A Derbyshire construction expert may have solved a mystery that has baffled the finest minds for thousands of years after publishing his own alternative theory on how the Pyramids were built.

Chris Massey, managing director of Beresford’s Flooring, first saw the pyramids on a family holiday to Egypt. After hearing the traditional theory of how the giant blocks weighing several tonnes were hauled along by thousands of men to build the structure, he became convinced there was a simpler way. Frustrated with guidebooks and the response from his tour guide and wound up by put-downs from fellow travellers, he set about figuring out how he would do it.

His ideas became an obsession, and his resulting theory is explained in his new book ‘The Pyramids of Egypt — how were they really built?’ which is gaining credibility amongst more and more experts, who believe it could prove a much more plausible method of construction.

Traditional Egyptologists claim that the huge stones, weighing several tonnes, were transported by boat from quarries, and then dragged up ramps made of mud bricks using timber rollers by thousands of workers.

However, approaching the problem of building a pyramid from a construction perspective, Chris, who has worked in the construction industry all his life, thinks the process was a lot simpler and much less labour-intensive – simply by tapping into the abundant resource of the nearby River Nile - and using water, instead of rolling logs, to move the huge stone blocks into place while building each of the pyramids.

Chris believes that animal skins animal skins and other buoyant material were inflated and strapped to the blocks, which were floated along the river to the construction site. Once the blocks had made it to the base of the structure, they were floated up a huge shaft, using lock gates to regulate the flow - and differing air pressure then pushed the floating blocks up to the top.

As managing director of pre-cast concrete firm, Chris has the kind of practical know-how of lifting heavy beams far beyond the experience of scholars of ancient Egypt:

"I'm used to getting straight answers from architects and engineers, but our tour guide couldn't answer my questions about building methods and I didn't think much of the conventional theory. If I asked my team to move a two-tonne beam with rollers, they wouldn't be happy because, even with today's scaffolding tubes across a concrete floor, the smallest pebble can cause you problems. Across the desert, it would be impossible.”

Nor does Chris believe that mud-brick ramps were used to move blocks up the side of the partially built pyramid. According to his detailed calculations, it would have taken nine billion bricks to produce a workable gradient – this simply would not have been strong enough and the sheer volume of material required would make the task unfeasible. Even today, the UK brick industry only produces two billion bricks a year.                                                                  

Our tour guide spoke about hundreds of thousands of square metres of material being quarried, moved and compacted as if it was a few barrows full. My men moan when they have to barrow six metres of ready-mix concrete from the back of a mixer wagon. And the Egyptians would have to do that up a slope – and in 50 degree heat.”

Instead, Chris believes that animal skins, known to have been used to transport wine and water, could be inflated and attached to blocks, which could then be floated down the Nile, pulled by oxen and moved from the quarry to the building site itself. On arrival at the plateau, Chris says blocks could have been floated up the side of a partially built pyramid into water-filled gullies via a shaft filled with water and regulated by lock gates.

"If I were building the Great Pyramid, the first thing I'd do would be to look at the expertise and resources available to me. They had buoyant papyrus, lots of animals and everyone depended on the Nile and knew about the properties of water. In the industrial revolution, when coal had to be transported all over the country, they dug canals rather than use an army of men, carts and shire horses. I can’t believe that a culture like the Egyptians' would come up with such a clumsy way of building with the resources they had."

Chris’ theory and the story behind it is explained in his new book ‘The Pyramids Of Egypt – How Were They Really Built? a light hearted account of his holiday in Egypt and his unique theory, which is attracting attention from Egyptologists across the UK.

He is receiving requests to speak at Egyptology societies across the UK a series of scale model demonstration videos have already had more than 45,000 hits on YouTube.

How the Pyramids of Egypt were really built

ISBN 978-1846247347


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