A large part of my book “Pyramidengeheimnisse?” deals with the problems of pyramid building – from breaking the stones in the quarries to the transport of the pyramidion to the top.
The opinion of many people is, that the pyramids of Giza are not built by Egyptians. Simply because they couldn’t do it, because even we with all our modern technology can’t do it.
Well, the German science show “Quarks & Co.” asked in 1999 the large building company “Phillip Holzmann KG” for an offer to build the pyramid in Cologne. After some calculations they came to the conclusion: entirely possible. Costs about 3.5 billion Euros, but 80% are the material costs for the stones. The other costs, including wages and equipment, are only 700 million Euros, mainly because only 68 workers are necessary.
The building time is 8.5 years, but making of the foundation, not necessary in Giza, takes more than 1 year, so the net. Building time is about 7.5 years. With 68 people!
Weblink: Cheops in Köln (German only)
So what is the basis for the claims, we could not build the Great pyramid? I do not know, because the pyramid is simply built by stacking large stones. So where is the problem? Maybe someone can explain…
But what about the ancient Egyptians? Could they do the job?
Normally “forgotten” is Sneferu, the father of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid. Sneferu built three pyramids each one about 100 meters high. Together they have a volume 50% larger of that of the “Great Pyramid”. But this pyramid has a rock core, a natural hill, containing 5-25% of the pyramid volume. If the thesis of Prof. Stadelmann, that the floor of the Queens chamber rests on the top of the hill, the Great Pyramid is only the 4th largest in Egypt, in form of moved stone volume. After Kafres ant the two of Sneferu in Dahshur.
Since the two pyramids in Dahshur were each built in a shorter time than Khufus (we know this from inscriptions on the back of backing- and casing stones) we have at least four pyramids in Egypt very close to the building effort of the “Great One”. If the Egyptians couldn’t build this, they couldn’t have built the other three ones, too. Or: If they could build any of the other three ones, there is no reason why they couldn’t have built the GP.
But how could they do it? I put some of the transport concepts in my book on my web site. First I examined, if the transport of the 6 Mio. Tons of a Great pyramid without rock core from the main quarries (about 400 m away from the building site) was possible.
6 Mio. Tons
Of course the blocks were not carried. From all we know, even from pictures made by the Egyptians themselves, they used wooden sleds. Therefore I made some experiments with loaded sleds on gravel and sand. I tested, what permanent force I could assert for what time span. I measured abrasion of the runners and the different friction coefficients.
Based on these results I could calculate the amount of workers necessary to transport a typical pyramid building block, since the physics here is scaleable (if one person can move 200 kilograms, two can move 400 – simple added transformation, no nasty relativistic terms included):
Force, work and ramps
With this I can present a transport model showing the possible transport speed – astonishing, the Egyptians were able to build the whole pyramid with the known work force in only a few years!
A transport model
But what form of ramps were used? I prefer the outer integral spiral ramp (as opposed to Houdins current idea) which was published by the Egyptology- and geology-couple HD & R Klemm in 1997. The ramp is in fact a slit left on the pyramid side (see picture in my AoM-article), about 4 m wide. As the pyramid rows, short ramplets of about 12 m length to the meter height are added, probably build with broken stone fragments and mortar. These ramps could easily be destroyed and filled up when the top of the pyramid was finished.
And because the ramps are fully integrated into the pyramid, all edges were always visible, this is important to guarantee straight edges.
But what about the large granite beams for the King’s chamber? They would not fit to such a narrow ramp, they couldn’t be moved around the corner. Well, since I am a fan of the three chamber theory I am convinced, that the pyramid was planned from the beginning as it is.
So they could have put the blocks “in storage” on the pyramid body itself. Every few months, when the next level was nearing the position of the blocks on the pyramid, a small ramplet was constructed and the blocks were pulled up one level higher, to rest there until the next layer was nearing from the other side.
About 200 men were necessary for each large beam, there was more than enough room for such a work force on the layers these blocks were needed.
Oh, and some ideas about concrete used in pyramids can be found here: