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Before the Pyramids: Cracking Archaeology's Greatest Mystery Hardcover – Oct 1 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Watkins Publishing; 1 edition (Oct. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906787387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906787387
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.1 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'A major breakthrough at last! Knight and Butler's stunning discovery could completely change the way we view our remote past... and origins.' Robert G. Bauval, author of The Orion Mystery 'Absolutely fascinating, and very, very convincing. Knight and Butler's findings provide compelling scientific evidence of the existence of an advanced, technological civilisation in remote antiquity.' --Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods

'Knight and Butler's stunning discovery could completely change the way we view our remote past... and origins' - Robert G. Bauval, author of The Orion Mystery

About the Author

Christopher Knight's first book, The Hiram Key (1996), co-authored with Robert Lomas, became an instant bestseller and has since been translated into 37 languages selling over a million copies worldwide. Alan Butler, an engineer fascinated by history, also became an expert in astrology and astronomy. He has researched ancient cultures, pagan beliefs and comparative religion and has published four successful books on the Knights Templar and the Grail legend. They both have a reputation for carefully researched and challenging theories on early history and are co-authors of Civilization One, Who Built the Moon? and Solomon's Power Brokers.

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Format: Paperback
I'm really loving Knight and Butler's string of books on their Megalithic Yard research. Beginning with Knight and Lomas' Uriel's Machine: Uncovering the Secrets of Stonehenge, Noah's Flood, and the Dawn of Civilization, they introduced their work showing how and why the megaliths of Britain (and the rest of the world) were probably built. Based on the universal and inexplicable unit of measurement discovered in these structures' designs by Alexander Thom, their search has brought them to discovery after discovery, and while I don't always agree with their conclusions (I think they're quite naive, politically, for one) their books, and this one in particular, read like thrillers. Luckily, you learn a lot, too.

In this latest installment, they not only re-confirm that the pyramids at Giza were modeled on the constellation of Orion's belt, they show just how accurate that design actually was. This precision and design actually match up with some structures in Britain, which leads to similar work Washington, DC. If you're familiar with their previous books, this one will not disappoint, and conversely, if you're not, this one makes a fine introduction and should spur you on to check out the others. Just know beforehand, the authors tend to see Masonry through rose-colored glasses at times, and take Biblical myth way too literally and historically and times.

To round out your reading, I'd also recommend The Cosmic Winter by Clube and Napier and The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive, which deal with similar and related topics (cataclysms, ancient civilizations, etc.).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book helped me understand, and most importantly put in a better order, those things that have left me scratching my head about early history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mega-Liked-It Nov. 14 2009
By Charles N. Pope - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A very important extension of previous analysis of megalithic sites. Makes a solid case that the ancient measuring system was an integrated system for lengths, weights, volumes, and even temperatures, and was based not only on the circumference of the earth but also its mass, as well as basic properties of our moon and, most surprisingly, the ratio of distances (366:300) between the three stars of the Belt of Orion. This study on megalithic measures, and the comparison between Thornborough Henge in England and the Giza Pyramids of Egypt represents the long-sought "smoking gun" of the so-called Atlantean culture of pre-historic times.

The construction of Thornborough around 3,500 BC was the high-water mark of megalithic construction in England. It is also the carbon date of Khufu's boats found buried beside the Great Pyramid at Giza. In 3,500 BC, the ocean levels were the highest they have ever been since the end of the last Ice Age, and were 14 feet higher than they are today (according to the brand new book, "The Complete Ice Age", Brian Fagan, editor).

The authors' discovery that Megalithic standard units were used extensively to form the "sacred architecture" of Washington DC proves that the founding fathers looked to the distant past in order to distance themselves from the oppressive dominance of royal rule and inspire progress in the New World. This discovery also makes for a timely companion to Dan Brown's latest thriller, The Lost Symbol.

-Charles Pope
90 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right words, right time, or both Dec 21 2009
By Jim C. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading the first few chapters of "Before the Pyramids", it dawned on me that, after all these years of me studying archeoastronomy/megalithic mysteries, the ability to determine the Earth's circumference is so easy "a caveman can do it"! These awesome henges, monuments, pyramids, etc., were places of learning as much as they were representative structures. Their easy-going, brotherly, narrative style of sharing this knowledge is great! I am an admitted fool when it comes to science, engineering, mechanics or logic. I need to work on my car with a wrench in one hand and a manual in the other. But I have kept trying to understand all these kind of thing, from ancient history to quantum physics. This time, it paid off. I want to go out into some field and determine the Earth's circumference right away- not to mention star patterns, Venus interactions, solar and lunar cycles, precession, and maybe even obliquity of the ecliptic! The heavens have been an open book to humans all along.

Christopher Dunn's terrific book, "Giza Power Plant", where he goes into an engineer's explanation of some of the arcane aspects of the Great Pyramid is a book whose message has lasted for me. Zachariah Sitchin's idea, in one of his books, that Tiwanaku and other South American places were tin smelters for the Bronze Age, also stays with me. Richard Firestone's absolutely awesome, and exhaustively researched (but ridiculously-named and covered) book, "Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes", is totally foundational to understanding anything in this genre. And, of course, I cannot forget to note Thomas Pawlicki's classic, "How To Build a Flying Saucer", the best non-levitation book about how megaliths were built I have yet seen (althought he does get into levitation in a totally fascinating, yet- to me- incomprehensible way). Now I can confidently be assured that "Before the Pyramids" is right there with these, my top-shelf references to the past. It is on these personally meaningful, somewhat relativistic terms, that I make this review, rather than use a more traditional, impersonal book report style. Perhaps, in time, I can come back and synthesize my insights a little more clearly, and with greater discipline. But for now, I just want to say this book rocks.

I did find about a dozen typos, and would like the authors to know that I am available as a proofreader for their next manuscript.

Thanks to the authors, I could get warm and comfy and buy "Civilization One: The World Is Not as You Thought It Was", Knight's and Butler's earlier work; or instead, I could save the money, find a broomstick and head out to the prairie to check it out for myself. At any rate, it's nice to have been empowered through their clear writing to make the choice.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Past that Leads to an Exciting Future Dec 7 2009
By Cheryl A. Chatfield - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before The Pyramids: Cracking Archaeology's Greatest Mystery by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler has much scientific data about a Megalithic Yard that can be traced back to the pyramids and beyond. While one can get lost in the technical descriptions, they do provide validation to these ideas that might otherwise be just interesting.

Perhaps the authors go too far when they suggest that all major sites in Washington, DC are linked by a web measured in the Megalithic Yard, bringing the Freemasonry mystique to the United States. The authors suggest the possibility "that Washington DC is a continuation of knowledge held by an advanced culture from the extreme past. And there is still an elite group of people who fully understand this" (208).

They claim that the Sphinx and other Egyptian standing structures "prove beyond doubt that the emergence of civilization...took place long before orthodox history has ever considered" (209). And they suggest that now is the time to "look again at ideas of the past" (211). Are their conclusions correct? I don't believe there is enough information available. But their findings pose questions of a past far more exciting than any fiction, and I do believe that the best is yet to come.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag July 8 2011
By W. B. Garner - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for an 'outside the norm' type of book about early civilizations when I found this book. It is a mixed bag of ideas and analysis, leading to one plausible conclusion about the building of England's Henges and some highly speculative extrapolations to the Egyptian pyramids and Washington DC's street layout.

The fundamental postulate is that the builders of England's Thornborough Henges used a uniform unit of measurement, called the Megalithic yard (MY),to design this and other Henges. According to this book,the MY is based on astronomical observations of star transits and a division of a circle into 366 units, resulting in a distance unit that could be repeated anywhere in the country. They also demonstrate how this unit could have been derived using materials available to Neolithic peoples. The concept and methodology are plausible and match the henge dimensions closely. So far, so good.

What follows is speculative to say the least. They claim that the Egyptians visited Thornborough and took what they learned back to design and locate the three primary Giza pyramids (a 1000 years after the Henge was built). They present no real evidence other than that the dimensions of the pyramids can be measured in MYs & that the layout, like that of Thornborough, matches Orion's Belt in scaled dimensions and orientation.

They then surmise that the street plan for Washington, DC's principle circles are based on MYs & triangles centered on the Ellipse in front of the White House. This is highly unlikely. Their conclusion is based on their measurements showing that many of the distances involved are in multiples of 366 MYs. It so happens that 366 MYs is very close to 1000 feet. Since the designers and builders of Washington used the foot as a basic measurement unit, and that multiples of 1000 feet show up repeatedly, it is purely coincidental that distances in MYs are so close. Incidentally, nowhere do they indicate the potential error in the MY or in their actual measurements.

There are some other speculative aspects to this book, too, which aren't worth mentioning.

If the authors had stopped with their findings about Henge dimensions and the use of a common unit of measurement they would have rated a much higher rating. The speculative nature of the rest is such as to greatly reduce their credibility.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did Britons Build the Pyramids? Dec 16 2011
By Lesley Ann Crossingham - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of the most famous wonders of the ancient world are, of course, the Egyptian Pyramids. Who these builders and architects were has been hotly debated for millennia. But just when we thought it was safe to assume we were getting a handle on this mystery, along comes yet another controversial and utterly amazing proposition by authors Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. The authors offer an amazing theory, backed by quite clear evidence that it was ancient Britons who influenced, advised or were themselves the very builders of the Egyptian Pyramids!
The narrow shafts cut into the blocks of rock, two of which run from the King's Chamber, and then run steeply upward to emerge on the outside of the pyramid, close to its pinnacle, were often thought to be ventilation shafts. But since the 1960s it has been argued that these shafts align with the polestar in the north and Orion's Belt in the south. It is also believed that they aligned the pyramids to the four cardinal points of the Earth using Thuban, then the polestar to establish north. The constellation of Orion has an important place in Egyptian mythology because it was considered to be the very soul of Osiris, the God of fertility. Traditionally Osiris was described as the Lord of the Two Lands, Heaven and Earth, as well as the Lord of the Dead.
Those who have studied the three great pyramids have noticed that they are not in perfect alignment, but rather have a bit of a "dog-leg." Yet it was this very "error" that made researcher/writer Robert Bauval and colleague Adrian Gilbert take note. The three pyramids create a pattern that is uncannily like that formed by the three famous stars of Orion's Belt. This constellation contains some of the most significant stars to be seen, including Sirius, the brightest object outside of our solar system, as well as Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak, the actual names of the three stars that make up the belt itself. The constellation was named Orion by the Greek sky-watchers who saw the constellation as a great hunter with a belt whose stars point to Sirius.
The book Bauval and Gilbert published was called "The Orion Mystery" and they offered evidence by taking an image of the constellation and superimposing it on an aerial photograph of the three pyramids. The alignment is almost exact.
This controversial book has been attacked by established archeologists, yet the evidence the authors submit is compelling and very detailed. They provide copious photographs, endnotes and footnotes, enough to keep any serious student of ancient wisdom very occupied indeed. But perhaps above and beyond all of this is the strong and resounding message that our ancient forefathers were wise, learned and profoundly connected to the universe. The story we have all been fed is that this phenomenon is very recent and that our ancestors were fear-ridden and narrow minded. In fact the authors prove that they knew that the world was round and part of a solar system and added this dimension into their calculations. Their measurements were precise, long before computers and our modern technology, but even more importantly, their soul, and their wisdom shines forth six thousand years later in these ancient and mysterious monuments.
I thoroughly recommend this book to any serious student of truth. Whilst there are many researchers who point to extra-terrestrial assistance, which of course is very exotic, perhaps we ought to recognize that our history and our species is more ancient than we can imagine. It seems that the greatest mystery is that it becomes clear that humanity itself has lost and found wisdom again and again.

Are we destined to do so again? That my friends, is the mystery within the mystery