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  1. Before the Pyramids by Christopher Knight: | Books
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Before the Pyramids by Christopher Knight: | Books

This would mean, according to the pair's research, the pyramids and sphinxes were built at least 12, years ago which could have been before the start of the Ice Age. Conventional thinking about when the Pyramids of Giza were built date construction to between 2, to BC, a difference of around 10, years. The significant time difference would mean that the artefacts were not built by the Ancient Egyptians, according to Mr Cannon. Mr Cannon, although not completely convinced, believes it could have been by the hands of the people of the advanced civilisation of Atlantis that was ultimately consumed by flooding.

However the word of Mr Cannon and others who have raised doubts regarding the Egyptians building the pyramids have been met with a brick wall by the Egyptian authorities who maintain the Ancient Egyptians built them.

The Pyramids Centre

Getty A historian has cast doubt that the pyramids at Giza were built by the ancient Egyptians. It's all Piazzi Smyth's fault. The Astronomer Royal for Scotland from the age of 26, he was a respected scientist who pioneered placing telescopes on mountains and did advanced work in spectroscopy. But he also had a mania about the Great Pyramid, becoming convinced that it was built using the "pyramid inch" — virtually identical to a British inch.

The Pyramids, The Sphinx and Taurus Connection: Rethinking The Giza Plateau - Ancient Architects

Unsurprisingly, the Royal Society rejected a paper on the subject. Shunned by his fellows, Smyth retired to Ripon and was eventually buried under his own little pyramid in the churchyard at nearby Sharow.

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I've known Piazzi's pyramid since I was at school in Ripon and later had the notion of writing about it and what I thought must be the few other British pyramids. A little book, I thought.

Six years on, the finished work runs to pages and deals with about pyramids. Yorkshire has more than any other county. The most prominent are at Castle Howard.


The Pyramid Gate welcomes visitors to the estate. There's a smaller pyramid in Pretty Wood.

The largest is Castle Howard's Great Pyramid, opposite the south front of the house; one of the highlights of the research was a visit to its interior to come face-to-face with a huge bust of Lord William Howard, Elizabethan founder of the family's fortunes. We were invited to the unveiling of the new pyramid to the Battle of Towton in Saxton churchyard, and reminded Professor Derek Linstrum of his now-hidden pyramid at Bretton Hall. But we ranged far wider than Yorkshire's borders. At Attleborough in Norfolk, Melanchthon Brooke has his own little pyramid — his will laid down its exact specifications, as well as containing other unusual clauses — he gave 50 to his housekeeper; she would have had if she had "continued to wear for service the white cap and apron which became her so well".

Further south, at Orsett in Essex, is a pyramid to slave trader Samuel Bonham, an ancestor of the Duchess of Cornwall. The journeys went on; to Porthcurno in Cornwall, where a pyramid marks the 19th-century Transatlantic communications cables; to Brightling in Sussex to the famous pyramid to eccentric MP Mad Jack Fuller; to Carmel College, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire to see a concrete one — a boathouse and art gallery designed by Coventry Cathedral's architect Sir Basil Spence.

Even more eccentric is Britain's only cast-iron pyramid, at Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire.

Secrets of the pyramids

Nether Wallop offered a fine pyramid to physician Dr Douce, who was interested in embalming, gave strict instructions for the building and upkeep of his pyramid and left money to educate the village children — "but they must not go too far least it makes them saucy and the Girls all want to be Chamber Maids and in a few years you will be in want of cooks". The oldest British pyramid we found is Compton Pike in Warwickshire — a beacon built in to warn of the Armada.

More naval history is remembered at Perlethorpe in Nottinghamshire, where a slate-covered pyramid marks Nelson's victory at the Battle of the Nile. Two more victories have pyramids — one at Great Torrington in Devon, paid for by the ladies of the town, celebrates Waterloo "Peace to the souls of the heroes!!! Scotland has lots of pyramids to the Covenanters, many of them martyrs who died in the Killing Time of the late 17th century.