Missing: What Happened to the Capstone of the Great Pyramid of Giza?

Built more than 4,500 years ago, the Great Pyramid of Giza is missing its capstone.

The Great Pyramid of Giza thought to have been completed around 4,500 years ago.

The Pyramid of Cheops, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, or the Great Pyramid of Giza, is one of the most stunning ancient buildings ever constructed on the surface of the planet.

It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids standing today at the Giza plateau in Egypt. Considered the oldest of the Severn Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one largely intact, the Pyramid is argued to have been built as a tomb.

Truly a wonder of ancient engineering, mainstream archeologists agree the pyramid was commissioned and built for Pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt. That claim is mostly based on ONE mark found in an interior chamber, allegedly naming the “work gang” that participated in its constriction.

Experts estimate the behemoth of a structure was completed in a  20-year-long project, concluding around 2,5600 BC.

The Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest structure built by man for more than 3,800′ years until the Lincoln Cathedral was completed in 1311 AD.

Its original height is believed to have been 146.5 meters although today it stands at 138.8 meters. Most Egyptologists agree that the pyramid lost its capstone, also known as its pyramidion sometime in the distant past.

But did it ever have one?


The Great Pyramid

Once finished, the Great Pyramid of Giza was structure unlike any other. Scholar estimate that once completed, the ancient Egyptians covered it with white “casing stones”—slant-faced, but flat-topped, blocks of highly polished white limestone.

Although truly massive with a total volume of  2,583,283 cubic meters, the Great Pyramid was not the largest pyramid on Earth. That honor belongs to the Great Pyramid of Cholula, in modern-day Mexico.

Nevertheless, the Pyramid of Khufu was a massive, continuous project in the ancient world. It is estimated that the ancient builders used around 2.3 million stones weighing on average 3 tons.

The Massive Size of the Great Pyramid of Giza Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Worthy of an ancient god, the Great Pyramid at Giza is thought to have been the most accurately aligned structure on the surface of the planet, facing true north with only 3/60th of a degree of error.

The precision of the Pyramid matched its size in terms of importance.

Scholars estimate that 5.5 million tons of limestone8,000 tons of granite (imported from Aswan), and 500,000 tons of mortar were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid.

We know that it was one of the greatest construction projects ever attempted in ancient Egypt. The building has survived for more than 4,500 years, evidence of a flawless engineering project.

Although the pyramid is heavily eroded and damaged today, mostly thanks to natural disaster loosening some of its casing stones, its summit is a massive mystery for experts.

Once completed, was there something on the pyramid’s summit? Did it have a capstone?

If so, what happened to it? And where is it today?

No one seems to be able to answer these questions today.

If you were to climb the Pyramid today, you’d notice that its top is flat. In fact, it has been so ever since the first photographs of the pyramids were taken, hundreds of years ago. We can’t really know for sure what it was likely, thousands of years ago, but some theories indicate, that given its importance, the summit of the pyramid must have included something equally stunning as the structure beneath it.

Many scholars have argued that the pyramid was topped by a massive capstone that was made of gold, or covered in gold.

Of course, there isn’t any archeological evidence to support that idea.

Had there been a massive capstone of gold, it must have been extremely heavy. That raises a number of questions.

If there was a massive golden-capstone, how was it removed? Did it become de-attached from the structure in the distant past? And if so, where did it end up? The most popular belief is that the pyramidion was stolen sometimes in the distant past, hence the pyramid’s flat top.

The top of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Image Credit: Pinterest.
Image Credit: Pinterest.

Today, the top of the pyramid is home to a mast or flagpole that was supposedly placed there by astronomers in 1874, who calculated where the pyramid’s apex would have been if finished.

Curiously, the Pyramid of Khafre, the second-tallest and second-largest of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza is also void of its top.

Although casing stones cover the top third of the pyramid, the pyramidion and part of the apex are missing.

One theory, proposed by a Spanish researcher called Miguel Pérez-Sánchez tells us that, unlike popular belief among scholars, the Pyramids was not left unfinished. In fact, Perez-Sanchez proposes that the Great Pyramid of Giza was actually finished with a massive sphere on its summit.

Symbolizing the “Eye of Horus”, the alleged sphere would have had a diameter of 2,718 royal cubits (2.7 meters), which happens to be an accurate measurement of the number e.

Group photo of Australian 11th Battalion soldiers on the Great Pyramid in 1915. Wikimedia Commons.
Group photo of Australian 11th Battalion soldiers on the Great Pyramid in 1915. Wikimedia Commons.

The researcher argues that the sphere located atop the Great Pyramid was most likely placed there in worship of the Sun god.

However, it is noteworthy to mention that the claims made by Perez-Sanchez are not supported by Egyptologists, who consider his work no more than pseudoscience.

Regrettably, no one seems to have come up with a better theory explaining the lack of a capstone atop the Great Pyramid of Giza, other than that there was once a massive pyramidion of gold there, which has disappeared, sometime in the distant past.

Located to the southern side of the Great Pyramid are the so-called subsidiary pyramids, also known as the Queens Pyramids. Although three remain standing today, evidence of a fourth was discovered by archeologists who unearthed its foundation and the remains of its capstone.

If the four subsidiary pyramids had capstones (evidence suggest they did) and the top of the Pyramid of Khafre is finished, why are the Pyramids of Khufu and Menkaure missing their capstones?

Is it possible that Menkaure’s Pyramid was finished in a similar way as the Pyramid of Khafre?

And is it possible that the Great Pyramid of Khufu, being the oldest and largest of the three, was the only one with a special, golden capstone?

If so, it would indicate that of the three pyramids, the Great Pyramid is the structure that holds most of Giza’s secrets, and it is up to us to reveal that which has remained hidden, beneath ancient Egypt’s golden sands, and its history, written in stone.