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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Great Pyramid - PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS - 6.The Feasibility of the Theory


Prof. Joseph Davidovits
Chapter 6
The Feasibility of the Theory

Through chemistry the task of pyramid construction was easily accomplished with the tools of the Pyramid Age. With no carving or block hoisting required, the implements needed were simply those used to lay sun-dried mud bricks: a hoe to scrape up fossil-shell limestone, a basket to transport ingredients, a trough in which to prepare reactants, a ladder, a square, a plumb line, a level, a builder’s trowel, and wooden molds (Fig.11).
These tools were found in the Sixth Dynasty pyramid of Pharaoh Pepi II. Because the molds found are only small scale models, there is no way of determining whether or not they were intended for mud bricks or large stone blocks. Pepi II’s pyramid was made of both.
Whereas the precision cutting of about 2.5 million nummulitic limestone blocks for the Great Pyramid with copper tools would be a formidable chore, copper implements are quite suitable for sawing and planing tree trunks into planks for molds. The ancient Egyptians excelled in carpentry and were the inventors of plywood. According to the Dictionaire des Techniques Archéologiques [33]:
“ Carpentry appeared in Egypt at the end of the pre-Dynastic period, around 3500 BC, when copper tools were sufficiently developed to enable them to be used in woodworking. Throughout all epochs, the Egyptian carpenter was a remarkable craftsman. He invented all manners of preparing wood joints and made them with skill: doweling, mortises and tenons, dovetails, gluing, veneering, and marquetry. Wood being scarce in his country, he was the inventor of plywood. In a sarcophagus made during the Third Dynasty [around 2650 BC] there was actually a fragment of plywood found which was made from six layers of wood, each about four millimeters (0.15 inch) thick, held together by small flat rectangular tenons and tiny round dowels. Where two pieces had to be joined side-by-side,their edges were chamfered so as to unite exactly.
Figure 11: Implements of Sixth Dynasty are typical of Old Kingdom tools.
The grain direction in successive layers is alternated, as in modern plywood, to provide greater strength and to avoid warping. ”
As early as the First Dynasty (3200 BC), carpenters assembled planks with perfect right angles. They made round dowels of ivory or wood. The flat rectangular wooden dowel appeared during the Fourth Dynasty. A wall painting from this period illustrates the use of copper saws and the preparation of mortises and tenons using copper chisels (Fig.12). The exquisite furniture placed in the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu’s (Kheops or Cheops) mother, Queen Hetepheres, exemplifies how cleverly carpenters prepared dovetails and mortises and tenons. The magnificent funerary boat of Khufu (Kheops or Cheops), mentioned earlier, is another example of remarkable craftsmanship.
Figure 12: Mastaba from the tomb of Ti, about 2550 B.C., shows carpenters sawing planks and preparing mortises.
The Palermo Stone, fragmentary remains of royal annals, indicates that Sneferu, of the Fourth Dynasty assigned a fleet of ships to import cedar from Lebanon. The trees of Egypt are not hardwood and do not yield planks of the appropriate dimensions for molds. Egypt began to import cypress, cedar and juniper from Lebanon as early as the pre- dynastic epoch. One variety of juniper reaches a height of 20 meters (21.8 yards), excellent for making molds which must measure from 1 to 1.5 meters (1.09 to 1.64 yards) wide. Once set up, the molds were waterproofed from the inside with a thick layer of the cement itself. The cement became part of the block and can be seen at the bottom of blocks in the Great Pyramid. Wooden braces were suitable for stabilizing packed molds. Oil makes a suitable mold release, and Herodotus reported that the builders of the Great Pyramid smelled of rancid oil.
Because hard wood was so scarce, the remains of large wooden molds no longer exist. There is, however, a bas-relief that may depict a large stone block being cast.Wall paintings from the tomb of the Eighteenth Dynasty official Rekhmire (1400 BC), are precise illustrations of the technology of the New Kingdom. Although alchemical stonemaking is primarily Old Kingdom technology, we shall learn in later chapters how it was used during the New Kingdom on a smaller scale.
The molds would have been easily disassembled so that one or more faces of a block could be used as a partial mold for casting the next block, producing the close fit. One of the characteristics of geopolymeric concrete is that there is no appreciable shrinkage, and blocks do not fuse when cast directly against each other. Although it would have been impossible to achieve the close fit (as close as 0.002 inch) of the 113,000 casing stones originally on the Great Pyramid with primitive tools, such joints are easily achieved when casting geopolymeric concrete.
Once cast (probably rammed with a pestle), within hours or even less, depending on the formula and ambient temperature (minutes using today’s formulas), a block hardened. The mold was removed for re-use while a block was still relatively soft. A covering of reeds or palm leaves was probably applied to the blocks, affording an optimum amount of ventilation. This was required to harden (carbonate) the lime and protect the blocks from becoming brittle from evaporation. When the covering was removed, the blocks continued to harden in the sunlight, the heat accelerating setting.
As statues and sarcophagi were produced, finishing touches would have been made with copper tools during the early stages of setting. I have observed marks on core masonry of the Great Pyramid unlike those made with a chisel. Some appear to be impressions made by reeds. I also noticed long, sweeping impressions that fan out exactly like a palm leaf. Using a microscope, I was clearly able to see wood-grain impressions on a sample from the ascending passageway of the Great Pyramid.
It would be impossible for such an enormous cement industry to have left no traces of its existence, but those traces would never be recognized by anyone unaware of this technology. The most obvious traces are the tremendous quantities of minerals excavated from the Sinai mines, blue minerals such as turquoise and chrysocolla, generically known as mafkat during the Old Kingdom (Fig.13). Egyptologists are well aware of the industrial quantities of mafkat mined in the Sinai, but they cannot account for its consumption in such enormous quantities.
The mining expeditions of the pharaohs correspond exactly with the construction of the pyramids. Pyramid- building pharaohs are depicted in large reliefs in the cliff faces at the Sinai mines, where they are shown protecting mineral deposits from invading bedouins. There is no doubt about what was sought. Expeditions led by the archaeologist Beno Rothenberg (1967-1972), demonstrate that mineral veins containing turquoise and chrysocolla had been primitively excavated, whereas veins of copper carbonate ore were left unexcavated [34].
The most basic product to any cement industry is lime (CaO). To produce lime, limestone or dolomite was calcined in kilns. No distinction was made between limestone, dolomite, and magnesite, each a white stone yielding different limes and, therefore, different qualities of cement. It is well established archaeologically that the production of lime itself is the oldest industrial process of mankind, dating back at least 10,000 years. Lime mortar in the ruins of Jericho, in the Jordan valley is still intact after 9,000 years. Some wood and plant ashes contain a very high amount of lime (between 50 and 70 per cent by weight of CaO). These ashes could have been used for producing cements or mortars.
Figure 13: Fifth Dynasty stele on wall of Sinai mines shows the pharaoh Sahure symbolically smiting an intruder.
Herodotus reported that canals once connected the Great Pyramid to the Nile River. Egyptologists suggest that if these canals existed at the site, they were used to transport casing blocks from Tura, across the river. How would a canal serve the cement industry? A canal makes an ideal reaction basin for the on-site production of enormous quantities of cement.
I can envision two methods for the on-site production of the cement. One would entail placing suitable quantities of natron and lime (calcined limestone or plant ash) in a dry canal. Nile mud (Clay + silt) or the local Tafla, and water, could easily have been captured in the canal during the annual flood period. The water dissolved the natron and put the lime in suspension, forming caustic soda. Caustic soda reacted with the clay to produce a triple alumino-silicate of sodium, calcium, and magnesium. When the water evaporated, an activated substance would remain. The addition of siliceous minerals and another quantity of natron and lime produced a silico-aluminate, resulting in a basic geopolymeric cement. Other products were added, and, if necessary, the material could be stored. The resulting cement would have been used to agglomerate loose limestone rubbles and chunks, yielding reconstituted limestone blocks.
Another method is even easier and is possible due to the nature of the Giza limestone.
The Giza Plateau is an outcrop of the Middle Eocene Mokattam Formation (Fig. 14). A second outcrop of the Upper Eocene Maadi Formation borders the Pyramids Plateau on the South-South West. A large sandy wadi separates the Mokattam Formation from the Maadi Formation, created by the South-East dip of the Mokattam Formation (see on the general map of the Giza Plateau in Appendix 2). The North side of the wadi, or the southern line of the Mokattam Formation outcrop, and the South side of the wadi, or the northern line of the Maadi Formation outcrop, where both Formations dip into the wadi, were extensively quarried during the erection of the Giza pyramids.
Figure 14: Simplified NNW-SSE cross-section of the Giza Plateau. The soft-marly limestone bed that was extensively quarried (Sphinx, Wadi quarries) is sandwiched between two hard-grey limestone beds.
According to the geologist Aigner [116] and the egyptologist Lehner [117], the original ground surface of the Mokattam Formation that constitutes the basement of the pyramids,is made of a very hard and massive limestone bank of the nummulite type. On the other hand, the outcrop that dips into the wadi, where the quarries are located, consists of softer thickly bedded nummulite layers (see in Fig. 14 the location of the quarries, and also the trench around the Sphinx) with a relative high amount of clay. Concurring to the traditional carving theory, Lehner states “ ... the builders took advantage of the thickly bedded softer limestones of the south part of the Mokattam Formation, while founding the pyramids on the hard nummulite bank to the north...” [118]
Lehner postulates that the builders did not use the nearby hard limestone but favored the softer material. In other words, Lehner’s remark suggests that quarrying and carving the hard Mokattam limestone would have required more labor than the transport of the softer material from the wadi upwards to the pyramid plateau. This raises the question that has not been tackled by egyptology so far, namely why did the Khufu (Kheops or Cheops), Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) and Menkure (Mykerinos) architects refrain from using the limestone located up hill, nearby on the west, taking advantage of the natural inclination of the plateau, and the ease of transport? Why did they select the limestone from the wadi edges, downhill, with the supplementary burden of having to carry the blocks to a 40-50 meter height upwards on long ramps, in opposition to traditional quarrying methods? In general, during antiquity, quarries where chosen because of the ease with which the blocks could be transported, downwards, from the top of the hill down to the valley. The Aswan granite quarries, the Silsilis sandstone quarries, south of Thebes, or even the Tourah quarries located on the opposite side of the Nile Valley, in front of the Giza Plateau, are typical examples for this theorem.
The agglomeration theory provides a good answer to this issue, namely:
a) - the hard limestone nearby the basement is not suitable for the production of agglomerated blocks because it does not disaggregate easily in water;
b) - on the other hand, the softer marly limestone of the wadi edges is a suitable raw material for agglomerated limestone blocks because part of it disaggregates in water, within a short period of time. The disaggregated muddy limestone (including the fossil- shells) would be further mixed with other limestone aggregates, lime and zeolite-forming materials such as kaolin clay, silt, and the Egyptian salt natron (sodium carbonate).

In October 1991, during the shooting of the TV production “ This Old Pyramid ” by NOVA, aired on the American PBS network on September 1992, I had the opportunity to present this unique property of the Giza limestone. A chunk of limestone taken in the Wadi quarry and soaked in water was very easily disaggregated within 24 hours, leaving the nummulites and the clay gently separated from each other, whereas a chunk of the hard Mokattam limestone did not disintegrate at all (see for details in Appendix 2, the Giza Plateau Circuit).
The vast amount of limestone rubble required to make pyramid blocks was easily obtained.Water,probably brought as close as possible by canal, was used to flood the soft marly limestone of the Wadi quarries to saturate it for easy disaggregation. The body of the Great Sphinx was sculpted as muddy limestone rubble was scooped into baskets for use in pyramid blocks. Men wading in wet, muddy limestone while working in the desert heat makes more sense than men banging away at quarries in a hot, dusty desert, as called for by the accepted theory. By agglomerating stone, a better building material resulted because the blocks of the Great Pyramid are more strongly adhered than is the natural bedrock.
It is assumed that the head of the Sphinx was carved in an isolated knoll belonging to the upper weathering resistant hard-grey limestone Mokkatam layer. It brilliantly withstood 4,500 years of harsh weathering conditions. The Sphinx body is the remains of stone excavation in the softer marly layers (Fig. 15). It is assumed that the quarried stone material was used in the making of the Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) Valley Temple as well as for the Sphinx Temple. For certain experts, the strikingly obvious degradation of the Sphinx body would have resulted from “ erosion due to rain and flooding ”, i.e. disaggregation through water soaking. It has been subject to intensive restoration work during the last decades and also during Antiquity. Although it was for thousand years covered with sand and therefore protected against weathering, it underwent severe degradation. The differential water erosion has sculpted 7 sequences of projected and recessed layers. In order to explain what causes the degradation of the rock, L. Gauri made a thorough petrographic and chemical analysis of the six layers featured in Fig. 15. He measured the content of the water-soluble salts and of the non-carbonate clastic materials (clays, silt and sand). These elements - water-soluble salts plus clastic - are sensitive to water. They either become soluble (the salts) or expand when wet (the clay and the silt). I called them water- sensitive parts in Fig. 15. The amount of water-sensitive parts, expressed as weight percent of stone, is strikingly very high [127]. The soft marly limestone of the Sphinx body is wide spread in the pharaonic Wadi quarries.A similar analysis of the equivalent layers has not been carried out so far. However, it is reasonable to assume that these limestones do contain the same range of water-sensitive parts.
Figure 15: North-South vertical profile of the front of the Sphinx. Layers #1 to #6 analyzed by L. Gauri [127] and amount of water- sensitive parts (salt + clastic material) for each layer.
Today, civil engineers often use the ASTM D4843 Code to evaluate the water disaggregating long-term behavior of building materials. A procedure adapted from ASTM D4843 requires that the stone be soaked for 24 hours in water, then dried out at 60°C (140°F) for 23 hours, followed by a 1 hour rest at room temperature. If, after this first cycle, the stone or the concrete remains intact, it is subjected to a second and more cycles, until it disintegrates. The 60°C (140°F) drying temperature is relevant for temperatures reached during summer time in the quarries at Giza (in the sun).
Modern Geopolymeric concretes do not disintegrate even after more than 300 cycles. As for the soft natural marly limestone of the Sphinx body, I expect that only 1 to 3 cycles would be necessary. The ancient Egyptians could have installed soaking/reaction ponds at the bottom of the quarries.These ponds would have been flooded then followed by a drying period and flooded again, in order to achieve the appropriate disaggregation. Chunks that do not disintegrate easily (dependent on the water-sensitive parts amount) would be packed into the muddy limestone matrix.
The kaolinitic limestone requires only the addition of lime (calcined limestone or plant ash), natron, and water for a geopolymeric reaction to occur. The landscape is also scattered with considerable quantities of loose shells, camites, strombites, turbinites, helicites, and especially nummulites. In ancient times there were hills of loose shells at Giza. The Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC) observed them [35]:
“ We cannot allow ourselves to remain silent on one thing that we saw at the pyramids, namely, the heaps of small stone chips in front of these monuments.There we find pieces,which,from their shape and size, resemble lentils. Sometimes they even look like half-threshed seeds. It is claimed that they are the petrified remains of the food of the workers but this is most unlikely, for we too have a hill at home set in the middle of a plain which is filled with small calcareous tuffs similar to lentils. ”
The more loose material naturally present, the less rubble excavation required. Loose material remaining at the site today is incorrectly assumed to be debris from stonecutting.
Agglomerating stone is far, far easier than cutting and hoisting massive blocks. To imagine the difficulty of building a pyramid by way of the accepted theory, one needs only to see how difficult it is to destroy even a small pyramid. It is much easier to destroy than to create almost anything, and Abd el-Latif (AD 1161-1231), a physician of Baghdad, described the difficulty encountered by a team that set out to destroy the Third Pyramid of Giza, which is only seven percent of the volume of the Great Pyramid [36]:
“ When Melic Alaziz Othman Ben Yussuf succeeded his father, he allowed himself to be persuaded by several persons of his court, people devoid of common sense, to demolish certain pyramids.They started with the red pyramid,which is the third of the Great Pyramids and the least considerable. The sultan sent his diggers, miners, and quarrymen, under the command of several of the principal officers and emirs of this court, and gave them the order to destroy it.
To carry out their orders they set up a camp near the pyramid.There they assembled a large number of workers and housed them at great expense. They stayed for eight entire months with everyone doing his allotted task, removing, day after day with the expenditure of all his force, one or two stones. Some would push from the top with wedges and levers while others pulled from the bottom with cords and ropes. When one of the stones eventually fell it made an appalling noise, which could be heard from a great distance and shook the ground and made the mountains tremble.
In falling, it became embedded in the sand and pulling it out required great effort.They forced in wedges,thus splitting the stones into several pieces, then they loaded each piece onto a chariot and pulled it on foot to the mountain a short distance away where it was discarded.
After having camped for a long time and using all of their money and strength, their resolution and courage diminished daily. They were shamefully obliged to abandon their work. Far from obtaining the success for which they had hoped, all that they did was damage the pyramid and demonstrate their weakness and lack of power.This occurred in the year 593 [AD 1196]. Today, if one looks at the stones that were discarded, one has the impression that the pyramid must have been completely destroyed. But if one glances at the pyramid itself, one sees that it has undergone no degradation and that on just one side part of the casing stone has become detached. ”
Table 1.
Casting pyramid blocks in situ greatly simplified matters of logistics, enabling the construction of the Great Pyramid without doubling or tripling the life span of the pharaohs. Instead of 100,000 workers per year at Giza as called for by the accepted theory, as few as 1,400 workers could carry enough material to build the Great Pyramid in twenty years based on the following calculation: In Cambodia, during the Khmer revolution in 1976, men each carried about 3 cubic meters (3.9 cubic yards) per day to construct dams. One man, therefore, in one day can carry enough material to produce a block weighing from four to six tons. This would provide for 1,400 blocks set per day the number reported by Herodotus. The number of men required, of course, depended on how many days were worked, which might depend on how many religious holidays were celebrated (see for details in Table I).
Assuming that each man carried one basket per hour and worked about three months a year, or perhaps 100 days, the maximum number of carriers needed for a twenty-year period was 2,352, for fifteen years, 3,136 workers; and for ten years, 4,704 workers. Assuming that each excavator was attended by three carriers and one stone caster, then three carriers represented five men at work. This would place between 1,000 and 3,000 men on the work site during a three- month work period per year, or 400 to 1,000 during a ten- month-per-year work period, in order to complete the Great Pyramid in fifteen to twenty years.
Men could easily have carried one 22.5 kilogram (50- pound) basket every fifteen minutes to the base of the pyramid, one basket every thirty minutes to the middle, and one basket to the top of the pyramid on a ramp every hour. If a basket contained 0.3 cubic meter (0.039 cubic yard), then per day each man could have carried: one basket in fifteen minutes for a total of 1.42 cubic meters (1.87 cubic yards) or one basket every thirty minutes for a total of 0.71 cubic meter (0.94 cubic yard) or one basket per sixty minutes for a total of 0.36 cubic meter (0.47 cubic yard).
Additional workers were required for mining, transporting and crushing minerals, gathering natron, oil, wood, and other necessary products, preparing ingredients, digging canals, carrying water, making tools and molds, providing food and other personal needs, and performing miscellaneous chores. This might raise the total of men required by an additional few hundred. Total figures allow for freedom to maneuver at the work site and are considerably more reasonable than the 100,000 men per year at the site called for by the standard theory. The casting theory is quite feasible and easily settles problems of logistics.

The objections to my theory

In this chapter we focussed on the two different limestone outcrops of the Mokattam Formation: a hard grey superior bed on which the pyramids are founded, and a soft yellowish (with clay beds) where the pyramids core materials were extracted. Notwithstanding the basic and visible geological knowledge on the two different outcrops within very close range of the monuments, the American geologists Harrell and Penrod challenged the casting and packing theory. In a paper published in Journal of Geological Education in 1993, they state:
“ ...Our objection to the geopolymeric process [agglomerated stone process] has to do with disaggregating limestone by soaking it in water - it does not work! We soaked the Mokattam limestones whose composition is given in Table 1 for seven weeks and after this time the samples were just as hard and solid as the day we first immersed them.... ” [134].
They never mentioned noticing any difference between the pyramid blocks and the hard Mokattam Formation that constitutes the surrounding plateau. Harrell and Penrod, who published on ancient Egyptian limestone quarries, ignored the presence of the two different outcrops. They relied only on the generic denomination of the Giza Pyramids bedrock, namely the name Mokattam Formation. Mokattam is the name of a Cairo suburb in the vicinity of the Citadel, made of hard limestone. The quarry at Gebel Mokattam supplies squared stones for the Cairo monuments. In the cited Table 1 of their publication, Harrell and Penrod provide the location of their tested samples, namely: Gebel Mokattam, Tura and Masera. There is no mention of any Giza sample.
For their demonstration, Harrell and Penrod deliberately took hard Mokattam limestone instead of the soft material from the wadi quarries or the Sphinx trench. In addition, the soaked sample did not come from the Giza Pyramids site at all. These ancient Egyptian quarries specialists ironically collected this piece of hard limestone from the modern quarry behind the Citadel on Gebel Mokattam, Cairo, 20 km (15 miles) east of the Giza Pyramids, on the other side of the Nile.
Other individuals who published statements against the cast and packing theory, made the same mistake than Harrell and Penrod did. For example, Moores states in a Letter to the Editors published in Concrete International [135]:
“ ...In October 1987 I was a member of the National Geographic sponsored team that non-destructively revealed the entombed second wooden ship of Khufu (Kheops or Cheops). I designed and operated the drilling system that obtained air samples and photographs of the pit interior [hard Mokattam Formation].... I have had a chunk of nummulitic limestone, that I personally detached from the Giza plateau, soaking in water for five months now,and it exhibits no change in hardness... ”
Moores soaked in water a chunk of limestone for a long period of time, which he removed from the hard Mokattam Formation, near the Khufu (Kheops or Cheops) Pyramid base, not from the soft formation(wadi quarries or Sphinx trench), where it is agreed that the bulk of the stony material is coming from.
Two other American geologists, R. Folk and D. Campbell, vigorously challenged the theory essentially in publications that do not have the “ Peer review ” system and therefore were not edited, such as Journal of Geological Education or The Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers [126]. There are several statements made by Folk/Campbell in these papers that demonstrate their lack of knowledge on the geological uniqueness of the Giza Plateau.Yet,they wrote with arrogance:
“ ...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. ”
They did not study the soft marly limestone bed and its peculiar property, at all:
“ ... A fundamental and obvious objection to the geopolymer theory is that, had the Egyptians wanted to make “ permastone ”, why would they have gone to the excessive labor of crushing limestone and gluing back together when it would have been much easier to use the abundant, nearby, loose desert quartz sand that would have surely made a more homogeneous concrete... ”
The theory never states that the limestone has to be crushed. It is obvious that Folk and Campbell did not understand the feasibility of the system based on water disaggregation. The use of sand would have required an astronomically high amount of artificial geopolymeric cement. The ancient Egyptians used this technique to manufacture their first artificial stone for statuettes 5,600 years ago. See for more details Appendix I, the Alchemical Inventions. The reason why it was not used for pyramid construction will become obvious in the next chapters.

Great Pyramid - PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS - 4.The False Proofs of Egyptology, 5.The Solution


Prof. Joseph Davidovits
Chapter 4
The False Proofs of Egyptology

Even though the traditional explanation of pyramid construction is illogical and remains unproved, it has been accepted as a matter of faith, reinforced and protected by the sheer weight of scholarly opinion.What proof has Egyptology offered to support the accepted theory? Logistical studies are generally used as proof even though they are highly speculative and prove nothing. The great ef- forts made over a long time to explain construction problems in no way mean that basic theoretical assumptions are cor- rect, especially since problems remain unresolved, despite the numerous studies, and important facts remain unconsidered. Despite the efforts of experts, the construction method is still a matter of legitimate debate.
If logistical reports are used as proof of construction, they constitute false proofs. There are six additional false proofs. The rest of this chapter explains why each one is either erroneous or open to interpretation.

1. Quarried Blocks
There are a few remains in a trench on the north side of the Second Pyramid of Giza, and Egyptologists use them as evidence to support the traditional carving and hoisting theory. The northern vertical face of this quarry bears ins- criptions and a large cartouche containing the name of the New Kingdom pharaoh, Ramses II (1298-1235 BC), who demolished numerous monuments to obtain ready-made blocks for his own constructions. The inscriptions honor Mey a chief architect of Ramses II, who, according to the inscrip- tions, removed casing blocks from the Second Pyramid and dismantled a temple of the complex. This occurred 1,400 years after the pyramid was built. There are no other inscriptions by which to date the quarry (see more details in the Circuit at Giza, Appendix II).
Ramses II and other pharaohs took a number of ready- made blocks from various pyramids, but they were incapa- ble of producing a monument or any combination of monu- ments equivalent in volume to the Great Pyramid. This holds true even though Ramses II used enormous wealth and manpower endlessly to rob ready-made blocks from existing monuments over his sixty-five year reign.
The pattern of chisel marks also in the trench near the pyramid has been dated to the time of Ramses II. It is rele- vant to consider what has been determined historically about Egypt’s quarry methods.Klemm and his wife made a complete dating of the sandstone quarries of Gebel el-Silsila and presented a paper at the Second International Congress of Egyptologists in 1979. Their study dated the various quarry methods used historically in Egypt. The following is an abstract of their paper [27]:
“ Most quarries were dated to well-defined historical periods with the aid of chisel marks, block technique, inscriptions, and pottery shreds. The most anciently quarried areas are at the northern edges of Gebel el-Silsila. These were quarried prior to the New Kingdom, perhaps in the Middle Kingdom. The chisel marks of this period are irregularly oriented (Fig.7) .The northern part of Gebel el-Silsila was exploited during the New Kingdom, in about the Eighteenth Dynasty, and chisel marks form a herringbone pattern. In the Nineteenth Dynasty, Ramses II introduced a fine parallel pattern that still prevailed when the Ptolemies exploited large quarries at the site. At the southern end of Gebel el-Silsila are the Roman quarry sites. No chisel marks of the previous types are found, but only wedge marks made by wooden dowels. ”
Figure 7: Datation of the quarry marks at Silsilis, adapted from D. Klemm et al. [27]
The Egyptians carefully cut stone from quarries, continually refining their chisel strokes because during the Middle and New Kingdoms the quarry was considered to be the eternal body of the god Amun. Treating Amun’s body haphazardly was an act of sacrilege, so quarrying was piously conducted to remove blocks in finished form. The Egyptian method of quarrying would not have been efficient for constructing the Great Pyramid.
On the southern end of Gebel el-Silsila, only the traces of wooden dowels appear. Dowels were inserted into the quarry and wetted with water, so that when the wood swelled, the stone cracked. This method is frequently shown in books depicting pyramid construction, but the Klemms’ dating shows that this primitive method was never used by the Egyptians. It was exclusively a Roman technique dating to the Roman occupation of Egypt.
If this crude Roman method had been used for pyramid construction, as is advocated, the amount of general debris at Giza would be staggering, including countless mil- lions of unusable cracked blocks. Before the Klemms’ presentation, it was assumed that because doweling is a primi- tive quarrying method it is also the oldest. One sees that the remains of quarrying in the trench near the Second Pyramid of Giza cannot be used as evidence to support the accepted theory.
Although the Klemms did not date limestone quarries, a general dating of quarrying in Egypt is established nevertheless. The implications are profound. From 27 BC to AD 379, the Romans quarried stone with wooden dowels. From 332 to 1250 BC, fine, parallel chisel strokes were used in Egyptian quarries. In 1400 BC Egyptians were making herringbone chisel patterns when cutting. During 1600 BC, they cut stone using random strokes, and before that time, there is no trace of block quarrying at all in the sandstone quarries at Gebel-el-Silisila. How did the Egyptians remove stone in more ancient times for pyramid construction?

2. The Transport of the Statue of Djehutihotep.
A Twelfth Dynasty (1800 BC) bas-relief from the tomb of Djehutihotep depicts the transport of the colossal statue of this ruler of Hermopolis (Fig.8). It was produced about 800 years after the construction of the Great Pyramid, yet it is used as evidence to support the traditional theory of pyramid construction.
The colossus no longer exists, but it stood 6.50 meters (21.32 feet) high and weighed about sixty tons according to what can be determined from inscriptions. The bas-relief depicts the colossus being hauled on a sledge to which it was solidly attached with thick cords. Protective bands can be seen under cables at the corners of the statue. In four lines, 172 men are pulling the colossus. Three workers carrying a liquid, presumably water, are shown. A worker is pouring the liquid in front of the sledge to ease its movement over the surface of Nile silt. Adams remarked about the bas-relief [28]:
“ The existence of a document of this order (and there exist others both in Egypt and Mesopotamia) allows us to throw into the wastepaper basket, without hesitation, all of the fantastic propositions too often made about the transport of the ancient Egyptian megaliths. 
Is this method applicable for constructing the Great Pyramid? We know that sixty tons can easily be hauled over a flat terrain. An experiment carried out by Henri Chevrier, a French architect, showed that 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of force are exerted to pull 150 kilograms (330 pounds), indicating that 400 men were required to pull the colossus (60 tons or 132,000 pounds divided by 330 pounds). In other words, each man would be required to pull only one-sixth of the load (150/25 = 6). Using the system for an average six-ton block from the Great Pyramid on flat ground would require only forty men. But the same operation on a ramp would be extremely complex.
Figure 8: Detail from tomb of Djehutihotep depicts transport of a colossal statue (Faucher Godin).
The noted French Egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer suggests that inclined ramps of 3:1 and 4:1 were used. If this were the case, from 140 to 200 men would have been required to raise one block, and the operation was presumably conducted with men pushing and hoisting the blocks as high as the 450-foot summit of the Great Pyramid. How does this comply with the number of blocks which would have to have been set per day?
According to Herodotus’s account, 2.6 million blocks were transported to the foot of the Great Pyramid during a twenty-year period, which is the approximate length of Khufu’s (Kheops or Cheops) reign. The number of blocks moved per year would have been 130,000. This means that an average of 1,400 blocks would have been hauled per day. This would have required 250,000 men making one journey per day, if we allow for a 150-man team per block (1,400 x 150). If the team made two journeys per day, 105,000 men would have been required. Four journeys per day per team would required 52,500 men working together at one time. Yet, it would have been impossible to get the job done. This enormous number of men would have been squeezed together shoulder to shoulder at the work site, an area about the size of a large sports arena.

3. The Clay Ramps
The principle of this wet-silt track could not apply to ramps for pyramid construction. It would create a ridiculous scenario, 52,500 men working in an area the size of a sports complex, with many treading and sliding in mud while hazardously maneuvering extremely heavy blocks at great heights.
This is not to say that ramps were never used at all. Because pulleys were not known in Egypt until Roman times, the only option archaeological evidence provides for raising blocks is ramps. For the Great Pyramid, it is estimated that any straight-slope ramp would have been a mile long, containing an enormous amount of material. Its great breadth and length would have covered the quarry. Helicoidal ramps have been suggested, but many Egyptologists offer several well-founded arguments against their actual use, including the fact that no wrap-around ramp has ever been found.
At Saqqara, a mud ramp was found in situ at the pyramid usually attributed to Pharaoh Semkhemkhet of the Third Dynasty but this small pyramid is not composed of large blocks. Carrying small blocks up a ramp was the most sensible and obvious way of producing this type of pyramid, affording a scenario very different from the one just described. Whereas there are remains of ramps at Giza, the tremendous amount of material called for by the standard theory does not exist, and while it might be expected that an earthen material would degrade, a small amount of remains nevertheless suggests the use of small ramps of the size useful for climbing the pyramids.
It has been proposed that pyramid blocks were hauled on sledges with wooden rollers attached. No evidence exists to support this hypothesis. The wheel was introduced as a transportation means by the Hyksos when they brought cha- riots to Egypt during their takeover at the end of the Middle Kingdom. The oldest surviving document implying the use of the wheel for hauling stone is a bas-relief from the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, now in the British Museum. It dates to 750 BC or 2,000 years after the Great Pyramid was built. The Great Pyramid, the most impressive monument of the ancient world, was built before the introduction of the wheel as a means of transportation.

4. The Tura Stele
A stele discovered in the Tura quarries is attributed to the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Amosis (1580-1558 BC) [29]. The stele itself disappeared during the nineteenth century, and only a sketch remains (Fig.9). The sketch shows a stone block placed on a sledge being pulled by oxen. Although the wheel had been introduced in Egypt by this time, this bas-relief indicates that it was still not being used for hauling stone.
Figure 9: Tura detail adapted from Vize-Perring
Pharaoh Amosis opened the Tura quarries to obtain soft stone for the temple of the god Ptah of Memphis. The Tura stele is not acceptable as evidence to support the traditional theory of pyramid construction because it was produced almost 1,000 years after the Great Pyramid was built.
The Tura stele and the other documents used to sup- port the traditional theory are the product of a society fostering different technology from that of its ancestors.Any long and successful civilization is bound to have emerging and declining technologies. Although archaeologists refrain from wild conjecture, there are vague admissions that some advanced technique was known to the builders of the Great Pyramids. According to Edwards [30]:
“ Cheops (Khufu), who may have been a megalomaniac, could never, during a reign of about twenty-three years, have erected a building of the size and durability of the Great Pyramid if technical advances had not enabled his masons to handle stones of very considerable weight and dimensions. ”
Edwards implies that a clever method was used, but historians, with few exceptions, view ancient civilizations as though they were technologically inferior to our own in every respect. Many factors contributed to the general destruction of Egyptian technological information. During periods of anarchy, the Egyptians destroyed much of it themselves, and, too, Egypt suffered invasion by the Ethiopians, Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Nubians, and Mohammedans. The information lost when fire completely destroyed the great library of Alexandria by the end of the third century was also devastating. The Mohammedans viewed Egypt’s wondrous architectural achievements as deeds of the devil and exploited blocks for their own buildings, ravaging tombs in search of treasure wherever possible. The Napoleonic expedition inspired a frenzy of interest by antique dealers, and many precious artifacts were removed during the 1800s. An untold number of relics were damaged or destroyed during their exploits as gunpowder and battering rams were used to open tombs. Numerous written records became rubble and sta- tues were fragmented, their remains divided among different museums.
All contribute to the fact that scientific knowledge has not been transmitted flawlessly from antiquity to our time. One has only to read Herodotus’s Melpomene to realize that it was proved long before this historian’s time that the earth is round.Yet this fact had to be painstakingly rediscovered in more modern times.
A modern superiority complex prevails in scholarly literature despite the weight of evidence of a great forgotten technology used for pyramid construction. This ancient science is explored in the coming chapters and highlights the technological differences between the Old and New Kingdoms.

5.The Bas-Relief of Rekhmire
The wall paintings in the New Kingdom tomb of the official Rekhmire (1400 BC) are famous for their illustrations of the period’s technology One painting shows blocks being carved with bronze tools. This painting was produced 1,300 years after the construction of the Great Pyramid, and, therefore, is not relevant.

6. The Bas-Relief of Unas
A bas-relief on the wall of the causeway approaching the pyramid of pharaoh Unas (2356 - 2323 BC) of the Fifth Dynasty is the last of the false proofs. The bas-relief depicts the fact that Unas dismantled a temple in the pyramid complex of this predecessor, Djedkara-Isesi, and reused the blocks for his own pyramid. The has-relief shows a boat transporting huge temple columns along the Nile River to the Unas pyramid complex (Fig.10). About two miles separate the two pyramids. I observed these columns among the ruins. Instead of being monolithic as depicted in the bas-relief, they consist of units held together by tongue and groove joints, and the units weigh no more than a half-ton each.
Figure 10: A bas-relief engraved on wall of causeway of the pyramid of Unas dates to about 2350 BC, adapted from J.P. Lauer.
This bas-relief is used to make a sweeping generalization about pyramid construction. It is used to explain that casing blocks were transported from across the Nile and that granite blocks came from 400 miles downstream from Aswan. It will become clear that this bas-relief was made during a period which was critical for the technology used to build the Great Pyramids. The fact that Unas reused pyramid blocks has nothing to do with how those blocks were originally produced and placed in Djedkara-Isesi’s pyramid. The false proofs of Egyptology will soon appear as transpa- rent as Egyptian royal linen.

Egyptian history is viewed by scholars mostly from a New Kingdom-Theban perspective as a result of the numerous documents that have survived from the New Kingdom capital of Thebes. The more ancient capital of Memphis has not been excavated effectively, limiting information about the most important urban center of the ancient world before the prominence of Thebes.
Scholars have sufficient information only to speculate about the culture of the Pyramid Age. Scientific data and archaeological evidence can be compared to empty urns into which scholars pour the elixir of their own theories, attitu- des, and beliefs. Although an interpretation of test results and data may be required, scientists and historians have the responsibility of maintaining a critical spirit when encountering irreconcilable flaws of theory. Certainly, the lingering problems associated with the construction of the Great Pyramids and other incredible ancient feats of engi- neering are too great to ignore. In recent years the enigmas have given rise to fantastic theories. Adams commented on some of the most popular [31]:
“ On the chronology of monumental art one sees, throughout the planet, that the first examples of architecture are often megalithic edifices, or even isolated megaliths. Then, with the appearance of iron, this megalithism disappears suddenly with few exceptions.... The occultists conclude from this that in bygone epochs, a mysterious knowledge based on a very advanced science, but known only to a few initiates, allowed the extraction, transport, and placement of huge stones. Generally, such propositions are accompanied by a notorious “aging” of the edifice under consideration. Sometimes the Atlanteans and their teaching tradition are of definitive help, but the most effective aid in all circumstances is extraterrestrial....Another proposition,or even affirmation,has recently been added to the others: it is the simplest, the most naive, and also the oldest: giants. ”
Though these various theories are amusing and intriguing, they offer no definitive solution. The secret science speculated upon is never specifically identified, and baffling ultramodern technology, such as antigravity machines and antediluvian Atlantian crystal generators, never address all of the anomalies we have explored. The fantasy theories are based on conjecture as opposed to actual archaeological evidence, and both the fanciful and traditional theories will continue to thrive until the actual solution being presented here is firmly established. Let us now explore Egypt’s fabulous Stone Age science used to build the Great Pyramids-lost but now recovered.

Chapter 5
The Solution

The great pyramids reflect a technology of the ancient world that yielded a sophisticated product or result but has no relationship to what we think of today as advanced or high technology. To visit the Pyramid Age would be to enter a world in which our objective, secular view of science does not exist. Anciently in Egypt, science and reli- gion were part of one body of knowledge, and the priests were responsible for fostering and preserving that knowledge. Particular arts and sciences were attributed to particular gods. Ptah was the god of craftsmen, and Khnum, the Divine Potter, was a god worshipped by the pharaohs of the Pyramid Age. As will be further discussed, it was Khnum to whom the technology in question was attributed. Thoth was the god of writing, and the knowledge of Khnum was written in the Books of Thoth.
We know that the ancient priest-scientists of Heliopolis fostered the sciences of engineering, mathematics, and astronomy, and that all played a role in pyramid construc- tion, but the science most germane to pyramid construction is overlooked. The mystery science has nothing to do with the classical physics of electricity, heat, optics, or mechanics, or anything in common with quantum physics-atomic, nuclear, or solid state. The science that made pyramids pos- sible was chemistry or, more precisely, its forerunner, alchemy. Just how were stone monuments built with ancient chemistry?
Alchemy evokes images of medieval pursuits in mysticism and magic. Old alchemical notebooks depict vain searches for the ever-illusive Philosopher’s Stone, reputed to be empowered to transform base metals into gold and provide an elixir of eternal youth. As will be discussed, the legendary Philosopher’s Stone represents the last misinterpreted vesti- ges of the alchemical science that flourished during the Pyramid Age and was known in Egypt more than 6,000 years ago.
When the Egyptian alchemists developed glassmaking during the New Kingdom, it was to carry on the old religious tradition of making synthetic stones. This age-old tradition reveals the very heart of the remarkable alchemical inven- tion central to the riddle of pyramid construction: the priests of Khnum had long been adept at the art of making extraordinary cements. Cement found in various parts of the courses of the Great Pyramid is about 4,500 years old, yet it is still in good condition. This ancient mortar is far superior to cements used in construction today. The modern Portland cement used to repair ancient Egyptian monuments has cracked and degraded after only about fifty years (see Chapter 8, The Proof at Giza, Fig. 26).
If the ancient Egyptians had the ability to produce exceptionally high-quality cement, what prevented them from adding natural aggregates such as fossil shells to their cement to produce high-quality limestone concrete? The answer is that nothing prevented them. I will demonstrate that the pyramid blocks are not hewn stone; the blocks are actually high-quality reconstituted limestone cast directly in place.
The blocks consist of about:
- ninety to ninety-five percent natural limestone rubble (fossil shells),
- and five to ten percent geological glue (geopolymeric cement).

They are reagglomerated natural limestone, made in the age-old religious tradition of alchemical stonemaking. No stone cutting or heavy hauling or hoisting was ever required for pyramid construction. This type of fossil-shell limestone concrete would have been cast or packed into molds. Egyptian workmen went to outcrops of relatively soft limestone, disaggregated it with water, then mixed the muddy limestone (including the fossil-shells) with lime and zeolite- forming materials such as kaolin clay, silt, and the Egyptian salt natron (sodium carbonate). The limestone mud was carried up by the bucketful and then poured, packed or rammed into molds (made of wood, stone, clay or brick) placed on the pyramid sides. This re-agglomerated limestone, bonded by geochemical reaction, thus hardened into resistant blocks.
Advanced technology plays no part in the alchemical stonemaking. This is the most basic prerequisite if the theory is to be feasible.An individual of the Stone Age could produce re-agglomerated stone if they astutely applied the knowledge that comes from intelligent, repeated observation and experimentation with substances found in the environment. Only theoretical knowledge about mineral elements, how to distinguish them and how they can be chemically manipulated, must be acquired.
Although medieval alchemy was accompanied by esoteric teachings, because it derived from an era that united science and religion, technically, alchemy encompasses historical chemical developments. The word alchemy is the source of the modern word chemistry, the latter appearing about 250 years ago. There were great alchemical achievements during antiquity.
One can appreciate the ingenuity of the researchers of antiquity who first extracted copper from an ore of mala- chite, malachite having no metallic appearance whatsoever. This great alchemical discovery elevated Stone Age man to the Chalcolithic period. For some time historians thought that the melting point of copper, 1,083°C [1,981°F], was reached with great difficulty by using a hand bellows. Then it became apparent that the task was probably accomplished in an easier way, through chemistry.
Temperatures can be raised with energy released during exothermic (heat-producing) chemical reactions. Copper and lead are commonly located in close proximity, and lead played a fundamental role in primeval copper ex- traction. Lead can be oxidized easily with the aid of a hand bellows. A mixture of copper ore (malachite) and lead ore (galena) heated in a hearth to only 700°C (1,290°F) automatically reaches a temperature, through a heat- producing chemical reaction, that is close to that required for extracting copper. The addition of a flux, which in Egypt was a native salt called natron (sodium carbonate), lowered the fusion point sufficiently for copper extraction. Silver can be smelted similarly.
Egyptian alchemists developed vibrant blue enamel in pre-historic times at about 3800 BC. The discovery was a by- product of copper smelting. Appendix I discusses the fact that, contrary to popular belief, enamel production was no accident. Instead, an experimenter mixed a powder of chrysocolla with natron and applied a flame. The result was hard, glossy blue enamel that was then melted and applied to beads and pebbles.
The ancient Egyptians are well known for using minerals such as chrysocolla and lapis lazuli to produce enamels, which for them were imitations of these minerals or stones. They had a word for such products: ari-kat, meaning man-made or synthetic (see Chapter 11, It is written in Hieroglyphs). They sought to imitate stones because the highest spiritual influence was attributed to stone. The early priests learned to identify rocks and minerals and classified them according to the spiritual beliefs. In Egyptian mythology carnelian and other red stones represented the blood of Isis, a goddess of fertility. Lapis lazuli was associated with daybreak. Chrysocolla was associated with what was called the “ First Time ” event of Creation. It is not surprising to find that minerals and rocks had divine properties in a world where all of nature was revered.
All available stones, both nonprecious and semiprecious, possessed sacred, eternal qualities. It must have been known from ancestral lore that even though all living things perish, even trees, the imposing rocks and cliffs stood eternally. Almost everything was depicted symbolically and stone was symbolic of the eternal realm. Knowing this, one can understand why stone materials were devoted exclusively to religious monuments and sacred funerary paraphernalia. These were intended to survive for eternity, whereas earthly dwellings, even royal palaces, were composed of perishable sun-dried mud brick that needed to last only a lifetime.
So that there will be no doubt about what gives me the authority to make this rather astounding claim, I will explain my background as it relates to this research. I am a research scientist specializing in low-temperature mineral synthesis and geosynthesis. In 1972 I founded the private research company CORDI (Coordination and Development of Inno- vation), and, in 1979, the Geopolymer Institute, both based in France. At the Geopolymer Institute I founded a new branch of chemistry that I named geopolymerization for polymerization resulting from geosynthesis and applied geology. Since 1972, my partners and myself have filed several dozen international patents for geopolymeric products and processes. My products are made in the United States and Europe by large manufacturers. The products have many di- verse applications (see more details in the Geopolymer Institute Internet WEB site) [32].
Geopolymeric products range from advanced materials to simple, yet highly sophisticated cements. The geopolymeric cements are made with inorganic chemical reactions involving clays and silicates in which alumina and silica materials are integrated to form synthetic zeolites, secondary rock-forming minerals. There is no way of distinguishing a synthetic zeolite from a natural one. And geopolymeric cements are chemically comparable to the natural cements that bind such stones as sandstone, puddingstone, and also fossil-shell limestone, the later being the main material constituting the pyramids blocks.
Geopolymers are revolutionary for the concrete industry.Any type of rock aggregate can be used,and concrete made with the geopolymeric binder is practically indistinguishable from natural stone. Geologists unfamiliar with the technical possibilities afforded by geopolymerization have scrutinized geopolymeric concrete and have mistaken it for hewn stone. Geologists do not recognize any geopolymeric stone because their method of analysis is based on investigating the bulk of the crystalline materials. They generally classify the 5-10% by weight of geopolymer as being impurities! Only modern methods of analysis, not used by geologists but developed by chemists, provide insight into the geopolymer matrix. This is unprecedented technology; no tremendous heat or pressure is required to produce this synthetic stone. Geopolymeric concrete sets rapidly at room temperatures to form synthetic stone, beautiful in appearance and abundant with unprecedented properties.Archaeologists and egyptologists misunderstood the meaning of synthetic stone when it was brought up to their attention. Partial criti- que of the concrete (cast-stone) theory made by egyptologists generally reads as follows: “ ... Davidovits argues that geopolymer (ie. synthetic stone) would explain how the Egyptians were able to move and shape stone. But I don’t believe he has ever said or proved that Giza stone really is geopolymer. In fact, the limestone blocks at Giza have intact fossil remains, which proves that they are not synthetic stone or geopolymers but are natural stone... ” This sentence shows how hard and frustrating it is to bring new ideas to the archaeological community. I presented several lectures at international archaeological and egyptological conferences, had papers published in scientific, technical and archaeological journals, in vain! The reader will find some important references to my scientific work in Chapter 7, The Hard Scientific Proof, as well as in Appendix II, The Circuit at Giza.
In 1988, the American egyptologist Mark Lehner used this very same argument to convince American TV producer NOVA that the cast-stone theory is bunk. Even as late as the filming of “ This Old Pyramid ” in 1991-1992 when Lehner and his colleagues on the NOVA staff were busily trying to discredit the cast-stone theory, they still did not understand the basis of the theory. Their lack of knowledge is demonstrated by the fact that when I went to the Giza quarry to examine the limestone samples I wanted to show in the film, I was driven to the spot by one of Lehner’s assistants.
This assistant turned to me as we were driving along and said:“ We know you are wrong. ”I replied by saying something like, “ Oh really? I have researched and studied for over 20 years and you know I am wrong. How is that? ” The assistant said “ Because there are fossil shells in the pyramid blocks, just as there are fossil shells in the quarries. ” I replied by saying something like; “ Well, where do you think the aggregates (fossil shells) for the pyramid-concrete-blocks came from, the Moon? No, the shells came from the quarries. ” The assistant’s eyes opened wide and he said nothing. The fossil shells would remain intact for the most part but would be jumbled in pyramids blocks (see Chapter 7, The Hard Scientific Proof, Fig. 15). Why would the pyramid builders make more work for themselves by crushing them?
To develop a new branch of chemistry is one thing, but to apply that chemistry to ancient history is quite another. How did I learn that the pyramid stone is also geopolymeric? Any theory must be feasible; then, there must be evidence; and ultimately, hard scientific proof is required. All mysteries associated with pyramid construction must be resolved.
I found that some suitable ingredients were available in quantities of millions of tons. The natron salt, which contains mainly sodium carbonate, is extraordinarily abundant in the deserts and salt lakes. Natron reacts with lime and water to produce caustic soda, the main ingredient for alchemically making stone.
Natron was a sacred product used not only for flux, but also for mummification and deification rites. The following excerpts from the Pyramid Texts, found on the walls of the burial chamber of the Fifth Dynasty pyramid of Unas, show the sacred value of natron:

Thou purifiest thyself, Horus is purified: One pastil of natron
Thou purifiest thyself, Seth is purified: One pastil of natron
Thou purifiest thyself; Thoth is purified: One pastil of natron
Thou purifiest thyself; God is purified: One pastil of natron Thou purifiest thyself; that thou rest thyself among them: One pastil of natron
Thy mouth is like that of the milk calf on the day of his birth: Five pastils of natron from the north, at Stpt.

The mouth of the newborn milk calf was considered to be clean because the calf had never eaten; and Stpt, a place where natron was gathered, is now called Wadi el-Natron.
Many of the same elements applicable for alchemical stone-making later played a role in glassmaking. By studying the ecology and the ancient products and documents of the Egyptians, I was able to trace the basic alchemical inventions that led to the development of the pyramid stone. These inventions are discussed chronologically in details in Appendix 1. An abundance of lime would have been available by calcining limestone in simple hearths. In ancient times, the Sinai mines were rich in deposits of turquoise and chrysocolla, needed for the production of synthetic zeolites. The mines also contained the arsenic minerals of olivenite and scorodite, needed to produce rapid setting and hardening.
But most important, Giza’s geological limestone would have provided the bulk of the materials. The ancient Egyptians found at Giza a limestone that was soft (not hard), easily quarried (not hewn) and disaggregated (not crushed) into loose aggregates and was rehardened (reconstituted) in large concrete blocks. Yet, above all, this particular limestone had to contain a certain amount of natural reactive geopolymeric ingredient, such as clay, needed for the in-situ fabrication of geopolymeric cement. The uniqueness of Giza’s geology is exemplified by the deteriorating body of the Sphinx, in opposition to its hard and unweathered head.A general overview of the limestone geology at Giza is described in some details in the following Chapter 6, The Feasibility of the Theory, and also in Appendix II: the Circuit at Giza.
A fascinating view of the pyramids never imagined in modern times emerges. These alchemical discoveries address an exotic facet of pyramid construction. Next, we will explore feasibility.

Great Pyramid - PYRAMIDS AND GEOPOLYMERS - 3.The Technological Paradox


Prof. Joseph Davidovits

Chapter 3
The Technological Paradox

When considering the historical overview of Egyptian art and architecture, one can clearly distinguish the existence of two distinctly different masonry methods. One was used primarily during the Old Kingdom, and the other, carving with hard bronze tools, was introduced during the late Middle Kingdom or perhaps a little later, about 800 years after the Great Pyramid was built. The distinction between the two methods can be made based on quality of workmanship, the hardness of the stone materials worked, and the design and structural features of buildings.
The contrast between the two methods is apparent in large monuments and small works of art. The quality of sculpture declined dramatically in the later periods. Nestor l’Hote (c. 1780 - 1842), an artist who worked with the founder of Egyptology, Jean François Champollion (1790 -1832), was ecstatic about the artwork found by Karl Lepsius (1810 - 1884) and Auguste Mariette (1821-1881) in three particular masta- bas of the Old Kingdom. Describing the sculptures in one of the most ancient, that of the vizier Menefra of Memphis, l’Hote remarked [22]:
“ The sculptures in this tomb are remarkable for their elegance and finesse. The relief is so light that it can be compared with one of our five franc coins. Such perfection in something so ancient confirms the observation that the further one goes back in antiquity towards the origin of Egyptian art, the more perfect are the results of this art, as if the genius of these people, unlike others, was formed in one single stroke. Of Egyptian art we only know of its decadence. ”
Egyptian sculpture was so degenerated by the New Kingdom that it fell into irredeemable decadence. Neither artists of Saite nor Thebes produced such masterpieces as the more ancient diorite statue of Khafra (Khefren or Chephren) or the Kneeling Scribe now exhibited in the Louvre. Remarks by archaeologists and architects Georges Perrot (1832-1914) and Charles Chipiez express awe of the Old Kingdom sculptors [23]:
“ How did the sculptors manage to carve into these rocks which are so hard?... Even today it is very difficult when using the best tempered steel chisels. The work is very slow and difficult and one must stop frequently to sharpen the edge of the chisel, which becomes dull on the rock, and then retemper the chisel. But the contemporaries of Khafra, and everyone agrees on this, had no steel chisels. ”
On a grand scale we observe the same scenario. The blocks of the Old Kingdom pyramids exemplify a peerless fit, and Old Kingdom monuments exhibit hard stone materials prepared with ultimate care and perfection. Egyptians of the New Kingdom and later times were incapable of comparable workmanship when using bronze tools. In New Kingdom and later monuments, precision joints and the regular dimensions of blocks disappears. The degradation that occurred after the introduction of bronze tools astonishes architects and archaeologists who have studied Egyptian architecture over the last two centuries. Champollion, for instance, was astonished by the poor quality of the New Kingdom structu- res erected for Theban kings at Wadi Esseboua. He commented [24]:
“ This is the worst piece of work from the epoch of Ramses the Great. The stones were poorly masoned, gaps are hidden by cement upon which decorative sculpting continued, and this was bad workmanship.... Most of these scenes are unrecognizable because the cement onto which large parts were carved has fallen and left numerous gaps in the inscrip- tions. ”
The Theban kings of the New Kingdom built a prodigious number of edifices from Nubia to the Mediterranean beaches. Surfaces of the walls were nearly always covered with richly colored polychrome decorations that masked imperfections. Perrot and Chipiez commented about this technique:
“ But why would they have prolonged their work by patching up, with infinite patience, joints that had to be hidden? Was the purpose of the stucco and paint to hide imperfections? In these edifices we do not see certain combinations of stones which the elegant building civilizations who left the stone undecorated were happy to use.... You will search in vain for regularity of construction, perfection in joints, and the perfection of carving and fitting which gives the face of a wall in the fortifications of Mycenae even when separated from all to which it belongs, its own nobility and beauty. At Thebes the worker relied on fillers and was content to say,‘That should do the trick’.” It is assumed that the use of stucco and paint made it unnecessary for joints to be perfect. In my opinion, it was because the carving method was used, and I think that it was to mask imperfections that the polychrome coating on a stucco base was developed. There was no question of laziness. Ramses II drafted masses of Asian and African slaves in order to dot the land with temples, palaces, and cities bearing his name. As frantically as he built, he simply could not compete with his illustrious ancestors.
Egyptologists usually explain the difference between the workmanship of the New Kingdom compared with that of the Old Kingdom by saying that Theban kings built more edifices than did their ancestors. I have already shown that by de Roziere’s estimates there is far more stone in the Giza pyramids alone than in all the construction built during the New Kingdom, Late period, and Ptolemaic period combined, that is, in 1,500 years.
Furthermore, New Kingdom and later monuments were made, with few exceptions, of very soft varieties of stone, but since the inception of Egyptology, a common misconception has been widely perpetuated in literature, which is that monuments built during the New Kingdom and later are made of hard stone materials. De Roziere commented [25]:
“ It would be hard to believe that such famous monuments, famous for their age, richness, and the multiplicity of their ornamentation were built with rough, common materials. Most travelers, using their imaginations more than their eyes, believe that they have seen in the layers of the land, and in the monu- ments themselves, hard, precious granites from the Syene environment, the porphyries and variegated rocks of Arabia, and sometimes even basalt. Others are content with the use of marble, inspired by what they have seen in the ancient monuments of Greece and Italy. The truth is that there exists in these quarries, and in the edifices of the upper Thebaid, neither porphyry, nor basalt, nor marble, nor any kind of limestone. All that can be found in this entire area, on both banks of the Nile, are layers of sandstone... and it is with this stone that, almost without exception, all of the still surviving monuments from Syene to Dendera were built. ”
When making the latter remark, de Roziere was not referring to hard sandstone such as that in the pavement of Fontainebleau, near Paris, withstanding generations of wear. He was talking instead about a particular soft variety called monumental sandstone. To avoid confusion, he distinguished it as psammite, since, having been a Parisian, the word sandstone suggested to him a dense material consisting of grains of tightly bound quartz, material comparable to the Fontainebleau sandstone. Psammite sandstone adheres poorly and will easily disaggregate under very light pressure. He mentioned its structural tolerance:
“ Egyptian sandstone is, in general, not very hard and it can often be scratched with a fingernail. The hardness is, at any rate, very uniform throughout each block and so is the breaking strength, which is low but equal throughout. This stone contains neither cavities nor blow holes [holes where a tool can be inserted]. ”
Practically all of the New Kingdom temples and those built later were made of this psammite sandstone which is so soft that one can scratch it with one’s fingernails. This includes the temples of Luxor, Karnak, Edfu, and Esna. Even the more recent temples erected during Egypt’s Iron Age, such as the Temple of Dendera built by the Ptolemies (c. 250 BC), are composed of extremely soft stone. De Roziere described this temple:
“ One surprising fact is that the stones of the Temple of  Dendera, one of the most admirable for the execution of its sculpted ornamentation, are precisely the roughest of all. One finds there several varieties of fine sandstone but, in general, the grain is rather coarse, unequal, and can be disaggregated with a fingernail. ”
Many New Kingdom and later structures, the famous Abu Simbel Temple for example, were hollowed directly into hills of very soft sandstone, so no heavy lifting or hauling was necessary for construction. After the Aswan Dam was constructed, the Abu Simbel Temple was moved in its entirety by a team sponsored by the United Nations (1964 -1966) to avoid inundation by Lake Nasser. The operation was far more difficult than anticipated because of the weakness of the sandstone, which is so fragile that it was necessary to cut very deep into the cliff to obtain a mass strong enough to withstand the move from the edge of the lake to the top of the hill. De Roziere commented on the ease with which this material is carved:
“ From Philae to Dendera, a distance of about fifty leagues in which the most important and best preserved edifices of ancient Egypt are found, nearly all are made of sandstone. Even though limestone mountains reign over the two sites of the Thebaid in more than three-fifths of this area, hardly any ruins made of limestone are found, and the few that exist are the least significant.That alone is proof enough of the preference shown by the Egyptian architects for sandstone over all of the several fine varieties of limestone found in their country.... But what must have, above all, met their approval was the extreme ease with which it could be chiselled, its docility, if we may use the term, to yield in every sense to the tool and to receive on its different faces the numerous figures and reliefs with which Egyptian architects felt compelled to decorate all the walls of these great edifices. ”
Because the limestone of the Theban landscape is hard, it was not used during the New Kingdom. Instead, a soft grade of limestone found at Tura, devoid of fossil shells, was employed. This limestone is unlike that used for the core blocks of Old Kingdom pyramids, which is relatively hard and difficult to carve because it contains large fossil shells. The French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero (1846 - 1916) described the type of soft limestone used for the New Kingdom temples of Memphis [26]:
“ The Tura quarries enjoyed the privilege of furnishing choice material for the royal architects.Nowhere else could such white limestone be seen, so soft for carving, so perfect to receive and preserve all of the finesse of a bas-relief. ”
The casing blocks of the Great Pyramid and the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, reputed to come from Tura, are very much harder than the soft Tura limestone used even in today’s restorations (see for example later in the restoration at Saqqara). It seems logical that soft materials, such as psammite sandstone and this very soft limestone to which Maspero refers, should have been used during the Old Kingdom when only modest stone or soft copper tools were available, but the opposite occurred.
Furthermore, unlike the Old Kingdom workmen, those of the New Kingdom and later periods rarely used large building units.A few obelisks and colossal statues are exceptional cases. Only the lintels and architraves of some New Kingdom and later temples have lengths comparable to those of the more ancient temples, but those of the later ones were less massive. The temples of Karnak are characterized by huge pylons, but all were made of small blocks.
The front pylon of the Temple of Dendera has a width of 110 meters (370 feet), a thickness of 15 meters (49 feet), and a height of 42 meters (138 feet). The first pylon of the Temple of Luxor, built by Ramses II, is a more modest 27 meters (88.5 feet) high, with each of its towers 30 meters (98 feet) in width.Although their dimensions are impressive, these giant monuments composed of small stone blocks cannot compare with the superstructures of the Old Kingdom, where monolithic beams in late pyramids weigh eighty tons and the Valley Temple of the Second Pyramid of Giza exhibits blocks weighing at least 500 tons.
Most of the colossal statues built during the New Kingdom and later, the remains of the great obelisks built by Theban and Greek rulers,those made during the later periods which were transported to Rome, during the Roman occupa- tion, and Paris, London, and New York during the nineteenth century, were cut from a type of granite known as oriental red granite or pink syenite, a material relatively easy to carve. It cannot be scratched with one’s fingernails like psammite sandstone, but it will easily disaggregate when hit with a pointed instrument.
There has been great confusion over this material. Pink syenite has two principal components: large, elongated, pink to brick-red feldspar crystals that are truncated at the cor- ners, and extremely soft black mica. This type of mica has a hardness of 2.5, according to Mohs’ scale, which is the same as plaster, and it makes an ideal point of attack for a tool. The pink feldspar crystals are also fragile, making this variety of granite easy to carve. However, since the inception of Egyptology, pink syenite has been confused with harder ty- pes of granite because its soft mica has been mistaken for an amphibole that requires a tempered steel tool to be sculpted. The main reason for the confusion is that today the word syenite indicates a hard hornblende, whereas in literature written before the nineteenth century the word syenite was used to describe soft granite from Syene (Aswan).
Most syenite monuments are found in northern Egypt, mostly in the Delta, and were erected during the Late and Ptolemaic periods. They have been discovered in Bahbeht, Canope, and the greatest accumulation is found in the Ptolemaic capital of Alexandria, where the entire land is scattered with the ruins of syenite statues, walls, and obelisks.
The overview permits assessment of the paradoxical and dramatic contrast. The pyramids of the Old Kingdom consisted essentially of fossil shell limestone, a heterogeneous material very difficult to cut precisely. Temples dating to the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1400 BC) are found over the entire face of Egypt. Some were made of very soft white limestone, even when constructed in entirely granitic regions in southern Egypt. After the Eighteenth Dynasty, the use of soft limestone eventually gave way to soft sandstone. The sandstone of Silsilis, in southern Egypt, was used to build the New Kingdom temples of Karnak, Luxor, and Edfu; it is homogeneous, soft, and easy to sculpt. Therein lies the great technological paradox of Egypt: at a time when tools were made of stone and copper, a tremendous amount of hard varieties of stone were used in monuments, but when bronze and iron were introduced, only the very softest stone material was used. There is more than ample evidence to support the existence of two different masonry methods used in different epochs and yielding very different results.