Mystery of Ancient Pyramids | How were they really built? | 1Topjob.xy
Hello, friends! About 4,500 years ago a wonder of the world was built in Egypt. One that continues to amaze people even today. The Great Pyramid of Giza. With a height of 147 meters, this remained the tallest structure in the world for over 4,000 years. Heavy stones were used to build the pyramids, and it is said to weigh 6 million tonnes. Compared to the present-day tallest structure, the Burj Khalifa, which weighs a mere 500,000 tonnes. The question that left people dumbstruck How was it built? Back then people didn’t have cranes, bulldozers, or modern technology. So much so, they didn’t even have wheels. Even so, they built a monument that still stands. Can you imagine a structure standing for over 4,500 years, through the hot summers, storms, torrential rains, and weathering? There’s no other surviving structure as old as this and as big as this. How was this made possible? Come, let’s understand the mystery of the pyramids, in this video. “The Great Pyramid is arguably the most enigmatic structure on the face of the Earth.” “Built around 2,500 BC, it is the tallest structure on the Earth, for more than 3,500 years.” “Built as gargantuan tombs of shining white limestone, The Pyramids are designed to hide the dark secrets of the dead.” The more we go back in time, the more difficult it gets to figure out sure-shot what happened, when, and how. It is estimated that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built in the year 2560 BC, by the Pharaoh Khufu. The monarchs of ancient Egypt are known as Pharaohs.
We don’t know much about Pharaoh Khufu except that he was the second monarch of the fourth dynasty of the old kingdom of Egypt. His reign is a highly debated topic, however, some historian estimates claim 23 years, some 34 years, and some more than 60 years. The pyramid is located on the west bank of the River Nile, and if you see photos or videos of it, you’ll see that it isn’t the only pyramid. You’d see two other pyramids built on the same site. Of the three, the tallest is the Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu. Smaller than it, is the Pyramid of Khafre, the second largest pyramid in Egypt. It is said to have been built by Khufu’s son Khafre. The third and the smallest is the Pyramid of Menkaure. Said to have been built by Khafre’s son. These are the only monuments from the era. In addition to these, are the Great Sphinx, several burial tombs, and smaller pyramids. There are said to be a total of 118 pyramids of varying shapes and sizes. Many of them have been eroded by the weathering, very few are in good condition. Perhaps the most well-preserved are these three pyramids. Especially the Great Pyramid of Giza.
What was the reason for building these?
The same reason why several ancient monuments were built. They were built as a tomb. The Pharaohs are buried inside the pyramids. Friends, ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife. They believed that life doesn’t end at death. After death, the soul of the person travels to the underworld, where it is then judged by the Gods. Those who lived a life of goodness remain immortal in the afterlife. So to prepare for the afterlife, the Pharaohs would commission tombs for themselves while they reigned. A large amount of food, treasures, jewellery, furniture, clothes were to be buried with the Pharaoh in the pyramid so that they would be used in the afterlife. After they died, their bodies were mummified and then sealed in a wooden or stone sarcophagus. You might wonder how we are certain that this is why the pyramids were built. There are two main reasons, friends. First: we have discovered scripts written on several other pyramids. Texts on such sarcophaguses and pyramids that tells us about their customs. Second: a majority of the historical pyramids in Egypt and Sudan, have been used as tombs. But specifically speaking, in the Great Pyramid of Giza, no substantial evidence was found regarding this, so people come up with their own alternative theories.
When the archaeologists entered the Great Pyramid, they found three relics and an empty sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is believed to be of Khufu and the treasures that must have surrounded it, is believed to have been looted before the archaeologists got to it. Those who disagree with this, have come up with bizarre alternative theories. One popular theory making rounds is that the Great Pyramid was a power plant that could generate electricity. People who believe this claim that the ancient Egyptians were very technologically advanced and that they had already learnt how to harness electricity. As evidence for this theory, some of the ancient artwork are presented. On the walls of some ancient Egyptian temples such artworks have been discovered that are used to back the claims that they were building a light bulb. They say that the Egyptians had invented it, but then the technology was somehow lost later. As I’ve said repeatedly, such conspiracy theories are cooked up when there’s a lack of substantial evidence in a matter. But the conspiracy theories are often so bizarre, that they make no logical sense. If light bulbs did exist in ancient Egypt, why have we not found any evidence proving it? In reality, this artwork depicts an Egyptian mythological story. Another popular theory claims that the pyramid was a granary to store the crops. This theory was proposed by American politician Ben Carson in 1998, according to his “personal theory” the pyramids were built by Jesus Christ’s father. “My personal theory is that Joseph built the Pyramids in order to store grains. Now, all the archaeologists think that they were made by Pharaohs, okay?” Friends, here you can see the second major reason for coming up with conspiracy theories, religious appeasement by politicians. Anyway, today it is absolutely clear, with all the historians in agreement, that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a tomb. Back then people believed that the grander a tomb, the more treasures and food in a tomb, the better would be the afterlife of the Pharaoh. Now, we get to the biggest question. How were these Pyramids built? Honestly, this is the most mysterious aspect of the pyramids.
How did the people build a 147m tall structure?
Using these enormous rocks, that weigh anywhere between 2.5 tonnes to 80 tonnes. Each stone is carved so meticulously and evenly, when there were no standards tools for carving. How were the stones stacked on top of each other? When people didn’t even use wheels? All of this, within a period of 20 years. Friends, the Great Pyramid of Giza is said to have been built in 20 years. There are several theories regarding this. I won’t be talking about bizarre conspiracy theories here. But before we discuss the theories, let’s look at the misconception that people have regarding the pyramids. Films show slave labour being used to build the pyramids. Poor slaves, forced to work here all day and getting brutally abused and whipped by the supervisors. You would’ve seen this in some film or the other. For a long time, people believed that slaves built the pyramids. A Greek historian from the 5th century BC, Herodotus, was the first to suggest that slaves built the pyramids. But today we know this to be false. People who built these pyramids were highly skilled labourers. They weren’t starved and abused, rather they were given abundant food. They were fed so well that they were stronger and more well-fed than the average Egyptian citizen back then. They dwelled in cities near the construction site. Various communities supported them across the seasons. Such as farmers, when the farmers weren’t actively engaged in their fields, they would help with the construction in their free time. In a way, the citizens in the kingdom were united for the success of the national project. They were very loyal to their Pharaoh. About 20,000-30,000 workers were involved in its construction, working 10 hours in a day, to build this Great Pyramid of Giza. As far as the construction material is concerned, about 5.5 million tonnes of limestone, 8,000 tonnes of granite, and 500,000 tonnes of mortar were used. Most of these materials were sourced from the nearby areas. At most, they were brought in from the region of Southern Egypt, that was around 800 km from the site.
The question arises, how were these rocks cut?
Copper was the most common metal used then, the tools were made of copper. The harder rocks of granite were broken with Dolerite. They used some unique methods. Such as finding cracks and holes in the rocks, putting in wooden wedges soaked in water in those cracks, when the rocks absorbed the water, the wedges would expand and the rock would break apart. Now, a major question is how were these stones moved? Back then wheels weren’t used in carts. There wasn’t a vehicle with wheels that they could load up with the stones and easily pushed it to the site. A plausible theory is that they built rafts that floated on the river, to move the stones from the quarries. And once the stones were at the Pyramids, they were stacked on top of each other using sledges over wet ground. This is an interesting theory discovered recently in a study in 2014. The basis of this theory is this painting, found at the tomb of Djehutihotep. This is a later tomb built around 1900 BC, In this painting, you can see 170 people pulling this statue on a sledge. Ropes were used to pull this heavy statue. If you look closely at the painting, you’d see that a man is pouring water on the sand in front of the statue. At first, archaeologists believed this was a part of the ritual. A tradition perhaps of pouring water before the sledge. When this was tested out by physicist Daniel Bonn and his team, they found that having a certain amount of water in the sand, reduces the friction between the ground and the thing being pulled. This is a specific ratio, about 2% to 5% of water into the sand. It makes it easier to pull things on wet sand.
Once we understood this, the next question is how were the stones stacked on top of each other?How were these heavy stones lifted up without heavy machinery?
Normally, a system of pulleys can be used to lift them, but as I told you, wheels, as we know it, didn’t exist in Egypt during the 4th Dynasty. It existed for pottery only. Friends, they had built an efficient system of ramps. In 2015, a team of English and French archaeologists uncovered a 4,500-year-old wooden ramp in a quarry. Scholars suggest that a ramp must’ve been built like this, a straight slope from the ground to the top. To move the stones up the slope, they installed a system of wooden pillars on the sides of the slopes, And then they used the ropes around the pillars, to pull up the stones. As you can see in the artwork on the screen. This was suggested by physicist Joseph West in 2014. According to this theory, after completing a level of the Pyramid, They would’ve created a new slope, And to ensure that the angle of the slope wasn’t steep, They would’ve built a long slope. By building a long slope, the tilt of the slope could be reduced. In another theory, it was suggested that they might have used levers to stack the stones on top of each other. Look at how it works in this drawing. Basically, they would need to take a middle point which would be higher, a long pole would be put atop it, with weight on the other side of the pole, and then it would be easier to lift, turn, and place the stone as planned. Scholars believe that a similar system, known as Shadoof, existed in Egypt for millenniums. They used the same mechanism to draw water from the River Nile. To irrigate their fields. These theories sound fascinating, but the inconsistency arises in the form of construction time. We know that the Pyramid was completed within 20 years. If 20,000 people transported each stone like this, a stone needs to be placed every 3 minutes, each day all around the year. It seems quite unlikely that they would’ve worked so rapidly. Friends this is why this is still a mystery to this day. Both theories sound reasonable but they do not completely explain what had happened exactly. We do know that the layers at the bottom were placed without mortar. And then mortar was added to the layers on top, that increases the stability of a structure. This is why, throughout thousands of years, the Pyramid of Giza still stands, despite several earthquakes. There’s also a mystery regarding the mortar, though scientists know the chemistry of the mortar used, they have not been able to recreate it. And finally, the last step of the construction was the outermost layer of the pyramid, it was made of fine, whiteish limestone. It meant that when sunlight fell on it, these pyramids would shine white brilliantly. This was lost over thousands of years. The outermost layers have worn off from the Pyramids of Khufu and Menkaure, but in the Pyramid of Khafre, you can see a part of the layer at the top. Moving on from the construction to the design of the pyramids, it is utterly fascinating. Did you know that the pyramids are designed in a way that the directions point exactly towards North, East, South, and West? The error here is minute, an error of merely one-fifteenth of a degree. These are believed to point accurately towards the four directions.
How could that be?
There was no compass back then. No modern technology such as GPS. Once again, researchers tried to give their theoretical explanations. About how the Egyptians could achieve such a high level of precision. A popular theory is said to be by following the Autumn Equinox. When the tilt of the Earth allows the day and night to be equal. The shadow on the ground is in a straight direction towards East and West. Using this method, the degree of error in the calculations of the pyramid would be the same degree of error in the shadows during the Autumn Equinox. The second theory is believed to be the constellations. That the stars in the sky were used by the Egyptians to align their design. In 1989, Robert Bauval, an author and Egyptology enthusiast, came up with the Orion Correlation Theory. He claimed that the three pyramids in Giza, were aligned similarly to the three stars of the Orion’s Belt. He believed that the alignment was intentional. And that the ancient Egyptians knew Astronomy. That they would track the stars at night, and study them. And accordingly, they harvested various crops at certain times. Historians believe this to be a Fringe Theory. Fringe refers to something that isn’t mainstream. Some points that are used against this theory, is that the three pyramids weren’t planned at the same time, neither were they built at the same time. And when this theory was tested by astronomers in 1999, studying the pyramids in the context of the stars in the Orion’s Belt, it was found that the pyramids do not align exactly with it. The thing is that, the constellation has moved a bit over the course of thousands of years. Back then the stars weren’t aligned in the same place as we see them now. It was important to discuss this theory as it’s a classic case where humans try to find patterns even in things that have none. When we do not have concrete evidence for something, when we lack an exact explanation, we create our ideas, and if we can find any link anywhere, we believe it to be true. If you take the same thing to the next level, exaggerate it a bit, and you’ll have bizarre theories. Some people claim that the pyramids were built by aliens, because they believe it wasn’t possible for humans to create this. In my opinion, such theories go against the principle of scientific thinking. This is the shortcut method of somehow coming up with an answer when we cannot find any. It is better to acknowledge the facts that we know and then clearly lay out what we do not know. So that the next generation of archaeologists, historians can carry out research on them. And discover the complete solution or explanation, about the mysteries. If you liked the video, click here to watch more mystery-related videos, Such as on Titanic and the Bermuda Triangle. Let’s meet in the next Post. Thank you very much!
Leave a Reply