Pyramidology and Radiocarbon

the Dating and Interpretation of a Fragment of Wood from the Great Pyramid

  • Neil G. W. Curtis (Author)

    Neil G. W. Curtis studied at the University of Glasgow, the University of Leicester and the University of Aberdeen. He is currently Head of Museums and Special Collections at the University of Aberdeen.

  • Abeer Eladany (Author)

    Abeer Eladany studied at the University of Cairo, Helwan University and the University of Manchester. She is currently Curatorial Assistant (Collections Access) at the University of Aberdeen.

Identifiers (Article)


A fragment of wood from the Great Pyramid was recently dated by the University of Aberdeen to 3341-3094 CalBC. This paper considers the implications of this date for the dating of the Great Pyramid, highlighting the possibility that it was ‘old wood’ at the time of deposition, but confirming that it sets a terminus post quem for the construction of the pyramid. It also discusses how the wood was collected, as part of an investigation by Waynman Dixon and James Grant of the Great Pyramid on behalf of Charles Piazzi Smyth, which led to the discovery of two narrow shafts from the ‘Queen’s Chamber’ containing items that became known as the ‘Dixon Relics’. This work is considered in the context of the campaign against the introduction of the metric system to the UK and the search for the Imperial inch in the measurements of ancient Egypt within the contemporary contexts of pyramidology and racism. The paper also highlights the importance of James Grant in late nineteenth-century Egyptology and his collection which is now in the care of the University of Aberdeen.