The Egyptian pyramids are one of the most fascinating man-made structures in the world, with the Great Pyramids of Giza being the oldest and largest pyramids to date and one of the seven wonders of the world. More than 4,000 years after they were thought to have been built, the pyramids still retain their majesty, providing a small glimpse into the past civilization and their architectural ingenuity.
But, how were the pyramids made? Here we delve a little deeper into some of the most interesting theories.
The ramp theory
There are many versions of the ramp theory, but the spiral ramp theory is often considered the most plausible. Running along the outside of the pyramid, the ramp could be constructed as the pyramid gets taller. However, the main problem with this theory is the thought of the Egyptians maneuvering stones around corners. It’s hard enough hauling them up a ramp, but around corners too, puts a large doubt on the theory.
The water shaft theory
This theory suggests that a long water causeway was constructed from a local water source, as a way of transporting the stones by floating them to the site. Supposedly, floats were made of wood or inflated animal skins so they could be pulled to shore easily. A series of pipelines then controlled how the blocks moved upwards, without any heavy lifting. However, there is little evidence to support this claim including any traces of these water channels.
The pyramids were originally hills
One of the more far-fetched theories about the pyramids is that they were originally hills. The theory was first proposed in an 1844 article that suggested ‘the pyramids were isolated hills, used as quarries from which stones were drawn’ and ‘pyramids were built from the top downward’. An interesting but perhaps implausible take on things.
The perfectly smooth surface of the rocks has also been subject to much debate. One way that they may have achieved this finish, is by pouring liquid limestone concrete. On closer inspection of the pyramids, Egyptologist Jean-Phillipe Lauer detected air bubbles on the surface of the stone, which suggests the air may have been trapped under the liquid concrete. Furthermore, elements inside the stones were formed in a process that happened quickly – perhaps evidence of the process.
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