PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS
BOOK: THE PYRAMIDS AN ENIGMA SOLVED
￼Prof. Joseph Davidovits
Mysteries of the Ancient World
Egypt's legendary reputation as master of the masonry arts spans almost the entire history of civilization. At a time before hieroglyphs or numbers were written or copper was smelted, prehistoric settlers in the Nile valley either inherited or began a remarkable legacy that has survived for at least 6,000 years. During this era, hard stone vessels made of slate, metamorphic schist, diorite, and basalt first appeared. All but indestructible, these items are among the most unusual and enigmatic of the ancient world. In a later era, 30,000 such vessels were placed in an underground chamber of the first pyramid, the Third Dynasty Step Pyramid at Saqqara (Fig. 1).
“ On examining them attentively, I only became more perplexed,” wrote the renowned German scholar, Kurt Lange, after encountering these stone vessels .
“ How were they made, the dishes, plates, bowls, and other objects in diorite, which are among the most beautiful of all the fine stone objects? I have no idea... But how could such a hard stone be worked? The Egyptian of that time had at his disposal only stone, copper, and abrasive sand... It is even more difficult to imagine the fabrication of hard stone vases with long narrow necks and rounded bellies. ”
The vessels do indeed present a problem that Lange’s “ imagination could not handle ”.
Figure1: Stone Vases, 3000 BC
Metamorphic schist is harder than iron. The diorite used, a granitic rock, is among the hardest known. Modern sculptors do not attempt to carve these varieties of stone.Yet these vessels were made before the introduction into Egypt of metals strong enough to cut hard stone. Numerous vessels have long, narrow necks and wide, rounded bellies. Their interiors and exteriors correspond perfectly. The tool has not been imagined that could have been inserted into their long necks to shape the perfect, rounded bellies. Smooth and glossy, these vessels bear no trace of tool marks. How were they made?
An extraordinarily hard diorite statue of Pharaoh Khafra (Khefren or Chephren in Greek), builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza, was created during the Fourth Dynasty (Fig. 2). Acknowledged to be one of the greatest masterpieces of sculpture ever produced, it was found upside down in a pit in the Valley temple south of the Sphinx, which is associated with Khafra’s (Khefren or Chephren) pyramid at Giza. Archaeologists confirm that during the Fourth Dynasty, the Egyptians did not possess metals hard enough to sculpt this diorite statue, and the Great Pyramids of Giza were also constructed during the Fourth Dynasty.
Figure 2: Diorite statue of Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) dates from about 2600 B.C (Cairo Museum 1988)
Similarly, small scarab amulets made of diorite date from early times and bear no tool marks. In other parts of the ancient world, tiny stone beads with ultrafine holes for threading defy explanation. Only the most current technology is capable of piercing holes of a comparably minute size in stone.
In Khafra’s Valley temple at Giza, the blocks weigh up to 500 tons apiece. As will be explained, these blocks were not carved in situ from the bedrock as is generally assumed. Who were the men of Egypt who, without powerful machinery, placed 500 hundred-ton blocks in temples? How did they manage to place hundreds of fifteen- and twenty-ton blocks in tiers thirty stories above the ground in pyramids? Before pondering the technology of these ancient master builders, briefly consider some facts about the pyramids for which Egyptologists have no adequate explanation.
The Great Pyramid was built for a pharaoh named Khnumu Khufu (Kheops or Cheops in Greek) during his twenty-year reign. During those twenty years approximately 2.5 million limestone blocks, weighing from two to seventy tons apiece, were incorporated into his sacred monument. Large fossil shells make this stone material difficult to cut precisely. Enormous plugs of granite harder than limestone once blocked the ascending passageway. The walls of the so- called King’s Chamber are granite, and the latter room contains a granite sarcophagus, which is curious in that it is too large to fit through the adjoining door and hallway.
Egyptologists claim that this unparalleled structure was built using primitive stone and copper tools. Flint tools, though they can be made with sharp cutting edges, are unsuitable for perfectly shaping millions of large blocks. Copper, which the Egyptians smelted and also mined in native form, is a soft metal. Copper saws are suitable for cutting wood, but not the type of hard granite found in the Great Pyramid, and copper implements are quite unsuitable for cutting 2.5 million nummulitic limestone blocks in twenty years. Bronze working was not introduced in Egypt until about 800 years after the Great Pyramid was built, during or slightly before the Egyptian period known as the Middle Kingdom. Iron came later to Egypt and was rare even during the New Kingdom.
If the blocks of the Great Pyramid, of a material of medium hardness, had been shaped using bronze tools, the labor involved would equal that required for shaping all the stone monuments built during the New Kingdom, Late period, and Ptolemaic era, periods which together span 1,500 years. How did Old Kingdom pyramid builders accomplish in twenty years what required successors 1,500 years of labor?
The Great Pyramid is not an aberration. Khnumu- Khufu’s (Kheops or Cheops) son, Pharaoh Khafra (Khefren or Chephren), built the Second Pyramid at Giza, which is almost as large as that of his father, during a twenty-six year reign. Khnumu-Khufu’s father, Pharaoh Sneferu, was the most prolific builder in Egypt’s long history. He built two colossal pyramids, applied casing stone to another, and erected stone monuments throughout Egypt. It is estimated that Sneferu’s workmen used 9 million tons of stone during the pharaoh’s twenty-four year reign. All of this was expertly accomplished before the invention of the wheel as a means of transportation.
To raise a two-ton portcullis positioned in a narrow passageway in Khafra’s (Khefren or Chephren) pyramid requires the force of at least forty men. The fact that the passageway allows room for no more than eight men to work at once has caused some archaeologists to admit that extraordinary means, about which they have no information, were employed for pyramid construction.
The casing blocks of the pyramids are made of fine- grained limestone that appears to be polished. The Great Pyramid originally possessed about 115,000 casing blocks,
some weighing about ten tons apiece, and covering twenty- two acres of surface area. A razor blade cannot be inserted between any two remaining casing blocks. The noted Egyptologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, determined that some casing blocks in the Great Pyramid fit as closely as 0.002 inch. Those covering the pyramid of Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) also fit perfectly with an additional touch of expertise - they fit together with tongue-and-groove joints. How were these blocks prepared so perfectly? How did workers install them without chipping the corners even slightly?
Twenty-two steps near the top of Khafra’s pyramid are unweathered and in good condition, since the casing blocks which covered them were removed as recently as 150 years ago. In a preliminary study in 1984, I measured the lengths of the thousands of blocks in these steps, which make up about ten percent of the area of the pyramid. The blocks all conform to ten uniform lengths. How could a civilization without the benefit of hard metals prepare many thousands of blocks with such precision? Limestone frequently splits during cutting, even with the most efficient modern tools. Faults and strata in bedrock assure that for every block cut to standard, at least one will crack or be improperly sized during quarrying, and this rate of breakage is far more optimistic than realistic. Given the many millions of blocks in the numerous pyramids, there should be millions of cracked blocks lying nearby or at least somewhere in Egypt, but they are nowhere to be found.
We know that millions of broken limestone blocks were not cut down and used for building monuments when bronze and iron were introduced. By that time only soft varieties of sandstone and granites were being used in monuments. Ancient historians who documented their visits to Giza have not mentioned heaps of broken blocks. So this is the technological paradox of Egypt: before Egypt possessed strong metals for stone cutting, hard varieties of stone were employed in monuments. As bronze and iron came into use, only the softest varieties of stone were used, with very few exceptions.
Rather than providing a logical solution to the riddle of pyramid construction, investigators so far have succeeded only in challenging the flaws in numerous proposed theories. There are far more complex and perplexing aspects of the pyramid puzzle. Before describing them, let us consider the knowledge of the solar priests responsible for pyramid construction.
The ancient Egyptian town of Anu, called On by the Hebrews and Heliopolis by the Greeks, was a great religious center for thousands of years. The city, located about twenty- five miles from Giza, was erected on holy ground, symbolizing rebirth and creation. Starting at the time of the great Imhotep, the Heliopolitan priest credited with inspiring and engineering the first pyramid, the priests of Heliopolis engaged in raising spectacular pyramids and temples for the Sun. These priests excelled in arts and sciences. They were considered to be the traditional wise men of Egypt throughout that nation’s extremely long history. Religious philosophy, mysticism, mathematics, geometry, horology and astronomy were among the sciences piously fostered by the priests.
Their preoccupation with the heavens is reflected in the orientation of pyramids and temples and stemmed from great reverence for the Sun and other stars. The priests descended from an extremely long and learned line. During prehistoric times, their ancestors invented the first 365-day calendar.
Archaeologists assume that modern science is in every way superior to the science of antiquity. However, with technological and scientific possibilities being as limitless as the human imagination, it is unsubstantial bias to suppose that modern technology is all encompassing and always su- perior. The pyramids and other monuments provide a glimpse into a tremendous knowledge gap between ancient and modern science.
There are also astounding examples of long-term food preservation. Until recent years, few archaeologists acknowledged that ancient people successfully stored grain for long periods. In the 1800s European travelers discovered ancient grain silos in Spain. It has since been learned that grain was once universally stored in sealed subterranean silos. Ancient silos have been found in Hungary, Ukraine, Turkestan, India, and several regions of Africa. In Central and North America subterranean silos were built by numerous Indian tribes. In France and in England, subterranean silos were found in abundance. Agronomists were initially surprised to find that sealed silos can successfully store grain.
In the Nile valley, the inundating river made subterranean silos impractical and above-ground silos were constructed. They have been depicted in bas-reliefs and look like upside-down earthenware jars. In the pyramids, too, grain has been found free of mold and in good condition after thousands of years. Though germination was unsuccessful, the condition of the grain was so good that researchers attempted germination.
In contrast, using state-of-the-art technology, the U. S. Department of Agriculture can store grain for no more than four years before insect infestation and mold render it unfit for human consumption. Modern storage methods, based on ventilation, sharply contrast with the sealed systems used in antiquity, demonstrating the vast difference between ancient and modern technology.
Historically, the pyramids were called the storehouses of the Hebrew patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob. The biblical book of Genesis recounts that grain was stored in Egypt by Joseph from seven to perhaps as much as twenty years. The Genesis story has been discounted in modern times because historians are generally unaware that ancient peoples were capable of such technology. The account cannot be doubted in the light of the information already presented.
In the 1930s,Antoine Bovis,a Frenchman,observed that animals that wandered into the Great Pyramid and perished before finding their way out did not decompose. He began to investigate, and thus was born the theory of pyramid power. Its advocates attribute the Great Pyramid’s ability to preserve organic matter to the alignment and shape of the pyramid itself. However, this theory does not explain why preservation can also occur in other tombs. Some theorists suggest that the pyramids and their surroundings are protected by a mysterious force, but no such force has prevented the pyramids from being raided during antiquity or excavated in modern times.
When tourists enter the Grand Gallery and the so- called King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid for the first time, most are surprised to encounter high humidity. In 1974, a joint research project carried out by Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), of Stanford (California) University, and Ain Shams University, in Cairo, indicated that while the bedrock of Giza is dry, the pyramid blocks are full of moisture . The scientists attempted to locate hidden chambers in the Great Pyramids of Giza with electromagnetic sounding equipment but were prevented by the high moisture content of the blocks. The waves emitted by the equipment would not transmit through the pyramid stone. The waves were instead absorbed, ending any chance of a successful mission. The Great Pyramids attract moisture in the midst of an arid desert necropolis. Why? How can the atmosphere in their chambers be conducive to preserving organic matter?
In an attempt to discover ancient secrets of preservation, the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (AEO), in Cairo, has assembled an impressive team of scientists from the National Geographic Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The scientists are studying the air sealed inside the rectangular pit in front of the Great Pyramid-air which is 4,500 years old. Samples of air are being encapsulated using space technology developed by NASA for testing the atmosphere of other planets. Scientists hope to learn from ambient temperatures, pressure, and the air itself, how preservation was accomplished.
Because artifacts begin to deteriorate once they are excavated and exposed to the air, one of the most treasured items of antiquity was placed in jeopardy. In the 1950s, an excavation of one of the pits near the Great Pyramid yielded a sacred funerary boat of Khnumu-Khufu. To the delight of archaeologists, the acclaimed artifact was preserved in perfect condition. The boat, measuring more than 120 feet, had a displacement capacity of over forty tons.
The hull, composed of hundreds of pieces of wood shaped to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, is cleverly sewn together with a single piece of rope. The boat does not require caulking or tar to be completely water-tight. The design principle is that when wet, wood swells whereas rope shrinks, producing an automatic seal impervious to water.
A specially designed museum was erected under the auspices of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization to house and display Khufu’s boat. After the museum opened, serious problems were encountered. The atmospheric control system could not accommodate the vast number of tourists passing in and out of the building. The boat, which the ancient Egyptians had confidently called “ Boat of Millions of Years ”, rapidly began to disintegrate. The museum closed its doors to the public for some time. Subsequently, costly, energy- consuming devices were successfully substituted for the original cost-free, self-powered means that had so subtly and perfectly preserved the entombed boat for 4,500 years.
Khufu’s boat is as seaworthy as any craft of Christopher Columbus’s day. The famous mission of Thor Heyerdahl in 1970, from Morocco to Barbados in a papyrus reed boat, makes it clear that ancient Egyptian ships were capable of intercontinental travel. Their seaworthy craft is impressive, but crossing an ocean is a demanding venture. With their knowledge of the stars, it is likely that the Egyptians were excellent navigators, but how would they obtain fresh water at sea? In modern times desalination is achieved through several methods, including distillation, electrodialysis, freezing, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis, all requiring either high-energy input or advanced apparatus or materials. There is evidence that the Egyptians not only possessed technology for perpetually obtaining moisture in the desert, but were able also to extract fresh water from the ocean.
The ancient method was described by the Roman naturalist,Pliny(AD23-79).InhisLatinworkNaturalHistory, Pliny described curious ceramic vessels, which, during voyages, were tightly corked and immersed into the sea in nets-where they automatically filled with pure, fresh water . When Pliny’s text was translated from Latin to French in 1833 by the French Academy of Sciences (to compare ancient science with science of their day), the scholars could not believe the account. During their era, distillation was the only way of obtaining fresh water from salt water.
The Romans occupied Egypt from 30 BC to AD 395 and absorbed some of the technology developed in the country during more ancient times. It seems unlikely that the Egyptians would have built ships capable of crossing an ocean unless they also possessed technology that assured their survival.
Whether ancient Egyptian travelers, or those who may have inherited their technology, influenced other megalithic- building civilizations around the globe is a matter of debate. Enigmatic stone edifices, most often difficult to transport and place and bearing no tool marks, are found in numerous regions. Foundation blocks at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, weigh 100 tons apiece. The Cuzco walls in Peru are made of enormous stones-spectacular because of their unusual jigsaw joints. The Easter Island statues were studied by a UNESCO-sponsored team, which reported that the oldest statues do not match mineralogically the stone of the quarries . Standing stones of prehistoric Brittany tower over sixty-five feet high and one weighs more than 340 tons. Also curious are the Pyramids of the Sun in Mexico, numerous stone sundials in North America, and the stone calendar or observatory of Stonehenge, England.
Of all the mysteries of the ancient world, the Great Pyramids with their adjoining complexes provide the most obvious evidence of sophisticated technology very different from our own. Unlike the other megalith-building civilizations who left no written history holding relevant clues about the technology used, the ancient Egyptians left a wealth of information. Egyptian written history spans a 3,000-year period, and though much has been destroyed, surviving records are a treasure-trove of information on surgery, medicine, mathematics, the arts, topography, religion, and much more. Egyptologists have long claimed that no surviving records describe how the pyramids were built. They are incorrect in this assumption, as will be shown in a later chapter.
Considering the number of workers necessarily involved in pyramid design and construction, the actual building method employed was known or witnessed by enormous numbers of people. Their methods, therefore, could not have been secret and must have been documented. Most hieroglyphic and cuneiform texts were deciphered in the 1800s and have not been updated to reflect current archaeological finds or scientific developments. They cannot, therefore, be completely accurate; so accurate conclusions about ancient technology cannot necessarily be drawn from them.
To discover more about the level of ancient technology, pyramidologists focus their attention on the dimensions, design, orientation, and mathematical aspects of the Great Pyramid. These mirror the level of some of the science of the Pyramid Age, but pyramidologists have overlooked the most enigmatic aspect of the pyramids, the blocks themselves.
Much of the scientific research on the stone of the Great Pyramid raises more questions than answers. For instance, in 1974, geologists at Stanford University analyzed building- block samples from the Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) Pyramid . They were unable to classify paleontologically the samples containing no shells. This raises the question: Where does the pyramid stone come from? A team of geochemists from the University of Munich, Germany, sampled quarries along the Nile and removed specimens from twenty different blocks of the main body of the Great Pyramid.
To determine the origin of the pyramid blocks, they compared trace elements of the pyramid samples with those of the quarry samples. Their interpretation of the test results is startling. The scientists concluded that the pyramid blocks came from all of the twenty quarries sampled . In other words, to build the Great Pyramid, these geochemists say that the Egyptians hauled stone for hundreds of miles, from all over Egypt-an amazing feat for which archaeologists have no logical explanation.
Geologists do not concur with their findings. They can demonstrate that the source of stone is near the pyramid itself. Geologists and geochemists cannot agree on the origin of the pyramid blocks, and geologists cannot agree among themselves on the source of stone used for the wondrous statues built for the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh,Amenhotep III, in the Valley of the Kings. The awe-inspiring statues, the Colossi of Memnon, were originally monolithic and weigh 750 tons apiece. They rest on monolithic 550-ton pedestals. The structures are each seven stories high. They are made of hard, dense quartzite, which is almost impossible to carve. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, members of the Napoleonic Egyptian expedition remarked about these statues and Egypt’s quartzite quarries in Description de l’Egypte :
“ None of the quartzite hills or quarries show tool marks, as are so common in the sandstone and granite quarries. We have to conclude that a material so hard and unworkable by sharp tools must have been exploited by a process other than that generally used for sandstone, or even granite.... We do not know anything about the process used by the Egyptians to square this stone, to trim the surfaces, or to impart the beautiful polish that we see today on some parts of the statues. Even if we have not determined the means used, we are forced to admire the results.... When the tool of the engraver in the middle of a hieroglyphic character hit a flint or agate in the stone, the sketch was never hindered, but instead it continued in all its purity neither the agate fragment nor the stone itself was even slightly broken by engraving ”.
This last observation has profound implications.What masonry process could possibly allow hieroglyphs to be inscribed in this manner? The beloved king Amenhotep III called the production of his statues “a miracle.” Hieroglyphic documents written after his time refer to this type of stone as biat inr meaning “stone resulting from a wonder.” What technological wonder did Amenhotep behold?
French and German scholars, who will be discussed later, claim that the Colossi of Memnon were carved from a quarry fifty miles away and hauled along the Nile by boat. English and American geologists advocate a feat bordering on the unbelievable. They claim that the statues were quarried and hauled 440 miles up river-against the flow of the Nile. As more sophisticated methods, such as atomic absorption, X- ray fluorescence and neutronic activation are used to study Egypt’s most enigmatic monuments, more confusion arises.
The Great Sphinx in front of Khafra’s pyramid has become more controversial than ever in light of recent geological studies. Based on the severe manner in which blocks covering the lower layers of the body and paws are eroded, the age of the Sphinx has, once again, come into serious question.
Today, the Sphinx is attributed to Khafra (Khefren or Chephren). Earlier Egyptologists believed it was erected a great deal earlier than his reign, perhaps at the end of the Archaic period. The Sphinx looks much older than the pyramids. No inscriptions connect the sacred monument to Khafra, but in the Valley Temple, a dozen statues of Khafra, one in the form of a Sphinx, were uncovered in the 1950s. Some Egyptologists claim a resemblance between these statues and the face of the Sphinx.
A document which indicates greater antiquity, however, was found on the Giza plateau by French Egyptologists during the nineteenth century The text, called the “Inventory Stele,” bears inscriptions relating events occurring during the reign of Khafra’s father, Khufu. The text says that Khufu instructed that a temple be erected alongside the Sphinx, meaning that the Sphinx already existed before Khafra’s time. The accuracy of the stele has been questioned because it dates from the Twenty-first Dynasty (1070-945 BC), long after the Pyramid Age, but because the Egyptians took great pride in precise record keeping and the careful copying of documents, no authoritative reason exists to discount the text as inaccurate.
Fragments of early papyruses and tablets, as well as the later writings of the third century BC Greco-Egyptian historian Manetho, claim that Egypt was ruled for thousands of years before the First Dynasty-some texts claim as much as 36,000 years earlier. This chronology is dismissed by Egyptologists as legend. However, ancient Egyptian history is viewed by scholars mostly from a New Kingdom perspective because numerous documents have survived from Thebes. The capital of Memphis, founded during prehistoric times, was a vitally important religious, commercial, cultural, and administrative center with a life span of thousands of years, but unfortunately, it has not been effectively excavated.
The recent geological studies of the Sphinx have kindled more than mere debate over the attribution and age. The established history of the evolution of civilization is being challenged.
A study of the severe body erosion of the sphinx and the hollow in which it is situated indicates that the damaging agent was water. A slow erosion occurs in limestone when water is absorbed and reacts with salts in the stone. The controversy arises over the source of the vast amount of water responsible.
Two theories are popular. One is that groundwater slowly rose into the body of the Sphinx. This theory raises irreconcilable problems: A survey carried out by the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) determined that three distinctly separate repair operations were completed on the Sphinx between the New Kingdom and Ptolemaic rule, that is, during a period of roughly 700 to 1,000 years . The study also indicates that the Sphinx was already in its current state of erosion when these early repairs were made. No appreciable erosion has occurred since the original damage, nor is there further damage on the bedrock of the surrounding hollow; an area that never underwent repair.
Knowing this, one must consider that the inundating Nile slowly built up levels of silt over the millennia, and this was accompanied by a gradual rise in the water table. During Khafra’s time the water table was about thirty feet lower than it is today. For the rising groundwater theory to hold, an un- believable geological scenario would have to have taken place. It would mean that from thirty feet lower than today’s water table, water rose to about two feet into the body of the Sphinx and the surrounding hollow where it caused erosion for roughly 600 years, and then stopped its damaging effects.
Historians find the second theory that is offered more unthinkable. It suggests that the source of water stemmed from the wet phases of the last ice age - c. 15,000 to 10,000 BC- when Egypt underwent periods of severe flooding. This hypothesis advocates that the Sphinx necessarily existed before the floods. If it could be proven, well-established theories about prehistory would be radically shaken. The world’s most mysterious sculpture would date to a time when historians place humanity in a neolithic setting, living in open camps and depending largely on hunting and foraging.
The age of the pyramids themselves has been challenged by a recent project carried out, in cooperation with the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), with radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating . Although limestone contains no carbon for dating purposes, mortar found in various parts of the pyramids’ core masonry contains minute fragments of organic material, usually calcined charcoal or reeds. Some fragments are too minute to be dated by standard methods, and therefore carbon-14 dating was also carried out with the aid of an atomic accelerator in Zurich, Switzerland. Seventy-one samples were collected from thirteen pyramids or their surrounding funerary monuments. From the core masonry of the Great Pyramid itself, fifteen samples were taken at various levels from bottom to top.
The test results announced by the research team are startling. The team claimed that their tests indicate that the Great Pyramid is up to 450 years older than Egyptology had established from the archaeological record. Most remarkably,
Mysteries of the Ancient World the team also reported that the mortar at the top of the Great Pyramid was older than that on the bottom and that the Great Pyramid dated older than the Step Pyramid of Zoser, which Egyptologists have established as the first ever built.
All Egyptologists are in firm agreement that the Great Pyramid was built about 100 years after Zoser’s pyramid. Those questioned about the recent carbon-dating project deny the possibility of the accuracy of the tests. The researchers, however, are confident that their sampling was careful and their methods effective. A German laboratory previously sampled tombs at Saqqara and their tests also provided dates of about 400 to 450 years earlier than established dates.
The baffling features of the Valley Temple near the Sphinx deeply impressed members of the Napoleonic expedition at the beginning of the nineteenth century. François Jomard, a member of the expedition, at first thought that the enormous temple blocks were protrusions of bedrock that had been rough cut and squared. As mentioned, the blocks are assumed today to have been carved in situ. But Jomard noticed cement between the blocks of the temple and realized he was observing deliberately placed blocks weighing as much as 500 tons. Reflecting amazement and admiration, he remarked in Description de l’Egypte,“I wonder who these Egyptian men that playfully moved colossal masses around were, for each stone is itself a monolith in the sense that each is enormous.”
Engineers have not reconciled the logistical problems that would be encountered by raising stones of this magnitude. To shift them about manually and set them so perfectly in place with cement in their joints in the small work area would have been impossible. A remark that Petrie made when describing stones in the inner gallery of Khufu’s pyramid makes this point clear: “To place such stones in exact contact required careful work, but to do so with cement in the joints seems almost impossible.” Petrie was referring to stones that weighed sixteen tons-a mere fraction of the weight of these temple blocks.
The floor of the Valley Temple is made of white alabaster slabs. Interior walls are lined with precisely joined granite facing blocks. The curious tailoring of the corners in the interior is unlike anything found in modern architecture. Blocks curve around the walls and join in a diverse interlocking jigsaw pattern. These hard and beautifully crafted stones exemplify an extraordinary masonry method.
Petrie introduced the puzzles of pyramid construction with the publication of Pyramids and Temples of Giza in 1883. The topic simmered in the public mind until the writings of amateur archaeologist Erich von Daniken caused the controversy to explode in the 1970s. In his book Chariots of the Gods? von Daniken sought the solution to the numerous engineering enigmas of the past. He wrote, “The Great Pyramid is (and remains?) visible testimony of a technique that has never been understood. Today, in the twentieth century, no architect could build a copy of the Pyramid of Khufu (Kheops or Cheops) even if the technical resources were at his disposal. How is anyone going to explain these and other puzzles to us?”
Our book reveals what I believe to be the true method of pyramid construction, and, as I will explain, most of the mysteries of the ancient world are finally solved by one major scientific breakthrough. The discovery is so dramatic and far reaching that many important aspects of ancient history will be reconsidered. First, a deeper look at the unresolved problems of pyramid construction is required.