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Great Pyramids - Egypt

Great Pyramids - Egypt

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When you say the word pyramid, Egypt immediately comes to mind. Of the 138 pyramids identified in Egypt—many of which are world-renowned pyramids—the three pyramids of Giza are certainly at the top of the list.

The Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure are each complete with a system of temples, tombs, and smaller pyramids, and are all connected to one another. The external layer of stones and the capstones of the pyramids are now missing, although they were intact up to 100 BCE according to the historian Diodorus Siculus.

It has been calculated that the largest one, the Pyramid of Cheops, commonly referred to as the Great Pyramid, is comprised of more than 2 million limestone blocks weighing from 2 to 70 tons, and is the only Giza pyramid that has air shafts. It is said that this pyramid was built with such precision that it would be difficult to replicate it even with today’s technology.

Even though the three pyramids are famous, very little is known of their actual functionality, and their interiors are still relatively unexplored. As is to be expected, many theories exist not only as to the use of the pyramids, but also regarding the actual date they were built. Mainstream archaeology accepts that the Great Pyramid—also known as the pyramid of Khufu—was built around 2500 BCE, commissioned by King Khufu for his tomb.  This assumption is based on evidence presented by Colonel Howard Vyse in 1837, in which an inscription was found in a small room bearing Khufu’s name.   However, much controversy surrounds these conclusions. Firstly, most Egyptian funerary structures abound with texts and inscriptions inside them to assist the passing of the dead pharaoh into the underworld, but the Giza pyramids, including Khufu, were devoid of decoration and hieroglyphics. Many have argued that if Khufu had indeed commissioned the building of a pyramid for his tomb, his name would appear prominently inside it. On the contrary, his name appears only once, clumsily scrawled in red paint on a wall tucked away in a small room that was blocked from all access and several historians, such as Zecharia Sitchin, claim the inscription is a fake, recognisable through a spelling mistake.  If the pyramids of Giza were mistakenly dated based on the period of reign of King Khufu and other pharaohs, it is possible that the pyramids are in fact much older. Curiously, the shafts inside the pyramids of Giza and the positioning of the pyramids themselves, correspond exactly with the constellation of Orion. But the  perfect alignment between the pyramids and the constellation only occurred in the year 10,500BC.  Likewise, the Sphynx corresponds with the constellation of Leo and its alignment also occurred in 10,500BC.  

Disagreements also exist over the construction of the pyramids. The accepted theory is that it took thousands of slaves using iron tools, pulleys, wheels and all available tools of the era, and that the actual construction of the pyramids spanned many decades. Other theories include technology to levitate the stones, ancient technology, or extra-terrestrial help.

In 2011, a robot equipped with a camera was sent inside the shafts of the Great Pyramid and captured images of hieroglyphs behind a mysterious door! Due to the upset in Egypt during the last few years, the project has been delayed, but perhaps the discovered hieroglyphs may answer the questions regarding why and when the pyramids were built.

The Giza pyramids are still being explored, and more discoveries have been announced in the last few years. It is a great place to visit.

By April Holloway

Related Links

Great Pyramid of Giza Research Association

Great Pyramid Statistics

Construction of the Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid: Symbols and Hieroglyphs in the King's Chamber

Dentist to probe 'cavities' inside Great Pyramid - and unlock the Pharaoh's last secret chambers, unseen for 4,500 years

How old are the Pyramids?

Pyramid-Exploring Robot Reveals Hidden Hieroglyphs

Who Built the Great Pyramid?

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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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