Ben Carson Schools Archaeologists on Who Really Built the Pyramids

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Heritage Foundation Take Back America Presidential Forum in Greenville, SC
Ben Carson, who singlehandedly ruined brain surgeon jokes. Photo: Richard Ellis/Corbis

Many of the current Republican presidential candidates doubt scientists’ claims, but only Ben Carson is bold enough to take on Big History. Carson has already questioned commonly accepted narratives about Charles Darwin, slavery, the Holocaust, and on Wednesday, BuzzFeed revealed he’s also skeptical of what we’ve been told about ancient history. In video of a 1998 commencement at Andrews University, Carson explains his belief that the pyramids in Egypt were built by the biblical figure Joseph, with a little help from God.

My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said, referring to the story of Joseph advising an Egyptian pharaoh to store grain to prepare for a coming famine. “Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”

Carson also has some news for people who think aliens had a hand in the creation of the pyramids. “[W]hen you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons,” Carson said. “And various of scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how — ’ you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.” (The alien theory is mainly popular with people who watch too much History Channel, not serious scientists, but close enough.)

Later on Wednesday, Carson confirmed to CBS News that he still subscribes to his alternate history of Egypt. “The pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments,” Carson said. “You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time.” Carson was not asked what he has to say to the generations of scholars who concluded the pyramids were tombs or monuments to deceased pharaohs, but presumably it would have gone something like this: