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Paul Hai

Giza Pyramid construction

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cormac mac airt

Welcome!

It is well known that the pyamid and tombs of this time period do Not have writting in them. It is not till 100 years after the Giza Pyramid complex was built that the first instance of the Pyramid Texts (Book of the Dead) being written on the pyramids interior walls.

The block estimate is close to 2.3 million blocks, so completing it in 20 years would require moving an average of more than 13 of the blocks into place each hour, day and night. So about one every 4.5 minutes, not every 9 seconds. 20 years = 10.5 million minutes.

And let's not forget my thread on the quantity of blocks in the GP and why that's ONLY an estimate and NOT a verified fact. :tu:

Blocks in the Great Pyramid

Edit to add link.

cormac

Edited by cormac mac airt

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Blues Girl

I have read countless threads on how the pyramids were made, and seen many arguments for different theories. And not one has been sufficiently proven over the others as definitive.

Can we all agree that we will never truly know how the pyramids were made, unless we invent a time machine and go back to their construction?

Edited by Blues Girl

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DieChecker

You suggested that hundreds of these had been found, but the link says 2. That is what I had previously thought. They are estimated to be Old Kingdom and much has been said about them in these forums. I agree they were used with ropes, but how is still up for debate.

Similarly if the wooden rockers were used to move 2.3 million stones on the Great Pyramid, then surely thousands, or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of them got broken. Yet we don't see any evidence of such wooden objects in the debris and fill areas. We find tons and tons of mason's chips and we find hammers and chisels and bits of this and that, but no wooden rockers. Maybe the wood disintigrated after so much time, but with so little rainfall, I think that there would have been significant evidence of wooden rockers found at Giza if that is what they used.

Edited by DieChecker

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lightly

Similarly if the wooden rockers were used to move 2.3 million stones on the Great Pyramid, then surely thousands, or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of them got broken. Yet we don't see any evidence of such wooden objects in the debris and fill areas. We find tons and tons of mason's chips and we find hammers and chisels and bits of this and that, but no wooden rockers. Maybe the wood disintigrated after so much time, but with so little rainfall, I think that there would have been significant evidence of wooden rockers found at Giza if that is what they used.

Hi DieChecker, Just a thought .. People often mention the lack of wooden artifacts from Ancient Egypt, and antiquity in general , and often attribute their scarcity to decomposition, which makes perfect sense, but what about the fact that nearly all baking and other cooking was done on wood fires? Unlike bits of stone, metal, or pottery, I would guess that nearly all broken or discarded pieces of wood might become firewood instead of trash ?

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DieChecker

Hi DieChecker, Just a thought .. People often mention the lack of wooden artifacts from Ancient Egypt, and antiquity in general , and often attribute their scarcity to decomposition, which makes perfect sense, but what about the fact that nearly all baking and other cooking was done on wood fires? Unlike bits of stone, metal, or pottery, I would guess that nearly all broken or discarded pieces of wood might become firewood instead of trash ?

That is a very good point. Perfectly reasonable too. This kind of trash would have been recycled into firewood.

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kmt_sesh

That is a very good point. Perfectly reasonable too. This kind of trash would have been recycled into firewood.

It is a good point, and well argued. Still, the salient thing to remember--and I believe it was you who pointed it out earlier--is that no rocker has been found in a context dating prior to Dynasty 18. Those that are known are not only much later but very small and of no real functionality. They've been recovered from foundation caches at temples like Hatshepsut's at Deir el Bahri, along with ritual tools and other objects meant to sanctify the construction but never used for actual building purposes. These rockers are typically only a few inches long.

However, this doesn't preclude the possibility that large ones did exist or that they were used for actual construction purposes. They probably were, but not for the purpose of building pyramids. Not only do rockers have no known Old Kingdom context, but such devices require wide footing to be of any use. On constructs like the Great Pyramid, except perhaps for the bottommost courses, the steps formed from the core masonry do not permit much room. Rockers would have been unsuited to the task, if not just plain dangerous.

Sledges and ramps still offer the best explainable scenario. Even if actual sledges recovered through archaeology date to later periods, they are depicted on tomb walls of Dynasty 4 in the transporting of large statues. And ramps are evidenced from all periods of pharaonic history--both from well before and all the way after the pyramid age. People can decry ramps all they want, but it doesn't change reality.

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kmt_sesh

I am new to this forum. Are you talking Richard Petrie??? And one other point to note about the pyramids is the fact that Eygptologists are trying to tell us that the great pyramid was built in only 22 years to suit the ego of a Pharoh. Now, I am willing to go outside the square on many things, but 22 years is ridiculous. That would mean that 1 block would have to be, cut, transported and laid every 9 seconds 24 hours a day for 22 years to acheive. Please remember that the blocks are not a uniform size. This makes the 22 years even harder to comprehend. Not to mention that there are no inscriptions whatsoever within the tomb (if that is what you can call it). The mere fact that there is no writing at all tells any person with some knowledge of eygpt that this momument was not built as a tomb. How many Pharoh's do you know of that did not have the book of the dead written all over the walls of their tombs???????? I for one cannot think of any.

I could continue on but this is all I am willing to discuss at this time, only because I need to have some sleep.

Welcome to UM, Nemysis. I see you haven't been back, but I hope you choose to do so.

Nobody knows exactly how long it took to build the Great Pyramid. I've seen estimates vary from as few as 17 years to more than 20. However, I would caution against trying to play with the math too much because there are too many variables we cannot answer at this time. For instance, no one knows for certain how many stones there are in the pyramid to begin with. It used to be argued that 2.3 million was a reliable figure, but upon closer inspection that might not be the case. The farther back the masonry goes, the less precisely cut and placed it is. There are many pockets and voids filled with small stones, gravel, and mortar. Moreover, below the pyramid is a limestone massif whose precise dimensions are not known. It is observable at one place inside the mass of the pyramid (near the Grotto) and at certain places around the outside, but it's impossible to account for how much of the Plateau juts up into the pyramid. Probably it's not a huge amount but the workmen were smart to use the massif to reduce the overall load.

Then one must ask how many stones were cut and prepped before construction even began. How fast could the men in the quarry cut stones during the course of construction? The primary quarry is enormous and it's evident a vast amount of limestone was removed, but no one can know for certain exactly how delivery functioned. The well-preserved footings of a ramp extend from the quarry and aim toward the east face of the pyramid, but it's altogether likely several feeder ramps approached the pyramid from multiple angles. Estimates also vary on the number of workmen on-site at any one time, but manpower was never an issue. By the mid-third millennium BCE, when the pyramid was built, the population of the Nile Valley was around a million people: the state had all the manpower it needed, and corvée labor was a reliable means to draw the manpower.

As far as inscriptions go, it's already been pointed out but it bears repeating. No royal tomb bore appreciable, formal decoration plans in the interior until the end of Dynasty 5, when the Pyramid Texts were inscribed inside the pyramid of King Unis. As far as that goes, very few private tombs were extensively decorated in this time. The area of a tomb that tended to receive a program of painting or relief carvings was the offering chapel. And true to tradition, the ruins of Khufu's mortuary temple, which served as his offering chapel, reveal that it was elaborately decorated with beautiful relief carvings.

You mentioned the Book of the Dead. This funerary text did not exist in the time of Khufu (Dynasty 4), when the Great Pyramid was erected. As I said, King Unis at the end of Dynasty 5 was the first to have his burial chamber and attendant passageways inscribed with Pyramid Texts. In Dynasty 6 noblemen and other high officials began to use the Pyramid Texts in their own tombs, albeit generally painted on and in their coffins and other burial equipment. These funerary spells became more elaborate and more numerous in subsequent dynasties and were usually painted on the insides of rectangular coffins, which is why they were dubbed the Coffin Texts. The earliest possible appearance for spells recognizable from the Book of the Dead is on the coffin of a Queen Montuhotep, who is believed to have lived in Dynasty 13. This was a very transitory usages of the Book of the Dead, however, as the coffin contained a lot more spells from the Coffin Texts. Spells from the Book of the Dead did not become a regular feature in burials until around Dynasty 17, on the coffins and burial shrouds of royals. Books of the Dead were not regularly put onto papyrus scrolls until the reign of the female king Hatshepsut. In other words, the Book of the Dead was not a regular part of Egyptian tradition until a thousand years after the time of the Great Pyramid.

Everything has a context and the context must be observed, as does the timeline. Just as important, I see no need to doubt that the Egyptians could've built the Great Pyramid in twenty years. The state at that time had the organization, resources, wealth, and manpower to do the job. There is no question the Great Pyramid was a tomb, nor can it be doubted that it was built for Khufu. The Egyptians knew what they were doing. ;)

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xarel

Hello all, I just joined, because I would add this to your excellent post:

Moreover, below the pyramid is a limestone massif whose precise dimensions are not known. It is observable at one place inside the mass of the pyramid (near the Grotto) and at certain places around the outside, but it's impossible to account for how much of the Plateau juts up into the pyramid. Probably it's not a huge amount but the workmen were smart to use the massif to reduce the overall load.

This internal limestone massif seems to rise, however: From 3 meters above the outside level in the descending passage to 7 meters in the service shaft. There is still some distance to the center, the plateau could go as high as right below the queen's chamber, which would be roughly 20 meters. Anyway, it is a substantial portion of the overall volume - Rainer Stadelmann calculated up to 25% reduction in stones.

Also, all corners are built out of the plateau rock, with the exception of the southwest corner. It is very likely that the rock extended over those corners of course, and that the overlapping parts have been used for construction, which means the pyramid stands right in its own quarry.

Greetings, x

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kmt_sesh

Hello all, I just joined, because I would add this to your excellent post:

This internal limestone massif seems to rise, however: From 3 meters above the outside level in the descending passage to 7 meters in the service shaft. There is still some distance to the center, the plateau could go as high as right below the queen's chamber, which would be roughly 20 meters. Anyway, it is a substantial portion of the overall volume - Rainer Stadelmann calculated up to 25% reduction in stones.

Also, all corners are built out of the plateau rock, with the exception of the southwest corner. It is very likely that the rock extended over those corners of course, and that the overlapping parts have been used for construction, which means the pyramid stands right in its own quarry.

Greetings, x

Welcome to UM, xarel, and thanks for contributing your post.

The Grotto is the part of the service shaft I was referencing, which I think is positioned about 23 feet up (your 7 meters) from the base of the pyramid. I've never heard of the idea that the massif might extend as high as below the Queen's Chamber, however. Very interesting. Is that something Stadelmann has posited? Do you know where I could find more information about this?

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xarel

Welcome to UM, xarel, and thanks for contributing your post.

The Grotto is the part of the service shaft I was referencing, which I think is positioned about 23 feet up (your 7 meters) from the base of the pyramid. I've never heard of the idea that the massif might extend as high as below the Queen's Chamber, however. Very interesting. Is that something Stadelmann has posited? Do you know where I could find more information about this?

Thanks for the welcome!

Well, it is just an idea. But since the builders apparently prepared a stepped structure out of the core rock, it could raise up to the highest point which is built in masonry. Yes, this idea is from Stadelmanns book "The egyptian pyramids". I couldn't find an english translation, but here is an amazon link to the german version.

Best regards, x

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DieChecker

Yes, Welcome!

Doesn't even the Fringe somewhat re-enforce that the massif under the Great Pyramid could be much bigger then is currently estimated. After all guys like Cladking have gone on in the past about the various studies showing the density is the same generally as limestone all the way through. What is more logical, that they would use as big an advantage as possible, or that they would chop out the existing stone and replace it with rough blocks, mortor and areas of fill?

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xarel

Hello DieChecker!

I can't comment on Mr. Cladking, but...

What is more logical, that they would use as big an advantage as possible, or that they would chop out the existing stone and replace it with rough blocks, mortor and areas of fill?

I think this is not either-or, they did both. They left the rock standing where it fit (this seems like a work-saving and therefore the most logical approach to me), but carved it into a stepped structure with a step height equal to the stone layers around it. This is visible in the north east and south east corner. In the process, they carefully patched natural fissures and openings with mortor.

The fact that the south west corner consists of block stones alone indicates that the rock did not reach high enough at that point, or in other words, the base below the pavement seems to be the best ground level for the projected size...I hope my words are understandable :) So the rock remains are a good proof that the size of the pyramid has been planned right from the beginning.

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lakeview rud

Hi folks, I haven't made a comment in many a moon but the illustration by The Spartan got me to thinking about "Petrie's Rocker". The side view shown in Spartan's sketch shows the contraption perched on a block in the middle. I'd like to suggest that a very simple and efficient method to raise a block to the next level would involve "cribbing" (I think thats what its called) which is suggested as a method of how the large stones in neolithic England were raised. The AE's simply improved on that idea by adding Petrie's Rocker. A few men using poles for leverage (no ropes needed or maybe just to control the rocker)could rock the cradled stone while alternate layers of beams were placed underneath, eventually reaching the height of the next level where the whole contraption would be slid on rails ( the two center poles of the rocker would ride the rails but not touch the stone and might roll to make it easier) to the next level where the process could be repeated as needed. Note that you re-use the timbers and rails and keep the stone in the same rocker. If you could place the wood quickly enough you would expend very little energy and move them quickly. I like to think its like using an old style bumper jack to raise up a good portion of the weight of an automobile. Now there are questions like is it possible for all of this to occur on a narrow ledge but even if you needed two block widths to do this you could move a huge percentage of the blocks.

If you then add the concept of encasing a stone in multiple rockers to enable it to roll, you finally have a pyramid building technology thats fast enough to build a pyramid in twenty years or so. Imagine the causeways as the original main road upon which the blocks made it from the quarry to the job site. Place each block in one Petrie rocker and elevate it to the road, then encase it in three more and roll it up the very gently sloping causeway to the job site. I read somewhere that the blocks were marked with the AE equivalent of "This Side Up" which would mean at some point they changed orientation. Once at the pyramid base the other rockers come off and up they go. You wouldn't need much room to work in so multiple rockers would be going up the sides. I would think that the new constraint would be how fast you could cut and quarry the blocks.

I know this is all speculation on my part but I'd like to suggest that its so simple that it would be easy to test this out. Get a block of the proper size and weight, build a Petrie rocker around it and test out the "cribbing" idea (use a hoist for safety in case the load shifted but normally no load on the hoist). Use timbers with notches to keep it stable. Use only men on the same level as the rocker and/or on the next level with poles placed into holes on the rocker. If you can easily raise and slide a block you're in business.

As one writer commented, the simplest solutions are usually the right ones. This method involves minimal labor, no long ramps, no long ropes (maybe just short control ones) no water power, no aliens, no poured concrete, no magic and it could be remarkably FAST. Just basic priciples and the ingenuity of the AE's. Why not try the experiment?

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lightly

Good thinking lakeview, i think. Good to see you ... i hope your idea gets some support in here. Leverage.... hmmm whodathunkit?

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lakeview rud

Thanks, Lightly. Just a correction and some additional comments. I said in my previous post that workers were not to be on the level below. That's not correct. That's actually the BEST place for them to be because they could then use their own body weight to "rock the cradle". Either with poles or ropes (likely both depending on were in the lifting process the block was) that would work quite well. Think of two people using an old railway handcar and you get the idea. I'd love to see someone do the experiment; I don't have the means to do so.

Note that the layers of the pyramid are level and mostly the same size but even for the bigger blocks the Petrie's Rocker method would work unlike the four lobe idea.

For those folks who will say that the wheel wasn't invented for another 500 years, true enough but there's a big difference between a device which utilizes an axle centered between two circular objects and a cylinder being rolled by poeple. I would think that the AE sailors who journeyed to Lebanon to secure the timber were well aware of the idea of rolling a cylinder (logs) !!

While the idea of four "Petrie's rockers" together to roll these is a stretch, I would say that it would even be a lot easier to use sledges to get blocks to the pyramid if there was no need for a 5% or 7% incline. And the AE's would have naturally used the main road as a ceremonial causeway once construction was completed.

Lastly a comment on the typical size of the blocks. Why were the great majority of them the size they were? It's got to be a function of how the were cut and quarried, moved to the site and moved up the pyramid into place. That would somewhat explain how they ended up with the size they did. The average AE was probably in the 5'6" range and that would make the journey up the side practical using the Petrie's rocker method.

Comments are welcomed.

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kmt_sesh

Thanks, Lightly. Just a correction and some additional comments. I said in my previous post that workers were not to be on the level below. That's not correct. That's actually the BEST place for them to be because they could then use their own body weight to "rock the cradle". Either with poles or ropes (likely both depending on were in the lifting process the block was) that would work quite well. Think of two people using an old railway handcar and you get the idea. I'd love to see someone do the experiment; I don't have the means to do so.

Note that the layers of the pyramid are level and mostly the same size but even for the bigger blocks the Petrie's Rocker method would work unlike the four lobe idea.

For those folks who will say that the wheel wasn't invented for another 500 years, true enough but there's a big difference between a device which utilizes an axle centered between two circular objects and a cylinder being rolled by poeple. I would think that the AE sailors who journeyed to Lebanon to secure the timber were well aware of the idea of rolling a cylinder (logs) !!

While the idea of four "Petrie's rockers" together to roll these is a stretch, I would say that it would even be a lot easier to use sledges to get blocks to the pyramid if there was no need for a 5% or 7% incline. And the AE's would have naturally used the main road as a ceremonial causeway once construction was completed.

Lastly a comment on the typical size of the blocks. Why were the great majority of them the size they were? It's got to be a function of how the were cut and quarried, moved to the site and moved up the pyramid into place. That would somewhat explain how they ended up with the size they did. The average AE was probably in the 5'6" range and that would make the journey up the side practical using the Petrie's rocker method.

Comments are welcomed.

The wheel was certainly known at the time of the Great Pyramid. It was probably used on carts to haul grain and other light loads on farmlands, and while that is only speculation, at a work site like Giza the wheel would've had minimal functionality when it came to heavy loads. An average stone-block weight of 2.5 tons is not all that much in the scope of things, but the axles of wheeled carts at this time would not have been stout enough to haul such loads. Sledges were much more reliable, and they are evidenced in tomb depictions contemporary to Dynasty 4.

Interestingly, one of the earliest evidenced uses for wheels in the Near East is on the toys of children. Pull toys, no less. Many of you may be too young to know what I'm talking about, and while I'm not exactly an old man (yet), I had one or two pull toys when I was a tot.

As for rockers, we need to bear in mind that none are known in any form from the Old Kingdom. All known examples date to the New Kingdom or later, and all known physical examples are miniature. They come from foundation caches in which ritual tools were buried, such as at Hatshepsut's beautiful temple at Deir el Bahri. Exactly how full-sized rockers may have been used is unknown, but I would dismiss the idea that four of them were lashed around a block of masonry to "roll" it to a site. Such a tactic would likely be more unpredictable and dangerous than anything.

I touched on this earlier but perhaps it's worth elaboration that rockers would not have been of much use on pyramids in the first place. As Dieter Arnold explains in his seminal book on building in ancient Egypt, only the first ten courses of the Great Pyramid have steps wider than 50 centimeters, or about 20 inches (1991: 272). In other words, very few of the steps were wide enough to have allowed for sufficient room for a rocker. They would not have worked. Rockers clearly required a lot of room to be of any use. With its wide terraces and platforms, the temple of Hatshepsut, for example, would have been ideal. The Great Pyramid, certainly not.

You asked a very good question, lakeview rud, about the average size of the blocks. I've never given it much consideration, myself. Clearly it worked for them, but how they arrived at the average size is not something I understand. It would be interesting to compare the average size of a block in the Great Pyramid to the average size of the preceding pyramid at Dashur, built by Khufu's father, Sneferu. The stones on the Step Pyramid are considerably smaller than those of Sneferu's and Khufu's, so clearly the builders understood that bigger monuments required bigger stones.

LOL On a closing note, you're making the average man of ancient Egypt quite tall. The average man was about 5'3" and the average woman about 4'10". ;)

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DieChecker

I could be wrong, but I thought that the blocks size was partly due to a layering effect of the limestone. Thus most of them would be the same thickness.

Edited by DieChecker

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DieChecker

I touched on this earlier but perhaps it's worth elaboration that rockers would not have been of much use on pyramids in the first place. As Dieter Arnold explains in his seminal book on building in ancient Egypt, only the first ten courses of the Great Pyramid have steps wider than 50 centimeters, or about 20 inches (1991: 272). In other words, very few of the steps were wide enough to have allowed for sufficient room for a rocker. They would not have worked. Rockers clearly required a lot of room to be of any use. With its wide terraces and platforms, the temple of Hatshepsut, for example, would have been ideal. The Great Pyramid, certainly not.

I was wondering about this. Even if the pyramid goes up at 51 degrees, if the shelf at the edge of each level is roughly 20 inches, wouldn't the height of the average block be 24 inches or so? What is the height of the average block?

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lightly
I could be wrong, but I thought that the blocks size was partly due to a layering effect of the limestone. Thus most of them would be the same thickness.

I was wondering about this. Even if the pyramid goes up at 51 degrees, if the shelf at the edge of each level is roughly 20 inches, wouldn't the height of the average block be 24 inches or so? What is the height of the average block?

post-86645-0-44272200-1325946099_thumb.j

Looks like they are about 4 feet ,or so, squarish? (smaller near the top of the GP?) This pic seems to show the Layering evidence you mention DieChecker? See how some sides are curved, and angled, and fit together as if they were joined before removal from the quarry ? The tops and bottoms were evidently worked to assure the courses were level. ( usually a good idea in construction)

Edited by lightly

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lakeview rud

kmt-sesh; thanks for the correction on the average height of the AE's..mine was just a WAG. I'd also agree that strapping four of those rockers around a block is not a likely scenario. Beyond that, I'd still like to see someone try to elevate a 2.5 ton block the required meter (or whatever the typical height was)by using Petrie's rocker. If it worked you would be able to raise all interior stones leaving only one row left per layer. I recall something about an anomaly at one of the upper corners of the GP; that might suggest that the last row in a layer was done differently.

Two things I like about this idea is that there would be multiple teams on all four sides of the GP as it was being constructed. That kind of "mass production" would be highly in line with the timeframe for construction.

The other thing about this is it might well be able to raise the very large blocks as well.

One thing I don't like about it is that you can very well calculate (if you're a math wiz) the number of 'lifts' (of one stone up one level) required. That would mean that the number of blocks actually placed in their correct spots drops off dramatically as the levels rise. Still, let's say you can lift a block one level in 10 minutes with a 12 man crew. If you place 25 crews on each side you get 100 crews (of a very respectable 1200 man total) putting up say 5 lifts each per hour. In a ten hour day you get 5000 lifts. A 200 day work year gets you 1,000,000 lifts per year. You get the idea. It's true mass production. I think the biggest drawback to any ramp theory is that no matter how you slice it you can't get enough blocks per hour going.

If one of our readers can do the math and come up with an approximate number of lifts needed, we can work backwards and, using a twenty year timeframe, come up with the number of lifts per year (and day) needed. Then a simple experiment will determine how many men needed, how long raising and sliding a block takes etc. The one thing that has me going on this topic is how well that "Petrie's Rocker" seems to fit a block. The two highest dowels or poles would hold the block side to side (with wedges to handle any variation) the four at the bottom would carry the weight and by putting the cribbing in the right places you can get a very stable and strong support for the block the entire way up and through the slide part.

Again, comments welcome....

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blackdogsun

the cribs are an interesting idea but when you apply a lever i doubt whether the timber dowels would be strong enough to take the stresses applied to lift the weight of the stone

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lakeview rud

Blackdogsun, thanks for the comment. The more I think about it I would favor ropes attached directly to the top ends of the 'rocker' at least for the outboard side where you could exert body weight. For the pyramid side I'd go with poles connected quite close to the rocker side (on either side of a dowel that extended out a few inches). The primary force would be by the outside guys.

kmt-sesh... a few more comments

Regarding the lack of room or 'edge' space needed. The GP would be built from the bottom up but then the last perimeter blocks would be laid from the top down. If one block width plus a foot or so extra was available you could indeed place those last blocks by removing the top dowel on the pyramid side and sliding the block (once it had been slid on the rails so that the center of mass was decently over stone) and you would be able to get the bottom of the stone to within a few inches of the pyramid. Might even get it closer if a roller or some type of pry bars were used in conjunction.

The idea of a staging area on each level struck me as a possibility perhaps on the side where the grand gallery and descending passage are. Also a good way to get that fairly massive capstone up and into place would be to leave some extra flat areas until that was done.

On the other hand I realized that as the pyramid grew in height there might not be as many teams of workers available as there were when it was first started. This would further slow the completion of the very top layers. Still the great majority of the blocks are in the lower levels.

Again, I think the AE's would have used whatever methods and materials that made the most sense. I can see ramps for a few layers but cannot see them beyond that. I think the 20 year timeframe is do-able with the number of workers that has been estimated. If the "rocker" idea pans out it may lead to some other theories on other aspects of the GP.

Comments welcomed.

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DieChecker

post-86645-0-44272200-1325946099_thumb.j

Looks like they are about 4 feet ,or so, squarish? (smaller near the top of the GP?) This pic seems to show the Layering evidence you mention DieChecker? See how some sides are curved, and angled, and fit together as if they were joined before removal from the quarry ? The tops and bottoms were evidently worked to assure the courses were level. ( usually a good idea in construction)

Right, so that is what I was wondering about. If the blocks are like 48 inches tall, and the ledge is 20 inches wide, doesn't that mean that the angle of the side of the pyramid would be like a 67 degree angle, rather then a 51 degree angle. So that would mean that the lower courses of the pyramid are actually probably closer to having a 38 inch wide ledge. Still not really enough to move blocks around on (Unless you are suicidal), but still quite a bit wider the 20 inches.

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DieChecker

Regarding the lack of room or 'edge' space needed. The GP would be built from the bottom up but then the last perimeter blocks would be laid from the top down. If one block width plus a foot or so extra was available you could indeed place those last blocks by removing the top dowel on the pyramid side and sliding the block (once it had been slid on the rails so that the center of mass was decently over stone) and you would be able to get the bottom of the stone to within a few inches of the pyramid. Might even get it closer if a roller or some type of pry bars were used in conjunction.

I thought of that too. But it would only work till the pyramid reached like 50% of it's height, as then you'd have to start going higher then just leaving wide ledges would allow. There reaches a point where you just can't leave wider ledges and still make the pyramid higher.

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Oniomancer

I thought of that too. But it would only work till the pyramid reached like 50% of it's height, as then you'd have to start going higher then just leaving wide ledges would allow. There reaches a point where you just can't leave wider ledges and still make the pyramid higher.

You're not leaving ledges, just anchor points for the ramp. If they were anything like the casing stones for the bent pyramid, then they would've been staggered and therefore self-supporting even with a missing block.

Bent Pyramid

Width wise, There's nothing to say you have to lay just one row at time either. If you place the last two rows together filling in from one end, that gives you almost two block widths of space as you go plus the casing stone.

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