Who Built Egypt's Pyramids?
created by diggingforthetruth.net 2008
Journal taken from The History Channel DFT site. Photos taken from The History Channel DFT site and video.
Who Built Egypt's Pyramids?
On Cairo: "I was once in Cairo on a trip to Africa in 1991 but that doesn't really count—all we did was land and refuel the plane. So this is my first time actually exploring the city, and I'm overwhelmed by how populated it is. I had no idea Cairo was one of the world's largest cities... Could there really be 20 million people living here?"
"If the traffic is any indication, there are. That's the first thing I notice as I'm driving around Cairo—how many people there are on the road. Gridlock is a given at every major intersection, and driving here doesn't seem to have any real rules to it. And the honking...!! In the US, people honk their horns to say 'Get out of the way' or 'Watch out.' Here in Cairo, it seems people use their horns to say 'Hi, there' or 'Move left' or 'I'm about to pass you.' I think some people honk just to honk. It's really strange, and coupled with the inescapable smell of diesel fumes, it's not exactly a comfortable environment. But I'm here for the pyramids, not the driving, and I'm excited to get to Giza."
On the Pyramids:
"A funny thing happened on the way to the pyramids... I'm driving through Cairo
towards the Giza Plateau. I'm seeing buildings, hotels, etc, but no pyramids when I realize all of a sudden that I'm looking too low... The pyramids literally loom over the city, massive silhouettes of stone over the people below. They're huge and truly spectacular...awesome in the most literal sense of the word. I now see why they were a wonder of the world."
"...Okay, camel riding has to be one of the most uncomfortable means of transportation ever. Honestly, I don't see how Bedouins do it. Even with a saddle more comfortable than the one I'm on, the gait of the camel is so jerky that it's hard for me to relax. And forget about running or going downhill—pure pain which may jeopardize one's ability to have children!......Thankfully, the ride is only a mile and mostly flat."
"...As I approach the pyramids, I try to imagine what it would have been like to ride a camel here centuries ago or millenia ago. Given how barren this landscape is, the pyramids must have been visible for dozens of miles—an impressive memorial for the kings of Egypt."
On Camel Riding: "Most people approach the pyramids by bus or car, but I decided this occasion was too special for that. So I have arranged to "rent" a camel from a man about a mile or so from the pyramids. I've never ridden a camel before, but it can't be too different from a horse, right?"
On the Great Pyramid of Khufu: "Words escape me as I walk near the base of this massive structure. How could this be built without a backhoe or crane? How many people would it take? How long? Up close, the rocks appear to be too large for horizontal transport, much less vertical stacking..."
On John Van Auken: "...John's the director of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, which is the foundation for Edgar Cayce's research. I'm a fan of Cayce's work and, contrary to what many scientists believe, I like to think that there's more to this world than just the physical facts. And while Cayce may have been wrong on a few predictions, he was impressivly right on others. So while I don't believe the pyramids are from Atlantis (yet?), I'm at least open to the idea and happy to hear John make his case..."
On Zahi Hawass:
"And then there's Zahi Hawass... As the 'Secretary General of Egypt
's Supreme Council of Antiquities, his title alone reflects the power he has. After seeing him in so many documentaries, I'm excited to meet him, but his initial reaction to John's position is harsh—Zahi is not a fan of Cayce's musings. (Almost lost the show there, my friend.) Thankfully, he's up to the task of presenting the archeologist's perspective on who built the pyramids..."
"Our first stop, on what has to be a 100+ degree day, is the Worker's Village about a mile from the Pyramids. This site was a major discovery of Zahi's, proving that the people who built the pyramids had lives, ate bread, and drank beer while toiling under the Egyptian sun. The graves here—and there are many—suggest a concerted effort over decades, and the newest findings of hundreds of butchered cow bones suggest that as many as 10,000 people were eating and working here during Khufu's reign."
"...After a few hours together, Zahi and I are starting to hit it off. (Thank God!) I think at first he thought I was promoting John's position over his rather than just presenting both sides. Now he realizes I'm doing my best to remain impartial, although fascinated. The history of the pyramids is amazing..."
On Going into the Pyramid: "With Zahi as my guide, I'm given an all-access pass to the secret chambers of Khufu's Pyramid—this job definitely has its perks! We go through the Entrance of Ma'moun and begin the climb up the very narrow and surprisingly steep shaft..."
"Here's a surprise! I've often seen Zahi on TV sweating profusely when inside the pyramids and I've thought 'Man, that guy's really sweating!' But it's not sweat! The limestone and granite rock trap the moisture of people's breaths, which makes the humidity in the pyramid overwhelmingly sticky (and a little disgusting to think about). Within minutes of entering, I'm drenched and it's not from any kind of exertion. Go figure..."
"I've just climbed and crawled my way up to the 'Relieving Chambers' above Khufu's Burial Chamber. These were created to reduce some of the stress of the pyramid's structure. Again, fascinating! And crawling through the shafts with Zahi is a trip... Zahi says he hasn't been up here in 9 years, so he's really giving me the grand tour!"
On Being in the Upper Chamber of Khufu's Pyramid: "With the benefit of hindsight now, I can say that Digging for the Truth has given me many unbelievable and special moments. But coming to the top of Khufu's Pyramid with Zahi and then being left alone to appreciate it was hands-down the best—truly a precious honor for which I'm thankful. If you're ever up there, look for the big "H" logo I drew on the ceiling. (Just kidding!)"
The Quarry: "I've seen lots of documentaries which try to solve how the huge rocks of the pyramids were moved, but I've never seen one where people actually harvested and cut the stones. So coming to the quarry to see how it's done is fun for me..."
"Dany Roy is a master stone-worker, with a specialty in traditional Egyptian techniques. When the Metropolitan Museum of Art needed someone to properly cut the stones in their new Galleries of Egypt exhibits, Dany was the man they chose, so he knows his stuff."
"...Whereas I am just a neophyte, hoping not to miss the metal spike with my sledgehammer. The fact that I'm doing this in front of dozens of seasoned miners doesn't help—nor does the camera. But it's surprisingly easy to cut these stones cleanly if you have the right tools and technique."
"Pulling the stones, too, is not too hard once you have people, water, a sled, and ropes. I imagine that back in ancient times the 'Overseer of the Worksman Who Dragged the Stones' would have been an expert at leveraging and pulling these stones across miles of desert."
"While it's fun to speculate that people may have used sound waves and magnetic alignments to levitate or split the stones, it's nice to know that elbow grease and ingenuity can get the job done, too..."
Riding to Saqqara: "I am going to investigate the Saqqara pyramid. Archeologists say it's the world's first pyramid, so it may offer me some additional clues into this whole construction process. To get there, I once again opt for a more adventurous mode of transport and I'm grateful to meet Morad and his two horses."
"My horse is named Bundu: "Arabic for Hazelnut, I'm told, and what a horse! Morad and I go for a great ride across the plateau and Bundu's loving it! MUCH more comfortable then a camel. I used to ride horses as a teenager in Wyoming
, but racing across the desert's of Egypt
is a totally different experience. Yee hah! I really didn't want to stop..."
Saqqara: "Alas, we finally reach Saqqara, which looks like the ziggurats I studied as a kid. I'm intrigued to hear that Imhotep created this ground-breaking structure—I thought he was just a bad mantra from The Mummy movie... Im-ho-tep...."
"Dr. Salima Ikram explains to me how ground-breaking Imhotep's creation was—designing a tomb for Pharoah Djoser unlike anything which came before. While I'm tempted at first to rappel into the chamber and see what the tomb really looks like, I concede that safety is important and agree to visit the Southern Tomb's cenotaph."
"This is another site opened just for us—Salima herself had never been here before (Thank you, Zahi!). And wow, what a place. The turquoise tiles are, like Salima said, 'stupendous.' If you're ever in New York City
, go see some of them in the Met's Egyptian Galleries—they've got a few there. But seeing them in situ is so much better..."
The Sphinx: "The Sphinx is mysterious, much more so than I imagined. First of all, it's also really huge and the proportions are kind of weird. Yes, I've read that some believe the head was changed, but even so it's a pretty odd looking assembly of animal and human. And then there's the whole "Riddle of the Sphinx" thing..."
"John tells me that the erosion marks on the walls around the Sphinx were caused by water. Okay, I'll buy that—they look like the erosion marks I see on the slickrock sandstone in Utah
. Ah, but since water hasn't flowed in this area since 7,500 BC, this means the Sphinx was here much earlier than Khufu's 2,500 BC. Interesting point, John! Gotta bring that one to Zahi...."
"The dream stele is a bit harder for me to understand, since I can't read Egyptian hieroglyphs. But that square under the Sphinx certainly does look like a house or hall with a door in it. I ask John where it would be and he says Cayce gave exact coordinates based on the line running from Khufu's pyramid to the front right paw of the Sphinx. He even gave a depth... Unfortunately, no one has managed to dig there yet (one group did drill some test holes but John says they weren't in the right place). Intriguing..."
On the Sphinx Revisited: "I'm excited to show Zahi the 'physical proof' made by the water erosion. It sounds fairly convincing and I'm hoping he's not too set against it. "(Ding, ding ding!) And in this corner, weighing in at..."
"Okay, so Zahi's not a fan of the theory. It turns out that the geologist who proposed it stands alone. But haven't other great scientists stood alone against the convential beliefs and been proven right in time? I counter with the possibility of the geologist being right. Zahi refutes the idea. But there's a slim chance... yes? No, end of story."
"Okay, I move on. Zahi has the power to kick me out of Egypt and I'm not done yet. To the Dream Stele...."
"Mental note: reading heiroglyphs in Egypt
gives one an advantage. Zahi's explanation of Thutmose IV and the dream of his rise to power being written here is also convincing. But what about the house? One could still argue that we're standing over a Hall of Records, holding the library of Atlantean knowledge... Or not."
"Zahi's a passionate man when it comes to his archeological beliefs... No 'Halls' have been found, despite the ground-penetrating radar which was done around the Sphinx. The one space they did detect was 'an anomoly' which he says proved to be nothing. But suppose he did find a Hall of Records...? I ask Zahi what he would do if one day a Hall was discovered. Would he share that knowledge with the public given the ramifications it would have on the archeological community. He says "Absolutely." Archeology must be based on truth and honesty."
On the Tomb of Osiris: "But Zahi did find another cavity near the Sphinx, which he agrees to show me. He and I make the climb down the surprisingly shaky ladders. By the time we reach the deepest level, we must be over 150 feet below the surface!Despite my secret desire to see a hall of books and Atlantean artifacts, the Tomb of Osiris is simply a subterranean chamber full of water. In the middle is the symbolic sarcophagus of Osiris himself, and despite my search around the room, no signs of Atlantis seem to be visible."
"So it would seem that Cayce's visions have yet to manifest in reality, at least as far as Egypt
is concerned. And the physical evidence presented by Zahi, Salima, and the greater archeological community does strongly support the notion that it was Egyptians who designed and built the massive tombs we see today, 4,500 years later."
Josh examines the evidence, explores secret chambers in the heart of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, visits the first pyramid ever built, and tries his hand at ancient stone-quarrying techniques. It's a hard-won perspective, but, with the discovery of a mysterious flooded chamber deep beneath the Sphinx, Josh learns what appears to be the final truth.
The great Egyptian Pyramids of Giza have inspired awe and wonder and, quite likely, fierce speculation from the moment they were built. In fact, even the date of their construction has become a topic of debate. Explorer, survival expert, and host Josh Bernstein takes a hard look at the competing theories as to who really built the pyramids--and when. Archaeologists say it was the ancient Egyptians, others argue for an even older civilization. Filmed in HDTV, this fresh and engaging series digs for the truth and goes to extremes to do it!