Secrets of the Great Pyramid by Tompkins, Peter(December 31, 1978) Hardcover

Hardcover, 1971



Call number

DT63 .T56


Harper and Row


This beautifully illustrated book presents the thousand-year drama which has centered on the mysteries of the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

User reviews

LibraryThing member DirtPriest
Where to begin... I suppose with stating that the purpose of this book is to show the intricacies and exactness of the Pyramid, and how they prove that the ancient Egyptians were no intellectual slouches. They were able to measure the size of the earth very accurately and establish a unit of
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measure that became a standard that is still used today, believe it or not. Their standard was based on a segment of arc length of the meridian, carefully calculated by comparing the relative transit speeds of stars at different latitudes. This is the same basis as the metric system and, surprise surprise, they had a foot of exactly 300 millimeters! Also, the list of specific mathematical ratios built into the geometry of the Pyramid itself are so numerous as to be confusing in their numbers. There is even evidence that the southern face is slightly concave to create a shadow effect on the equinox (and only the equinox). Also, there are several chapters discussing early exploration and theories about the Pyramid, surveying results, just such a mass of data that I'll probably read it again in a few months to really let it sink in. I cannot recommend this tome highly enough to anyone who is even remotely interested in the culture of ancient Egypt. I think it is a must have for any serious student of history.
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LibraryThing member LannyH
Don't bother, unless you are also fascinated by theories involving flying saucer inhabitants creating many of the larger features of the man-made world. The book contains some decent general information, but unduly focuses on the work of various idjuts who squandered their intellects and time on
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mathematical calculations of the pyramids' exact dimensions. These obsessed folk were able to find correlations between various coordinates and lengths of corridors with everything from the magnetic poles to the biblical relation of time since Creation. I could also apply their measurements to peach pits and the distance to Alpha Centauri AB, but I don't think I'd submit my calculations to the Royal Society. If the book were written with a bit more (alright, a whole lot more) dispassion and, dare I say, disbelief, it would make an interesting study of sociological, religious, and pseudo-scientific aberration. Sorry. Reading through the thing upset me. What a waste of talent.
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LibraryThing member Jonathan_M
Secrets they were when I picked up this book for the first time (in January 1988), and secrets they have remained. Tompkins covers the known history of the Great Pyramid (including all the major pyramidologists--Greaves, Taylor, Smyth, Petrie--and their theories), but what is known unfortunately
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doesn't amount to much. The fact is that we have no idea how the Pyramid was built; records of its construction have not survived. That's why there are so many books and hypotheses. This particular book relies heavily on a complicated geometric theory by Prof. Livio Stecchini (which Stecchini himself outlines in the appendix), but this primarily concerns the measurements the Egyptians used and fails to address the elephant in the room. How was the construction of the Great Pyramid accomplished? How, in terms of sheer physical scale, can it be accounted for? No, we don't have to fall back on the ancient astronauts catch-all, but we do need a better theory than any thus far proposed. That the Pyramid exists, and that we still cannot explain it, means our understanding of human civilization is fundamentally incomplete. It's not just an interesting ancient ruin: it may be the key to the entire puzzle. Astronomer Richard Proctor believed that the Pyramid was an observatory, and there's evidence to suggest that he was right, but consider what this means: the Egyptians not only practiced astronomy, but had the wherewithal to erect a massive, flawlessly engineered monument to that practice. What happened to the technology that enabled an achievement such as the Great Pyramid? How can it have been lost so completely?

Full of stunning black and white photographs, engravings and drawings, Secrets of the Great Pyramid makes a beautiful coffee table book if you can find a copy in near-mint condition. Sadly, there isn't a lot of substance in the text itself.
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