Strange light above pyramid. Shutterstock.

3 Reasons Why The Great Pyramid of Giza was Not a Tomb

The Pyramid of Djoser contained no mummy, neither did the Red Pyramid of Sneferu. Khufu's mummy is missing, as well as the mummies of Khafre and Menkaure.


If you ask any Egyptologist what the purpose of the Great Pyramid of Giza was, they’ll probably, tell you that it was built as the eternal resting place for Pharaoh Khufu around 4,500 years ago, concluding approximately in 2560 BC. The structure, supposedly built in twenty years, is made out of more than 2.3 million blocks of stone and is surely the most mysterious and puzzling pyramid on Earth. It was such a behemoth construction process that experts estimate the Great Pyramid’s total weight at around 6 million tons. Impressive right?

An impressive pyramid

Researchers have calculated that 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (imported from Aswan), and 500,000 tons of mortar were used to construct the Great Pyramid, which would remain the tallest building on the surface of the planet for more than 3,800 years. Those are some impressive characteristics of a structure built in ancient times when technology was limited, and the wheel had not been introduced to the builders yet.


In other words, the pyramid’s constructors had to overcome countless obstacles, not only to build the pyramid but to transport, quarry, and move the massive blocks of stone to complete the project. Eventually, they managed it and constructed a pyramid, unlike any other evidence of ancient Egyptian architectural development. But countless mysteries surround not only the structure, but the people who built it, the technology used in its construction, the kind of logistics at their disposal, and its purpose. Its purpose is perhaps the greatest mystery of them all.

Countless theories have tried to explain the true purpose of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the most accepted one is that the structure was built to safeguard the Pharaoh’s body in the afterlife.

The Pyramid of Cheops, photograph by G. Lekegian ca. 1880. Shutterstock.
The Pyramid of Cheops, photograph by G. Lekegian ca. 1880. Shutterstock.

The origins of the Pyramids

The Great Pyramid of Giza was not the first pyramid built in Egypt. Its also not the oldest, although it is the largest and tallest. But around one hundred years before the pyramid attributed to Khufu was built, a Pharaoh called Djoser commissioned the first pyramid in Egypt. Although different in design, Djoser’s pyramid was the first pyramidal structure in Egypt, composed of six different levels stacked one atop another.

The Pyramid’s architect, Imhotep, who would later be deified in ancient Egypt, created the pyramid by envisioning one mastaba placed on top of another, and so on, six times. The pyramid of Djoser was medium-sized compared to other ancient Egyptian pyramids, with a volume of 330,400 cubic meters (11,667,966 cu ft).

Experiencing with a new architecture

Following Djoser’s successful pyramid, the ancient Egyptians experienced more with the new type of architecture.  The Pyramid succeeded the Pyramid of Djoser at Meidum, a structure that collapsed in ancient times as it was being constructed. The Pyramid at Meidum would give rise to the Bent Pyramid, a structure that rises from the desert at a 54-degree inclination but whose upper section was changed to shallower of 43 degrees, giving the pyramid its very obvious ‘bent’ appearance.

The Red Pyramid succeeded the Bent Pyramid, also called the North Pyramid, a structure that, once built, became the largest pyramid in Egypt. The Red Pyramid, built during the reign of Pharaoh Snefreu, is thought to have been completed in the 26th century BC. It remained the world’s tallest structure from 2590 BCE–2570 BC, with a height of 104 meters.

Eventually, Khufu would come to the throne of Egypt and create his pyramid, which succeeded the Bend Pyramid of Sneferu, taking the throne as the tallest structure on the planet’s surface for the next 3,800 years.

Mummies, where Art Thou?

So the first pyramid built in Egypt was that of Djoser. Since it is assumed that the pyramids were tombs, you’d expect to find a mummy inside those pyramids, right? That’s what you’d expected. BUT. The mummy of Pharaoh Djoser, the first pyramid-building Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, has never been found. Archeologists argue that the Pharaoh was buried in a sarcophagus located inside the step pyramid at Saqqara. But once we entered the alleged burial chamber, there was no mummy.

Egyptologists explain this by saying that the mummified remains of the Pharaoh were most likely looted together with the artifacts from indie the tomb. However, researchers did recover a mummified left foot in the burial chamber in 1934, but whether or not the foot belonged to the Pharaoh has been debated ever since. Were grave robbers so hurried that they dropped the King’s foot?


After Djoser came Sneferu

The next Pharaoh who would build pyramids after Djoser was Sneferu, the founding pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. Archeologists have argued that the mummified remains of Pharaoh Sneferu were placed inside a burial chamber inside the Red Pyramid. But, the remains of King Sneferu have not yet been found. Some experts, like J.P Lepre, argue that it still may be possible that his sarcophagus and mummy are hidden in his mysterious structure.

Lepre claims: “the Red Pyramid remains one of the chief pyramids that may contain secret chambers, not the least of which may be the true burial chamber of King Sneferu himself.” But summa summarum, the mummy of Sneferu, has never been found. But let’s move on to the next Pharaoh, King Khufu, who commissioned a structure that would eventually become the largest pyramid in Egypt. Once the pyramid was finished, it is believed that King Khufu’s mummified remains were placed inside a stone sarcophagus inside the so-called King’s chamber within the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Any evidence of mummies in the pyramids?

But, we have never recovered any evidence that there was once a mummy inside the King’s chamber. Mysterious, the mummified remains of King Khufu have also never been found. However, Egyptologists are convinced that the King’s mummy was once located within the pyramid but was eventually stolen by grave robbers. Eventually, Pharaoh Khafre and Menkaure would build their pyramids at the Giza plateau, mimicking the mighty Great Pyramid of Khufu.

Mysteriously neither the mummy of Khafre nor the mummy belonging to Menkaure has been found inside their respective pyramids. Their mummies are missing, and archeologists argue that the mummified remains of Khafre and Menkaure were stolen by grave robbers in ancient times, just like all other mummies. This means we have at least five pyramids, supposedly built as tombs, that contain no mummies. Isn’t that strange? Yes, it could be very well that the mummies were stolen from their interior, but many consider it doubtful, arguing that they were probably never there in the first place.

Does this look like a King's burial chamber? Se any inscriptions or hieroglyphs?
Does this look like a King’s burial chamber? See any inscriptions or hieroglyphs?

Undecorated tombs

Say the pyramids were tombs and that the mummified remains of the Pharaohs were placed in intricately built burial chambers embedded into the pyramid’s construction. And let’s take the Great Pyramid as an example. The Great Pyramid is the largest of all pyramids in Egypt, and it’s also the tallest. It was a structure that revolutionized Egyptian architecture, engineering, and logistics. So many things had to work out perfectly for the ancient builders to complete the structure that mistakes were impossible.

Stones were hauled from all over Egypt, and thousands of workers are believed to have worked day and night to complete the structure in around twenty years. Eventually, the structure was built and covered in highly polished white limestone. Sir Flinders Petrie related the accuracy of the casing stones to being “equal to opticians’ work of the present day, but on a scale of acres” and “to place such stones in exact contact would be careful work, but to do so with cement in the joints seems almost impossible.”

The completed pyramid, worthy of a “god”

The size, design, and view of the finished pyramid were worthy of a god. Its interior was not so much. It is argued that the mummified remains of King Khufu were once located inside the King’s chamber inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. The King’s Chamber is entirely faced with granite. Above the roof, which is constructed of nine slabs of stone weighing about 400 tons, five compartments are called Relieving Chambers. Inside the King’s chamber, the only object found by experts is a granite sarcophagus, one corner of which is broken.

The Kings Chamber and the Pyramid

Unlike the sarcophagi made by the Egyptians, the sarcophagus was of poor finish, which was precise, large, and intricately finished. In other words, the Sarcophagus inside the King’s Chamber is unworthy of the pyramid, let alone the King. But that’s not the only thing that bothers me. No inscriptions inside the King’s Chamber would tell us anything about it being a tomb. Why was the King’s Chamber left so poorly decorated?

It looks cold, poor, and unworthy of a royal burial chamber. There are no hieroglyphs inside it; there are no markings either. Look at the tomb of Tutankhamun, for example. His tomb is intricately carved, with colorful walls depicting various scenes. Beautifully finished, King Tut’s tomb looks just what a Pharaoh’s Tomb needs to look like. King Khufu’s tomb looks the exact opposite.

The decorated interior of King Tutankhamun's tomb. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.
The decorated interior of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Does it make sense?

So, you mean to tell me that the ancient Egyptians built a massive structure using 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite, and 500,000 tons of mortar, spending around 20 years doing so, and then for whatever reason, they decided to not decorate or finish the most important part inside the pyramid; the King’s Chamber? It doesn’t make any sense at all.

You don’t just spend two decades quarrying, hauling stones, putting them into position, and then finishing the pyramid with white casing stones making it shine with the sun’s light and leaving it cold, dirty, and unworthy on the inside.


Math, precision, and electromagnetic energy

Now, if you were to build a tomb for a Pharaoh, would you build a structure mathematically encoded? The Great Pyramid of Giza is also considered one of the best-aligned monuments of ancient times. According to measurements, the pyramid faces true north with 3/60th of a degree of error. Furthermore, the Pyramid is located at the center of all landmass on Earth.

Petrie found nothing that disproved the pyramidologist’s assumption that the Great Pyramid had been built according to a master plan. Indeed, he describes the Pyramid’s architecture as being filled with extraordinary mathematical harmonies and concordances: those same strange symmetries that had so haunted the pyramidologist. Petrie not only noted, for example, that the proportions of the reconstructed pyramid approximated to pi – which others have since elaborated to include those twin delights of Renaissance and pyramidological mathematicians, the Golden Section and the Fibonacci Series. ― John Romer, The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited

Tombs and electromagnetic energy

In addition to the above, why would a tomb focus electromagnetic energy? It was discovered in 2018 that the Great Pyramid of Giza can focus electromagnetic energy in its chambers and lower parts, just beneath the surface of an unfinished chamber. It has been discovered that the ancient monument can interact with the limestone blocks, accumulating energy inside the King’s Chamber, and directing it to a point located beneath its base.

The three reasons

So, there are three main reasons why the pyramid of Khufu may not have been built as a tomb: It didn’t contain any mummy or the other pyramids at Giza once they were explored. The King’s Chamber’s interior is so terribly finished that it is unworthy of a King’s burial. Furthermore, it was left undecorated, contrary to other ancient Egyptian tombs, which were beautifully painted and decorated. The Great Pyramid is one of the most precisely aligned structures on Earth and one of the largest. “Mathematical Harmonies” are embedded within the structure, and researchers have found the pyramid concentrates electromagnetic energy. This isn’t something you expect from a tomb, right?

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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