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Pyramids, notably the Great Pyramids at Giza in Egypt, have always held a fascination with people, especially when presented with huge, ancient edifices that have stood far longer than memory and where documentation could give little information about their uses or origins. When the western world applied early science to the Egyptian pyramids, they used the culture and knowledge of the time; relating them to the biblical Hebrew stories and in 1859 John Taylor, an eccentric partner in a London publishing firm published The Great Pyramid: Why was it Built? And Who Built it? He made several wild speculations based on measurements and Biblical stories and claimed that the British were clearly descended from the builders. These were elaborated on by the Astronomer Royal of Scotland Charles Piazzi Smyth who published them in a 664-page book Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid (1864) followed by Life, and Work in the Great Pyramid (1867).

Since then increasingly weird and wonderful speculations have been made by pseudoarcheologists and amateur historians hoping to sell a book or two, or make a reputation for themselves. Lutheran minister Joseph Seiss claimed that the Great Pyramid of Giza was "the Bible in stone" and in the 1910's John and Morton Edgar wrote about their interpretations of prophetic and Biblical chronology using the pyramid measurements. In the 1880s, Ignatius Donnelly had suggested that the Great Pyramid had been built by the descendants of the Atlanteans and this weirdness was later given widespread normality by Erich von Däniken in his book 'Chariots of the Gods (1968) but he replaced Atlanteans with Space-travelling aliens.

Much of the pseudoarchaeology is simply based on the institutionalised racism of the proponents who simply couldn't accept that human beings of other cultures and 'race' were capable of building these amazing structures without the help of modern civilisation. Come and listen to Dr Clive Davenhall elaborate on Charles Piazzi Smyth and the Great Pyramid tonight 7:20, Banshee Labyrinth.

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