FAQ for artificial stone supporters

The theory has many supporters around the world, but there are still opponents criticizing and repeating the same arguments. This page is here to help supporters counter critics.

First, you find below a list of the main opposing ideas, opinions and sometimes evidence, and how to reply to them. Then, we expose an extended abstract of the theory with a simplify list of arguments.

More details, information, videos are available at this page. Only a lengthy summary is disclosed here.

 

List of the main opposing arguments

1- Context 2- Stones everywhere 3- Fossil shells
4- Same dimensions 5- One expert disagree 6- Natural granite blocks
7- Unofficial analysis 8- Something strange 9- Aliens or ancient civilization

 

1- The context. What you need to keep in mind.

An hypothesis that has a long life.

The theory is now well-known by the public since 1988 (first publication of the book in english), but presented earlier in official egyptology congresses since 1979. The Geopolymer Institute website exists since 1996 and, since the beginning, the theory was exposed in detail. Since then, new scientific papers, new books, new videos, new webpages have been published with the latest updates. Nevertheless, most opponents are always expressing their opinions based on hearsays, preconceived ideas, clichés, and are not taking 10 minutes of their precious time to read what is presented here. Some of them are publishing rebuttals using “wrong” arguments that Davidovits’ has never raised instead of quoting his work (for example, we do not claim to crush stones as aggregates, a useless exhausting effort, but instead asserting the use of weathered or eroded stones). A parody of science. These published sloppy papers are taken for serious references by the opponents of the re-agglomerated theory. You will be disappointed by the fact that this misleading behavior represents the vast majority of the opponents. Why? Because the artificial stone theory is the truth, they don’t know how to counter it. They are missing the big picture.

A global thinking

People trying to solve the Pyramids mysteries are always thinking in terms of engineering and technique, and worse, they are only focusing on Kheops’ pyramid, forgetting the previous ones and the hundred more built after. If an idea sounds valid for Kheops, it is immediately invalid for the others. Davidovits’ theory is the only theory with a global view encompassing the building of all the pyramids of Egypt for 250 years, from the first of Zoser to those in crude bricks, with solid and valid scientific evidence in geology, mineralogy, chemistry, hieroglyphic studies, religion and Egyptian history… Read the extended abstract below or buy the book to learn more. No other theory has this global approach.

Official theory

The man-made or re-agglometared stone theory exists, is still discussed and countered for more than 30 years. If the arguments against are so easy to expose, to denigrate and are self-evident, why people are still talking about it? Why people are still not convinced by carving theories?

By the way, what is the official theory? Ask the opponents before starting the discussion. The bare truth is that there is none. After centuries, so many studies, scientific investigations, archeological discoveries, carving theories are still a weak hypothesis. Nobody agrees on the main scenario around carving and hoisting. None is approved by the mainstream. When someone raises a solution, it lasts 6 months up to 1 year after it vanishes because it leads to other insoluble problems. And the artificial stone theory is there for more than 30 years. After so much time, the carving theories fail !

So, the opponent of the re-agglomation hypothesis believes he acts in the name of truth, when actually he is found defending one of the many unofficial carving theories. Is he convincing? Not at all. It is easy to criticize that his (un)official theory brings up more problems than solutions, and, above all, where is the evidence?

The ultimate evidence

Here is the solid argument that everybody understands:

More and more scientists agree and support the theory. Classical methods of investigation are not relevant. They cannot make a difference between a natural and a synthetic mineral.

Several studies, carried out by independent scientists using the most modern equipment, exposed the ultimate proofs that the pyramids blocks are not natural. You may find various papers or opinions challenging the theory, but all prefer ignoring these independent analysis. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth that is still fought by some people for irrational purposes.

 

2- There is stone everywhere. Why bother to make a concrete?

This is common sense, isn’t it? You are thinking of the use of stones with a modern mind, in terms of architecture. For 3000 years long, Egyptians used stones (whether man-made or carved) only for religious purposes: temples, tombs and statues. Where are the houses, where are the palaces, where are the garrisons? They were built in crude bricks. During the pyramids time, it was forbidden to carve stones. Man-made stone bears a specific religious meaning related to the creation of life. Read more about this topic in the extended abstract under the “Religious context“.

If it is not convincing enough:

Recent scientific studies using very powerful and modern equipment found the ultimate evidence that the pyramids stones are synthetic. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

3- We see fossil shells, so it is a natural stone.

Man-made stone holds around 90% of natural mineral aggregates (here nummulites, fossil shells), and between 5 to 10% of the synthetic geopolymer binder. Some opponents believe that we claim that the geopolymer chemistry is manufacturing fossil shells in situ, which is absurd. But where do the fossil shells come from? From the quarry where we extract the natural stone aggregates. It is like claiming modern concrete is a carved and natural stone because it contains natural sand and natural stone aggregates ! If the stones were carved, why are all shells intact? Why none of them are cut?

There is evidence that limestone blocks come from different quarries. Since we know their origin, without a doubt, the stones are natural? But to make re-agglomerated limestone concrete, it is necessary that the 90% of limestone aggregate come from somewhere. Of course, they come from the same place! So, people have 90% of chance of analyzing a natural aggregate (here, nummulite fossil shell) and stating the artificial stone theory is wrong, setting aside the 10% synthetic binder.

If it is not convincing enough:

Recent scientific studies using very powerful and modern equipment found the ultimate evidence that the pyramids stones are synthetic. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

4- If it is a concrete-like stone, all block would have the same dimensions. But they are all different.

Before the first pyramid built out of stone, the ancient Egyptians constructed very imposing crude brick monuments. We find large funerary temple enclosures of the second dynasty, like the Khasekhemwy one (2,730 B.C.). Its massive wall is of crude clay bricks, therefore in a molded material. It is generally agreed, since these bricks were worked in molds, that their dimension must be uniform. However, this is wrong. Despite having been manufactured in molds, the clay bricks are of approximately 5 different sizes, implying the use of several patterns. We find these differences in proportions in all pyramids. This heterogeneity gives the monuments the ability to resist earthquakes by avoiding the amplification of seismic waves.

If it is not convincing enough:

Recent scientific studies using very powerful and modern equipment found the ultimate evidence that the pyramids stones are synthetic. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

5- One scientist / expert has analyzed the stones and claims they are natural, so you are wrong!

The analysis methods used today by geologists are not relevant. These methods are used to CLASSIFY not to determine natural or artificial species. They cannot make a difference between a natural and a synthetic mineral. Indeed, the molecule of a mineral is by essence always the same, whether it is natural or synthetic, otherwise it would be another molecule, so another mineral. In addition, experts / scientists who oppose the theory of re-agglomeration have scarcely knowledge or understanding of the geopolymer chemistry. They will not know how to analyze this and will miss the evidence. To show the geopolymerization and the artificial nature of the material, they need to work with more powerful methods. These tools are seldom used by them. Studies have been made with modern and powerful equipment, and all show that the stones are artificial. Opponents prefer to ignore them, it is out of their skill to argue against.

If it is not convincing enough:

According to recent scientific studies, believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

6- There are granite blocks that are carved but roughly trimmed. So, your theory is wrong.

We have never claimed granite was artificial (another hearsay). Indeed, granite is not carved (they did not have the right tools) but split (a very different skill). You will read below in the extended abstract under the “Religious context” why they used granite, because it represents the southern country. The granite was not carved in a quarry, but simply taken from individual boulders found in great quantities in the Aswan region. The boulders were split to fine dressed faces, leaving a typical rough undressed back. They represent less than 0.1% of the total blocks. Workers had 10 years to install them in the pyramid, and 10 years to carve a unique sarcophagus with whatever technique they have at their disposal. In short, we don’t care! We care about the 99.9% of limestone blocks. For Kheops, one block must be placed every 3 minutes.

If it is not convincing enough:

Recent scientific studies using very powerful and modern equipment found the ultimate evidence that the pyramids stones are synthetic. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

7- The analysis in favor of the artificial stone theory are invalid because they are not official.

Right. Egyptologists are historian, linguists, archeologists but none are material scientists! So, there will never be official analysis carried out by them, they will always rely on experts like us. By the way, are the opponents officials? Are there published rebuttals official? And the person you are talking with, who is against the re-agglomerated stone theory, is it an official person expressing an official opinion? Absolutely not, never, none of them can claim that. Their argument has no more value than yours. You are at the same level! And what about the numerous carving theories, are they official? Are they promoting another new unofficial carving theory? (see above)

If it is not convincing enough:

Recent scientific studies using very powerful and modern equipment found the ultimate evidence that the pyramids stones are synthetic. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

8- Another new study / investigation shows something strange in the pyramids…

None of the recent studies, using new tools and high-tech equipments are countering the artificial stone theory. It is often the opposite, it may be interpreted as a new evidence for re-agglomeration. Each time, they raise new questions and enigma that the carving theories cannot answer, fueling crazy speculations.

And, by the way:

Recent scientific studies using very powerful and modern equipment found the ultimate evidence that the pyramids stones are synthetic. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth.

 

9- Aliens and/or ancient advanced civilization built the pyramids.

These people are reading all the contradictory, unofficial, numerous carving theories, and because all of them raise more questions than answers, they imagine a radical solution: a super civilization must have done it. We consider this belief as an insult to the genius of mankind, as if Homo sapiens is a stupid creature and what we believe are human achievements are a fraud. The geopolymer chemistry used to build the pyramids is a very simple technology, much easier than you think. They have all ingredients at the vicinity. It is a natural evolution of a technology having its origin from mineral binders, ceramics, pigments, ores, and simple chemistries. It gives extraordinary results, yet with straightforward knowledge. It is much more complicated to make copper tools, or metallurgy in general, by selecting the right ore (there are many that look like the same), using the right process at the right time and temperature…

 

More pictures, drawings, details, information, videos are available at this page. Only a lengthy summary is published below.

 

Extended abstract of the theory with a simplify list of arguments

In his books, Why the Pharaohs built the Pyramids with Fake Stones (2009-2017), Professor Joseph Davidovits presented a theory on the pyramids’ construction: they were built by using re-agglomerated stone (a natural limestone treated like a concrete and then moulded), and not by using enormous blocks, carved and hoisted on ramps. Initially published in New York in 1988 under the title The pyramids: an enigma solved, this thesis has recently been released in several books with an important update of facts missing in the first American edition.

The theory is based on scientific analysis, archaeological elements and hieroglyphic texts as well as religious and historical aspects. Contrary to other theories that only seek a technical explanation for the Giza Plateau pyramids, and often looking only at Kheops itself and ignoring the others, his theory encompasses the building of all the pyramids of Egypt for 250 years, from the first of Zoser to those in crude bricks.

A- Theory (formula, materials, analysis) B- Evidence (hieroglyphs, rise and decline, religion)
C- Arguments against carving theories D- Notes and references

 

A- Theory

  1. The formula and materials used:

The most important material is limestone. Analysis done by the German geochemist D.D. Klemm [1] showed that 97 to 100% of the blocks come from the soft and argillaceous limestone layer located in the Wadi, downwards the Giza Plateau. According to the Egyptologist Mr. Lehner [2], the Egyptians used a soft and crumbly limestone, unusable for hewn stones. The workmen did not choose the hard and dense limestone located near the pyramids, with rare exceptions for later restorations. The geologist L. Gauri [3] showed that this limestone is fragile, because it includes clay-like materials (in particular kaolinite clay) sensitive to water which explains the extreme softness of the Sphinx body, whereas its head, cut in the hard and dense geological layer, resisted 4000 years of erosion.

This soft argillaceous limestone, too fragile to be a hewn stone, is well adapted to agglomeration. Moreover, it naturally contains reactive geopolymeric ingredients, like kaolinitic clay, essential to manufacture the geological glue (a binder) and to ensure the geosynthesis.

It was not required to crush this stone, because it disaggregates easily with the Nile water during floods (the Wadi is filled with water at this time) to form a limestone mud. To this mud, they added reactive geological materials (mafkat, a hydrated alumina and copper silicate, overexploited at the time of Kheops in the Sinai mines) [4], Egyptian natron salt (sodium carbonate, massively present in Wadi Natrum), and lime coming from plants and wood ashes [5]. They carried this limestone mud in baskets, poured it, then packed it in moulds (made out of wood, stone, crude brick), directly on the building site. The method is identical to the pisé technique, still in use today.

This limestone, re-agglomerated by geochemical reaction, naturally hardens to form resistant blocks. The blocks thus consist of 90 to 95% of natural limestone aggregates with its fossil shells, and from 5 to 10% of geological glue (a cement known as “geopolymeric” binder) based on aluminosilicates.

 

  1. Why do geologists see nothing?

This is due to the geological glue, which, though artificial, is seen by the geologists either as an impurity, and therefore useless to study, or as a natural binder. At best, the analysis tools and the working methods of geologists consider the glue as a perfectly natural “micritic binder”. Joseph Davidovits manufactured an artificial limestone containing 15% of synthetic binder, and submitted it to geologists who, on studying it, suspected nothing [6].

A geologist not informed of geopolymer chemistry will assert with good faith that the stones are natural.

 

  1. The chemical formula:

The geosynthesis aims to react the kaolinite clay (naturally included in the Giza limestone) with caustic soda (see chemical formula 1). To manufacture this caustic soda, they use Egyptian natron (sodium carbonate) and lime (coming from plant ashes) (see chemical formula 2). Then, they get soda which will react with clay.

But the most interesting point is that this chemical reaction creates pure limestone as well as hydrosodalite (a mineral of the feldspathoids or zeolites family). [6]

Chemical reaction 1:
Si2O5,Al2(OH)4 + 2NaOH = > Na2O.2SiO2Al2O3.nH2O
kaolinite clay + soda = > hydrosodalite

Chemical reaction 2:
Na2CO3 + Ca(OH)2 = > 2NaOH + CaCO3
Sodium carbonate (Egyptian natron) + lime = > soda + limestone

Summary of the re-agglomerated stone binder chemical formula:
clay + natron + lime = > feldspathoids + limestone (i.e. a natural stone)

The re-agglomerated stone binder is the result of a geosynthesis (a geopolymer), which creates two natural minerals: limestone and hydrated feldspar (feldspathoids). We understand why the geologists can easily be misled.

 

  1. Scientific analysis:

Now that more and more scientists agree and support the theory, some have decided to carry on researches without my help and without requesting any approval from egyptologists, so in total independence from both parties.

The analysis methods used today by geologists are not relevant. They cannot make a difference between a natural and a synthetic mineral. Indeed, the molecule of a mineral is by essence always the same, whether it is natural or synthetic, otherwise it would be an- other molecule, so another mineral.To show the artificial nature of the material, they need to work with more powerful methods (analysis by synchrotron, transmission and electronic scan microscopy SEM TEM, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Paleomagnetism, Particle Induced Gamma-Ray Emission, Particle Induced X-Ray Emission, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray Diffraction). These tools are seldom used in this situation. Studies have been made, and all show that the pyramid stones are artificial. [7]

This last paleomagnetism study is simply the ultimate proof that the pyramids blocks are not natural. You may find various papers or opinions challenging the theory, but all prefer ignoring these independent analysis. Believing in the artificial stone theory, or countering it, is simply no longer relevant. It has become a fact, a truth that is still fought by some people for irrational purposes.

We can quote the following scientific papers:

  • Paleomagnetic investigation of the Great Egyptian Pyramids, Igor Túnyi and Ibrahim A. El-hemaly, Europhysics News 2012, 43/6, 28-31.
  • Were the casing stones of Senefru’s Bent Pyramid in Dahshour cast or carved? Multinuclear NMR evidence, Kenneth J. D. MacKenzie, M. E. Smith, A. Wong, J. V. Hanna, B. Barryand M. W. Barsoum, Mater. Lett., 2011, 65, 350.
  • Microstructural Evidence of Reconstituted Limestone Blocks in the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Barsoum M.W., Ganguly A. and Hug G., J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 89[12], 3788-3796, 2006.
  • The Enigma of the Construction of the Giza Pyramids Solved?, Scientific British Laboratory, Daresbury, SRS Synchrotron Radiation Source, 2004.
  • PIXE, PIGE and NMR study of the masonry of the pyramid of Cheops at Giza, Guy Demortier, NUCLEAR INSTRUMENTS and METHODS in PHYSICS RESEARCH B, B 226, 98 – 109 (2004).
  • X-Rays Analysis and X-Rays Diffraction of casing stones from the pyramids of Egypt, and the limestone of the associated quarries., Davidovits J., Science in Egyptology; A.R. David ed.; 1986; Proceedings of the “Science in Egyptology Symposia”; Manchester University Press, UK; pp.511-520.
  • Differential thermal analysis (DTA) detection of intra-ceramic geopolymeric setting In archaeological ceramics and mortars., Davidovits J.; Courtois L., 21st Archaeometry Symposium; Brookhaven Nat. Lab., N.Y.; 1981; Abstracts P. 22.
  • How Not to Analyze Pyramid Stone, Morris, M. JOURNAL OF GEOLOGICAL EDUCATION, VOL. 41, P. 364-369 (1993).
  • Comment a-t-on construit les Pyramides: polémique chez les Égyptologues, HISTORIA Magazine, Paris, No 674, fév. 2003, dossier pp. 54-79 (2003).

 

B- The Archaeological Evidence

  1. The hieroglyphic texts:

We know the Egypt of the Pharaohs quite well, thanks to its numerous steles, frescos and papyrus describing all kinds of religious, scientific, technical knowledge, the craft industry, agriculture, medicine, astronomy, and so on. However, there is not a single hieroglyphic document revealing the pyramids’ construction with carved stones, ramps, and wooden sledges. On the contrary, we find many texts showing that the ancient Egyptians had the knowledge of man-made stones:

The Famine Stele is engraved on a rock at Sehel island, close to Elephantine. It stages the god Khnum, Pharaoh Zoser and his architect Imhotep, builder of the first pyramid at Saqqarah. This inscription contains 650 hieroglyphs depicting either rocks and minerals, or their transformation processes. In column 12, we read: “With these products (mineral) they built (…) the royal tomb (the pyramid)“. In columns 18 to 20, the god Khnum gives to Zoser a list of minerals needed in the construction of these sacred monuments. This list does not mention the traditional hard and compact construction stones like limestone (ainr-hedj), monumental sandstone (ainr-rwdt) or Aswan granite (mat). By studying this text, we notice that we cannot build a pyramid or a temple with simple minerals, except if they are used to manufacture the binder of a re-agglomerated stone. [8]

The Irtysen stele (C14) at the Louvre Museum is an autobiography of the sculptor Irtysen under one of the Mentouhotep Pharaohs, eleventh dynasty (2000 B.C.). It explains the method of manufacturing synthetic stone statues (with “cast stone”). [9]

The Ti fresco, fifth dynasty (2450 front. J.-C.), illustrates the sculptors work on a wooden statue, the manufacturing of a stone statue and mixtures in vases. This fresco perfectly shows the difference between carving a statue (here in wood with hieroglyphic signs depicting the operation of carving), the fashioning of a statue (made out of synthetic stone with hieroglyphic signs representing the action “to synthesize”, “man-made”), and mixing caustic chemicals in ceramic vases to work on this statue. [10]

 

  1. The invention of re-agglomerated stone: growth and decline of a technology

Before the first pyramid built out of stone, the ancient Egyptians constructed very imposing crude brick monuments. We find large funerary temple enclosures of the second dynasty, like the Khasekhemwy one (2,730 B.C.). Its massive wall is of crude clay bricks, therefore in a moulded material. It is generally agreed, since these bricks were worked in moulds, that their dimension must be uniform. However, this is wrong. Despite having been manufactured in moulds, the clay bricks are of approximately 5 different sizes, implying the use of several patterns. We find these differences in proportions in all pyramids. This heterogeneity gives the monuments the ability to resist earthquakes by avoiding the amplification of seismic waves.

20 years later, Zoser ordered Imhotep to build him a stone monument for eternity. The scribe Imhotep is the inventor of re-agglomerated stone (2,650 B.C.) and the architect of the first pyramid of Egypt. Instead of using crude bricks, he simply replaced the clay with a re-agglomerated limestone and kept the same method of moulding bricks. This is why the first pyramid is made in small bricks, which become bigger in dimension as the invention is better mastered. The bricks are manufactured where the stones are extracted, in the Wadi (at the east of the complex [11]) at the Nile flooding period, then carried and placed on the pyramid under construction.

Its invention, inherited from pisé and crude brick, improves with time during the pyramids’ construction at the third and fourth dynasties. Starting from the small limestone bricks at Saqqarah, the stone dimensions increase gradually. For the Meidoum and Bent pyramids, the blocks are produced in the vicinity and are moved up to the pyramid. There is always a Wadi nearby to easily disaggregate limestone with water and to prepare the mixture at the Nile flooding time.

From Sneferu’s red pyramid in Dashur, the blocks are manufactured on the spot, because the dimensions are now too large for them to be transported.

In Giza, some stones (in particular those at the Khefren temple) weigh more than 30 tons. How would they have simply carved them with soft copper tools, without wheels or pulleys?

According to Guy Demortier [12], re-agglomerating stones on the spot greatly simplifies the logistic problems. Instead of 25,000 to 100,000 workmen necessary for carving [13], he deduces that the site occupancy never exceeded 2,300 people, which confirms what the Egyptologist Mr. Lehner discovered with his excavations of the workmen’s village at Giza.

The decline of the agglomerated stone technology appears with the pyramid of Mykerinos, which represents only 7% in volume of Kheops. Why is this pyramid suddenly so small? This decline would have been caused by a sudden reduction in reactive mineral resources, like the exhaustion of the principal Sinai mines at the end of the fourth dynasty. Expeditions of B. Rothenberg [4] showed that they had extracted enormous quantities of turquoises and chrysocollas (called mafkat in Egyptian), quantities so large as to rule out their use in jewellery and decoration, as confirmed by the Egyptologist Sydney Aufrère [14].

The decline would also result from an ecological and agricultural disaster radically limiting the production of lime coming from plant ashes burned for this purpose. If we burn more than what we can produce or renew, a famine or an ecological disaster can occur. Analyzed by D.D. Klemm [15], lime, present in mortars of the third and fourth dynasties, disappears in mortars of the fifth and sixth dynasties. Indeed, the succeeding pyramids, and in particular that of Userkaf, first king of the fifth dynasty, is ridiculously small compared to Mykerinos. In the beginning, they were covered by a limestone coating which hid the bulk of natural blocks, badly worked out. This pyramid is only an uneven stone assembly covering a funerary room made, this time, out of re-agglomerated stone and protected by enormous beams of several dozen tons. Only the core of this pyramid was carefully manufactured, the remainder being botched, because the reactive materials were rare. Thus, we are in the presence of a very different system, which cannot be explained by carving stone. If the pyramids of Giza had been hewn, how can such a drop in architectural quality be explained, while stone is an abundant material? Carving would have resulted in a construction quality equivalent to those of Giza, even with pyramids more reasonable in height, but this is not the case.

With respect to a resource impoverishment, starting from the twelfth dynasty (1,990-1,780 B.C.), Pharaoh Amenemhat I and his successors built crude brick pyramids. But here also, only the funerary room is built, with great care, out of re-agglomerated stone. However, the Egyptians did not choose to carve stone for the body of the pyramids, preferring crude bricks, even though they had harder and more efficient bronze tools had they wished to use them.

We note, then, that the technology of re-agglomerated stone, after a formidable rise, a perfect mastery of the process, an intense exploitation of its resources, went on to  an extremely rapid architectural decline. A mining exhaustion of the chemical reagent resources, and an ecological and agricultural disaster explain this decline. [16] [17]

 

  1. Religious context:

Why did they maintain this need to build out of agglomerated stone or to preserve the agglomeration system, while they could carve stone?

For ancient Egyptians, stone had a sacred quality, used only for religious purposes, that prohibited its use for secular buildings (built rather out of crude bricks, clay and wood, never out of stone). It is only under the Ptolemys, 2,000 years after the pyramids, that stone became a trivial building material. The reasons for this distinction come from religion.

Egyptian civilization lasted more than 3,000 years and, contrary to what the general public thinks, it was not homogeneous. Thus, there are 2 geneses explaining the creation of the World; two distinct gods claim the creation of the World and man: Khnum and Amon.

The god Khnum was worshipped during the Old and Middle Kingdoms (3,000 to 1,800 B.C.). He is depicted as a man with a ram’s head and horizontal horns. He personalizes the nutritious Nile, and at Elephantine, Thebes, Heracleopolis, Memphis, he is the god of creation. In the act of creation, he “kneads” humanity on his potter’s wheel with the Nile silt and other minerals (mafkat, natron) as in the Biblical and Koranic genesis. This does not give an unspecified clay, but a stone called “ka”, i.e. the soul that is not spirit, but eternal stone. Khnum and all the divine incarnations of Râ appear by the act of manufacturing stone. His hieroglyphic sign is a hard stone vase like those of the Nagadean era (3,500 to 3,000 B.C.). Thus, under the Old Kingdom, the purpose of the agglomeration act was to reproduce the divine intervention at the time of the creation of the World and the human soul.

For the two main Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom, Zoser and Kheops, the relationship with Khnum is proven by archaeological discoveries (cf. the Famine Stele). Also, the true name of Kheops is Khnum-Khufu (may the god Khnum protect Kheops). Would Kheops have attached his name to an inferior god? No, Khnum is a major god. It is simply the perception of the Egyptian Pantheon which is not correct.

Amon is the second god of creation. In the beginning, he was only an average god. He became a dynastic god in the twelfth dynasty (1,800 B.C.), but he was not yet the god of creation, this role still being the privilege of Khnum. Then, he became the “king of the gods” and the priests gave him the ability to create the world. In the genesis myth, Amon is identified as a sacred mountain and he “carves” each human being in a part of himself, i.e. in this sacred mountain. Amon and all the divine incarnations of Amon-Râ appear by the act of carving stone, and are at the origin of the New Kingdom monuments, like those of Ramses II, 1,300 years after the pyramids.

Thus, we understand why the tombs were no longer under pyramids, symbols of agglomeration, but under a sacred mountain, the Valley of the Kings, symbol of Amon. In the same way, the temples are built out of stone hewn with great care and the obelisks are called “Amon’s fingers”. During the Old Kingdom, where the name of Khnum (“the one who binds”) is in the complete name of Kheops (Khnum-Khufu), the name of Amon (“the one who is hidden”) is found in the New Kingdom Pharaohs’ names like Amenhotep.

 

Arguments against the carving theory

Here are arguments presented by the partisans of carving to show that this technique was in use at the pyramids’ time. However, these evidence are anachronous; they date from the Middle to the New Kingdom, in times when the stone was hewn, and not from the Old Kingdom, the time of the pyramids.

The extraction of blocks would have been possible by means of wooden dowels that, once in place, were wetted to cleave the stone. However, D.D. Klemm shows that the Romans only used this primitive technique very late on. Each period left distinct patterns of cut traces in quarries, thus making it possible to date them, except at the time of the pyramids, when no trace remains. [18]

The bas-relief of Djehutihotep illustrates the transport of a colossal statue on a sledge [19]. In the same way, R. Stadelman discovered that Amenemhat II workmen had stolen stones on sledges from the Sneferu pyramid, used as a vulgar quarry. These two events took place under the twelfth dynasty (1,800 B.C.), that is 700 years after the construction of the pyramids.

The Tura stele depicts a stone block dragged on a sledge by oxen [20]. It does not constitute a proof because once again, it goes back to approximately 1,000 years after the construction of the pyramids.

The Rekhmire fresco presents the work of masons setting up blocks with bronze tools. But these new tools were unknown to pyramid builders 1,300 years earlier.

Any ramps would have been made out of crude clay bricks, several kilometres in length (in straight or spiral lines, with the attendant problem of turning corners), representing a considerable amount of material. Each team would have sprinkled the ground with water to ease the motion of the sledge. But the action of water would have transformed the ramp into a soapy and very slippery path. After several teams had passed by, it would have been transformed into mud where sledges and hauler would be stuck!

There is no official theory of carving, hauling blocks on sledges and ramps. There are approximately twenty or so that propose various solutions. These theories are not based on hieroglyphic texts, do not match the technology found on archaeological sites, and do not take into account the historical and religious environment. These theories are essentially focused on the pyramid of Kheops, the most remarkable one, but not on the pyramids that precede or follow it, and even less on those made out of crude brick.

 

Notes and references

[1] Klemm, Steine und Steinbrüche in Alten Ägypten, Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 1993.
[2] M. Lehner, The Development of the Giza Necropolis: The Khufu project, Mitteilungun des Deutschen Institutes, Abteilung Kairo, 41, p. 149, 1985.
[3] L. Gauri, Geological study of the Sphinx, Newsletter American Research Center in Egypt, No 127, pp. 24-43, 1984.
[4] B. Rothenberg, Sinai exploration 1967-1972, Bulletin, Museum Haaretz Tel Aviv, 1972, p. 35
[5] J. Davidovits, Ils ont bâti les pyramides, éd. J-C Godefroy, Paris, 2002, pp. 161-162, 307-311
[6] J. Davidovits, La nouvelle histoire des pyramides, éd. J-C Godefroy, Paris, 2004, pp. 57-58 et 72
[7] See ref. [5] and [6] for comprehensive bibliographics notes and debates with geologists.
[8] Pyramid Man-Made Stone, Myths or Facts, III. The Famine Stela Provides the Hieroglyphic Names of Chemicals and Minerals Involved in the Construction , Davidovits J., 5th Int. Congress of Egyptology, Cairo, Egypt, 1988; Egyptian Antiquities Organization; EGY; 1988; pp. 57-58 in Résumés des Communications. See also ref. [5] and [6].
[9] J. Davidovits, Ils ont bâti les pyramides, éd. J-C Godefroy, Paris, 2002, pp. 229-236
[10] J. Davidovits, La nouvelle histoire des pyramides, éd. J-C Godefroy, Paris, 2004, pp. 145-150
[11] M. Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, Thames and Hudson, 1997, p. 83
[12] G. Demortier, La construction de la pyramide de Khéops, Revue des questions scientifiques, Bruxelles, 2004, Tome 175, p. 341-382
[13] M. Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, Thames and Hudson, 1997, p. 224
[14] Sydney Aufrère, L’univers minéral dans la pensée égyptienne, IFAO, Le Caire, 1991, Volume 2, p. 494
[15] D.D. Klemm and R. Klemm, Mortar evolution in the old kingdom of Egypt, Archaeometry ’90, Birkhaüser Verlag, Basel, Suisse, 1990, pp. 445-454
[16] J. Davidovits, Ils ont bâti les pyramides, éd. J-C Godefroy, Paris, 2002, pp. 297-328
[17] J. Davidovits, La nouvelle histoire des pyramides, éd. J-C Godefroy, Paris, 2004, pp. 207-228
[18] Klemm, The archaeological map of Gebel el Silsila, 2nd Int. Congress of Egyptologists, Grenoble, 1979, Session 05.
[19] J. P. Adam, l’Archéologie devant l’imposture, éd. Robert Laffont, Paris, 1975, p. 158
[20] Vyze-Perring, The Pyramids of Gizeh, Vol. III, p. 99