Repeat after me: The pyramids were NOT built by aliens. According to ancient Egyptian texts, the pyramids were built by humans WITH THE ASSISTANCE of the "Guardians of the Sky," or the "Teachers from Heaven," the "gods," who descended from the sky in "flying barges"... (If you're wondering what "texts" I'm referring to, check out the AL-KHITAT by Al-Maqrizi.) (source)
Al-Maqrizi says explicitly that the Arabs know nothing solid about ancient Egypt, only mutually contradictory myths and legends with no foundation. “There is no agreement on the time of their construction, the names of those who have raised them, or the cause of their erection. Many conflicting and unfounded legends have been told of them.” This is not a good sign, but it does eliminate Al-Maqurizi as a suspect in the creation of Tsoukalos’ alien-intervention myth.
So, if not Al-Maqrizi, then who? Maqrizi quotes at great length the work of Ibrahim ibn Wasif Shah (d. 1203), who tells of the wonders of the pyramids. This material is scattered across the Al-Khitat, primarily in chapters 10 and 40, and it makes following the story somewhat complex.
Ibn Wasif Shah begins by discussing the legendary King ’Adim (or ’Ad), the leader of the Adites, the Arabian desert people who in the Qu’ran (89:6-13) are punished by God for their sins. According to Ibn Wasif Shah, King ’Adim ordered the rocks cut for the Two Pyramids—these would be the pyramids of Dashur—but he did not actually construct them himself. The chronology is unclear, but around this same time two demons or Fallen Angels appeared to him and taught him science before being cast into a well in Babylon to await judgment. These “angels cast out of heaven” must be the “Guardians of the Sky” Tsoukalos is referring to, but there is no explicit discussion of the angels having anything to do with cutting the rocks for the pyramids. This much Maqrizi relates in chapter 10.
In chapter 24, Maqrizi takes up the story again with Sourid (or Saurid), the figure most closely associated in Islamic lore with the building of the pyramids at Giza. Saurid has a dream in which he sees a meteor shower and some bad astrological omens predicting the Great Flood of Near Eastern myth (Qu’ranic version, of course) and therefore builds the two largest pyramids, filling them with treasures and covering them in silk. (The story is also given in almost identical words by Murtadi and Ibn ’Abd al-Hakam.) We are then told that the Copts hold that Shaddad ibn ’Ad, the son of King ’Ad built the pyramids at Dashur with the stones cut and left behind by King ’Ad. Apparently—and I am not clear on this—Saurid is descended in some way from Shaddad.
Ibn Wasif Shah explicitly connects these events to the wickedness preceding the Flood, recounted most explicitly in Genesis and the Book of Enoch but also known in Islamic lore. He has Saurid’s chief priest recount a dream in which angels descend from heaven to punish mankind for wickedness and sin, and declaring that any who wish to be saved must go to the Ark to be rescued from the imminent Flood. Saurid then builds the pyramids to preserve science and knowledge, presumably that given by the Fallen Angels, when the Flood comes. This is a widespread Arab myth.
Now since we know that the Arabs also had a tradition that pyramids were built by Idris, whom they identified with Hermes and Hermes with Enoch, the Hebrew prophet, it is no stretch to see a parallel here with Enoch’s “heavenly tablets” (1 Enoch 106:19) on which are engraved the secrets of the forthcoming flood, as well as the “books of my forefathers” from Jubilees 21:10 that discuss secret knowledge. This makes much more sense as the mythic wellspring for Ibn Wasif Shah’s claim that the Giza pyramids were covered in scientific treatises engraved in their interior chambers than any facts. As we all know, (a) the Giza pyramids do not feature hieroglyphic inscriptions and (b) those pyramids that do have them are not scientific treatises on antediluvian scientific knowledge—let alone Ibn Wasif Shah’s astronomical tables and “the list of events of past eras under their [the stars’] influence, and when they must be examined to know the future of everything about Egypt until the end of time.” Since Ibn Wasif Shah was wrong about the interior design of the pyramids, the purpose and content of the hieroglyphics, and pretty much everything else, we have no reason to believe him about Fallen Angels either.
Erich von Däniken, in History Is Wrong, claims that Idris and Saurid were identical based on Maqrizi’s chapter 33, but in actuality Maqrizi in that passage merely asserts that Idris, Enoch, Saurid, and Shaddad were all proposed by various peoples as the builders of the pyramids—they were not identical with each other. Now here’s the kicker: In Odyssey of the Gods (1999) von Däniken mistakenly calls Maqrizi’s work, which he paraphrases, cites, and partially quotes, “ancient Egyptian texts” (2000 English trans., p.74)—this must be where Tsoukalos got his mistaken idea! It’s even the same wording!
So, in sum, the tale told my Ibn Wasif Shah in al-Maqrizi’s Al-Khitat is very much in keeping with the Near Easter flood myth dating back to the Sumerians. In all the versions, human become sinful, in part due to corruption from sinful gods, demigods, or angels, leading to the high god(s) sending a flood to cleanse the earth. It is interesting that these fallen creatures all do the same thing. Compare Oannes of Babylonian myth, the Watchers of Enoch, and the angels who visited Ad:
This Being was accustomed to pass the day among men; but took no food at that season; and he gave them an insight into letters and sciences, and arts of every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge. He made them distinguish the seeds of the earth, and shewed them how to collect the fruits; in short, he instructed them in every thing which could tend to soften manners and humanize their lives. (Berossus)
And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. … Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl, (taught) astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Ezêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon. (1 Enoch 8:1-2)
ANGELS OF ’AD
In his time there lived two angels cast out of heaven, and who lived in the Aftarah well; these two angels taught magic to the Egyptians, and it is said that ’Adim, the son of El-Budchir, learned most of their sciences, after which the two angels went to Babel. (Maqrizi, Al-Khitat 10)
The substantive identity of these stories should serve to prove that the Arabs merely translated to Egypt myths once told of Mesopotamia, as indicated by the fact that the stories supposedly originate with ’Ad of Iram, a legendary king in Arabia, not Egypt. This agrees very well with what we know of pre-Islamic Arabian myths, where the Tower of Babel was once believed to have been built by the Fallen Angels (probably derived from the Babylonian belief in the Enuma Elish [6.53-63] that the Babylonian temple of Esagil was built by angry Annunaki) and to have a relationship of some sort with the eventual revelation of astrology and science by Abraham (Eupolemus, qtd. in Eusebius, Praep. Evan. 9). Too, it agrees with the Judeo-Christian legend of Seth’s children (the pre-Flood men of old) inscribing all knowledge on pillars before the Flood:
They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day. (Josephus, Antiquities 1.2.3)
I find all these connections fascinating and could go on for many more pages, but let’s stop there for now. I think this is sufficient to cast doubt on any claim that the Al-Khitat records an alien architect at Giza.