Upon our class visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 11, 2001 we started ith the Egyptian exhibit.
We were initially taken in one of the monument, which was completely enclosed and had carvings and paintings on its interior walls of figures in motion. The walls of the monument were approximately 15 feet high and were constructed of sandstone. The visitors area to view this monument was very limited. We proceeded to thoroughly view the Egyptian exhibit. The exhibit primarily consisted of beautifully created sarcophaguses. The sarcophaguses included pnysical features of the persons who were buried in them. They had features of the persons tace, torsos, and
They were decorated from head to toe with painted figures, colors, headdresses, precious gems and writings. At the end of the exhibit we journeyed into a very large room that housed only one item for exhibit. t was the Temple of Dendur. I was very interested and impressed with its construction.
I began to wonder, how does one construct this type of structure. Construction in general interests me because work with many conventional construction companies who are constructors of bridges, highways, roads, and tunnels. on the side of the Temple was a text describing the temple and it included some more details relative to Egyptian construction. In one sentence I became fascinated
with the Egyptians construction techniques. The mortar used to construct the Egyptian pyramids is of unknown origin. It has been analyzed and its chemical composition is known but cant be reproduced.
It is stronger than the stone and still holding up today. My first reaction was how is that possible? How can a chemical composition be known but not replicated? It then occurred to me that even in the
twenty-first century the ancient Egyptians methods of construction contain as much mystery today as they have over the past four thousand five hundred years.
As I started my research on how the Egyptians constructed their monumental structures The Great Pyramid of Giza was of extraordinary and biblical proportions. The owner of the great pyramid is thought by some to be pharaoh Khufu,. There are estimates that it was built in 2,450
BC. The pyramid was built on the northern edge of the Giza Plateau towards the west bank of Nile River in Egypt. According to Henri stierlins study of the pyramid, its located at the Exact Center of the World, meaning that it you draWa line in the four compass directions away from the pyramid, the line covers more land than it would if the pyramid was built at any other place. The Giza Plateau has a
level granite bedrock base and is, in essence a mountain under the ground. The top of the mountain is the round and has an extremely flat top. Other regions in Egypt could not support such a structure.
The miscellaneous debris resulting from the construction was dumped next to the pyramids edge! and functioned as a restraining net as it fortified the pyramids foundation. There is so much mass in the pyramid that the interior temperature is on average 68 degrees the same average as of the temperature of the earth (Egypt Worid 1998). The primary types of stone used were two types of limestone. A pure soft limestone was used for the bulk of the core blocks and a hard white limestone for the mantle, which was more polished. This limestone was stolen by Arabs to build houses and places of worship only six hundred years ago.
The pyramid is the most comprehensively surveyed in the world, but even then estimates of Its SIze and weight vary (Stierlin, H. 1995). It is generally believed that the pyramid contains 2,500,000 limestone blocks, quarried trom around the base of the pyramid. The toundations of the pyramid are ball and socket technique capable of dealing with heat expansion and earthquakes, much like Our bridges of today. The average weight of each block is about 2.6 tons, giving a total mass of an estimated 6,300,000 tons. The base of the pyramid covers 13.6 acres. Each side iS greater than 5 acres. The outer mantle was composed of 140,000 casing stones.
All of the casing stones were highly polished and flat to an accuracy of 1/10oth of an inch, about 100 inches thick and weighing about 15 tons each with nearly perfect right angles for all six sides. These casing stones, weighing as much as 20 tons, were placed with an accuracy of 5/1000tns of an inch, and an intentional gap of about 2/100th of an inch for mortar, which probably acted as a lubricant to slide the blocks into place. As I stated early the mortar was of an unknown origin. The capstone is thought to have been an exact replica of the large pyramid on a scale of 1 to sqrt (p)/100 (Tompkins, P. 1971). The ratio of any corresponding pyramid dimension over the capstone dimension, when multiplied by the square root of Pi equals 100 (Tompkins, P. 1971). The sides of the pyramids measure (N) 230.25m, (E) 230.38m,
(S) 230.44m, (W) 230.35m, and it is 147m high.
If the height of the pyramid is taken as the radius of a circle, then the circumference of this circle is the same as the perimeter of the base. This allowed the builders to square a circle and circle a square (ompkins P. 1971). The key to this relationship is knowledge of the value of Pi and designing the angle of the pyramid to be exactly 51 degrees, 51 minutes, and 14.3 seconds (Tompkins, P. 1971). The pyramid is aligned on a north/south line that is just 3 minutes from being pertect. Our modern best effort, the Paris Observatory, IS SIX minutes of a degree of true north (Egypt world 1998). Each year the North Star shines further dowrn the descending passage at the entrance to the pyramids interior. It will illuminate that entrance to the Well Shaft. The pyramid inch equals 1.001081 American Inches.
The Kings chamber is (NS) 10.46mm by (EW) 5.23m, and is 5.81m high. The walls are lined with smooth black granite that was quarried from Aswan 500 miles south of Giza. Each of these blocks weighs about 30 tons, and fit perfectly together. All of the courses of masonry in the Kings chamber have 23 or more stones, except the fifth course, which has only 7. The Egyptian tools used to quarry the stone have not been found. It seems that Egyptians had a better understanding of bronze metallurgy than we do nOw. Copper in its pure Torm is soft.
No one really knows any more than the Hieroglyphs have told him or her about the Pyramids construction. There are hierogyphs that depict giant statues on rollers, With a person tipping something that could be lubricant under them (Stierlin, H 1995). Some bloCks must have been too heavy to be moved by this method. Many people have suggested a ramp was wrapped around the pyramid as it was constructed, but that may have made it ditficult to keep the pyramids angles in check. Considering the weight of the blocks, and the distance down and across the Nile over which boats were transported, boats are a possible source of transport. Blocks could be loaded onto the boats before the floods, and when the Nile’s water level raised so did the boats and blocks. When the Nile water levels were lowered again, the blocks could be taken off and the boats returned. There are a couple of problems with this suggestion.
No boats or docks have been found, although I found that wo0d waS avaluable commodity and was imported. The Egyptians would have been inclined to dismantle any wood objects and used the wood for other purposes. One of the most interesting features I discovered about the Pyramid was that is was covered in casing stones, 144,000 in al. They were so brilliant that they could literally be seen from the monument of Israel hundreds of miles away. On bright mornings and later afternoons, sunlight reflected by the vast mirrored surface of the 5 acres could be seen from the moon (Egypt World 1998). The people of the area had viewed the Pyramid and its polished stones in awe for centuriess until a 13th century earthquake loosened some of the casing stones and the Arabs stole the stones and used nem to inish or neir palaces and mosques.
The Pyramid shape was also a mystery. The dead Egyptians were buried in the sand, but the wind exposed the corpses and the corpses were looted and eaten by wildlife. The Mastabas a stone coffin, were originally used to bury the dead. They became larger and larger over the years and eventually were placed atop one another possibly creating a crude pyramid shape. The Great Pyramid was probably built first and the other pyramids followed. Clearly the builders of the Great Pyramid had access to information beyond their contemporary peers possessed at that time. whoever built the pyramid must have known the earth well length or the year, radius of curvature, the standard measurement techniques, averages, and possibly the center of the landmass, which in itselt is a mystery. They were able to construct something that we still cannot construct today, and were able to tie all these things together in a single structure. Indeed, there is much more to discover about Egyptians construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.