The Mystery of the Pyramids

By Linse, Pat; Shermer, Michael et al. | Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Spring 2000 | Go to article overview

The Mystery of the Pyramids


Linse, Pat, Shermer, Michael, Chesworth, Amanda, Callahan, Tim, Friedhoffer, Bob, Gilmore, Michael R., Skeptic (Altadena, CA)


EVERY YEAR 2 MILLION TOURISTS TRAVEL TO NORTHERN AFRICA TO A LIMESTONE PLATEAU a few miles west of Egypt's mighty Nile river. There they gaze in wonder at ancient ruins that have amazed people for almost 5000 years--the Pyramids of Giza.

The ruins at Giza have been a tourist destination since the time of the Roman empire. Interest in the pyramids and the culture of ancient Egypt reached new highs in Europe when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt with his army in 1789. Although his military objective failed, his second objective was a stunning success. He had also brought a small army of scholars, surveyors and artists with him to study the ruins of Egypt. The excitement their work produced in Europe inspired still more research and exploration. One of the discoveries of the Napoleonic expedition was the famed Rosetta stone that allowed the ancient picture writing of the Egyptians to be read for the first time in 1,500 years. (See the box on the bottom of page 98 for more Rosetta Stone information)

The ability to read what the ancient Egyptians had to say about themselves provided the most accurate view of ancient Egyptian society that anyone had seen for many centuries.

Today ancient Egyptian culture continues to fascinate us. Scholars studying the ruins still make worldwide headlines with every major discovery. Countless books, television documentaries, and even a number of blockbuster films have featured ancient Egypt. There is even a pyramid (symbolizing durability) printed on the back of every U.S. one dollar bill.

Tim Callahan writes regularly for SKEPTIC magazine. He is also an artist and works in the film industry as an animator.

Amanda Chesworth is a Canadian living skeptically in Albuquerque NM. She has a B.Sc. in interdisciplinary sciences and enjoys freelance science writing and rock hunting in her spare time. Her "mission in life" is to promote scientific literacy through writing and educating.

Bob Friedhoffer is a magician whose performances use magic tricks to teach the principles of science. He has written many books that show you how you can also do science magic using everyday household items.

Michael R. Gilmore is a 20-year veteran of the space program and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. Applying low-light-level television to astronomy he tracked Apollo and other spacecraft for NASA, and he has worked for Rockwell Space Division and TRW Space and Technology Group.

Pat Linse is one of the founders of the Skeptics Society and a creator of both SKEPTIC and JR. SKEPTIC magazine. She illustrates, writes for, and edits JR. SKEPTIC magazine.

SIZE

Dr. Michael Shermer is Publisher of SKEPTIC, Director of the Skeptics Society, host of Science Talk on KPCC radio (the NPR affiliate for Southern California), and the Consulting Producer and co-host of the Fox Family television series Exploring the Unknown.

Why do People Seem So Fascinated By Pyramids?

The sheer size of the pyramids alone was enough to attract attention and inspire wonder. For much of its history the largest of them, the Great Pyramid of Giza, was the tallest structure in the world. In the ancient world only the legendary lighthouse at Alexandria was said to have been taller. It was not until 4,500 years later in 1889, with the invention of steel beam construction, that the Eiffel tower of Paris, France rose higher.

The Great Pyramid is still one of the most massive structures ever built.

Just how big was it?

The Great Pyramid was 480 feet high. Imagine 48 fiat-roofed houses stacked one on top of another. it is said to have been built from 2 1/2 million blocks of limestone, each averaging 2 1/2 tons (5000 pounds). Imagine 2 1/2 million cars squashed into blocks and piled into a pyramid. That's big!

AGE

The pyramids were already 1,000 years old during the time that the biblical story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt was thought to have taken place. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Mystery of the Pyramids
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.