“We Couldn’t Build the Great Pyramid Today” – We Could Do Better

I’m nearly finished with the book by David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914. I don’t ever want to hear any such nonsensical statement again about how the Great Pyramid is beyond modern reach.  Ever. To not laugh when I hear it would be to suffer a fool, and that wasn’t my strong suit before I read the book.

Just one statistic will suffice for this post. It has been estimated that, if the Great Pyramid were built today it would require 3 million cubic yards of concrete. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? A drop in the bucket compared to the Panama Canal.

In just the American phase of the construction (1903-1914) a total of 238,845,587 cubic yards were excavated. In 1907, men were moving 1,000,000 cubic yards every month. Three million cubic yards pales in comparison. It would have been a vacation for the tens of thousands of men working in Panama. And the cubic yardage doesn’t even begin to describe the engineering logistics and obstacles, not to mention this was all done through waves of malaria and yellow fever.It’s truly a colossal feat of engineering.

But, Mike, you say, it’s not a fair comparison. The people building the canal had machines like steam shovels and trains. Uh … that’s my point. We *could* build the Great Pyramid today and it wouldn’t require aliens, just like it didn’t back in ancient Egypt. As impressive as the Great Pyramid is, its engineering problems are known and solvable. Sure, a couple of dim-witted scientists in a NOVA television special weren’t up to the task — which only shows they weren’t up to the task. Engineers like Jean Pierre Houdin have articulated in great (and coherent) detail how the pyramid could have been built without modern machinery. Other engineers (namely Davidovits and Barsoum) have proposed that the pyramid blocks were fabricated ancient concrete. Scholars of Egyptian engineering are well informed in Egyptian construction methods, including the pyramids.

And isn’t it odd how ancient astronaut theorists never seem to talk about the failed pyramid projects, like the pyramid of Huni (the Meidum collapsed pyramid), built during the reign of Sneferu, the father of Khufu? Maybe the aliens were on vacation for that one. And also the Bent Pyramid . . . and the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which was built in stages after altering the non-pyramid burial mastaba style. These are all examples of human engineering — the Egyptians learned how to build pyramids gradually, trying new techniques and learning from failures. Pyramid engineering evolved through various transitions. The pyramids themselves demonstrate this quite clearly. To say they needed alien help is just insulting.



88 thoughts on ““We Couldn’t Build the Great Pyramid Today” – We Could Do Better

  1. well yes, lol especially when you say they “specialize in ancient construction techniques” when they of course hehe…didnt build the pyramids, tell me, what makes someone an expert in something they werent there to witness or even really build?again, just because we have tape measurers and fancy equations doesnt mean we have mastered all of physics and geometry.
    and once again, selective journalism at its finest. quote from you “yes, engineers would be the last person to listen to” my quote “there are plenty of credited engineers that would say the opposite”. AND “do things like read ancient sources for how they did things” well, the egyptians also wrote about an alligator headed, upper body lion,lower body hippo demon named ammit. Do you take that seriously? Theres no telling what any of the stuff they wrote really ment. Wether its about gods or construction.
    Everything you have on this website and all the links cannot be considered valuable sources of information because its biased beyond belief…

  2. You know the problem I have with claiming the Giza pyramids were a gradual production of Egyptian production alone is this:
    1) We have tried for the last 2000 years now in various cultures & civilizations to reproduce the building of those pyramids & have failed… miserably!
    2) Even if the Egyptians did build the pyramids where did they get the math, so much of the math they were using was way beyond the capabilities of their era & even many era & cultures after them didn’t duplicate it (but I’m not selling the Egyptian capabilities short), it’s just that if we can’t even reproduce it today with all the capabilities & advances we have how did they build Khufu’s pyramid at Giza in just 20 years. & each one of the Giza Pyramids was built in the life of one man but you’d think that ok the next pyramid after Khufu’s would have been bigger & better but then poof you get a the smallest one at giza. Somethings wrong with that picture… were the Egyptians trying to down size their architecture like we downsize
    our computer technology? why the hell would they feel the need to do that?
    3) How the hell did they move 2.3 million stone blocks each weighing 2.5 tonnes in just 20 yeas & then place them neatly in pyramid fashion building upwards & all the while build an interior labyrinth of corridors & rooms. You know if they were going downwards I could see them doing it all by themselves but that wasn’t the case. OH wait a minute they found a 4th pyramid by satellite recently with a very long ramp… the ramp starts downwards and ends at the bottom & is the longest ramp we’ve seen yet.
    4) Then the three pyramids of Giza are a perfect reproduction of the 3 stars of Orion’s belt… wait a minute they
    were aligned with a star constellation… WTF for? Orions belt is a pretty boring constellation to be so obsessed about even for an ancient don’t you think? So WTF was that all about?
    5) The Temple of Karnak is beyond anything we’ve ever produced in the last 2600 years since Herodotus.
    The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big, St Peter’s, Milan and
    Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its walls. The Hypostyle
    hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest
    room of any religious building in the world. In addition to the main
    sanctuary there are several smaller temples and a vast sacred lake.

    How they hell did they do that? Ancient civilization, barely evolved to stage of the Greek & Persian civilizations.
    They’re production make Greek & Persian productions look scanty & puny not even the Romans exemplify such magnificent architecture! How could they do this…mere barbarians compared to our era!
    6) Modern engineers like to hypothesis & theorize how the Egyptians did with very little evidence of the positions
    since we still don’t really know how they did it all by themselves with no guiding help from another extra source
    of creativity. The Modern engineer has the bias of modern technology, yet modern technology has not
    reproduced the smallest of the Giza pyramids or any production like it.
    7) OK granted Alex Collier is quite a wack job, & thinks he talks to aliens (Schizophrenia implied) but Zacharia Sitchin was a notable expert in Sumerian cuniform with a degree in economics & he rendered evidence & examples that to date show that extra-terrestrial phenomenon in Babylonian/Sumerian civilizations is implied. If so, how come skeptics so easily dismiss that the Great Pyramids don’t imply some extra-terrestrial involvement in our past.
    8) We’ve yet to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a random Darwinian solution is the origin of our species.
    Modern day interpretation of humanities origins seem accurate on the surface of things but when we dig deeper into our origins we find tremendous complexities that get us into endless arguments to the point that i can no longer accept the tradtional gradual evolution theory is the only plausible explanation out there. I agree gradual evolution occurs but I do not agree that gradual evolution is the only explanation for the production of man & nature.
    9) There are other theories other than the standard tripe, they should be explored but every time someone from
    outside authoritative positions explores them, (usually because the public gets little & next to 0 closure on the
    research controlled & conducted usually by the political correct), these people get black listed or shunned by
    government detractors.
    10) if the Alien theorist are so wrong why do so many detractors come out and vehemently attack them.
    If they’re so wrong people will notice & say hey look at these bafoons. But in reality so many people are
    fascinated by the alien archeology theorists that I can’t believe that these detractors are correct.
    11) An ancient Peruvian civilization out of Cusco & Machu Picchu had a unique series of artifacts we’ve
    discovered. They depicted ancient wonders that defy our sense of reasoning today that we had no interaction
    with Gods or extra-terrestrials & did not have exposure to the dinosaurs but the Ica stones say different & they
    even indicate we had technology in the past even more advanced than what we have today.
    It actually led to the Jurassic Park theory that we could bio-engineer dinosaurs and while it was hailed as
    science fiction back in the 90’s, today it’s theoretical possible given our advances in bio-engineering.
    12) What science knows today is only a fraction of what humanity has known in the past & what we will
    know over the next thousand years. Machiu Kaku theoretical physicist believes aliens exist & we may one
    day be faced with an invasion of aliens. His remark from an interview in support of SETI, “We could be in the
    middle of an intergalactic conversation…and we wouldn’t even know.” shows he thinks it will take us by
    surprise one day. SETI – search for extraterrestrial intelligence… This is the same same as the
    Egyptian God SET minus the I (as in eye of Ra), now I don’t think that that is a coincidence either.
    Do you? If so, did you actually study this shit… i did & well OK i’m not totally credulous but I’m
    not totally skeptical either…

    There is just too many fraking grey area’s to say either way in these maters.

    • Nobody has any reason to reproduce the pyramids — and frankly, who tried? I don’t know any instances where other ancient cultures said, “we need to do one of those, too.” They built other amazing things, like the lighthouse at Alexandria. It’s a false “litmus test.”

      Their math wasn’t beyond the task at all. You don’t need calculus to build a pyramid. A base-ten system and fractions (and geometric principles – like the 3-4-5 principle Wallignton shows in his video – to produce the angle of the great pyramid – is just fine).

      On the “how?” watch Wallington’s video and then watch Houdin’s video. This has quite workable solutions using simple principles of counterweight and leverage. It’s frankly brilliant.

      The Orion correlation is also simply achieved. (It’s also not “perfect” but that’s beside the point). You could do this today with a straight line object – align it visually, measure the angle of the offset, apply the results to a small scale grid on the ground, then plot the larger grid.

      Basically everything you have in this comment is answered in the materials on this site, so I’m not going to go through this whole thing. None of it is unknown to folks who specialize in Egyptian engineering and quarrying methods. It’s all ground that’s been covered. While ancient astronaut theorists and Internet writers are breathlessly saying it’s all a mystery, real scholars have produced answers that are repeatable, scaleable, and reflected by the archaeological record.

      • The thing with you and people like you is that whenever something is discussed that defies the accepted mainstream explanation you tend to latch to small meaningless aspects and fail to look at the overall big picture.

        See,its not just Egypt. Every ancient culture has these enormous, seemingly without purpose, bigger-than-life structures. Why?

        Cave people, all of sudden decide to build gigantic monuments to their gods?
        Bronze age people all of sudden can do wondrous things, and as it so happens, NO ONE after them can replicate them? to me it sounds like a pointer.

        How come we can reproduce everything they did EXCEPT these buildings?

        Look at the bigger picture here: There is an important piece of history we lost, and it seems connected to all these achievements.

        What about the Olmecs?, hell, what about the great deluge? the Great Pyramid is just the tip of the iceberg, like someone saying: “try to understand this and reproduce, fail and know that someone else did (aliens or humans way more intelligent than us) and try to learn about us and come after our markings”

        Its the only reasonable explanation i have to the riddle of ancient human history.

        • These comments are old, but your response was just so poorly thought out that I have to respond.

          Did you even read the article, or actually research the topic at all? You say all of the sources cited are biased? In reality it’s common sense. Of f***ing course they can be recreated today (using current technology/building methods). Any past recreation attempts I know of were pursued trying to use what tools and methods may have been used during their time period. We may have failed at those attempts, but does that mean aliens are the most plausible way they were built? I have a feeling you would say yes… but most would actually think about this a bit more than brushing up on a few Ancient Aliens episodes, and say f**k no. We don’t build everything by hand anymore, so over time, many of the most efficient methods have been forgotten and replaced with easier methods using modern machinery. So the recreation failure doesn’t mean much. We could easily build these pyramids with current machinery, but wtf would we learn from doing that? If you say we would learn that it can actually be recreated then you are much more stupid than I thought.

  3. Sure it was people. But we couldn’t build a better pyramid faster today and that is a fact. I work in the iron industry and I see crazy things built that you’d never believe, even have a hand in them. Your article offers little to no proof of anything either, and you are calling your commenters ignorant for calling you out. We don’t have the technology to lift these stones without abrasion marks, perfectly into place, to create the hydraulic pump system that is the pyramid of Giza. Of course it was people who built the pyramid. But they were smarter than you and I. Have you ever heard of Acoustic Resonance Levitation? With nobody truly mastering the technique in modern society, the pyramid could never be built, and to say we could do better is surely an ignorant thing to say. Society is deteriorating, to the point where people don’t even offer explanations in their arguments. “We built the panama canal therefore we can build the pyramid too :D!” If there was a simpleton explanation like that for everything, I’m sure it would say alot about humanity as a whole, but instead, it just says alot about you. You must remember people are not becoming more, intelligent with time. We have been a straight downward path for the last 250 years due to the powers that be, and you are foolish if you think you are exempt. The information achieved by carbon dating shows the stones were moved in a timely manner. I do truly believe with effort the great pyramid of Giza could have been built by people WITHOUT doubt. But the elaborate complexities inside the pyramid would be nowhere near the level of perfection. These pyramids, unlike Rome, WERE built in a day (or 7). But I don’t see you using that data. See, each molecule has a magnetic value. Acoustic resonance uses this to lift objects and basically “take their weight away”, so you can basically slide it into place. I have no doubt they used barges to transport quarried stones, but humans didn’t lift them into place with brute strength, or there would be alot more imperfection than what you see. Also stop talking to people like they are stupid, or saying every argument has to do with aliens. I don’t say shit here about aliens, so don’t even use the alien mockery trick in your reply. The problem with people, is that they are willing to sell themselves short as soon as they can’t figure it out, it must have involved foreign help. Which by the way, is retarded, people are intelligent beings. We used to be the most intelligent thing on Earth. The most powerful, of course we built these ourselves, but we had smarter people than engineers doing math. I strongly doubt you could throw a pyramid of Giza up in a week and have a better result, because the devolution of society is willing to bet you’re wrong.

    • What prove is there that the pyramids were built in 7 days? I have only heard of the time span of 20 years. I mean the great pyramid of Giza consists of 2.3 million blocks. 7 days = 604800 seconds so they must have moved and placed 3,8 let’s say 4 blocks per second; if people worked 24/7. Seems a bit much for one pyramid alone, let alone multiple.
      Also we can move those blocks and place them precisely without abrasion marks, we have total stations with which we can exactly mark locations and cranes can lift 7,000 tons; put some long slings or hell even ropes for that matter and you’ll have no abbreviation marks. It’ll take a lot to stop abbreviation on big rocks, yes, but it works. Or you could just use the good old Dutch block buster!
      Even if it’s too small we could make it bigger, that’s the thing: if the construction is too big you can always scale up your equipment.
      You mention this levitation technique, but how would they even do that? With trumpets… drums… or something? I don’t know, you’ll probably have a good idea of how it could have worked since you mentioned it. And why if they can easily lift blocks didn’t they use it for combat purposes too? There would be nothing better then sending your enemies floating in the air I would think. Just get your levitation squad in an heavily protected armored vehicle of sorts and start dominating whatever enemy you encounter.
      There are signals that humanity perhaps is getting dumber since there are few challenges which test us to our limits anymore, but that’s in GENERAL. That doesn’t mean we won’t have our share of geniuses anymore.
      Yes the pyramids are impressive constructions and it’s amazing what they’ve done… but it’s precise and advanced… block stacking… for the most part at the end of the day.

  4. I agree that we could build a pyramid today if we wanted to. One important point that you seem to have missed is the very size and the location of the Great Pyramid suggests that the ancients’ veneration for the universe produced advanced mathematicians and engineers whose knowledge was eventually obliterated. There might come a day when people will not know just how the Panama Canal was built.

  5. In 1999 experts were so convinced that not only could they build a Pyramid using modern tools, but build it better than the Egyptians did, that they decided to let themselves be filmed while they did so. It was broadcast. They failed. Completely. Utterly. Without exception.

    • I know all about this and watched it years ago. Problem with this excuse: they didn’t use the sort of techniques the Egyptians would have used (or that Houdin illustrates more currently, or that Wally Wallington demonstrates). In other words, these “experts” showed a profound ignorance of ancient construction techniques.

  6. Yes but there is evidence the great pyramid was not built at the time of Cheops,the failed pyramids were built way after the best ones which were built at an earlier time.Egyptologists havent realistically said how the great pyramid was built with copper tools.I’d be interested to hear Mike talk about the Baigong pipes of China

  7. The great pyramids of Giza were buit long before the bent pyramid of Djoser or other “failed” attempts. Egyptians were simply trying to copy those supreme works of ancient engineering but failed.

  8. Man, most of the commenters on here are beyond help. They’re like young earth creationists who learn about a detailed mechanism for abiogenesis and say that doesn’t matter because you can’t make life from nonlife.

    • So far I got a guy saying, “I translated some stuff and wrote a bunch of books, you can trust me.” and another saying “I read a bunch of books and got a piece of paper saying I’m better at it than you.”

  9. If anybody could have built a pyramid like the great pyramid, he would have done. Nobody has done it since because nobody has been capable.

    Besides, lets us take the Panama canal that you mention: it has a purpose. What is the purpose of the great pyramid? Were the builders stupid? Was it so easy for them to build it?

    Today, in your sight of our understanding, we have more motivations to replicate the great pyramid than they originally had: first proof we are ahead in techology, second it would be easier for us.

    I do not know who did it, but i will be very carefull not to laugh on the hypothesis, like you do. All you do is talk, but the great pyramid is there and is unique.

    • Actually, many people are more than capable, and would never bother to make a big useless pile of rocks which serves no good purpose whatsoever so stop deluding yourself.

      Simply put, you talk like a complete moron saying like making and mot making square cornered piles of rocks somehow proves and qualifies the worth of a people or an individual.

      Your premise is asinine and bogus.

      Get over your self and go grow up.

      I’ll flip it back on you: where are the space ships such alleged intellectual giants should have built after being supposedly taught by aliens?

      There aren’t any, because, just because they could stack blocks well does not endow them with any superhuman intellectual abilities.

  10. Aliens didn’t have to necessarily have to “help build” the pyramids. Maybe the pyramids were an attempt to connect/reconnect with them(considering their stellar orientations). Plus, it’s only natural for humans to want to feel connected to the universe, and to believe there are other intelligent species out there somewhere. Why you so butt-hurt? People need to have dreams like these. Or else we’d be destined to live and die here on this one planet, and never move on as a species.

  11. Thank you. Thank you for proving there are still people who value REASON and LOGIC! Just the title alone gave me a massive effection erection for humanity (innovative individuals)! Yes we could do a lot better than the pyramids AND WE DID!!!!!! This is the religious debate all over. Whenever some people can’t – for whatever stupid reason – figure out something the answer has to be supernatural or extraterrestial, completely ignoring all the unanswered questions that arises with such stupid remarks!

    Humans (atleast some of us) are AMAZING – GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Is no one going to mention the slave work force they had? Why do we not recreate the pyramids today? Probably because no one wants to pay billions of dollars to have these stones moved by hand. Also if someone died while building the pyramid, there was no wrongful death lawsuit.. Just find another slave to replace them. No one is ever going to reproduce the pyramids exactly how the Egyptians did. I can say that without a doubt. Simply because we have human rights and workers protections in place now. Recreating the pyramids would be a political nightmare today. And why would it happen anyways? To cheapen the originals? No thanks

    • 1, We don’t worship Ra,
      2, We don’t share the ancient Egyptian belief in the afterlife
      3, We have new status symbols which equal self aggrandizement BEFORE we die
      4, We spend our money on things like yachts, private jets, mansions, football teams and other more ‘practical’ wastes of resources.

      That’s why.

    • Nobody cares to.

      As a people, we don’t give a flying flip about pyramids.

      And why should we?

      Its all fine and dandy that those guys wasted their lives and resources no such frivolous play, but now days, we have ‘better’ things to waste our time on.

      • You’re a complete idiot man. Your ignorance shows and you should not talk about those things you know nothin about. The Egyptians themselves talked about the foundation of the pyramid already being there when they got there. Aliens didn’t have to build it but the offical story is whack too . The math does matter. This Michael guy writing this article is not very good at all. He’s actually quite horrible and can’t explain anything past his own predudice. To say all the math that was associated with the pyramid was simple just proves you know nothing about the topic at hand.

        • You call me an idiot and so I may be but as one of the most intelligent people in the USA and on the planet who has been engineering since childhood I still outstrip you by magnitudes.

          I have worked in the engineering of aerospace, energy and construction, even own my own construction company and machine shop, dug more holes, set more stone and leveled more flat places than all you armchair speculators combined and yet you have the nerve to call me an idiot.

          So be it but I have more understanding of complex stone structures and dynamic mineralogical tensions than you will have by the time you are a hundred, if you live that long, so your passing judgment on me means nothing.

          No it did not just take a yard rake and some lose rubble to make the pyramids, but it did not take any truly complex engineering either.

          Other ancient empires had saws and
          Egyptians produced glyphs of chisel tooling.

          The Babylonians had elevated plumbing made at least in part of metal pipe works too. https://www.plumbingsupply.com/pmbabylon.html

          Other empires has plumbing such as the Mayans. http://whyfiles.org/2010/plumbing-ancient-mayan-plumbing/

          In Asia other examples of potential ancient plumbing exist, although there is controversy as to their origins and as to if they are not merely mineralogical flukes of nature, especially given their locations tapping from a salt water source as opposed to a fresh water source, which could potentially indicate they are the result of either nature or an accident, so I did not list those.

          There is a 2000+ year old clock found in a ship wreck showing magnificent mathematical precision and metallurgical complexity which points to people well advanced in science and math beyond the modern expectation but that does not mean that these feats can not be performed today.

          Insulting people because somehow we burst your illusory bubble is childish and immature, but proves nothing.

  13. The Panama Canal was amazing, yes, but nowhere near as impressive and flawless (these block were COMPLETELY level, practically without error) as the Ancient (Ancient=Inferioir right?) Egyptians creation. The Pyramids themselves lasted 1,000s of years, let’s see how long Ol’ Panama will last ?. Ancient Egyptians FTW.

  14. I would like to see someone carve out a 100 ton chunk of granite, haul it 500 miles overland, and machine the angles to within 1/10,000 of an inch using diorite hammers, bronze chisels and drills, etc. Have you ever driven 500 miles to visit a relative? Now move several 100 ton stones that far with no road, machine them perfectly, and place them with laser precision. without wheels, of course.

    It would be a multi million, if not multi billion dollar undertaking with modern machinery, if it could even be done. Could it be done with the tools we say they had? Any professional stone mason or engineer would laugh in your face if you asked them to do even a minuscule task the Egyptians did effortlessly.

  15. Or, since carving and moving gargantuan stones 500 miles away is a bit lofty for anyone to do for the reason of saying “of course we can do what they did,” how about we start with a single vase?

    The vases and bowls they made are flawless in their thickness and symmetry. There is a vase of granite that balances on the rounded bottom the size and shape of a hen’s egg. Should be easy enough for a society that boasts the ability to replicate the pyramids, no? No. Because there isn’t a single person on the face of this entire planet that can replicate a single vase using the tools they allegedly had at their disposal.

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