A British engineer has stunned archaeologists by claiming their theories on how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids are wrong.
For centuries, archaeologists have believed the ancient Egyptians built the huge pyramids by hauling heavy granite blocks up specially crafted ramps. According to this theory, it would have taken 100,000 people laying a large block every three minutes to put together a structure consisting of 2 million blocks in total.
But veteran structural engineer Peter James of Cintec International, a world leader in the restoration of ancient structures, contends they were in fact created by piling up rubble on the interior prior to the subsequent attachment of the bricks.
He claims the prevailing theory proposed by archaeologists is impossible, as the ramps for this kind of work would have been at least a quarter of a mile in length to achieve the right angle for the bricks to reach such great heights. In some cases, he said, the ramps on the outside would have been bigger than the pyramid itself.
James, who has studied pyramids for the past 20 years, said that if the they had been built according to the current theory, there would still be some evidence of the use of such immense construction ramps.
He believes the Egyptians built an inner core of zigzagging ramps using smaller, lighter blocks, while the larger outer casing stones were placed in layers externally using scaffolding made from timber and lashings. This is an approach James knows well, having successfully used it himself while performing restoration work on the pyramids.
James is prepared to go to war with archaeologists over his theory.
“They will say: ‘How would you know? You’re not an archaeologist,’" he said. "But if you wanted a house built would you use me or an archaeologist? Archaeologists have never had the engineering experience.”
James’ theory supports another proposed by French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin who, in 2007, claimed the ramp must have been a spiral situated 30 to 50 feet beneath the outer layer.
If these theories prove to be correct, it will demonstrate that only 4,000 people would have been required to build the pyramids.