The Egyptians carved over a dozen colossal Obelisks weighing more than 100 tons. the largest one is approximately 450 tons and 105 feet tall. these were stood up on end. Not only is it extremely difficult to move stones of this size but balancing them would be an amazing task. Many have remained standing for thousands of years. a few have fallen over this isn't surprising the surprising thing is that any of them didn't fall over.
One theory on how they erected these obelisks involves building an enormous mud brick wall 50 feet high with a ramp to tow the obelisk up it. There would be a shaft filled with sand then after they got the obelisk on top they would remove the sand lowering it into the shaft. This would be an incredible amount of work. This is pictured on p. 56-7 of Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ramses II: Magnificence on the Nile (1993). There is an engraving showing giant "gods" lifting them with a rope. The obelisks were only waste high on the gods.
Another theory could be similar to the way they erected statues on Easter Island described in Aku Aku. This would be a much larger scale operation the biggest ones they erected were no more than 30 tons. They didn't erect any of the largest Moai this way let alone obelisks up to 455 tons. The 455 ton obelisk was erected in Rome approximately 1500 CE. Several smaller ones were also erected in the nineteenth century using cranes which the Egyptians didn't have.
A drawing of a relief from the temple of Hatshepsut shows a pair of the obelisks being transported to Karnak on a barge being towed. They are strapped to a sledge that is used to haul them on land. source: "Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris Scarre 1999
"Its most famous attractions are the great Colossi of Memnon—twin 59-foot (21-meter) statues of Amenhotep III that flank the temple's entrance."
"The temple originally contained six colossi of Amenhotep III in a seated position, which stood in pairs at three pylons arranged about 330 feet (100 meters) apart. Of the pylons and statues, only the Colossi of Memnon, near the first pylon, remain intact." source: National Geographic
National geographic is generally one of the most reliable sources around but apparently they need some better proof readers. The statement refers to 59 foot statue which is right and then it translate it into 21 meters which is wrong it should be almost 18 meters. "In front of the ruins of Ramessuem is the base of the colossus of Ramesses that once stood 17m (about 69 feet) high. The statue would have weighed more than 1,000 tons and was bought from Aswan in one piece." source:touregypt.net
Touregypt did the same thing only in reverse. Seemingly reliable sources are making sloppy mistakes and they are often cut and pasted by others in the internet age. An effort to check the math needs to be made in order to get reliable figures these are not isolated mistakes I have seen many more of them. I have made a few myself but I'm not part of an institution that claims to have a lot of fact checkers.
The Colossi of Memnon at the temple of Pharaoh Amenhotep III weigh 700 tons each. This estimate has been reported consistently. The 1,000 ton estimate for the statue of Ramses has also been reported consistently. However they should still be checked as I noted in the Baalbek section the 1,000 ton estimate may not add up.
The following is from "The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris Scarre 1999
They estimate the height of the Ramses statue at 62 feet (19 meters), they claim the 59 feet (17 meter) estimate includes the base it stands on. They keep the same weight estimates. At least they didn't contradict themselves. The colossi of Memnon statues were obtained in a quarry Gebel el-Ahmar. This is 420 miles away. They were to heavy to transport by boat so it had to be towed across the land by hand. The Ramses statue was supposedly transported 170 miles the same way.
They also cite fragments of 4 granite Colossi of Ramses found in Tanis (northern Egypt). Estimated height is 69 to 92 feet (21 to 92 meters). Like four of the six colossi of Amenhotep III there are no longer complete remains so it is based partly on unconfirmed estimates. If they can cite the work and check for mistakes it may show evidence of much more colossal statues than commonly believed.
There is also a smaller one estimated at 58 tons of Djehutyhotep (C. 1850 BCE). This seems comparatively small but it is worth mentioning because there is a wall relief showing the transport of this one. It shows 172 men pulling it. this is about 3 men per ton. They claim that experiment have shown that this can be done. They did not cite the details of this experiment. As I said in the section about moving stones other experiments seem to contradict this claim. If in doubt think about whether you or anyone you know can tow 733 lbs. Then keep in mind it also involves a lot of people coordinating together and getting in each others way.
This is the official version.
There are at least 2 colossi of a seated Ramses II at Luxor rough estimated height and weight 11 meters 150 to 225 tons. there were supposed to be a total of 6 commissioned for this temple but I think the other 4 were smaller perhaps between 50 and 100 tons. 1 of them is just inside the gate behind the 2 larger ones. There were also 2 colossal statues commissioned for the temple of Karnak.
A turn of the century photo shown in Ramses II: Magnificence on the Nile shows a colossal statue of Ramses II that must be at least 10 meters tall rough estimate 70 to 100 tons. this is 1 of 11 Colossi commissioned for the Temple of Ptah. These may include a 47 ton statue that was discovered in 1962 and brought to Memphis Tennessee for a show on Ramses II in 1984.
A 25 foot tall statue of Meryetamen daughter of Ramses II was found at Akhmim estimated weight 40 to 60 tons. There were over 20 colossal statues commissioned by Ramses probably much more. These don't include an even larger number of life-sized statues he would have commissioned or the in situ statues at Abu Simbal.
In 2006, one of Cairo's landmarks, a colossal 100 tonne, 11 meter high pink granite statue of Ramses II, was moved from the polluted city to a spot near the pyramids and closer to its original site.
"Sourouzian, who is director of the Colossi of Memnon and the Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project, said her team was digging around the northern colossus at the second pylon to identify a piece of unformed quartzite.
She had begun excavations on a small stone she thought was a disconnected head of the northern colossus, but ended up unearthing the right leg of another 50-foot-tall (15-meter-tall) Amenhotep III colossus to the south." source: National Geographic
Height: 20.22 meters
length: 72.55 meters
width: 10 meters (waist) 19.1 meters (haunches)
Source: "The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris Scarre 1999 (Thames and Hudson)
There has been some debate about the dating of the sphinx. Dr. Robert Schoch has been arguing that the water erosion over the last 4,500 years hasn't been enough to cause the weather erosion seen on part of the sphinx. the part that the head was carved out or the blocks used for the paws isn't in dispute just the portion where you can see major erosion. I have considered the possibility that this is partially a natural wonder and that the Egyptians saw something that looks almost like a lion could be altered and that all they had to do was carve the head and add the blocks for the stones. However there have been claims that the colossal blocks in the Valley temple were originally carved from the Sphinx and they seem to be seriously eroded as well. The nearby columns are not nearly as eroded as you can see in the pyramid of man and the global education project sites the blocks are much more weather eroded than the bedrock wall next to them. If Dr. Robert Schoch is correct then the colossal eroded blocks of the Valley Temple may be much older as well. This would mean that someone was moving colossal rocks much earlier than previously believed if it turns out to be true. I'm not an expert but since the experts can't seem to agree and since the stones at the Valley temple clearly look more eroded I'm inclined to believe Dr. Schoch is probably right.
The Pyramid of Cheops has sides measuring 230 meters long and it is 146 meters high. the volume is approximately 2,500,000 cubic meters. The weight is approximately 6,250,000 tons
The entrance has 4 colossal herringbone blocks forming the roof of the entrance that must weigh over 30 tons each. there were at least 2 passages that were blocked by 3 granite slabs each.
The kings chamber measures 10.45m wide x 5.2m deep x 5.8m high. The kings chamber is lined with granite blocks estimated weight 5 to 15 tons that was brought from Aswan 935 km (580 miles) to the south. They were transported on barges down the river. On arrival at the harbor the blocks were loaded onto wooden sledges and dragged to the pyramid. The chamber is roofed with huge granite beams weighing 50 to 80 tonnes.
The stones of the great pyramid were fit together with extremely tight joints. the mean opening was only 1 fiftieth of an inch. this can't be matched even with modern technology. (p. 285 I.E.S. Edwards)
Both the upper and lower corridors had 3 granite plugs each to deter grave robbers. It is not clear how they got the plugs in the ascending corridor. They couldn't have been brought in after woods because they wouldn't have fit. The leading theory is that they were stored inside when they finished the pyramid and put in place after woods. There is a question about how they did this supposedly the people who put the plug in place had to do it from inside blocking themselves in. There may have been a secret corridor for them to get out. I'm not sure the explanation for this is conclusive. for more see P. 115-7 Dr. I.E.S. Edwards: "The Pyramids of Egypt" 1986/1947 The Pyramid of Chefren has sides measuring 215 meters long and it is 143 meters high. the volume is approximately 2,150,000 cubic meters. The weight is approximately 5,375,000 tons
The Pyramid of Mycerinus has sides measuring 103 meters long and it is 65.5 meters high. the volume is approximately 230,000 cubic meters. The weight is approximately 575,000 tons
Cheops ruled for 23 years He allegedly built the Pyramid of Cheops while ruling. In order to build his Pyramid while he ruled he had to carve move and install 744 tons of stone every day for 23 years. Some experts address doubts about his ability to doing this by saying it was built in 100 years which would mean it wasn't built by just 1 pharaoh. This would mean it was built by at least 3-4 pharaohs. It would still involve installing 171 tons per day.
In order to explain the pyramids this way it would also mean that either the 4 biggest Pyramids were made in different centuries or that at least 2 or 3 of them were under construction at the same time. I don't see how the official explanation of this could possibly add up. It's just a simple matter of math you can easily check it yourself.
The bottom third of Menkaure's pyramid was covered with granite most of which is now gone.
Mycerinus was allegedly a much more benevolent Pharaoh than his predecessors according to legends related by Herodotus he wrote the following:
"This Prince (Mycerinus) disapproved of the conduct of his father, reopened the temples and allowed the people, who were ground down to the lowest point of misery, to return to their occupations and to resume the practice of sacrifice. His justice in the decision of causes was beyond that of all the former kings. The Egyptians praise him in this respect more highly than any other monarchs, declaring that he not only gave his judgments with fairness, but also, when anyone was dissatisfied with his sentence, made compensation to him out of his own purse and thus pacified his anger." p. 129
"An oracle reached him from the town of Buto, which said 'six years only shalt thou live upon this earth, and in the seventh thou shalt end thy days'. Mycerinus, indignant, sent an angry message to the oracle, reproaching the god with his injustice - 'My father and uncle,' he said 'though they shut up the temples, took no thought of the gods and destroyed multitudes of men, nevertheless enjoyed a long life; I, who am pious , am to die soon!' There came in reply a second message from the oracle - 'for this very reason is thy life brought so quickly to a close - thou hast not done as it behooved thee. Egypt was fated to suffer affliction one hundred and fifty years - the two kings who preceded thee upon the throne understood this - thou hast not understood it' Mycerinus, when this answer reached him, perceiving that his doom was fixed, had lamps prepared, which he lighted every day at eventime, and feasted and enjoyed himself unceasingly both day and night, moving about in the marsh-country and the woods, and visiting all the places he heard were agreeable sojourns. His wish was to prove the oracle false, by turning night into days and so living twelve years in the space of six" p. 133 Herodotus Book II (Rawlinson's translation)
At the end of the twelfth century Saladin's son and heir attempted to demolish the pyramids starting with Menkaure's pyramid. They found it almost as expensive to destroy as to build. They stayed at their job for eight months. They were not able to remove more than one or two stones each day at a cost of tiring themselves out utterly. Some used wedges and levers to move the stones while others used ropes to pull them down. When it fell it would bury itself in the sand requiring extraordinary efforts to free it. Wedges were used to split the stones into several pieces and a cart was used to carry it to the foot of the escarpment, where it was left. Far from accomplishing what they intended to do they merely spoiled the pyramid and proved themselves incapable. source: Stewert, Desmond and editors of the Newsweek Book Division "The Pyramids and Sphinx" 1971 p. 101
The "Khufu ship", a 43.6-meter-long vessel that was sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2500 BC, is a full-size surviving example which may have fulfilled the symbolic function of a solar barque. This boat was rediscovered in May of 1954 when archeologist Kamal el-Mallakh and inspector Zaki Nur found two ditches sealed off by about 40 blocks weighing 17 to 20 tonnes each. This boat was disassembled into 1,224 pieces and took over 10 years to reassemble. A nearby museum was built to house this boat. source: Siliotti, Alberto, Zahi Hawass, 1997 "Guide to the Pyramids of Egypt" p. 54-55
The Bent Pyramid has sides measuring 188.6 meters long and it is 105 meters high. the volume is approximately 1,245,300 cubic meters. The weight is approximately 3,112,000 tons
The Red Pyramid has sides measuring 220 meters long and it is 104 meters high. the volume is approximately 1,620,000 cubic meters. The weight is approximately 4,050,000 tons
Both of these pyramids were allegedly built by Pharaoh Sneferu who was Cheops father. He ruled for approximately the same period of time that Cheops did. I think it was 24 years. I don't know how or why they concluded that Sneferu built both these Pyramids but if its true it means that Sneferu actually moved more stone than Cheops. The total of these 2 combined is over 7 million tons approximately 1 million more than the Cheops Pyramid. In order to move that much stone while he was in power he would have had to carve, move and install 817 tons of stone every day for 24 years. However as far as I can tell there are few colossal stones like the 50 to 80 ton granite slabs covering the kings chamber at the pyramid of Cheops.
The pyramid of Meidum was also attributed to Sneferu by some this is much smaller only a fraction of the volume of stone. there is some doubt about whether kings finishing the pyramids of predecessors would do a good job. Usually if a Pharaoh died early the successor was content to make summery additions in brick and plaster. In the fifth dynasty one Pharaoh even usurped a valley building and causeway. source: Edwards, Dr. I.E.S.: The Pyramids of Egypt 1986/1947 p. 97-98
Ramses II finished his fathers temples out of love and respect for Seti I however he allegedly took credit for some other work done by predecessors including his father. This may imply he's more concerned about getting credit for loving his father.
The colossal roof blocks of Suhare's temple weighed up to about 220 tons based on estimates by J.S. Perring. He estimated the size of the largest blocks at 35 feet by 9 feet by 12 feet. One end of these blocks was tapered so the estimated volume is 95 cubic meters by 2.4 tons. there were a total of at least 12 to 18 blocks the smallest are less than 100 tons. all but 2 of these are now broken.
Unas, Teti, Pepi I and Merenre all built there Pyramids at Saqqara. between the 4 of them they probably had over 2 dozen roof slabs weighing 30 to 40 tons each many which collapsed by now some intentionally to obtain building material.
The Pyramid of Khendjer included a monolithic quartzite burial chamber. the weight of this chamber was estimated at 150 tons by G. Jequier. It had 2 slabs covering it they may have weighed close to 100 tons each although I don't have exact dimensions on this. This was lowered in a similar manor to the burial chamber of Amenemhet III at Hawara. There were also 2 monolithic burial chambers in a satellite building for his 2 queens. These were smaller than the kings burial chamber and they were never lowered into place and put into use. Some unexpected turn of events probably prevented there use but there is nothing to suggest that the king wasn't interred as planed. source: Edwards, Dr. I.E.S.: The Pyramids of Egypt 1986/1947 P.175-6, 181, 191-3, 246-9
The Sarcophagus of Amenemhet III
The entrance led to a passage leading to a dead end however there was a 20 ton stone which slid sideways to conceal a second passage that led to the kings burial chamber after going down 3 more passages at right angles. The burial chamber was made out of a single quartzite monolith which was lowered into a larger chamber lined with limestone. This monolithic slab weighed an estimated 110 tons according to Petrie. A course of brick was placed on the chamber to raise the ceiling then the chamber was covered with 3 quartzite slabs (estimated weight 45 tons each). Above the burial chamber were 2 relieving chambers. This was topped with 50 ton limestone slabs forming a pointed roof. Then an enormous arch of brick 3 feet thick was built over the pointed roof to support the core of the pyramid.
The previous description has been repeated by several sources including: Edwards, Dr. I.E.S.: The Pyramids of Egypt 1986/1947 p. 239
Dr. Edwards provides the dimensions of the one-piece quartzite burial chamber which he obtained from W.M.F. Petrie. They are 22 feet (6.6m) x 8 feet (2.4m) x 6 feet (1.8m). This comes to a total of 28.5 cubic meters. After you subtract for the volume of the chamber it is closer to 14 or 15 cu. m. The weight of this one piece chamber shouldn't be much if any more than 40 tons assuming the density of quartzite is about 2.6 tons per cubic meter which is about what one source says it should be. Petrie also provided the 110 ton estimate. However if these dimensions actually refer to the interior dimensions of the chamber and the walls and floor are just over 2 feet deep then the dimensions match the weight estimate.
The Tomb of Seti 1 took 16 years to complete. It was carved out of limestone, 3,000 cubic meters were excavated. The tomb was estimated to be 110 meters long however recent discoveries indicate it may have been longer and more stone may have been excavate. Estimated size of workforce is 30 to 50 men. Seti was considered a much more important pharaoh than Tutankanan, and there may have once been much more treasure in the tomb, but it was almost certainly looted so we'll never know for sure.
The temple of Karnak is famous for its 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows in the Hypostyle Hall. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters. The architraves on top of these columns weigh an estimated 70 tons. These architraves may have been lifted to these heights using levers. This would be an extremely time consuming process and would also require great balance to get to such great heights. There is a double row of sphinxes leading to the temple of Luxor. There are several colossal statues including the figure of Panejem which is 10.5 meters tall. It also has one of the largest obelisks weighing 328 tonnes standing 29 meters tall. Most of the sandstone from Karnak including the columns came from Gebel Silsila 100 miles south of Karnak. This was brought down the river in barges. This would included well over a thousand colossal drums most of which weighed between 10 and 30 tons. This is just for Karnak there would have been well over 10 to 20 thousand more drums for all the other temples although many of them may not have been quite as heavy especially the later ones built by Greeks and Romans.
The temple of Luxor has similar columns and architraves. there are hundreds of colossal stones over 50 tons at each of these Temples as well as many other of the most spectacular Egyptian Temples. It is difficult how they could possibly lift these stones up so high but they did.
One of the courtyards alone had 751 stone statues or stelae and 17,000 bronze figurines.
"What makes the Valley Temple so remarkable, is the sheer size of the stones used in its construction, and the incredible number of them used. The temple itself is roughly square, measuring 147 feet on each side, and it is built into the slope of the plateau with the height of its exterior walls rising from just over 20 feet on the west side, to over 40 feet on the east side. Its core structure is built entirely of huge limestone blocks, hundreds of them, regularly exceeding 200 tons each in weight, the equivalent of nearly 300 family-sized cars!"
"Not content with using hundreds of 200-ton blocks of limestone, the builders of the Valley Temple had also managed to lift these huge stones to heights of over 40 feet!"
The following quote is from tour Egypt:
"Its core wall was built of huge blocks that sometimes weighed as much as one hundred and fifty tons."
The valley Temple has huge blocks of limestone some weighing over 100 tonnes. these were quarried from the upper layers of the Sphinx nearby. The largest block at the Funerary Temple weighs an estimated 400 tonnes. source: Siliotti, Alberto, Zahi Hawass, 1997 "Guide to the Pyramids of Egypt"
They all agree that the Valley temple has colossal stones well over 100 tons. I haven't seen any exact inventory of how many colossal stones over 100 tons there are but it appears as it might be much higher than I initially suspected.
Some of the pictures seem to confirm these estimates. The largest stones appear to be the ones that have the most erosion. If you look closely at the pictures on the pyramidofman.com and theglobaleducationproject.org sites you can make them out. This also seems to imply that the biggest stones were constructed earlier or that they were carved out of stone that erodes faster. These stones are limestone which is the same as some of the other stones that were used in the temples and pyramids. This implies that it should not erode any faster. More on this in the Sphinx above.
As for the exact size and volume of stones my best guess is that there are dozens of colossal stones over 100 tons including a few over 150 tons. There are almost certainly close to if not more than 200 colossal stones well over 50 tons. Ancient Mysteries might be exaggerating but not by much. Other sources and the pictures clearly indicate there are huge Stones there including some over 150 tons. There are also dozens if not hundreds of granite blocks weighing 5 to 20 tons that were quarried in Aswan 580 miles away and hauled on barges.
The mortuary temple of Chephren was mostly reduced to ruins it originally measured 370 feet by 160 feet. The walls were mostly made of local stone in part faced with red granite. Monolithic columns of red granite similar to the valley temple supported the roof. The ends of each chamber had a single block of granite making up the entire end wall. This seems to imply at least six colossal granite stones it is unclear whether this includes the 400 ton block mentioned by Zahi Hawass. Measurements for these blocks were not provided. (p. 141 Edwards) There are also 12 seated statues of Chephren 12 tall plus over 100 other statues in the temple. the temple complexes for the entire Giza group may have included close to 500 statues.
The largest blocks of local stone at the Mortuary temple of Mycerinus were estimated at 220 tons by G.A. Reisner and the largest blocks of Aswan granite were 30 tons. source: p. 139-141, 162 Edwards, Dr. I.E.S.: The Pyramids of Egypt 1986/1947
"The cutting of the existing temple in to blocks and transporting them to the new sites about 65 meters above the existing site and about 200 meters from the river, then assembling them on the side of an artificial mountain specially made for this purpose all were quite unique a work. It was a challenge to archaeologists, engineers and every one involved in the mega project. UNESCO was there with a fund raising spree, about 40 million dollars were spent and the work has been done joining the blocks almost seamlessly." source: keralaarticles.blogspot
These sandstone blocks were up to 30 tons averaging 20 tons. The best way to preserve these colossal statues surely would have been to keep them intact. UNESCO must have concluded that either they couldn't do this or they didn't think they could do it without damaging the monuments. The ancients moved the Colossi of Memnon (700 tons each), the colossal statue of Ramses (1,000 tons) and the Trilithon stones of Baalbak (700 to 1,000 tons each) without modern technology. The original temple was 30 meters high and 35 meters wide. The colossal statues were 22 meters high each. It involved excavating 11,000 cubic meters of sandstone.
Philae Temple Egypt
"Upon the island were built massive pillars made of five Aswan rose colored granite monoliths about 2.4 meters square by a little over 3.5 meters high and weighing, on average, around 100 tons, to support the ambulatory atop the equally massive architraves." source: tour Egypt
They provide dimensions and weight however the math is wrong. The density of Granite is about 3 tons per cubic meter. These dimensions add up to about 20 cubic meters or 60 tons. They cite John Anthony West as a source. I have seen pictures that seem to confirm the dimensions but the weight is wrong
"Pompey's Pillar" is the best-known ancient monument still standing today. It is located on Alexandria's ancient acropolis — a modest hill located adjacent to the city's Arab cemetery — and was originally part of a temple colonnade. Including its pedestal, it is 30 m (99 ft) high; the shaft is of polished red granite, 2.7 meters in diameter at the base, tapering to 2.4 meters at the top. The shaft is 88 feet high made out of a single piece of granite. This would be 132 cubic meters or approximately 396 tons.
Deir el-Madinah Egypt Based on information provided on ostraca historians were able to learn a great deal about the way this group of workers lived. They and their families inhabited mud brick houses. Many households were quite large with 15 children noted in some cases, and pets such as cats, monkeys, baboons and gazelles were common.
The wives of the workers cared for the children and baked bread. Under Egyptian law they had property rights more advanced than some of the British and American wives studying them. They had title to their own wealth and a third of all marital goods. This would belong solely to the wife in case of divorce or death of the husband. If she died first it would go to her heirs, not to her spouse.
The workers lived in small stone huts near the tomb site for 8 working days then they went home to their families for 2 days off. When they missed work they recorded their excuses on the ostraca one of which is that one of the workers couldn't come to work because he was embalming his mother.
During the reign of Ramses III the laborers were so exasperated by delays in supplies they threw down their tools and walked off the job in what may have been the first sit down strike in history. Village leaders attempted to reason with them but they refused to return to work until their grievances were addressed. They told them to send to Pharaoh or vizier to address their concerns. After the authorities heard of their complaints they addressed them and they went back to work the next day. source: Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs (1992) p. 134-142
Ramesses IV at Wadi Hammamat
source: Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ramses II: Magnificence on the Nile (1993) p. 133
Dr. Zahi Hawass is the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
He is often portrayed as the leading expert of Ancient Egypt. You've probably seen him on TV if you've ever watched any shows about Egypt. He often gets very excited about his work and can be fun to watch; However he also seems to take personal offence when people raise doubts about the official version of Egyptian history. In many cases the theories that he complains about really are flawed. However the official version isn't adding up completely either. Ancient Egypt is supposed to be more primitive than modern society yet they were able to build spectacular monuments that can't be replicated today. This clearly implies that there is a big unsolved mystery here. It is highly unprofessional for the leading expert on Egypt to be behaving this way. this is the type of behavior you might expect from demagogues or politicians. When scientists that are supposed to base there beliefs on facts and evidence use ridicule to make their point and ignore inconvenient facts this raises serious doubts about there objectivity. This is true even if the scientist is right. Most if not all of these theories to explain Ancient Egypt are flawed but in order to sort out what is wrong with them you have to look at what is wrong with them not just get upset and say "That is ridiculous". For example one of the theories that came up recently was that the pyramid blocks were made out of concrete blocks made out of ground granite. If this was true they should have been able to recognize it much sooner; and it still would have used and enormous amount of work to grind the granite. It would still be an amazing wonder of the world that can't be replicated today. But the evidence doesn't support this theory. It would be much more professional to explain this without getting upset than to intimidate anyone who disagrees with you. Zahi Hawass has reacted in a similar way to people that claim Atlanteans or aliens built the pyramids. These are far fetched ideas and it may be possible to disprove them but if their not true then something else is; and the official story isn't completely adding up so if you want to figure out what the real explanation is you have to consider other possibilities even far fetched or bizarre ones because it appears as if the truth is far fetched in this case.
Never the less he is the leading representative of ancient Egypt and he has spent a lot of time studying Egypt so I still recommend you hear him out just use your own discretion.
Egypt has approximately 80 pyramids
well over 80 temples many of them built out of colossal stones weighing over 50 tons.
well over 100 mastabas
The total amount of stone carved and installed in ancient Egypt has to be over 50 million tons!
This includes at least 50 if not hundreds of colossal stones over 100 tons, hundreds if not thousands of stones over 50 tons, thousands more over 10 tons and over 10 million multi-ton stones! Many of these stones were carved with incredible precision including the granite. Granite is an extremely hard stone which they supposedly carved with nothing more than 10 pound balls of dolerite. The metals they did have at that time were to soft to chip granite.
In addition to the huge volume of stone they also created hundreds of mummies which was an extremely time consuming process. They also had an enormous amount of metal works including copper, bronze and gold statues. Most of the metal works were almost certainly plundered and recycled so there is no way of knowing just how much there was.
They also had evidence of irrigation and advanced farming techniques that you wouldn't expect from primitive people. This shouldn't be to surprising though since there is no way they could have built all these monuments if they didn't have an efficient way of feeding the people.
All this seems to have happened much faster than you would expect from normal cultural evolution.
Understanding this would be easier if an inventory of the ancient Egyptian artifacts were available to the public. I know it would be huge therefore it would be necessary to organize it and summarize it. The experts should have already done this but they haven't presented it to the public. If they didn't do this there would be no way they could understand Ancient Egypt themselves and they wouldn't be very competent "experts" at all.
Egyptian religion appears to have contributed to other religions including Christianity. "During the New Kingdom, every pharaoh was the son not only of his human father but also of the god Amen, who miraculously manifested his presence in the womb of the Queen at the moment of conception." source: Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ramses II: Magnificence on the Nile (1993) p.88
Nubian Pyramids and Temples Sudan
Nubian pyramids weren't nearly as big as the biggest Egyptian pyramids and they didn't have colossal blocks nearly as heavy but there were more pyramids. These were built with flat tops that probably once had a finial or statue on it. The temples and pyramids were made out of multi-ton stones but the largest were probably not much more than 20 tons. A granite statue was found in Jebel Barkel that stood 18 feet tall, this may have weighed 15 to 25 tons. whether this was one of the statues that may have been on top of the pyramids is unknown but they were no longer there during recent excavations. Most of these were built between 300 BCE and 300 CE and were clearly intended to imitate the Egyptians. They also adopted the Egyptian gods including Amen to worship.
Leptis Magna Libya
Stelae of Axum Etheopia
Stelae 1 33 M high 3.84 M wide 2.35 M deep 520 tonnes
Stelae 2 24.6 M high 2.32 M wide 1.36 M deep 170 tonnes
Stelae 3 20.6 M high 2.65 M wide 1.18 M deep 160 tonnes
Stelae 4 18.2 M high 1.56 M wide 0.76 M deep 56 tonnes
Stelae 5 15.8 M high 2.35 M wide 1 M deep 75 tonnes
Stelae 6 15.3 M high 1.47 M wide 0.78 M deep 43 tonnes
The largest Stela may never have been successfully erected. It appears as if it was moved intact then it may have broken while they attempted to erect it.
The second largest also fell and broke. This one was moved to Rome by Mouselini in the 1920's it was recently returned to Axum using modern technology. The largest piece was about 60 tons.
The largest one still standing is the 160 ton one.
The nearest quarry was 2.6 miles away
Axum is 7,000 ft. above sea level.
Source: Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World edited by Chris Scarre
The Zimbabwe complex covers 78 hectares, the weight of the perimeter wall is 18,000 tons, the circumference is 255 meters. source: Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World edited by Chris Scarre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Zimbabwe
Oba Ewuare was a direct descendant of Oduduwa, the first Oni of Ife. Oduduwa was considered divine according to some legends the god Oduduwa descended to Ife (the center of all creation) and became it's first Oni or ruler. Other legends say he came from Mecca or Egypt. a series of walls marked the incremental growth of the sacred city from 850 CE until it's decline in the 16th century. In the 15th century Benin became the greatest city of the empire created by Oba or king Ewuare. To enclose his palace he commanded the building of Benin's inner wall, a seven mile long earthen rampart girded by a moat 50 feet deep. This was excavated in the early 1960's by Graham Connah. Connah estimated that it's construction if spread out over 5 dry seasons would have required a workforce of 1,00 laborers working 10 hours a day 7 days a week. Ewuare also added great thoroughfares and erected 9 fortified gateways. Excavations also uncovered a rural network of earthen walls 4 to 8 thousand miles long that would have taken an estimated 150 million man hours to build and must have taken hundreds of years to build. these were apparently thrown down to mark out territories for towns and cities. 13 years after Ewuare's death tales of Benin's splendors lured the Portuguese traders to the city gates.
source: Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Africa's Glorious Legacy (1994) p.102-4
107 Wonders of the Ancient World (Blog entry)
One Hundred and Seven Wonders of The Ancient World: Introduction
Middle East Wonders of The Ancient World
African Wonders of The Ancient World
European Wonders of The Ancient World
South American Wonders of The Ancient World
North American Wonders of The Ancient World
Asian Wonders of The Ancient World
Preliminary Conclusions For One Hundred and Seven Wonders of The Ancient World
Prophets and Mystics