The controversy raised by John Anthony West and Robert Schoch concerning the true age of the Great Sphinx is now beginning to overcast the other famous monuments which share space on the Giza plateau—namely, the three pyramids that were supposedly built by Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkhare in the Fourth Dynasty. Were these Pyramids constructed only 4,300 years ago, or—like the Sphinx—is there evidence they could be far older, dating instead to perhaps 12,000 years ago?
Let’s begin first with looking at the age of the Great Pyramid. The conservative historians’ entire case for dating the Great Pyramid to the Fourth Dynasty rests upon two major pieces of evidence. The first is the story of Herodotus, who in 443 B.C. visited Egypt and recounted how Pharaoh Cheops (the Greek name for Khufu) built the Great Pyramid during his reign with 100,000 men in 20 years. However, we now know this story is highly questionable. Even his contemporaries called Herodotus the "Father of Lies." Not only do the construction estimates he gave not work, but Herodotus, as an Initiate in the Egyptian Mystery Schools, was sworn to secrecy regarding the true nature of the Pyramid, and he more than likely copied a fictitious tale about the monument that was then in circulation among the common masses. The Greek historian’s account stands in sharp contrast to most other Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Hermetic, Coptic and medieval Arabic scholarly sources which agree that the Great Pyramid was not constructed during the time frame of Pharaoh Khufu or Dynastic Egypt, but was the product of the "Age of the Gods" thousands of years earlier.
The second piece of evidence is the existence of painted hieroglyphic inscriptions found in the air space chambers above the King’s Chamber, which include the name of Pharaoh Khufu. They were supposedly discovered by Col. Richard Howard-Vyse in 1837, when he forced his way up to these chambers using gunpowder. But there are certain facts showing these inscriptions were in actuality forgeries.
At the time Col. Howard-Vyse began his quest to find chambers above the King’s Chamber, his digging concession from the Egyptian authorities, as well as his financial support, were both running out. It was necessary for him to make a major discovery as soon as possible in order to continue his work. He was hoping that the area above Davison’s Chamber (the first air space chamber, discovered by Nathaniel Davison in 1765) would contain a large, hidden room or vault, and was severely disappointed when instead he brought to light only another air space chamber, which was far from the "dramatic discovery" he needed.
Only two months before, his rival, the Italian explorer Captain Caviglia, had stirred archaeological circles with his find of quarry inscriptions in some of the tombs around the Great Pyramid. These quarry inscriptions took the form of hieroglyphs daubed on the building blocks with a red paint, and had been used by the builders of the Old Kingdom as directions for where the blocks were to be placed. A number of modern researchers now suspect that, in the battle for archaeological oneupman-ship, Col. Howard-Vyse sought to overshadow Caviglia, and gain renewed support for his own projects, with a similar but more spectacular "discovery," by imitating these quarry inscriptions inside the Great Pyramid itself. Forging such inscriptions would have been fairly easy, since the Arabs still use similar red ochre paint, called moghrah, that is indistinguishable from that of the ancients.
The question has never been answered, why do inscriptions appear only in the air space chambers that Col. Howard- Vyse opened, but none were found in Davison’s Chamber, with which the Colonel had nothing to do, discovered earlier, in 1765?
Serious problems also arise when we examine the nature of the inscriptions themselves. Samuel Birch, a hieroglyph expert of the British Museum, was among the first to analyze the air chamber paintings, and noted a number of peculiarities among them which remain unresolved to this day. These "peculiarities" represent serious mistakes on the part of the forger. Birch noted, for example, that many of the daubings were not hieroglyphic but hieratic. Now hieratic was a form of written shorthand first developed during the Middle Kingdom, or at least a thousand years after the Fourth Dynasty. In one location, directly after a royal cartouche, the title is given, "Mighty in Upper and Lower Egypt," in a form that made its first appearance during the Saitic period of the 6th century B.C., a full 2,000 years after Khufu’s reign.
In another place, the hieroglyph symbol for "good, gracious" was used as the number "18," a usage found nowhere else in the entire body of Egyptian literature. In fact, Birch and later Egyptologists such as Carl Richard Lepsius and Sir Flinders Petrie were disturbed at the number of exceptions of usage in the air space chamber, inscriptions found by Col. Howard-Vyse that have absolutely no parallel throughout 4,000 years of hieroglyphic writing.
In perhaps the most blatant example of forgery, in Col. Howard-Vyse’s chambers one finds great confusion concerning the appearance of the name Khufu. At the time these chambers were being opened, the Pharaoh’s cartouche had not yet been fully revealed from other excavations, and there were several possibilities to choose from. As a result, a number of crude hybrid forms appear throughout the air chambers, such as "Khnem-Khuf," "Souphis," "Saufou," etc. The problem with the first example, "Khnem-Khuf," is that we know today that it signifies "brother of Khufu" and refers to Khafre, Khufu’s eventual successor. For years, this appearance of a second king’s name has not been explained, and as Gaston Maspero observed in The Dawn of Civilization: "The existence of the two cartouches of Khufu and Khnem-Khufu on the same monument has caused much embarrassment to Egyptologists."
Adding to this further is the fact that, where the right hieroglyph name for Khufu does appear, it is spelled wrong. The hieroglyph sources available to Col. Howard-Vyse in 1837, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson’s Material Hieroglyphia, and Leon de Laborde’s Voyage de l’Arabee Petree, incorrectly depicted the first symbol of Khufu’s name as an open circle with a dot in the middle—the sign of Ra, the sun god—instead of a solid disk, which is the phonetic sound kh. Col. Howard-Vyse made the fatal error of copying this mistake in the uppermost of the air space chambers, so that, when strictly translated, the name given is Raufu, and not Khufu. Again, nowhere else in all of Egyptian literature, except in the air space chamber inscriptions, is this aberrant spelling for Khufu found.
This last mistake is the final blow showing that Col. Howard-Vyse and not the original builders of the Great Pyramid was the true source who caused the red-painted markings to be inscribed. And with that the proof that the Great Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khufu in the Fourth Dynasty also vanishes.
Actually, we have the testament of Pharaoh Khufu himself that he only did repair work on the Great Pyramid. The Inventory Stele, found in 1857 by Auguste Mariette just to the east of the Pyramid, dates to about 1500 B.C., but according to Maspero and other experts, shows evidence of having been copied from a far older stele contemporaneous with the Fourth Dynasty. In the Stele, Khufu himself tells of his discoveries made while clearing away the sands from the Pyramid and Sphinx. He dedicated the account to Isis, who he called the "Mistress of the Western Mountain," "Mistress of the Pyramid," and identified the Pyramid itself as the "House of Isis."
The Stele describes how Pharaoh Khufu, "gave to her (Isis) an offering anew, and he built again (to restore, renovate, reconstruct) her temple of stone." From there, the Pharaoh inspected the Sphinx, according to the text, and related the story of how in his time both the monument and a nearby sycamore tree had been struck by lightning. The bolt had knocked off part of the headdress of the Sphinx, which Khufu carefully restored. Egyptologist Selim Hassan, who dug out the Sphinx from the surrounding sands in the 1930's, observed there is indeed evidence that portions of the Sphinx were damaged by lightning, and the mark of ancient repairs is very apparent. Also, he noted, sycamore trees once grew to the south of the monument, which had been dated to a great age.
The Stele then ends with the story of how Khufu built small pyramids for himself and his daughters, wife and family, next to the Great Pyramid. Today, the ruins of three small pyramids are indeed situated on the east side of the monument. Archaeologists have found independent evidence that the southernmost of the three small pyramids flanking the Great Pyramid was in fact dedicated to Henutsen, a wife of Khufu. Everything in the inscription thus matches the known facts. If these facts can be believed as true, then the additional information that Khufu was only a restorer of the Great Pyramid and not its builder, must also be treated as historically true.
ANCIENT LEGENDS AND MODERN RESEARCH CONFIRM EACH OTHER
When we look at mythic history for the story of the origins of the Great Pyramid, we discover that the monument was not attributed to any Pharaoh, but was the product of the genius and higher learning of the Gods of Old. Time and time again, from the Roman Marcellinus to the Coptic Al Masudi and the Arab Ibn Abd Alhokim, the recounters of the ancient legends tell how the Pyramid was built to preserve the knowledge of a magnificent civilization from destruction by a Flood, and that it was this Flood which brought the Age of the Gods to its tragic end. The various Chronologies of Legendary Rulers place a minimum date for the Age of the Gods as circa 10,000 B.C. This is the time frame Plato, in his Timaeus and Critias, ascribed the destruction of Atlantis. And it is also this date, as can be proven in modern scientific studies, which was highlighted by major climatic, geologic and geomagnetic disturbances, accompanied by massive paleo-biological extinctions in the planet, marking the division point between the Ice Age and the Present Era.
In Egypt, geologists examining the fossil record have found that the combined effect of melting glaciers in the Mountains of the Moon, plus a sharp rise in precipitation levels in Central Africa, caused the Nile river circa 10,000 B.C. to swell in size a thousandfold, eroding away cliff walls miles from its present banks, and washing out its entire valley throughout the length of Egypt. At the same time, as the Mediterranean Sea began to fill and rise due to higher ocean levels from melting northern glaciers, its waters for a brief period also flooded the lower Nile valley. These, geologists are certain, are the last major flood events in Egypt’s fossil history, before the sea retreated and the Nile settled down to today’s relatively peaceful, winding flow. Yet, knowing this, geologists are hard pressed to explain why there existed a fourteen-foot layer of silt sediment around the base of the Pyramid, a layer which also contained many seashells, and the fossil of a sea cow, all of which were dated by radiocarbon methods to 11,600 B.P. (Before Present) plus or minus 300 years.
Legends and records likewise speak of the fact that, before the Arabs removed the Pyramid’s outer casing stones, one could see water marks on the stones halfway up the Pyramid’s height, in about the 240-foot level, which would be 400 feet above the present Nile level. The medieval Arab historian Al Biruni, writing in his treatise The Chronology of Ancient Nations, noted: "The Persians and the great mass of Magians relate that the inhabitants of the west, when they were warned by their sages, constructed buildings of the King and the Giza Pyramids. The traces of the water of the Deluge and the effects of the waves are still visible on these pyramids halfway up, above which the water did not rise." Add to this the observation made when the Pyramid was first opened, that incrustations of salt an inch thick were found inside. Most of this salt is natural exudation from the chambered rock wall, but chemical analysis also shows some of the salt has a mineral content consistent with salt from the sea. Thus, during the prehistoric Flood, when waters surrounded the Great Pyramid, the known and unknown entrances leaked, allowing seawater into the interior, which later evaporated and left the salts behind. The locations where the salts are found are consistent with the monument having been submerged half-way up its height.
If the floodings of 10,000 B.C. were the last major catastrophic water events in Egypt, and the Pyramid exhibits signs of having been subjected to them, it means the Pyramid must date from a period before the flooding occurred.
Though most Egyptologists today have yet to accept such a necessary "radical" revision of their dating of the Pyramid, there have been other discoveries that have forced them to at least realize that their preconceived theories of any early Dynastic age for the structure is no longer tenable.
In 1983 and 1984, prehistorian Robert J. Wenke from the University of Washington, and president of the American Research Center in Egypt, was given permission to collect mortar samples from various ancient construction sites, including the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx Temple. The mortar contained particles of charcoal, insect matter, pollen, and other organic materials which could be subjected for carbon-14 dating analysis. Using two different radiocarbon dating laboratories—the Institute for the Study of Man at Southern Methodist University, and the Institute of Medium Energy Physics in Zurich—the samples revealed a number of curiosities. For the Great Pyramid samples, the tests performed at the two labs initially gave very different clusterings of dates, off by several thousands of years. When certain "adjustments" in the data were applied, the resulting time frame narrowed to 3100 B.C. to 2850 B.C.—which is still 400 years earlier than when most Egyptologists believe the Great Pyramid was built. Even more anomalous, the dates obtained from mortar used near the top of the Pyramid were a thousand years older than those obtained from mortar nearer the Pyramid base. The researchers, if they were to fully believe these findings, would have to propose that the Pyramid had somehow been built from the top down.
What makes the datings further unacceptable is that all of them were taken from areas of previously exposed surfaces. We know from such sources as the Inventory Stele that the Giza monuments were time and time again subjected to many reconstructions and repair work, inside and out. Therefore the radiocarbon dates can only give us clues as to when the time frame was for the repair work, not the actual construction of the Great Pyramid. If the dates are to be believed at all, they at least tell us that reconstruction work was done on the monument in a time period long before the "accepted" building was done, which means the Pyramid itself must be from an even earlier period, farther distant in the past.
WERE THE THREE GIZA PYRAMIDS MODELS FOR EGYPT’S "PYRAMID AGE"?
Expanding our sphere of inquiry to now include all three of the Giza Pyramids, we find that an interesting historical conundrum arises regarding their "accepted" construction. If, as conservative scholars surmise, the three Giza Pyramids were built in the Fourth Dynasty by the succession of three Pharaohs—Khufu, Khafre and Menkhare— what we find regarding the sizes of the three pyramids in association with the three reigns is inconsistent with what we would have expected to have happened.
First, Khufu ruled and supposedly constructed the Great Pyramid. Khafre followed Khufu, and in order to be politically and religiously "correct," we would have expected him to have erected a pyramid larger than Khufu’s. To do otherwise would have seriously reflected on his being inferior to his predecessor. Generally speaking, a ruler could not afford for his people to think that their Pharaoh was weaker in power and less blessed by the gods and goddesses than the ruler before him.
After Khafre, Menkhare next took the throne of Egypt, and in order to be in continued good political and religious form, we would have expected him to build the largest pyramid of all, dwarfing those of Khufu and Khafre in order to make sure he was not to be outshone by either of his predecessors.
Yet what we find at Giza is exactly opposite the expected scenario: Supposedly Khufu constructed the largest pyramid, Khafre built his slightly smaller than Khufu’s, and Menkhare erected a pyramid only a third the size of the other two.
If what actually happened contradicts what should have happened if the three Giza pyramids were built in the Fourth Dynasty, then this can only mean that something is fundamentally wrong with the accepted scenario.
Instead of the three Pharaohs building the three Giza pyramids, what if the pyramids were already present, old with age, and in the Fourth Dynasty the three succeeding rulers simply claimed possession of the structures, doing repair work on them, and building only the minor subsidiary pyramids around them for themselves and their families—just as the Inventory Stele describes Khufu did. What would we expect would have happened?
Khufu, first on the scene, would naturally have laid claim to the largest pyramid for himself, or the Great Pyramid. His successor, Khafre, now left with only two pyramids to choose from, would have taken possession of the second largest. Menkhare, the last to reign, would have had to be content with the last pyramid available, the smallest of the three.
Such a scenario best fits the actual facts, for this is exactly the succession of pyramids the Pharaoh had jurisdiction over, each in their turn. Clearly, what this suggests is the Giza pyramids came first, then the Pharaohs ruled, not the other way around.
According to conservative scholars, the Giza Three were supposed to represent the "height of accomplishment" in the Egyptian age of pyramid building, from the Third to the Thirteenth Dynasties, 2700 to 1800 B.C. But if the Giza Pyramids are in reality 12,000 years old, then they instead must have served as the models the Dynastic Egyptians repeatedly tried to copy and emulate. If we recognize this greater antiquity for the Giza Three, then many mysteries surrounding the design and construction of Egypt’s other pyramids find their solutions.
The conservative view purports that the early pyramids along the Nile developed by stages of "evolution." Initially, in the First and Second Dynasties, from circa 3200 to 2800 B.C., the Pharaohs were buried in mastabas, which were rectangular-shaped structures with walls sloping inward, built over underground vaults. What has baffled archaeologists is that each of the first kings of Egypt had not one but two such mastabas, at Abydos, and at Saqqara. One of these served as a cenotaph, or an empty tomb in honor of the royal person. The reason for this early practice is still a puzzle to scholars, not yet solved.
However, we know from ancient records that the peoples of the ancient world at one time had knowledge of the existence of the known entrance to the Great Pyramid, and they left evidence, in the form of torch soot and graffiti on the walls, that they penetrated as far as the Descending Passage and Pit Chamber. The Second and Third Pyramids also possess passages and empty chambers deep beneath their foundations. Did the early Pharaohs, in studying the design of the Giza Pyramids standing silently before them on the Nile, imitate the empty Pyramid chambers in the building of their second royal tombs, believing the empty chambers had a special spiritual significance they wished to emulate?
In the Third Dynasty, beginning about 2780 B.C., Pharaoh Zoser undertook to build a mastaba for himself as had his predecessors, but then decided to go several steps further. Two more mastaba structures were constructed on top of the first in step fashion, and finally, these in turn were incorporated as one side of a six-tiered pyramid. The development of this curious structure—today called the Step Pyramid, and located at Saqqara—indicates that Zoser was attempting to copy or duplicate a particular image. The pyramid does resemble a Sumerian ziggurat, or "holy mountain," except that unlike the ziggurat Zoser’s structure possessed no sanctuary at its apex, and had a system of internal tunnels and chambers. The only structures which come close to being models for Zoser’s work are the Giza Pyramids.
Significantly—and again in imitation of the Giza monuments—Zoser was not buried in his Step Pyramid. The foot of a mummy thought to have belonged to Zoser was found in one chamber, but the wrappings proved to be from a period much later than the Third Dynasty. All in all, a total of sixty mummies were found in and around the Step Pyramid, but these have been dated to the Saitic or Late Period, in the first millennium B.C. Zoser’s tomb has been identified as located at Bet Khalaif, and no pyramid structure was found associated with it.
Following Zoser, his successor, Pharaoh Sekhemket, attempted to build a pyramid, but it appears never to have been completed, and today is only a mass of rubble. However, archaeologists did find at the bottom of a shaft below the structure a sealed alabaster sarcophagus. When the sarcophagus was opened, it was found to be completely empty, mirroring the state the Stone Box was found in, in the Great Pyramid.
The one ruler who by far was the most ambitious pyramid builder of the Third Dynasty was Pharaoh Senefru. He constructed three monuments, and there is every reason to believe he attempted to duplicate the feat of the three Giza Pyramids. He came close, for his pyramids contained two-thirds as much stone, covered 90 percent as much area, and were built with comparable speed as the Giza structures. The one obvious difference is their building design and masonry were very crude, when examined alongside the work done in the Giza area.
It is in the period immediately following Senefru, at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty, that we are supposed to believe that Egyptian architects somehow miraculously overcame all their construction shortcomings, and developed the quantum leap of techniques for advanced building that went into the making of the Giza Pyramids. But the Giza monuments, however, stand out above all the rest of the pyramids in Egypt in many unique ways, clearly showing they were not related to the other Egyptian pyramids in time or construction.
First, only the Great Pyramid and (from what is known from legend and esoteric literature) the other two Giza Pyramids have chambers in their upper interior—all the rest possess only a lower chamber or chambers near the foundation. These are copies of the pit chambers in the Giza Pyramids. The Dynastic Egyptians, not knowing of the secret chambers higher up, had no precedent for including these in their own pyramids.
Second, only the Giza Three are accurately aligned to true north, which is indicative of a very sophisticated science of Earth measurement and construction—elements exhibited in no other pyramid.
Third, only the Giza monuments were built with a high degree of accuracy—this precision, coupled with the apparent mastery of large, multi-ton stone construction, is what allowed the Giza Pyramids to reach their gigantic size, the largest in Egypt. In the Second and Third Pyramids the construction blocks are often not as massive or as finely positioned as they are seen in the Great Pyramid, but they are precise enough to place them in an entirely different category from all other structures along the Nile.
Fourth, the Giza monuments were built using construction designs totally alien to any other pyramid form. As William R. Fix, in Pyramid Odyssey observed: "Because the other pyramids consist of much smaller blocks, they were built as a series of shells with multiple internal retaining walls to give cohesiveness. The three large Giza Pyramids do not have these internal casings. The very size of the blocks produces the necessary stability. This characteristic reveals a general excellence of workmanship and also imply a much higher technological capability than that employed anywhere else..
And fifth, unlike any pyramid supposedly built either before or after the Giza Three, none of the Giza monuments contain religious symbols or pictures in any of their inner chambers.
According to conservative scholars, the Giza Pyramids were built by the Fourth Dynasty Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkhare, as tombs. Yet not one of their bodies was found in any of them. The King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid was discovered to be completely empty upon its opening, its Stone Box sealed but vacant. In the Belzoni Chamber, beneath the Second Pyramid, a stone box was found like the one in the Great Pyramid, but it too contained no corpse. In 1878, a sarcophagus with a mummy inside was brought to light in the Third Pyramid. Though both the sarcophagus and mummy were lost at sea during their transport to the British Museum, samples had been taken from them, and when later analyzed by radiocarbon dating techniques, they were found to be from a fairly late date, only 2,000 to 2,500 years ago.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the three Pharaohs who are thought to have built the Giza Pyramids instead simply claimed the monuments as their own, having given up on the idea of attempting to duplicate the structures, as Senefru had tried but failed to do before them. There are several subsidiary pyramids around the Giza Three which were probably built by the Pharaohs, and today are almost in total ruins because of their greatly inferior construction. According to ancient stelae and legends, the Pharaohs also made repairs on the Pyramids—but had nothing to do with their actual construction.
With Menkhare came the end of the Fourth Dynasty, and at the beginning of the Fifth Dynasty we are supposed to believe, according to the historians, that the Egyptians suddenly reverted back to the same old methods of design and greatly inferior construction techniques as seen in the pyramids prior to the Fourth Dynasty. The first Pharaoh, Shepeskaf, actually built nothing more than a mastaba for his burial place. He was then followed by Userkaf, whose pyramid was so badly made it today is only a heap of debris. Sahure, Nieswerre and Neferirkare came next, and between them at Abu Sir they attempted to erect three pyramids (again duplicating Giza), but these in no way approached the size or grandeur of the Giza Three, and today are nothing more than broken piles. The same can be said for the monuments of the Sixth through the Thirteenth Dynasties, after which pyramid building for the most part came to an end. In all, 23 major pyramids were erected following the Fourth Dynasty and in each single case, the work on them was done hastily, with little care of precision, and using blocks that were no more than roughly squared boulders. We may well ask, if the Giza Pyramids, in all their excellence, were supposedly built in the Fourth Dynasty, what happened to the advanced knowledge seen in their design and construction—why was it never used again, in not a single later pyramid?
Author William R. Fix concluded: "The many fundamental differences between the major Giza monuments and the rest of Egypt’s pyramids indicates that they do not fit into the contended chronology for dynastic Egypt. But if they do not belong to dynastic Egypt, there is only one direction in which they can be moved-not forward, but back into the past."
In truth, the Giza Pyramids were not an integral part of the evolutionary development of the Egyptian pyramids. Instead, they were there from the very beginning, the motivation and influence which spurred the building of the Dynastic pyramids along the Nile.