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Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu June 18, 2024

No, this image doesn’t show the Egyptian pyramids being built

If Your Time is short

  • Photo technology was first invented about 200 years ago and not 4,500 years ago.

An image that is circulating as an online joke has found a new life in the misinformation world.

The image shows figures wearing loin cloths and holding up several large cubic stones. "Pyramids in Egypt, photo taken during the construction in 2549 BC," a June 12 post claimed. "This is proof it wasn't the aliens." Similar posts were shared on Facebook, TikTok and X.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook, Threads, and Instagram.)

There is one simple problem with this claim: 2549 B.C. was 4,573 years ago and photography technology was not developed until about 200 years ago. French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce began experimenting with making photos in 1816, and the earliest known surviving photo was taken in 1827 (196 years ago). That photo is on display at a museum at the University of Texas at Austin.

This viral image does not show the Egyptian pyramids being built.

A reverse image search did not yield credible results about the source of the image. Some people speculated in some of the photo posts’ comments that it was generated using artificial intelligence.

We rate the claim that this image shows Egyptian pyramids being constructed Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Facebook post (archived link), Jun. 12, 2024

Nicéphore Niépce House, Niépce and the Invention of Photography, accessed Jun. 18, 2024

Harry Ransom Center, The Niépce Heliograph, accessed Jun. 18, 2024

The National Gallery of Art, The Nineteenth Century: The Invention of Photography, accessed Jun. 18, 2024

International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, accessed Jun. 18, 2024

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daguerre (1787–1851) and the Invention of Photography, accessed Jun. 18, 2024

Smithsonian Institution, The Egyptian Pyramid, accessed Jun. 18, 2024

Facebook post (archived link), Jun. 12, 2024

Facebook post (archived link), Jun. 14, 2024

TikTok post, (archived link), Jun. 14, 2024

X post, (archived link), Jun. 15, 2024

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No, this image doesn’t show the Egyptian pyramids being built

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