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No. 74: Mar-Apr 1991

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Did the pharaohs cheat with concrete?

"The Great Pyramid of Egypt, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, may have been at least partially constructed with man-made concrete.

"Edward Zeller, cirector of the radiation physics laboratory at Univ. of Kansas Space Technology Center, Law rence, recently examined a stone sample, taken from a pyramid passageway, under a binocular microscope and discovered that it was filled with oval air bubbles, 'like you'd expect to see in plaster,' he says.

"The finding supports a theory proposed by French geochemist Joseph Davidovits, who says Egyptians built the pyramids by pouring concrete into forms. Such technology was not thought to have existed during the construction of the pyramids around 2690 BC.

"Zeller still has his doubts.

"'The sample is clearly made of manufactured stone and it's part of the pyramid,' he says. 'But a single speci-men does not a pyramid make.'"

("Did the Pharoahs Cheat with Concrete?" R&D Magazine, p. 5, December 1990. Cr. J. Wenskus.)

Reference. An earlier report on the theory proposed by Davidovits may be found in SF#54.

From Science Frontiers #74, MAR-APR 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987