Ancient Egyptians built the 480-foot-high (146-metres-high) Great Pyramid of Giza from the inside out, according to French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin who has created a novel three-dimensional computer simulation based on eight years of his study to present the hypothesis.
He says his findings solve the mystery of how the massive monument just outside Cairo was constructed.
According to him, the 4,500-year-old tomb of Pharaoh Khufu was built using a ramp that spirals around the pyramid's interior 30 to 45 feet (nine to 14 metres) behind the exterior surface.
"I am completely comfortable with this theory," said Houdin, who presented his findings in Paris recently.
Previous theories have suggested that builders on Egypt's Giza Plateau hoisted the pyramid's millions of multi-ton stone blocks using an external ramp.
According to these theories, such a structure either corkscrews around the pyramid's outer surface or grows in a straight line with the pyramid.
Houdin's theory however, suggests that a long, straight ramp was used to build the first 129 feet (39 metres) of the pyramid and the internal ramp was used to complete construction.
Drawings from a 1986 survey of the pyramid show a "spiral anomaly" inside that conforms exactly to this theory, he said.
"We have done it in the 3-D world. The virtual pyramid is the same as the [real-life] Giza pyramid. The new theory is even greater proof that the Great Pyramid "is a marvel of engineering, planning, and conservation," National Geographic quoted Houdin as saying.
Houdin and French computer-imaging firm Dassault Systemes spent two years building a computer model to test the hypothesis. Houdin has also applied for permission to test his theory on the actual pyramid using radar scans and other sensing equipment.
"I think this will speed up [approval of the application] in the coming weeks," he said.
But Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, said Houdin's application has been rejected, as Houdin had applied using an Egyptian "cover institution" that didn't have the proper expertise to examine the Great Pyramid.
"If we open the pyramid to everyone with a theory to prove, we would ruin the pyramid," he said.
“He has done his best [producing a theory] that is logical. But, he has no proof, and we do have evidence to support other theories,” Hawass added.
Incidentally, Hawass wrote the preface to Houdin's 2006 book Khufu: The Secrets Behind the Building of the Great Pyramid.