Pyramid Quest: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and the Dawn of Civilization

Overview

The Egyptologist acclaimed for re-dating the Great Sphinx at Giza sets his sights on one of the true mysteries of antiquity: the Great Pyramid of Giza.

What is the Great Pyramid of Giza? Ask that basic question of a traditional Egyptologist, and you get the basic, traditional answer: a fancy tombstone for a self-important pharaoh of the Old Kingdom. This, Egyptologists argue, is the sole finding based on the data, and the only deduction ...

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Pyramid Quest: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and the Dawn of Civilization

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Overview

The Egyptologist acclaimed for re-dating the Great Sphinx at Giza sets his sights on one of the true mysteries of antiquity: the Great Pyramid of Giza.

What is the Great Pyramid of Giza? Ask that basic question of a traditional Egyptologist, and you get the basic, traditional answer: a fancy tombstone for a self-important pharaoh of the Old Kingdom. This, Egyptologists argue, is the sole finding based on the data, and the only deduction supported by science.

By implication, anyone who dissents from this point of view is unscientific and woolly-minded-a believer in magic and ghosts. Indeed, some of the unconventional ideas about the Great Pyramid do have a spectacularly fabulous ring to them. Yet from beneath the obvious terms of this controversy, a deeper, more significant question arises: how is it that the Great Pyramid exercises such a gripping hold on the human psyche- adding cryptic grace to the back of the one-dollar bill and framing myriad claims of New Age "pyramid power"?

In Pyramid Quest, Robert M. Schoch and Robert Aquinas McNally use the rigorous intellectual analysis of scientific inquiry to investigate what we know about the Great Pyramid, and develop a stunning hypothesis: This ancient monument is the strongest proof yet that civilization began thousands of years earlier than is generally thought, extending far back into a little-known time. In tracing that story, we come to understand not only the Great Pyramid but also our own origins as civilized beings.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Traditionally, scientists and other scholars have argued that Egyptians constructed the Great Pyramid in one remarkable burst of activity during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu (2551-2528 B.C.). Drawing on archeological and scientific scholarship in their third collaboration, geologist Schoch and writer McNally challenge this view and conclude that the foundation of the edifice can be traced to the earliest Egyptian empires, as far back as 7000-5000 B.C. Among their assertions are that the Great Pyramid may not have been a tomb (no mummy has ever been found inside), but served other cultic and mythological purposes, with both the external and internal areas serving different roles in different eras; between 1500 and 500 B.C., for instance, the pyramid was probably used for ritual training and initiation. Schoch devotes more than a third of the book to appendixes that provide details on such topics as the pyramid's external dimensions, its passages and chambers, and the dating of the structure. Although the book will be controversial for some, it contains such a wealth of information about ancient Egypt and the science of the construction of the pyramids that it may be the only guide to the Great Pyramid most readers will ever need. B&w illus. Agents, Sarah Jane Freymann and Judith Rosen. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Latest in the authors' ongoing study of the major Egyptian monuments at Giza (Voyages of the Pyramid Builders, 2003, etc.), which challenges the mainstream picture of civilization's earliest days. With diligence and patience, geologist Schoch (Mathematics and Science/Boston Univ.) and his writing partner, McNally, have produced some of the most entertaining and, in net, enlightening examples of what might be called advocacy science. One need know very little about ancient history or Egyptology to be drawn into their revisionist argument, which has its roots in Schoch's observation that parts of the Great Sphinx show water weathering rather than the constant sandblasting of an essentially desert environment. From this observation, he initially concluded that the Sphinx must have been built when heavier rainfall was the norm in Egypt, several millennia earlier than the date traditionally assigned to its construction. Now he focuses on the Great Pyramid and its smaller relatives, also at Giza. Why, he wonders, was it built over a previous mound structure rather than on a flat bedrock site, which would have been far easier? Why is its base almost as perfectly square as even modern engineering could have made it? Why is it oriented to the cardinal compass points within a fraction of a degree? Could 100,000 men working 20 years with 20-ton blocks really have built what was not only the heaviest earthly structure but, until the Eiffel Tower, the tallest? And most importantly, why have no proven remains of any pharaoh, let alone those to whom the structures are attributed, ever been found in a Giza pyramid? The authors point out that the first available accounts of the Great Pyramid, by Greekhistorians, were removed from its actual inception by the same span of time as ours from the birth of Christ. His ideas on who may originally have built it, and when, follow a fascinating compendium of speculations (power plant? military Death Star?) by others, dutifully debunked. Very readable intrigue, bolstered by logic and calculations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585424054
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/2/2005
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Schoch, a full-time faculty member at the College of General Studies at Boston University since 1984, earned his Ph.D. in geology and geophysics at Yale University. Dr. Schoch has been quoted extensively in the media for his work on the Sphinx, and he was featured on the Emmy-winning documentary The Mystery of the Sphinx, hosted by Charlton Heston.
Robert Aquinas McNally is the author of numerous books, and is a classically educated writer and poet.

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