Aliens built the pyramids: True/False?

I don’t mean the kind of aliens who vex immigration authorities but the little green kind, or grey or whatever they are supposed to be these days. The Great Pyramid at Giza is big, and building it was no mean feat, but if you think extraterrestrial engineering was required then you’re just underestimating the abilities of our forebears.

People do just that all the time. It’s too big, they say, or too perfect. It’s the sort of thing you can easily find on the History channel, slotted in between two slightly different accounts of the Normandy landings.

The Great Pyramid is huge, almost 150 metres tall, with most of its building blocks weighing between two and three tons. You aren’t going to put that together in an afternoon. There is no consensus on exactly how the Great Pyramid was built. This isn’t because it’s hard to figure out how it could be done but because there are so many ways to do it and it’s hard to decide from the evidence which method was used.

The Egyptians, it turns out, were pretty sharp when it came to engineering. They had a good grasp of practical mathematics. They had simple machines, of the variety you see in schoolbooks labelled as The Lever, The Inclined Plane and so on. The machines may have been simple, and powered by slaves instead of hydraulics, but they were effective.

As the final nail in the sarcophagus we also know that the pyramids at Giza were not the Egyptians’ first attempt at pyramid building. Other pyramids show that they spent a long time perfecting their methods on pyramids which often left a lot to be desired. No sign of alien intervention, just human error and human ingenuity.

We give the ancients a lot of flack yet they were much the same as us. True, they had to eke out an existence without air conditioning and Twitter but that didn’t mean they couldn’t build a mean pyramid, or bridge, or even a steam engine. The pyramids were build for humans by humans. ET need not apply.

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