Egyptian Pyramids Essay, Research Paper
The Egyptian pyramids have been the subjects of many outlandish claims and construction theories for centuries. The Great Pyramid for example has been associated with pyramid power, curses, Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, Biblical prophecy, Martian faces, advanced civilizations, space aliens, cavity resonators, and even levitation. It is not surprising that some that have proposed such theories have been dubbed “pyramidiots”. This paper will attempt to give a more logical solution to the methods ancient Egyptians may have had used, and the problems they may have had, using factual information, scientific evidence and a bit of common sense.
It is time for a rational explanation of how the pyramids were constructed–an explanation that relies on nothing extraordinary, technologically advanced, paranormal, supernatural, mystical, psychic, or extraterrestrial powers. The Egyptian pyramid’s aesthetic beauty, its geometrical shape, its complex system of internal features, and the precision of its construction beckon us to search for a design scheme. It seems unlikely that the builders would have undertaken such a “monumental” construction project without a comprehensive plan. Unfortunately, no records, plans, blueprints, or direct accounts of the pyramid’s construction have survived.
There is no inscriptions or texts, and the names of the architects remain unknown. There is no way of knowing exactly how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, in a time of only primitive tools, and at best only simple machinery.
There are many theories of how the Egyptians gained their knowledge of math and science to build these amazing structures. The blocks used to build the pyramids are composed of granite and or limestone; each single block has an estimated weight of approximately two and a half tons. Each block would to have been quarried or cut, and then hauled to the work site, and eventually placed in the correct position.
The Egyptians had an amazing understanding of math, which helped them plan the erection of the pyramid, but the only driving force behind them was manpower. The actual people who built the pyramids were all voluntary workers; they were not slaves contrary to popular belief. New archaeological evidence shows that those who dragged and laid these two and a half ton granite slabs were condemned to an early grave, and they died with deformed bones and broken limbs. An Egyptian excavation recently uncovered the burial ground of hundreds of workers who helped to build the great pyramid for King Cheops 4500 years ago.
Originally over one hundred and forty six meters high, it is the tallest of the three famous pyramids at Giza near the Nile delta.
The workers burial ground is one kilometer west of the pyramid, close to their living quarters. Zahi Hawass, the Egyptian archaeologist leading the excavation says that most of the workers skeletons have abnormal outgrowths known as osteophytes, which are caused by chronic heavy labor. The joints of numerous bones show wear and tear and many bodies have damaged spines. Six skeletons have severed limbs or splintered feet. Workers died on average between the ages of thirty and thirty-five, compared to between fifty and sixty for members of nobility. ?They literally worked themselves to death,? says Hawass. This evidence shows they did in fact use human power in the construction of pyramids but it does not explain how a group of men were able to lift a two and a half ton piece of rock. It also does not explain how these rocks were carried from the quarry, or how it was lifted up the pyramid, as it became taller.
If one was to build a pyramid today assuming the slabs were already cut and ready to put together the fastest and easiest way to move them would be a crane. In order to get an exact placement of the slab it would take the crane nearly one day to position itself and drop the block in place.
The pyramid Khufu has about two million three hundred thousand stone blocks; its dimensions are four hundred eighty one feet in height, seven hundred fifty six feet in length and its base covering a little over thirteen acres. The pyramid is a geometrical wonder it is absolutely level and perfectly square, the mathematical skills of the people are not at all contested, but there are many theories on how they were able to carry out this magnificent feat without a crane.
It is not known how the Egyptians got the stones from the quarry to the work site. They must have been dragged, for there was not enough surface area for even a team of reasonably strong men to pick up the two and a half-ton slab. The most likely method of getting the blocks to the top of the structure was through massive construction ramps. Exactly how the ramps were laid out is unknown, but they may have been straight or in a spiral pattern around the pyramid.
The ramps may have been topped with a surface of clay called tafla. Tafla, when wet, becomes very slippery and may have allowed the Egyptian builders to use shorter, steeper ramps than might have otherwise been possible. By wetting the ground in front of the block a slick path would be created allowing the stone to be dragged by rope as it sat on sledges.
A man by the name of Joseph Davidvovits began to contest this classical theory of pyramid construction in 1979. His ideas and research may force even Egyptologists to revise their thinking about how the pyramids were built. Davidovits suggests that the Egyptians actually used man-made stone that was cast at the pyramid site, where it was needed. The process, he says involved pouring slurry of crushed limestone and special mineral binder into wooden molds. Within a few hours the mixture would harden into material almost indistinguishable from rock. Such a construction method would have taken less time, and required far fewer workers.
In 1984 Davidovits presented his conclusions from a analysis of rock samples from three of the pyramids and two limestone quarries at Turah and Mokhatam, traditionally associated with pyramid building.
He found that the pyramids samples contained traces of minerals that were not found in the quarry. Instead, they contained as much as 13 percent of what Davidovits calls a ?geopolymeric? binder. In addition, microscope examination of the samples showed that the quarried limestone consisted almost entirely of lightly packed calcite crystals that gave it a uniform density. In contrast, the casting stone was less dense and contained numerous air bubbles. Consequently if the casting stones were natural limestone, and did not match that of the quarries than where did the Egyptians get there stone? There are other clues that suggest that the Egyptians poured the pyramids. The ingredients deeded for the mineral binder- sodium carbonate, various phosphates, quartz, and Nile silt, were all readily available to the Egyptians. In addition the casting stones had a millimeter thick surface coating that appears to consist entirely of this binder. Davidovits suggests that during setting some of the binder came to the surface to form a ?skin?, it was the presence of this obviously man made coating that originally prompted him to look for traces of this material within the rock itself. This idea of manufactured stone helps to explain how the sides of the casting stone were so smooth and straight, maybe to straight for a man to quarry, cut, and shape the stone.
This could also explain how the Egyptians were able to get the blocks to fit so well together that a postcard cannot even be inserted in between them. The sides of the previously molded blocks could be used as the walls for making the stone in between them. With this system, and a primitive form of concrete, the Egyptians may have completed pyramid construction within a relatively fast and effortless period of time. A virtual assembly line could have been created with workers each carrying small amount of water, silt and rock to the work area with another team preparing molds and binders. This theory presented by Davidovits was developed nearly twenty years ago; it still remains only a theory.
Egyptologists are torn between the two conflicting ideas of how the pyramids were constructed. Either way the building of these marvel tombs is an amazing feat to be done over four thousand years ago. In a time not known for its sophisticated tools or machinery the ancient Egyptians were able to harness their knowledge to complete the undertaking of this enormous task. Despite this research and archeological findings many people still believe the Great pyramids were built for some kind of a higher purpose, many claims say they are built in the exact geometric center of the earth; and they also directly correlate
to the constellations. These people believe the pyramids contain an astronomical power, some think they are some kind of stars gate. These people believe the Egyptians possessed a lost technology that may have sunk with city of Atlantis; some believe aliens were the inspiration, and force behind theses erections, others think the pyramids were the divine influence of god himself in his preparation for the second coming of Christ. It would probably be absurd to think the Egyptians built the pyramids with only an understanding of mathematical concept, hard work, and a lot of time.