Aliens and ancient engineers

Ollantaytambo, was this village built by the Inka, or is the site evidence for a much older extra-terrestrial civilization?

Is PI the key to unlocking the mysteries of the pyramids in Mexico?

Is there tool marks on Egyptian statues at Karnak from machines that would not exist until our days? Let’s find out together, but I must warn you, it’s almost never aliens.

Hi, hello, and välkommen to Digging Up Ancient Aliens. This is the podcast where we examine the TV show, Ancient Aliens. Do their claims hold water to an archeologist, or are there better explanations out there? 

I am your host, Fredrik, and this is episode 29. This time around, we're going to look at feats of engineering. Could some be evidence of extraterrestrial interference? Well, probably not, but let's investigate these locations and the claims surrounding them. I'll start you out in a small village in Peru named Ollantaytambo, once part of the Inka empire. Next, it's time for some math problems with Tsoukalos in Teotihuacán and Indian architecture with David Childress. Lastly, we will go to Karnak and Malta to look at a few temples the proponent claims are impossible to create with the tools available at that time.

This episode is based on “Aliens and ancient Engineers” episode six from season three (S03E06).

Remember that you can find sources, resources, and reading suggestions on our website, There you also find contact info if you notice any mistakes or have any suggestions. And if you like the podcast, I would appreciate it if you left one of those fancy five-star reviews I've heard so much about. 

Now that we have finished our preparations, let’s dig into the episode.

Ollantaytambo 2:40

Wall of the Six Monoliths

Inka quarrying methods

Temple of the Condor - Incamisana

Teotihuacán 18:55

Mayan math and number system

Mica within the Mayan world

Vijayanagara 34:00

Vastu Shastra

Karnak 41:10


Carving hieroglyphs

Ramses II

Malta 51:32

Quarrying lime stones on Malta

Cart ruts

Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni and acoustic archaeology


Let's meet these ancient engineers and see what we find. We start our journey in Peru, some 70 kilometers northwest of Cusco, in a small village called Ollantaytambo. Interestingly, this little hamlet is a living ruin. While some changes have been made, especially around the old plaza, the people still live in the old buildings. Old Inka structures are being used until this day.

You can't be blamed for not knowing about this place. While it once was an important place, it's even to this day not well researched. It's one of these places that archeologists and others need to pay more attention to. But from my research into this place, it might have started to pick up. But for a long time, Jean-Pierre Protzen was one of the few researching this location. This name might be familiar if you have been listening to this show for some time. Protzen has done a fantastic job on Inka's stonework and architecture and paid much-deserved attention to locations others have not.

What we do know about Ollantaytambo is that it has been there since before the Inka Empire. We should remember that the Inka Empire was only around for about 100 years. I think we easily forget this and that they operated around 1400 CE until the Spanish conquest. But the history before Inka for Ollantaytambo is unclear and needs more research. Around 1450 the town was razed by Pachakutiq Inka Yupanki, who later would start to rebuild the settlement and incorporate it into his palace. Pachacuti is the one who set the Inka on their way to becoming an empire, so it's maybe fitting that he restarted this settlement.

Ollantaytambo is right in the Urubamba valley, where a river with the same name flows. The settlement is located north of the river and on the other side runs one of the four main roads of the Inka empire. Four roads stretched out across the kingdom from the main square in Cusco. You could say that all roads in Tawantinsuyu lead to Cusco. To cross the river, the residents of Ollantaytambo used a bridge from which we can still see the original fundaments today.

I hear you. What about the aliens? Yes, yes, we will get to that now. To be honest, this section is mainly based on false dichotomies, word association, and misrepresentation. It does not get further than the first two talking heads before we get some issues. The show wants the site to be much older than it is; in fact, Brien Foerster (a tour guide and self-proclaimed expert) claims the site is "12 000 years old." While it's plausible, I mean, we have Monte Verde in Chile dated to 16 000 BP and Pikimachay Cave dated to around 12 000 BCE. This early date is not connected in any way to the structures we see today. The old date is supposed to be reinforced by Jesus Gamarra, which the show claim is an anthropologist. Gamarra never mentions any education in his bios; instead, he focuses more on his idea that there was less gravity in the past. That's how people in our history could effortlessly build and move large stones. 

As you might start to suspect, the theory of Ancient Aliens is that the site is not Inkan but instead from a much older unknown civilization. It's not clear why the Inka can't do it since they, in previous episodes, claim that they had some stone-melting ability. But the whole Ancient Astronaut idea is, for the most part, built upon logical fallacies, the same issue the other "Alternative History" people like Graham Hancock struggle with. Let's look at what they claim must have been done with alien technology.

The show will talk about what is called a fortress, this is an old contact period idea. What they talk about is, in fact, part of the temple area. Within this section of the town, located uphill from the river, a "Wall of the six." These are large monolithic stones of red granite. The proponents claim that these stones would be impossible to cut, transport, or anything else.

"These six giant slabs of red granite have stood here for thousands of years because of the beautiful engineering of the ancients. If there's a major earthquake, these shims can ride up and down, absorbing the shock of the earthquake, and that keeps the giant slabs in place. The ability to fit perfectly- fitting stones of several tons in weight together so that a single human hair can't fit in between them is not a question of sweat or man-hours, it's a question of technology." - Brien Foerster.

Wall of the six Ollantaytambo

Wall of the six Ollantaytambo - Photo by Ruben Hanssen.

This wall is intriguing for sure and a marvel in a sense. It differs quite a lot from the architecture the Inka used elsewhere. We see these large monolithic boulders, and if you look closely, you'll start to note that they have a bond of narrow fillet stones. We don't really see this in other locations. Why they decided to change up the architecture here is still being determined. But note that everything else around this structure is well-understood Inka architecture. The show never mentions it, but this temple was never finished. In fact, it's predominantly an abandoned construction site. In a sense, this is a perfect place if you want to figure out how the Inka people made these constructions. And evidence ranging from quarrying, moving, dressing, and building can be found all over the site. 

Something I find a little amusing is that the show has an owner of some mining company who says that if we moved stones like this today, we would need to build roads and use machinery. The Ancient Alien proponents use this to make you go, "that sounds like a lot." The Inka did not have any machines, but they built ramps to move these stones, which are still there today. I want to stress that these stones were not quarried as we think of today directly from the mountain. The quarry site for Ollantaytambo was some five to seven kilometers away, located at the Kachiqhata, some 400 meters above the valley floor. This area is notorious for rockslides, and it seems as if the Inka used the large boulders they found in these areas. They then dressed them roughly and started to transport them. Hammerstones and tools have been found, fewer than we would like to see, but enough to give us an idea about the process. 

At the quarry and the "fortification," we have stones in different stages of building stages. We even have in-situ examples of stones being transported. Lisbet Bengtsson found one giant megalith in front of one ramp, ready to go. When the megalith (estimated to weigh 70 tons) was excavated, they found tree trunks beneath it. So in all likelihood, the Inka moved the stones using rollers. None of this is making it into the Ancient Alien narrative. Listen here to our friend Bill Birnes explaining how they really moved the rocks.

"What you can't explain is the moving of 50-ton stones up the sheer face of a cliff to create the walls of the fortress. That, in and of itself, required more than cranes, more than lifts, more than scaffolds. It required something like an anti-gravitational device or a tractor beam to lift that much stone that high. That's why people see this as an example of help given to an earthly civilization by Ancient Aliens." - Bill Birnes.

Kachiqhata might be uphill, but it's just downhill for most of the distance. It's part inside the Ollantaytambo where it begins to be uphill again. This section is an excellent example of how little these experts know about these sites. For the most part, the research I've used is not new. Protzen has been publishing since the '80s, and Bengtsson's extensive excavation and study was in the '90s. You must actively ignore and cherry-pick your evidence for the pseudoscientific narrative to work. Add to this the C14 datings Bengtsson's team performed on material found beneath and between these boulders dating the fortress building between 1450 to 1530 CE. Quite far from the ancient civilization Brien Foerster talk about. 

But we're still going here. Because now, the show will bring up something strange. The narrator starts to talk about the "Temple of the Condor" here at Ollantaytambo. I'm no specialist in Inka culture, but even I know this location is at Machu Picchu. I wonder why they decided to rename this place; the only ones using this name are travel blogs repeating Giorgio and Brien Foerster's claims. If you ask me, this is quite a red flag. Sorry and a quick mention of a book written on the structure by a group of Civil Engineers who otherwise use the correct name. All other literature on this building uses the name Incamisana or maybe, in some cases, "the water temple." 

Incamisana was built by Pachacuti, the leader who destroyed the original settlement, as his kind of vacation home. Within this complex, he set up some intricate waterwork, hence the water temple name. It's a beautifully crafted space, and the Inka aqueduct system and water engineering are impressive. But they talk about something different; instead, we're focusing on a niche on one of the mountain walls. If you see this, you might think about the "portal" at Altarini close to Tiwanaku. We covered it in episode 13, where Jose Luis Delgado Mamani claimed that the Inka carved this niche and was called the "Gate of the Gods." We, on the other hand, learned this type of niche is usually called an "Inka chair" and can be found all over the Inka world. If they had had a wider shot of the "Wall of the six," we would have seen a different version of this Inka chair. This niche is rare in the literature since it's not the mystery as these alternative history types suggest. I want you to listen to Von Däniken, and pay close attention to the false dilemma he sets up.

"Prehistoric tools would never work. You see, Ollantaytambo is mostly made out of andesite. To cut andesite, you need something which is harder than andesite. You could use a diamond, but there was no tool in Stone Age time to cut these rocks, so it must have been extraterrestrial tool." - Erich Von Däniken.

Is andesite a hard rock? Yes, it is a relatively hard rock. But note how he set up that either they had diamond-tipped tools or must have used alien technology. We get two choices when there are, in fact, a multitude of answers to this question in reality. This is an excellent example if you're unfamiliar with what a false dilemma is. Brien Foerster, Giorgio Tsoukalos, and von Däniken mainly focus on the crisscross pattern that can be found on the seat of this chair. The details are exquisite, so good that "American Society of Civil Engineers" wrote in a large study that: "This type of rock carving by ancient Inca craftsmen is the reason that myths have evolved over the decades as to how they were created." Adding a "No, they were not made by extraterrestrials" at the end of the passage.

So, what did they use if we didn't need lasers or diamond-tipped tools? Here is one of those disappointing answers; we're not entirely sure. More research on the subject might lead us to some more fulfilling answers. There have been experiments where people carved granite using flint tools. So a more practical tool was probably used; we have not yet found any good example. If we were to use von Dänikens logic about needing diamond tools, would not stone masonry in medieval times have been impossible? Iron is softer in comparison, yet people still use metal tools to carve granite. 

So the aliens might not have created Ollantaytambo; after the break, we will head a little bit north in the Americas to Teotihuacán.


Welcome back! Let's continue the hunt for evidence of ancient alien technology. We're taken to what was at one point the largest city in maybe the whole Americas. At its height, Teotihuacán covered probably more than 30 square kilometers and, at the peak, had some 150 000 inhabitants. The area was first settled around 600 BCE, but at first, it consisted of scattered villages and smaller settlements. But we see a large influx of people around 100-150 BCE, mainly from the pre-classic city of Cuicuilco. Some believe Cuicuilco to be the first larger city in Mesoamerica and might have housed up to 20 000 people. Due to a volcanic eruption, Cuicuilco was abandoned. There is an influx of people from other parts, mainly from the valleys south of Lake Texcoco. So this city grew quickly in something nobody had seen before.

But why are we here? I'll present you with the narrator's claim here, and listen closely to see if you find something weird.

"According to scholars, the advanced design of Teotihuacán suggests that ancient builders had knowledge, not only of architecture, but of complex mathematical and astronomical sciences. From the air, the city's layout strangely resembles a computer circuit board with two large processor chips – the Sun Pyramid and the Moon Pyramid. Researchers have also found numerous and remarkable similarities to the Great Pyramids of Egypt." - Narrator.

Did you notice anything standing out? The processor part, right? Yes, I wondered where they would go with that, too, but it only fizzled out. When they talk about the city's layout here, they don't discuss the whole town. This is mainly focused on the Avenue of the Dead, Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. I also wonder why they would need dual CPUs for their alien technology. Today, except for in some server motherboards, we rarely use or need dual CPUs. If we can create products with 64 cores and 128 threads, imagine what a space-traveling civilization would use. I never thought Linus Tech Tips would be referenced in this show, but here we go. Linus does have a video explaining why dual CPUs never took off and show a couple of examples. None looks like the layout of this quarter in Teotihuacán. But I digress.

When it comes to math, the Mayans were pretty sophisticated. They used a base 20-system and were using the concept of zero. Their numbers were represented by dots and lines, except zero, which was usually represented by a shell. One was written as one dot, and then you add a dot until you reach five, which is characterized by a line. You then have a bar and a dot just as one to four. On 10 and 15, you increase the bars. As you get to 20 and above, we add a dot on the side of the numeral. 

We don't have much of Mayan mathematical texts, but Hector Calderon did in 1966 in the book "La ciencia matemática de los mayas" reconstruct some of their methods in arithmetics. From the scraps preserved to our days, we see that the math used by the Mayans evolved over time. It's not as if they one day started to solve equations like the Standard Model Lagrangian. Please note that I'm not trying to diminish the accomplishment of the Mayans; I'm looking to show you how their math should be only attributed to these people. Aliens, Atlantis or Lemuria, are not needed to explain the Mayan accomplishments.

Let's quickly look at these claims that the Pyramid of the Sun and Khufu are the same. The show makes it sound eerily similar, even using math to prove their similarity. 

"The base perimeter of the Pyramid of the Sun is four Pi times its height. In Giza, it's two pi times its height. Essentially, the Pyramid of the Sun is exactly half as tall as the Pyramid of Giza." -Giorgio Tsoukalos.

I'm not a great mathematician, but even I reacted to this math. The Pyramid of the sun is not a square building. Its sides are 720 and 760 feet (or 220 by 230 meters). For simplicity, we can use the show's measurement of 750 feet. The height of the pyramid is 66 meters or 216 feet. Let's try Tsoukalos equation, so we write it 4π * 216. So basically, we have 4 * 3.14159 * 216, which equals 1345.4544. This is not close to the base perimeter. Using the shows numbers, the base would equal 3000 feet. While Khufus' pyramid fares better, it's still not an exact match with Giorgios' math if we don't round it up and down to make it fit. Well, it's not Girogio who thought this up but Zacharia Sitchin in his book "The lost realms." 

Even if we can find a few similarities, we should not forget all the differences. The Pyramid of the sun has an angle of 32 degrees, while Kufu has 52 degrees. They have a different volume, 1.2 million cubic meters versus 2.6 million cubic meters. One building functioned as a temple, while the other was intended to work only as a grave. One building was designed to be climbed, and the other was not. They were built more than 2000 years apart with different materials and methods. We could look at almost anything and find some similarities if we're creative enough, but we should also evaluate the differences. In this case, they are more different than similar, and as we saw, the similarities are only there if we round up and down the numbers.

There's also a repetition of the claim that the pyramids of both these sites line up with Orion's belt. This is something we in the past have concluded only is true if we re-arranging the site's designs, something Bauval and Hancock leave out in their book "The Message of the Sphinx." Since we have gone into this claim on multiple occasions in the past, I'll gloss over this here.

So far, their claims about Teotihuacán haven't really matched up to what we know about the site. But could the following claim be what we have been looking for? We're told that there is an "extensive use of mica embedded in numerous structures." This is followed up with that mica can only be found in Brazil, 3000 miles away. This is simply not true; the mica we find in Teotihuacán is most likely from Oaxaca by the Pacific coast. I'm not sure where they got the 3000 number, but they are most likely building on what Graham Hancock wrote in "Finger prints of the gods" in 1996. Hancock writes, "belong to a type which occurs only in Brazil, some 2000 miles away," and then gives two sources. Sitchin's "The lost realms" and Encyclopaedia Britannica were printed in 1991. He references the encyclopedia quite strangely, but from what I figure, it should be in volume 8, page 90. The issue is that Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1991 came in two editions, a 32-volume set, and a 15-volume set. I've no idea what Hancock used, but Sitchin does not mention the micas' origin, so either the encyclopedia of 1991 does, or Hancock is the origin of the claim. Also, if there are any younger listeners out there, yes, we used to have large volumes of books as our Wikipedia.

It's correct that we have some mica spread across the city, with two more significant deposits. Proponents of aliens and an "alternative history" claim these to be the "Mica Temple" and the "Pyramid of the sun." The Mica Temple is among archaeologists more known as "The Viking group." This is due to a grant from the American Viking Foundation, today more known as the Wenner-Gren foundation. This work was led by Pedro Armillas and José Perez between 1942 and 1944 and was an apartment compound for a noble family. So it was within this complex we found this deposit under or on floor level.

The second location is claimed to have been in the Pyramid of the sun. This idea comes from Peter Tompkins, a journalist turned new-age writer. He claims in "Mysteries of the Mexican pyramids" (p 202) that Leopold Batres was told about an undocumented find of mica within the pyramid. This was then lost or carried away, according to Tompkins. Graham Hancock repeats this idea but accuses Batres of selling the find due to the value of mica. But the second location is still preserved in the Xalla Complex. This is another palatial building in the area, so these two deposits are found within buildings tied to noble and wealthy people.

While they talk about the electrical properties, heat resistance, and whatnot, these were not things important to the Mayans. Most of the mica we find is in art, especially in the eyes of statues, makeup, and mirrors. What's left out is that mica was used as a pigment in cave paintings during the paleolithic era. It is a pretty mundane material in many ancient civilizations. For example, the Tewa people in North America used it to make their ceramic vessels glister. In Pakistan, it was added to clothing, especially for women, and in Russia, it was used as glass in house windows.

So the mica isn't as unusual as we were led to believe. As it turned out, it was used in art and might have been part of a floor. Even if the Viking and Xalla deposits are significant, we don't need these fantastic claims to explain them. It's also important to note that we're never presented with these more mundane explanations in the show. Conversely, they are pretty clear that "the only possible reasons really why they would be doing this is because somehow it was part of some technology." We're told that mica is part of NASA's space crafts and maybe was used at Teotihuacán to protect the people from the spacecraft taking off. Or the mica was used as capacitors in the pyramids to offer wireless charging to the space aliens. 

So did Ancient Aliens influence the construction of this fantastic city? The evidence is not there, so I'm confident to say no. But the show must go on as they say. So join me as we travel over to India.


Located in the modern state of Karnataka in central India, lays the ruins of what once was one of the largest cities on earth. Vijayanagara was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire and covered some 650 square kilometers at its height. More than 500 000 people would have lived here on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. But why are we here? Well, these ruins might be the work of alien construction. Let us have David Childress set the tone here.

"Vijayanagara is said to have been built in the 14th-century AD. However, there's a lot of evidence to show that it is a much older city. And in fact, Hindu legends say that the ancient king, Rama met with his monkey god friend, Hanuma they're at a cave at Vijayanagara and this would put the city, back many thousands of years." - David Childress

What Childress claims here is not wrong but is something with some modification. Vijayanagara is in an arid area, which was true even back in the paleolithic era when it started to be settled. Of course, it was lusher around the Tungabhadra River, but this river was never navigable and was prone to flooding. In the beginning, it was usually smaller semi-moveable settlements. This changed around 1000 BCE, and we started to see larger villages develop. As time goes into the historical era, we begin to see small kingdoms grow, and usually set to 1336, the foundation of Vijayanagara begins, and an empire is born. At this point in time, we see a massive influx of people, and the city grows from its humble beginnings. But we don't really discuss this aspect of the site's history; the show will mainly focus on the religious center called Hampi. 

As for King Rama, yes, he was a king but also the seventh avatar of Vishnu. Rama met the god Hanuman, a monkey-looking deity, in a place called Kishkindha. In popular culture today, this semimythical place is to be located close to the Tungabhadra river and Hampi. But as far I can tell, this is not part of the founding myth about the site.

We're going to leave the city for a while to talk about a type of architecture special for India, Vastu shastra. Here we get into a little issue, Indian culture is often highjacked by white new-age people. Vastu shastra seems to have gone the same way as Feng shui and other similar traditions here in the west. Listening to how the show explains Vastu shastra, we hear common keywords from the new age movement, that this practice includes harmony, energies, cosmos, and consciousness. 

Vastu shastra originates in the Hindu religion, and its creation is often attributed to the craftsman god Vishwakarma. Around 600 CE, we see the earliest known Sanskrit texts circulate on constructing temples according to these ideas. It grows from there to include palaces and even towns. The city of Janipur is built according to the ideas within this tradition. Under British colonial rule, the use of Vastu Shastra veined but has recently seen a rebirth. But I think it goes without saying that the ideas do not really have any scientific anchor; the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations has been highlighting that it's basically pseudoscience today. While the style guide might make beautiful temples, it won't change any cosmic energies in a measurable way. The tradition has no logical connection to create some balance between earth and some unspecified energy, except what you, as an observer, might feel.

The point we are being served here is that this site is older and constructed by gods. So the claims are more or less repeated from Ollantaytambo. But it's the same issue; while the site has an earlier history, it's not during this time we really see the construction of the building we see today. But the Ancient Alien theorist needs to move the date back to do the alien construction work.

Do you remember the Vaimānika Shāstra? This book was created by G. R. Josyer, who claimed that this "ancient text" was channeled to him in 1952. We have discussed this before, but within this text, we have this idea about Vimanas as some sort of steampunk spaceships. This is somewhat referenced in the show but a bit more lowkey. But what we end up with is that this city was a sort of ancient spaceport. Yet, the preferred narrative from the alienists does not fit with the current understanding of the city and the architectural principles mentioned. Or not without rewriting history, and they try to do this, but without the evidence to back it up, we will revert these changes for now.

The case for the alien engineers does not look too well, to be honest. After the break, we will examine if flipping an image of Ramses II will turn out to be the smoking gun and if a small island in the Mediterranean used trains more than 5000 years ago.


Welcome back! While we were gone, our surroundings shifted, and we're now standing within the temple complex of Karnak in Egypt. What might have been the pride of Thebes, the temple complex is massive. Known to the ancient Egyptians as Ipet-isut, or "The most select of places," the complex was expanded by numerous Pharaohs over time. The main temple was dedicated to Amun and the Theban triad (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu), but as time went by, other temples and gods were incorporated. Just like tourists today, we could spend an entire day walking around the large temple area. But why are we here? Well, for two reasons, obelisks and a sculpture of Ramses II. So let's keep it simple and go with the obelisks.

"The obelisk is carved with the same inscriptions on four sides. They're all exactly the same, and they are all beautifully cut and articulated hieroglyphs into this red granite stone." – David Childress.

"We would look at it today and say that would be some of machine that carved these things out. For example, there were slots, they were only .14 inches wide, half inch deep. When you look inside you can see, the bottom of them were made by a rotating tool. So, this was a tool that punched in, came out, stepped down, punched in, came out…the human hand, no matter how good you are, could never do that. The tool marks themselves, the precision, the depth, the rotating impressions that were made were not done by hand. Some of those were so precisely engraved as to require machine tools to do it. The tool kit that we see, that the ancient Egyptians were supposed to use – there is no way that any of those tools could produce the results that we saw." – Arlan Andrews.

I have to say, Obelisks are impressive and beautiful things. Standing in front of one of them really makes you feel small. But we have two claims to deal with; the sides are precisely the same, and the carvings have rotating tool marks within them. Let's start with the identical sides. 

This claim is rather silly in a sense since they obviously are not identical in the carvings on all four sides. The show does not help Childress when showing an obelisk shot, so two sides are visible simultaneously, and these sides have different hieroglyphs as he speaks. I'm curious how he came to this idea or why someone would use this space to repeat the same sentence. That would be a wasted space for bragging, and the Pharaohs loved to brag.

Take, for example, the obelisks set up by Hatshepsut at Karnak. Usually, obelisks are set up in pairs, and Hatshepsut did the same. This was so you could set them at the entrance to a temple and have some symmetry. Even if some single obelisks are known, they never became popular to erect. Hatshepsut erected four obelisks at the Karnak temple, but only two have survived until today. In the beginning, the obelisks were also gilded, making them even more impressive. But on one of the ones preserved, it's written on the western and eastern faces as follows.

Horus, Mighty of ka's; Two Ladies, Flourishing in Years; Golden Horus, Devine of Diadems; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Maatkare (truth is the ka of re).

She made as her monument to her father Amun, Lord of the thrones of the Two Lands, the erecting to him two great obelisks at the august gateway Amun, great of majesty. Made with fine gold, they illuminate the Two lands like the sun disc. Never was the like made since the beginning of the world. Made for him by the Son of Re, Hatshepsut Khnenemet Amun, Given life, like Re, eternally. 

Horus, Mighty of ka's; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, beloved of Amun-Re.

Her majesty recorded the name of the father upon this enduring monument. Because favor was shown to the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Akheperkare (Tuthmosis I), by the majesty of this god, these two great obelisks were erected by her majesty for the first time. For it was spoken by the lord of the gods, "Your father, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Akheperkare, gave orders to erect obelisks, your majesty shall multiply monuments and live forever. 

As you note, these texts are pretty bold in their statements. Hatshepsut claims full credit for creating them and that these are the greatest ones ever built. The old Pharaohs loved to use these phrases even if their monument was literally in the shadow of their greater ancestors. But note that we have a similar start of the text, so it could be there he got the idea? But we can at least put this to rest now.

Let's move over to the tool marks and cuts that can't be from stone or copper tools. The issue here for Arland Andrew's claim is that we have carvings in different stages of completeness. For example, we have a granite column from the Temple of Harishef in Heracleopolis with multiple signs not fully completed. In the beginning, these signs look rough, and you can clearly see the tool marks both in and around the characters. When they reach about 2,5 cm (1 inch) deep, they polish with a stone the signs, and we get these straight lines we're familiar with. If some routing machine were used, we would not see these types of tool marks or this process. The rotating effects could easily be from the polishing stones and sand used to make it smother, but since they don't name the monument where these are "found," it's hard to figure out what's happened. So the toolkit of the Egyptian workers fits quite well with the evidence we have. Why else would this evidence of a process be so visible? This is not a single occurrence but something we can see in other unfinished locations. 

During all of this, we are joined by Christoffer Dunn, author of Lost Technologies of Ancient Egypt. He claims that the Egyptians created things to a precision of 1000 of an inch or more. I'm not sure where he gets these details, but that's simply not true. As evidence, Dunn is presenting us pictures of a statue in Karnak that depicts Ramses II (or 

Ramses the great). The statue depicts the head of Ramses, probably more once upon a time, from a front perspective. The claim is that the sculpture is so precise that if you flip the picture and put it over the original, it will align perfectly. Of course, I went online, found a similar image, and tried this myself. While the mouth, eyes, nose, and facial features line up perfectly. The outline of the face, ears, and things like that were off. But I didn't stop with Ramses the great. I also tried Nefertiti, Amunhotep III, and others from the New Kingdom, and they kind of lined up when inverted. This is less due to advanced machinery but more to the style of ancient Egypt. Their art is lovely, but it's more of a paint-by-number thing. It was highly stylized, and basically, after a grid, even Hatshepsut was depicted just as all the other Pharaohs, with a false beard and all. Egyptian art was not meant to be realistic. It was supposed to look like it always had.

But Dunn suggests they used something similar to a router machine and shows an aluminum face created with a metal router. Dunn claimed that the tool marks left on these are identical to each other; sometimes, you see what you want to see. We're faced with another false dilemma from David Childress.

"Allegedly they did not have electricity, power tools. Supposedly, they didn't have diamond saws. But yet, they're doing things that would require precision work, precision tools. So, where did they get those things? How could they have had these advanced machining tools that we've only just acquired ourselves today in our civilization? So one answer would have to be they'd gotten it from Ancient Aliens." David Childress.

Precision work, yes maybe, but they had rulers, carpenters square, and trained professionals. A skilled craftsman today could create a duplicate with only chisels. So there are more answers to the question that they state than Ancient Aliens.

Let's move over to our final destination for this time. Malta, a small cluster of islands just south of Sicily. 


If you're unfamiliar with Malta, it's a small nation in the Mediterranean consisting of three islands, Malta, Gozo, and Kemmuna. People have been living here since 6000 to 5000 BCE, and are home to some of the world's oldest megalithic structures. Until Göbekli Tepe, some of the megalithic temples were believed to be the oldest in the world. While this has now changed, the temples are still ancient and still impressive. 

The earliest date we have for one of these megalithic temples is about 3600 BCE on the second-largest island Gozo. The temple-building civilization lasted until around 2500 BCE, what's known as the end of the Tarxien phase. This phase is named after one of the more influential temples of the era located in the village of Tarxien. The reason we're here is, of course, that these temples are too complex for the people of the time to have built. Let's listen to Patrick Flanagan. 

"It's only been in recent years, that we developed instruments, that are accurate enough to appreciate that some of these ancient societies were able to shape stones to optical accuracy, optical accuracy greater that we are able to do today. And so they must have had some kind of advanced technology enabling them to do that." - Patrick Flanagan.

Flanagan is new to the show but not new in the pseudoscientific circles. He authored a book named "Pyramid power" in 1975, following that one up with four sequels. He is in the show titled p.hd, and he is referred to as Dr. Patrick Flanagan TM on his website. But his Alma mater is nowhere to be found on his web pages. After some searching, it seems to be either "Medicina Alternativa" or "The Open International University for Complementary Medicines." Both have signs of being diploma mills. I reached out to the Patrick Flanagan library, which kindly answered my question regardings Flanagans Alma Mater. It turns out that it is an M.D. from Medicina Alternativa based in Singapore.

But what we get here from Patrick is some tech word salad. Optical accuracy isn't a term used in the literature, and the definition is highly unclear since when it's used, it's often about quality control by just looking at something. I've been to several of the temples in Malta; I highly recommend visiting if you can. Thinking about it, I've been at three of five locations in this episode. Can you guess what other two I've been at? They are marvels, but their construction is almost the opposite of a mystery. 

With the help of imported flint and obsidian, they primarily quarried two types of limestone: coralline and globigerina. They most likely also used wooden levers and wedges to break off blocks using natural faultlines in the stone. When a block of the desired size was broken off, it was rolled on rollers to the site. On location, they used stone balls to get the blocks to their final destination. A few of these stone spheres have been found in temple locations. To get the stone on top of the others, they built ramps out of dirt that later was dismantled. 

It's impressive that the early settlers of Malta would be able to, with simple means, build these great monuments. Yet the show deems it unlikely and wonders if there was a railway on the island to facilitate the transport of the megaliths. On Malta, there's something usually referred to as cart ruts. It looks like two parallel tracks in the limestone, and it looks like it was made by carts over a long time. The most likely explanation is also that it is from actual cartwheels. While there is a discussion on exactly when and how they are formed, we can rule out a few things the show mentions. Such as they are not 10 000 years old, and they are not all identical in size and width. 

Most of them are V-shaped, so they start wider and then become more narrow toward the bottom. The depth is usually deeper in places that slope compared to flat locations. This would support the theory that the ruts were started by carts, and then erosion from water and wind has created these deep scars in the soft limestone. While there is some harder limestone on the islands, much of it is delicate and sensitive to erosion. 

A study from last year has picked up the research on the Maltese cart ruts, but as the author Groucutt mentions, a lot more research is needed to comprehensively understand these marks. 

Lastly, we bring up the Hypogeum; I was never inside, unfortunately, since you have to get tickets well in advance. This underground temple is carved from the mountain to resemble the Megalithic temples above. The earliest date is close to 4000 BCE, and within this complex is a room referred to as the Oracle Room. Now, this room has some rather remarkable features. Frequencies within the 70Hz and 114Hz range will enhance and echo throughout the complex. According to the show, it's evidence that the people of Malta had access to acoustic levitation and could reshape matter with the help of this room. But it's simply not true; while acoustic archaeology within the complex has been limited, it seems more natural than manmade. 

In the next episode, it’s time for what you might have been waiting for since November. Graham Hancocks “Ancient Apocalypse.” I know he lacks alien visitors in most of his work, but since he has appeared on this show and is known to have spread some fringe ideas, we should have a look at his ideas at least. 

But till then, remember to leave a positive review anywhere you can, such as iTunes, Spotify, or to your friend at the trench. I would also recommend visiting to find more info about me and the podcast. You can also find me on most social media sites, and if you have comments, corrections, suggestions, or just want to write an email in all caps, you can find my contact info on the website.

You will find all the sources and resources used to create this podcast on our website. You will often also find further reading suggestions if you want to learn more about the subjects we bring up.

Sandra Marteleur created the intro music, and our outro is by the band called Trallskruv, who sings their song "tin foil hat." Links to both these artists will be found in the show notes.

Until next time, keep shoveling that science!

Sources, resources, and further reading suggestions

Dillehay, T.D., Ocampo, C., Saavedra, J., Sawakuchi, A.O., Vega, R.M., Pino, M., Collins, M.B., Scott Cummings, L., Arregui, I., Villagran, X.S., Hartmann, G.A., Mella, M., González, A. and Dix, G. (2015). New Archaeological Evidence for an Early Human Presence at Monte Verde, Chile. PLOS ONE, [online] 10(11), p.e0141923. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141923.

‌Dillehay, T.D. (2000). The Settlement Of The Americas A New Prehistory. Basic Books

Bengtsson, L. (1998). Prehistoric Stonework in the Peruvian Andes A Case Study at Ollantaytambo. PhD Thesis.

Wright, K.R., Gibaja Oviedo, A., McEwan, G.F., Miksad, R.W. and Wright, R.M. (2016). Incamisana - Engineering an Inca Water Temple. Reston: ASCE Press.

Dean, C. (2010). A culture of stone: Inka perspectives on rock. Durham: Duke University Press.

Protzen, J.-P. (1993). Inca Architecture and Construction at Ollantaytambo. New York: Oxford University Press.

Protzen, J.-P. (1985). Inca Quarrying and Stonecutting. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, [online] 44(2), pp.161–182. doi:10.2307/990027.

Kaufmann, H.W. and Kaufmann, J.E. (2006). Fortifications of the Incas : 1200-1531. New York: Osprey.

Sebastian, L. (2020). Should You Put TWO CPUs In Your PC? [online] YouTube. Available at:

Acosta, J.R. (1970). ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS IN TEOTIHUACAN. Artes de México, [online] (134), pp.11–18. Available at:

Cowgill, G.L. (2015). Ancient Teotihuacan. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Doménech-Carbó, M.T., Vázquez de Agredos-Pascual, M.L., Osete-Cortina, L., Doménech-Carbó, A., Guasch-Ferré, N., Manzanilla, L.R. and Vidal-Lorenzo, C. (2012). Characterization of prehispanic cosmetics found in a burial of the ancient city of Teotihuacan (Mexico). Journal of Archaeological Science, 39(4), pp.1043–1062. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.12.001.

Sinopoli, C.M. and Morrison, K.D. (2007). The Vijayanagara Metropolitan Survey, Vol. 1. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, The Museum of Anthropology.

Chakrabarti, V. (1998). Indian Architectural Theory. Richmond: Curzon Press.

Michell, G. (1995). The new Cambridge history of India. 1 6, Architecture and art of southern India : Vijayanagara and the successor states. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Debertolis, Prof.agg & Coimbra, Fernando & Eneix, Linda. (2015). Archaeoacoustic Analysis of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta. Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology. 3. 10.15640/jaa.v3n1a4. 

Groucutt, H.S. (2022). The morphological variability of Maltese ‘cart ruts’ and its implications. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 41, p.103287. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.103287.

Grøntoft, Terje & Cassar, J.. (2020). An assessment of the contribution of air pollution to the weathering of limestone heritage in Malta. Environmental Earth Sciences. 79. 10.1007/s12665-020-09027-x. 

Cilia, D. ed., (2004). Malta before history: the world’s oldest free-standing stone architecture. Sliema (Malta): Miranda.

Trump, D.H. (2002). Malta, Prehistory and Temples. Midsea Books.

Gregory, I.V. (2005). The human form in Neolithic Malta. Malta: Midsea Books.

Wilkinson, R.H. (2017). The complete temples of ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.


“Folie hatt” by Trallskruv

Lily of the woods by Sandra Marteleur