The crumbling stones of the Giza pyramids may be a sight familiar to most people, but the original look of these ancient structures was considerably different. In a recent short documentary made by the Smithsonian Channel Harvard University, Egyptologist Jacquelyn Williamson explains the way each of the stones was manually polished to create glistening outer shells of the famous pyramids.

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The limestone was manually carved and polished to fit perfectly together and form a protective shell that made the pyramids look like giant gems reflecting the strong desert sun. These shiny coats were worn away over the years, but the team behind the documentary recreated the original look of the pyramids that makes the claims of extraterrestrial involvement in their construction more believable.

Related: Scientists Discover How Ancient Egyptians Transported Huge Pyramid Stones Across Desert Sand

The pyramids today look like shadows of their former selves. The video shows their most probable original appearance at about 2:25 mark. If magnificent structures look otherworldly to the modern-day man, imagine the effect they had on people who lived around the time of their creation, some four thousand years ago.

Via FastCo.Design