Most people when they think of Egypt the image of the great pyramids comes to mind. These pyramids no doubt show the amazing ability of engineering that the ancients had. With 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008 there is no debating why the images of pyramids come to mind when Egypt is mentioned. The most famous of these pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. In my research I discovered that several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built. The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza being the largest Egyptian pyramid and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world. This is an amazing fact and made me wonder how the people of the ancient world were able to tackle such impressive public works projects. So I decided to do a little research into how exactly scholars speculate the ancients constructed the pyramids.
There have been many hypotheses about how the Egyptian pyramids were constructed and the techniques used. The techniques were developed as time passed so that the early pyramids were not built the same as later ones. There is a lot of debate on the techniques used but most agreed that the huge stones that made up the pyramids were carved with copper chisels from stone quarries, and these blocks were then dragged to the site and lifted into position. However, some do hypothesize that the stones may have been cast out of geopolymer cement. Most of the disagreements are concerned with the methods that were used to move and place the stones. The Twelfth Dynasty tomb of Djehutihotep has an illustration of 172 men pulling an alabaster statue of him on a sledge. This evidence has influenced the main hypothesis of how the stones were moved. There are other hypothesis’ as well that suggest the blocks may have been rolled using a cradle-like machine that had been excavated in various new kingdom temples. There may be debate on how the stones were moved but most agree that a ramp or series of ramps were used to raise the stones into position. However, there is a debate on what the ramps may have looked like. Some say large straight ramps, others say zig-zagging ramps that ran up one side of the pyramid, while others suggest a type of spiraling ramp that spiraled around the pyramid as it grew taller and taller.
No matter how the pyramids may have been built one can still appreciate the massive structures and the complex infrastructure of the state that created them. The Egyptian state had to be complex in order to take on projects the size of those of the pyramids. It took a lot of organization and resources to complete them whether it be organizing the work force or collecting the food that fed them. It is no wonder why the Pyramid of Khufu is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.