The Construction of the Pyramids

Despite the photographic evidence below, I’m still on the side of human construction for the pyramids. I’ve blogged previously about Wallace Wallington, the contractor who moves 20 ton blocks by himself, in earlier posts. This time around I thought I’d expose readers to a scholarly article I came across as I prep for my ancient Egypt course that I’ll be teaching this Spring. It’s an insightful piece from the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians called “Building Cheops’ Pyramid.” Enjoy, earthlings.

Careful with that, ET!

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71 thoughts on “The Construction of the Pyramids

  1. I can’t help but to pose more questions on details. I can’t help but think about these workers dragging these blocks down to the muddy banks of the Nile. How do you suppose they kept these blocks from sinking in the mud. And I can’t help but think their boats were nothing more than a floating log barge. Now I know some of you have been canoeing. Think of how easy it is to flip a canoe over. Then imagine loading say your pickup truck onto a log canoe (without wheels of course) just by dragging it out on the log barge with nothing put ropes. Where did the guys doing the dragging stand? I read somewhere in this thread where they had anywwhere from 30 minutes to 1-1/2 hours to do this. Wonder how they did that during the annual flooding? How long did the annual flood last? That would for sure add to the amount of time. The river must have been a HuGE bottleneck in their process. How many of these floating barges you reckon they had to build? Have we found and evidence of them? If they built ramps to drag these locks up – how many woven backets you reckon they had to have to just carry the fill material there? They must have been growing reeds on an industrial scale not matched yet by modern man. And the basket weavers – woah – they must have had thousands of folks just weaving baskets.

  2. Sorry for all my typos in my previous posts guys – fat fingers and a touch tablet don’t work out so swell.

  3. Another thought just came to me. If the ancients floated these stones across the Nile, surely they lost more than a few in the river. And I’m sure the river has changed course over the millenia. So my question is has anyone looked for these lost stones in the old Nile river bed? And if so did they find any? On a project of the scale for this many years I’d find it hard to believe they didn’t drop a few to the bottom of the river. Just a question. . .

    Also, I would think there would be a earth impact trail much like the old wagon train trails in the United states from the heavy traffic year after year after year. I would think they should be able to identify the actual drag trail the Egyptians used to drag tese stones to the building site.In fact, the wear on the ground should have cause them to do constant maintenance on the trail or to continuosely move their trail as they dug a ditch by dragging these stones. I know there’s places in western Kansas where there were notches cut 2 feet deep or more in a short period of time just by wagon wheels. I can only imagine the wear of dragging 20 ton stones and what damage that caused to the terrain.

    I guess it is possible they built a bridge across the Nile to drag the blocks across instead of floating them on boats – but to my knowledge no one has ever discussed that before.

  4. Promise – last post for now. In thinking about the theory that the Egyptians drug these stones from the quarry to the building site – and knowing a little bit about heavy lifts – I’m wondering about their rope making techniques. I would suppose they used flax to make their ropes, so I wonder the physical size of the rope, the length of each rope, how they tied them around the blocks of stone, what kept the stones from cutting them on their long journey from the quarry, how you would make repairs to the ropes, and how big the crew was that just did nothing but carry the ropes back to the quarry after each stone was drug to the site. Surely if each stone had 20-30 ropes tied to it possible 40 ft long, those ropes would have been heavy to transport back to the quarry. You wouldn’t want to wear your crew out carry ropes back to the quarry. There must have been thousands of me just carrying rope. The same just weaving them, possibly the same number making repairs on ropes. Again, one of those mind numbing details that’s hard to visualize anyone doing. How many people lived in ancient Egypt? Talk about 100% employment. They must have had even the children working.

  5. @ Tim on May 2, 2011 at 3:52 AM said:
    Its all well and good to postulate figures and hypothetical models till the cows come home (we allknow a model can be made to output anything you want)…

    No, that is a falsehood, for example: 2 apples + 2 apples = 5 oranges is a false model.

    @ Tim on May 2, 2011 at 3:52 AM said:
    Rather than attacking the validity of someone’s work on the basis of their professional qualifications or lack thereof, i consider the smarter money would respond to the content of their hypothesis.

    As far as the Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick maker: everyone might have a great scientific idea or excpetional aptitude, but that does not mean blind acceptance is required, nor does it mean that challenge is forbidden.

    That is precisely why we seek:

    – the doctor to perform surgery, rather than the Butcher.
    – the pilot to fly our families, rather the Baker.
    – the engineer to design our bridges, rather than the Candlestick maker.

    With just a small amount of math and with minimal research, it was quite easy to establish the falsity, baselessness, or triviality of Jeff’s assertions. He did not have any supporting content whatsoever, other than the opinions of his sources, which he parroted without proof or evidence.

    Unlike your example of Albert Einstein, none of his Jeff’s sources submitted any peer-reviewed material (speaking of Einstein…)

    @ Tim on May 2, 2011 at 3:52 AM said:
    Bear in mind that Einstein was a desk clerk when he came up with the theory of relativity…

    Einstein was one of those math/physics guys (you know, big on models and theory) and was extremely well versed in classical physics. He looked at the problems that classical physics was having in its explanation of certain natural phenomena (things like Mercury’s orbit and the Photoelectric Effect).

    Einstein crafted mathematically-intensive physics theories to explain these phenomena as natural processes. He then submitted his work for scrutiny and had them published — not as popular novels or paperbacks — but rather in serious scientific peer-reviewed journals (i.e., mainstream/academia).

    (In light of your previous comment about mathematical models, your example of Einstein was most ironic and I much enjoyed it ;-). Thank you.)

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