The call is coming from INSIDE the Pyramid!
November 16, 2008 4:51 PM   Subscribe

A hidden room sealed inside the Great Pyramid may hold the explanation for how the pyramids were built. Previously, it was believed that the construction took place from the outside, but evidence points to the building starting on the inside and working out. Do you want to build your own pyramid at home? Well, that's considerably easier.

Any discussion of exterior building of the pyramids involves a system of ramps, but where are these ramps now? We've found King Tut's honey jar, but curiously, no ramps.

Pyramid interiors previously. (With video!)
posted by grapefruitmoon (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
That giant slapping sound is the mass facepalming of a thousand Egyptologists.
posted by rusty at 5:23 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Any discussion of exterior building of the Empire State Building involves a system of cranes, but where are these cranes now?

Proof positive that the Empire State Building was built by aliens.
posted by DU at 5:45 PM on November 16, 2008 [7 favorites]

Do you want to build your own pyramid at home? Well, that's considerably easier.

Slave labor and civilization sold separately. Offer only valid in Real America.
posted by shadytrees at 5:47 PM on November 16, 2008

As a young Jewish boy, I was told in Hebrew school that the Jewish slaves built the pyramids but to show their hatred of their masters, they purposely left out the windows, knowing that A/C would not be available except in Florida...the Egyptians, when they discovered this ruse decided to kill off the first-born of the Jews and that is why the Jews grabbed matzoh and fled to the desert...They spent some 40 years wandering, without GPS, but finally Aaron, the brother of Moses, got bullish, and Moses, losing his cool, climbed up a mountain and returned with a to do list of things not to do and a few things to do. The people cheered for him and said: let us go forth, find some milk, honey...and so it came to pass.
posted by Postroad at 6:25 PM on November 16, 2008 [6 favorites]

I've been following Jean-Pierre Houdin and the internal ramp theory for a while. There are a lot of crackpots out there, but he seems to be on to something. Egyptian archaeologists are naturally very conservative about allowing non-archaeologists anywhere near the place (Jean-Pierre Houdin is an architect), they get 100s of requests a year to test some new theory. Last I heard they only consider institutions, like large Universities, and it's a long exspensive process. So Jean-Pierre Houdin will need to have the backing of a large University or government. The National Geographic show should help build his case from a popular view. He says it can be proven with a series of infrared camera pictures taken from an SUV outside the pyramid.
posted by stbalbach at 6:26 PM on November 16, 2008

I'm watching this now (east Coast, usa). In the first 8 minutes of the program the narrator has insisted that two of the previously imagined construction methods (ramps) are impossible when, in fact, they are largely improbably. The jist? The building ramp is just inside the structure instead of just outside the structure. So. . . there might then be a hollow ramp-way just inside the pyramid that wasn't back filled when the structure was completed. Okay, this is very interesting but is it really, as the narrator has insisted, the most important find since Tut was found?

Why is it so hard for some people to imagine that these "privative" people could build large complex monuments? The monuments ARE there. Those people MUST have built them. SO WHAT if they had to do it without modern machines.
posted by johnj at 6:30 PM on November 16, 2008

If movies have taught me anything, it is that space aliens built the pyramids with the assistance of cavemen and wooly mammoths.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:13 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

If all it takes is an SUV with infrared cameras, why didn't he/NatGeo rent an suv and drive around the pyramids with some of IR cameras that NatGeo MUST already have instead of climbing up the side of the pyramid and looking around some room that may or may not prove anything?
posted by youthenrage at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2008

I only recently learned that the Great Pyramid used to be covered with a surface of white casing stones polished to a mirrored sheen. During the day, the pyramid's gleam was visible hundreds of miles away. Maybe that's common knowledge to those who know anything about the pyramids, but I had no idea and I think it's totally bad-ass.
posted by painquale at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Does this hidden room bear any relation to the one we tried to access with robots? I wonder what ever happened with that.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:58 PM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

I found this post a little frustrating; was one of these links supposed to provide a detailed account of Houdin's theory and its advantages over other explanations?
posted by washburn at 8:09 PM on November 16, 2008

The construction is coming from inside the pyramid!!!
posted by dirigibleman at 8:46 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

*notices title*

Aw, dammit.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:46 PM on November 16, 2008

washburn - watch the video embedded in the page on the first link.
posted by awfurby at 9:43 PM on November 16, 2008

Why is it so hard for some people to imagine that these "privative" people could build large complex monuments? The monuments ARE there. Those people MUST have built them. SO WHAT if they had to do it without modern machines.

I think you're inserting your own prejudices. We have ample evidence that the Egyptians did not have access to modern tools, so the construction becomes something of a mystery. Finding out how it happened despite the limited technology is an affirmation of the accomplishments of the ancient Egyptians. It's the goofballs who insist it must have been aliens (and there were plenty of them around when I was growing up, but they don't get as much publicity now) are the ones who insult the builders.

One of the greatest recent useful discoveries about the pyramids is, in fact, that they were not built by slaves.
posted by dhartung at 9:56 PM on November 16, 2008

awfurby: I just watched the youtube video; however I didn't see any explanation in it of why an internal spiral ramp would have been a more likely method of construction than, say, an external spiral ramp. (In fact, watching the video of a team working in a little tunnel made it seem like a pretty unlikely and unnecessarily complicated building strategy).

So, I'm still curious about what advantages Houdin's theory is supposed to have. Not quite curious consult the Google, however.
posted by washburn at 9:58 PM on November 16, 2008

^"curious enough to consult the Google"
posted by washburn at 10:00 PM on November 16, 2008

Looking at the link Rhaomi provided above, it looks like the notch that the fella climbed up to is no more than the opening to shafts that have already been identified and measured. The shafts, at least one of them, in Egyptian mythology, where placed in the pyramids to allow the Pharaoh an exit rout into the heavens.
posted by johnj at 10:07 PM on November 16, 2008

youthenrage - "What we need is the authorization, by the Egyptian authorities, to stay around for 18 hours, close to the pyramid, with a cooled infrared camera based on an SUV and to take images of three [pyramid] faces every hour during this period," Houdin said.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:16 PM on November 16, 2008

Ok, I notice that there's a second page of the article from the first link, and that on it they *do* discuss the idea of a spiral ramp:

Another theory suggests a stone ramp wound around the outside of the Great Pyramid. But an outside ramp would have obscured the pyramid's surface—making it impossible for surveyors to use the corners and edges for necessary calculations during constructions, Brier said.

Doesn't sound very convincing, however. I think a spiral ramp, or a spiral cut into the outside of the structure seems much simpler than this elaborate idea involving tunnels and cranes.
posted by washburn at 10:20 PM on November 16, 2008

The internet is not a big truck. It is a system of ramps.
posted by breath at 10:22 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wait a minute. Houdini Houdin made a really smart conjecture - They needed a ramp, why not build it inside? (That is, make it integral with the building's structure/construction?) I buy that. There's nothing to un-build, no wasted material, and minimal extra construction. What I don't get is there seems to be an idea that the pyramid was built from the outside-in. I think it's more likely that it was built up level by level, and as they went, they enclosed the ramp. The final task would have been, yes, back filling the tunnels. (I assume, since I don't believe they're open...though that would be cool as shit, wouldn't it? If you could, like, run all the way to the top of the pyramid inside, pop a hatch at the top and take a look around? Then run back down? Tourists would LOVE that crap.)

Building it this way would elegantly solve lots of problems while presenting very few new ones: Also, it doesn't have to be exclusive - the construction could have (and likely did) use a number of proposed techniques. Including aliens.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:11 AM on November 17, 2008

I don't see why there would need to be an unfilled room in order for this to have worked. But IANAA, so I'm hoping someone will explain it.

Also, if the French team had a density scanner with spiral shaping in the eighties, then why wasn't this question resolved pro-spiral ramp then? National Geographic is making this all a little sensational and unscientific for my tastes.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:08 AM on November 17, 2008

I'm waiting on a time machine so I can go back and check out the pyramids myself, when they were being built.

Pretty sure the Japanese will have this technology as soon as they stop making robots that look like complex insects and arthropods, actually.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:42 AM on November 17, 2008

Fuck that - this is the real reason behind the pyramids...

Incidental to the awesome breech-shitting power of the Giza Chemical Maser is the fact that the front cover of that book looks like Lara Croft's tits circa 1996.
posted by longbaugh at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2008

excuse me, but we all know crystal skulls were behind the construction of pyramids worldwide.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2008

Heh, I heard such stories back in my kindergarten yet ))
posted by Leo Golan at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2008

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