of stones, so that they do not appear to have been made by the slow hand of man but instead look like a sudden creation, as though they had been made by a god and set down bodily in the sand. Some Egyptians make a marvel out of these matters, saying that in as much as heaps were made with salt and natron, when the river was let it dissolved them and completely effaced them without the intervention of man’s hand. ”
Herodotus continues...
“ This pyramid was built thus: in the form of steps, which some call krosae, and others call bomides. After preparing the foundation,they raised stones by using machines made of short planks of wood, which raised the stones from the ground to the first range of courses. On this course there was another machine which received the stone upon arrival. Another machine advanced the stone on the second course. Either there were as many machines as courses, or there was really only one, and portable, to reach each course in succession whenever they wished to raise the stone higher. I am telling both possibilities because both were mentioned. ”
When researchers introduce designs for wooden ma- chines, which they propose might have been used for hoisting pyramid blocks, their concepts do not comply with the archaeological record. No evidence of any such wooden machinery from the Pyramid Age has ever been found by archaeologists. There was certainly no focus during the late Stone Age on the invention of machinery as we think of it- structures consisting of a framework and fixed and moving parts.
Herodotus’ firsthand reporting nevertheless led to speculation about the existence of tripods and pulleys during the Old Kingdom, but archaeologists are satisfied that these implements were not introduced in Egypt until Roman times, after 30 BC. This contradiction between the firsthand report and the archaeological record produces a dilemma.
The wooden machines cited could be wooden molds or, better, wooden containers. The quote reads in the following manner when the word “ machine ” is changed to read “ mold ” or “ container ”.
“ This pyramid was built thus: in the form of steps [like a step pyramid],which some call krosae, and others call bomides. After preparing the foundation, they raised the other stones by using containers (or molds) made of short planks of wood, which raised the stones from the ground to the first range of courses. On this course there was another container (mold) which received the stone [rubble] upon arrival. Another container (mold) advanced the stone on the second course. Either there were as many containers (molds) as courses, or there was really only one, and portable, to reach each step in succession whenever they wished to raise the stone higher. I am telling both possibilities because both were mentioned. ”
This machine (mechane) may be similar to the pisé technique described in Chapter 11, Fig. 53. It is a box made of short planks of wood held together with ropes, therefore versatile, and easily portable.Workers used it either as a container to temporarily store the “ wet stone ”, and as a mold to pound the wet material giving it the final shape. The slight language distortion that converted machines to containers (molds) shows how difficult it can be to interpret even very simple technical words when knowledge has been lost. A container or mold can be considered as an apparatus or device. The Greek word, mechane, used by Herodotus, is a general term indicating something contrived, invented, or fabricated. Because the word is nonspecific, a gross generalization, what is left to the imagination produces a conceptual distortion, and unfamiliarity with the actual construction method affects the way translators interpreted and therefore translated the text.
Not only does Herodotus’s account not support stone cutting, it also does not imply that blocks were hoisted up the pyramid. What exists is a description complying with piling a pyramid tier by tier. The account never states that blocks were raised via ramps or from the ground by machine directly to great heights. The account continues:
“ The highest parts of it, therefore, were first finished, and afterwards they completed the parts next following. Last of all they finished the parts on the ground, and those that were the lowest. On the pyramid is shown an inscription in Egyptian characters of how much was spent on radishes, onions, and garlic for the workmen. The person interpreting the inscription, as I well remember, told me this amounted to 1,600 talents of silver. And if this be true, how much more was probably expended in iron tools, in bread, and in clothing for the workers, since they took the time that I have mentioned to build this edifice without even counting, in my opinion, the time for quarrying the stones, their transportation, and the construction of subterranean chambers, which were without doubt considerable ”.
Herodotus, who liked to calculate problems, had trouble believing that the pyramid had been built in twenty years. But more interestingly, without appropriate scientific insight, the reference to onion and garlic is absolutely absurd. It appeared, for instance, so ridiculous to the noted Egyptologists Budge and Gaston Maspero, that they thought Herodotus was deceived by the interpreter. Budge commented in The Mummy that the inscriptions were pure invention. We now know, however, that chemical odors, such as those resembling garlic,comply with Khnum’s alchemical processes as described in the earlier chapter 11 “ It is written in Hieroglyphs ”. Knowing this, we recognize that this passage is something truly precious. It is a piece of genuine news preserved from the time of the completion of the Great Pyramid.
Herodotus’s comments about other costs clearly indicate that he did not understand the chemical sense of the inscriptions. Nor does it seem that he was made to appreciate why this relevant information was provided. It was certainly considered to be a primary part of the guides’ explanation, lending a clue that they may have understood something about the construction method. If they did not understand, they certainly knew that the inscriptions were relevant.
It is not difficult to understand why the guides would be ineffective in communicating the construction method to Herodotus if they understood it. There seems to have been no suitable Greek word to describe such stone, the closest word being polished or scraped (xeston). Communicating the notion of man-made stone and stone otherwise prepared or reconstituted by man could easily be misunderstood, especially when conversing with a traveler unfamiliar with the technology through an interpreter.
Different possibilities emerge regarding Herodotus’s quote. One is that the guides thought they were adequately communicating the method of pyramid construction. The interpreter may have distorted the account in translation. More probably, the guides related only distorted legendary information. Whatever the case, modern translators have inadvertently obscured the text by misinterpreting some key words. Preconceived ideas about pyramid construction played a significant role in the translations of the text into modem languages.
Although the account contains some misinformation, we also find that, paragraph by paragraph, it is riddled with clues of the actual construction method, relevant clues that could not be present otherwise. The amount and relevance of the clues can be no accident, nor can these clues be ignored. This leads to the standard interpretation of the account coming into serious question. When stripped of distortion, a clearer account emerges. Instead of supporting the standard theory, this account must be taken as historical documenta-tion supporting my findings.
------------------
Chapter 13
It Is Written in Latin

When did the last vestiges of the technology disappear and why? The answer to these questions remains elusive. Existing alchemical knowledge can still be pinpointed to a time shortly after the death of Jesus Christ. A description is found in the ancient science encyclopedia written by Pliny the Elder (AD 23 - 79), the Roman naturalist. Pliny’s account is not legendary or written esoterically; it clearly describes the salient features of the technology.
Pliny became one of the authorities on science and its history for the Middle Ages, making a profound impact on the intellectual development of Western Europe. He had established a new type of scientific literature - the encyclopedia. He was the first to collect old, diversified material of science and pseudoscience and methodically and expertly assemble it. The resulting encyclopedia of Natural History, consisting of thirty-seven books, is impressive in its scope. It covers botany, zoology, geography, anthropology, cosmology, astronomy, and mineralogy. During the Middle Ages, lessons in his work often substituted for a general education, and Pliny’s authority remained undiminished for over 1,500 years.
It was not until 1492 that Pliny’s authority was first challenged in Concerning the Errors of Pliny, by the noted physician and philologist Niccolo Leoniceno. Although Pliny’s encyclopedia is today appreciated as one of the monumental literary works of classical antiquity, some scholars still declare the work useless as science. Be that as it may, if our aim is to understand, appreciate, and indeed attempt to recover the best of the sciences of antiquity, Pliny’s encyclopedia is a jewel of science.
To date, the passages related to alchemical stonemaking confuse scholars, resulting in gross errors of translation in Pliny’s work. Worse, the salient principles and characteristics of the ancient science being unknown, the translators dismissed Pliny’s account as erroneous. De Roziere commented on the problems of translation [75]:
“ M. Grosse, author of a German translation of Pliny, highly esteemed by learned people, points out that in the whole of this description the Roman naturalist seems to have done his best to make himself obscure.“ Despite my familiarity ”, he said, “ both with Pliny’s style and with the meaning he gives to terms, it has been difficult, sometimes even impossible, to translate the passages clearly and exactly ”. The reason was certainly that he was simply unfamiliar with the substance that Pliny was describing. ”
One can appreciate the difficulty of literally translating technical material after technical knowledge has been lost, especially for a strictly literary scholar. Except for my trans- lation, all attempts to translate the relevant passages have been futile.
In 1832-1833, the French Academy of Sciences, in order to compare ancient scientific knowledge with that of its day, produced and annotated a French translation of Pliny’s encyclopedia. The first half of the nineteenth century produced several important developments. Jean-François Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Georg Friedrich Grotefend deciphered Persian cuneiform. Portland cement was first manufactured, and a complete mineral clas- sification was established. The latter allowed for a comprehensive critique of Pliny’s writings on mineralogy by the French Academy of Sciences.
A passage from Book 31 of Pliny’s encyclopedia made no sense to the French scholars. But the passage is compelling in its support of the existence of alchemical stonemaking. The passage appears in Latin as follows:
“ Nitrariae Aegypri circa Naucratim et Memphim tanturn solebant esse, circa Memphim deteriores. Nam et lapidescit ibi in acervis: multique sunt cumuli ca de causa saxei. Faciunt ex his vasa... ”
Translated into English this passage reads:
“ In previous times, Egypt had no outcrops of natron except for those near Naucratis and Memphis, the products of Mem- phis being reputedly inferior. It is a fact that in accumulations of materials it (natron) petrifies [minerals]. In this way occurs a multitude of heaps [of minerals] which become transformed into real rocks. The Egyptians make vases of it.... ”
This particular passage is simple and straightforward, so there is no error of translation - the Egyptians made real rocks according to Pliny. And the last sentence suggests that Khnum’s technology was again being used to produce stone vases. Pliny provides a more detailed description of the ma- nufacture of artificial stone in a segment about vase produc- tion. The vases are called murrhine vases. The following is a standard translation of Pliny’s description found in Book 37:
“ Date of the introduction of the murrhine vases and what they commemorated:
VII. With this same victory came the introduction to Rome of the murrhine vases.Pompey was the first to dedicate murrhine cups and bowls to Jupiter in the Capitol. These vessels soon passed into daily use, and they were in demand for display and tableware. Lavish expenditure on these items increased daily: an ex-consul drank from a murrhine vessel for which he paid 70 talents [about 1 million $US in 1988] although it held just three pints. He was so taken with the vessel that he gnawed its edges. The damage actually caused its value to increase, and today no murrhine vessel has a higher price upon it. The same man squandered vast sums to acquire other articles of this substance, which can be determined by their number, so high that when Nero robbed them from his children for display they filled the private theater in his gardens beyond the Tiber, a theater large enough to satisfy even Nero’s urge to sing before a full house as he rehearsed for his appearance at Pompey’s theater.
It was at this event that I counted the pieces of a single broken vessel included in the exhibition. It was decided that the pieces, like the remains of Alexander the Great, should be preserved in an urn for display, presumably as a token of the sorrows and misfortune of the age. Before dying, the consul Titus Petronius, in order to spite Nero, had a murrhine bowl, valued at 30 talents [$400,000 U.S.], broken in order to deprive the Emperor’s dining table of it. But Nero, as befitted an emperor, surpassed everyone else by paying 100 talents [$1.5 million U.S.] for a single vessel. It is a memorable fact that an emperor, head of the fatherland, should drink at such a high price. ”
The passage indicates that the precious stone vases were dedicated to Jupiter, the supreme god in Roman mythology. This could reflect a carry-over in religious tradition. It is probable that more anciently alchemically made stone vessels were dedicated to the Sun god of Egypt, Ra in the form of Khnum Ra. After the Roman conquest, Jupiter was worshipped in Egypt in the form of Jupiter-Amun,Amun being the supreme deity identified with the Sun during the late era. It could be that the word murrhine was derived from the name of Khnum.
The Latin spelling is murrhinum. Excluding the “ m ”, the succession of consonants in Latin is: .rrh.n.m, which could be a Latin way of writing .kh.n.m: The letter “ kh ” are pronounced the same as are “ ch ” in German and the letter “ J ” (jota) in Spanish, the sound heard in the name Juan. This pronunciation has a guttural sound “ rrh ”. This type of pronunciation or sound would transform the word to mukhinum, which is close to the name Khnum.
These vases were truly precious items, either because of sacred tradition or simple technological developments. Adding certain raw materials and heating under certain conditions produces extraordinarily beautiful optical qualities, such as those described next. Clearly the material described has features that do not comply with those of natural stone. In the relevant passages, emphasis is added.
“ VIII. The murrhine vases come to us from the East. They are found there in various little-known places, especially in the kingdom of Parthia.The finest come from Carmania.They are said to be made of a liquid to which heat gives consistence when covered with earth.Their dimensions never exceed those of a small display stand.Rarely,their thickness is no more than that of a drinking vessel such as mentioned.They are not very brilliant.They glisten rather than shine.What makes them fetch a high price is the varieties of shades, the veins, as they revolve, vary repeatedly from pink to white, or a combination of the two, the pink becoming firey or the milk-white becoming red as the new shade merges through the vein. Some connoisseurs especially admire the edges of a piece, where the colors are reflected as in the inner part of a rainbow. Others favor thick veins. Any transparency or fading is a flaw. Also there are the grains and the blisters which, like warts on human bodies, are just beneath the surface.The stone is also appreciated for its odor.”
According to Pliny these vases were made from a liquid that hardened when heated, a description indicating that the vases could not have been produced by carving natural stone. The mention of blisters and odor could refer only to an artificially produced material. A puzzled committee of scientists from the French Academy of Sciences responded as follows:
“ The matter of the murrhine vases was discussed for a long time. According to Scaliger, Mariette, Lagrange, et al., it was porcelain that, in Roman times, was only made at the extremities of the known world (China, Japan, and Formosa), and which, transported at great cost overland through the hands of twenty different people, must indeed have fetched an enormous price. But porcelain is artificial, and the variety of colors, the play of light on the murrhine surface, the stripes, and the wavy stains of which Pliny speaks, are not traits of porcelain. Moreover, -... humorem sub terra calore densari...- a liquid to which heat gives consistency when covered with earth, i.e., hardens when it is heated in clay, can hardly mean a man-made process analogous to that which transforms kao- lin into porcelain. But from his description, the only natural substance with all the features described by Pliny is fluorite. ”
Despite Pliny’s description of a material that could only be manmade, the French scholars decided that the vases had to be made of fluorite, a stone material, with white and pink veins, which must be carved. Their comments continue:
“ To identify fluorite in the midst of so many heterogeneous substances would have been difficult; to extract it, i.e.,to isolate it and purify it, impossible. It was thus necessary to find native pieces of heterogeneous material with as little filler as possible.This was rare.Rarer still were pink crystallized samples,for pink is last in the order of abundance: greenish gray, white, yellow, violet, blue, honey yellow, and pink. It should be remembered that, even today, fine specimens of fluorite are used to make beautiful vases. Recently, fluorite was used to give a matte finish to porcelain statues which had become vitrified during firing. ”
In this last statement, the scholars were referring to the fact that fluorite is used to produce hydrofluoric acid, vital to ceramic production. Fluorite is dissolved in sulfuric acid to make hydrofluoric acid for attacking glass. An interpretation of Pliny’s text by the French Academy of Sciences follows:
“ ...For which he paid 70 talents: Such incredible sums (70 talents) are almost beyond belief. Seventy talents equals almost 35,000 sovereigns [1 million $US] in our money; and we shall be referring to a sum more than four times as great as this a little later-and all this for a vessel meant for the least auspicious applications.
Any transparency or fading are flaws: Semi transparency: this is confirmed below.
The stone is also appreciated for its odor: This is one of the reasons to believe that the murrhine was artificial.
Made of a liquid to which heat gives consistence: it is difficult to understand that heat can cause solidification. Normal experience is that when a solid is heated it melts.Thus, we must consider the possible meanings of the expression, viz.: (1) evaporation followed by condensation, binding together of a magma, and still more likely, crystallization, (2) kinds of stalac- tites or stalagmites (remembering that there does exist a com- pact variety composed of small lumps bound together). ”
In the 1830s, the members of the French Academy of Sciences did not know that a liquid could become hard when heated. With organic chemistry not yet developed, the phenomenon was unknown. In keeping with developments in inorganic chemistry in their day, the transformations of the different states of matter as produced by heat could only occur in an immutable manner. When heated, solids become liquids. Liquids become gases. Then, upon cooling, gases become liquids as they condense, and liquids become solids as they crystallize. This fundamental, uniform behavior of all matter constituted immutable natural laws for the members of the distinguished French Academy of Sciences.
Therefore, Pliny’s description was nonsense in their opinion. It defied natural laws. Their consensus was,“ Beware of Pliny and his fantastical descriptions! ” Modern chemistry, of course, has substantiated Pliny’s claim that liquids can become solid when heated. Thermosetting plastics harden upon heating. And the chemistry of geopolymerization demonstrates that a colloidal solution of minerals hardens when heated.
However, Pliny’s authority in this regard has still not been vindicated. Despite the description that could only indicate the production of artificial stone, fluorite, a natural stone, remains in the translations of Pliny’s text.
Every Egyptian hieroglyphic and cuneiform text deciphered during the early 1800s reflects the limitations of the scientific knowledge of that time. For 150 years, the trans- lations of most ancient texts have not been updated to reflect modern knowledge. This means that ancient texts that may contain descriptions of alchemical stonemaking remain grossly inaccurate.
Pliny is appreciated for his ability to tie together bits of information from scattered sources and arrive at conclusions that often prove to be accurate. He criticized the pharaohs for building such elaborate pyramid tombs but probably gave little thought to the pyramid construction method. Like Pochan and the researchers at SRI International, Pliny also overlooked the construction method. He knew that the murrhine vases were artificial stone, and he knew that, using natron, the Egyptians made “ real rock ”, yet, though he wondered how the Egyptians raised the heavy blocks in the Great Pyramid so high, he never applied his knowledge to pyramid construction.
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