The Great Pyramid
On-Line Guided Tour of the GREAT PYRAMID Construction Enigmas
New for 2010!
Part 1 – The Mysteries
Part 2 – The Solution
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The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Great Pyramid of Khafra, and
The Great Pyramid of Menkaure, also called Giza’s Third Pyramid
Of all of the Giza and other Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (also called Cheops) presents the most enigmatic masonry features and vexing engineering questions. How was the Great Pyramid built?
What is so very important about this question?
For some, the looming question of how the Great Pyramid was built is as big as the Great Pyramid itself. Many thousands of web sites concern the Great Pyramid. Anyone looking at even a modest number of these web sites will quickly see that the orthodox and alternative explanations of how the Great Pyramid was built are worlds apart. The ON-LINE GUIDED TOUR offered on this page eliminates 99.9 percent of the work of the cumbersome task of looking at myriads of web sites about the Great Pyramid that may or may not address (or properly address) the BIG question of how it was built.
You are invited to take this GUIDED TOUR OF CYBERSPACE and consider the different sides of the argument and see if a true resolution to the problem of the Great Pyramid’s construction is out there.
Those who wish to journey though cyberspace the hard way without taking this tour can refer to my convenient Great Pyramid Master Link List (click here to jump to my Great Pyramid Master Link List).
Before taking this GUIDED TOUR, please consider the Great Pyramid Fact List immediately below, which lists some of the remarkable features that make the Great Pyramid so famous and enigmatic (or click here to skip my GREAT PYRAMID FACT LIST and GO STRAIGHT TO THE GUIDED TOUR):
Great Pyramid Fact List
Fact 1 The Great Pyramid contains an estimated 93.5 million cubic feet of limestone.(1)
Fact 2 Egyptologists assert that this massive volume of stone was incorporated into the Great Pyramid in about 25 years. In other words, most, if not all, of this volume of stone was installed in the Great Pyramid during the 23-year-reign of Pharaoh Khufu.
Fact 3 This means that to build the Great Pyramid during this time period, one block had to be installed every two or three minutes per ten-hour workday for about 25 years.
Fact 4 Experiments that worked with units of the size and weight of the blocks in the Great Pyramid were unable to even come close to raising one block in two or three minutes.
Fact 5 Most theorists work with the averaged weight of the blocks of the Great Pyramid, which is only about 2.5 tons. They use this weight average to avoid having to try to explain the vexing problem of how the ancient Egyptians might have raised hundreds of thousands of heavier blocks and beams, some weighing thirty tons and more, to great heights.
Fact 6 For example, myriads of exterior core blocks about half way up the Great Pyramid weigh at least fifteen tons.
Fact 7 Another example is the installation of the 27-foot-long granite beams making up the ceiling of the King’s Chamber, situated at about half of the height of the Great Pyramid. One giant beam weighs an estimated 73 tons. The means by which these beams might have been installed has not been adequately explained by engineers.
Fact 8 In 1975, a team of engineers from Waseda University, in Japan, built a scale model of the Great Pyramid (devoid of all of the complex interior features). The Waseda engineers estimated, based on their hands-on experiment, that a total of 1,200 years would be required to build the Great Pyramid. This contrasts sharply with the vast body of evidence, amounting to strong proof, amassed by Egyptology showing that the Great Pyramid was built within a relatively short space of time. Egyptologists have shown that history could not have accommodated a 1,200-year construction period.
Fact 9 Originally, about 115,000 casing blocks formed the smooth outer faces of the Great Pyramid.
Fact 1 0 Some casing blocks remaining on the Great Pyramid today (most were stripped away in previous centuries) weigh about sixteen tons.
Fact 1 1 The joints of the Great Pyramid’s casing blocks fit as close as 1/800th of an inch or in perfect contact.
Fact 1 2 The scale and perfection of the joints of the casing blocks of the Great Pyramid are amazing by modern standards.
Fact 1 3 The 13-square-acre foundation platform upon which the Great Pyramid rests is so accurately level as to be off only about 1/2 inch from the northwest to the southwest corner.
Fact 1 4 The Great Pyramid contains an estimated 2.3 million massive core blocks, the core blocks being the main building blocks of the Great Pyramid.
Fact 1 5 The mean optical plane that touches the most prominent points of the Great Pyramid’s outer core blocks shows an average variation of only 1.0 inch.
Fact 1 6 Egyptology has determined that all of these remarkable features of the Great Pyramid were produced WITHOUT the benefit of the wheel as a means of transportation, the block and tackle for lifting weights, or tools made of hard metals (like bronze or iron) for quarrying and shaping stone. All of these products would not be invented for several hundred years. Bronze hard enough for tools, for instance, was introduced in Egypt about 800 years after the construction of the Great Pyramid. Iron came into use even later.(2)
Many other features of the Great Pyramid, and features of several of Egypt’s other Great Pyramids and lesser pyramids, have astonished researchers since the early days of Egyptology. Now that we have considered some of the unresolved problems of the Great Pyramid’s construction, let us move along with our GUIDED TOUR to see if a resolution to the enormous question of how the Great Pyramid was built can be found amid the great amount of information (and misinformation) in cyberspace.
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Begin the On-Line Guided Tour here
To take the tour, simply read the entries and click on the associated links. Return to this page by clicking the back button on your browser.
Our first stop explores the orthodox explanation of the construction of the Great Pyramid:
The Orthodox Great Pyramid
One of the most popular sites concerning the Great Pyramid is NOVA On-Line. In 1992, the PBS science series NOVA televised a film titled “This Old Pyramid,” which built a mini-pyramid and claimed to have solved the unresolved problems of pyramid construction. Whoops! NOVA did not properly explain how the Great Pyramid was built, unless we are willing to believe that the Great Pyramid was built with a modern front-end loader and modern steel tools. The following links prove this point:
See the review titled “This Old Pyramid Nonsense” at Amazon.com:
Click here for the Amazon.com review of PBS NOVA’s “This Old Pyramid”
Or, stop by Jack’s Egyptology Page. Jack found out about the front-end loader and revised his comment for the NOVA film on his Hot page. Now Jack’s comment for the NOVA film reads Not So Hot (“Hot Is Not”). If you stop by Jack’s, just keyword search using the word “NOVA” and you will find Jack’s entry:
Click here for Jack’s Egyptology Page
For more details on the NOVA scandal, read Excerpt One of “The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved!” at Margaret Morris Books:
Click here for Excerpt One at Margaret Morris Books
If you have clicked on the links above, you have learned the truth, that NOVA built a 17-foot-high mini-pyramid with a front-end loader and modern tools while telling its audience that only ancient means were used. In that case, you may be either outraged or stricken with laughter when you read the way “This Old Pyramid” is described by the WGBH Education Foundation. WGBH sells the film as an informal teaching aid. WGBH refused to remove “This Old Pyramid” from the market after the truth was first exposed in 1992. The WGBH description reads:
“This Old Pyramid NOVA reveals the ancient secrets of Pyramid building by actually constructing one, putting clever and sometimes bizarre pyramid construction theories to the test. This monument to the most astonishing engineering feat of antiquity was built under the guidance of Dr. Mark Lehner of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, and Roger Hopkins, a Massachusetts stonemason.”
When I read the WGBH description, I wondered which of the alternative theories NOVA tried to discredit is more “bizarre” than NOVA’s method. For NOVA’s method to hold, a gigantic front-end loader would have had to reach to a height of 450 feet to build the Great Pyramid! This would have had to have taken place in the Late Stone Age (Egypt’s 4th Dynasty belongs to the Chalcolithic or copper-producing period of the Late Stone Age). As journalist Carlos Byars aptly reported in the Houston Chronicle (Wrap-up, Saturday, November 13, 1993), “NOVA has been caught with its front-end loader hanging out.”
See the words of WGBH quoted above for yourself on-line! Just keyword search “This Old Pyramid” to quickly find the entry among the NOVA films. While you are there, notice this language: “The series [NOVA] has been honored with virtually every major broadcast industry award, including the Emmy, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Awards.”
Click here for the WGBH Educational Foundation
A lot of people assume they know how the Great Pyramid was built, with ropes and myriads of workers and rudimentary tools. But here is a link to a book review of the most authoritative book on ancient Egyptian construction methods. The book titled “Building in Egypt” was written by Dr. Dieter Arnold of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. “Building in Egypt” is the new standard used by Egyptologists themselves. This review of Dr. Arnold’s “Building in Egypt” at Amazon.com proves that Egyptologists cannot explain how the Great Pyramid was built:
Click here for the review titled “Major Shortcomings”
Another book on pyramid construction that is considered authoritative was written by Dr. Mark Lehner, of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. This book is titled “The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries.” See a review of this book at Amazon.com titled: “The Incomplete Pyramids: Distorting the Ancient Mysteries.'” The title of this review speaks for itself. The review itself speaks volumes about bad Egyptology and it shows “The Complete Pyramids” to be a good primer on how to totally confuse and distort the issue of building the Great Pyramid. Read this review and you will be convinced that Egyptologists do not understand how the Great Pyramid was built:
Click here for the review titled “The Incomplete Pyramids: Distorting the Ancient Mysteries”
If you read the review titled “The Incomplete Pyramids: Distorting the Ancient Mysteries,” then you may be utterly amazed or highly amused to learn that “The Complete Pyramids” was honored with an award by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). In case this SAA link disappears, I quote the short contents of the page below:
“The Complete Pyramids recognized by the SAA
At its annual meetings in March, the Society for American Archaeology awarded Mark Lehner the SAA Book Award for his Complete Pyramids, published in 1997 by Thames and Hudson.
The award is given each year to the author of a “book, published within the preceding three years, that has had or is expected to have a major impact on the direction and character of archaeological research.” Mark’s book was recognized for its “outstanding contributions to the public understanding of archaeology.”
In the award proclamation the SAA noted that, [sic] The Complete Pyramids, [sic]
‘is a beautifully produced and illustrated book about the Egyptian pyramids, their origins, their symbolism, and the whole Egyptian mortuary complex. It also includes a history of archaeological exploration. It is breathtaking in its scope and coverage with hundreds of drawings, maps and illustrations, more than 80 in color.’
Mark’s book was one of two receiving awards from the SAA this year.”
Click here to see “The Complete Pyramids” Recognized by the SAA
If “The Complete Pyramids” has, as the SAA, states, “a major impact on the direction and character of archaeological research,” surely the world will never know how the Great Pyramid was built.
The remarks by the Society of American Archaeology show that this body of scholars is not competent to judge the very major problems with “The Complete Pyramids.” We can only conclude that the Society of American Archaeology does not know enough about pyramid construction to be able to spot Dr. Mark Lehner’s bad methodology.
Those who have taken this tour of cyberspace to the extent of visiting each link above now recognize that the orthodox idea of how the Great Pyramid was built is as bad as some of the alternative explanations.
Immediately below is a link to a web page where Egyptologist Dr. Christiana Kohler of Macquarie University is being interviewed concerning pyramid construction. Dr. Kohler clearly does not understand the unresolved problems involving the construction of the Great Pyramid. Dr. Kohler reduces the problems to lifting 2-1/2 ton blocks. She does not understand the problems with using slick ramps or with building a ramp of the size and strength needed to raise 27-foot-long beams to a height of 160 feet to build the ceiling of the King’s Chamber. Her interview dates to 1997, when Dieter Arnold’s Building in Egypt has already been published for years. Arnold’s book allows readers to recognize unresolved problems of quarrying, cutting and lifting blocks, although this information is very subdued in his text.
The examples of orthodox theories of great pyramid construction discussed in this section also serve to illustrate what Reginald Engelbach, who served as Egypt’s Chief Inspector of Antiquities of Upper Egypt in the early 20th century, had in mind when he wrote the following:
“While the publication of a new grammatical form or historical point will evoke a perfect frenzy of contradiction in the little world of Egyptology, the most absurd statements on a mechanical problem will be left unquestioned and, what is worse, accepted.”
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The Orthodox Egyptology Great Pyramid
Before we tour the alternative pyramid construction web sites that Egyptologists frown upon so severely, we should consider information from an area of thought I here call the Orthodox Egyptology Great Pyramid Twilight Zone. Most Egyptologists are serious scholars, so do not get the idea that this Egyptology Twilight Zone pokes fun at Egyptology in general. Keep in mind that, as I write this, few people know that an Orthodox Egyptology Twilight Zone exists because erudite Egyptologists so thoroughly predominate the discipline of Egyptology.
This Orthodox Twilight Zone is indeed a strange place where the truly bizarre clashes with conservative Egyptology. The ideas touted are so utterly strange that you may be tempted to think I am making them up until you see the facts for yourself. These ideas are included here because they regard the important issues of how long it took to build the Great Pyramid, who built the Great Pyramid and when and how the Great Pyramid was built.
For most of his career, archaeo-Egyptologist Dr. Mark Lehner, of the Oriental Institute, championed the idea that the Great Pyramid was built in 12,500 B.C. by survivors from Atlantis. (Atlantis is the fabled ancient lost continent that has not been proven to have existed by modern science.) If such a claim could be substantiated, the whole issue of how long it took to build the Great Pyramid would again become an open question. Hundreds of years might have been allowed for construction.
Some thorny masonry problems, however, cannot be solved by allowing for a construction period of several thousand years. For instance, the perfection of diorite vases found near the Great Pyramid of Giza has confounded researchers since the beginning of Egyptology. One of the pioneering founders of Egyptology, W.M.F. Flinders Petrie, studied the features of a diorite vase he found at Giza. He pointed out that no amount of rubbing or grinding with abrasives can produce the features he observed. He could not imagine the tools that could be used to produce this vase. There are many other artifacts that he and other Egyptologists have found equally unexplainable.
Dr. Dieter Arnold provides another example. In his “Building in Egypt,” Arnold admits that Egyptology has no explanation for perfectly round temple columns made of quartzite, which is extremely difficult stone to cut. These examples show that allowing for time is not always the answer when it comes to unresolved problems of Egyptian antiquity. The answer to these enigmas lies in discovering the real technology used to produce them.
As mentioned, Mark Lehner advocated an Atlantean origin for the Great Pyramid for most of his career.(3) The notion that the Great Pyramid was built by survivors from Atlantis in 12,500 B.C. cannot be taken seriously. Mark Lehner’s book titled “The Egyptian Heritage: Based on the Edgar Cayce Readings” champions the claims of reputed psychic Edgar Cayce. Cayce claimed that the Great Pyramid was built by followers of a priest named Ra Ta in 12,500 B.C., Cayce claimed that most people of that time had tails, and that native Egyptians had feathered legs! Cayce claimed that when they were cleansed in the “Temple Beautiful,” their claws changed to hands and their tails fell away! Cayce claimed that people of 12,500 B.C. were grotesque hybrid beings, and that some had horse heads and human bodies. In “The Egyptian Heritage” Lehner endeavors to prove the veracity of the Cayce readings.
Click here for some quotes from Dr. Mark Lehner’s now out-of-print “The Egyptian Heritage: Based on the Edgar Cayce Readings” (1974)
If you think that what I am saying must be impossible, because Egyptology scorns such notions, consider the entry at Amazon.com. While you are at Amazon.com, be sure to click on Mark Lehner’s name so that you can be assured that he is the same author who won the SAA award for “The Complete Pyramids.” More ardent researchers can click here (and keyword search Mark Lehner) and/or check back issues of Venture Inward, published by the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), for more on Lehner’s affiliation. The A.R.E. is the international headquarters of the work of Edgar Cayce.
Click here for the Amazon.com entry for the now-out-of-print “The Egyptian Heritage: Based on the Edgar Cayce Readings” (1974)
In 1993, The Foundation For the Archaeological Record, organized by members of the A.R.E., listed the 1992 PBS NOVA “This Old Pyramid” film as one of their achievements in their fund-raising literature. This alludes to the on-going involvement of Mark Lehner with the Ra Ta story, an irresponsible tale that endeavors to rip the Great Pyramid from its true historical setting and distort ancient history in the extreme. Mark Lehner’s excavations of the Giza Plateau have not yielded evidence of Atlantean ruins at Giza.
With this information in mind, consider that in 1987 a team including Mark Lehner received funding for a mortar dating project from the Association of Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), the headquarters for the work of Edgar Cayce.(4)
The team expected that mortar samples from the Great Pyramid could be dated, and that this date would determine the age of the Great Pyramid. Mark Lehner removed samples of the pink lime-gypsum mortar from various levels of the Great Pyramid. The pink lime-gypsum mortar appears here and there at all levels of the Great Pyramid, and Lehner climbed to the top in order to gather sufficient samples from various levels.
The samples dated up to 400 years older than the date of the Great Pyramid assigned by Egyptology. In other words, the mortar dating test shows that the Great Pyramid does not date to 12,500 B.C.
While it is true that the date does not align with the 4th Dynasty date of the Great Pyramid established by Egyptology, the difference of up to 400 years is probably due to problems related to the testing process.
Lehner suggested that the team use radiocarbon dating to test the mortar samples. But the mortar itself has been shown to have been made using sodium carbonate,(5) which can skew the results of radiocarbon dating because of the carbon involved. However, it is possible that a different flaw I am unaware of in the test procedure yielded the odd test results. The bottom line is that the Great Pyramid dates nowhere close to 12,500 B.C. Furthermore, the archaeological record developed by Egyptology over many decades argues against an earlier date for the Great Pyramid.
We would not want to exit the Orthodox Egyptology Twilight Zone without seeing how Edgar Cayce claimed the Great Pyramid was built. Here is part of a question and answer session from the Edgar Cayce Library (from reading 5748-6). When asked how the Great Pyramid was built, here is Cayce’s answer.
Question 16. “How was this particular Great Pyramid of Gizeh built?”
Cayce’s Answer: “By the use of those forces in nature as make for iron to swim. Stone floats in the air in the same manner. This will be discovered in ’58.”
Despite what some people may be willing to accept, these comments, and many others, prove that Cayce was NOT a gifted psychic. His explanation of pyramid construction has no basis in real history, and this will be clear to those who complete the suggested reading offered by this Guided Tour.
This nonsensical ‘reading’ from the Edgar Cayce Library is posted at the following link:
We sense that we must be in some kind of Twilight Zone when we find one of the most well known contemporary Egyptologists furthering the agenda of the A.R.E. while at the same time participating in a PBS NOVA science film (“This Old Pyramid”)–a film seeking to discredit alternative pyramid construction theories!
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Pyramid Construction Theories
There are at least a hundred alternative theories of how the Great Pyramid was built. Most have no links representing them on the Internet, so that they cannot be properly included in our Guided Tour
Many of the alternative theories are wildly speculative and do not offer supporting archaeological evidence. For instance, one theory proposed that massive armies of ants carried blocks up the tiers of the Great Pyramid and set them in place. There is no supporting evidence–no tomb drawings, writings or direct physical evidence. The idea that blocks were levitated is far more well-known, as are other Buck Rogers notions about the Great Pyramid. As long as the real construction method remains unknown or unpopular, this sort of science fantasy will continue to proliferate.
One feature stands out about most alternative pyramid construction theories. That common denominator is that all alternative theories (except for one) go sharply against the archaeological record, which has been very carefully and painstakingly established by Egyptology. How can we trust any theory that defies the archaeological record?
Most of the alternative theories attempt to explain how the pyramid blocks were raised. Some focus on how blocks might have been cut. Only one alternative theory satisfies the questions of how blocks were quarried, shaped and positioned into the Great Pyramid. This is the only theory supported by the archaeological evidence, and this theory allows for the rapid construction rate established by Egyptology, i.e., completion of the Great Pyramid within the reign of Khufu.
The alternative pyramid construction theories mostly fall into two categories. One is the ‘high-tech’ category and the other is the clever device category. Both are equally beset with problems.
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Alternative Stone Cutting Devices
Devices in this category are those that go against the primitive level of technology Egyptology has defined for the Pyramid Age, when all of Egypt’s great pyramids arose.
To explain cuts he observed in 4th Dynasty Egyptian stonework, W.M.F. Petrie proposed the use of jewel-tipped saws some eight feet long. For about 30 years, Petrie argued with his opponent Alfred Lucas over the use of fixed jeweled teeth for cutting stone. Lucas argued that the ancient Egyptians must have used abrasives, like sand, to cut and shape artifacts. Lucas’s ideas prevailed because the archaeological record argues strongly against Petrie’s methods.
In 1991, Robert Moores of the Black & Decker tool company designed a giant fixed copper drag saw that he theorized might have been used to produce blocks for pyramid building. This drag saw is unlike the saw Petrie envisioned in that it uses abrasive sand instead of jeweled tipped cutting teeth.
Moores did not build a prototype to test his system. His sketch shows a notched blade about 13 feet long, requiring nine men to operate. He imagined the huge copper blade suspended by ropes attached to both of its ends. Other attached ropes would be used to pull the blade back and forth, producing saw strokes. The cutting medium is quartz sand that is poured onto the blocks.
The saw that Moores envisions, however, could not have been used to produce blocks for the Great Pyramid. The pyramid blocks are not the sort of neat shapes we would expect a drag saw to produce. The backs of casing blocks on the three Great Pyramids of Giza conform exactly to the irregular front faces of the backing blocks behind them. This snug, interlocking fit is amazing by modern standards. The fitted blocks are often irregularly shaped, and yet they fit perfectly. A drag saw will not produce this feature.
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Alternative Lifting Devices
This category includes lifting devices other than those advocated by Egyptology, the latter of which include ramps and ropes. Most of these alternative devices properly fall into the category of ‘high technology.’ Most were far in advance of the technological level Egyptology has established for the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age.
Cambridge University engineer Dick Parry came up with a very effective means of raising pyramid blocks. Innovating upon the so-called rockers theorized by Somers Clarke and Reginald Engelbach in the 1930s, Parry proposed that four rockers be arranged around a block to form a cylinder. Builders coiled a long rope around the cylinder to move it uphill.
When workers pulled on the rope from the top of the ramp, the rope uncoiled, causing the cylinder to roll up the ramp. Parry’s ingenious operation reduces the amount of force needed to elevate blocks. Tests showed that Parry’s method worked beautifully when raising 2.5 ton blocks.
Parry’s theory does not apply to the Great Pyramid because his system depends upon a huge construction ramp. Other engineers, including master builder Peter Hodges, author of “How the Great Pyramids Were Built” (1989), have shown that the Great Pyramid would not exist if its construction would have depended upon any style of construction ramp. For more discussion see the following excerpt.
What is wrong with Parry’s Cylinders?
If Parry’s cylinders existed, it follows that the wheel would have been invented for transportation. But Egyptologists have established that the wheel would not be introduced in Egypt for transportation until much later times. The wheeled chariot is only known from the much later Hyksos takeover (c. 1640 BC), and there is no evidence that wheeled carts were used before that time.
Parry’s cylinders are simple devices, but they depend on a ramp. Relatively few people realize that the construction ramp accepted by Egyptology goes sharply against the archaeological record established for Giza. There is no question that construction ramps were used to build small pyramids. But both engineering studies and physical evidence clearly demonstrates that a construction ramp of the size needed could not have been used to build the Great Pyramid.
Peter Hodges demonstrated that ramps could not have been used in his book “How the Great Pyramids Were Built,” which is out of print, unfortunately. The archaeological evidence that argues against the use of a construction ramp for building the Great Pyramid appears in Morris M., The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved!
Many Egyptologists recognize the impossibilities of using a ramp to construct the Great Pyramid. But they are reluctant to abandon the ramp theories because the other lifting devices proposed were beyond the technological means of the 4th Dynasty Egyptians.
Master builder Peter Hodges proposed a lifting device that did not require a ramp. He proposed that the pyramid blocks were levered into place. The NOVA “This Old Pyramid” experiment showed levering in action. It is obvious that levering is too slow and dangerous to be functional on the scale of the Great Pyramid.
Reginald Engelbach, Chief Inspector of Antiquities of Upper Egypt early in the 20th century, commented about the use of simple levers of the size useful for prying large pieces of stone:
“The occurrence of levers is so rare that it has been doubted whether the Egyptians knew of them.”
Furthermore, Hodges’s special levering tips, which act like fulcrums, are not supported by archaeological evidence. No tomb drawings or inscriptions support the use of such devices. Because of the special reinforced lever tips, Peter Hodges’s levering system is beyond the technological level known for the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age.
Although Hodges did not solve the mystery of pyramid construction, his book “How the Pyramids Were Built” is still extremely valuable because of his keen insights about construction ramps.
Edward Kunkel proposed a hydraulic lock system for constructing the Great Pyramid. His book, titled “Pharaoh’s Pump,” proposes the use of an elaborate “construction pump” utilizing a combustion process. Kunkel envisioned passages and chambers of the Great Pyramid as part of a pumping system at Giza. In theory, the pump system brought water from distant Lake Moeris, and that water was used to float blocks on barges to build tiers for the Great Pyramid.
While Kunkel’s theory may seem too far fetched to take seriously, we must remember that all of the lifting devices proposed for the Great Pyramid are highly problematic. This is no less true for the ramp theories advocated by Egyptology.
The major deficiencies in Kunkel’s theory are that he relies on a tunnel leading to the boat pit, and this tunnel is not known to exist. He relies on a canal from lake Moeris to Giza, which canal is not known to exist. As Kunkel admits, there is no trace of the gigantic lock system he envisions. Another problem is that Kunkel’s theory credits the 4th Dynasty with a knowledge of mechanics at a time when such knowledge is not thought to have existed. As mentioned, Egyptology has determined that the wheel was not known for transporting people and objects until after the Hyksos takeover of Egypt (c. 1640 B.C.).
Skeptic Magazine carried an article critical of Pharaoh’s Pump in Vol. 7 No. 2, 1999:
For an animation of Pharaoh’s Pump visit:
Pharaoh’s Pump Foundation
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‘High Tech’ Pyramid Construction Theories
‘High-Tech’ theories include the ancient astronaut theories, proposed by Eric Von Daniken and later Zecharia Sitchin. The Skeptic’s Dictionary provides a good overview of the problems with these ideas:
Skeptic’s Dictionary: Ancient Astronauts and Erich Von Daniken
Skeptic’s Dictionary: Zecharia Sitchin and The Earth Chronicles
Martin Stower also showed inaccuracies in Sitchin’s claims:
Forging the Pharaoh’s name?
Rob Hafernik also seriously challenged Sitchin’s writings:
Sitchin’s Twelfth Planet
The link below provides a list of other alternative archaeology authors who relied on Sitchin’s poor research:
Authors repeating Sitchin
Machinist Christopher Dunn, author of “The Giza Power Plant: Technologies of Ancient Egypt” is another writer in the high technology grouping. Dunn does not advocate that space alien technology built the Great Pyramid. Instead, he thinks that mankind had achieved super-technology by the time the Great Pyramid was built. Dunn claims power tools were used to produce the artifacts that baffled Egyptologist W.M.F. Petrie (mentioned above) and others. Dunn proposes that the Great Pyramid was designed as a power plant to run the power tools. All of this implies that highly advanced technology built the Great Pyramid. The following links show the serious flaws in Dunn’s thinking.
“Giza Power Plant” Meltdown!
Morris Challenges Dunn to a Debate
Excerpt 7 of Margaret Morris’s “The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved!”
The One All-Inclusive Alternative Theory
The real method used to build the Great Pyramid must solve the problems of quarrying, shaping, and installing all of the blocks so that they fit into level tiers that form a perfect pyramid shape. The real method must offer proof of method.
The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved!
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS QUESTION
What is so important about this question of how the Great Pyramid was built? Is the question just another intellectual pursuit or is there truly something at stake here?
Consider that If we have the technology that built the Great Pyramid, we have the ability to again produce 1000-ton monoliths, like those of ancient Egypt. In that case, we have the technology to build truly enduring cities that can protect us from the high winds and other harsh weathering anticipated by many scientists. We have the technology to produce enormous barricades between highly dangerous radioactive wastes and the environment. There are countless applications for this kind of building technology.
Consider this link:
Top of Page Great Pyramid Fact List Begin the Guided Tour
Orthodox Theories Orthodox Egyptology Twilight Zone
Alternative Theories Importance of the Question
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Great Pyramid Links Endnotes
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Great Pyramid Master Link List
Specific to Pyramid Construction
Pyramid Construction: Ongoing research on the logistical aspects
Pyramid Construction: Desk Study
Seven Wonders: Pyramid Construction
The Construction of the Pyramids
Pyramid Construction Theory: Pyramids Without Wheels
Radical New Idea for Pyramid Construction: Atlantis Rising
Pyramid Construction: New Evidence Discovered at Giza
Pyramid Construction: Ask Dr. Math
Pyramid Construction: Egyptians records give very little
Pyramid Construction: Description of Lesson
Pyramid construction ongoing research
Pyramid Construction 101: You are a pyramid construction manager…
Construction Theory of Khufu’s Pyramid
Re: This Old Pyramid: Many archeologists believe
Pyramids and the Scientific Method – Construction
Pyramids and the Scientific Method
The Unnatural Museum – How to Build a Pyramid
NOVA: The Inside Story
The Pharaoh’s Strategy: Anthony’s Egyptology Discussion Group
Pyramids – How were they built?
The Royal Mortuary Complex: by Dr. Zahi Hawass
Why Ask Why the Pyramids Were Built?
Recent Pyramid Calculations: Manpower Estimates for Khufu’s Pyramid
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The Great Pyramid Fact List is derived from Morris, M., “The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved!,” Margaret Morris Books, 2000.
A couple of iron tools were found between blocks of the Great Pyramid. Egyptologists, however, believe them to have been left by the Arabs during the centuries when pyramid blocks were constantly pried at by treasure hunters looking for hidden entrances. The few iron smelting facilities found in the environs of Egypt were too small to have provided sufficient iron for pyramid construction, and no iron has ever been found inside an Old Kingdom Egyptian tomb. Only copper, a relatively soft metal, was known during the Pyramid Age.
Some have tried to argue that the Sphinx at Giza is a prehistoric document. However, none of the evidence produced holds up to scrutiny. See Morris, M., The Egyptian Pyramid Mystery Is Solved!, Volume 2: The Solution, Margaret Morris Books, 2004, which discusses the evidence.
For Lehner’s mortar dating project, see Haas, H., et al.,”Radiocarbon Chronology and the Historical Calendar in Egypt,” in Olivier Aurenche, et al., Chronologies in the Ancient Near East: Relative Chronologies and Absolute Chronology, 16,000-4,000 BP (BAR International Series, 379), (Lyons,France: C.N.R.S., 1987), p. 585-606. Visit:
For the means used to make the mortar used on the Great Pyramid and other monuments, go to the home page of cement expert Dr. Joseph Davidovits, who re-created this mortar: http://www.geopolymer.org/
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