Before there was recorded history in China, there were the Great Pyramids of Giza. No small feat by any means was the effort and ingenuity it took to build them. The timing is a matter still under debate among many, ranging anywhere from twenty years to multiple lifetimes. In any case, you can be sure that the majority of the building time was spent on roughly the first one-third of the structure. This is based on the overall size and mass of the structure. But the reward of the intensive project was believed to be well worth it – a life everlasting: immortality.
Welcome to Immortal Monday as we look at one of the Seven Wonders of the World – The Great Pyramids of Giza. I had an intense curiosity where the pyramids were concerned growing up, and I would often plant myself in front of the television for many hour-long documentaries regarding the theories behinds their creation, function and symbolic meanings. Today, my plate is piled higher with many more items of interest, but the pyramids have never lost their luster.
- Their structure has made them world-famous and for that they will forever be known, thus making them immortal.
- In addition, it is believed by many that the Egyptians built the largest of the pyramids as a launching pad for the soul to the gods – to their immortality. If this doesn’t make them an element for Immortal Monday, I don’t know what does!
For the purpose of keeping this post tight and timely, I will focus primarily on the largest of the pyramids, Khufu’s Pyramid (also known as Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Cheops or the Pyramid of Giza).
What and Where
Constructed of limestone and granite, the largest pyramid, Khufu Pyramid, originally had a smooth outer casting made of limestone. This casting made it shiny and reflective, thus easily visible from afar. It’s unfortunate, but the outer casting was removed some 600 years ago to be used in the building of cities and Islam places of worship. This left the rough outer surface on the pyramid that we are all familiar with today.
So, was the smooth reflective surface simply a design feature or did it hold a higher purpose? One feature that has always baffled scientist is their physical location. Khufu’s Pyramid couldn’t be more precisely planted on the continents’ center line of gravitation if it were built today. Its location divides the earth’s land masses into equal quarters as it lies in the exact center of the earth’s land masses. I don’t know about you, but for the workers, artisans and masons of that day, I find that mind-boggling.
The Plate XX from an original 1877 copy of
Piazzi Smyth’s “Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid”.
Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) was Astronomer Royal for Scotland
and a respected Scientist.
There has been much speculation over the years about whether or not the pyramids were built by way of slave labor. Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass have been working on this question for years. Mark Lehner is an American archaeologist with 30 years’ excavation experience under his belt in Egypt. His team currently runs the Giza Plateau Mapping Project. Zahi Hawass is his colleague and an Egyptian archaeologist. They have unearthed enough evidence to convince them that these marvels where undeniably made by the Egyptians. Next to the pyramids, they have found:
- A cemetery with hundreds of graves (*600 skeletons) worthy of men ready to move on to the afterlife. These men suffered work related injuries, usually dying in their 30’s.
- A settlement area
- Evidence of a bakery
- 25 unique titles associated with the people working on the pyramid project by way of hieroglyphic inscription work titles. Titles such as Inspector of Building Tombs.
- Artisans and craftsmen
They estimate a total workforce of 36,000 men built the great Pyramid of Giza. Of this workforce, a small crew worked for the king continuously while the rest of the crew rotated. People wanted to help build the pyramid and thus provided food for the labor force. They did it out of love and when it was finished, everyone celebrated. It is just the way it was in Egypt.
In their studies, they even conducted hands-on experiments and found moving the stones very do-able with twelve barefoot men and a slick surface. As long as they had twenty men teams and ten-hour days, they believe the pyramid could be built in twenty years. Of course it is thought the labor force worked from sun-up to sun-down. To find out more regarding their work, check out Mark’s interview with Nova Beta.
For a more in-depth look at how the pyramids were built, pop over to World-Mysteries.com Construction of the Great Pyramid and scroll down to Cutting the Pyramid Blocks.
Stepping from the desert air into the dark cramped quarters of the inner chambers, we can begin to speculate as to their purpose and reasoning behind the design. Over the years it was held as a firm belief that the largest of the pyramids, Khufu’s pyramid, was built as a final resting place for the king, but no mummy or any evidence that any mummy ever rested in the tomb has ever been found. Nor were there ever any signs of kingly treasures. As for a tomb, this pyramid sure does have a lot of space! Extra rooms were included! There are guest bedrooms, and rooms to store all the kings extra stuff! I kid, but seriously, although the lower chamber has become known as the Queen’s chamber, it is unlikely any queen was ever buried there.
This video beautifully demonstrates the inner layout of Khufu’s Pyramid
Air shafts were added to let in fresh air, but of noticeable interest is the exact direction to which they face. Each shaft appears to lead directly to a particular star in the sky. The king’s chambers leads out to Orion’s Belt and Alpha Draco, the queen’s to Sirius and Kochab. Possible points of destination for our ascending royalty? More curious is the fact that the shafts leading to the queen’s chambers stop just short of connecting with the space itself. Hmm. No exit for the queen? Or is she being tested?
Did the Egyptians see themselves living as gods among the stars for all eternity? Many would say the evidence they left for us to find would suggest as much. Although I subscribe to a theory that is slightly more complicated than that simple statement. But whether they live today among the stars or not, their stories will continue to go on and on. What they accomplish continues to amaze the brightest of minds.
Other interesting facts you may not know about the pyramid –
- Each of the four sides are concave making it really eight sided rather than four. It is theorized this was done to support the weight of the stones and make them sturdy against any condition (i.e. sandstorms, earthquakes, etc.)
- The original door was a perfect fit. Easily opened from the inside, but when closed it was a perfect seamless fit that was impossible for any person to get a handle on, much less open (That is why there is a second opening now – the break-in to get into the tomb and open it from within many years ago)
- The pyramid was built with numerous symbolic measurements relating to numbers, dates and years. Passageways that chronicle the life of Christ, the total height relating to the Mayan calendar and their physical location lining up with the planetary rotation around the sun! It’s like one giant Nostradamus puzzle.
I could go on as the theories are fascinating, but they are also extremely involved and some of them practically scream for a post of their own. Who knows, mark that on my “to-do” list. So tell me, have you been to visit the great Pyramid of Giza? Or have you written a story involving the Great Pyramids? Did you learn anything new here today that makes you want to visit, if you haven’t already?
Thank you for stopping in! I always appreciate your time and comments. I am nothing if left without you.
*Number of skeletons unearthed comes from the Nova interview. As with all posts, I ask that you refer to my disclaimer before holding anything as truth. I do my best to present the facts as I know them, but the internet is a wily place.
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