Soaring Stones

A Kite-Powered Approach

To Building Egypt’s Pyramids


Sometimes the most captivating, fantasy-rich stories are real.  Dr. Maureen Clemmons, who innovated, funded, and field-tested a wind construction concept that will amaze you, is a perfect example.  I’ve followed her story from the beginning, and am thrilled to bring it to you now.

   It’s an unforgettable sight: innovation expert Maureen Clemmons can lift and “fly” massive stones, some of them weighing sixteen tons, with little more than a steady wind and a good kite.  But did the ancient Egyptians do the same thing when hoisting immense pyramid stones?

   Egyptologists say no.  Clemmons, backed by a decade of field tests and a Caltech aeronautics team, isn’t so certain—especially when the Egyptologists make it clear they are unwilling to consider evidence from anyone outside their insular field.  Buoyed by a tremendous groundswell of grassroots support, Clemmons’ stunning, block-heaving experiments generate national news coverage, a History Channel documentary, and a mention in engineering textbooks.  Audiences from NASA, the American Institute of Architects, and a multitude of universities gather to hear her compelling presentations.  In the span of just a few short years, she successfully advances a simple “Eureka!” moment in her California backyard to the halls of academia, and eventually to Egypt’s Giza Plateau, site of the actual pyramids.

   She also proves an important point: that you don’t need a degree, just an inspired idea and some passion, to be a good scientist.

#8 on Amazon's Top 100, Oct. 2013

#1 in Ancient Egyptian History, April 2014

A Top 10 Bestseller in Women's Biographies, April 2014

See Video Clips of Clemmons' research

Click here to read Dan's Soaring Stones discussion on the Layered Pages blog  

A B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree


A Note from Dan:

   I'm truly saddened to report that Dr. Maureen Clemmons passed away in December, 2021, at age 64. Maureen (thanks to Soaring Stones, I was fortunate enough to simply call her Maureen) was not only one of the brightest, most energetic people I have ever met, but a dynamic individual who tackled problems the way all of us should: by approaching them from fresh perspectives that few others consider.

   It should also be said (and I think Maureen would want it said) that she was usually the fun, sometime frivolous, center of attention at any gathering. I personally saw her walk into a conference room filled with stuffy engineers and transform the place into something akin to a party within fifteen minutes flat. Maureen was that kind of person.

   That affable personality helped her navigate the endless gender bias and academic elitism she faced (to say nothing of outright insults) before such obstacles received today's level of recognition. Trust me when I tell you that what's in the book, though sometimes appalling, pales in comparison with the muttered comments and disparaging treatment she often received, especially from Egyptologists.

   While we hadn't been in close touch in recent years, I'll always be grateful that I had the chance to work with her on Soaring Stones. Maureen's kite-obelisk project with Caltech (and beyond) was certainly among the pinnacles of her life, and I'm proud to have shared some small part of that experience.

-- March 18, 2023