Ben Carson on Thursday stood by his belief that Egypt's great pyramids were built by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain, an assertion dismissed by experts who say it's accepted science they were tombs for pharaohs. Video posted online Wednesday by BuzzFeed News shows Carson explaining his theory 17 years ago at a Michigan college affiliated with his Seventh-day Adventist Church, and at a book signing Thursday in Florida, Carson stood by his statement. Neither Carson's church nor any other major Jewish or Christian sect shares his belief about the pyramids' origins. Jodi Magness, a specialist in biblical archaeology at UNC-Chapel Hill, says she knows of no scholar or archaeologist who questions that the pyramids were used as royal tombs.
"This is not an academic topic of debate," Magness says in an email. "The use of the pyramids as tombs is verified by both written (literary) sources and archaeological evidence." The pyramids were built with narrow, secret passages intended to foil grave-robbers, making the structures unsuitable for grain storage, Magness says. Daniel Weber, a spokesman for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, says Carson's belief about the pyramids are "his own interpretation. Of course, we believe in the biblical account of Joseph and the famine," Weber says. "But I've never heard the idea that pyramids were storehouses of grain." Read more on Carson's comments here. (Read more Ben Carson stories.)