In 2013, archeologists excavating an ancient ed Sea Port Called Wadi-al-Jarm made an unprecedented archaeological discovery. A series of papyri were found that turned out to be the oldest of their kind, dating back to just around 4,500 years ago. Located some 150 kilometers southeast of the Giza plateau, the document is part of a treasure trove of hundreds of fragmented pieces of what are now considered the oldest inscribed papyri to have ever been found in Egypt.
But their age is not what was so revolutionary about them.
The ancient texts are believed to make up the personal journal of a middle-ranking official called Merer, who is believed to have been in charge of a group of around 200 workers who conducted different projects including transportation of massive pieces of blocks of stone.
From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us. —Napoleon Bonaparte, speech to his troops in Egypt (21 July 1798).
The documents, of extreme interest to archaeologists, record how the ancient Egyptians quarried limestone at Tuna near Cairo, and how the blocks of stone were transported to Giza.
Archeologists speculate that the limestone was used for the eternal casing of the Great Pyramid of Giza. This speculation comes mostly from the age of the documents and certain words used in the papyri.
However, there isn’t one sentence that actually confirms that Merrer and his people participated directly in the construction of the Great Pyramid, or that the stones were used in the construction of the pyramid, the collection of paper does mention Khufu.
Since archeologists believe that Khufu ruled over the land of Egypt around 4,500 years ago, it is argued that this is precisely when the Great Pyramid of Giza was being built.
If we were to analyze a bit the history of the Pyramids, and specifically the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, we would eventually come to understand that there are no other contemporaneous inscriptions that link the construction of the Great Pyramid to King Khufu or any pharaoh. The only thing archeologists supposedly discovered is a questionable cartouche of Khufu’s name painted in red ocher a stone, concealed in a relieving chamber located just above the King’s Chamber, placed deep inside the very core of the Great Pyramid.
Strangely, there are no ancient texts that suggest that the pyramid belonged to Khufu nor what the exact purpose of the ancient structure was.
This is why the Wadi-al-Jarm papyri are so special and rare, as they make mention to Khufu and a construction site.
But despite their incredible importance and historical value, they still do not explain the methods by which the pyramid was constructed, nor what exact construction project was taking place at the Giza plateau.
This is more than strange. The Great Pyramid of Giza is considered the most fascinating, complex pyramid ever built in ancient times, yet there are no ancient documents that tell us anything about it. If someone really did go through a megalomaniacal project spending so much time and resources in building a structure like the Great Pyramid, why did He not make more of an effort to document the construction of this majestic ancient monument?
Are you really saying that the most we have are the scraps of a logbook and a poorly painted cartouche inside the pyramid supposedly making reference to Khufu?
If it was really Khufu who commissioned the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza some 4,500 years ago, he surely would have made a greater effort to document his amazing accomplishment shouting out loudly “this was created by the Great Khufu…”
The ancient papyri do not, contrary to popular belief, tell us anything about the supposed workforce of the pyramid builders. It does also not tell us how the ancient builders, composed of thousands of skilled workers, managed to pile up around 2.3 million blocks of stones, weighing several if not dozens of tons, one atop each other, in approximately 20 years, and build the Great Pyramid.
The ancient papyri do also not tell us how the ancient builders placed deep within the pyramid, massive granite stones that are part of the King’s Chamber.
“It is said that the stone [used in the construction of the Pyramids of Giza] was conveyed over a great distance … and that the construction was effected by means of mounds … The most remarkable thing is that, though the constructions were on such a great scale and the country round about them consists of nothing but sand, not a trace remains either of any mound or of the dressing of the stones, so that they do not have the appearance of being the slow handiwork of men but look like a sudden creation, as though they had been made by some god and set down bodily in the surrounding sand.” –Diodorus Siculus, Book I, first century BC.
Originally reaching a bit more than 146 meters, the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza covers 13.6 acres, and its designers aligned the structure almost perfectly with True North. The total weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza is estimated to be around 6 million tons, and the pyramid, once completed, was covered in extremely polished white limestone blocks which made the monument shine like a star as the sun shone down on it.
But despite its importance, the Great Pyramid of Giza was not the first pyramid built on Earth, and it wasn’t the first pyramid built in Egypt. In fact, although it remained the tallest manmade structure for more than 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid of Giza isn’t even the largest pyramid in terms of total volume.
The first pyramid built in Egypt was constructed during the reign of the Third Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser. Designed by Imhotep, ancient Egypt’s first pyramid architect, the Step Pyramid of Djoser (Saqqara) marked a revolution in ancient Egyptian architecture.
Many Kings that ruled over Egypt after Djoser attempted in building a pyramid again, but it wasn’t until the rule of Pharoah Sneferu that Egypt would have a worthy pyramid again. Sneferu is believed to have been Khufu’s father and is the greatest Pyramid build Egypt has ever seen.
Just as with Khufu, thre isn’t one ancient text that has been found from ancient Egypt making reference to the construction methods by which the pyramids in Egypt were built. There are no ancient writings that mention the first pyramid of Egypt, and there are no ancient writings that mention the numerous attempted pyramids of Egypt. The zenith of ancient Egyptian pyramid building–the Greta Pyramid of Giza–is perhaps the greatest mystery of them all.
And while Egypt may have produced what is believed to be the tallest pyramid on Earth, South and Central America saw the birth of the oldest and most massive pyramids in the history of our planet.
The oldest pyramids are believed to have been built deep within the Brazilan Amazon and date back to around 5,000 years.
Thousands of kilometers to the North in Central Mexico, an ancient culture built the largest pyramid in terms of volume long before the Spanish Conquest.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest mounenmtn ever constructed anywhere in the world with a total volume estimated at over 4.45 million cubic meters. In comparison, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built with a total volume of 2,583,283 cubic meters.
While most of us love to admire the complexity, architectural beauty and general design of worldwide pyramids, their interior is equally mesmerizing and captivating.
Despite the fact that the Pyramids of Giza are Egypt’s most famous pyramids, many pyramids were built much earlier in Egypt.
Here’s the inside of the Red Pyramid at Dahshur:
This is the corbelled roof of the Red Pyramid:
Many pyramids have miniature tunnels inside them:
But Pyramids were not only built in Egypt, here are some images of the inside of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, halfway around the world in present-day Mexico: