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Voyages of the Pyramid Builders Paperback – May 24, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The great pyramids of Egypt provide a wonderful glimpse of the artistry, skill and imagination of the ancient world. But pyramids can be found in India, China, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Ireland. In this provocative book, geologist Schoch (noted for his work in redating the Sphinx, which was recounted in his Voices of the Rocks) wonders how so many diverse cultures built such similar structures with similar purposes. Using geological, linguistic and geographical evidence, he contends that a protocivilization of pyramid-building peoples was driven out of its homeland, the Sundaland, which geologists believe connected Southeast Asia with Indonesia, by a rise in sea level caused by comet activity between 6000 and 4000 B.C. Fleeing their homeland, these peoples took their knowledge of pyramid building with them into Sumeria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and Peru. Schoch hypothesizes that the pyramids were built to reach into the skies and to penetrate the mystery of the heavens, source of catastrophe. Schoch also asserts that the pyramids point to unity and symbolize the deep concerns shared by all humans. Schoch builds his engrossing case on geological details of the pyramid sites he has examined around the world. In the end, however, even he admits his evidence of a Sundaland protocivilization is speculative. As controversial as this book is bound to be, Schoch's evocation of the pyramids forcefully reminds us of their enduring power as monuments to the spirit of human creativity. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; Revised ed. edition (May 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423200
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Gwinn on February 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The title's provocative phrase "The True Origins of the Pyramids..." does not indicate a proposed alternate civilization of pyramid-builders; instead, it is about the possible common historical origins of the various pyramid-builder (and other) civilizations around the world.
Schoch, a geologist, is perhaps best known for his re-dating of the Sphinx back to 4700-7000 BC, based on weathering and climactic patterns. (This book has an Appendix where Schoch replies cogently to various critics of his Sphinx theory and cites some additional support.)
The main premise in this book is that there are enough distinct threads of evidence to support the theory that the proto-civilization for many of the notable cultures of the past (such as the ancient Egyptions, Mayans, and so on) was based in a time when the sea-levels were much lower in a region called "Sundaland". This region is now mainly underwater due to glacial melting since the last Ice Age and stretches from Indochina to Borneo and Timor.
Schoch uses a myriad of types of circumstantial evidence such as commonality of flood myths, linguistic comparisons, genetics, geologic, tree-ring data, archeological remains, ancient math and astronomical knowledge, and so forth to piece together support for his theory. Some of it is robust, some of it is a bit tenuous, but all in all, I find it worth considering.
In pulling together these disparate trails of evidence into a prehistorical timeline, I do not think Schoch has reached beyond plausibility; indeed, I consider some of mainstream archeology to be more ardently ideological and consist of far more speculative story-telling than what Schoch proposes here.
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Format: Paperback
Contrary to other reviewers, I found the book to be relatively well written and organized. True, there isn't much new/revolutionary information presented in the book and there are even a few question marks, but overall it is a very interesting book to read. On the downside, the author presents an absolute pile of data to prove his point and, in doing so, assumes the reader knows (or can remember) where all the places that he mentions are actually located, when and by whom they were built, and what they looked like.

Unfortunately, other than a map of Sundaland (the speculative "sunken" landmass in southeast Asia), the book did not include a single map, drawing, chart, or photo. (It appears the ten pages of color photos of various pyramids that were tossed in the middle of the book was an afterthought.)

I kept referring to other books (primarily Reader's Digest's Mysteries of Ancient Americas published in 1986) to locate where a specific pyramid was located and what it looked like in order to understand Schoch's brief description. Also, Mysteries of Ancient Americas had photos/descriptions of the boats and artifacts (and even the corn) that Schoch described in his book. Somebody once said that a picture is worth a whole lotta words. Unfortunately, Voyages of the Pyramid Builders takes the whole lotta words approach.

I suspect the publisher (Tarcher/Penquin) eliminated all maps/drawings/b&w photos in order to cut costs down to an absolute bare minimum. It is a shame because if the book had been published in a much larger format with all the necessary maps, drawings, charts and photos, it certainly would've been a real winner.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Schoch has done an admirable job in collating data from the Earth's odd corners. This book is one of the best ever books on ancient navigation, and also on catastrophism. Interdisciplinary and of wide scope, it's better and more focused than his earlier popular work, _Voices of the Rocks_ (ISBN: 0609603698).

Schoch isn't the first to raise the prospect of an ancient megalith building, seafaring civilization. He's not the first to come around to a catastrophic way of looking at the past, in historic or prehistoric times. But his presentation and credentials lend much higher credibility and a higher profile to such ideas.

From the work with proxy data in tree rings etc, to anthropological studies around the world, to exploration of the continental shelf, this scientist has produced what is easily the best of a problematical genre, as well as being a work of popular science. So much debris has been penned regarding the origin of the Great Pyramid, alleged astrological links with ancient structures (Tiahuanaco, Stonehenge, Giza, etc), and precolumbian navigation (those works written from a political rather than scientific or linguistic perspective), this book by Schoch is a new light in an ancient sky.

As Schoch recounts, Homo Erectus was crossing miles of open sea 800,000 or more years ago. But we're supposed to believe that crossing open sea was abandoned thereafter in the SW Pacific for at least 750,000 years, then abandoned again for at least another 47,000 years, and Australia was settled just twice during that nearly one million year period.

My reservations about this book involve Schoch's use of the conventional pseudochronology of the ancient Near East. But had he been interested in anything else, his book wouldn't stand a chance. As it is, the book's enemies will continue to forge links for their Marley-banshee chains. Recommended.
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