If you’re looking to know about Giza Pyramids: how & why they were built then you’ve come to the right place? These ancient monuments were built by Pharaoh Khufu and date to over 4,500 years ago. They’re constructed of limestone blocks and were designed to align with the points of the compass.
The Age of Giza pyramids
There is a debate over the exact age of the Giza pyramids. The age estimates are difficult to pinpoint due to the multiple old-wood effects that are involved in the carbon dating process.
The latest study has put the age of the pyramids between 3341 and 3094 BC. This is a few hundred years older than the assumed construction date of the pyramids.
The walls of the pyramid complex show signs of decay due to previous earthquakes. Cracks of 35 to 45 degrees above horizontal orientation are evidence of this process.
Cracks also appear in foundation stones due to overloading. In addition, the great pyramid exhibits signs of material decay and honeycomb weathering.
Recent studies have uncovered evidence of a city near the pyramid site where workers lived. The town contained bakeries, storage areas, workshops, and small tombs for workers.
Some of these tombs had mud sealings, indicating they were built during the late 4th dynasty. Some tombs contained statuettes and hieroglyphic inscriptions.
The Giza plateau contains two pyramids: Cheops and Khephren. Both are located in the north-west of the plateau. Both are 68 and 62 metres high, with rock bases ranging from 22 to 38 meters. The Sphinx is also located on the plateau.
They were built by Pharaoh Khufu
It is not known how old the Great Pyramid is, but archaeologists believe it to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. The Great Pyramid is a massive monument, rising four hundred and seventy-nine feet above the surrounding area.
It is composed of over two million blocks of stone, some of which are huge in size and weight. To date, no one knows how it was built, but archaeological evidence suggests it was built by ancient Egyptians.
Archeologists have also found vast cemeteries near the pyramids, dating back thousands of years. These were the tombs of senior officials and royal family members.
One of these tombs is 4,300 years old, and contains paintings of hunting and fishing scenes. It also contains an elaborate waterworks system.
There are also smaller pyramids located near the main pyramid, which are believed to be the tombs of queens. They are also surrounded by a large cemetery, known as a mastaba, which houses many smaller tombs. These tombs are rectangular and flat-roofed and are thought to be used for a number of royal burials.
They were designed to align with the points of the compass
It is not entirely clear how Egyptians figured out how to align the Giza pyramids with the points of the compass. One possibility is that they used the position of the sun during the fall equinox, which is halfway between the summer and winter solstices.
They would then track the path of the sun with a wooden rod called a gnomon to create perfectly parallel lines running east-west. As a result, the builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu could align the monument with the cardinal points with accuracy of four minutes of arc or one fifteenth of a degree.
Although the ancient Egyptians did use a compass and records, the accuracy of this method cannot be confirmed.
Despite this, it is possible that they used different methods to determine the cardinal directions. However, only three pyramids show evidence of the use of this technique, and this method is not optimal for the structures.
Some scientists have speculated that the pyramids were built with celestial alignment in mind. While it is possible that the pyramids were orientated to represent the belt of Orion, this theory is still controversial.
However, a comparison of the placement of the pyramids in the constellation shows similarities. However, the alignment of the pyramids and the belt of Orion are not perfectly symmetrical.
They were built of limestone blocks
The Giza pyramids were built of limestone blocks, which were quarried on the site. Other stones, including granite, alabaster, and basalt, came from Egypt’s Fayoum depression. Workers used copper and stone-cutting tools to move the blocks into place.
The inner casing of the Great Pyramid was made of fine limestone, which required a higher-quality material. The Egyptians obtained the material from quarries in Tura, south-east of Giza on the opposite bank of the Nile.
Read Also: How Were Pyramids Built?
Scholars estimate that 67,390 cubic metres of fine Tura limestone were quarried to build the Great Pyramid. They then transported the blocks to Giza, where workmen smoothed them from the top down.
This theory contradicts the traditional view that the pyramids were constructed of limestone blocks. The limestone blocks found at Giza were essentially glass-like and made of 96-99% calcite.
However, there are also small amounts of quartz, dolomite, and iron-alumino-silicate. Some blocks were cast while others were built without the addition of these materials.
The blocks were heavy, weighing between two and three tons. Hundreds of thousands of people were working on them at the same time.
They would have been cramped in the cramped working quarters. They would also have had to use crude tools to cut the stone blocks. The Egyptians didn’t use wheel-driven machines, nor did they use ropes to lift and transport the blocks.
They were used for burials of lesser relatives
The Great Pyramid is the most famous of the Giza pyramids. It is built on a plateau of varied height, from 60 to 106 masl. Its peak is eight metres lower than its original height.
The internal structure of the Great Pyramid consists of three main chambers, a Grand Gallery, and numerous corridors. The King’s Chamber contains a sarcophagus. It also contains five Relieving Chambers, which contain four chambers and two air shafts.
During the construction of the pyramids, the Egyptians used a variety of tools and techniques to build them. The stones that were used for the construction of Khufu and Menkaure came from nearby quarries.
They were hauled up by workers using sleds that were dragged across the wet sand. How these men maneuvered the sleds and the stones is unknown.
The structure’s exterior is protected by backer stones that supported the casing. These stones were dressed and bound to the casing with mortar.
After the 1303 earthquake, many of these stones were carted off the site. The Bahri Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan removed many of them. Then, in the early 19th century, Muhammad Ali Pasha removed many of them and used them for the Alabaster Mosque in Cairo.
They were a job-creation scheme
The Giza pyramids are believed to have been built by a huge work gang over many years. The Great Pyramid alone consists of over two million blocks, each of which had to be quarried and shaped.
The pyramid-building workers used wooden mallets and copper chisels to achieve the incredibly complex shapes. There was even a specialized sharpening service for the workers who needed to sharpen their tools. These workers would wear their tools down on one block of stone before returning to use them for the next one.
Early pyramid builders faced the problem of moving stone, and the Twelfth Dynasty tomb of Djehutihotep illustrates how many workers it took to drag a 60-ton statue.
Denys Stocks estimated that it took 45 workers to move a single 16.3-ton block. However, the workmen eventually devised a solution to the problem by rolling the stones, and a cradle-like machine that could be moved between floors to make a smooth surface.
According to Diodorus Siculus, the limestone blocks that built the pyramids were shipped from the land between the Nile and the Red Sea. This meant that the stone blocks had to be transported over the river Nile. Moreover, a large, straight ramp may have been used to transport the blocks.
They were targeted by grave robbers
The pyramids in Egypt were highly valuable and therefore a prime target for grave robbers. The pharaohs would hire guards and security to guard their tombs, but this did not stop grave robbers from breaking into the pyramids.
Fortunately, architects of the time put in several traps to keep robbers out. These included fake entrances, passages that led nowhere, and heavy doors that would stop the robbers from entering the pyramid. Despite these measures, tomb robbers would often break into the pyramids, taking the mummies’ valuables and amulets.
Although the evidence regarding the Great Pyramid’s robbery is equivocal, it does suggest that grave robbers targeted the pyramids.
There is also conflicting evidence concerning the alleged theft of the mummy of Khufu. Most scholarly accounts state that Ma’mun first forced his way into the pyramid’s upper reaches. This meant that the real entrance was far off-center.
Grave robbers used the same tools that tomb builders used. In addition to hammers and axes, these robbers used the same tools used for building tombs.
This made it difficult for tomb robbers to escape and hide from the authorities. In addition, the tombs were buried deep underground and blocked by rubble. Despite these precautions, tomb robbers still faced the death penalty and curses.
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