A senior Egyptian official refuted the claim by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk that aliens built the Great Pyramids of Giza, Fox reported on Monday, and invited him to visit the country.
“Aliens built the pyramids obv [obviously],” Musk wrote on Twitter last week to his 37.5 million followers.
The post attracted over 550,000 likes. It is still unclear if Musk was joking.
The belief that extraterrestrial life was involved in the building of ancient historical wonders forms the backbone of what has come to be known as “ancient astronaut theory,” which posits that advanced alien lifeforms visited Earth thousands of years ago and interacted with early humans. The theory was initially popularized by the 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? and is now more commonly associated with the History Channel program Ancient Aliens, on which the book’s author, Erich von Däniken, regularly appears.
Ancient astronaut theorists often claim that building a structure like one of Egypt’s pyramids was very difficult without modern technology, necessitating an explanation for how ancient civilizations could have done so, and concluding that the most likely explanation is that aliens shared advanced construction technology.
In an apparent response to Musk’s post, Giorgio Tsoukalos, arguably the most prominent ancient astronaut theorist in America and star of Ancient Aliens, remarked that he did not believe that aliens built the pyramids, but that they were the work of the humans at the time “under the guidance” of other forces.
The pyramids were built by humans under the guidance of the so-called "guardians of the sky" or "the watchers" who were our first teachers. The extraterrestrials never dirtied their hands.
— Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (@Tsoukalos) July 31, 2020
Egypt’s minister of international cooperation, Rania Al Mashat, responded cordially and invited the tech billionaire and his company SpaceX to examine the tombs in person.
“I follow your work with a lot of admiration,” she wrote. “I invite you & Space X to explore the writings about how the pyramids were built and also to check out the tombs of the pyramid builders. Mr. Musk, we are waiting for you.”
I follow your work with a lot of admiration. I invite you & Space X to explore the writings about how the pyramids were built and also to check out the tombs of the pyramid builders. Mr. Musk, we are waiting for you Ὠ. @elonmusk https://t.co/Xlr7EoPXX4
— Rania A. Al Mashat (@RaniaAlMashat) August 1, 2020
Nevertheless, Musk appeared to stick by his theory that extraterrestrial forces were involved.
“The Great Pyramid was the tallest structure made by humans for 3800 years,” he argued. “Three thousand, eight hundred years … This BBC article provides a sensible summary for how it was done.”
This BBC article provides a sensible summary for how it was done https://t.co/le3r20BWID
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 1, 2020
Egyptologist Sarah Parcak also weighed in on Musk’s theory, saying, “Egyptologist here Elon who works on a royal pyramid site. They did not- Ancient Egyptians did+ we even have papyri that are like live tweets of pyramid construction at Giza. Happy to share resources so you can get yourself educated.”
Egyptologist here Elon who works on a royal pyramid site. They did not- Ancient Egyptians did+ we even have papyri that are like live tweets of pyramid construction at Giza. Happy to share resources so you can get yourself educated.
— Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) July 31, 2020
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass also responded to his claim by filming a short video in Arabic, where he described Musk’s theory as “complete hallucination.”
“I found the tombs of the pyramid builders that tell everyone that the builders of the pyramids are Egyptians and they were not slaves,” EgyptToday quoted him as saying.
The Egyptian government newspaper al-Ahram described Musk’s comments as “outlandish” and noted that Hawass also issued a written statement expanding on the evidence around the construction of the largest pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Khufu:
In his written statement, Hawass added that the Great Pyramid of Khufu was one of the pyramids built between the third and 18th dynasties.
Inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu inscriptions tell about the “workmen and gangs” who built the Pyramids, Hawass added.
“There are also Wadi El-Jarf papyri that tell us for the first time about Khufu and building the pyramid,” he added.
Wadi El-Jarf papyri are a collection of King Khufu’s papyri discovered in 2013 at Wadi El-Jarf port, 24km south of the Zaafarana area and 119km from the city of Suez, by a Franco-Egyptian mission led by French Egyptologist Pierre Tallet and Egyptian Egyptologist Sayed Mahfouz.
The pyramids are widely regarded as one of the most fascinating and impressive aspects of Egypt’s ancient civilization, with the Grand Pyramids of Giza receiving around 14.7 million visitors yearly.
Musk has built a reputation for his somewhat quirky and unpredictable tweets for a man of such influence. Some of his most notable recent comments include criticizing the stock price of his own company, Tesla, demanding an end to lockdown measures and praising Chinese workers over their “complacent” American counterparts.