T h e P u z z l e o f t h e P y r a m i d s

There is much speculation as to how the pyramids were constructed. After reading the following excerpt by Anthrophotojournalist, Wayne B. Chandler, perhaps you will have a greater understanding why the construction of the pyramids is still a puzzle. Ready?

"Herodotus stated that 100,000 men constructed the Great Pyramid in a period of twenty years. Though this has been the accepted theory for several centuries in all reality it is somewhat absurd. Simple mathematics will show us why. In 20 years there are 7305 days. There are about 2,300,000 blocks of stone in the Pyramid, most averaging 2.5 tons in weight.

The accepted theory requires that at least 315 of these 2.5 ton blocks to be placed in the pyramid every day. Because of the pyramid's basic structure, its incline, etc. the ramp that they employed would have to be lengthened and heightened every day as they completed each level they worked upon! "To carry an inclined plane to the top of the pyramid at the grade of one in ten requires starting the ramp 6000 feet away in the Nile Valley. The volume of such a ramp would have been 75,000,000 cubic feet, or nearly the volume of the pyramid itself -- some 88,000,000 cubic feet.

Since the pyramid would have been built more carefully than the ramp, it may be supposed that only one third of the total time was used in building the ramp. If we proportionally decrease the number of working days allotted to the pyramid by one third, only 4870 days remain, and that implies that 472 blocks (averaging 2.5 tons each) were placed in the structure each day when the work was not taking place on the ramp. Assuming they worked 12 hours a day, this means that between 39 and 40 blocks were positioned each hour, a rate of one block every 91.5 seconds! The incredible skill evidenced in a building of this pyramid would make such an effort an impossibility.

Also, if there were 100,000 stone haulers as Herodotus reports, then we would have to incorporate several thousand more workers because stone hauling is just one facet of the work load. Thus in proportion there would have to be 100,000 quarrymen, 100,000 men pulling the stones to the barges, 200,000 sailors rafting the full and empty barges up and down the Nile, another 200,000 loading and unloading at both ends, 100,000 men building and repairing barges, sleds, ropes, etc. etc. This list would be endless...

...Ingenious masonry work was exhibited in the pyramids, especially the Great Pyramid. When archaeologists removed one of the few remaining casing stones, (the stone  that at one time covered the entire pyramid) on the north side of the pyramid at its base they were shocked at what they discovered. None of the underlying blocks examined had chipped edges, cracks, or even scratches: they were perfect! In reference to the casing stones, one of the world's greatest Egyptologists, Flinders Petrie, found that the faces and butting surfaces of these 16 ton blocks were cut to 1/100 of an inch of mathematical perfection."


But, here's another idea!

by Roumen V. Mladjov and Ian R. Mladjov

The Great Pyramid of Giza was built of 2.3 million individual stone blocks. Each weighed nearly three metric tons, and each was raised to heights of up to 147 meters (482 feet). This mind-boggling feat was completed in less than 23 years – the reign of King Khufu of Egypt. Just how such a construction project was accomplished 4,600 years ago has bedeviled Egyptologists for centuries. But a clue may lie in an inscription carved into some of the massive pyramid blocks. It says simply: THIS SIDE UP.

Why would ancient builders inscribe such a note on a rock that would simply be dragged up a ramp? Orientation should not have been a problem: Such heavy, rectangular blocks were unlikely ever to be tipped upside down.

This curious inscription makes sense only if we reject the popular hypothesis that huge gangs of men dragged the blocks up temporary ramps. We propose, instead, that the rectangular blocks were literally rolled up the ramps and onto the growing pyramid.

Engineering computations show that the force necessary to drag a typical three-ton stone block mounted on a sled is 1.35 tons. Build a wheel around the same block and roll it up the same slope and the required force falls to just 0.3 tons.

Casing at the top of Khafre's Pyramid

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Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu)
Built: c.2589-2566BC.
Height: 481'. 
Base: 775 3/4' each side. 
Incline: 51 degrees 50'. 
Average stone weights: core two-and-a-half tons, facings four tons.
Required 112 men to lift. 
Construction material: limestone, basalt and granite. 
Excavation/restoration: surveyed in early 1800s by Richard Howard-Vyse, John Perring and Giovanni Caviglia. 

Notes: built from 2,300,000 blocks covering 13 acres and requiring the equivalent of 200 million man-loads (80 lbs), or 6,500,000 tons of material. The casing stones (when intact) covered a surface of 22 acres.
Pyramid of Chephren (Khafre)
Built: c.2558-2532BC.
Height: 471' (original). 
Base: 707 3/4' each side. 
Incline: 53 degrees 8'. 
Average stone weights: core two to three tons, facings six tons. 
Construction material: limestone and red granite. 
Excavation/restoration: extensively explored in 1818 by the Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni. Surveyed shortly after by Richard Howard-Vyse, John Perring & Giovanni Caviglia. 
Pyramid of Mycerinus (Menkaure)
Built: c. 2532-2504BC 
Height: 218'. 
Base: 356 1/2'. 
Incline: 51 degrees. 
Average stone weights: N/A. 
Construction material: limestone and red granite. 
Excavation/restoration: surveyed in early 1800s by Richard Howard-Vyse,
John Perring and Giovanni Caviglia.

The builders faced the daunting task of placing, let's say, 1.85 million blocks. Based on our assumptions, that works out to an average speed of 1.4 kilometers (.86 miles) per hour – still impossible to achieve by dragging.

But rolling a three-metric ton stone would require just one-fourth the force needed to drag it, so that speed could be maintained. And work crews could be reduced to 12 to 15 people, so more teams could work simultaneously atop the ramps.

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