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Egypt dismisses theory concrete used in Pyramids December 6, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology, Architecture.
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Egypt’s antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass Sunday derided new studies according to which an early form of concrete rather than natural limestone was used to build the great Pyramids.

“It’s really silly. It was limestone, it’s been studied before by hundreds of chemists,” Hawass, who heads the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said.

French Professor Gilles Hug, from the Office of National Aerospatial Studies and Research, and Egyptian-born Michel Barsoum, a professor at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, analyzed the mineralogy of samples from the Giza Pyramids.

They found that what would be the earliest known occurrence of concrete was used and not only limestone from the nearby quarries, explaining in part the mystery of how the Egyptians were able to erect such colossal structures.

“The sophistication and endurance of this ancient concrete technology is simply astounding,” said the article printed in the December issue of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.

But Hawass dismissed the study and questioned the origin of the samples. “We don’t know the origin of these samples … We certainly never gave permission for anyone to take samples,” he said. “This well-worn theory keeps coming up for publicity purposes.”

Mark Lehner, a leading Egyptologist, also received the latest research supporting the concrete theory with caution. “Where did these samples come from is the first important question,” he said.

The theory that the great Pyramids were built using manmade agglomerated stone was first put forward in the early eighties by French chemist Joseph Davidovits.

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