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How to Build a Pyramid

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Ian Nottingham
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« on: April 12, 2007, 12:42:52 am »



How to Build a Pyramid  Volume 60 Number 3, May/June 2007 
by Bob Brier 

Hidden ramps may solve the mystery of the Great Pyramid's construction.


Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only the Great Pyramid of Giza remains. An estimated 2 million stone blocks weighing an average of 2.5 tons went into its construction. When completed, the 481-foot-tall pyramid was the world's tallest structure, a record it held for more than 3,800 years, when England's Lincoln Cathedral surpassed it by a mere 44 feet.

We know who built the Great Pyramid: the pharaoh Khufu, who ruled Egypt about 2547-2524 B.C. And we know who supervised its construction: Khufu's brother, Hemienu. The pharaoh's right-hand man, Hemienu was "overseer of all construction projects of the king" and his tomb is one of the largest in a cemetery adjacent to the pyramid.

What we don't know is exactly how it was built, a question that has been debated for millennia. The earliest recorded theory was put forward by the Greek historian Herodotus, who visited Egypt around 450 B.C., when the pyramid was already 2,000 years old. He mentions "machines" used to raise the blocks and this is usually taken to mean cranes. Three hundred years later, Diodorus of Sicily wrote, "The construction was effected by mounds" (ramps). Today we have the "space alien" theory--those primitive Egyptians never could have built such a fabulous structure by themselves; extraterrestrials must have helped them.

Modern scholars have favored these two original theories, but deep in their hearts, they know that neither one is correct. A radical new one, however, may provide the solution. If correct, it would demonstrate a level of planning by Egyptian architects and engineers far greater than anything ever imagined before.



According to the new theory, an external ramp was used to build the lower third of the pyramid and was then cannibalized, its blocks taken through an internal ramp for the higher levels of the structure. (Dassault Systemes) [LARGER IMAGE]
The External Ramp and Crane Theories
The first theory is that a ramp was built on one side of the pyramid and as the pyramid grew, the ramp was raised so that throughout the construction, blocks could be moved right up to the top. If the ramp were too steep, the men hauling the blocks would not be able to drag them up. An 8-percent slope is about the maximum possible, and this is the problem with the single ramp theory. With such a gentle incline, the ramp would have to be approximately one mile long to reach the top of the pyramid. But there is neither room for such a long ramp on the Giza Plateau, nor evidence of such a massive construction. Also, a mile-long ramp would have had as great a volume as the pyramid itself, virtually doubling the man-hours needed to build the pyramid. Because the straight ramp theory just doesn't work, several pyramid experts have opted for a modified ramp theory.

This approach suggests that the ramp corkscrewed up the outside of the pyramid, much the way a mountain road spirals upward. The corkscrew ramp does away with the need for a massive mile-long one and explains why no remains of such a ramp have been found, but there is a flaw with this version of the theory. With a ramp corkscrewing up the outside of the pyramid, the corners couldn't be completed until the final stage of construction. But careful measurements of the angles at the corners would have been needed frequently to assure that the corners would meet to create a point at the top. Dieter Arnold, a renowned pyramid expert at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, comments in his definitive work, Building in Egypt: "During the whole construction period, the pyramid trunk would have been completely buried under the ramps. The surveyors could therefore not have used the four corners, edges, and foot line of the pyramid for their calculations." Thus the modified ramp theory also has a serious problem.

The second theory centers on Herodotus's machines. Until recently Egyptian farmers used a wooden, cranelike device called a shadouf to raise water from the Nile for irrigation. This device can be seen in ancient tomb paintings, so we know it was available to the pyramid builders. The idea is that hundreds of these cranes at various levels on the pyramid were used to lift the blocks. One problem with this theory is that it would involve a tremendous amount of timber and Egypt simply didn't have forests to provide the wood. Importing so much lumber would have been impractical. Large timbers for shipbuilding were imported from Lebanon, but this was a very expensive enterprise.

Perhaps an even more fatal flaw to the crane theory is that there is nowhere to place all these cranes. The pyramid blocks tend to decrease in size higher up the Great Pyramid. I climbed it dozens of times in the 1970s and '80s, when it was permitted, and toward the top, the blocks sometimes provide only 18 inches of standing room, certainly not enough space for cranes large enough to lift heavy blocks of stone. The crane theory can't explain how the blocks of the Great Pyramid were raised. So how was it done?



The complexities of the Great Pyramid's design and construction could not have been deciphered without the aid of 3-D imaging software. (Dassault Systemes) [LARGER IMAGE]
The Internal Ramp Theory
A radical new idea has recently been presented by Jean-Pierre Houdin, a French architect who has devoted the last seven years of his life to making detailed computer models of the Great Pyramid. Using start-of-the-art 3-D software developed by Dassault Systemes, combined with an initial suggestion of Henri Houdin, his engineer father, the architect has concluded that a ramp was indeed used to raise the blocks to the top, and that the ramp still exists--inside the pyramid!

The theory suggests that for the bottom third of the pyramid, the blocks were hauled up a straight, external ramp. This ramp was far shorter than the one needed to reach the top, and was made of limestone blocks, slightly smaller than those used to build the bottom third of the pyramid. As the bottom of the pyramid was being built via the external ramp, a second ramp was being built, inside the pyramid, on which the blocks for the top two-thirds of the pyramid would be hauled. The internal ramp, according to Houdin, begins at the bottom, is about 6 feet wide, and has a grade of approximately 7 percent. This ramp was put into use after the lower third of the pyramid was completed and the external ramp had served its purpose.

The design of the internal ramp was partially determined by the design of the interior of the pyramid. Hemienu knew all about the problems encountered by Pharaoh Sneferu, his and Khufu's father. Sneferu had considerable difficulty building a suitable pyramid for his burial, and ended up having to construct three at sites south of Giza! The first, at Meidum, may have had structural problems and was never used. His second, at Dashur--known as the Bent Pyramid because the slope of its sides changes midway up--developed cracks in the walls of its burial chamber. Huge cedar logs from Lebanon had to be wedged between the walls to keep the pyramid from collapsing inward, but it too was abandoned. There must have been a mad scramble to complete Sneferu's third and successful pyramid, the distinctively colored Red Pyramid at Dashur, before the aging ruler died.

From the beginning, Hemienu planned three burial chambers to ensure that whenever Khufu died, a burial place would be ready. One was carved out of the bedrock beneath the pyramid at the beginning of its construction. In case the pharaoh had died early, this would have been his tomb. When, after about five years, Khufu was still alive and well, the unfinished underground burial chamber was abandoned and the second burial chamber, commonly called the Queen's Chamber, was begun. Some time around the fifteenth year of construction Khufu was still healthy and this chamber was abandoned unfinished and the last burial chamber, the King's Chamber, was built higher up--in the center of the pyramid. (To this day, Khufu's sarcophagus remains inside the King's Chamber, so early explorers of the pyramid incorrectly assumed that the second chamber had been for his queen.)

Huge granite and limestone blocks were needed for the roof beams and rafters of the Queen's and King's Chambers. Some of these beams weigh more than 60 tons and are far too large to have been brought up through the internal ramp. Thus the external ramp had to remain in use until the large blocks were hauled up. Once that was done, the external ramp was dismantled and its blocks were led up the pyramid via the internal ramp to build the top two-thirds of the pyramid. Perhaps most blocks in this portion of the pyramid are smaller than those at the bottom third because they had to move up the narrow internal ramp.



Wooden hoists on notches left in the edge of the pyramid could have been used to turn blocks onto the next part of the internal ramp. (Dassault Systemes) [LARGER IMAGE]
There were several considerations that went into designing the internal ramp. First, it had to be fashioned very precisely so that it didn't hit the chambers or the internal passageways that connect them. Second, men hauling heavy blocks of stones up a narrow ramp can't easily turn a 90-degree corner; they need a place ahead of the block to stand and pull. The internal ramp had to provide a means of turning its corners so, Houdin suggests, the ramp had openings there where a simple crane could be used to turn the blocks.

There are plenty of theories about how the Great Pyramid could have been built that lack evidence. Is the internal ramp theory any different? Is there any evidence to support it? Yes.

A bit of evidence appears to be one of the ramp's corner notches used for turning blocks. It is two-thirds of the way up the northeast corner--precisely at a point where Houdin predicted there would be one. Furthermore, in 1986 a member of a French team that was surveying the pyramid reported seeing a desert fox enter it through a hole next to the notch, suggesting that there is an open area close to it, perhaps the ramp. It seems improbable that the fox climbed more than halfway up the pyramid. More likely there is some undetected crevice toward the bottom where the fox entered the ramp and then made its way up the ramp and exited near the notch. It would be interesting to attach a telemetric device to a fox and send him into the hole to monitor his movements! The notch is suggestive, but there is another bit of evidence supplied by the French mentioned earlier that is far more compelling.



A microgravimetry survey of the Great Pyramid in the 1980s yielded the enigmatic image at right. Less dense areas (indicated in green) seem to correspond to an internal ramp proposed by Jean-Pierre Houdin (diagram). (Dassault Systemes; Courtesy EDF) [LARGER IMAGE]
When the French team surveyed the Great Pyramid, they used microgravimetry, a technique that enabled them to measure the density of different sections of the pyramid, thus detecting hidden chambers. The French team concluded that there were no large hidden chambers inside it. If there was a ramp inside the pyramid, shouldn't the French have detected it? In 2000, Henri Houdin was presenting this theory at a scientific conference where one of the members of the 1986 French team was present. He mentioned to Houdin that their computer analysis of the pyramid did yield one curious image, something they couldn't interpret and therefore ignored. That image showed exactly what Jean-Pierre Houdin's theory had predicted--a ramp spiraling up through the pyramid.

Far from being just another theory, the internal ramp has considerable evidence behind it. A team headed by Jean-Pierre Houdin and Rainer Stadlemann, former director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo and one of the greatest authorities on pyramids, has submitted an application to survey the Great Pyramid in a nondestructive way to see if the theory can be confirmed. They are hopeful that the Supreme Council of Antiquities will grant permission for a survey. (Several methods could be used, including powerful microgravimetry, high-resolution infrared photography, or even sonar.) If so, sometime this year we may finally know how Khufu's monumental tomb was built. One day, if it is indeed there, we might just be able to remove a few blocks from the exterior of the pyramid and walk up the mile-long ramp Hemienu left hidden within the Great Pyramid.

Bob Brier is a senior research fellow at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University and a contributing editor to ARCHAEOLOGY.


2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America
www.archaeology.org/0705/etc/pyramid.html


http://www.archaeology.org/0705/etc/pyramid.html
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Qoais
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2007, 01:22:13 am »

Hi Ian
I've read this theory and I suppose it's as possible as any of the others Smiley  There was a debate going on in another forum having to do with what the blocks were made of.  As in possibly concrete.  Dr. Davidovits demonstrated that it was possible for the Egyptians to pour the stuff.  What I was wondering, DID they have ropes with the strength necessary to lift that much weight?  Some say yes, some say no.  (I've never believed that ramp theory).  I'm not sure I believe this theory either, due to the perfection of the construction, especially the ceilings in the chambers.  I also wondered if the pyramid ever did have a captstone on it either.  How would they ever get it up there? 
I know one thing, I hope I'm alive when they finally figure it out Grin
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Ian Nottingham
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2007, 01:47:58 am »

Hi Qoais,

I'm not certain I believe it either.  I submit it because, like you said, it is as good of an explanation as any other.  I differ with you about the ramps, I think that ramps had to be used at one point or another, it would be damned near impossible not to.

Didn't Sitchin have some Sumerian texts stating that the pyramids are older than their traditional dating?
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2007, 03:26:28 am »

Hi Ian
Did you see the little video Dr. Davidovits had made up?  There are ramps, but just little ones,going from one level to the next.  You see, I think, that the pyramid is so well thought out, so perfectly aligned, so perfectly square etc., that the whole thing has to be solid except for the occasional chamber.  You know, like laying a floor, then you lay the next row on top, again like a floor only smaller.  I haven't got a clue how to build even a birdhouse, so I have no idea how they designed and built it with such perfection, and for it to have lasted this many years, it must be solid.  I mean I can't accept that story that it's filled with rubble.  Rubble eventually compresses with the weight of the blocks on top, and the whole thing would sag.  Like I've posted in another thread, if the secret doors operate on harmonics, one would have to think that it's even beyond our comprehension how it could be so perfect.  I mean, if the doors slide upward on an invisiable track, those blocks couldn't move even a smidgeon.  Supposedly there is a magnificent chamber UNDER the pyramid in the bed rock, that's all finished with marble and has ancient machines in there and some kind of disks or spheres that explains everything.  I sure with the fellow in charge would get on with excavating the thing.  I doubt it's because of lack on funds.  If they announced they needed funds to excavate the Sphinx and pyramid, I bet tons of people would donate.  So long as the information would be made public.  Like have a TV crew there while they're doing it so they couldn't hide anything.  Don't suppose the churches of the world would like what they find if it's advanced technology.  Even the scientists and the Egyptologists would have to eat crow Grin
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 02:57:22 pm »

http://www.drexel.edu/univrel/media/pyramid.pdf

This is a link to an excellent site regarding The Great Pyramid of Giza - Evidence for cast Blocks - Drexel Univ. Philadelphia
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2007, 11:47:29 am »

http://atlansfound.gq.nu/PAGE%202.htm




If we take the fact that there were "giants in those days" and the giants built the pyramids, it would be easier to understand the size of the work.  The woman standing at the man's feet in the statue is a full grown woman.  Human woman.  Not a child. If this is a life-sized combo, humans would appear to be little insects in comparison.  How the giants bred human woman would be beyond me, (she'd never live to carry to term!) unless it was DNA manipulation.
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An open-minded view of the past allows for an unprejudiced glimpse into the future.

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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2007, 12:50:41 pm »



A close up of a bas-relief of the Rekhmire's tomb illustrating the procedure of moulding large blocks.

Just think - if these guys were 12-14 feet tall!!!!

Look at the guy on the very bottom left - sitting down.  Looks like he's wearing my husband's welding helmet.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2007, 01:16:33 pm »



Plank Pattern on Ceiling of pyramid of Ounas
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2007, 11:25:39 pm »

Hi Qoais,

I actually don't subscribe to any of the explanations that giants or aliens built the pyramids.  Nor telepathy or harmonics.  I admit that some of that stuff is entertaining, but until there is actual evidence for any of it (as of now, there isn't), I prefer to keep my feet firmly grounded in reality.  I do give Atlantis some chance of responsibility for them, though, if only because Manetho's king's list seems to suggest that the original God-Kings of Egypt were new to the land and because the research of people like Joe Jochmans ("How Old are the Pyramids?") makes a good deal of sense to me.  I also don't buy Vyse's entries into his diary and believed he committed forgery in order to claim a find.

All of this is a far cry from the supernatural attributes usually given to Egypt, though, but then, I don't believe Egypt needs those elements to be attractive - a secret history, yet to be unravelled is enough for me.

Ian
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2007, 03:37:02 am »

Hi Ian
I'm not sure that I "subscribe" to any particular theory either.  At least about the pyramids.  I do think it's very possible they did pour the blocks.  Now whether it was giants that did it or not, who knows?  I just find the whole thing - the big picture- totally facinating.  I mean there WERE giants, as we've now discovered their skeletons.  Giants are mentioned in the Bible, as well as in most folk lore.  If there's a connection to "Atlanteans" thru these giants, I'd like to check it out.  I do understand that the Kings of Egypt came from elsewhere, but WHERE?  many theories abound there also.  Since scientists have checked back with each new discovery they make, they say we only started to stand up-right a certain number of years ago.  So - where did these giants come from?  Were we giants before we weren't?  Or are they from somewhere else?  Look at all the cultures that have legends of the "gods" coming in their flying machines.  Pictures of these carved in rock, in a pyramid, and the Vedas describing them in detail.  Were WE once super-intelligent, and then became stupid?  It's hard to figure unless we put an unknown into the equation.  We just have to figure out what that un-known is.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2007, 05:31:50 am »

First cut blocks of stone to the size found.
(Check the quarries).

Then pulverize 5-6 million tons of rock to sub-millimetre size.

Then reconstitute the blocks to their original size after having mixed the pulverized rock with 5-6 million tons of water (at least).

Don't forget to sort out the fossils by hand having avoided pulverizing them and to carefully put them back into the concrete blocks.

Of course you have to carry 10-12 million tons of rock/water now, not 5-6 million tons of stone.

Oh! And of course there are the granite structures which had to be fashioned and transported.

Should take a couple of hundred years or so ...

There are some things we do not know.

But we do know the pyramids were NOT made from concrete.
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2007, 07:57:24 pm »

Catastophe - what do you think these guys are doing?  Making mud pies? Grin





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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2007, 07:07:15 am »

Quote
Catastophe - what do you think these guys are doing?  Making mud pies?

Where did you get that picture from?

It is from the tomb of the Vizier Rekhmire who served Thutmose III 1479-1425 BC (18th Dynasty) and depicts phases in the preparation and transport of unfired brick. Unfired brick was the most commonly used construction material in Egyptian architecture.

Apart from the wrong dynasty the picture is actually shown back to front. Also it is about 1200 years after the GP.

Sources:
Guide to the Pyramids of Egypt by Alberto Siliotti and
British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt.

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johnee
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2007, 01:56:50 pm »

The picture below is my desktop background and most favourite image.





The two paddles behind this man are the smallest paddles on the Khufu solar barque and they must be paddles because there are no rowlocks, nor provision for rowlocks.
They have been tied on in this way for display only.
There are no markings on the gunwales, the upper edge or planking of the side of a boat that would indicate that these paddles were ever used as oars. The top of some the paddles appear to be shaped for a single if large handhold and there is no seating for any rowers, nor any way for rowers to gain a purchase hold on the decking.
Finally there is not enough deck space for a large number of crew, even if these paddles would have needed just two crew per paddle it would have overcrowded the available deck-space.
So it seems only logical that these paddles defensive to the Solar Barque were handled individually by men of extreme stature in other words here is proof of giants.




from the Egypt Archive



"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." --Isaac Newton

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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2007, 03:10:47 pm »

Hi Johnee
I was just looking at those pictures this morning!!  I remember reading about when they found the boats of the Pharoah, they were trying to figure out how to put them back together, and it turned out there was a numbering system marked on the pieces, like a sewing pattern, and once they figured that out, it came easier.  I was also just looking at a picture that shows how it was "stitched" together - lashed together - over and under - so it wouldn't leak.

Now some (not me) would say that this boat was never meant to be used in this life on earth.  That it was buried with the Pharoah for use in the next life, therefore, they didn't really need anyone to propell it.  However, if you figure the dead pharoah is inside then there would be room for the polers.
When the Egyptians buried things with the Pharoah, it was for him to make use of in his next life, so to me, the boat would have had to be "usable" and not just representational.  They put real food, real oil, real treasures in the tomb, so to me, the boat would have had to be real and operable also.  Whether or not giants propelled it, I don't know.  If those oars are balsa wood, they'd be fairly light even tho they are long.
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An open-minded view of the past allows for an unprejudiced glimpse into the future.

Logic rules.

"Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong."
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