The Sphinx (at Giza) is considered by many to be considerably older than the usually accepted 3rd millennium BC. Its construction has been generally attributed to the Fourth Dynasty ruler Khafre, circa 2500 BC, whose head is believed to be currently represented on the Sphinx.
The controversial French scholar Rene Schwaller de Lubicz carried out an investigation of a number of Egypt’s ancient monuments. He was probably the first to remark on the apparent water erosion, on the Sphinx, as evidence of an earlier date for its construction than was previously accepted. He first voiced his views in 1949 and expanded his theories in 1957 . His work has now been translated into English(a).
A recent article(h) on the Giza for Humanity website reveals the work of Shérif El Morsi, an Egyptian researcher, who has documented evidence of ‘relatively recent’ incursion by seawater onto the Giza Plateau.
Michael Baigent has pointed out[141.167] that Dr. Zahi Hawass in 1992 ‘reported that analysis of the rear leg of the Sphinx proved the earliest level of masonry around the body dated instead from the Old Kingdom period , that is from about 2700 BC to 2160 BC. The pyramids were constructed in the middle part of this period…….. For if Khafre had built the Sphinx along with his pyramid around 2500 BC, and if repairs to its heavily eroded body were made before 2160 BC, then this severe erosion covered up by the facing stones must have occurred in only 340 years – perhaps less: an extremely unlikely event. In practical terms, given the extent and depth of the erosion, it seems impossible.’
John Anthony West was inspired by the writings of de Lubicz and enticed the American geologist Robert Schoch to inspect the Sphinx and give his professional assessment of the age of the monument. Schoch‘s conclusion was that the Sphinx had suffered extensive water erosion and should be dated no later than 7000 to 5000 BC. On a second trip to the Sphinx Schoch and West brought Thomas Dobecki, a geophysicist, to carry out additional tests. The results reinforced Schoch’s initial conclusions. However, Colin Reader, an English geologist, disputes Schoch’s conclusion(I) and explains why in an extensive 1997/9 paper(j).
When Schoch announced his findings they were greeted with hostile criticism from conventional Egyptologists. However, experts in Schoch’s discipline have agreed in growing numbers with his published views, but the debate is far from over. For an overview of the case for an early date follow this link(b).
One Egyptologist who postulated an early date for the Sphinx was Cairo-born Moustafa Gadalla, who concluded that “there is no other rational answer except that the water erosion occurred at the end of the last Ice Age c.15,000-10,000 BCE”(e).
The German researcher Klaus Aschenbrenner has added his support for an early date for the Sphinx. He claims that the water erosion was caused by acid rain resulting from a 7600BC asteroid impact postulated by Alexander Tollman.
These proposed early dates pale into insignificance when contrasted with the claims made by two Ukrainian researchers at a conference in Sofia in 2008, when they proposed a date of 800,000 years ago(n).
There is by now little doubt that the head of the Sphinx that we see today is quite different from its original size and shape. West had a New York City police artist compare the head of the Sphinx with a known head of Khafre and demonstrated that they had totally different facial structures. Comparative photographs are to be found in one of West’s books. A further anomaly is the fact that the head of the Sphinx is disproportionately smaller than the rest of the body suggesting a radical recarving of a larger head in antiquity. Robert Schoch has an interesting article(c) on his website, written by his colleague, Dr. Colette Dowell, regarding the shape of the Sphinx’s head. Colin Reader, who disagrees with Schoch’s dating of the Sphinx does, however, share his view regarding the size of the Sphinx’s head(l), an opinion that is also held by historical architect, Dr Jonathan Foyle(k).
The late Alan Alford argued that the commonly accepted idea that the Sphinx represents a lion may be incorrect and that in fact it is a model of a dog, possibly intended as an image of Anubis the divine guardian of the Earth and the Underworld. This idea was recently endorsed and investigated extensively in a fascinating book by Robert Temple, who has also pointed out(m) other anomalies with the shape of the Sphinx apart from the size of the head.
Bassam el Shamma, an Egyptian Egyptologist, has recently promoted the idea of the previous existence of a second sphinx on the Giza Plateau. His theory, based on a range of evidence, is outlined on the Atlantis Online website(d). The idea of a second Sphink is also supported by Gerry Cannon and Joseph P. J. Westlake in a paper also available online(f).
Robert Bauval whose book, Secret Chamber, delves deeply into the subject of hidden chambers on the Giza Plateau and has excerpts available on the internet(p).
It should also be kept in mind that sphinxes were found in a number of other cultures particularly Mesopotamia (see image right). Further east in India we have the Purushamriga(q), while in Burma the sphinx is known as a Manussiha. Back in the Mediterranean many images of sphinxes have been found in Greece, where lately (2014) two sphinxes were recently found in a 300 BC tomb(g), each weighing about 1.5 tons. However, in my opinion, the claim(o) of a huge sphinx in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains is nothing more than a case of mistaken identity, an example of pareidolia.
Closer to home the Welsh Griffon (Gryphon) is clearly a local form of sphinx. Lee R. Kerr is the author of Griffin Quest – Investigating Atlantis, in which he sought support for the Minoan Hypothesis based on his pre-supposed link between griffins and Atlantis or as he puts it “whatever the Griffins mythological meaning, the Griffin also appears to tie Santorini to Crete, to Avaris, to Plato, and thus to Atlantis, more than any other single symbol.” I don’t see it.
(e) See: Archive 2937
(h) See: Archive 2635
(j) See: Archive 2646
(o) See: Archive 3003
(p) See: Archive 3598
Graham Hancock the well-known investigator of prehistoric mysteries has never discussed the Atlantis enigma in depth. In fact, he once remarked on BBC Television that he avoids using the word ‘Atlantis’ in his books because “because most people when they hear the word Atlantis immediately think that they’re dealing with the lunatic fringe”.
In his tome on civilisations submerged at the end of the last Ice Age he briefly discusses the subject of Atlantis. He seems somewhat ambivalent regarding the Atlantic as the most likely location of Plato’s submerged civilisation. However, in an earlier work, The Sign and the Seal[678.319] he clearly discounts the Atlantic as the home of Atlantis. Furthermore, he emphasises the potential value of myths as transmitters of historical facts, albeit distorted.
Hancock maintains an interesting website(a) that is regularly updated with contributions from a wide range of contributors. His bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods is now available online(b).
The other side of the coin is that Hancock’s evidence supporting his theories has been heavily criticised as flawed(g) and misleadingly presented(h).
Jason Colavito has written(c) a critical review of Hancock’s work and his recent advocacy “for ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogen. Since taking the drug for his 2005 book Supernatural, Hancock has supported the concept that mind-altering substances give their users access to a spirit world where one can commune directly with the ‘gods’.”
In April 2015, Hancock was due to engage in debate Zahi Hawass on the subject of their conflicting views of ancient history. However, when Hawass saw that Hancock included an image of Robert Bauval in his presentation, he refused to continue with the arranged format(d).
In September 2015, Hancock published his latest book, Magicians of the Gods, which worryingly sounds like a von Däniken book title! Already, he is trailing this publication with teasers, such as a claim that he has finally identified the ‘smoking gun’ that demonstrates that a cometary impact destroyed an advanced civilisation in the Antarctic 12,800 years ago(e) Shortly after the initial report was published, Hancock had to correct errors in it(f), the principal one being that the impact site was the North American ice cap NOT Antarctica. An interview with Hancock shortly before the publication of ‘Magicians’(n) is online as is also a review of the book itself(o).
Hancock also climbed aboard the Gobekli Tepe bandwagon, incorporating it along with Noah’s Ark and Atlantis into one narrative(p).
Hancock’s book also engages in scaremongering, with a sales-boosting prediction that an asteroid impact is possible in 2030, when the Earth once again enters the orbit of the remains of Encke’s Comet!
Jason Colavitos’s critical review of ‘Magicians‘ is now online(j). A more favourable evaluation of his book is now available from Dr. Jon Epstein of Greensboro College, who expresses some interesting views on the closed mindedness of many academics(k). Epstein’s review prompted further comments from Colavito(l). Following correspondence between Epstein and Colavito, additional claims of academic conspiracy to block Hancock have emerged.
Hancock recently received the endorsement of the South African Professor of Philosophy, Bert Olivier, which swiftly produced a response from Colavito(q).
*Hancock’s next book, America Before, due out in April 2019, apparently proposes that North America was inhabited 130,000 years ago and was home to an advanced civilisation which was destroyed by a cometary impact at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 10,000 BC.*
(o) http://disinfo.com/2016/02/magicians-gods-proves-graham-hancock-indiana-jones/2/ (link broken Sept 2018) See: Archive 2904
The Egyptian Pyramids are generally accepted to have been constructed in the third millennium BC in the period 2700 – 2150 BC. However, a number of investigators have inferred a much greater antiquity for some of these remarkable structures, particularly the Great Pyramid at Giza.
They believe that by pushing back the date for the construction of the Great Pyramid and/or Sphinx endorses the possibility that Plato’s early date of 9600 BC for the Atlantean War is factual.
Many and varied are the claims regarding their builders and their methods, including that they were built by refugees from Atlantis. For a long time it was thought that the pyramids had been built by slaves, possibly Israelites. Recent years has seen this idea debunked(at) and reinforced by papyri put on display for the first time in July 2016, which clearly indicate that the pyramid builders were paid and were not slaves (or extraterrestrials)(be).
A sober review of development of pyramid building and the technology involved was offered by Owen Jarus in June, 2016(bo).
The earliest historical references to the pyramids can be found in early Egyptian and Greek documents(ch).
The pseudoscience of pyramidology took off in the 19th century, with a range of outlandish claims(aq), based on external and/or internal dimensions of the Great Pyramid, supporting anything from the British Israelites or the early Jehovah’s Witnesses to being a source of divine prophecy!
Nevertheless, pyramidology was given a new twist in November 2015 when a Spanish architect, Miquel Pérez-Sánchez, added the old alphanumeric system of gematria to the mix and claimed that he had identified the name ‘Atlantis’ when ‘translating’ some of the dimensions in the structure of the Great Pyramid(by). Scott Onstott is also a modern advocate of the existence of Mathematical Encoding in the Great Pyramid(as)
For those interested in the possible significance of numbers and the Great Pyramid, there are three related papers available on Keith M. Hunter’s website(aw).
Many and varied are the claims regarding the pyramid builders and their methods, including that they were built by refugees from Atlantis(bl). October 2017 had Gerry Cannon & Malcolm Hutton claim(bx) that the Great Pyramid was built by an advanced civilisation, which may have been Atlantis! Graham Hancock holds similar views.
How the pyramids were built is still uncertain with a range ingenious theories on offer. At first it was thought that a huge ramp was used, until it was realised that such a ramp with the required gentle incline would require a greater volume of material than the Great Pyramid itself! Two suggestions that still have considerable support are that (1) many of the stone blocks were ‘cast’ in situ as proposed by Joseph Davidovits(bm) and (2) that an internal ramp within the pyramid was used as claimed by Jean-Pierre Houdin(bn).
Among the numerous mysteries related to the Great Pyramid is the fact that each side of the structure is actually slightly concave, making it the only known eight-sided pyramid, (pedants would probably claim nine sides, including the base). This feature was first photographed in 1940(al). The assumed accuracy of orientation and dimensions of the Great Pyramid was recently called into question by Mark Lehner and Glen Dash(bj).
Margaret Morris offers a comprehensive account of the features of the Great Pyramid and possible construction methods on her website(bb) and in three books. Morris is a supporter of Joseph Davidovits who proposed the controversial idea that the building blocks of the Pyramid were cast in situ. In 2007 petrographer, Dipayan Jana, refuted Davidovits theory and as far as I’m aware no rebuttal has been forthcoming from either Davidovits or Morris.
What may be relevant was what was found at Giza(bk) and described as ‘melted limestone’, which led Robert Schoch to consider it the result of ‘a plasma event’. However, it struck me that if Davidovits was correct, this ‘rock’ might instead be some of his liquid geopolymer that had been spilt and hardened in the sun!
Ralph Ellis, a British researcher, has studied erosion to be seen at the Giza, Meidum and Dashur pyramids and concluded that there is evidence for an 8000 BC or earlier date for the construction of these structures(a). Ellis also has an article on the Internet outlining his evidence for an earlier date for the construction of the Great Pyramid.
More recently Robert Schoch announced the discovery of evidence of erosion INSIDE the Great Pyramid suggesting that a more ancient core had been exposed to the elements for a long period before being built upon to give us the structure we have today.
Edward Malkowski supports(ax) the ideas of Edward Kunkel(ay) and John Cadman(az), who believed that the Great Pyramid was designed to function as a water pump. Steven Myers has written two books(ba) on the subject of ancient Egyptian hydraulics.
Edgar Cayce ‘revealed’ in 1932 that the Great Pyramid was built over a hundred year period from 10,490 to 10,390 BC(ap).
Another writer, the late Joseph Jochmans related how it was recorded that the outer casing stones showed water marks halfway up the height of the Pyramid before the Arabs removed them. Geologists have found evidence of a final catastrophic flooding event in Egypt circa 10000 BC. Furthermore radiocarbon dating of organic inclusions in a fourteen-foot layer of silt around the base of the Great Pyramid offered a date of around 9600 BC.
This suggested extended age for the pyramids has been incorporated in the argument to prove the existence of other advanced ancient civilisations that were concurrent with the 9600 BC date given by Solon for the antiquity of Atlantis.
Understandably, these revolutionary ideas have been met with fierce opposition by establishment archaeologists. This is a debate that will run for some time yet.
However, the oldest known papyri, discovered at the Egyptian site of Wadi el-Jarf offer evidence supporting a date of about 2500 BC for the construction of the Great Pyramid, which reinforces conventional dating theories. One of the documents, written by Merer an overseer, records details of the construction of the final stages of the G.P. (ce) This, of course, seriously undermines the extended antiquity for the pyramids by proponents such as Graham Hancock.
Apart from the disputed question of age of the Great Pyramid, its very structure has prompted its own share of debate with persistent claims that its location, dimensions and orientation have significance in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and geography. Lists of these connections are available online(p).
For Ignatius Donnelly the pyramids of Egypt and Central America were the result of a shared heritage originating in Atlantis. However, the millennia that separate the construction in the two regions would seem to militate against this idea. The Mayan pyramid at Mirador, in northern Guatemala, was thought to be the largest in the world, by volume, at 2.8 million cubic metres, however, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is 4.45 million cubic metres(au)(bq). This is now rivalled by the Mayan pyramid at Toniná, Chiapas(bd). The great Giza pyramid is 2.5 million cubic metres in volume.
Even more spectacular was the 1996 discovery of pyramids on the southern Atlantic coast of Brazil dated as early as 3000 BC, predating the earliest Egyptian pyramids by a few hundred years(I). However, two sites in Peru , Caral and Sechin Bajo, are claiming pyramid complexes with dates of circa 3500 BC(j). Very ancient pyramids have also been claimed for Crimea(af).
What is arguably the greatest concentration of pyramids in the world is to be found in the Lambayeque Valley of northern Peru, numbering 250, built of mud brick, and dated to circa 750-1100 AD. The late Philip Coppens referred to the valley in his book, The New Pyramid Age and it was also the subject of a BBC documentary(an). His book reviewed pyramids as a worldwide phenomenon.
Apart from Mesoamerica, pyramids have also been discovered on the Canaries, Sicily, Sardinia and Mauritius(k), not to mention China. A website dedicated to European pyramids is now available(g). The remains of three pyramids have also been identified on the Greek Peloponnese, one of which has been dated to 2720 BC ± 580 years. In 2005 the Bosnian-American ‘archaeologist’, Semir Osmanagic, announced that he had identified a gigantic manmade pyramid beside Visoko, 30 km north of Sarajevo. Highly publicised Excavations began in 2006. Readers should be aware that Osmanagic has expressed rather bizarre notions including a belief that the Maya were descendants of the Atlanteans who in turn arrived on Earth from the Pleiades! A French commentator, Douglas Moonstone, has a comparable belief, namely, that the Atlanteans came from the constellation of Orion and furthermore that the “Neanderthals fled their bases on another near planet, probably a planet of Sirius B and a planet of Alnitak, as we have seen in previous volumes, and they have saved Hopis, Sapiens, in a space station in orbit.”(cc)
Osmanagic updated his claims in December 2011(o).An on-site investigation by Robert Schoch concluded that the Visoko ‘pyramid’ was probably not manmade! As recently as August 2016, he was still offering a spirited defence of his claims(bi). Gigantic pyramids have also been proposed for Germany by K. Walter Haug(ab) and demonstrated on his heavily illustrated website(aj).
Zecharia Sitchin, the controversial ‘alternative’ historian, entered the fray in 1980, with the claim that the only concrete evidence that the Great Pyramid had been built by Khufu, was an inscription forged by Colonel Richard Howard-Vyse(d) (see below). The Howard-Vyse forgery debate has been stirred up again by researcher, Scott Creighton, who produced copies of Howard-Vyse’s papers to support the claim of fraud(ah). If true, this would lend some support to a redating of the structure.
At the opposite end of the speculation spectrum, in a recent book by Emmet Sweeney he claims that the pyramids were in fact far more recent, and bravely suggests a date of around 800 BC for their construction. In this regard it is to be noted that the Bible makes not the vaguest reference to one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world. It has been erroneously stated that Herodotus, a prolific recorder of trivia and who claims to have travelled as far south as Elephantine, failed to mention the pyramids. This is not true as can be seen in Book II of his Histories 124-134. However, it is possible that it was meant to say that Herodotus did not refer to the Sphinx! It has been claimed that he was describing the pyramids at Dashur and not Giza(ao)!
The most persistent question relating to the pyramids and in fact all megalithic structures is “how did they manage to build them using such large heavy rocks and blocks”? Many ingenious solutions are on offer but perhaps the most remarkable is that proposed by W. T. Wallington who has demonstrated(n) that using basic materials, which were available to the Egyptians, one individual can manipulate a 4500 kg stone block. His website includes a remarkable video clip of his method. A review of this video is worth a read.
*More recently a collaboration between Matter Design and CEMEX Global R&D has demonstrated that irregularly shaped cement objects weighing many tons can be moved easily by hand, suggesting that the manpower required to build many ancient monuments was far less than is assumed today. The conclusion being that technique is the key to how many of the ‘impossible’ structures of the past were constructed(ci). Ashley Cowie has written an article in which he looks at how these techniques may have been applied to the construction of the megalithic walls of Cuzco in Peru, the ancient capital of the Inca(cj). Cowie also holds that a huge earthquake caused a major change in Inca construction methods(ck).*
A recent (2014) study(ag) revealed that the Egyptians were able to move the pyramid building blocks over wet sand. “By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed.” This is comparable with the documented method employed by the Chinese to transport 200/300-ton blocks used in the construction of their ‘Forbidden City’(ai).
In October 2018 it was revealed that the remains of a ramp flanked by two staircases with postholes was discovered at an ancient quarry at Hatnub in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. “Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 percent or more.”(cf) While this may explain how blocks could have been moved, with relative ease, to pyramid building sites, it does not tell us how the pyramids were actually constructed.
The idea that a ramp was used has been a popular idea for a long time, but weaknesses in the concept were soon apparent. For example, the material required to build some of the proposed ramps would have been greater than the pyramid itself. Franz Löhner has developed what he calls a ‘rope roll’ to demonstrate that simple technology available to the Egyptians could have been used to lift the pyramid’s blocks into place. Löhner has worked in a quarry and consequently has an intimate knowledge of the practicalities involved. He has co-authored a book (German only)  with Dr. Heribert Illig which expands on his idea and has developed an interesting website(cg), in English and German, with further information.
Some commentators, who cannot accept that the Egyptians built the pyramids, in desperation have interpreted the existence of the pyramids as ‘evidence’ of extraterrestrial visitations!(ae)
Ralph Ellis, mentioned above, is a controversial English revisionist of biblical and ancient Egyptian history, who daringly argues(b) that Mount Sinai, of Ten Commandments fame, was in fact the Great Pyramid of Giza! John Taylor (1781-1864) claimed in 1859 that Noah was the builder of the Great Pyramid. Even more imaginative was the claim by C.E. Getsinger in the 1920’s that Noah’s Ark was in fact the Great Pyramid(bp).
Finally, it appears that in order to satisfy the public interest in pyramids the meaning of the term itself has been extended to include a range of natural features as well as man-made structures. Robert Schoch is happy to see Newgrange as a type of pyramid, others see Silbury Hill as a pyramid(e), while some writers apply the term to mountains as is the case with Jeff Nisbet(f) who sees ‘pyramids’ in Scotland. Nisbet attempts to justify his view with a very tenuous link between ancient Egypt and Scotland incorporating freemasonry and Princess Scota(bh). Similar stories are widespread in Ireland where Scota is allegedly buried in Kerry in Gleann Scoithin, now known as Foley’s Glen. Scotia was another ancient name for Ireland. Andrew Power expands on the Scota story in his Ireland: Land of the Pharoahs. This claim of an Egyptian link with Ireland has been repeated by Steve Preston in his Egyptians in Ireland. David Halpin, an Irish writer from Carlow, has also written a three-part paper on the connections between Egypt with Ireland(av). Francis J. and Francis P. Ward claim that druids from Ireland, which they consider to have been Atlantis, built the pyramids at Giza!(bt)
A recent (2010) site, lists(h) the eight largest pyramids in the world. A wide range of free papers, in pdf format, relating to the Giza pyramids is available online(l).
Perhaps even more dramatic is a recent claim(q) of a pyramid older and larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza, known as Mount Sadahurip in Garut, West Java, Indonesia .
July 2012 saw Linda Moulton Howe publish(r) a two-part illustrated article about an anomalous feature in Alaska which has been identified as a buried pyramid larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza. This feature was first identified twenty years ago, but the story appears to have been suppressed, according to a retired U.S. Counterintelligence officer who contacted Howe. A comparable claim has also been made for pyramids in Antarctica and later shown to be a hoax(w).
Now for light relief, earlier in 2012 a nonsensical report(s) of an underwater glass pyramid in the Bermuda Triangle emerged. I’m sure it will be soon followed by a sighting of Elvis creating crop circles in Antarctica.
August 2012 brought a report that two possible new Egyptian pyramid complexes have been discovered using Google Earth. However, subsequent inspection on the ground showed them to be less interesting(v). In May 2013, Peter James, a structural engineer, published a new theory on why the building of pyramids ceased(x).
In September 2013 it was reported(y) that researchers have discovered an underwater pyramid 60 meters high with a 8000 meters square base near the Bank De João de Castro, between the islands of Terceira and São Miguel” in the Azores. Shortly afterwards the Portuguese Navy denied the existence of any such structure(aa). This claim has now spawned its own website(ad).
Even more nonsensical was a report in the UK’s Daily Star which claimed that an underwater pyramid estimated to be between 3.5 and 11 miles across had been spotted on Google Earth, situated off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific(cd).
2014 began with a report that two idiotic Germans, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, had chiselled off part of the ‘Vyse’ cartouche from inside the Great Pyramid, which led to an international incident. They claim that the objective of their foolhardy act was to demonstrate that the Pyramid is older than generally accepted and was in fact a remnant of the Atlantean empire(z).
2014 also saw the publication of Pyramid Gravity Force(ac) by John Shaughnessy in which he claims that “The pyramids were built to prevent and/or control tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity, tidal waves, major earth quakes, land movements and the magnetic field movements on Earth.” I suggest that all the Amazon reviews are read before purchasing.
It was recently revealed(ar) that, Ben Carson, a former Republican candidate for the US presidency, once proposed to an assembly of students at Andrews University that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain! This idea has been traced back to the sixth century “when they were identified as such by Gregory of Tours in his ‘History of the Franks’. The theory was further popularized by works such as ‘The Book of John Mandeville’, a hugely popular 14th century travelogue.”(bs)
A June 2016 report revealed(bc) that the builders of the Great Pyramid had made a very minor miscalculation resulting in the west side being around 5 inches longer than the east side. The research team, led by Glen Dash and Mark Lehner, also noted that the pyramid is not oriented as precisely with the cardinal points as we have been led to believe since “The pyramid’s north-south axis (or meridian) runs 3 minutes 54 seconds west of due north while its east-west axis runs 3 minutes 51 seconds north of due east, he told Live Science. The east-west axis also runs through the center of a temple built on the east side of the pyramid. These measurements mean that the Great Pyramid is oriented just slightly away from the cardinal directions, the degree of error from north-south and east-west being almost the same.” However, these very minor defects cannot detract in any way from the magnificence of the structure constructed so long ago.
In a 2018 paper(ca), Glen Dash returned to the very slight misalignment of the Great Pyramid with the cardinal points. “The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree.” Dash claims that the engineers who designed the plans for the Great Pyramid have used the fall equinox to seamlessly align this pyramid to the cardinal points. “He also claims that all three major Giza pyramids exhibit the same type of error in that they are rotated slightly counter-clockwise from the cardinal points.”
Maxim Yakovenko was the founder of the world-pyramids.com website(bf) in 2008. It has a range of interesting articles that relate to pyramids around the globe. Unfortunately, the news section does not appear to have been updated over the past two years.
Another site offers a remarkable collection of old images of the pyramids dating back to the mid-nineteenth century(br).
November 2017 began with an exciting claim published in Nature magazine(bv) that a huge cavity had been identified above the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid of Giza. This discovery was made using non-invasive technology, which suggests that physical verification will require some degree of interference with the structure of the pyramid, which may not be allowed by the Egyptian authorities. This initial announcement was quickly followed by a refutation of the claim of a void over the Grand Gallery by Zahi Hawass(bw).
Not long after, it was reported in the UK’s Daily Mail that an Italian archaeoastronomer, Giulio Magli, believes that the void at the center of the Great Pyramid houses a throne made from meteorites, used to help the pharoah in the afterlife(bz). Magli has previously received public notice with a paper which explored the possibility that Göbekli Tepe had been constructed to “celebrate and successively follow the appearance of a new, extremely brilliant star in the southern skies: Sirius.”(ca)
(a) http://www.edfu-books.com/repairs.html (Offline March 2017) See: Archive 2925
(b) http://www.world-mysteries.com/gw_rellis2.htm (link broken) See: Archive 2926
(d) http://www.philipcoppens.com/nap_art9.html (Offline Dec. 2017) See: Archive 2494
(j) http://www.philipcoppens.com/caral.html (Offline Dec. 2017) (See: Archive 2138)
(n) http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/newpage1 (offline May 2017)
(p) http://www.timstouse.com/EarthHistory/Egypt/GreatPyramid/interestingfacts.htm (Offline Oct.2017) See: Archive 3620
(r) http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=2000&category=Environment (subscribers only)
(w) http://s8int.com/WordPress/2012/09/15/hoax-man-made-pyramids-recently-discovered-in-antartica-why-are-they-using-photo-from-2006-annual-report-for-mountain-guides/ (offline)
(ad) http://www.azores-pyramid.org/ (offline Sept. 2018)
(af) See: Archive 3619
(ah) See: Archive 2806
(am) http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/piramides/coppens_pyramids08.htm (offline see Archive 2564)
(ao) http://godsprophets.org/who-built-the-pyramids (offline Nov. 2015) see Archive 2818
(bb) http://www.margaretmorrisbooks.com/great_pyramid.html (offline May 2018) See: Archive 3057
(bl) https://dublinsmick.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/the-atlanteans-built-the-great-pyramid-not-the-egyptians/ (link broken Jan 2019) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20150627184535/https://dublinsmick.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/the-atlanteans-built-the-great-pyramid-not-the-Egyptians/
(bn) http://emhotep.net/2014/04/19/structures/pyramids-structures/sarah-korcz-a-new-interview-with-jean-pierre-houdin/ (link broken Oct. 2018) See: Archive 3631
(bp) The Thomson Review, Thomson, Illinois, July 19th, 1922 – p.3
(bx) http://ewao.com/2017/10/03/two-historians-claim-the-ancient-egyptians-did-not-build-the-pyramids/ (Link broken Sept. 2018) See: Archive 3618
Bosnia was dragged into the Atlantis debate in 2006 when a self-styled archaeologist, Semir Osmanagic, claimed that he had discovered five pyramids in his ancestral Bosnia near the town of Visoko. His claim received widespread media coverage and sparked a debate that continues today.
The Atlantis connection emerged from the belief of Osmanagic that the original ancestors of the Maya, Basques and other ancient peoples were descended from the peoples of Atlantis and Lemuria whose founders arrived on earth from the Pleiades. According to Osmanagic’s strange logic this gives the ‘pyramids’ of Bosnia an Atlantean pedigree.
Fortunately, Mark Rose, editor of Archaeology, who published a critical review(a) of Osmanagic’s weird ideas in Archaeology magazine, was also widely quoted, adding some balance to the debate. The same magazine carried a brief but highly critical review of Osmanagic’s theories from Zahi Hawass(h).
In 2006, Robert Schoch visited the Bosnian ‘pyramid’ and subsequently wrote a highly critical assessment of Osmanagic and his theories. However, some time later, Osmanagic responded with a scathing review(c) of Schoch’s work!
In September 2014 the Science Channel aired an episode of The Unexplained Files series in the US, which attempted to justify Osmanagic’s claims. However, Jason Colavito has highlighted the many flaws in the program’s content(d).
A more sober attempt to link the Bosnian region with Atlantis has been made by Fatih Hodzic(b). Part of his theory attempts to identify the thousands of stone blocks or ‘stecaks’, spread widely in Bosnia, as remnants of Atlantean buildings. His ideas are interesting but unconvincing.
In 2014, Paul A. LaViolette visited the Visko pyramid in Bosnia and published an extensive illustrated article in which he expressed his amazement at what he saw there and concluded(g) that he considers “this to be one of the most important archaeological excavations going on at this time on our planet.”
Philip Coppens has also defended the reality of Osmanagic’s pyramids in The Lost Civilization Enigma[1275.39], nevertheless, the debate is still open as can be seen in a February 2016 blog(f), in which many reasonable questions relating to the construction of the ‘pyramids are still unresolved. For my part, I find Osmanagic’s personal credibility questionable, considering his previous claims regarding Atlantis and ancient aliens, which are not, in my view, the conclusions of a person with his critical faculties intact.
Another claim from Osmanagic emerged in April 2016, when he claimed that huge stone spheres that exist in Bosnia ‘prove’ the existence of an advanced civilisation more than 1,500 years ago(e)!
*Late 2018 saw the UK’s Express tabloid’s online edition entertain us with the headline(I) – Bosnian pyramid SHOCK: ancient civilisation received knowledge from SPACE.*
*(f) https://archyfantasies.com/2016/02/22/the-pyramids-that-are-not-the-bosnian-pyramids/ (link broken Jan. 2019) See: Archive 3187*
Radiocarbon Dating was developed by a team led by Willard F. Libby (1908-1980) just after World War II and won him a Nobel Prize for the work. However, in his acceptance speech Libby generously acknowledged the contribution made by the earlier work of Serge Korff (1906-1989).
Radiocarbon Dating is based on the fact that when organisms die the amount of Carbon-14 in the remains decay at a fixed rate. Although initially hailed as a definitive dating method for organic remains, it soon became obvious that it was not quite as reliable a tool as initially thought, although still widely used.
Originally a Carbon-14 half-life of 5568±30 years was used and is known as the Libby half-life. Later this was revised to 5730±40 years and is known as the Cambridge half-life. The initial theory was based on the assumption that Carbon-14 was being produced at a constant rate. However, this constancy has been questioned, as it can vary as a result of changes in the earth’s magnetic field. The intervention of man in the form of atomic bomb tests briefly doubled the amount of Carbon-14 produced(I). Local events can also have a dramatic effect on measurements; for example, the Tunguska explosion left the soil there so enriched with Carbon-14 that it gives a date in the future (1)! Emilio Spedicato has also pointed out that Carbon-14 can be created in the atmosphere by any cometary or asteroidal impact and so alter the assumed constant ratio of C12 to C14.
Immanuel Velikovsky offered the following valuable observation(j) “as the method was refined, it started to show rather regular anomalies. First, it was noticed that, when radiocarbon dated, wood grown in the 20th century appears more ancient than wood grown in the 19th century. Suess explained the phenomenon by the fact that the increased industrial use of fossil carbon in coal and in oil changed the ratio between the dead carbon C12 and the C14 (radiocarbon) in the atmosphere and therefore also in the biosphere. In centuries to come a body of a man or animal who lived and died in the 20th century would appear paradoxically of greater age since death than the body of a man or animal of the 19th century, and if the process of industrial use of fossil, therefore dead, carbon continues to increase, as it is expected will be the case, the paradox will continue into the forthcoming centuries.”
Graham Phillips mentions that ‘recent evidence suggests that that the level of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere may have decreased permanently around 3,500 years ago due to changes in the earth’s magnetic field.’ This has resulted in dates around that period being up to 500 year out. Calibration figures are now available to take account of some of these deviations based on data from dendrochronology, ice and sediment cores and coral samples. Further refinements are not to be ruled out.
These weaknesses in radiocarbon dating have been seized upon by some fundamentalist Christian groups determined to justify their ‘young earth’ beliefs(d). However, attacks on the basic concepts underlying radiocarbon dating have been refuted by its supporters(e).
In 774/5 AD an increase of 1.2% of Carbon14 was detected through tree ring studies(c). This is thought to be the result of an external event such as a supernova or solar flare. Since many other episodes of a lesser or greater intensity have probably occurred, a growing shadow is being cast over the reliability of radiocarbon dating that may only be dissipated by further studies. Clearly, further complex recalibration is not to be ruled out, as it is highly unlikely that this eight century event was the only such occurrence.
A recent report(h) has drawn attention to the danger of using fossil fuels, as it pumps a type of carbon into the atmosphere that confuses the dating technique. Scientists say that by 2050, new clothes could have the same radiocarbon date as items 1,000 years old!
Radiocarbon dating is only useful up to a maximum of around 50,000 years. In February 2010, researchers at Queens University Belfast announced a new calibration curve that extends back over the 50 millennia. The production of this calibration curve is the result of 30 years research into the variations in atmospheric Carbon 14 caused by solar activity, the earth’s magnetic field and the oceans. Other radiometric dating methods are now available to deal with dates beyond this limit.
2010 also saw another important refinement of radiocarbon dating with the development of a ‘non-destructive carbon dating’ method which will enable the dating of very delicate, rare or highly valuable artefacts, without having to destroy any samples from them, as is required at present(a).
One strong dissenting voice was that of archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, former Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities who said “Carbon-14 dating has a margin of error of 100 years. In order to date Egyptian dynasties, we need to have specific dates; you cannot use carbon dating,” Hawass explained further to Al-Masry Al-Youm. “This technique shouldn’t be used at all in making changes to the chronology of the ancient Egypt, not even as a helpful addition.”(b). Incidentally, in April 2015, Hawass walked out of a debate with Graham Hancock over the inclusion of an image of Robert Bauval in Hancock’s presentation(g).
Emmet Sweeney tells a disturbing story of how some establishments have treated inconvenient C14 results, recounting[700.221] “the fate of samples from the tomb of Tutankhamun subjected by the British Museum to radiocarbon testing. The samples, consisting of fibers of a reed mat and a palm kernel, produced dates of 844BC and 899BC respectively. These were broadly in line with the date for Tutankhamun predicted by Velikovsky, but roughly 500 years too recent for textbook chronology. In spite of assurances given to Velikovsky that the results would be published, they never saw the light of day.” [758.xvi]
In Forgotten Civilization and his earlier Pyramid Quest, Robert Schoch has drawn attention to a number of difficulties that have arisen with radiocarbon dating and the implications for Egyptology. A warning about future difficulties with the reliability of radiocarbon dating has been issued by Heather Graven, a climate-physics researcher at Imperial College London. She has found that the rate of fossil-fuel emissions is skewing the carbon ratios used to determine an object’s age. She estimates that by 2050 atmospheric carbon dioxide will make new organic material appear to be 1,000 years old(2). Graham Hancock has also expressed reservations regarding the use of radiocarbon dating, urging both caution and open-mindedness(m).
An even more jaundiced view of current dating difficulties is expressed(l) by Jonathan Gray.
One of these, namely, the potassium/argon method has been claimed by writers such as Richard Milton to have its own inherent problems and must be treated with caution. It appears that although dating methods have advanced greatly further improvements can be expected.
The latest refinement of radiocarbon dating techniques has shortened the time taken from six days to two and additionally, now allows on-site testing(f).
The Malagabay website(n) posted a series of blogs through April 2017 under the heading of ‘Deranged Dating’ highlighting weaknesses in radiocarbon dating!
There is now a valuable list of papers(o), with links, devoted to the many problems that have gradually emerged in relation to radiocarbon dating. This just part of the ‘A New Chronology’ website(p).
June 2018 saw a report issued from Cornell University that highlighted some inaccuracies that have been found in dates relating to the southern Levant region, which includes parts of Jordan, Israel and Egypt.Archaeologist Sturt Manning and his colleagues “have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time, affecting frequently cited standards used in archaeological and historical research.” (q)
Currently, standard calibration curves assume that at any given time radiocarbon levels are similar and stable everywhere across each hemisphere. It seems therefore that the calibration of radiocarbon dates will have to take regional factors into consideration in future.
(1) New Scientist (7/9/02, p.14)
(2) Fortean Times (FT340) May 2016, p.16
(d) http://contenderministries.org/evolution/carbon14.php (offline Feb. 2016)