People have been studying Egyptian pyramids since history was being recorded. Even two thousand years ago after the pyramid was built–and we think it was built around 4,500 years ago–people were left awestruck by the massive structure.
Ancient writers such as Herodotus or Pliny the Elder were compelled to mention the massive structure in their numerous works of literature.
Herodotus, for example, offers unprecedented info about the pyramid.
The Greek writer was compelled to write about the Pyramid thousands of years after the structure is thought to have been completed.
Strangely, it wasn’t until around 400 BC that we have some of the first details concerning the Great Pyramid of Giza. For reasons we are yet to understand, no earlier text than 400 BC exist that mention the Great Pyramid of Giza, its construction or purpose.
According to Herodotus:
The pyramid was built in steps, battlement-wise, as it is called, or, according to others, altar-wise. After laying the stones for the base, they raised the remaining stones to their places by means of machines formed of short wooden planks. The first machine raised them from the ground to the top of the first step. On this there was another machine, which received the stone upon its arrival and conveyed it to the second step, whence a third machine advanced it still higher. Either they had as many machines as there were steps in the pyramid, or possibly they had but a single machine, which, being easily moved, was transferred from tier to tier as the stone rose — both accounts are given and therefore I mention both. The upper portion of the Pyramid was finished first, then the middle and finally the part which was lowest and nearest to the ground.
The same historical absence is present with all other ancient Egyptian pyramids. No ancient texts in Egypt mention the exact purpose of the pyramid, their function, or how they were built.
This is extremely strange.
It is argued that the very first pyramid in Egypt was built around 4,700 years ago, during the Third Dynasty. Pharaoh Djoser would turn to Saqqara where he commissioned a never-before-seen construction project.
He turned towards his young Vizier and royal Architect Imhotep to build a monument Egypt had never seen. Eventually, Imhotep revolutionized ancient Egyptian architecture as he evolved the ancient Egyptian mastaba into a kind of stepped structure. This weird-looking mastaba would become the first pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid of Saqqara.
Revolutionary, refreshing, as a kind of stairway to heaven, Djoser made sure to forever remain imprinted in the history of Egypt. But although one would expect that a long line of Step Pyramids would follow that of Djoser, strangely, several generations of Pharaohs went by before Egypt was gifted with another pyramid.
Several attempts at building a Step Pyramid were made after Djoser but all without success. It wasn’t until the founding Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty that Egypt would have another pyramid.
King Sneferu came to the throne and changed Egypt in more ways than one. He became the greatest pyramid builder in the history of Egypt and gave the land of the Pharaohs its first smooth-sided pyramid. Sneferu is credited with having erected three pyramids: One at Meidum and two at Dahshur.
The one at Meidum is believed to have collapsed as the builders tried transforming it from a step pyramid to a smooth-sided one.
The Bent Pyramid at Dahshur marked a clear departure in architectural styles, signalizing the arrival of smooth-sided pyramids.
The Red Pyramid at Dahshur marked the arrival of a new type of pyramid: this pyramid is regarded as the first successful attempt at building a true smooth-sided pyramid.
This ancient structure is also thought to have laid down the foundations for the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Eventually, Khufu came to the throne and early in his reign, he decided to build a pyramid that surpassed in greatness that of his father.
It has been calculated that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built with a total of 2.3 million blocks of stone. Its total weight has been calculated at around 6.5 million tons.
Experts argue that to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, its builders made use of 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (imported from Aswan), and 500,000 tons of mortar. Some of the most massive stones used in the construction of the Great Pyramid weigh more than 20 tons. These are the granite blocks located above the so-called Kings chamber.
To complete the construction of the Pyramid, Egyptologists have calculated that the builders needed no more than 20 years. All of this was achieved without the ancient Egyptian making use of pulleys, the wheel, or iron tools. It is believed that the largest stones used in the construction of the monument were transported via the Nile River on Boat from Aswan to Giza.
All of this, experts argue, was achieved around 4,500 years ago, during ancient Egypt’s Fourth Dynasty.
The completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza marked the zenith of ancient Egyptian pyramid building. Once completed, the Great Pyramid of Giza became the largest pyramid ever built in Egypt with a total volume of 2,583,283 cubic meters (91,227,778 cu ft). This majestic structure also remained the tallest man-made structure on the surface of the planet for more than 3,800 years.
It was a jewel of ancient Egyptian architecture, design, and engineering. Sophisticated in more ways than one, modern-engineers would face a nearly impossible task if asked to build the Great Pyramid even with modern tools, cranes and today’s technologies.
3 recent discoveries made inside the Great Pyramid
In 2015, a group of scientists from around the world gathered in Egypt to start an archeological project called ScanPyramids. Using state of the art-equipment like muon radiography, the experts were tasked with studying the pyramids of Egypt.
In 2017, they discovered a massive void inside the Great Pyramid. The discovery was reported in a study published in Nature. Located above the Grand Gallery, no more than 15 meters above it, the experts estimated the void’s length at thirty meters. Whether it is connected to something, and whether or not it is an empty space remains a mystery.
Scans taken in 2018, and 2019 helped experts to better understand the mysterious void. Recent studies have confirmed the existence of the void and helped experts better understand its dimensions. The mysterious void has been calculated to have a length of around 40 meters.
The discovery of the void is seen as the greatest find inside the pyramid since the 19th century.
The discovery of the Big Void isn’t the only surprising discovery made by experts.
The recent surveys by the ScanPyramids project have confirmed another previously unknown “chamber inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Its purpose, just as that of the Big Void remains a profound mystery.
Located between 17 and 23 meters above ground level, this corridor is at least 5 meters long. It is horizontal and probably slopes upwards. Where it leads remains a mystery. Researchers have ruled out that the mysterious corridor leads downward.
Another odd characteristic of the Great Pyramid revealed by Scan Pyramids are the thermal anomalies present inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. In 2015, the experts scanned the pyramid with thermal cameras and revealed unusually high temperatures present in three of the stones of the pyramid, located at the bottom of the structures east wall.
To date, experts remain unsure of what the thermal anomalies represent. Experts have revealed that the thermal anomalies represent a temperature six degree higher than the surrounding blocks of stone.
The Great Pyramid continues to surprise, and we are eager to further studies by ScanPyramids.