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Monday, May 21, 2012

Great Pyramid - PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS - 8.The Proof at Giza

PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS


BOOK: THE PYRAMIDS AN ENIGMA SOLVED
Prof. Joseph Davidovits

Chapter 8
The Proof at Giza


To further demonstrate that the pyramid stone results from a man-made reagglomeration of nummulitic limestone, I conducted several studies at Giza between 1984 and 1992. A complete survey of the geological strata of the Giza plateau has never been conducted because the site is completely filled with tombs and sand. I surveyed all of the exposed strata in the bedrock, and I made a comparative study between the exposed strata and thousands of blocks in the pyramids and those in the temples at Giza. (See also Appendix II, The Giza Plateau Circuit).
The variation in quality of blocks composing the Giza pyramids is striking. Certain blocks are unweathered whereas the majority has become extremely eroded by wind, rain, and the sunlight; the latter is most severe from the south and west. The effects of erosion are most obvious on a very rough layer that forms the top portion of all of the pyramid blocks. This top area, generally from twenty to 30 centimeters (7.87-8.81 inches) thick, is weaker, lighter in density, and more affected by erosion than the rest of the stone. Two explanations to this unusual feature would be as follows:
First, let us assume that limestone aggregates (with fossil shells) were poured directly into a mold that was partially filled with water and binder. As the mixture combined with the water, the heaviest materials settled to the bottom. Air bubbles and excess watery binder rose to the top, producing a lighter, weaker matrix. The top layer also exhibits the smallest number of fossil shells, which were not as crowded within the dense slurry and were therefore depositionally oriented horizontally. No mixing was required to produce the concrete, and precise measurements afforded perfectly level tiers.
Figure 21: Blocks on the west face of Khafra's (Khefren or Chephren) Pyramid exhibit sponge-like upper portions. (1984) {BELOW}
In the second explanation, the limestone aggregates were rammed (instead of poured) as in the making of pisé (packed earth). The bottom of the semi-dry mixture became compacted with the pestle and was more dense than the top.
Due to the technology employed, the top layer tended to exhibit light horizontal layering (see Stage 1 in Appendix II). Sometimes, the top layer is so rough and riddled with holes that the blocks look like sponges (Fig.21). My first impression was that they resemble geopolymeric foam, a product that I have developed. Gaber accompanied me in my survey, and his professors from the geology department of Ain Shams University commented that the numerous holes in the top portion result from fossil shells having been stripped away by erosion. I explained that although erosion caused the deterioration, it did so because the top layer is
more susceptible than is the denser bottom layer. Furthermore, I observed that blocks on the west side of Khafra’s pyramid have been protected from weathering during centuries. Until about 100 years ago, the first several tiers on the west side were buried in sand (see drawings from Description de l’Egypte and Lepsius). Because erosion occurred after the sand was cleared, the blocks on the west side are relatively unweathered. However, even these unweathered blocks exhibit the light, weak top layer, which, therefore, cannot be attributed to weathering (see Stage 5 in Appendix II).
All blocks composing the pyramids at Giza, those of Khufu, Khafra, Menkure (Mycerinus in Greek), and the mile- long causeway from Menkure’s pyramid to the Nile bear the weak top layer (Figures 21 to 30). In contrast, a comparison of the cast blocks and the bedrock demonstrates obvious differences.
To form a level base on the incline of the Giza plateau, five steps on the west side of the pyramid of Khafra were shaped in situ from natural bedrock (see in Appendix II, Stage 5). There are no individual blocks in these bedrock steps, and therefore, shaping them did not involve the arduous labor required to cut perfectly fitting blocks. The transition between the natural bedrock steps and the man-made reconstituted limestone blocks appears near the middle of the north and south sides of the base of the pyramid (Fig. 24). Above are about 2 million individual blocks. At the base, blocks were cast directly on bedrock, which is quite homogeneous in density when cut within a given geological stratum or series thereof. The jumbled shells in the pyramid blocks reported by Jomard and de Roziere are apparent. On the opposite, the nummulites in the bedrock steps are oriented horizontally, characteristic of natural sedimentary layering.
Figure 22: Block fallen from southwest corner of Khafra's pyramid has three lift lines (B- bottom; T-top); behind arrows show weak top layer (1984). {BELOW}
Figure 23: Arrow points out thick mortar used to seal bottom of mold for blocks on south face of Khafra's pyramid (1984). {BELOW}
Figure 24: The author examines transition between bedrock base and pyramid blocks. (A) Fossil shells correspond to the natural sedimentary layering in the bedrock portion of the base. (B) Pyramid blocks cast on bedrock have well-fitted joints. In lighter top portion jumbled and broken fossil shells are visible. (C) Separation between bedrock and pyramid blocks (1984). {BELOW}
If the pyramid blocks were natural limestone, the unnatural density pattern could be explained only if two ad- jacent strata of different qualities had been included in the cut, the lower of a better quality than the upper. That the pyramid blocks were cast explains why the rough top layer is always about the same size regardless of the height of a block. It would be ridiculous to suppose that quarries exhibiting this unusual feature could have been identified and used to the degree that is exhibited in the pyramids.
With few exceptions, the pyramid blocks contain no type of strata. If the blocks were quarried, it would have required that they be extracted to avoid cutting along the division between strata because the blocks are smaller than the strata in the bedrock. Incongruence with regard to strata is contrary to what is advocated by Egyptologists. They assume that the blocks were easy to cut because advantage was taken of natural divisions in the bedrock. Occasionally, a stratum (lift line) can be observed in very large pyramid blocks. When one does appear, however, it is not as high as the divisions of strata found on the Giza plateau. The divisions of strata in the bedrock near the pyramid of Khafra and in the Khent-Kawes quarry, are about 4.5 meters (5 yards) apart, three to four times greater than the heights of the pyramid blocks (Fig.25).
Figure 25: Exposed bedrock at Giza allows comparison between heights of pyramid blocks (A and B) and the divisions of geological strata (arrows) (1984). {BELOW}
In the pyramids of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkure, a thick, pink gypsum mortar was used to fill cracks and level imperfect blocks and also to cement a minority of rough trapezoidal-shaped core blocks to neighboring blocks. The mortar was applied to a thickness of up to 20 millimeters (0.78 inch) beneath the base of the trapezoidal blocks. These blocks are positioned with their widest area upward. The mortar was applied to be thickest at the bottom, with that thickness gradually decreasing as it neared the top of the blocks. Practically no mortar is visible at their top edges, because this area is very small. The presence of this thick mortar indicates that these particular blocks were moved into place, as opposed to having been cast in situ.
Figure 26: Second Pyramid of Giza exhibits three different types of joints. A and B are carved restoration. C is an original agglomerated stone joint. D is a joint in which thick mortar was applied during construction (1984) {BELOW}
That these trapezoidal blocks are bound by mortar does not invalidate the agglomerated stone theory because the blocks represent only a small minority. Instead, the blocks provide insight into the plan by which the pyramids were constructed. The blocks were probably cast near by and placed during the final construction phase to plug passageways that had remained open to provide ventilation and allow ingress and egress of materials.
I closely examined blocks in the mortuary temple, valley temple, the temple of the Sphinx in Khafra’s complex, and the mortuary temple in Menkure’s complex. Walls protected from weathering are smooth and light gray. Large surface areas of blocks composing walls that have been attacked by weather exhibit the same density variations as appear in the pyramid blocks. Blocks in the temples in Khafra’s complex are enormous. They stand approximately 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet) high and, as mentioned, weigh up to 500 tons apiece. The weathered faces of the largest of these blocks exhibit two or three wavy, irregular strata. These are smaller than the divisions of strata in the Giza plateau. The geologists I encountered from Ain Shams University opined that the strata proves that the stones are natural. They were unaware that most types of concrete can also exhibit strata, known as lift lines.
Like those exhibited in the largest pyramid blocks, these lift lines can be explained by the method used to produce the blocks (Figures 27, 28). If the large temple blocks were natural, they would have to have been quarried from close by, because their great size would make them almost impossible to move by primitive means. To cast blocks of such enormous size might require three days. After the workers quit for the day, the unfinished block hardened. As it set, a surface (lift line) formed. The process was repeated daily until the block was complete. The lift lines are visible now that weathering has destroyed the outer block. In addition, the strata in the bedrock are horizontal, whereas the wavy lift lines are characteristic of material dumped into a mold. The planed surfaces and sharp, geometrical angles of the blocks of these temple walls compare exactly with those of modern walls made of concrete blocks. It is strikingly obvious that the northern face of the valley temple in Khafra’s complex is a wall of gigantic geopolymeric concrete blocks, formed of parallelepipeds with perfect right angles.
Figure 27: Enormous blocks in the mortuary temple of Khafra exhibit lightweight, weathered top portions characteristic of concrete (1984). {BELOW}
The block quality is excellent. The core blocks of the pyramids, though of better quality than the bedrock body of the Sphinx, do not compare with the fine quality of the tem- ple blocks. The difference can be explained only by the quality of the stonemaking formula itself.
Figure 28: Blocks at Khafra's mortuary temple have wavy lift lines characteristic of construction interruptions during casting (1984). {BELOW}
Aside from evidence from the chemical analysis of pyramid stone, geologists supporting the agglomerated theory find the most compelling evidence for cast-in-place pyramid stones to be gross features such as the chunks of stone incorporated into the pyramid blocks (Figure 29), the wavy lift lines (Figures 27, 28), the density differences between the pyramid and quarry stone, and the jumbled nature of the fossil shells in the pyramid stone. The apparent absence of sedimentary stratification in the pyramid stones is also powerful geological evidence. Additionally, the quarry rocks contain cracks, ranging from microscopic to several inches in width. These cracks are filled with secondary calcite. Similar cracks were not observed in the pyramid blocks and are thought not to be present.
Figure 29: Chunk of stone incorporated into block is visible in Khafra's pyramid (1984).{BELOW}
The pyramid of Menkure has an exceptional history. Most of its casing blocks, now disappeared, were limestone. Those appearing on the lower quarter of the pyramid are made of carved granite (see Stage 10 in Appendix II). Some of the blocks are irregularly shaped, typical of carved blocks. Menkure’s pyramid probably fell victim to the New Kingdom pharaoh, Ramses II, who routinely used pyramid casing blocks to build or restore temples consecrated to his god, Amun.
The pyramid of Menkure was stripped starting at the bottom, but only one-third was denuded. A subsequent ruler restored the pyramid with carved syenite granite from Aswan, a material which was commonly carved during the New Kingdom. As opposed to supporting the traditional theory of construction, the carved blocks contribute to my theory. Their appearance clearly demonstrates the difference between carved and cast blocks because carved blocks always exhibit tool marks whereas cast blocks do not.
Edwards states in his book The Pyramids of Egypt [123]: “ ... Menkure (Mykerinos) must have intended to follow the example of Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) by constructing his Mortuary Temple of limestone faced with ashlars of granite.... Reiner’s excavations, however have shown that this plan was never realized.... Only the foundations of the Valley Building were made of stone; the superstructure was composed almost entirely of crude brick.... In the Mortuary Temple the foundations and the inner core of some of its walls were composed of limestone blocks... but crude brick was again the material used for completing the greater part of the building... ”
The blocks were overlaid with a plaster imitating granite or with a white plaster, inside and outside. The unweathered side (north) of the Menkure (Mykerinos) Mortuary Temple blocks shows visible toolmarks (Fig. 30a, 30b). These toolmarks are also observed on the blocks of other temples and have been taken as proof against the agglomerated stone theory. They are not! As mentioned above, the blocks were not bare, but recovered with a decorative coating. It is traditional in all civilizations to proceed in the same way when applying a decorative coating or plaster, or stucco, upon a smooth stone or brick surface. The stone sur- face must be roughened in order to achieve good mechanical adhesion between the plaster and the stone surface. In the author’s mind, these toolmarks were specially worked on the agglomerated stone because Menkure’s (Mykerinos) architect did not have the time or the budget to face the ashlars with massive granite stones. Remains of colored plaster (coating) are often visible on pyramid blocks, essentially those located on the east sides.
Figure 30a: Stage 11, Mortuary Temple, Menkure (Mykerinos) Pyramid, east, on the right hand when facing the valley. Blocks with tool-marks for plaster adherence and worked edge (1988). {BELOW}
Figure 30b: visible tool-marks (1988). {BELOW}
Ancient repairs with lime gypsum mortar caused no damage to the Sphinx body and a protective coating formed, which is in my opinion a result of geopolymerization. However, salts leaching from the modern mortar used in repairs have caused the stone to decay. This shows that ancient Egyptian gypsum mortar does not have the same chemical makeup as modern gypsum mortar. The modern material consists exclusively of hydrated calcium sulfate, whereas the ancient mortar is based on a silico-aluminate, a result of geopolymerization. I have observed well-preserved, hard lime-gypsum mortar on some ancient Egyptian monuments and lime-gypsum that is completely disaggregated on others. The disaggregated mortar is modern, and because the modern mortar has deteriorated, it is assumed that lime-gypsum mortar does not endure.
At Saqqara and Giza I found geological layers of well crystallized gypsum sandwiched between layers of limestone and aluminous clay. When a combination of these three materials is calcined and combined with natron, a geopolymeric lime-gypsum cement results, which sets rapidly and resists erosion. Such cement was used for patching and sealing in most of the pyramids. This is the thick mortar used to set the trapezoidal blocks, previously described, and it is in good condition after thousands of years. However, because it sets rapidly, it does not allow sufficient time for casting and, therefore, is unsuitable for producing limestone concrete. This explains why gypsum is not a component of the reconstituted limestone described previously.
Much of the restoration by Lauer on the pyramid of Zoser was made with Portland cement concrete. Those repairs of fifty years ago have cracked and, consequently, had to be replaced with carved limestone (Fig.31-32). The geopolymeric material would be ideal for a lasting restoration of monuments.
Figure 31: Restoration detail of Zoser's pyramid shows (A) original casing stones over 4,500 years old, and (B) cracked blocks made of portland cement-based concrete less than 50 years old (1984) {BELOW}
Figure 32: Restoration of Zoser's pyramid shows (A) original casing blocks, (B) Portland cement-based concrete blocks, (C) block carved from soft white limestone of Tura during recent restorations. (1984).{BELOW}
During the studies at Giza, I photographed the south and west faces of the pyramid of Khafra below the top thirty levels. The uniformity of lengths of the blocks of Khafra’s pyramid show that the use of agglomerated stone is the only viable system of pyramid construction. The heights of the pyramid blocks are more variable than the lengths. This would not call for more molds; the desired height could be achieved by marking the molds at a certain level and by filling them to that point. This system accounts for the dramatic fluctuations relative to the Great Pyramid that Goyon could not correctly explain.
Staggering the block heights also produces tremendous stability. This type of structural design was used in cathedrals built in northern France and Germany during the Gothic period between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. They are capable of withstanding an impressive amount of shock. In my home town of Saint Quentin the thirteenth century basilica made this way remains standing although the city was destroyed by bombs in the battle of the Somme during World War I (1914 - 1918). Likewise, the old city hall, similarly constructed, is still standing. In Cologne, West Germany, one such cathedral stood alone above the ruins of the city in World War II. The Great Pyramid was unscathed by the earthquake of 1301 that devastated Cairo.
Figure 33: Basilica in Saint-Quentin, France, survived the old city after World War I.{BELOW}
One of the main purposes of my study at Giza was to determine whether the lengths of individual blocks might recur and, if so, to what degree. A high degree of uniform lengths corroborates the principle of blocks cast in molds. Almost all 2,000 blocks I photographed in Khafra’s pyramid conform to ten uniform lengths. The various lengths are set in different patterns throughout the twenty-two steps. That only ten dimensions exist indicates that all twenty-two steps were produced with molds of only five sizes because some blocks were cast with their lengths perpendicular to the plane of the pyramid face.
That the longest blocks are always the same length is extremely strong evidence in favor of the use of cast stone. It shows that each block was produced according to the exact, immediate specifications of the architect during construc- tion. Long blocks always appear directly above or beneath blocks that are short in length, making the construction plan apparent.
Any dimension required could be determined quickly by the architect because it would be relative to the length of the block in the tier directly below. It is simple to determine the length needed when blocks are all produced from molds of the same few sizes. Anyone, however, attempting to explain the preparation and use of blocks of such highly uniform dimensions based on the carving hypothesis would be unable to do so. Blocks could never have been cut, stored, and selected on the scale required.
The south and west faces of Khafra’s pyramid are a mirror image of each other, indicating that the entire intricate design is three dimensional. Successive tiers are made of the same pattern, whereas others are made of different, interrelated patterns. Certain tiers have patterns that are almost the same as those of neighboring tiers. The patterns of other tiers are opposite to those surrounding them. All blocks were cast according to an uncanny master plan of patterns that eliminated the formation of vertical joints, which would cause weak points. The pyramid resembles an intricate three-dimensional puzzle that was effectively formulated to create an incredibly strong, stable superstructure. In Appendix II, the Circuit at Giza provides additional information.


Objections to my theory
Immediately upon arriving at the site in January 1990, the American geologists Folk and Campbell observed features that they interpreted to indicate that the blocks are natural. In an article published in Journal of Geological Education , they state:
“ Within the first minute at Kheops (Khufu) pyramid, we knew that the pyramids were built of real limestone blocks, not of concrete [agglomerated stone]... ”. [128]
For a reason which is not explained in their papers, Folk and Campbell went directly to the North East corner of the Khufu (Kheops or Cheops) pyramid, and found there, natural limestone, an outcrop of the Mokattam Formation.
A major part of their preliminary geological study was carried out precisely on this location (see in Fig. 34a and the sketch in Fig. 34b). They deliberately ignored the elementary fact that the pyramid was built on a leveled plateau, which left some natural bedrock as part of the monument.
In 1983, Lehner had mentioned that this natural bedrock shows to a height of 4 meters above the base, at the North-East corner [129]. Nevertheless, Folk and Campbell based all their demonstration against the agglomerated limestone theory, on superficial investigation. They identified real stones where previous studies showed them to be located, thus proving on one hand their expertise in geology and on the other hand their scientific misconduct. They used this North-East. corner natural stone to demonstrate that
“ ... they are tectonic fractures in many pyramid blocks, filled with calcite [the vertical tectonic fracture T in the photo].... These fractures generally are only about 1 mm wide, and run in a more or less straight path all across a single block....These are obvious tectonic fractures formed when the block was flexed millions of years ago, and demonstrate that the pyramid core stones were quarried blocks, not poured geopolymer... ”.
Figure 34a: Block discussed by Folk and Campbell in Ref. 92, 101, with vertical tectonic fracture T, burrow B and marly bed M. Notice the tree and the building on the right, and compare with the sketch.{BELOW}
Figure 34b: Sketch published by the author in Concrete International [133] in relation with Folk/Campbell geological study.{BELOW}
They also used these natural blocks to demonstrate that specific weaker parts of pyramid blocks were caused by the presence of burrows (label B in the picture), stating that there are:
“ ... numerous burrows and tubes formed by animals when the sediment had a muddy consistency on the Eocene sea floor. Similar burrows are readily seen in nearby outcropping limestones. Burrowing and churning of the soft sediment by sea-floor organisms produces inhomogeneities in sediment composition, texture, and porosity, which control to a great extent the processes of hardening into rock as the pore spaces are filled with a secondary geologic cement, in this case cal- cite. When the rock is weathered, the inhomogeneities are strikingly brought out as generally irregular, elongated, discolored features on the rock surface. Consequently, the inhomogeneities in the rock result in its differential weathering... ”
Other natural limestone blocks located on the lower two courses of the same East side were also given as proof for the explanation of density changes and lift lines presence in pyramid blocks. Taking the marly layer labeled M as example, they stated that all layers were merely geological stratification produced in the ancient Eocene seas.
In response to another of their papers also published in 1991 but in a different technical journal, Concrete International [132], I published in 1992 in the same journal, the sketch focusing on the N-E corner of Khufu (Kheops or Cheops) pyramid (Fig. 34b) and the obvious occurrence of natural stones [133].
I cannot refrain from citing again some excerpts from their published sloppy study:
“ ... we feel it is the duty of professional geologist to expose this egregiously absurd archeological theory before it becomes part of entrenched pseudoscience....We believe that had Davidovits had any understanding of basic geologic principles and understood the implications of simple geological evidence at Giza, he would have realized that this geopolymer theory had no basis in fact....We have also shown how geologic commonsense can destroy archaeological quackery, but not, unfortunately, before it has enjoyed widespread publicity among the gullible and sensation- minded.... The geopolymer theory is defunct; we still remain in awe of the enigma of Egyptian skill and engineering... ” [131].
Folk and Campbell never publicly admitted their error. Some of their 1990-1991 published papers are still used today (year 2000) by those who wants to discredit my theory. They do not know that Folk confessed his mistake in private. In March 1992, I received a letter from him dated of February 18th, 1992, that reads:
“ ... I was impressed by your reasonable and interesting letter in Concrete International, Feb. 1992... Your argument that the lower two courses of Khufu (Kheops), on the east face, are in place bedrock is intriguing and I must admit was a new thought to me. This morning, thanks to your citation, I went over and read Lehner (1983) on Khufu (Kheops) and he does indeed show the NE corner of Khufu to be bedrock in his sketch. Our photo was of that corner. So I concede that, on the North-East corner, you are correct as the bedrock idea had not entered my head at the time we were there... ”
The geologist and limestone specialist Robert L. Folk admitted that he did not have any basic geological knowledge of the Giza plateau when he made his survey and triumphally claimed: “ ... Within the first minute at Khufu (Kheops or Cheops) pyramid, we knew that the pyramids were built of real limestone blocks, not of concrete [agglomerated stone]... ”.











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