Tuesday, April 08, 2008

MIT Students Explore Taboo Pyramid Theory

How were the pyramids of Egypt built? The leading theory is that laborers cut 2.5-ton blocks of limestone, dragged them across the desert, and carefully piled one-on-top-of-the-other until they reached the top.

But what if the Egyptians used concrete to form the blocks in place? It's certainly easier to imagine than the whole cutting-and-dragging-across-the-desert thing. But it's a deeply controversial idea. According to
an MIT press release (originally found by Pound360 at The Anomalist), the idea is so outside the norm that, "you can't get research funding, and it's difficult to get a paper through peer review," said professor Linn Hobbs.

Professor Hobbs is leading a group of MIT students studying the concrete theory (more as an exercise than to revolutionize our understanding of the pyramids). As it turns out, concrete has been around for ages. For example, the Romans used it to build some of the structures we still see today, like the Pantheon.

The "cast-block theory" was first proposed by Joseph Davidovits, a French materials chemist in the 1930s.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.