A popular topic in the 2012 circus, and in pseudoscience in general, is that of pyramids. They are everywhere and therefore they must have the same origin (Atlantis or outer space are the dominant places of origin). Pyramids were not just burial chambers for royalty, they were either time machines, stargates, cosmic ray shelters, representations of the Earth, etc. We are usually told that archaeologists are stupid who cannot see the obvious connection between the pyramids spread around the globe in various forms and from different periods. As you can imagine, these people have not much knowledge of archaeology and as an effect of this they have even less knowledge of the history of archaeology. Yes, once upon a time, some archaeologists had diffusionist ideas and saw connections between pyramids, but that was a century ago.
What do the pyramids have to do with 2012? This is an indirect connection. Underlying the assumptions about connections between ancient pyramid builders is the idea that the Maya Long Count calendar began in 3113/3114 BC, and that this records a historical event. What that event was is debated (usually the date when Atlantis sunk). The date is often connected to the early dynasties in Egypt and the spread of global pyramid builders (never mind that it took pyramids a couple of centuries to emerge in Egypt and a millennia and a half in Mesoamerica).
Of the many websites on this topic I choose Robert Bast’s Survive 2012. Rob has also a couple of blogs and a forum on 2012. As one might expect he begins with the Egyptian pyramids. This is the only area where we do have true pyramids but these only emerged in the 4th dynasty. Bast (and others) primarily talks about the Khufu (Cheops) pyramid at Giza as evidence of whatever they want. They discuss these pyramids as if they were largely created out of nothing, a sudden appearance. The Khufu pyramid was the result of a preceding tradition, beginning with predynastic and early dynastic mastabas (flat-roofed rectangular structures with outward sloping sides), Djoser’s step pyramid and then the true pyramids that began with Sneferu (whom Bast mentions in the passing).
What this shows is that pyramids emerged through a local Egyptian “tradition”. Djoser’s architect Imhotep placed smaller square mastabas on top of larger ones below, creating the sixth leveled step pyramid at Saqqara. The last pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty, Huni, began to build a step pyramid at Meidum. It was transformed into a “true” pyramidal shape by his successor, Sneferu, the first pharaoh of the 4th dynasty. At Dahshur, Sneferu first built the Bent pyramid which is a transitional pyramid form believed to have been the result of an engineering crisis encountered during its construction. The Red Pyramid at Dahshur is the world’s first true smooth-sided pyramid. There is therefore an ongoing experimentation of forms for several decades. This is a pattern we find everywhere in the world, there is always a local development of “pyramids”. Had there been an external source for them they would all look the same and should have emerged at the same time, not spread out in the chronological charts.
The Egyptian pyramids are also not seen as royal tombs (or not just as royal tombs). On the presence of empty burial chambers Bast says: “These rooms have contained sarcophagi, but never with a body still within, which has prompted alternative researchers to look for other, non-burial purposes for these structures. Some sarcophagi were even found closed and sealed, yet still empty!…No mummy has ever been found in a pyramid in Egypt. Mummies have always come from mastabas or tombs in the Valley of the Kings.” The reason is simple: all pyramids were looted centuries ago, just as most of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings (except for king Tut). Whatever was in the burial chambers has been melted down or sold a long time ago. This is also believed by some Eqyptologists to be the reason why later pharaohs were buried in less visible places (it did not help since many tombs from the New Kingdom were already looted 3000 years ago).
Most other “pyramids” in the world have stairways and temples on the top (such as in the Maya area) and therefore do not resemble the Egyptian pyramids at all. It is only a general shape that is similar (construction techniques varies tremendously, which they would not have had had they been of the same origin). Pyramids are quite simple buildings with a broad base and a less broad top (not that difficult to come up with at different parts of the world). In order to reach the top you need a stairway, and voilá, you have made yourself a pyramid, witz, ziqqurat, prang, etc. In most mythologies, “pyramids” are also associated with mountains (Maya, Aztec, Hindu, Buddhism), not that hard to imagine. Just like in Egypt, the earliest monumental buildings in the Maya area were platform like. These rose in height at later periods and not uniformly throughout the Maya area.
Even more common and more ancient than pyramids are in fact rectangular buildings. Most buildings have a rectangular form (not triangular or circular). Why does not “pseudoscientists” attribute this ancient global pattern to some aliens? The fact is that people liked geometric patterns in the past and they continue to do so in the present. It is probably part of a common ancestral cognitive capability rather than a common origin from a sunken continent or Marsians.