Skip to comments.Ancient Egypt's Pyramids: Norwegian Researcher Unlocks Construction Secrets
Posted on 09/25/2010 1:07:46 AM PDT by Palter
Scientists from around the world have tried to understand how the Egyptians erected their giant pyramids. Now, an architect and researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) says he has the answer to this ancient, unsolved puzzle.
Researchers have been so preoccupied by the weight of the stones that they tend to overlook two major problems: How did the Egyptians know exactly where to put the enormously heavy building blocks? And how was the master architect able to communicate detailed, highly precise plans to a workforce of 10,000 illiterate men?
A 7-million-ton structure
These were among the questions that confronted Ole J. Bryn, an architect and associate professor in NTNU's Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art when he began examining Khufu's Great Pyramid in Giza. Khufu's pyramid, better known as the Pyramid of Cheops, consists of 2.3 million limestone blocks weighing roughly 7 million tons. At 146.6 meters high, it held the record as the tallest structure ever built for nearly 4000 years.
What Bryn discovered was quite simple. He believes that the Egyptians invented the modern building grid, by separating the structure's measuring system from the physical building itself, thus introducing tolerance, as it is called in today's engineering and architectural professions.
The apex point a key
Bryn has studied the plans from the thirty oldest Egyptian pyramids, and discovered a precision system that made it possible for the Egyptians to reach the pyramid's last and highest point, the apex point, with an impressive degree of accuracy. By exploring and making a plan of the pyramid it is possible to prepare modern project documentation of not just one, but all pyramids from any given period.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Another theory, ping.
Slave labor. Most infants can construct a pyramid out of sand. Many will with no outside help. These people had backs to break, and I’m sure they broke them.
Looks like a pyramid scheme to me.
With all the slaves available. Why would the Egyptians pay for the general labor? They were moving rocks. Cut rocks yes but still rocks.
LOL, but yes, the Pyramids do look to have been a Pyramid scheme.
The Pharoah got his ‘resurrection machine’ built for him (no mere tomb but a way to the next life).
And the laborers not only ate very well for people in the ancient world, but when they died they were buried in choice locations near the Pyramid so that they could join in the Pharoah’s eternal life.
(Disclaimer: all of the above is informed surmise, not established fact)
Were the Hebrew slaves illiterate?
The word 'pyramid' is a Greek word, the root part being the familiar 'pyr' (fire) which we also see in words like 'pyrotechnics', 'pyromaniac' etc. They originally had golden tips and acted like lightning rods, generating what you'd call St. Elmo's fire, which served for religious purposes.
“Were the Hebrew slaves illiterate?”
Yes, they spoke from right to left.
Gee, it seems to me that it should be easy to prove, or disprove, your theory - simply by examining the limestone blocks to see if they are composed of rubble cemented together.
Do you suppose that any archeologists have ever bothered to do that?
That also explains the ungodly tight fits of the blocks, it’s what you’d EXPECT from pouring the things.
That is one heck of a pour to last thousands of years. The exterior forms would be ridiculously complicated as well. The exterior shows individual blocks.
It appears as if ancient Egyptions as well as whoever built Puma Punku may have had technologies for working with stone which would have been beyond what we have. They actually had vases made of diurite, which is not much different from making a vase out of solid diamond.
I read about the quarries upstream of the pyramid sites where unfinished stones are still insitu. I think that they used ropes pulled thru the cut with grit on the rope to do the cutting.
Considering the volume and timescale they probably used multiple methods. Steam fracturing and grinding from slave labor would be my best guess. It doesn’t sound pretty because it is not.
It seems to me we still have no idea HOW they moved the blocks into place, or WHO built it. Christopher Dunn, in the “Giza Power Plant”, (Amazon) explained WHAT it is
I think the poster meant diorite.
Thank you for the clarification. Extra hard granite with sporadic impurities. I can’t imagine hand grinding a vase out of that. In my pampered modern existence it seems almost sadistic.
I don’t believe they were slaves — it took 20 years to build the grand pyramid of Khufu and this suggests that it was more during the Niles flooding season when farmers had free time, when they were involved in this national building. The population of ancient Egypt c. 2200 BC wouldn’t have had enough to sustain a large population of slaves. Also, these weren’t Hebrew or Semitic — they would come later during the time of the Hyksos
Barney’s got a cool hat. :)
I believe he is saying each individual block was poured.regards!!
No doubt Egypt had a lot of slaves. That they were used exclusively on the pyramids seems unlikely. As others have pointed out, there are long periods in the Egyptian year when the farmers (the vast majority of the people) were sitting around with nothing to do.
Why not apply a labor tax to them and get some good out of this otherwise wasted (from Pharoah’s perspective) time? Meanwhile his slaves, a capital investment, probably had other regular duties.
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Maybe they imported Illegals. ;0)
What method was used to construct the pyramids in Mexico? Are the construction techniques similar or identical?
Saw some of those blades in the Louvre. They are fantastic.
Your link goes to a google search page which does not show one reputable scholarly source, only links to people talking on forums and something from “Associated Content,” which publishes pretty much anything anybody wants to write, with or without substantiation. I see nothing verifiable there. Do you have some more credible source?
This is against the thinking of our “friend”:
Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, minced no words in assailing the concrete idea. “It’s highly stupid,” he said via a spokesman. “The pyramids are made from solid blocks of quarried limestone. To suggest otherwise is idiotic and insulting.”
Try the link at #22 http://www.materials.drexel.edu/Pyramids/
Thanks! Looks interesting.
Probably the majority were.
This link explains allot.
The blocks are concrete poured in place.
I guess adding the link would help!
Name that Pharoah... who was actually interered in any pyramid...
In other words, some other material was used in some places, but most was built using limestone blocks. Article goes on: to save the planet from AGW use these methods...
Now imagine building an entire “city” (Puma Punku) out of it by hand... complete with precise channel cuts forming an interlocking complex of blocks both solid and with excavated designs for purposes as yet unknown.
The book “The Pyramids: An Enigma Solved” by Joseph Davidovits was first published around 1989 and addressed the subject of the stone blocks of the pyramids being cast in place rather than being quarried. The author made some very interesting and compelling arguments in favor.
The author also addressed the monoliths of the temple at Baalbek in Lebanon, where one of the stones that forms the foundation of the temple is 1200 tons. The author argues that there was no possible mechanism in the ancient world to move an object of this size and weight and this is further confirmation that the cast-in-place method was in use in the Middle East at that time.
There are some problems with his theory, as would be expected, the details of which I won’t go into. The best overall discussion of a possible history of the pyramids that I’ve read so far is “Pyramid Quest” by Dr. Robert Schoch. Schoch is a geologist who was pilloried by the Egyptology community twenty years ago for making the obvious and simple observation that there is evidence of water erosion on the Sphinx. Schoch argues that the pyramids (and the Sphinx) greatly predate the Old Kingdom and were built in stages over a very long period of time, probably millenia. No supernatural agents, aliens or any other deus ex machina figure in Schoch’s theory.
One of the most interesting arguments about the age and building of the pyramids was made to me by an investment banker. He said that we should get an estimate of how much it would cost to build the pyramid today and then multiply that cost by the labor efficiency we have today versus that of third millennium BC Egypt. He speculated it would cost at least several billion dollars today and that the the economic output per person back then was probably one one hundredth of what it is today. The several hundred billion dollar effective cost of construction of the pyramid would have consumed a large multiple of the entire GDP of Egypt of that era for decades and possibly centuries, to the exclusion of all other economic activity, all for a project with no identifiable economic benefits.
The theory has been around forever that the pyramid workers were idle farmers in the off season. The problem is in a subsistence existence, there is no idle season. If the Egyptian farmers were not planting, weeding and irrigating or harvesting, then they were making or repairing their tools and domiciles, fishing, making pottery and baskets, etc. The same argument applies to slave laborers. Slaves have to be economically productive just like free men and all the time.
The conventional wisdom on a lot of things, including Egyptology, congealed about a century ago and have been largely immovable ever since. Since I developed an interest in these matters the thing I’ve found most interesting is how very thin the gruel is on which this conventional wisdom is founded, this just being one example. Part of that conventional wisdom that should be discarded is that the pyramids were built in a very limited time window with very limited resources during the Old Kingdom of Egypt.