The majority of mainstream archaeologists and egyptologists hold to the accepted theory that the main Giza pyramid (Cheops) was constructed over an
approximate period of 10-20 years and using 1000's of labourers
A construction management study (testing) carried out by the firm Daniel, Mann, Johnson, & Mendenhall in association with Mark Lehner and other
Egyptologists, estimates that the total project required an average workforce of 14,567 people and a peak workforce of 40,000. Without the use of
pulleys, wheels, or iron tools, they used critical path analysis to suggest the Great Pyramid was completed from start to finish in approximately 10
years. Their study estimates that the number of blocks used in construction was between 2-2.8 million (an average of 2.4 million), but settles on a
reduced finished total of 2 million after subtracting the estimated area of the hollow spaces of the chambers and galleries. Most sources agree on
this number of blocks somewhere above 2.3 million.Their calculations suggest the workforce could have sustained a rate of 180 blocks per hour (3
blocks/minute) with ten hour work days for putting each individual block in place. They derived these estimates from modern third-world construction
projects that did not use modern machinery, but conclude it is still unknown exactly how the Great Pyramid was built.
Now, many years ago, I read a very interesting book that postulated an alternative method for the construction of the Giza pyramids that was radicaly
different from the mainstream theory accepted by most egyptologists. The book was titled "The Pyramids: An Enigma Solved" by author Dr. Joseph
Davidovits and co-author Margie Morris ( Publisher:New York : Hippocrene Books, 1988).
I found his theory extremely interesting and novel but didn't really look into it much further over the following years until I came across an
article published last year (2008) in an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) newletter. Apparently Linn Hobbs, professor of materials science
and engineering and professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT and students in the class, Materials in Human Experience (class 3.094), were
testing a controversial theory that some of the giant blocks that make up the great pyramids of Giza may have been cast in place from concrete, rather
than quarried and moved into position.
This article reminded me of Davidovits' book and re-kindled my interest in his pyramid construction theory.
Being so very different from current mainstream views on how the pyramids were 'constructed', I decided to put this thread together for the benefit
of other ATS members interested in the pyramids and their construction, and who may not have heard of this alternative theory before.
As far as I'm concerned, it's quite an eye opener and I personally believe that Davidovits' may not be too far of the truth ... anyway, have a read
and make your own minds up.
However, it almost goes without saying that his ideas are not accepted by mainstream Egyptologists ... no surprise there !
Dr. Joseph Davidovits
is a French materials scientist who carries out his chemical research at the Geopolymer Institute (north of Paris). He is
a visiting professor at the University of Toronto (Canada) and the director of the Institute for Applied Archaeological Sciences (IAPAS) of Barry
University, Florida. He holds the Ordre National du Mérite, is the author and co-author of more than 130 scientifical papers and conferences reports,
and holds more than fifty patents.
His geopolymeric materials are the most important new materials since the development of plastics, and they are revolutionizing the construction,
waste management, and material science industries.
is Dr. Davidovits' assistant and operates the administrative office of the IAPAS and studies ancient Egyptian history through a
program at the University of Minnesota.
Summary of Davidovits' theory
Davidovits was not convinced that the ancient Egyptians possessed the tools or technology to carve and haul the huge (2.5 to 15 ton) limestone blocks
that made up the Great Pyarmid. Davidovits suggested that the blocks were molded in place by using a form of limestone concrete. According to his
theory, a soft limestone with a high kaolinite content was quarried in the wadi on the south of the Giza plateau. It was then dissolved in large,
Nile-fed pools until it became a watery slurry. Lime (found in the ash of ancient cooking fires) and natron (also used by the Egyptians in
mummification) was mixed in. The pools were then left to evaporate, leaving behind a moist, clay-like mixture. This wet "concrete" would be carried
to the construction site where it would be packed into reusable wooden molds. In the next few days the mixture would undergo a chemical hydration
reaction similar to the setting of cement.
Using Davidovits theory, no large gangs would be needed to haul blocks and no huge and unwieldy ramps would be needed to transport the blocks up the
side of the pyramid. No chiseling or carving with soft bronze tools would be required to dress their surfaces and new blocks could be cast in place,
on top of and pressed against the old blocks. This would account for the unerring precision of the joints of the casing stones (the blocks of the core
show tools marks and were cut with much lower tolerances). Proof-of-concept experiments using similar compounds were carried out at Davidovit's
geopolymer institute in northern France. It was found that a crew of ten, working with simple hand tools, could build a structure of fourteen, 1.3 to
4.5 ton blocks in a couple of days. According to Davidovits the architects possessed at least two concrete formulas: one for the large structural
blocks and another for the white casing stones. He argues earlier pyramids, brick structures, and stone vases were built using similar techniques.
Continued next post ...