Egyptian antiquities officials have scoffed at claims by US Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson that Egypt's ancient pyramids were not built as pharaonic tombs but used to store grain.

"Does he even deserve a response? He doesn't," antiquities minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said at a news conference about recent thermal scans of the pyramids.

Egypt’s head of ancient antiquities, Mahmoud Afifi added:

A lot of people are trying to prove that the pyramids weren’t built for burials. Maybe they’re comments used for publicity like that man who’s not an archaeologist and says they stored grain, and I don’t know what that was based on.

Last week, Carson 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 that they were tombs for pharaohs.

AP

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