(In 2017-2018 Ufologist Magazine in Australia published four articles of mine in a series “The Case Against Ancient Aliens”. The can be found online here. Unfortunately, Ufologist closed down before all my articles could be published, so I will be posting the rest of them on my blog beginning with this one.)
Television documentaries on controversial subjects usually attempt to present both sides, interview experts with different opinions and let the audience draw their own conclusions. In an earlier History Channel series UFO Hunters (2008-2009) one of the presenters often offered a more sceptical non-extra-terrestrial interpretation of the evidence. There is no such objectivity in Ancient Aliens. Apart from a couple of exceptions in the early episodes, there are no interviews with conventional historians or archaeologists who explain how humans could have done these things themselves without the help of aliens.
Ancient aliens believers rely heavily on the logical fallacy, argumentum ad ignorantium, argument from ignorance or appeal to ignorance. Ancient aliens believers claim we do not know how the ancients built something, so aliens must have done it. Actually, a lot of the time archaeologists and historians do have a good idea how they did it, but the ancient aliens believers will not tell you this.
Von Daniken claims that Egyptologists believe ancient Egypt “appears suddenly and without transition with a fantastic ready-made civilisation.” This might sound like aliens had to be involved. Actually, Egyptologists believe Egyptian civilization developed gradually over thousands of years.
Von Daniken writes, “The ancient Egyptians regarded Enoch as the builder of the pyramids.” This would be news to any Egyptologist. Von Daniken’ claim comes from an Arab historian Taki al-Makrizi (1354-1442 AD) who wrote that Enoch, who was also known as Hermes, built the pyramids before the Flood .
However, the ancient Egyptians did not know anything about Enoch. They told the Greek historian Herodotus (490-420 BC) that the Pharaoh Cheops built the Great Pyramid in 20 years using 100,000 labourers . They did not say he needed any help from the gods or aliens. The Egyptians did it on their own.
Herodotus may not be completely accurate, but he is definitely more reliable than Taki al-Makrizi who was writing about 1800 years when they could no longer read hieroglyphics and was repeating later legends with little or no historical value.
Ancient aliens proponents base their argument on the later less reliable source, rather than the earlier more reliable one.
If the ancient Egyptians had built the Great Pyramid from scratch without any precedents, that would be implausible and would be an argument for alien intervention, but this is not the case.
During the First Dynasty (2920-2770 BC) brick platforms or benches called mastabas were placed over royal tombs. The Third Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser (2630-2611 BC) built the Step Pyramid which was basically six mastabas of decreasing size placed on top of each other with the tomb underneath.
Sneferu (2575-2551 BC) started to build a seven level step pyramid which he tried to convert into a real pyramid, but it appears to have been abandoned and later collapsed.
Sneferu began to build a second pyramid, but he did not build it on a firm foundation and it began to sink. Djoser’s Step Pyramid and Sneferu’s first two pyramids had been built with the blocks sloping inward, rather than placed horizontally. This appears to have put too much pressure on the centre of the pyramids and their inner chambers. Sneferu completed his second attempted pyramid by placing the stones horizontally and making the slope less steep, so it came to be called the Bent Pyramid. When he built his third pyramid, the first true pyramid, known as the Red or North Pyramid, the blocks were placed horizontally, making it more stable .
Workers in the Red Pyramid left graffiti behind while they were building. From these, it can be calculated that the pyramid was built in ten years and seven months .
The ancient aliens movement tends to ignore Sneferu and focus on his son Khufu’s Great Pyramid, even though Sneferu built three pyramids during his reign and used more stone than in the Great Pyramid . Sneferu clearly did not have aliens helping him. His pyramid building was a case of trial and error, learning from his mistakes until he got it right in the Red Pyramid. His son Khufu (2551-2528 BC) drew on his experience when he built the Great Pyramid.
However, von Daniken claims it was impossible for the Egyptians to have built the great Pyramid without the help of aliens.
“2,600,000 gigantic blocks were cut out of the quarries dressed and transported, and fitted together on the building site to the nearest thousandth of an inch.” “Several hundred thousand workers pushed and pulled blocks weighing 12 tons up a ramp with (non-existent) ropes on (non-existent) rollers. This host of workers lived on (non-existent) grain. They slept in (non-existent) huts which the Pharaoh had built outside his summer palace.” 
The evidence says otherwise. As mentioned earlier, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote that it took 100,000 men 10 years to build the ramp to drag the blocks up to the pyramid and another 20 years to build the pyramid itself.
Von Daniken doubts “hundreds of thousands of slaves” could “have lived on the scanty yields of agriculture in the Nile delta.” The Nile was one of the most fertile areas in the ancient world. During the Old Kingdom when the Great Pyramid was built, it supported a population of between 1 and 1.5 million .
In spite of what we see in the movies, Egyptologists believe the Great Pyramid was built by conscripts, not slaves. There were probably not “hundreds of thousands” of them as von Daniken claims. They probably did not even need 100,000 as Herodotus claimed. In How the Great Pyramid was Built Craig Smith calculated that 20,000 workers could have built it in 20 years, 10,000 to build it and another 10,000 to support them  .
In 1991 archaeologists began excavating the town of the pyramid builders and their tombs near Giza, which von Daniken said did not exist. The site included bakeries and granaries .
Archaeologists have also discovered copper tools and their moulds in the workers’ village . Chisel marks can be seen on the stones of the Great Pyramid and in the nearby quarry on the Giza Plateau where about 95% of the stone was quarried . When they were finished, rubble and rubbish were dumped back into the quarry, including stone pounders, ropes and dried mud which as used to lubricate the stones so they moved more easily . No alien tools or parts have been found.
The average stone weighed 2.5 tons, not 12 tons as von Daniken claimed. Some of the stones at the base weigh about 15 tons. The granite stones above the King’s Chamber have been estimated to weigh between 50 and 80 tons .
A painting on the wall of a Twelfth Dynasty nobleman Djehutihotep at el-Bersheh shows 172 men pulling a statue which is estimated to weigh about 60 tons. They are using ropes which von Daniken says they did not have and the statue is on a sled, not rollers as von Daniken claimed, but it is still made from the wood which von Daniken says they did not have. Someone is pouring liquid in front of the sled to presumably reduce friction. The Egyptians did not need aliens to help them move 60 tons.
Some of this “non-existent” rope was found in the boat pit next to the great Pyramid. The ancient Egyptians actually exported rope to other nations . It is true there was not a lot of wood growing in Egypt, so they had to import it from Syria, Lebanon and Sudan . The remains of construction ramps have been found at other pyramids .
In 2013 archaeologists discovered the papyrus diary of an Egyptian official Merer which was written in the 26th year of Khufu’s reign. He recorded the transport of limestone blocks by boat from a quarry to Giza  .
The Ancient Aliens series has put forward several contradictory theories about the “real” purpose of the Great Pyramid. The episode “Secrets of the Pyramids” suggested the Great Pyramid “acted as a time machine” and was “a gateway or a portal into multiple dimensions that would enable the transmission of people, objects or consciousness from other dimensions into our dimension” .
In the episode “Alien Power Plants” Christopher Dunn says the Great Pyramid was used to generate hydrogen and microwaves. Dunn shows how to make hydrogen in a laboratory which only shows one does not need a 146 metre high pyramid to make hydrogen .
In the episode “Aliens and Temples of Gold” they say, “It is possible that the Giza Pyramid was actually used to transmute other elements into gold.” 
Hydrogen, gold, which was it?
In another episode “Destination Orion” they say it was a star gate to travel back and forth to Orion .
In his 1980 book The Stairway to Heaven Zecharia Sitchin says the Great Pyramid contained “guidance and communications equipment” and was used as a beacon for spaceships to land in the Sinai .
We do not need to build 146 metre high pyramids for our space shuttles to land in the right place. Surely surrounding communication equipment with millions of tons of rock would interfere with the signal. A radio tower would be more effective.
In his 1985 book The Wars of Gods and Men Sitchin said the Great Pyramid as later used to imprison the alien Marduk .
Then there is Joseph Farrell, author of The Giza Death Star, The Giza Death Star Deployed and The Giza Death Star Destroyed, which I have not read, but I get the idea.
The Ancient Aliens episode “Secrets of the Pyramids” draws attention to pyramids elsewhere in the world, including Sudan, India, Iraq, Mexico, China, Mauritius, Peru, Bolivia, Indonesia and Cambodia and suggest that the “similar building style” means ancient peoples “learned how to build these pyramids from the same teachers.” They ask, “Is it possible the thousands of pyramids scattered across the globe were once part of a cohesive network?”
No. If pyramids around the world were part of a cohesive network, one would expect them to be of the same design and to have been built around the same time. The Great Pyramid was built around 2550 BC. Many ancient aliens proponents and alternative historians claim it was built thousands of years earlier. The Mayans began to build their pyramids during their Terminal Preclassic Period (100-250 AD), over 2500 years after the Great Pyramid. They cannot be part of the same global network.
Furthermore, the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids were really not that similar. The Mayan pyramids have steps going up to their flat tops where there was a temple. It does not look like they had a common origin or the same teachers, any more than buildings around the world with doorways and pillars would suggest a common origin.
The Ancient Aliens episode “The Evidence” and “Alien Power Plants” suggest the Great Pyramid was part of a global energy network which used obelisks to transmit energy through the atmosphere . They say, “And some believe the Great Pyramid in conjunction with the obelisks made up what may have been a global wireless energy network.” .The Egyptian obelisks, which are shown on Ancient Aliens, were erected in the 18th and 19th Dynasties, about 1000 years after the Great Pyramid. They could not have been part of the same network.
In the episode “The Evidence” David Hatcher Childress also suggests that the obelisks would have needed a water turbine to generate the electricity. They show a computer-generated image of an obelisk by the Nile connected to a turbine and beaming energy into the atmosphere . Obelisks were usually placed in pairs in front of temples, not by the Nile. No evidence of any ancient turbines have been found. If the obelisks needed turbines to transmit electricity and there is no evidence of any turbines, there is no evidence the obelisks transmitted electricity. The inscriptions on the obelisks usually tell of the achievements of the Pharaoh, but they do not say anything like, “Beware! High Voltage!”
Archaeologists have found tools made of wood, stone and copper, but no power tools or machines, which ran on electricity, or spare parts. There are no depictions of such things on the wall of Egyptian tombs of machines which used electricity. They support the archaeological evidence which portrays Egyptian life as more primitive.
The Ancient Aliens episode “Alien Power Plants” claims there is a depiction of a person holding a large light bulb on the walls of the Temple of Hathor in the Dendera complex. They suggest it was powered by the electricity produced by the Great Pyramid  . The Temple of Hathor was built over 2000 years after the Great Pyramid during the Greco-Roman period. The so-called Dendera bulb is too big to be a hand held light bulb. It looks over two metres long and would probably blind the person holding it. There is a serpent inside the “bulb”. The actually appears to represent an Egyptian creation myth in which the lotus plant is the first thing to emerge from the primordial sea and out of the lotus came the god Atum who was represented as a snake.
The episode “Alien Power Plants” also mentions the Baghdad Batteries. These are three clay jars containing an iron rod inside a copper cylinder. Some believe they are primitive batteries although most archaeologists doubt it. Even if they are batteries, aliens would not make batteries out of clay jars. Furthermore, they are dated to the Parthian period (250 BC – 224 AD), so they could not have anything to do with the Great Pyramid’s supposed energy network 2500 years earlier. Like the Antikythera Device, the Baghdad Batteries may prove that people in the ancient world were more intelligent than we usually credit them, but they are not evidence for ancient aliens.
In another episode “Secrets of the Tombs” they show us the Serapeum of Saqqara near Memphis in which the sacred bulls were buried. The section known as the Greater Vault was used from the beginning of the 26th Dynasty (664 BC) until the Roman period. It contains 24 stone sarcophagi which weighed up to 70 tons. When the sacred bull died, it was entombed, the chamber was walled up, a stela recorded the date and a new bull was found. However, Ancient Aliens asks,
“Are these really some kind of interdimensional stargates and the extraterrestrials are able to come and go from this planet using them?”
“Were the Serapeum sarcophagi actually a teleportation system, as some ancient astronaut theorists believe? Could they be a series of chambers used to convey ancient humans and perhaps alien visitors to other planets?” 
These are just stone sarcophagi. There is no trace of any alien technology to operate the supposed stargates. There are no hieroglyphics saying, “This way to the stargate.” They do not tell us how anyone could have got out of the sarcophagi stargates since they were walled up. This speculation only proves that the producers of Ancient Aliens have watched Stargate SG-1. Ancient aliens believers cannot blame conventional archaeologists and historians for ignoring them when they say things like this.
 Erich von Daniken, Chariots of the Gods?, Corgi, London, 1971, p 96
 Erich von Daniken, Return of the Gods, Element Books, Dorset, 1998, p 184
 Ibid., p 59
 Herodotus, The Histories, 2:124-125
 Mark Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, Thames and Hudson, London, 1997, p 102-103
 John Romer, The Great Pyramid, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, p 71
 The Complete Pyramids, op cit., p 97
 Chariots of the Gods?. op cit., p 100
 Ibid., p 101
 Chariots of the Gods?. op cit., p 97
 Gae Callender, Egypt in the Old Kingdom: An Introduction, Longmans, South Australia, 1998, p 115
 Craig Smith, How the Great Pyramid was Built, Smithsonian Books, Washington DC, 2004, p 206
 Zahi Hawass, Mountains of the Pharaohs, Doubleday, New York, 2006, p 158-166
 How the Great Pyramid Was Built, op cit., p 134-135
 The Great Pyramid, op cit., p 100-101, 106-111,202-204
 Ibid., p 205-206
 The Complete Pyramids, op cit., p 108-109
 How the Great Pyramid Was Built, op cit., p 133
 How the Great Pyramid Was Built, op cit., p 49-50, 82
 The Complete Pyramids, op cit., p 217
 Tallet, P., and Marouand, G., The Harbor of Khufu on the Red Sea Coast at Wadi al-Jarf, Egypt, Near Eastern Archaeology 77 (1): 4-14, 2014
 “Secrets of the Pyramids”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2012, 41 min
 “Alien Power Plants”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2013, 19-20 min
 “Aliens and the Temple of Gold”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2011, 19 min
 “Destination Orion”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2013, 10-12 min
 Zecharia Sitchin, The Stairway to Heaven, Harper, New York, 2007, p 384
 Zecharia Sitchin, The Wars of Gods and Men, Harper New York, 2007, p 202-228
 “Secrets of the Pyramids”, op cit., 4 mins
 Ibid., 16-17 mins
 “The Evidence”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2010, 77-82 min, “Alien Power Plants”, op cit., 13-29 min
 “Alien Power Plants”, op cit., 28 min
 “The Evidence”, op cit., 80-81 min
 “Alien Power Plants”, op cit., 21 min
 Nick Redfern, Weapons of the Gods, New Page Books, New Jersey, 2016, p 141-142
 “Secrets of the Tombs”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2013, 13 min