Re: Pyramidiocy, Facts to refute it (Long)

Whittet (
22 Aug 1995 01:22:35 GMT

In article <41anpm$>, says...
>I have not been following this thread - I consulted the sci.astro group
>for another reason, but ....
>Here is some information regarding the Great Pyramid from posts I wrote
>along time ago for sci.archaeology:
> *** *** ***
>I do not know any book in any of several libraries and book stores I visited
>that did a broad based debunking of pyramidology. Even the chapter in
>Martin Gardner's _Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science_, while good,
>contained inaccuracies.

Yes there were quite a few. It was recently discussed here.
>The Los Angeles astronomer and UCLA professor E.C. Krupp has an article in a
>book _Science and the Paranormal: Probing the Existence of the Supernatural_
>(George O. Abell and Barry Singer eds, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
>1982.) called "Recasting the Past: Powerful Pyramids, Lost Continents, and
>Ancient Astronauts". He has other writings on the subject in professional

Why do we have to persist in associating the basic architecture of the pyramid,
which is interesting, with the paranormal, which is a by no means necessary
>The American Research Center in Egypt sponsors a project called the Giza
>Plateau Mapping Project under the direction of Mark Lehner. Results of
>this project are reported on periodically in the "American Research Center
>Quarterly" and sometimes in the "Smithsonian".
>The 1881 measurements by Flinders Petrie, a famed archaeologist known as
>"The father of modern Egyptology who did extensive work on the pyramid, are
>shown by later efforts to have been extremely good. In most references
>in popular literature to pyramid measurements that I have seen have used
>either Petrie's measures, Petrie's measures plus a revised set of baseline
>measures made in 1925 by J.H.Cole, or fictitious sets of "measurements" used
>by pyramidologists.

Coles measurements have been discussed to death in sci.sceptic. It was
eventually established that yes, they are accurate, and yes they do
support the position that the Egyptians laid out the pyramids to the
following dimensions:

the base side was 440 royal cubits of 28 fingers
the height was 280 royal cubits of 28 fingers
the slope was 28 fingers to 22 fingers
the apothem was 356 royal cubits of 28 fingers
>Petrie's book was out of print for many years, but it has been republished
>recently. It is _The Pyramids and Temples of Ghizeh_ by Sir William Flinders
>Petrie. (2nd edition London: Histories & Mysteries of Man Ltd., 1990, This is
>a reprint of the 1885 book published by the Royal Society. The first edition
>was published in 1883.) Petrie has this to say about pyramidologists:
> "It is useless to state the real truth of the matter, as it has no
> effect on those who are subject to this type of hallucination.
> They can but be left with the flat earth believers and other such
> people to whom a theory is dearer than a fact."

Some of us disagree. In fact it is useful to state the real truth of the matter
particularly in an archaeology group.
>(This is from p. 35 of his book _Seventy Years in Archaeology_ (London:
> Sampsom Low, Marston & Co.) The quotes later in this post are from
> his _Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh_.)
>The fictitious sets of measurements come mainly from either a four volume set
>of books, _Pyramidology_ by Adam Rutherford (Bedfordshire, Great Britain: The
>Institute of Pyramidology, 1961) or from David Davidson and his Encyclopedic
>(and boring and racist) tome (tomb?) volume _The Great Pyramid, Its Divine
>Message_ (London: Williams and Norgate, 1937).

It isn't so much that the measurements are fictitious as it is that what is
attributed to them seems a bit extreme sometimes. The measurements are actually
known to quite a good accuracy from Coles survey.

>I've read Peter Tompkins book already mentioned in this group.
>It distorts Petrie's contributions and simply omits any data contrary to
>Pyramidology, but I think that it covers the history of Pyramidology fairly
> well.

Petrie is mentioned at some length in the book. It mentions that he
cleared the base sockets and established good measurements but also
that he took a mean of several measurements to get a value which agreed
with his personal theories.

>Now I will address a couple claims as follows:
>1.) The Pyramid baselines record the exact length of the solar year
>(3665.242 - accurate to a thousandth of an inch) using units called
>the "pyramid inch" and the "sacred cubit".

If that were true the sides of the base would be close to 36524"/4
or 9131 English inches
>2.) The Pyramid encodes an extremely accurate value for Pi.

The height of the pyramid is related to the perimeter of its base
as the radius of a circle to its circumference. If the perimeter
is 36524" then the height should be close to 11626" or 484'- 5"

>There is no evidence in any literature or from archaeology that the
>"sacred cubit" and "pyramid inch" are units of measure used by the
>ancient Egyptians.

There are Egyptian rulers and yardsticks divided into a cubit of
28 fingers which consistently measure between 523 and 525 mm

According to Petrie, the Egyptians did use a
>cubit measure equal to 20.632 +- 0.004 inches.

A Royal cubit of 7 palms of 28 fingers = 525 mm
A foot and one half of 6 palms of 24 fingers = 450 mm
a cubit of 5 palms of 20 fingers = 375 mm
a foot of 4 palms of 16 fingers = 300 mm

A Roman foot measured 296 mm and was divided into 16 parts
An English foot of 304.8 mm is divided into 12 parts
One of the first to notice this was Sir Issac Newton
who proposed the above values for Egyptian cubits based
on the measurements of John Greaves.

Thats fairly close corespondence for a standard of measure alledged
to be almost 5000 years old. Just to drive the point home farther
the British foot is not exactly the same as the American foot
in our own time.

The sacred cubit and
>pyramid inch were first mention by 19th century pyramidologists.

Wrong. They were first mentioned by Newton. If you are going to be
a debunker you might at least get your facts straight.

>The two most significant of these are John Taylor who wrote a book
>"The Great Pyramid: Why Was it Built? And Who Built It?" and Piazzi
>Smyth who wrote after Taylor in the 1860's "Our Inheritance in the
>Great Pyramid." Piazzi Smyth was the astronomer royal of Scotland
>and as such lent early pyramidology some credibility in some circles.
>(Smyth is in fact the chief culprit in starting this "cult". His book
>went through many printings and was translated in several languages
>and spread pyramidology all over the world.)

Both brilliant mathematicians, well respected and sucessful in their
professions, who in Smyth's case went so far as to have special
instruments constructed and brought to Egypt to conduct extremely careful
measurements of the pyramid. Petrie in fact went to Egypt to follow up
on Smyth's work.

>These two were British-Israelites who believe that the white peoples of
>northwest Europe, particularly those of Great Britain and those who
>migrated to the U.S are descendants of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel.

There is no connection between the two other than that they were both
mathematicians from Britain.

>According to them the pyramid was built by some Biblical patriarch
>such as Job or Enoch. The pyramid allegedly encodes statistics
>about the form and measure of the earth and also contains a map of
>Bible history and future prophecy. (The prophecies have all failed
>so far. Rutherford thought the millennium would begin by 1977;
>Davidson set a date of Aug. 1953; Smyth thought that the millennium
>would start no later than 1960.)

The Biblical prophecies are an artifact of an age in which people took
their religion seriously, much as we do our science.

>They claim that the ancients built the pyramid using an English unit
>of measure, the inch. The sacred cubit equals 25 inches.

Actually this was Sir Isaac Newtons idea, but despite his dablings in Alchemy
and interest in the Temple of Jerusalems measurements, his reputation has
held up better than Smyth's, so debunkers attribute it to the less
reputable source.

To be sure
>the inch unit did change some over the years. The primitive or
>"pyramid inch" is 1.00106 British inches. The difference was estimated
>using the early (1830s) measurements of the pyramid baseline which was
>9140 inches to a side. Multiply that by 4 and you get 36,560 inches
>as the sum of all four baselines. Well, modify the inch a little and
>hypothesize a sacred cubit of 25 inches and (viola!) the baseline of
>the pyramid is 365.242 sacred cubits, a figure equal to the length of
>the solar year in days. This idea was first proposed by John Taylor
>over 130 years ago.

The original British foot and inch came from the Roman foot and inch which
between the two of them neatly bracket the Egyptian value.
>Here is a picture to illustrate this idea:
> . ------------
> side .'|`. top |`. '|
> view .' | `. view | `. .' |
> .' | `. | `' |
> .' | `. | .' `. |
> ------------------ |.' `.|
> <- 9140 inches --> ------------
> <- 9140 inches ->
> If one side is 9140 inches then the perimeter of the
> base is 9140x4 or 36560 -- pretty close to the number
> of days in a century.
> Petrie's measurements show that the actual lengths
> were between 9120 and 9130 inches showing that the
> claim is wrong.

so if we use 9131 x 4 we get 36524... hmmm

>Note that this inch idea is strictly inferred. It has no basis in
>fact beyond the curious relationships alleged by pyramidologists.

well we might also note that the perimeter in cubits gives the value
of a mile in yards (1760) or that the measure of the run of the base
in 1/24th cubit increments is 5280, the number of feet in a mile

>Pyramidologists will speak of a "boss" in the ante-chamber to the
>Kings chamber that is supposed to encode the pyramid inch. Petrie
>measured this boss. According to Petrie, "This boss, of which so much
>has been made by theorists, is merely a rough projection, like
>innumerable others that may be seen; left originally for the purpose
>of lifting the blocks. When a building was finished these bosses
>were knocked away (I picked up a loose one among the waste heaps at
>Ghizeh) and the part was dressed down and polished like the rest of the
>stone. It is only in unimportant parts that they are left entire.
>This boss on the leaf is very ill-defined, being anything between 4.7
>and 5.2 [in inches] wide, and between 3.3 and 3.5 high on it's outer

The interest in measuring the details as well as the overall measurements
is the establishment off the units which were used as being fingers
palms, hands, feet and cubits such as we find on Egyptian measuring rules.

The interior measurements do bear out the use of cubits.

>Latter day pyramidologists will measure the baselines from some
>"socket" corners that extend a little further out from the edges of
>the pyramid.

The sockets were exposed by Petrie and were the basis of Coles survey,
for which they were recleared by Borchardt. The question is whether to
measure the pyramid from the line of its casing, or from the line of its pavement
or from the line of its sockets which protrude a few mm. The Pavement which
is about 450 mm high could also be measured either from its top or from its base.
and additionaly the sides of the faces are inset 450 mm from a straight line
at their mid point.

The overall difference is within the range of the coefficient of expansion of the

They claim that this outer measure is where the
>original design pyramid was to be built, but a smaller pyramid
>was built instead.

The intent is to determine what the architectural design was.
It seems that a good case can be made that the measures were in cubits,
and that there were 440 in the base and 280 in the height. This agrees
well with all the observed measurements.

One problem with modern popular books on the
>pyramid by British-Israelites and new agers is that these books
>quote figures that pertain to this so-called design pyramid, but
>the design pyramid is not the same as the pyramid that was built.

No the problem with the New Agers is that they are not content to
stop with a simple statement of the facts. The facts are quite sufficiently
astounding on their own as far as I am concerned.

They do give good values for Pi and Phi and they do indicate a correlation
between measures of Time and Space which has continued in use into our own
time. End of story.

>There is no archaeological or historical evidence to show that the
>ancients intended any design other than what was actually built.

The point is that the design which was built is quite adequate to show
the intentional use of good values for Pi, Phi, the length of a year
and the circumference of the Earth.
>The early estimates of the baselines were not accurate. This is
>because by the 1800's almost all of the original casing stones that
>once covered the pyramid had been stripped leaving only the core masonry
>that we see today. When Petrie did his survey in 1881, he was able
>to recover casing stones buried under 12 to 20 feet of debris right at
>the pyramid base on all four sides. His measurements of baselines and
>distances between the socket corners are as follows (+-0.1 in):
> N 9069.4 9129.8 9002.3
> E 9067.7 9130.8 8999.4
> S 9069.5 9123.9 9001.7
> W 9068.6 9119.2 9002.5
>All of these lengths are much to short to match any of claims made
>by the pyramidologists concerning the years in a day idea. Note
>that the measurements are in real inches. To get "pyramid inches"
>you have to divide by 1.00106 (or 1.0011 depending on which
>pyramidologist you want to believe).

Note that if you use your measurements for the sockets in real inches
the smallest square which will enclosee the base is very close to 9131"
4 times 9131" is 35524". That is using your numbers. Architecturaly
the sockets would be the logical place from which to measure.

>By refuting the pyramid inch idea all other claims based on the
>pyramid inch become baseless, but if you have any particular
>claim -- ask me -- I have checked out several of them. Better
>yet -- check yourself -- I have observed that Pyramidologists have
>the habit of using false or obsolete information and are almost
>always wrong about specific claims.

I am always amused by the blinders worn by professional debunkers and
refuters. In case you are interested Coles survey was both more accurate
than Petries, using measuring tripods, tensioned tapes and correction
constants annd theodolites, but look at the values he got for the baseline

N 230,251 mm
E 230,391 mm
S 230,454 mm
W 230,357 mm

He measures the South side as the longest

>The pi ratio in the pyramid is derived from the ratio of the
>pyramid baseline divided by the height. The average baseline
>is 9,068.8.

Why not use the socket measure like everybody else?

This reminds me of the story of a pyramidologist caught filing down
an edge to get his numbers to add up. That is exactly what you are
doing here. To prove the theory wrong without using the best possible
correlation of the existing measures is laughable.

Divide this by the height (5776 +- 7 inches) and you
>get 1.5701. This value times two is 3.1402. A better approximation
>of pi is obtained using the angle of the slope of the faces of the
>pyramid. The angle for the north slope according to Petrie is
>51 deg. 50 min. 40 sec. +- 1 min. 5 sec. The same ratios in a
>pyramid with this angle yield a value of 3.1427+-0.002.

Now lets try it using the height of 484'-5" and the base side of 760'-11"

>Petrie explains this as follows:
> "For the whole form the pi proportion (height is the radius of a
> circle = circumference of Pyramid) has been very generally
> accepted of late years, and is a relation strongly confirmed by
> the presence of the numbers 7 and 22 in the number of cubits in
> height and base respectively; 7:22 being one of the best known
> approximations to pi. With these numbers (or some slight
> fractional correction on the 22) the designer adopted 7 of a
> length of 20 double cubits for the height; and 22 of this length
> for the half-circuit. The profile used for the work being thus
> 14 rise on 11 base."

hmmm how does that work if the height is 280 cubits? Well 280/14 = 20
how about the base run? Well 440/2 = 220; 220/11 = 20. 1760/560 = 3.1428
thats not too bad for 2500 BC, but what if we use inches?
36524/11626 = 3.141579219

>This picture maybe of help:
> .
> .'|`.
> .' | `.
> .' | `.
> .' | `.
> .' 14 | `.
> .' | `.
> .'____________|____________`.
> <---- 11 ---->
>The Pi value in the pyramid is an interesting feature, but the
>facts show that the value that can be found is not any more accurate
>then the value of 22/7 for pi (or 11/14 for pi/4) that is traditionally
>attributed to Archimedes.

You may be suprised to learn that most of the Greek math came from the
Egyptians and was even performed using the Egyptian unit fractions.

Still the fact that the Egyptians were using mathematics is a definite
improvement on those debunkers who claimed the pyramid was laid out using a wheel!

It is not at all clear that the Egyptians
>intended this Pi relationship to be a design feature per se. The
>Egyptians experimented with different slopes in other pyramids. An
>interesting case is the bent pyramid of Dashur where the original angle
>was too steep and was changed mid-way through construction.

Again you have your facts wrong. Many pyramids in Egypt have other
than strictly pyramidal forms and it does not mean these were
corrections or unintended design features.
>The recognition of this feature of the pyramid is not and should not
>be viewed as a concession that the pyramidologists are correct about
>this claim. The pyramidologist claim is that the pyramid value for
>Pi is extremely accurate and had to have been a design feature of the
>Pyramid. The value is not that accurate and may not have been a
>design feature as such.

Well, ok, let's allow that as a working hypothesis and put it to the test;
again using your numbers. What about the value of Phi ?

The half base or run is 220 cubits. The sloped side or Apothem is 356 cubits
356/220 = 1.6181...

Also the area of the square on the height is quite close
to the are of the sloped side

280 x 280 = 78400; 356 x 220 = 78320
>There are good reasons, BTW, to believe that the Egyptians and Cheops
>(also called Khufu) built the pyramid apart from historical records.

Nobody is arguing that... are they?

>In the Great Pyramid Cheop's name is written on stones used to build
>the roof of the King's chamber (I've read some claims that these
>may have been forged but I don't know the facts).

Howard Vyse found quarry marks on the stones in Davidsons chamber with
Khufus cartouche and the year 17.

There is another
>stone from one of the corners of the Great Pyramid that bears the
>inscription, "The Craftsmen gang, How powerful is the White Crown of
>Khnum Khufu!".
>Good information on the pyramids can be found in I.E.S. Edwards
>_The Pyramids of Egypt_ which should be available in many local
>libraries. You also might check out "The Ancient Engineers" by L.
>Sprague De Camp.

Well I like science fiction as much as the next guy, but the expert source
on the topic of mensuration has definitely got to be Stecchinis Apendix.

>What you say is a little misleading. The claims that I have read say that
>there are no extant Egyptian records either written or pictorial that
>cast light on the methods used by the builders of the *Pyramids*. Egyptian
>history spans 31 dynasties. In summary:
>I & II Dynasties Archaic Period 3188-2815 B.C
>III - VI Dynasties Old Kingdom 2815-2294 B.C
>VII - X Dynasties First Intermediate Period 2294-2132 B.C
>XI - XII Dynasties Middle Kingdom 2132-1777 B.C
>XIII - XVII Dynasties Second Intermediate Period 1777-1573 B.C
>XVIII - XX Dynasties New Kingdom 1573-1090 B.C
>XXI - XXV Dynasties Late New Kingdom 1090- 663 B.C
>XXVI Dynasties Saite Period 663- 525 B.C
>XXVII - XXXI Dynasties Late Period 525- 332 B.C

Late predynastic c 3000 BC

I & II Dynasties Archaic Period 2920-2649 B.C
III - VI Dynasties Old Kingdom 2649-2152 B.C
VII - X Dynasties First Intermediate Period 2150-2040 B.C
XI - XII Dynasties Middle Kingdom 2040-1783 B.C
XIII - XVII Dynasties Second Intermediate Period 1783-1550 B.C
XVIII - XX Dynasties New Kingdom 1550-1070 B.C
XXI - XXV Dynasties Late New Kingdom 1070- 657 B.C
XXVI Dynasties Saite Period 657- 525 B.C
XXVII - XXXI Dynasties Late Period 525- 332 B.C
Greco Roman 332 - 30 B.C.
Roman Emperors 30 B.C. - 395 A.D.

>Virtually all the great pyramids that are talked about were built
>during the Old Kingdom period. That is over 4,500 years ago.
>There was a revival of pyramid building in the XII dynasty, but
>these later pyramids are much smaller and are constructed differently
>than the Giza and other old kingdom pyramids.

So 4,500 years ago much of what we attribute to the Greeks and Romans
was already in use in Egypt.

>Your hieroglyphic interpretations regarding beer and other subjects
>may very well have come from anytime during the 2700 years of
>history. Any pyramid construction records would have to have
>survived from the old kingdom period. The first intermediate
>period was an age of anarchy and chaos in which virtually all the
>old kingdom monuments were looted and vandalized. Few records of
>any kind survive from this ancient period.

Except of course the archaeological record of the ordinary people
living in Egypt who went on living and working as they had before.

>There are some records of a sort from later dynasties. There is a
>picture on the tomb of Jehutihetep, a 12th dynasty noble man showing
>a 60 ton statue being pulled on a sledge by 172 men. There is a
>time keeper (yelling "stoke" or some equivalent) standing on the knee
>of the seated figure. There are others pouring water or oil on to the
>ground to lessen the friction. This picture is very much like your
>"workers dragging a capstone" image you talk about.

Herodotus informs us that the blocks used in building the Great Pyramid
were lifted into place using machines formed from short pieces of wood.
They weighed about 5 tons, which is a far cry from 60 tons, and which if it
seems incredible to you you might consider in terms of the labor necessary
to haul a boat out of the water for its annual maintenence.

>Your statement regarding "not a shread of evidence" is not accurate.
>Having not extant records is not the same as no evidence. There
>are remains of tools and ramps at places such as the temple of
>Karnak and the pyramids at Lisht, Meidum, and Dahshur. Many
>of the building blocks have annotations on them. In the Great
>Pyramid Cheop's name is written on stones used to build the roof
>of the King's chamber. There is another stone from the Great Pyramid
>that bears the inscription, "The Craftsmen gang, How powerful is the
>White Crown of Khnum Khufu!". The marking of stones by the various
>work gangs is found in many pyramids. This evidence does not tell
>us how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, but it is ample
>evidence that show that they did build them and that their methods
>were highly skilled but low-tech.


>The source of my information is I.E.S. Edwards _The Pyramids
>of Egypt_. Get a copy or check one out of your library.
> *** *** ***
>I don't know if anyone else has posted similar information in this
>current thread. I hope some of you find it useful, even if it is
>very late as it apparently is.

Yes your information is late, the discussion is over and most of
the participants gone home, but thanx for the input.

>Most of the responses I have seen reflect simple common sense. Given
>enough different measurements plus appropriate fudging and source
>obsfucation, someone can prove virtually anything using the methods
>of Pyramidologists.

Oh, come off it. Either run the numbers and let them fall where they may...
or leave the field to those who care enough to do so. Putting up phony and
easily destroyed factually inconsistent and incorrect "refutations" just
makes you look ridiculous and lends credence to the very theories you
would dispute.
>In Jesus name.... ;)
>John Baskette

By Jove; it figures you would be an impious heathen :)