How the Egyptian Pyramids Were Built: A New Theory in 3D Animation

Jean-Pierre Houdin spent a couple of decades working as an independent architect around Paris. Then, his career took a big turn. Working with his father, Houdin tried to crack an ancient mystery — how were the great pyramids of Egypt built?

Throughout the centuries, various theories have been put forth. Herodotus, who visited Egypt around 450 B.C., speculated that some “machines” were involved. Others thought that mounds serving as ramps played a central role in the construction. And still others have guessed that extraterrestrials were the real builders (seriously).

Now Houdin enters into the debate with what Egyptologist Bob Brier calls a “radical new theory.” Using state-of-the-art 3-D software, Houdin has concluded that the bottom portion of the pyramids were built with an external ramp, and the upper portions with internal ramps. Brier summarizes the theory rather well in this short article.

Houdin’s work has focused particularly on the Great Pyramid of Giza, otherwise known as the Pyramid of Khufu, built circa 2500 B.C. (See image here). And he has gone so far as to create a 3D interactive film that visually documents his hypothesis. We’ve embedded a good clip above. You can also head to Khufu Reborn to get the full interactive experience. (Note: You’ll need a PC, 3D glasses and some downloadable plugins to make it all work.)



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  1. Remi says . . . | August 1, 2011 / 6:34 am

    Hey Dan!

    Nice article you wrote! I wanted to point out that there’s a new video for that topic here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SSj0lWJNSc

    Best,

    Rémi

  2. Charles Frith says . . . | August 1, 2011 / 8:36 am

    Not buying the harmonics theory?

  3. Archie Quinn says . . . | August 2, 2011 / 2:14 pm

    Just another theory, this guy actually worked it out in simple physics and can be reproduced without vast numbers of people

  4. Brian Joffin says . . . | September 8, 2011 / 10:07 pm

    Ok if this is true then let’s see it built! I think you’ll find it fails! Understanding the achievement of the Pyramids requires an understanding that human beings and the earth evolve and have had different capabilities through the eons..

  5. ALF says . . . | February 11, 2012 / 10:29 am

    Yes this is how they did it. This and aliens.

  6. Merovetyt says . . . | February 27, 2012 / 3:44 pm

    Let’s say it’s Wednesday. You go back in time to Tuesday and place a block on the ground. You then go back to Monday and place a block on the ground in the exact same place. That is what happened.

  7. Petros Petrosyan says . . . | March 6, 2012 / 9:19 am

    Hi

    I’m Petros Petrosyan.
    I now live in Chicago.

    Attention please!

    1. The pyramid is not a sepulcher of Pharaoh and the purpose of its construction was not on this plane.
    2. The huge volume of the information is ciphered with use of the geometrical form of a pyramid.
    3. The basic model of the Pyramid cipher was established.
    The basic model of the code of a pyramid is formed of 365 small pyramids which consist at 14 steps of model of the code.

    Pyramid is ciphered message, It is simply improbable.

    Please Go to: http://www.world-mysteries.com/pex_PPetrosyan1.htm

    Full Article: http://files.mail.ru/H5RKPO ;

    Thanks, Petros M.Petrosyan

  8. earl says . . . | April 21, 2012 / 9:30 am

    could the pyramids have been built to protect people from solar flares prior to the erosion of thus they were covered in a reflective layer and this show i was watching stated that the pyramids protected a hand full of egytians from a solar flare and with the longevity of there existance could point toward the fact that aside from a profatic use the pyramids could have been built in an effort to ensure the survival of futur generations

  9. lala brown says . . . | May 17, 2012 / 8:34 am

    DIS WEB PAGE IS WACK ! BRO LIKE FOR REAL THOUU ! *

  10. Theo J says . . . | August 16, 2012 / 2:11 pm

    Brian – We have barely evolved since the upper paleolithic (14,000 years ago). If an ancient egyptian baby was born now then he/she would have probably as much capability at computer science when it grew up as we do now.

  11. Dan Colman says . . . | February 10, 2013 / 1:19 pm

    A quick question from the editor. Can anyone tell us which Facebook page just mentioned this post?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dan

  12. Pamela Ridings says . . . | February 10, 2013 / 2:25 pm

    Awsome , I,m always looking at this stuff

  13. Bruno says . . . | February 10, 2013 / 3:48 pm

    Oh well kids, stop talking about Aliens, it’s always aliens aliens aliens aliens with you, shut up.

    In the pyramide years, Villagers had nothing better to do than build, farm, eat and sleep.

    There’s 24hours a day, it always been like that, Earth haven’t changed since this time. So, what do you do when you’re not sleeping? First years of your life you can play and learn, when you become an adult, what do you do? You’re not having fun playing anymore and you can’t have fun with TV and work 8hours a day for you paid…

    That’s probably why they were building pyramids, they had time for it, and it’s kinda gratifiant to know that you have build this.

    If you had to this a pharaon which could be compared to a dictator and an idiot with a book saying ”If you don’t do that the gods will kill you” like Christians and Muslims…

    There’s no reason to look over space.

  14. Missing Link says . . . | February 11, 2013 / 10:44 am

    Clearly the videos author is an alien. Seriously, Jesus built the pyramids. Everyone knows that. Duh.

  15. Henk koens says . . . | March 12, 2013 / 2:31 pm

    Hey Dan, good article.

    I admire the work of mr. Houdin but it is very sophisticated.

    There is another and more simple investigation, interesting to know.
    See next link:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/101327184/The-Great-Pyramid-built-with-Rolling-Stones

  16. Christoph Messner says . . . | April 8, 2013 / 2:57 pm

    The pyramid blocks were cast out of limestone, lime and diatomaceous earth.

  17. Craig says . . . | April 24, 2013 / 7:25 am

    Hi Dan, just fyi, the image you linked to in the article for the Great Pyramid is actually a photo of Khafre’s Pyramid, the middle of three on the Giza Necropolis.

  18. Edie says . . . | April 24, 2013 / 9:45 am

    What a feat! They were studs. Amazing to theorize on how this was done!

  19. Matthew says . . . | April 24, 2013 / 9:49 am

    Truly fascinating, but the pyramids weren’t just built by “workers”. They were built by slaves. To not call them as such is disrespectful to the long, rich history of the Jewish people. That said, I’m fully aware that social justice is not the point of this video.

  20. Joe says . . . | June 1, 2013 / 2:07 pm

    “To not call them as such is disrespectful to the long, rich history of the Jewish people.”

    What are you talking about? There’s no evidence outside of the Old Testament indicating that the Hebrews ever inhabited Pharaonic Egypt. What’s more, we have records of the wages that the workers were paid.

  21. laveine mirella says . . . | August 20, 2013 / 1:43 am

    quand vous complantez les pyramides & les empires antiques de toutes cette époque . dis moi comment on t ils fais pour bouger des masses de pierres qui font des tonnes & étre aussi bien aligner . je crois pas a la théories d esclaves avec leurs simples outils. quand on regarde bien les pierres ont été travailler avec des machines . certains scientifiques disent bien qu une aide est bien venu de l espace . moi aussi je suis certaine . je suis consciente que des mondes existe comme le notre les pyramides & bien autres choses nous le prouves .

  22. Invisobel says . . . | August 22, 2013 / 8:41 pm

    This all seems really complicated and I don’t understand enginimeering and such. So I’m just gonna go with aliens.

  23. Blackjackshellac says . . . | August 23, 2013 / 3:52 am

    state-of-the-art? That presentation needs some work. The workers are also a little too white.

  24. tim says . . . | August 23, 2013 / 4:23 am

    Dan –

    Dangerous Minds was where I found my link via Facebook.

    -Tim

  25. Randy says . . . | August 23, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    This is laughable. The size of the actual blocks used in the building are 20 times the size shown in the video. No wonder he was an unemployed er, independent architect for 20 yrs.

  26. james says . . . | September 17, 2013 / 9:39 am

    Who built the pyramids and why? who knows but it was certainly not the pharaohs.They align with Orions belt 11,500 years ago.The civilisation during the time of the pharaohs evolved around the all ready constructed Giza pyramids.When the Egyptians tried to copy the Giza pyramids they screwed them up and built monuments instead and buried their dead royalty in a hole in the ground.If the ancients did in fact have the will,knowledge and intelligence to construct such wonders what did they do after they finished them,go back to being stupid? One wonders because you would expect some other legacy from the knowledge gained from building such unbelievable structures,roads,bridges,town planning perhaps,but alas not much.nWonder who did build them?

  27. Ernest Bizzell says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 1:58 am

    Look into Christopher Dunn. The modified hydraulic ram pump in the lower sections of the great pyramid show us they floated the blocks into place. There is also ruminants of a wall. Jilt around the pyramid like they were enclosing water like locksn

  28. Ernest Bizzell says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 1:58 am

    Remnants*

  29. Tojotomi says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 2:43 am

    this theory is nonsens…its so hard to do tunnels inside of pyramids like this. how they cover this tunnels after they finish? and how they build this tunnels inside of pyramids? I cant imagin how. well I can but for me is so complicated for realisation. You need to start building a basement and after that you need to start thinking how the tunnels will be made. With tunnels is all static of the building process much more difficult. I dont believe this theory. This theory is not answering the main question. How they build walls outside of this tunnels? They must do it somehow. The inside tunnels system for me is not the answer.

  30. Jesse CRAIGNOU says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 4:24 am

    Ten men ? Is this a joke ?nnTen men to move stones that weighed up to hundreds of tonnes ?nnThe question remains:nif ancient people indeed had the technology to built those monuments then whyndid they live in caves and mud huts when they could have designed cities andncivilisations that lasted forever ? Not to mention the fact that this wouldnhave required at least ten times the population that was around back thenu2026 Mostnscientific explanations pertaining to the way those were built have since beennproved wrongu2026 and most of them verging on nonsense u2026

  31. Loxia says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 4:59 am

    Finally someone with a brain!!! I applaud to you sir.

  32. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:06 am

    Actually archaeological evidence shows that there was a Hebrew population in Egypt at the possible time of the Exodus. The thing is that that would have likely been in the reigns of Seti I and Ramses II, and not the time of the pyramids

  33. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:07 am

    Who: Farmers during the flood season.nnnIt’s common knowledge!

  34. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:07 am

    Who: Farmers during the flood season.nnnIt’s common knowledge!

  35. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:07 am

    Thank you, someone who knows the archaeology!

  36. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:07 am

    Thank you, someone who knows the archaeology!

  37. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:10 am

    WRONG!nnnThe Jews weren’t enslaved until likely the reigns of Seti I and Ramses II in the New Kingdom period; and they would have built cities and temples, NOT pyramids. The pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom period.nnnAnd the pyramids were built by the farmers during the flood season where they couldn’t work the fields.nnnAnd BTW I’m a Jew with a lot of Egyptology knowledge, so don’t even TRY to disagree

  38. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:10 am

    WRONG!nnnThe Jews weren’t enslaved until likely the reigns of Seti I and Ramses II in the New Kingdom period; and they would have built cities and temples, NOT pyramids. The pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom period.nnnAnd the pyramids were built by the farmers during the flood season where they couldn’t work the fields.nnnAnd BTW I’m a Jew with a lot of Egyptology knowledge, so don’t even TRY to disagree

  39. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:11 am

    Oh not stupid people saying it was aliens, or magic, or anything stupid.nnnSeriously, archaeology has shown it was built by man power by the farmers who couldn’t work the fields during the flood season.nnnYEESH!

  40. Lucius says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 7:31 am

    And how were the 70 ton granite blocks actually maneuvered perfectly into place to create the ‘king’s chamber’? How were the ‘weight relieving’ chambers above the king’s chamber constructed and the angled roof slabs secured in place? And how was the descending passage to the ‘subterranean chamber’ carved out of bedrock? With mallets and chisels? And all of this with primitive tools by man power alone? This is laughable.nnThis attempt to explain the construction of the Great Pyramid is as fatally flawed as any other. The construction and deconstruction of massive external and internal ramps would have taken as much effort as the construction of the pyramid itself. And then the idea of using wooden sleds and wooden rails to move these blocks is patently ridiculous. Massive multi-ton blocks of stone would grind wood to pulp. And even so, where was all this incredibly durable hard wood imported from? nnWhen Herodotus visited Giza he was told that the builders used what he called a ‘device’ or ‘machine’. The Greek word does not denote a specific thing, it is a general term because his guides had no idea what this ‘device’ actually was. But they did know that some unknown engineering technology was used. The construction of Giza is a mystery that will not be solved until the technology used by the builders is known.

  41. Lucius says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 8:15 am

    Archeology is irrelevant. Engineering is the science that needs to be applied to the building of Giza.

  42. Guest says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 8:18 am

    epic fail, eight people carrying 20 tons? to build the Pyramid of Giza took 21 years, taking into account the displacement of the stones and fitting would nescessario 5 minutes per stone. it is impossible to be performed, pyramids are of extraterrestrial origin

  43. Rafael Bahia says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 8:20 am

    epic fail, eight people carrying 20 tons? to build the Pyramid of Giza took 21 years, taking into account the displacement of the stones and fitting would take 5 minutes per stone. it is impossible to be performed, pyramids are of extraterrestrial origin

  44. Rafael Bahia says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 8:20 am

    not to mention the cutting of stones …

  45. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 8:31 am

    Sorry, but as archaeology is needed for this, you are wrong.nnArchaeology, having found evidence, has the facts.

  46. Shane Langridge says . . . | November 2, 2013 / 1:59 pm
  47. Lucius says . . . | November 3, 2013 / 4:52 am

    Perhaps you’d be so good as to explain how an archeologist can analyze construction engineering on this scale. What ‘evidence’ and ‘facts’ have archeologists ‘found’ regarding the construction of Giza, as there are no extant records? Only a construction engineer or architect is qualified to analyze such structures. Archeology is a ‘social science’ not a hard science. It studies artifacts in their cultural context, it does not supplant geology, materials science, engineering or architecture which properly analyze stone and the construction techniques utilized by builders. Your presumption that I am wrong is based on prejudice, that is all.

  48. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 3, 2013 / 5:43 am

    You forgot that archaeologists find artifacts, paintings, papyrus, etc?nnnAnd that there are archaeologists that specialize in ancient engineering?nnnSorry, but archaeology trumps your stupid alien theory.

  49. Lucius says . . . | November 3, 2013 / 9:08 am

    Forget? I mentioned artifacts. Can you read? And alien? Where did I mention alien? You have your head in a very dark place. And as there are no papyri or artifacts related to the construction of Giza you’re pissing up a rope. Go back to school, you’re wasting my time.

  50. Daniel Kalban says . . . | November 3, 2013 / 10:06 am

    The fact you resort to insults proves my point.nnThe fact you ignore everything that archaeology, which includes engineering disciplines, is somewhat disturbs me.nnnArchaeology perhaps is too slow for you; but slow and steady finds the facts.nnnWhy are you so dismissive of the idea that men, using primitive machines, can create wonders?

  51. ben marshall says . . . | November 3, 2013 / 7:40 pm

    The less you know about anything, the more aliens had to do it.

  52. guest says . . . | November 9, 2013 / 10:53 am

    The Earth being flat was common knowledge. The Earth being the center of the galaxy and universe was common knowledge.

  53. Jan Schaffelaar says . . . | November 12, 2013 / 7:22 am

    How to build the ancient Egyptian Great Pyramid ?nnSee a realistic and simple idea.nnhttp://blog.world-mysteries.com/mystic-places/the-great-pyramid-and-transport-of-heavy-stone-blocks/

  54. Knox Warner says . . . | May 7, 2014 / 7:36 pm

    I respect Mr. Houdin, but it could not have happened this way. His theory goes wrong with every innovation he introduces, and it ends up with creating more questions than it answers, eg, how could the corners of the pyramid possibly be filled in from the inside at the project’s end? I’ll be introducing another theory later in the year. It’s probably the answer.

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