28 April 2008

The Giza Power Plant: Perplexing puzzle of the pyramid power plant

The Giza Power Plant
Christopher Dunn
Bear & Co., 1998

I was reading something online about the Earth's "hum" when I came across this fascinating article by engineer and "pyramidiot" Robert Bauval . In it he explains that the Great Pyramid was constructed in such a way that it might have translated this frequency into something suitable for human listening; in other words, the pyramid may have been designed to "sing," making it the world's first multimedia monolith. I was so amazed at this revelation that I fired the e-mail off to my good friend, Rev. José M. Tirado, who shares my fascination for both ancient wonders and contrarians. Within minutes his reply indicated that I needed to read a book called The Giza Power Plant.

Although certain that the local library would not have a copy of this oddball book, I was taken aback when the online catalog pointed me right to it and indicated that it was available to request and check out locally. I placed my request, and once the book arrived at the library, I figured out why they were able to get a copy. It turns out that author Christopher Dunn lives in Danville, which is about 45 miles from here, and so the public library owned a copy. My attitude toward coincidences is that they all are meaningful, and so the proximity of the author cemented my desire to read this book.

Dunn begins with a pretty interesting question, one rooted in his decades of experience in manufacturing: why is the Great Pyramid of Cheops so precise in its construction? He explains at some length that the precision found in the measurements of the pyramid, including the surveying and alignment of the base, with variances of less than a hundredth of an inch over a length of hundreds of feet, is beyond the level of precision expected of contemporary construction. As an aerospace machinist with over 30 years of practical experience, Dunn cannot simply brush aside this question; he makes it clear that for the folks like him, those responsible for translating the ideas of engineers into physical artifacts, the standard theory about the purposes and construction of the Great Pyramid just don't hold water.

He also asserts that there is abundant evidence of the use of machine tools at Giza and he shows quite a few images that seem to support his contention. Thin parallel grooves in shaped stone look like the marks left by a power drill. Intersecting curved surfaces in stone bowls indicate the use of lathe-like machine tools, and not easily blunted copper implements and scouring compounds. Dunn marshals some pretty intriguing evidence in his chapter on the use of machine tools in ancient Egypt and discusses the positive responses he's gotten from machinists, engineers, and others involved in hands-on manufacturing. This chapter was probably the most compelling in the book, because it does seem to me, a total layman, that he's on to something.

However, while his ideas on machine tooling in ancient Egypt are pretty intriguing, I found his overall hypothesis--that the Great Pyramid was a vast machine intended to produce power through resonance with Earth's "hum"--a lot less convincing, though no less fascinating. In brief, he asserts that the pyramid was a power plant that converted the Earth's hum into a source of clean, renewable energy. He doesn't just make this up out of whole cloth either; on the contrary, he provides a lot of circumstantial evidence that does seem to indicate the inadequacy of the current explanation of the pyramid as a tomb. The granite-lined "King's Chamber" with its overlying vaults and entry-way is seen as a sort of "sound box" whose abundant quartz crystals resonate and amplify the humming earth below. The "Queen's Chamber" was a reaction chamber providing a source of hydrogen as a medium for the accumulated energy; Dunn notes the presence of various salt encrustations and a foul smell in this chamber that would be consistent with the presence of acid-base reactions. He even explains the mysterious shafts running up through the pyramid at an angle (a design feature inexplicable to modern manufacturers, since constructing the shafts on the horizontal would have been much, much easier); one shaft acted as wave guide to collect microwaves from space, focused them through granite lens that has been mistaken for a sarcophagus, and sent them out the other shaft as high-powered output.

It's a fascinating idea but it is not without its problems. Where are machine tools used in the construction, for example? I've seen museum cases filled top to bottom with Bronze Age implements but not one ancient Egyptian Black and Decker power drill. Where is evidence of the power usage (apart from the hypothetical power tools)? How was the power transmitted? (On one page, Dunn shows a bizarre "eye of Horus"-like satellite reflecting the beamed power back down to Earth, but thankfully doesn't really try to explain that.) Why did the human race completely lose its memory of this level of advancement?

This was a very interesting book which was incredibly well written (particularly since its writer is from Danville; in his defense, he is English by birth) and very fun to read. Dunn is an articulate voice for the seldom heard perspectives of those "on the ground" in the worlds of machining and manufacturing, and he raises some valuable and not easily dismissed questions about our knowledge of the ancient past.

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