Aliens Built the Pyramids… Or Not

What I love about Egypt is the multitude of conspiracy theories and insane ideas that have emerged about the why and how the pyramids were created. It has always fascinated me why people refuse to believe the facts and instead look to outlandish ideas as to why these great wonders were even constructed. The thing I find most amazing though is that very well known and educated individuals publish some of these ideas. We learned about three men today that are very well educated yet decided to talk on a subject that they know very little to none about. Not only are individuals buying into the lies but so does the media. There are multiple movies in Hollywood that portray the construction of the pyramids being done by slaves. To be honest up until today I had believed that as well. All the media that we see and all the information we are given is that the pyramids were built by slave labor and I had always seen that as fact. It was refreshing for once to see that this was in fact not true. I really enjoyed being able to finally get facts instead of just fiction. I remember in seventh grade we had an Egyptian unit. My teacher was talking about the pyramids of Giza and was telling us how slaves were brought in to build the pyramids for unjust and tyrannical rulers, but after today I learned that was not true. The people that actually built the pyramids were skilled laborers; they were not slaves nor were they aliens. They were not some mystical beings that ascended from the heavens to design these constructs for a greater purpose. It was very interesting to find out that there was actually a city built in the plateau to house those that were working on they pyramids. I am still in awe though that such well known individuals generate such wild ideas on why the pyramids were built. When watching the History channel this is easily shown. I have a younger sister who simply loves this channel and watches it non stop every day. I walked in after work one day and remember her watching a show about the creation of the pyramids. The show was saying that the aliens built the pyramids and that the aliens left a message. The show argued points like, the ancient Egyptians didn’t have the tools to build such structures and even said that it was simply impossible for the pyramids to be lined up in the fashion that they are. I absolutely love that some people refuse to listen to the facts and instead through wild accusations and ideas out there no matter how open the truth is.

3 thoughts on “Aliens Built the Pyramids… Or Not

  1. Conspiracy theories are a favorite subject of mockery of mine as well, which made the class lecture around them a fascinating look into the origins of many of these baffling ideas that are somehow as popular as they are. It doesn’t help I think that popular media goes along with a lot of these ideas as much as they; not even counting admittedly fictional stories set in Egypt, but ones that pretend to be something ‘authoritative’ on the subject matter. You mentioned the History Channel, and they are the prime offender I agree. That a channel with that name has the gall to air such tripe as ‘Ancient Aliens’ with the closest thing they have to actual historical content is goddamn Pawn Stars, you know something is messed up with public perception of history.

    That obvious loons can now get easy spots on prime-time television to espouse their views to millions of ignorant people is a drastic consequence of the ease modern communications allows us to broadcast to the masses. At the same time, it gives an opportunity to bring forth professional historical views on topics through the easy acquisition of information on the internet. And I think it’s our duty as students of our chosen topics, whether they be anthropology, history, or whatever, to combat ignorance where we can find it. Who knows, maybe someday network television will hire actual professionals and stop thinking it’s okay to lower the collective consciousness towards topics like archaeology. Personally I doubt that will happen, but who knows.

    Also speaking of fictionalized depictions of Ancient Egypt, one film that is very far off actual history but still recommended is Dreamworks the Prince of Egypt. It follows a very literal biblical history of the creation of the pyramids, but it’s one of my favorite nonetheless. Check it out if you’ve never seen it.

  2. As i’ve grown older and more aware of the constant conspiracy theories about anything on God’s green earth, I too have seen shows that talk about how the pyramids could’ve been made by aliens… The History Channel always has shows on about the Pyramids and how they were built and the only reason they even bring this view up on their shows is to try and get people to watch their show. The facts and documentation for the creation of the pyramids are all there in history. Conspiracy theories can be made about literally anything. Someone could probably make up a conspiracy theory as to why I woke up at 11 today. The theory would most likely involve aliens too. The other fact you brought up was, contrary to popular belief, the pyramids were built by skilled laborers and not by slaves. Slaves building the pyramids have been depicted in many movies such as the old Disney movie, The Prince of Egypt. Why did society want to depict the pyramids being built by slaves I’ll never know but it’s nice to actually learn the facts for once about something. The pyramids are some of the greatest architectural undertakings ever created. In order to create these, you would not need just some skilled laborers, you would need the best skilled laborers in order to accomplish this feat. The sides all line up perfectly with each other at the top and each side connected smoothly together. The facts are there that solidify the fact that skilled laborers created the pyramids. It’s a shame that people still don’t understand that.

  3. The media absolutely contributes to misinformation and encourages pseudoscientific ideas for the origin of the pyramids and other historical phenomena. An example of this, which I believe you may have been referencing in your post, is the show Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. The show presents “evidence” arguing that aliens have had contact with and influenced humans at many different times in history. The show has suggested that aliens were involved in constructing the pyramids and many other great historical buildings, taught humans about mathematics and science, and became the foundation of ancient religions. Films sometimes promote the idea that aliens built the pyramids as well, as seen in the 2009 movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In the film, an ancient alien machine is hidden inside one of the pyramids of Giza, which were built to conceal it.

    The reason Ancient Aliens and shows like it are so popular is that they are entertaining. The History Channel airs the show for its entertainment value instead of its educational value and accuracy. To many people, these ideas make sense and are perceived as legitimate scientific and historical theories.

    As we discussed in class, however, the people who come up with these ideas and appear on the shows are often not qualified to be speaking about topics like ancient Egyptian history. Erich von Daniken, who we discussed in class, is often referenced in Ancient Aliens and has been a guest on the show. His work, as mentioned in lecture, contains many errors and is full of conjecture not supported by hard evidence. One of the main personalities on the show, Giorgio Tsoukalos (the man who’s picture inspired the popular “ALIENS” meme that took the internet by storm), has no formal education in ancient history or archaeology. He has no university education beyond a bachelor’s degree in sports information and communication. This doesn’t seem like a person who is qualified to propose ideas about who built the pyramids.

    Shows like Ancient Aliens are fun for their entertainment value and bold ideas, but people must be aware enough to determine whether or not those ideas are coming from a qualified source and if they are really feasible.

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