Thursday, February 3, 2011

The pyramids of Giza

One of the world’s most famous and enigmatic buildings are Egypt’s pyramids, and the most mystical of all these is the Great Pyramid of Giza. However, many people question whether the structure really is just a simple, albeit awesome, tomb or whether the design holds one of the great secrets of civilisation. The pyramids were erected between 2800 BC and 2200 BC; the first was built by King Zoser in Saqqara near Memphis.

With the most impressive structure, it is believed it may have taken up to 30 years to quarry and assemble the two and a half million blocks of limestone, which weigh a total of six million tonnes. The base of the pyramid covers an area just over 30 acres. Certainly, there are many fascinating aspects of the Great Pyramid’s design. Its sides run perfectly north to south and east to west to within a tenth of a degree. The base is an almost exact square, with an error margin of just seven inches, whilst the pavement around the structure is level to within an inch. Unlike other pyramids, this one houses a great number of chambers and corridors, with the lengthy 345 feet long.

The big question arise here, is that how did they manage to build such gigantic structure with perfect measurements without the presence of much advanced technology at that time? A popular theory originating in the latter part of the last century is at the Great Pyramid was constructed by alien visitors. It has been proposed that these aliens did everything from creating Mankind to erecting the pyramid as a landing beacon for their next visit to Earth.

Here are some possible logical explanations on how they would have built the Great Pyramid.

 The source of the stones

They quarried the blocks (mostly limestone) and dressed them to size. The fine white limestone came from Tura, about 8 miles away on the other side of the Nile. The granite came from quarries at Aswan, around 600 miles upstream. According to Redford, professor of Classics and ancient Mediterranean studies at Penn State, the ancient Egyptian quarrying methods that include the processes for cutting and removing stone are still being studied. Scholars have found evidence that copper chisels were using for quarrying sandstone and limestone, for example, but harder stones such as granite and diorite would have required stronger materials

Possible tools used
How was it raised?

Once the stones were at the construction site, ramps were built to get them into place on the pyramid, said Redford. These ramps were made of mud brick and coated with chips of plaster to harden the surface. "If they consistently raised the ramp course by course as the teams dragged their blocks up, they could have gotten them into place fairly easily," he noted. At least one such ramp still exists, he said. Universite Laval professor Xavier Maldague wants to prove -with the help of four students -a controversial theory put forward in 2007 by French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin that the pyramid was built from the inside out.  Maldague believes the ramp is still there and intends to show it using infrared thermography -a technology that would help "see" through the pyramid's thick walls. "We are looking for direct proof to reveal the exact location of the internal ramp.

Example of a ramp
 Perfect calculation/ measurement

With some scientific and mathematical explanation, the Great Pyramid demonstrates knowledge of the true value of pi, and was built using the ‘sacred inch’. The ancient Egyptian was very particular about the direction the pyramid would be facing. The Egyptian astronomers had incredible skill lining up the sides of the pyramids on a particular star which causes the sides to face almost exactly north, south, east, and west. Since the Egyptians were known for their ability in mathematics, they were familiar with triangles and that a triangle with sides of 3, 4, and 5 units would automatically yield a right angle and using squares similar to what builders and masons use today making sure that the corners were perfectly square .

Despite these possibilities, for the world’s interested public, the mystery of the Great Pyramid at Giza is still unknown today.

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