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Still Waters

How Much Would It Cost to Build the Great

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Even with cranes, helicopters, tractors and trucks at our disposal, it would be tough to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza today. Its construction 4,500 years ago is so astounding in some people's eyes that they invoke mystical or even alien involvement. But the current theory of the building of the Great Pyramid — the notion that it was assembled from the inside out, via a spiraling internal ramp — is probably still the best construction plan.

Following that plan, we could replicate the Wonder of the Ancient World for a cool $5 billion.

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This is absurd on its face.

We've had nearly 5000 years of progress since G1 was built and a builder

is suggesting it would cost $5,000,000,000.00 to build it with modern tech-

nology!!!! Just imagine what it might have cost with bronze tools and noth-

ing but muscle power. Progress is about improved efficiency so it would have

been far more expensive for the ancients.

The population was likely in the 1 1/2 million range leaving the cost at

$3,300 per man, woman, and child. Ancient economies simply didn't produce

this kind of wealth. The quantity of resources consumed just in increased

caloric intake for the workers would have been as far out of their reach as

the stars if the calculation of five billion dollars is correct.

Edited by cladking

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If the pyramid construction was financed using the 'magic' of easy credit, cost didn't matter to the AE! After 5000 years, the global economy finally looks about ready to collapse under the debt service though.

When that happens, all that will be left standing is that pyramid. And a few semi-ancient banking houses of course.

Oops wrong forum.

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Even with cranes, helicopters, tractors and trucks at our disposal, it would be tough to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza today. Its construction 4,500 years ago is so astounding in some people's eyes that they invoke mystical or even alien involvement. But the current theory of the building of the Great Pyramid — the notion that it was assembled from the inside out, via a spiraling internal ramp — is probably still the best construction plan.

That doesn't make any sense. How could the internal ramp be the best theory, yet the author suggests helicopters, cranes and trucks? Direct stacking with a super crane directly in the middle is what would be needed. Several cranes to make it go faster.

The price of 5 billion seems kind of high to me. The equipment would be rented, and probably (depending on the time required) in the hundred million range. Labor also would probably be only in the millions. No complex archetecture, or internal components, such as electric, water, heat, ventilation, would be needed. That leaves heavy labor, which again would be in the millions. That leaves buying the lot and buying and transporting the materials.

Limestone—Dimension limestone includes bituminous,

dolomitic, and siliceous limestones. Production in 1995

remained comparable with 1994 levels at 363,000 tons with a

5% increase in value to $61 million. It was produced by 29

companies at 39 quarries in 13 States.

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/stone_dimension/800495.pdf

So, this leads me to believe if I wanted to buy the 5.5 million tons (15 times the amount above) of limestone would be like... 61 million times 15 times 2 (for inflation and transport) + Other costs mentioned above = 2 billion dollars.

While traditional theories hold that the pyramid was built via a long external ramp, such a ramp would have had to wind around for more than a mile to be shallow enough to drag stones up, and it would have had a stone volume twice that of the pyramid itself.

A new, more economical theory gaining traction among architects and Egyptologists holds that the bottom third of the pyramid's height wasconstructed by stones dragged up an external ramp. But above that — for the remaining 33 percent or so of the pyramidal volume — the Egyptians worked their way up through the inside of the structure, building around a gently sloping internal ramp and fitting stone blocks into place as they ascended. Furthermore, the workers could have re-used the stones quarried for the external ramp to build the pyramid's upper echelons, so that nothing went to waste.

What also seem weird is that the author says that a external ramp would be way too long, like a mile or more to be usable to drag stones. Yet says the internal ramp would be gently sloping. Wouldn't that mean the internal ramp would have to be like 2 miles long? At around 300 feet wide at the halfway point, that would mean roughly that the internal ramp would have to go around nearly 10 times to be as shallow angled as is implied.

With the lower external ramps being recycled, how are blocks supposed to make it to the entrances to the internal ramps that are supposed to starting half way up.

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If the pyramid construction was financed using the 'magic' of easy credit, cost didn't matter to the AE! After 5000 years, the global economy finally looks about ready to collapse under the debt service though.

When that happens, all that will be left standing is that pyramid. And a few semi-ancient banking houses of course.

Oops wrong forum.

I like it. It's the original, ultimate and penultimate pyramid scheme. :)

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It would cost much more, this figure doesn't take into account legal red tape, lawyers to get approvals, research environmental impacts, kickbacks for local politicians, inflated union contracts. maybe 10 or 15 billion.

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I like it. It's the original, ultimate and penultimate pyramid scheme. :)

Hah...no kidding. If it's all been a giant pyramid scheme, it's time we call out those at the top.

Which I'm happy to help with once I find my way out of the grotto.

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This is absurd on its face.

We've had nearly 5000 years of progress since G1 was built and a builder

is suggesting it would cost $5,000,000,000.00 to build it with modern tech-

nology!!!! Just imagine what it might have cost with bronze tools and noth-

ing but muscle power. Progress is about improved efficiency so it would have

been far more expensive for the ancients.

The population was likely in the 1 1/2 million range leaving the cost at

$3,300 per man, woman, and child. Ancient economies simply didn't produce

this kind of wealth. The quantity of resources consumed just in increased

caloric intake for the workers would have been as far out of their reach as

the stars if the calculation of five billion dollars is correct.

Ah, but you're not allowing for inflation.

Seriously though, we don't know enough about their wage system to make your kind of assumptions and what we do know reduces or eliminates some of the relative costs. For instance, for all but the granite, transportation would've been included as labor due to the adjacency of the quarries and the stone itself was likely free as the quarry would've probably been considered state property. With the nile adjacent, water would've been free as well. With no powered transport or machinery, there's be no fuel costs and relatively few operation costs that didn't also go into labor. More work but less jobs, so things even out a bit.

You'll notice too the article only places the number of workers at around 4000.

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Another way to save money would be to construct a custom crane for the job. One focused less on placement and more on speed of delivery. Placement of 2 ton blocks is nowhere near the hassle that it used to be. A single person experienced with a pallet jack could actually take care of a significant quantity.

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Ah, but you're not allowing for inflation.

Seriously though, we don't know enough about their wage system to make your kind of assumptions and what we do know reduces or eliminates some of the relative costs. For instance, for all but the granite, transportation would've been included as labor due to the adjacency of the quarries and the stone itself was likely free as the quarry would've probably been considered state property. With the nile adjacent, water would've been free as well. With no powered transport or machinery, there's be no fuel costs and relatively few operation costs that didn't also go into labor. More work but less jobs, so things even out a bit.

You'll notice too the article only places the number of workers at around 4000.

Obviously the relative valuations of things in the 28th century BC would

be much different than they are now. A few oxen might have about the same

relative value as a diesel locomotive today. A small sailing ship would be

equivalent to a brand new 18 wheeler. One thing that would have a great deal

of value would be food. This would apply to all food but especially protein

foods during the peak growing season when no crops could be grown.

Wealth is the outgrowth of "profitable trades". In an economy without money

this is far more difficult to quantify or to compare with our own systems. But

where both parties profit in a trade the net wealth of the economy improves

the sum total of the profits. Wealth can originate in the ground as growing

crops or at the hands of tradesmen. Numerous sources of wealth exist in even

simple economies but when this wealth is considered as what's left over after

the needs of the entire population are met it's very safe to say that the anc-

ient Egyptian economy could not generate the kind of wealth to expend to such

a massive project. This would be $110 annually for every man, woman, and child

from an economy that even lacked fuel. Even today Egyptians only earn about

$3000 annually and this is with many centuries of progress and efficiency.

Yes, they had ample labor. Transportation was excellent. But projects of this

magnitude require endless amounts of supplies and many of these supplies were

no doubt high cost. This would include the large amounts of food that would be

required but also the bronze and other tools or supplies. To put it in perspec-

tive a man's labor was probably worth only around $6 per day (six loaves of bread)

but a bronze chisel which would be needed in huge quantities because they wore out

would cost thirty or forty dollars. The value of the shipping industry dedicated

would be a tremendous drain on the economy. There simply wouldn't be the kind of

surplus available to take on such a project.

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And yet, there was. Which is about as much as we need to delve into how the Ancient Egyptians did it, because this thread is about how we would do it.

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And yet, there was. Which is about as much as we need to delve into how the Ancient Egyptians did it, because this thread is about how we would do it.

And that is the point exactly. If we did it he way we suppose it was done, not having to pay but for some tools and the food, housing and some hand money the bill would decrease dramatically.

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Slaves didn't get paid but got feed. If everyone volunteering construct it without requiring the reward, it doesn't cost much.

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We have numerous advantages over the ancients because we have countless

options for lifting the stone some of which are quite inexpensive. Today

the only real cost is quarrying the 6 million ton of stone. Even with mod-

ern machinery this would be a staggering cost but I don't have a good handle

on just how much.

Five billion dollars seems very highly optimistic to me. Schools now days

can cost twenty or forty million and a pyramid is thousands of times more work

even if the materials are far far cheaper.

Dressed limestone is exceedingly expensive now and the granite is even worse.

Decorative stone is also expensive. Even the cut stone of the interior pass-

ages and what's probably on the steps would run into real money; even more than

a computer lab in a school.

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inside the pyramids are very intricate also...with hidden rooms and secrets compartments and rooms they haven't even discovered yet....so the design would be very costly just with the inside of them...let alone the outside....I am more inclined to think they had some help!!!

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It would cost much more, this figure doesn't take into account legal red tape, lawyers to get approvals, research environmental impacts, kickbacks for local politicians, inflated union contracts. maybe 10 or 15 billion.

Ah. but if it was built in the US, can you imagine the WOW factor? Local environmentalists not withstanding... politicians and governments would be falling backward over each other trying to rush in and help the thing get built. The usual bribes and politics would be greatly decreased due to increased media scrutiny.

I still think 2 billion, with that mostly being the cost of materials.

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Slaves didn't get paid but got feed. If everyone volunteering construct it without requiring the reward, it doesn't cost much.

There were no slaves building the pyramids. It was an honor to be asked to contribute.

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How much would it cost to build a pyramid (great or not that great) right now?

Nothing at all.

Just use those millions who are in dept with their banks, and promise them they will be freed from their depts.

They will come running to build that damn thing.

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Take one dictator and a nation of slaves and the only cost is in blood, sweat and tears.

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Take one dictator and a nation of slaves and the only cost is in blood, sweat and tears.

Fk yeah, a Saddam could have done it, a Kim-Il-Whatever could have done it.

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Take one dictator and a nation of slaves and the only cost is in blood, sweat and tears.

This is the way orthodoxy thinks.

In the real world slaves don't work nearly as hard as other people and

still want to eat at the end of the day. They still need shelter. They

still need water and they need materials to do the job. Whether they

are operating cranes or the business end of a whip they still always obey

the laws of nature.

Slaves wouldn't lower the cost of building in 2800 BC and they wouldn't

lower the cost today. You'd simply have different people doing the work

and you could be confident they wouldn't unionize and strike for more pay.

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It was just a thought.

T'was North Korea that sprung to mind.

How about the pyramid being everyones hobby. 3hrs every night from the entire population for 25yrs. (lol)

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This is the way orthodoxy thinks.

In the real world slaves don't work nearly as hard as other people and

still want to eat at the end of the day. They still need shelter. They

still need water and they need materials to do the job. Whether they

are operating cranes or the business end of a whip they still always obey

the laws of nature.

Slaves wouldn't lower the cost of building in 2800 BC and they wouldn't

lower the cost today. You'd simply have different people doing the work

and you could be confident they wouldn't unionize and strike for more pay.

Ridiculous Clad.... Free labor, and the ability of the Pharoah to just take whatever he needed meant that everything was free for the pharoah. It does not mean someone did not have to make it, or gather the materials, or grow the food, but it does mean not a single grain of rice had to be paid to make it happen. You are very much projecting 21st century economics into the past 6 thousand years.

The pharoah was a GOD. Even today, if a man who people agreed was GOD came forward and said he needed a pyramid built, he'd have as much free labor and materials as people could afford to donate.

If you mean that the ropes, stones, people, water and food used by the AE had value that was consumed by their use, then yeah, the pyramid was not free. But then it did not cost any money either, which is what the discussion is about.

How much money exchanged hands from the pharoah's government to the contractors that built the GP? Probably none.

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$5 billion?

In comparison, a big skyscraper in NY is expected to cost $3.8 billion. And I bet it won't last as long

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/one-world-trade-center-will-cost-38-billion-dollars-expensive-building-in-the-world_n_1243917.html

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That's a lot of dosh. I can think of a few other things I would rather spend the cash on. Maybe just a small sphinx instead :)

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