What do you think of this NOVA article where Mark Lehner basically did a small scale reconstruction and then extrapolated the results and has found no
problems with only 30,000 men building the GP.
I appreciate Lehner's effort to sell us his shorts, but building a small model with modern tools, winches, and trucks, moving small blocks, is not
even close to being the same kind of task as the GP.
Bear in mind too that, unlike a modern building, the GP was completely solid except for its interior passages and rooms. All of this had to be
carefully preplanned, with all interior blocks fitting together precisely enough neither to destabilize the interiors, nor to create stresses that
would collapse the entire structure - as happened to various of the lesser stepped mastabas and pyramids scattered around Egypt (possibly amateur
imitations of the Giza ones rather than their forerunners, as conventionally suggested).
Remember too that Lehner came from the University of Chicago and the Harvard Semitic Institute, and if he wanted to go back to them, he knew what his
marching orders were: reinforce the official version. As for Hawass, he's so transparently a tourism panderer that you always know what he's going
to say before he says it. In short, he too knows where his bread is buttered. Egypt is an "ancient Egypt tourism" business. It knows very well that
in this it must never offend rich Western tourists' values or expectations. Think "Universal Studios Tour".
There's a PSYOP principle here. [Yes, here I go again "talking shop".] Not just archæology, but much of human history conforms to very rigid
agendæ. Daniel J. Boorstin is Librarian of Congress Emeritus, and is a distinguished scholar and Pulitzer Prize winner who has authored many superb
historical analyses. In his Hidden History: Exploring Our Secret Past
(NY: Vintage Books, 1989), he proposes several laws that shape what we
know as “history”:
(1) The Law of the Survival of the Unread. There is a natural and inevitable tendency toward the destruction and disappearance of documents most
widely used; therefore there is an inverse relationship between the probability of a document surviving and its value as evidence of the daily life of
the age from which it survives.
(2) Survival of the Durable, and That Which is not Removed or Displaced. Tombs, burial objects, mummies, temples, churches, and pyramids tend to skew
our view of the past. They give a prominence to religion in the relics of the past which it may not actually have had in the lives people lived.
(3) Survival of the Collected and the Protected: what goes in government files. We emphasize political history and government in the life of the past
partly because governments keep records while families and other informal groups seldom do.
(4) Survival of Objects Which are not Used or Which Have a High Intrinsic Value. It is not only in printed matter that rarity and scarcity induce
survival. Treasured or hoarded artifacts frequently survive where commonly-used, more representative ones do not.
(5) Survival of the Academically Classifiable and the Dignified. Teachers teach the subjects in which they have been instructed.
(6) Survival of Printed and other Materials Surrounding Controversies. What often passes for the history of a practice, belief, or institution is more
accurately the history of controversies about it.
(7) Survival of the Self-Serving: The Psycho-Pathology of Diarists and Letter-Writers. Historians are urged to seek records by participants in events,
preferably those made at the time or soon thereafter. Such are often self-serving and egotistical at the expense of objectivity.
(8) Survival of the Victorious Point of View: The Success Bias. If an invention, trend, or point of view prevailed, it and its proponents are assumed
to be representative rather than failed or minority alternatives.
(9) Survival of the Epiphenomenal. People often write and read books because they cannot personally experience what is described. It is often
uncertain whether a writer is recording or escaping an experience.
(10) Knowledge Survives and Accumulates, but Ignorance Disappears. The mind of the modern historian has access to the accumulated knowledge and
experience of the ages since the period of the past he is trying to recapture, but for this reason he cannot see reality as the people of that time
What are the implications of this for you, the history detective? It means that:
of the historical sources you consult are incomplete, inaccurate, biased, and/or incompetent to some degree. [As Grace Slick said, and
I echoed above, "everybody wants to sell you their shorts".]
(b) You yourself are in the grip of tacit prejudices and presuppositions which you have never questioned or even acknowledged as anything to be
You can compensate for #a by going outside “blessed” history sources to others, including those of the “heretical” (then or now) in order to
examine the events in question from as many perspectives as possible. You can compensate for #b by consulting third parties - including the
“heretics” (then or now) - for their assessments of the issue, which you can then evaluate along with your own towards that eventual, vital
Thus the adventure of history becomes a path to the truth and not George Orwell’s “Reality Control”:
George Orwell, 1984
The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a
time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all
others accepted the lie which the Party imposed - if all records told the same tale - then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who
controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its
nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was
an unending series of victories over your own memory. “Reality control” they called it; in Newspeak “doublethink”.