Pyramids of Giza: The Great Pyramid Of Giza: How It Was Built In Less Than 7 Years

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  1. The Great Pyramid of Giza: How It Was Built in Less Than 7 Years by MR Leon Tunney Johnson
  2. Building the Great Pyramid
  3. If you like our content, please share it on social media!
  4. Definition
  5. Table of Contents

Experts have also talked a lot about the methods by which individual stone blocks were raised into position. Since the Egyptians made no use of block and tackle methods, or cranes, it is usually assumed that wooden and bronze levers were used to manoeuvre the blocks into position. The level of structural engineering was incredibly high in the internal chambers of the Great Pyramid.

The Great Pyramid of Giza: How It Was Built in Less Than 7 Years by MR Leon Tunney Johnson

Indeed, the roof of the so-called Grand Gallery was the Egyptians' earliest attempt at corbel-vaulting on a colossal scale. The architects surmounted particularly difficult logistics in the creation of the corridor leading up to the main burial chamber of the Great Pyramid the so-called King's Chamber. The corridors in other pyramids are all either level or sloping downwards, whereas this one slopes steeply upwards, which would have presented problems when it came to blocking the passage with granite plugs, after the king's body had been placed in the chamber. It is clear from the fact that the plugs in this 'ascending corridor' are an inch wider than the entrance that the plugs must have been lowered into position not from the outside, as was usually the case, but from a storage position within the pyramid itself perhaps in the Grand Gallery.

It is also clear that the design had to allow the workmen who pushed the plugs into position to be able to escape down a shaft leading from the Grand Gallery to the 'descending corridor', through which they could exit. Since the Second Dynasty, granite had frequently been used in the construction of royal tombs. The burial chambers and corridors of many pyramids from the Third to the Twelfth Dynasty were lined with pink granite, and some pyramids were also given granite external casing eg those of Khafra and Menkaura, at Giza or granite pyramidia cap-stones.


The Aswan quarries are the only Egyptian hard-stone workings that have been studied in detail. It has been estimated, on the basis of surviving monuments, that around 45, cubic metres of stone were removed from the Aswan quarries during the Old Kingdom Third to Sixth Dynasties. It seems likely that loose surface boulders would have been exploited first. It is unclear what kinds of tools were used for quarrying during the time of the pharaohs.

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The tool marks preserved on many soft-stone quarry walls eg the sandstone quarries at Gebel el-Silsila suggest that some form of pointed copper alloy pick, axe or maul was used during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, followed by the use of a mallet-driven pointed chisel from the Eighteenth Dynasty onwards. This technique would, however, have been unsuitable for the extraction of harder stones such as granite. As mentioned above, Old Kingdom quarriers were probably simply prising large boulders of granite out of the sand. No remnants of the actual drilling equipment or saws have survived, leaving Egyptologists to make guesses about drilling and sawing techniques on the basis of tomb-scenes, or the many marks left on surviving granite items such as statues.

In recent years, however, a long series of archaeological experiments has been undertaken by the British Egyptologist Denys Stocks. Like many previous researchers, Stocks recognised that the copper alloy drills or saws would have worn away rapidly if used to cut through granite without assistance.

He therefore experimented with the addition of quartz sand, poured in between the cutting edge of a drill and the granite, so the sharp crystals could give the drill the necessary 'bite' into the rock, and found that this method could work. It seems a practical solution, as no special teeth would have been needed for the masons' tools, only a good supply of desert sand - and this theory is gaining acceptance in academic circles.

As the recent robotic explorations of the so-called air-shafts in the Great Pyramid have demonstrated, there is still a great deal that remains mysterious about the basic structure of pyramids, and the technology that created them. If we are to gain a better understanding of pyramid-building, the best way seems to be a blend of detailed study of the archaeological remains and various kinds of innovative experimental work.

Above all, this is the kind of research that relies on collaboration between Egyptologists and specialists in other disciplines, such as engineering, geology and astronomy. As far as stone masonry is concerned, many volumes have been published describing the surviving remains of pharaonic temples and tombs, whether in the form of traveller's accounts, archaeological reports or architectural histories Badawy , Smith , being the first attempts to provide comprehensive historical surveys.

Although there have been many meticulous studies of specific sites or buildings, only a few - notably Petrie's surveys of the pyramids at Giza and Meydum in and - have focused on the technological aspects of the structures.

Building the Great Pyramid

On the other hand, it is remarkable that, despite Petrie's concern with the minutiae of many aspects of craftwork and tools, his general works include no study of the structural engineering of the Pharaonic period. This gap in the literature began to be filled in the s with Reginald Engelbach's studies of obelisks Engelbach , , Ludwig Borchardt's many detailed studies of pyramid complexes and sun temples eg Borchardt , , and the first edition of Alfred Lucas' Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries Lucas , which included a substantial section devoted to the scientific study of stone working.

However, the first real turning point arrived in with the publication of Ancient Egyptian Masonry , in which Engelbach collaborated with Somers Clarke to produce a detailed technological study of Egyptian construction methods from quarry to building site Clarke and Engelbach The meticulous excavations of George Reisner at Giza and elsewhere soon afterwards bore fruit in the form of the publication of The Development of the Egyptian Tomb down to the Accession of Cheops Reisner , and Reisner's work at Giza was later supplemented by the architectural reconstruction of the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara by Jean-Philippe Lauer, whose Observations sur les pyramides Lauer was also informed by a sense of the fundamental practicalities of ancient stone masonry.

Both I. Edwards , 5th ed. Christopher Eyre has provided a detailed study of the textual and visual evidence for the organization of labour in the Old and New Kingdoms, which includes a great deal of data relating to quarrying and building particularly covering such questions as the composition, management and remuneration of the workforce involved in procuring, transporting and working stone, as well as the timing of quarrying and construction projects.

Most recently, Dieter Arnold's Building in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry , published in , is a wide-ranging study of the data, including meticulous discussion of the surviving evidence for quarrying and stone-working tools, and sophisticated, well-illustrated studies of the grooves and marks on stone blocks which can indicate many of the ways in which they were transported, manoeuvred into position and interlocked with the rest of the masonry. Like Clarke and Engelbach's Ancient Egyptian Masonry , it serves as an essential and welcome basis for all future study of Pharaonic stone masonry.

Arnold's primary concern is with the technology rather than the materials; for a detailed discussion of the different types of stone utilised by the Egyptians in art and architecture, see De Putter and Karlshausen The Giza Mapping Project. Under the direction of Mark Lehner, the project is dedicated to research on the geology and topography of the Giza plateau, the construction and function of the Sphinx, the Great Pyramids and the associated tombs and temples.

Was it Impossible for Humans to Build The Pyramids?

The site allows you to tour the insides of the pyramids at Giza and includes interviews with Egyptologists such as Mark Lehner and Zawi Hawass. Fathom: The World of the Pyramids. Fathom offers online learning experiences, developed with leading scholars and experts, including in-depth courses and free seminars, shorter features, interviews and articles.

The Egypt Exploration Society The Society was founded in to fund and mount archaeological expeditions to Egypt, and to publish the results.

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This work continues today at sites such as Amarna, Memphis and Qasr Ibrim in Egyptian Nubia, and is published in full in a series of monographs, the annual Journal of Egyptian Archaeology and bi-annual magazine, Egyptian Archaeology. The results were published in the journal Nature. Thanks to the use of muon radiography, a technique that uses cosmic rays to detect cavities in massive structures, scientists have discovered a large, previously unknown opening within the Great Pyramid of Khufu.

The cavity has a cross section similar to the Grand Gallery, the major corridor running through the pyramid, and is at least a hundred feet long. The findings mark the latest in a millennia-long quest to understand the Great Pyramid of Giza, long an object of mystery and intrigue. At that time, Egypt was a powerful, highly centralized monarchy, wealthy from trade and Nile-nourished agriculture. The Great Pyramid is arguably the ultimate expression of that power. The pharaoh Khufu, who reigned from to B.


The monument consists of about 2. Read more about the extraordinary Pyramids of Giza. Ever since, the Great Pyramid has drawn in the curious; today, tourists enter the pyramid through a tunnel created in the ninth century A. These guys have discovered a remarkable thing.

The technique, which has been used to peer through cathedral walls, Mayan pyramids, and even volcanoes, relies on the natural drizzle of subatomic particles called muons. Each team used a different method for spotting muons. This same level of evidence is required when discovering new subatomic particles like the Higgs boson. Even after death, Egyptian royalty still had to worry about protecting their prized possessions from thieves. Watch Lisa Ling visit a secret tomb, where 40 mummies were hidden from tomb raiders.

As construction continued, she says, this ramp could have been left empty or loosely backfilled. That said, she wryly suggests taking current interpretations with a grain of salt. Tayoubi and other ScanPyramids collaborators say that work is only beginning.

Table of Contents

And to those fantasizing about personally exploring the void, a word of caution. No known corridors connect to the space, and researchers and outside experts alike stress that there are no future plans to drill into the void. Instead, they say that in the near-term, they will do whatever they can to peer into the space non-invasively.