Were Pyramids Built as Cosmic Ray Shelters?

Pyramids -> Cosmic Ray Shelters?

I was reading a paperback from the early 80′s entitled “The Nuclear Survival Handbook: Living through and after a nuclear attack“, by Barry Popkess. I was looking for some tips that might be useful in the event of any non-nuclear global cataclysms (for example a pole shift), and I can thoroughly recommend reading the chapters on disease and vermin, and the grim picture he paints. But it was the chapter on shelters that sent a chill down my spine. From my point of view, his detailed descriptions of how to build a nuclear radiation shelter parallel many facets of pyramids. If I am correct about the major role of cosmic rays in global cataclysms that occurred in our distant past, and the ancients believed the same, then perhaps the true purpose of pyramids can finally be understood.

I’ll dispense with paragraphs of introductions, background information and side-trips, and just present the evidence as I see it. Below are excerpts from the book of Mr. Popkess, and how I feel they tie in with corresponding Great Pyramid information.

(Other pyramids require less investigation – they were basically a case of “the more thick stuff that is above me, the less I’ll get zapped by cosmic rays” – and not designed for anything more than a specific temporary shelter)

[ Note: Obviously Mr Popkess is not describing pyramids, but rather shelters that you or I could feasibly build. He is also not just concerned with nuclear blast, but with fallout, bio-warfare and disease as well. Based on the following evidence, pyramids could therefore be shelters against any of these things, not just cosmic rays. ]


Few persons are able to afford all the requirements of an effective modern shelter.

Kings, pharaohs, religious and political leaders had the ability and influence to convince those under them to construct pyramids. Powerful people are prone to using their power for personal gain.


(p69) A drawback to the use of public shelters arises from the speed with which modern weapons may be delivered. The shorter the warning of their approach the wider the entrances to the shelter need to be. And the door is likely to be the weakest point in any shelter, because it should be capable of being opened by those inside.

He is referring to the failure of Governments to provide public shelters, and possible reasons why. In ancient times the problems were the same. It was logistically impossible to provide shelter for everyone, and impractical if the threat could arrive suddenly. Those that govern will select themselves as being more worthy of having shelter – something that the US & Russian governments (amongst others) agree with.

General Design

(p68-9) Is the building, or part of it, suitable in its design and materials?

1 Resistance to blast. Steel-framed buildings and those of reinforced concrete are least likely to collapse. Mortar between bricks of old buildings may have lost its strength;

2 floors strong enough to support sandbags and falling debris;

3 an interior room;

4 a cellar or basement;

5 incorporating heat- or fire-resistant materials;

6 stairs. Interior stairs are protected from various poisons and radiation, exterior ones from fire. In tall buildings there should be both, for lifts may not be working;

7 cubic volume of building or part of it which may be sealed against entry of fallout particles, chemicals or biological agents (For practical purposes, one tenth of the cubic area contains the oxygen reserve.);

8 roof. Its slope should allow wind and rain to readily remove fallout

The Great Pyramid of Giza has resistance to blast – it is probably the most solid building on Earth. It contains interior rooms, a basement, is heat resistant, was sealed and the roof is on a bit of a slope.


(97) This should be through a tunnel having the following features:

  • at least one right angled bend
  • a step or ramp at its outer end to
    prevent entry of rainwater or fallout
  • a decontamination section in which clothing may be changed, and monitoring and cleaning equipment be kept
  • an outer end facing away from the prevailing wind
  • at least one efficiently sealing door with which air supply and contaminants may be controlled

The main door should be of steel plate at least half an inch thick…Though its blast resistance would be greater if it opened outwards, unless the shelter also has an emergency exit it may be better for the main door to open inwards so that marauders cannot jam it shut.

The entrance tunnel has a bend, but not at right angles. The main chambers are above the entrance, so that solves the rainwater issue. The decontamination section and prevailing wind are nuclear fallout specific, and probably not a consideration in the construction of the pyramid. The entrance face the prevailing north wind. The doors and plugs would have been effective seals.

The exterior entrance to the pyramid supposedly had a swivel door that opened inwards. According to Ian Lawton:

Is there physical evidence for a hinged-block system? The casing stones around the original entrance have now been stripped, as have many of the core blocks behind them, so it is impossible to judge. However the huge double gables over the “inner” entrance, albeit that they were built for support rather than decoration, somehow do not appear to us consistent with the idea of a small hinged door. Meanwhile Egyptologists such as Petrie and more recently Lepre have conducted detailed analysis’ of the way the “doors” might have worked, based primarily on the fact that the Bent Pyramid’s western entrance apparently shows signs of just such a system. The blocks on either side of the entrance are reported to contain distinct sockets in which the hinges would have swivelled, while the floor—although now filled in—originally contained a deep recess which would have been necessary for the block to swivel inwards; (this is Lepre’s reappraisal of Petrie’s theory, which suggested, apparently incorrectly and based on Strabo’s original description, that it would have swivelled outwards). Lepre also suggests that the Meidum Pyramid contains similar sockets.

Volume needed for air etc

Here we shall consider a group consisting of two children, their mother and father, and two additional men included as protection from looters.

The group themselves

Four adults averaging 11 stone each, and two children who average 51/2 stone each will occupy about 20 cubic feet

Their food

One man will need about 4000 calories per day while he works a manual air pump and cycle-generator and engages in other hard work. If he shares the task with others they will share the extra food allowance which therefore
remains the same. The foods which this ration might include, listed below, are neither the most or least suitable for the purpose but selected at random from stocks which most supermarkets hold.:

425g tin creamed soup, 340 calories, 31.5 cu in
198g tin ham, 578 cals, 15.9 cu in
397g tin tomatoes, 79 cals, 29.7 cu in
425g tin kidney beans, 382 cals, 31.8 cu in
822g tin apricots, 715 cals, 58 cu in
200g pkt biscuits, 665 cals, 29 cu in
325g cheddar cheese, 1300 cals, 19 cu in

Total: 4059 calories, 215 cu in

Each additional and presumed ‘resting’ man will need about 1600 calories per day if he is to remain capable of instant strenuous activity:

500g pkt raisins, 1426 calories, 27.5 cu in
43g cheddar cheese, 175 cals, 2.53 cu in

Total: 1601 calories, 30 cu in

Each presumed ‘resting’ woman will need about 1300 calories per day:

410g evaporated milk, 522 cals, 29 cu in
822g apricots, 715 cals, 58 cu in

Total: 1267 calories, 87 cu in

Each child will need about 1000 calories per day:

425g tin creamed soup, 340 cals, 31.5 cu in
200g pkt biscuits, 665 cals, 29 cu in

Total: 1005 calories, 60.5 cu in

Three months’ food for our group of six therefore occupies about 25 cubic feet of shelter space, and the space that everyone and everything which the shelter is to hold needs to be worked out in a similar manner.

Their individual kits

1 pair boots, 50 cu in
2 pairs trousers, 680 cu in
2 pairs pants, 200 cu in
3 pairs socks, 129 cu in
2 vests, 160 cu in
3 pullovers, 1011 cu in
1 anorak, 600 cu in
1 overcoat, 1400 cu in
1 raincoat, 600 cu in
1 pair gloves, 30 cu in
1 scarf, 110 cu in
protective clothing, 6000 cu in
1 blanket-poncho, 2000 cu in
1 mattress, 7776 cu in
1 sleeping bag, 665 cu in
eating utensils, 40 cu in
toiletries, 140 cu in
4 rolls toilet paper, 300 cu in
misc. personal possessions, 500 cu in

Individual kits of the six members of the group will occupy about 78 cubic feet of shelter space.

Shelter equipment

Partition between living & decontamination areas, 12,096 cu in
latrine, 400 cu in
heater, 1944 cu in
cooker, 393 cu in
medical, 2200 cu in
two tins disinfectant, 1200 cu in
one tin rat poison, 600 cu in
two monitors, 576 cu in
weapons for self defence, 1800 cu in
tools, 3000 cu in
cylinder of compressed air, 2289 cu in
two transistor radios, 296 cu in
pots, pans, bucket, mop etc, 500 cu in
reference books, 1296 cu in
seeds and yeast, 1728 cu in
two torches, 62 cu in
cycle, 576 cu in
cycle stand, 144 cu in
two batteries, 2240 cu in
battery charger, 648 cu in
manual air pump and filter, 3592 cu in
fuel, 32,556 cu in
lime, 4032 cu in

Total: 43 cubic feet

Water: 5.5 cubic feet

Grand Total: 171.5 cubic feet (doesn’t allow for awkward shapes, is only for the purpose of calculating air reserve)

Air reserve

The supply of air from outside may at any time be interrupted by the air pump breaking down or its operators
becoming tired; if, in the close conditions in the shelter, everyone sleeps of becomes ill at the same time; if there is severe air pollution outside, or if the shelter’s air inlets become damaged or are blocked by looters intent on forcing the occupants to quit. Clearly, an air reserve sufficient for twelve hours should be regarded as minimal.

A twelve hour air reserve for six ‘resting’ people is therefore 24,000 litres or 858 cubic feet. If all six were not resting, but one was engaged in strenuous activity, his air intake might be as much as that of all his companions together, and the area enclosed by the twelve-hour air reserve therefore need to be twice as great.

Hence the minimum capacity for a purpose-built shelter for six persons is 1030 cubic feet, which, assuming an internal height of six feet three inches, allows a floor space of
a hundred and sixty-six square feet. But because all the group may not be ‘resting’ all the time, and as the latrine and washing arrangements, decontamination procedures and working for the air pump and cycle generator would be almost impossible in so small an area, the actual internal dimensions of the shelter should exceed these by as much as the resources of the owner reasonably permit.

According to the Pharaoh’s Pump Theory of Edward J. Kunkel, the internal capacity of the pyramid is 600 cubic metres, which according to the above figures is enough space and air for 120 people. Given that the pyramid has rooms with higher ceilings (Grand Gallery is 28 feet high, Kings Chamber roughly 19 feet high), less people than 120 could live in the pyramid – but a group of 6 people definitely could. For the purposes of pumping air, high ceilings would be inefficient, so we must presume that the ancient folk who designed the pyramid shelter did not pump the air manually.

The main internal dimensions for the pyramid are:

King’s Chamber
10.5 x 5.2 m, 5.8 m high

Queen’s Chamber
5.8 x 5.3 m, 6 m high

Grand Gallery
46.7 x 2.1 m, 8.7 m high

Ascending Passage
39 x 1.5 m, 1.6 m high

Descending Passage
91.5 x 1.1 m, 1.2 m high

Subterranean Chamber
14 x 7.2 m, 5.3 m high

Construction Materials

(p94)The following give minimum shielding from radiation:

three inches of lead
seven inches of steel
eighteen inches of tiles
twenty inches of asbestos sheeting
two feet of concrete
twenty-six inches of asphalt or stone
thirty inches of sand
three feet of brickwork, slates, concrete blocks filled with sand or of well packed earth
five feet of water
seven feet of books or magazines
nine feet of wood

Of these the most readily available is earth. 3.3 inches of soil halves fallout radiation, and 7.5 inches of it reduces initial gamma radiation by a half. As with all barrier materials, if we double any given thickness of soil we more than double the protection from radiation which it affords. Thus three feet of soil gives twice the protection from neutrons and five times the protection from initial and fallout gamma radiation that one foot less would give.

In practice, however, concrete is the ideal material for a survival shelter. It resists blast, heat, all forms of radiation and attempts at forced entry by looters. It is fireproof and waterproof, can support such fittings as heavy doors… and is cheap. 2.2 inches of concrete halves the radiation from fallout, and 6 inches of it does the same to initial gamma radiation. It is so effective because, containing light elements such as hydrogen and also heavier ones such as calcium and silicon, it both slows neutrons and reduces gamma rays. But concrete can become an even more effective barrier to radiation if certain heavy materials are mixed with it. One such heavy additive is the iron ore limonite, and another is barite/barium sulphate from heavy spar.

There is no doubt that the thickness of the pyramid would be highly effective in blocking cosmic rays and other forms of radiation – there is almost 100 metres of stone between the King’s Chamber and the sky.

The ancient Egyptians experimented with pyramids of different angled slopes, in an attempt to gain the greatest height from the least materials. Why was height important? Well, the higher the pyramid, the greater the cosmic ray protection afforded to those sheltering directly beneath the pyramid. The typical Egyptian pyramid has a cavity directly below the apex of the pyramid, just below ground level. I believe that these cavities were the original crude shelters, and the pyramids were thought up at a later date. The placing of the chambers high within the Great Pyramid could just be an aspect of the “showing off” displayed by their clever incorporation of mathematics.

The Famine Stela has been used as evidence to support the theory of the Giza pyramids being made out of concrete. Three additives to the concrete are mentioned, based on their smell:

“The garlic stone: Garlic has been suggested for HUTEM and TAAM, i.e. the root word TEM. In col. 16, the ore TEM-IKR could represent the garlic stone, the prefix KR meaning weak, i.e. the stone which has a weak smell of garlic.”

“A simple method in petrography for the identification of natural minerals and ores is to heat them with a small blow lamp. If they immediately release a smell of garlic, they belong to the arsenate family (arsenate of copper or of iron).”

It was valuable to identify arsenate, because it is very toxic – so there is a remote chance that the Giza pyramids are made of concrete which has arsenate of iron mixed in with it.

Also, a Central American pyramid contains broad, thick layers of mica, which had to be transported over 2000 miles from Brazil. These sheets are ninety feet square and were not visible, but merely another layer in the construction. Perhaps its purpose was radiation shielding? Sheets and rods of mica bonded with glass can tolerate extreme temperatures, radiation, high voltage, and moisture. One of the modern uses of mica is windows for microwave ovens. It is also used in Geiger counters and cosmic ray detectors.


(p101-2) A chimney leading through the roof, curved at its outside end away from the prevailing wind, or fitted with a revolving cowl, may be sealed at its inside end after warning of use of chemical or biological agents. Air inlets and vents should be fitted with blast valves which will seal the inside of the shelter from changes in air pressure outside it, and which, in a heavily built-up area should also be capable of being closed to prevent the air inside the shelter being sucked out by a firestorm which might otherwise asphyxiate the shelter’s occupants.

In an elaborate ventilation system air filters may be incorporated. Fine mesh prevents entry of large particles and droplets. Activated charcoal granules, available commercially, may be used as absorbents

Heater, cooker, latrine and incinerator should be located near the air outlet.

The pyramid has four shafts which were dubbed “ventilation shafts” by nineteenth century egyptologists – because that is what they most resemble.

The Queen’s Chamber has two shafts, however they had to be cut open from the inside of the chamber, and they do not reach the outside of the pyramid. It was almost as if they are spares.

The two shafts of the Queen’s Chamber have hogged the
limelight in recent years – due to Rudolf Gantenbrink’s discovery of a door at top of one of them – and it is easy to forget that the shafts of the King’s Chamber actually connect the chamber with the outside of the pyramid, like a proper air shaft should. And today the shafts are have been fitted with fans and actually used for ventilation!

There were possibly iron doors at the chamber end of the shafts:

“The plate was, after all, reported to have been found near the outer opening of the King’s Chamber southern “air passage.” The discrepancy between the size of the plate (30.5 x 10 cm) and the size of the opening of the shaft (30.5 x 23.3 cm) may be explained by the plate’s obvious fragmentary nature. The plate in its original form could easily have been a good fit.”

Temperature inside the pyramid

“When the airshafts were cleaned and opened, cool air immediately entered the King’s Chamber. Since that time, the King’s Chamber has always maintained a constant comfortable temperature of 68 degrees, no matter what the outside temperature was. This seems to be one of the earliest forms of air conditioning. “

“There is so much stone mass in the pyramid that the interior temperature is constant and equals the average temperature of the earth, 68 degrees Fahrenheit. “
(page 40,- Dramatic Prophecies of the Great Pyramid, 1974, Rodolfo Benavides, ISBN 0-914732-00-5)

It could be that there are two main reasons why the pyramid is as big as it is. Thickness to help block cosmic rays, and density to maintain a constant temperature – a similar temperature to that experienced by other potential survivors who chose to hide underground. It would also be close to the nicest temperature to live
in, considering that a common setting for air conditioners in winter is 68 degrees. In Coober Pedy, Australia, where people live underground to escape the heat, dugouts have an average temperature of 23º – 25ºC year round = 73-77 degrees Fahrenheit – but they are much closer to the surface than the interior of a pyramid..


Obviously the interior of the pyramid would be too dark to be comfortable in. Many have speculated on what would have been used. Lit torches would have been the most common means back then, but a lack of soot within the pyramid seemingly rules
that out. Some have suggested an arrangement of mirrors. My favorite is more hi-tech. Several images from the crypts of Dendera appear to show modern electric light-bulbs.


No need to discuss this at length – the height of the rooms means they had enough storage space for food supplies – the inhabitants could have potentially lived on top of their supplies… except to say that:

Egyptian hieroglyphics indicate that the consumption of mushrooms would bring them immortality. Perhaps this is just reflecting the ability of mushrooms to create food in an environment without light – an environment that affords an immortality of sorts to those who sheltered there?

Toilet Facilities

I vote for the subterranean chamber to be the latrine and trash area. It is unfinished which indicates the royal survivors would no spend much time there. It has a 20 metre deep pit. And there is the escape shaft (also known as the well shaft or service shaft) which looks to me like a laundry chute – ie an easy way of throwing waste down to the basement without trudging down the passageways

Sabotage & Emergency Exits

(p96) When concrete is poured, holes in it will need to be left for external fittings to be added. These fittings will include air inlet(s) and vent(s), an external aerial, the disposal chute and latrine pit, a pipe from an outside water supply, an emergency exit and, if desired an external-radiation sensor and periscope. Because air and water pipes, aerial, surface-radiation sensor and periscope are all liable to cut, blocked or damaged by looters, as well as give away the position of the shelter, they should be camouflaged and duplicated by less well-hidden decoys, the lower ends of which lead away from the direction of the shelter.

A secret entrance (obviously in this case it would be a secret exit) has long been speculated, but not yet found. A key piece of evidence is that the second pyramid (called Khafre or Chephren) has two entrances.

But this pyramid does have redundancy in the air shafts. By having two that reach the exterior, and two more that don’t quite reach the exterior, one could speculate that the second set were spares, in case of sabotage. If someone on the outside rendered the air-shafts unusable, they could complete their spare shafts and breathe again.

I’m not suggesting that I know how they would complete the spare shafts, but it’s easy to suggest that they used the same technology that allowed them to build the pyramid itself.

Of course one could use the air shafts to facilitate a periscope.

Giant Pump

It has been suggested that the pyramid is a giant pump – either used for raising the blocks when it was built, and/or to help with irrigation. A third possibility is to remove any water that got into the pyramid, if the local area had flooded.

Middle East & Africa Pyramids


Egypt is home to the most famous pyramids of all, three well-formed examples located at Giza on the outskirts of Cairo. Just as there are pyramids throughout the world, it should come as no surprise that Egypt has more than just these three. Egyptologists have actually catalogued over 90 major pyramids that were built over the course of 1,000 years (roughly 2600-1550 BC).

All the pyramids can be found close to the west bank (none on the east bank) of the Nile, with the majority found along a 17-kilometre stretch incorporating Abu Ghurob, Saqqara and Dashur. Giza is 11 kilometres further north. Because of their size and relative proximity, when visiting a site it is quite normal to see other pyramids on the horizon.

Although each Egyptian pyramid has individual features, they are far more alike than houses in our modern suburban streets. The shape we know. The heights range from 17 to 146 metres, with the faces at an angle to the base of 42-57 degrees, with a couple of 18 metre pyramids attaining more than 70 degrees.

The largest pyramids were built in quick succession:

“The truly gigantic stone pyramids were built over the course of only three generations: Sneferu, Khufu and Khafre. If Sneferu did indeed build the Meidum pyramid as well as his two stone pyramids at Dashur, his pyramids alone contain more than 3.5 million cu. m (124 million cu ft.) of stone. All the other pyramids of Egyptian kings combined (excluding queens’ and other satellite pyramids) contain only 41 per cent of the total mass of the pyramids of Sneferu, his son Khufu and grandson Khafre.” [1]

It makes sense, on first impressions, to label these pyramids as gigantic mausoleums for deceased pharaohs. They typically contain secret entrances and passages, some which lead to rooms underneath the pyramid, and some that just come to an abrupt dead-end. The main rooms have stress-relieving chambers above them – to stop the immense weight crushing down and destroying whatever was in the room. These rooms have contained sarcophagi, but never with a body still within, which has prompted alternative researchers to look for other, non-burial purposes for these structures. Some sarcophagi were even found closed and sealed, yet still empty!

Ancient Egyptian texts have mentioned 80 men being required to set the lid on a stone sarcophagus. This is in keeping with the overall immensity of size and weight. The pyramids represent inconceivable size and unbearable weight. To my thinking they represent the scale between the ordinary and the incredible, between a simple burial chamber and a pyramid, between a standard earthquake or hurricane and a global cataclysm.

In close proximity to the major pyramids, there are usually temples and/or satellite pyramids – miniatures commonly known as Queens’ pyramids. These can also contain passages and chambers.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops/Khufu

The pharaoh Khufu reigned for 23 years from 2789 to 2767 BC, and it is the accepted orthodox view that he constructed the Great Pyramid as his personal tomb. However, the pharaoh’s body was not found within it, nor any treasure, or anything remotely related to a funeral. No mummy has ever been found in a pyramid in Egypt. Mummies have always come from mastabas or tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Independent researchers have come up with an array of alternative dates for the construction of the Giza pyramids. But if we rule out the endless possibilities of inter-galactic visitors, there are no solid theories as to who else could possibly have made them.


The Great Pyramid is huge. Its base covers 13.6 acres and for its weight estimates vary between 5.75 – 6.5 million tons, based on 2.3 – 2.6 million blocks.[2] Napoleon’s surveyors calculated that the three Giza pyramids contained so much stone that they could build a three metres high by one metre thick wall around the perimeter of France with it.

The pyramid is located at 29 degrees, 58 minutes, 51.06 seconds north latitude, and 31 degrees, 9 minutes, and 0.0 seconds east longitude. This is very close to 30 degrees north, and it has been suggested that the Giza Plateau was the best spot to place such an immense weight, whereas other areas would not be able to cope. [3] The line of 30 degrees latitude is only a mile or two the north, so they may have thought it was the best they could do, short of building an unstable pyramid that might not last the required millennia.

Some believe that Giza is a special location that is at the centre of the earth’s land mass. If you follow the east/west parallel around the globe, it crosses more land than any other parallel. The same goes for the north/south meridian that intersects with Giza. These two lines also cross in the ocean.

Although there appears to be more land along the Russia / Alaska parallel, if you use a globe this illusion disappears.

Much has been made of the extreme accuracy of the Great Pyramid’s alignment to north, with less than 1/15 of one degree of error. [4] However, this might be the least remarkable feature, when you consider the math that has been built into it (see below).

The top of the two giant pyramids are at the same height, although the Great Pyramid is actually larger because its base is lower. A lot of effort was put into creating this effect:

“the base of Khufu’s pyramid is level to within just 2.1 cm.in building the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre the ancient masons started on a sloping plateau c. 7-10 m (23-33 ft) higher than the eventual base and in each case left a massif of rock in the body of the pyramid” [5]

It is hard enough to fathom why this design aspect was so important in Giza, without considering that in Teotihuacan, Mexico they did the same thing with their Pyramids of the Sun and Moon.

Another feature which is rarely mentioned is that the four faces of the pyramid are slightly concave, a feature probably unduplicated anywhere else, ever. Some say that this curvature is the same as the earth itself, which would add weight to ideas regarding the pyramid as a model of our planet.

The centre of each side is indented to form an eight-sided pyramid. The effect is not visible from the ground or from a distance but only from the air, and then only under the proper lighting conditions. [6]


The measurement used in the construction of the pyramid is known as the pyramid inch “PI”. It is equal to 1.0011 modern inches. Twenty-five pyramid inches made up one “Sacred Cubit”.

The perimeter of the pyramid’s base divided by twice its height equals “pi” to 5 decimal places:

9131*4 / 5813*2 = 3.141579+

The dimensions used are pyramid inches, but because this is a ratio, any form of measurement will give the same result. In this way it is future proof, in that alien beings could arrive and inspect it thousands of years from now, and still derive pi.

What makes this extraordinary is what is required to make this ratio occur – the slope of the pyramid’s sides needs to be precisely 51 degrees, 51 minutes, and 14.3 seconds. Of the 90 major pyramids in Egypt, the Great pyramid of Giza is the only one with this angle.

The perimeter of the base is equal to the calendar year – 365.24 pyramid cubits

Many, many other equations have been discovered, with dozens of books consisting of not much more than pyramid numbers. Some are ridiculous, and most are hard to prove without a single, definitive source of measurements. Many are so complicated that they appear contrived.

By focusing on the few definites – location, size, angle and alignment, we can be certain that someone, long ago, was trying to impress upon us that they knew things. They wanted our attention.



Nowadays located in northern Sudan, the ancient kingdom of Nubia had an incredible 180 pyramids. Admittedly, some were only a few metres in height, however a few attained a height of 40 metres or more. Built much later than their Egyptian counterparts, they were created in the last millennium BC through until about 350 AD, and situated along the banks of the Nile. For more information, see Mark Lehner’s “The Complete Pyramids”.


You’ve probably heard of the biblical Tower of Babel. The word “Babel”, in its original Akkadian language means “the gate to god”. In Mesopotamia attempts to recreate the Tower of Babel were known as ziggurats – man-made mountains with a shrine at the top.

A ziggurat is a pyramidal, stepped temple tower. characteristic of the major cities of Mesopotamia (now in Iraq) from about 2200 until 500 BC. The ziggurat was always built with a core of mud brick and an exterior covered with baked brick. It had no internal chambers and was usually square or rectangular, averaging either 170 feet square or 125 170 feet (40 50 metres) at the base. Approximately 25 ziggurats are known, being equally divided in number among Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria.

No ziggurat is preserved to its original height. Ascent was by an exterior triple stairway or by a spiral ramp, but for almost half of the known ziggurats, no means of ascent has been discovered. The sloping sides and terraces were often landscaped with trees and shrubs (hence the Hanging Gardens of Babylon). The best-preserved ziggurat is at Ur. The largest, at Chogha Zanbil in Elam, is 335 feet (102 m) square and 80 feet (24 m) high and stands at less than half its estimated original height. The legendary Tower of Babel has been popularly associated with the ziggurat of the great temple of Marduk in Babylon. [7]

Chogha Zanbil

As you can see from the photos, ziggurats do not have the geometric beauty of their cousins the pyramids. Yet, when broken down to components, they are very similar – religious purpose (typically there was a shrine at the summit), gigantic size, stepped and stair cased. They are also very old – the Ur ziggurat dates to the 25th century BC, making it contemporaneous with the Giza pyramids. Therefore I feel that they belong in our studies of pyramids and their purpose.


Mt Nemrut, Kâhta is a natural mountain (2150m), with a 50 metre artificial peak built on top. It was constructed as a tomb for King Antinochus I during the period 80 B.C-72 B.C. If pyramids are meant to represent mountains, the builders of this one have gone a step further by placing it on top of a real mountain.


Not just an artificial mound, this site features huge (10 metre high) statues.


[1]  The Complete Pyramids, Mark Lehner, page 15 (Thames
and Hudson, London, 1997)

[2]  The World Atlas of Mysteries, Francis Hitching,
page 67 (Pan, London, 1979)

[3] http://www.hunkler.com/pyramids/pyramid_references.html#ref14
Dramatic Prophecies of the Great Pyramid, 1974, Rodolfo Benavides, ISBN 0-914732-00-5 page 70

[4] The Complete Pyramids, Mark Lehner, page 212 (Thames
and Hudson, London, 1997)

[5] The Complete Pyramids, Mark Lehner, page 214 (Thames
and Hudson, London, 1997)

[6] http://www.hunkler.com/pyramids/pyramid_references.html#ref18
The Egyptian Pyramids: A Comprehensive & Illustrated Reference, 1990, J.P. Lepre, ISBN
0-89950-461-2, page 65

[7] Britannica


Asia & Pacific Pyramids

Asia & Pacific


These are burial tombs, dating to the Kofun period (circa 300 – 710 AD). I only mention them here because of their immense size and multitude, Japan has over 10,000 mound tombs. The largest is the Daisen Kofun, above, which has the common kofun keyhole shape, and is 35 metres high and an incredible 486 metres in length. Situated in the city of Sakai, 92 other kofun can be found within six square miles.

Built in the fifth and sixth centuries, are 311 burial mounds like this one, near the village of Saitobaru.


Java, Indonesia

Candi Sukuh

Not a lot is known about this site, except that it has the only pyramidal temple in Southeast Asia, and dates to 1416 – 1459 AD. As well as bearing an uncanny resemblance to Central American pyramids, there is also a twin-headed serpent, as discussed in Chapter XX.


Xian was for a long time the capital of Ancient China. It has become a popular tourist destination for Westerners since the discovery of the “Terracotta Warriors”. The evidence of local pyramids is scant, due to the Chinese Government and its ‘forbidden zones’ surrounding the city of Xian in the Shensi Province. These zones are off-limits to foreigners, probably due to military and/or space program bases in the area. Within these zones there are possibly 100 pyramids, and some adventurers have managed to photograph a few them:

The black and white photo was taken by James Gaussman, an American pilot, at the end of WW II (the others are by Mr Hausdorf).

These are not stone pyramids, nor earth mounds, but a combination of the two – made of earth and clay, shaped like pyramids with flattened tops (the same technique as Teotiuhuacan). It is rumoured that in recent times the Chinese Government ordered the planting of trees on the pyramids as a way of disguising them as regular hills, or at least their making their shape harder to discern. New Zealand author Bruce Cathie sought information on their exact locations, so he could fit them into his Harmonic Grid. After initially denying their existence outright, the Chinese officials eventually conceded that there are some “trapezoidal tombs” [i] .

According to Hartwig Hausdorf [ii] , they differ in size from between 25 to 100 metres in height, with the exception of one, the Great White Pyramid. It is situated to the north, in the valley of Qin Lin, and is possibly the world’s largest pyramid, with an approximate height of 300 metres (twice the size of Egypt’s largest).

Update! – In 2004 Chris Maier studied satellite images of the Xian region, found the same pyramids as Hausdorf, and then went there and took a look. Turns out that they are not in a “forbidden zone”, are quite well known, and any tourist can take a look, or even climb the biggest pyramid for free! Read his article

Update! – In 2002-2007, Emperor Qin Shihuang’s tomb (home of the terracotta warriors) was proven (using radar and other remote sensing technologies) to be more than a earth mound – underneath the dirt is a four-sided, nine-stepped pyramid, very similar to those in Central America. Read more at Channel 4, and China.org – the image below is the shape they believe the pyramid takes.

Russia – Brat & Sestra, nr Nakhodka

320 metres high each, they were until recently in a military zone. Today they are being mined (or could that be a cover for treasure hunting?) – which explains why the top has been removed from one of them. More at Flip Coppins site


Andong step pyramid, is the best one of pyramids survived being undestroyed in South Korea, is located at soktapri, andong, korea, in the northern valley of Mt. Hakka, 30 km road away from Andong. 13.2 meters by 12.7 meters square and about 4.5 meters high


When Captain Cook visited Tahiti, he described the Marae of Mahaiatea as having a stepped pyramid with a base of 259 by 85 feet. Unfortunately all that remains today is a pile of stones. This drawing comes from the 1799 book The Voyage of McDuff.

Western Samoa

On the island of Savai’i you can find Polynesia’s largest ancient structure, the Pulemelei Mound. The Lonely Planet guide for Samoa describes it:

This large pyramid measures 61 metres by 50 metres at the base and rises in two tiers to a height of more than 12 metres. It is almost squarely oriented with the compass directions.. Smaller mounds and platforms are found in four directions away from the main structure. There is a relatively large platform about 40 metres north of the main pyramid and connected to it by a stone walkway.

Unfortunately the jungle there is almost uncontrollable. The pyramid has been cleared on several occasions, but when I studied it in 1996 it was overgrown and difficult to locate. So much so, that it was only when I kicked a stone embedded in the top platform did I realise I had found it! The bottom right corner of the photo is the pyramid. UPDATE: Since 2002 the site has been cleared and studied by experts. New pictures and information.

Europe Pyramids



Silbury Hill, Wiltshire has been carbon-dated at 2660 years BC, the same era as the Giza pyramids. It contains an estimated 340,000 cubic metres of chalk and earth, rising to a height of 39.6 metres. The base of the monument is 167m in diameter and it is perfectly round. The flat top is 30m across. It is part of a sequence of ancient sites in the area that are in alignment.

Despite its external appearance, this is actually a step pyramid, consisting of six, six metre high steps. The steps are walled with blocks of chalk, which easily deteriorates when left exposed. Consequently the builders preserved it, by covering it with earth and grass.

Excavations have revealed that it is not a burial mound.


Near Drogheda, 45 kilometres north of Dublin on the east coast of Ireland, exists a concentration of standing stones, earthworks and passage graves. One of these, Newgrange, is the largest pre-historic structure in Ireland – and one of the oldest in the world. It dates back to 3250 BC.

It appears that we have drifted a long way from what might be defined as a pyramid. This egg-shaped mound of pebbles was once 14 metres in height with a diameter of 76 metres – hardly a massive monument compared to the largest pyramids, but still more than a days work. Like Silbury Hill it has no straight sides, and appears not to point to any cardinal directions, astronomical events or other structures. But if you venture inside, on the right day of the year, something magical happens.

Like the Egyptian pyramids, Newgrange contains a passage and chambers. These were constructed using giant slabs of stone, and then buried under a mound of pebbles. At the end of an 18 metre long, one metre wide passage are three chambers. The roof above them, although not required to withstand as much weight, uses the same corbelled design as the pyramids in Egypt (good pic here). At dawn on the midwinter solstice, the suns rays shine through a special window above the passage entrance, down the passage and illuminated the centre of the chambers. Precisely and deliberately. It isn’t so big, yet has much in common with other pyramids, especially those in Egypt. Is it’s location of any importance? We’ll check on that soon.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a popular solution to the location of Atlantis, based on their location west of the Mediterranean, and their mountainous terrain – they are part of a volcanic archipelago with marine trenches as deep as 3,000 metres and mountains as high as 3,718 meters above sea level.

Archaeological findings suggest that the original inhabitants were Berbers who arrived from north Africa around 200 B.C. However, some early navigators reported the Canarians as being a race of tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed people, perhaps suggesting a northern European (or Atlantean) origin.

The Canary Islands were part of the route Columbus took to the Americas – he stopped in Tenerife for provisions in 1492.

Dozens more photos here

The six pyramids in Tenerife are quite small, like training exercises for those in Central America (one could almost suggest that it was Columbus that built them!). They are found near Guimar, a town on the eastern shore of Tenerife Island, about 40 kilometers (24 miles) south of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Long dismissed by locals as mere piles of rubble, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl turned up and declared that they were indeed pyramids, not unlike those in Tucume, Peru that he had been studying.

Only a small study [i] has been of them to date, with these aspects being ascertained:

  • There are six step pyramids, reaching a maximum height of about 12 metres. They are rubble-filled, with facings of black volcanic stone, and are the result of multiple episodes of construction.
  • The main complex of three pyramids were found to be astronomically orientated with the sunset of the summer solstice. Stairways ascend from a level plaza to the top of each pyramid, where there is a flat summit platform covered with gravel. The stairways are all on the west wall, suggesting a ceremonial purpose, because someone ascending them on the morning of the solstice would be directly facing the rising sun.


There are 16 pyramids in Greece.


The Ligourion pyramid is found in northwestern Peloponnese, near the village of Ligourion, at the base of Mount Arachnaeum, not far from the site of ancient Epidaurus. Unfortunately it has almost totally disappeared, with its blocks being a handy source of masonry for the locals. Some of the sandstone blocks were used to construct the walls of a nearby church. Originally, its base measured 14 by 12 metres and using the method of thermoluminescence it has been dated to roughly 2100 B.C.


The Hellenikon pyramid is located near the village of Argolis. The Academy of Athens used thermoluminescence to determine an erection date of approximately 2720 BC, predating the earliest Egyptian pyramid by at least 100 years.

Chania Pyramid

This pyramid is located in the south of the Chania area, Crete, at an altitude of 290 m above sea level. It is roughly 8.5 metres high with a circumference of 29 metres. The interior of the cone has a chamber, carved out of the solid rock, of approximately 2.2 by 2.1 by 1.4 metres.

Mount Taygetus

There is a big question mark over whether this rock structure is manmade or a natural occurrence. Visitors have described how the texture of the rock surface suddenly becomes smooth, relative to that below, where the pyramid shape begins.

“The ancient Greeks believed that the sun drove in a chariot across the sky; hence the Rhodians, who worshipped the sun as their chief deity, annually dedicated a chariot and four horses to him, and flung them into the sea for his use. Doubtless they thought that after a year’s work his old horses and chariot would be worn out. From a like motive, probably, the idolatrous kings of Judah dedicated chariots and horses to the sun, and the Spartans, Persians, and Massagetae sacrificed horses to him. The Spartans performed the sacrifice on the top of Mount Taygetus, the beautiful range behind which they saw the great luminary set every night. It was as natural for the inhabitants of the valley of Sparta to do this as it was for the islanders of Rhodes to throw the chariot and horses into the sea, into which the sun seemed to them to sink at evening. For thus, whether on the mountain or in the sea, the fresh horses stood ready for the weary god where they would be most welcome, at the end of his day’s journey.” [ii]


A relatively modern pyramid was built by Gaius Cestius in Rome, 1st century BC. Built of concrete and faced with marble, it has an interior tomb vault and is 35 metres high. It was constructed during the “Cleopatra craze” in architecture that swept across Rome at the time.

Montevecchia (= Old Mount in English)

Discovered only recently (from the air), in the north of Italy, 40 kn from Milan, are three pyramids, dating back to 3,000BC, and in the same alignment as Giza and Orion. The tallest is 150 metres in height, and beneath the earth are stone buildings, yet to be excavated. Alternatively, they could just be terraced hills, with stone support structures…

More here (in Czech), and here (in Italian), and here or here (in English)


Astana, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s capital city of Astana is adding an iconic structure to its cityscape. World-renowned architect Lord Norman Foster has designed a “Palace of Peace,” a glass pyramid with a 62-meter base, at President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s behest. The building, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2006, is designed to serve as a symbol of inter-ethnic harmony in Kazakhstan.

Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun

Many experts have stated that it is not man-made. A few experts say it is. Located at the town of Visoko, northwest of Sarajevo, the 213 metre hill, upon which the Old town of Visoki was once sited, is roughly pyramid-shaped. More at Wikipedia, and the “official” site.


American Pyramids

North America

As with other continents, the mounds and pyramids of North America vary greatly. It could be that humankind has a primal need to build fake mountains, and that there are absolutely no connections between these sites. Or perhaps size and shape are irrelevant, and location is everything, and the guidelines for their placement was once universally known.

Monk’s Mound at Cahokia, USA

Just east of St. Louis, near Collinsville, Illinois is the largest earth mound in the western hemisphere. It is 30 metres high and dates back to 1100-1400 AD.

“The largest of these mounds, Monk’s Mound covers 16 acres; it rests on a base 1,037 feet long and 790 feet wide, with a total volume of approximately 21,690,000 cubic feet, a base and total volume greater than that of the pyramid of Khufu, the largest in Egypt. In all the world, only the pyramids at Cholula and Teotihuacan in central Mexico surpass the Cahokia pyramid in size and total volume. No other structure in the United States approached the size of the Cahokia pyramid until the building of airplane hangars, the Pentagon, and skyscrapers in the twentieth century.” [1]

There are more than one hundred other, smaller mounds at Cahokia – as well as Woodhenge, which is of course a wooden counterpart to England’s Stonehenge.

According to the Cahokia website, around March 1998 something unexpected happened:

“During the process of installing horizontal drains to relieve the internal water in Monks Mound that had contributed to several severe slumping episodes along the west side (Second Terrace), the drilling rig encountered stones about 140 feet in and 40 feet below the surface of the Second Terrace. The operator said it felt like “soft stone,” probably limestone or sandstone, and that it was mostly cobbles or slabs at least six inches in diameter. The drill went through about 32 feet of stones and the drill bit broke off. We have no idea what it is, what shape or size it is, or why it is there. It should not be there. No other cores or excavations have revealed stone in Monks Mound or any other mound at the site, or, as far as we know, at other Mississippian mound sites. We do not know its vertical thickness or the extent of it horizontally, other than the 32 feet that the drill went through.”

Etowah Mounds of Cartersville, Georgia, USA

These were made during the same Mississippian Temple Mound Building Period, as were mounds at Moundville (near Tuscaloosa, Alabama) and at Cahokia – roughly 700 AD to 1400 AD.

The six flat-topped earthen knolls and a plaza were used for rituals by several thousand Native Americans between 1000 and 1500 A.D. The largest mound has a height of 63 feet. Only nine percent of this site has been excavated, but we already know that the mounds have caves underneath them as do some Mayan and Giza pyramids.

It may also just be a coincidence, but there is a Limonite mine at Etowah. Limonite is a iron-bearing ore with a very special use – as radiation shielding for atomic bomb tests, nuclear reactors and space stations. It is also what gives Mars its red colour.

Poverty Point, Louisiana, USA

Poverty Point combines mounds with an aspect of ancient Rome – an amphitheatre. Consisting of concentric ridges 5-10 feet high and 150 wide, the construction has a diameter of ¾ of a mile, five times the diameter of the Colosseum in Rome. The ridges were built with 530,000 cubic yards of earth (over 35 times the cubic amount of the Great Pyramid of Giza). Of the earth mounds, one has a base of 700 feet by 800 feet and is 70 feet high. It is shaped like a bird.

Miamisburg Mound, Ohio, USA

This mound is conical, like Silbury Hill in England. Archaeologists believe that it was constructed by the Adena Indians (800 BC – 100 AD). The mound sits on a 100 foot high bluff, and measures 877 feet in circumference. Originally it attained a height of 70 feet.

It is hard to determine how many mounds were built in North America, for many have been destroyed by modern civilization – but there were many. One hundred and fifty years ago, for example, there were approximately 20,000 Indian mounds in Wisconsin alone, with a large portion of them alongside the Mississippi River. Now, after a century of plowing, town construction and urban sprawl [2] , there are less than 2,000 mounds remaining in the state.

As anyone who was in the area in 1927 would tell you: the Mississippi floods. In that year over one thousand people drowned, almost a million people were forced from their homes, and over five million acres of farmland were ruined. Regular flooding replenishes the soil in this region and makes it rich. This is the same reason the ancient Egyptians lived alongside the Nile. In fact, the similarities between the Mississippi and the Nile (floods and pyramids) caused the original settlers of Illinois to name new towns after places in Egypt, such as Goshen, Cairo and Thebes.

Floods. Pyramids.

Central America

This region has many, many pyramids. Here I choose to merely describe a handful of them.

Palenque, Mexico

There are three stepped pyramids within this ancient Mayan ceremonial centre, located in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The more famous of these is the Pyramid of Inscriptions. Its height of 20 metres consists of eight stepped storeys, not counting the temple on top. Inside the temple, two large vaulted chambers house three glyphic panels which collectively make the second longest known ancient Mayan inscription . Deciphered in the 1970s, the inscriptions revealed that the funerary crypt within the pyramid belonged to Lord Pacal, whose reign ended with his death in 683 AD. The crypt is found via a secret staircase below a slab in the temple floor. Within this crypt was found a five-ton slab of carved rock lying on top of Pacal’s sarcophagus. Much has been made of this lid, especially by Erich von Daniken, because of its bizarre imagery – easily taken to be a man in a spaceship. See it here

Pyramid of Inscriptions (above)

Central American pyramids are closely related to the ziggurats of Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria: they are step pyramids with a central staircase, and a shrine at the top. Size and geometric perfection seem to be less important than religious and mathematical function.

Ziggurat (below)


Near Mexico’s current capital, this city of ruins was thought to have been home to 125,000 people in 600 AD. Teotihuacan was founded in 100 BC, and deserted by 750 AD, which sounds tragic yet few civilizations manage to last 850 years.

Founded by who? Archaeologists have been trying to figure this out and have few clues to work with. The civilization was smart enough to create this massive city, but no trace has yet been found of a writing system – there is the occasional pictograph, but no hieroglyphs or words have been found.

Whoever they were, they were succeeded by the Toltecs, and then by the Aztecs. The Aztecs named the place (“Place of the Gods”) and its major structures.

From the air, it looks not unlike a computer circuit board, containing two large processor chips, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, and 600 smaller pyramids. Once again, there are parallels with Egypt – the construction of satellite pyramids. The Pyramid of the Sun has sides of 225m, giving it a similar base area to the Great Pyramid of Giza, although it is only half the height. Like the Great Pyramid, it incorporates the mathematical ratio of “pi”. The perimeter of the base of the Pyramid of the Sun is 4pi times its height, whereas the Great pyramid of Giza’s base perimeter is 2pi times its height.

Another Giza connection: the tops of the Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun are level, because the smaller Pyramid of the Moon is built on an elevated location. The same relationship exists between the two largest pyramids at Giza.

And another. Bottom middle of the red layout below is The Citadel, which many consider to be the base of a pyramid the size of the Pyramid of the Sun, that was never built. Had it been, the three main pyramids would’ve had a similar Orion layout as Giza.


In 1971 it was discovered that the Pyramid of the Sun was built over a natural cave with four chambers, which had been enlarged from a natural lava tube (the region is very volcanic). The cave was obviously a sacred place for it contained remains of offerings and rituals from a period much earlier than the pyramids.

It is common for ancient sites to have been built in stages, reinforcing the idea that it is the location that is most important. The Pyramid of the Moon went through five distinct phases of building successively larger pyramids on top of previous ones, often partially destroying the previous pyramid in the process. If the unknown civilization had continued for a few hundred years more, perhaps even larger pyramids would have been built on top of the existing ones. Anyone looking for meaning in the angles and lengths of the pyramids should perhaps take into account the prior phases buried beneath the last layer of construction.

An interesting fact highlighted by Graham Hancock in Fingerprints of the Gods is that some of the pyramids contain broad, thick layers of mica, which had to be transported over 2000 miles from Brazil.[3] These sheets are ninety feet square and were not visible, but merely another layer in the construction. Perhaps its purpose was radiation shielding? Sheets and rods of mica bonded with glass can tolerate extreme temperatures, radiation, high voltage, and moisture. One of the modern uses of mica is windows for microwave ovens. It is also used in Geiger counters and cosmic ray detectors. (see here )

Chichen Itza

The Pyramid of Kukulkan is 30 metres in height, with sides that measure 55.3 metres. Graham Hancock explains the effects generated by it’s positioning in Chapter XXX.

Most of the many other Mayan pyramids are of the same basic shape.

Los Guachimontones

Los Guachimontones in Mexico, the only place you can find circular, stepped pyramids.

circular pyramid

circular pyramid layout

South America


Many of Peru’s ancient structures have lasted well, but not the pyramids. Most of them have eroded so much they are unrecognisable. Below is a restored adobe pyramid from around 800BC, located in the middle of the high-rise district of San Isidro.

Covering over 540 acres and including 26 major pyramids the Tucume site dates to about 1100 AD. The largest of the adobe brick pyramids, Huaca Larga, is 2300 ft long, 910 ft wide and 65 ft high, although it may have originally been three times this height.

Huaca del Sol, Moche

Is it so surprising that, with so many pyramids, the Americas also had mummies? This one was found within a pyramid at Huaca Huallamarca.

[1] Weatherford, Jack, Native Roots. How the Indians Enriched America. Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1991. Page 9

[2] by Robert “Ernie” Boszhardt, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, http://www.epa.gov/reg5ogis/t_histry.htm

[3] Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods, p 188-9