conspiracy theories

FACT CHECK: Aliens did not build the pyramids of Giza

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FACT CHECK: Aliens did not build the pyramids of Giza
Conspiracy theories about aliens having built the pyramids of Giza due to the technological feats involved have persisted for years despite archaeological evidence

Claim: The Giza Pyramids were not made by humans but by aliens.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook reel containing the claim has 384 shares, 327 comments, and 1,900 reactions as of writing. It was posted on a public Facebook page with 23,000 followers. 

The video asserts that the pyramids of Giza were built by aliens because of the following reasons: 

  • The weight of each monolith brick is about two tons, with some weighing up to 50 tons, and ancient Egyptians supposedly didn’t have the technology to transport them.
  • The Giza pyramid complex aligns with the three stars of Orion’s Belt, but ancient Egyptians did not have knowledge of space.
  • Hieroglyphs in the pyramids depict modern vehicles like helicopters and submarines.

The facts: While researchers continue to theorize on how exactly the pyramids were built, there is scientific and archaeological evidence to explain how the ancient engineering feats were done. 

The Giza Pyramids were built between 2550 to 2490 BC. The first and largest of these, the Great Pyramid, was built for Pharaoh Khufu, with the second built for his son, Khafre, and the third for Khafre’s son Menkaure.  

A article said the ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote that 100,000 laborers built the pyramids over 20 years, but “archaeological evidence” suggests that around 20,000 workers were involved. Archaeological digs also showed that the workers lived in a nearby temporary city, a National Geographic story said.

Movement of heavy stones: The video claims that the ancient Egyptians did not have the technology to move the stones used to build the pyramids. Articles from the National Geographic, Vice, and said scientists theorize that limestone and granite blocks were transported using a “system of sledges, ropes, and levers,” or by using pulleys and ramp systems. A 2014 University of Amsterdam study suggested that wetting the sand in front of sledges reduced friction to make it easier to move the stones.

Astronomical alignment: The supposed alignment of the pyramids with the stars of Orion’s Belt was proposed by Egyptian writer Robert Bauval. His Orion Correlation Theory suggests that the pyramids were created to “serve as a gateway to the stars.” This is considered a “fringe idea in archaeology” not backed by physical evidence.  

It is an oversimplification to say the ancient Egyptians knew nothing about astronomy, as the video claims. A Northern Arizona University article said they had an understanding of the stars and tracked the movements of celestial bodies, and a story said they integrated this knowledge into their culture.


Modern technology in hieroglyphs: Claims of hieroglyphs depicting modern technology are based on misinterpretations and pareidolia (the tendency to see familiar patterns where none exist). According to an Atlas Obscura article, the supposed “helicopter” hieroglyphs resulted from overlapping carvings from different periods, as it was then a common practice to re-carve over older hieroglyphs when a new pharaoh came into power. 

Additionally, the hieroglyphs in question are not present at the pyramids of Giza but rather from the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, articles published by Atlas Obscura and Ancient Origins said. Quincy Reyes/

Quincy Reyes is a research volunteer at Rappler. He is a recent graduate from Fordham University having double-majored in journalism and film and television. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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