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Great Pyramid of Giza

Great Pyramid of Giza was the world’s tallest building from ~2570
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Before_Christ» \o «Before
Christ» BC to ~1300 HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AD» \o
«AD» AD .*

Preceded by HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Pyramid_of_Sneferu» \o «Red Pyramid of
Sneferu» Red Pyramid of Sneferu , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt» \o «Egypt» Egypt

Surpassed by HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Cathedral» \o «Lincoln Cathedral»
Lincoln Cathedral


Location HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza» \o «Giza» Giza
, HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt» \o «Egypt» Egypt

Status Complete

Constructed ~2570 BC


Roof 138.8 m, 455.2 ft (Formerly height: 146.6 m, 480.9 ft)

* Fully habitable, self-supported, from main entrance to rooftop; see
n_the_world» \o «List of tallest buildings and structures in the world»
world’s tallest structures for other listings.

Great Pyramid of Giza from a 19th century HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereopticon» \o «Stereopticon»
stereopticon card HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo» \o
«Photo» photo .

The Great Pyramid of HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza» \o
«Giza» Giza ( HYPERLINK
31_08_02.58_E_type:landmark_region:EG_scale:5000» \o
31_08_02.58_E_type:landmark_region:EG_scale:5000 29°58?44.68?N,
31°08?02.58?E ) is the oldest and only remaining member of the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Wonders_of_the_World» \o
«Seven Wonders of the World» Seven Wonders of the World . Most
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptologist» \o «Egyptologist»
Egyptologists agree the pyramid was constructed over a 20 year period
concluding around 2560 HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Before_Christ» \o «Before Christ» BC .
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l «_note-wonder» \o «» [1]
It is generally believed the Great Pyramid was built as the tomb of
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_dynasty_of_Egypt» \o
«Fourth dynasty of Egypt» Fourth dynasty HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egypt» \o «Ancient Egypt»
Egyptian pharaoh HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khufu_%28pharaoh%29» \o «Khufu (pharaoh)»
Khufu (Cheops), after the person who created it, it is sometimes called
Khufu’s Pyramid or the Pyramid of Khufu. Khufu’s HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vizier» \o «Vizier» vizier , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemon» \o «Hemon» Hemon , is credited as
the architect of the Great Pyramid.

Historical context

The Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza_Necropolis» \o «Giza
Necropolis» Giza Necropolis bordering what is now HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo» \o «Cairo» Cairo , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt» \o «Egypt» Egypt in Africa. It is
the main part of a complex setting of buildings that included two
mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one
near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even
smaller «satellite» pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two
temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles. One
of the small pyramids contains the tomb of queen HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetepheres» \o «Hetepheres» Hetepheres
(discovered in 1925), sister and wife of Sneferu and the mother of
Khufu. There was a town for the workers of Giza, including a cemetery,
bakeries, a beer factory and a copper smelting complex. More buildings
and complexes are being discovered by The Giza Mapping Project.

A few hundred metres south-west of the Great Pyramid lies the slightly
smaller HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Khafre» \o
«Pyramid of Khafre» Pyramid of Khafre , one of Khufu’s successors who
is also commonly considered the builder of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza» \o «Great Sphinx of
Giza» Great Sphinx , and a few hundred metres further south-west is the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Menkaure» \o
«Pyramid of Menkaure» Pyramid of Menkaure , Khafre’s successor, which
is about half as tall. In modern day, the pyramid of Khafre is the
tallest of the three pyramids since the Great Pyramid has lost about 8
metres of material from its tip. In ancient times, King Khufu’s pyramid
was indeed taller, but even then, Khafre’s pyramid appeared taller
because its sides are at a steeper angle than Khufu’s pyramid and it was
constructed on higher ground.

Mainstream Egyptologists believe that it was constructed in
approximately 20 years. Their generally accepted estimated date of its
completion is c. 2500 BC. HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l
«_note-wonder» \o «» [1] Although this date contradicts radiocarbon
dating evidence HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza» \l
«Dating_evidence» \o
[6] it is loosely supported by a lack of archaeological findings for
the existence prior to the fourth dynasty of a civilization with
sufficient population or technical ability in the area.

Construction theories

RJ or RL-shaped supports possibly used to raise several-ton stone

Materials and workforce

Many varied estimates have been made regarding the workforce needed to
construct the Great Pyramid. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodotus» \o «Herodotus» Herodotus , the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece» \o «Greece» Greek
historian in the 5th century BC, estimated that construction may have
required 20,000 workers for 20 years. Recent evidence has been found
that suggests the workforce was in fact paid [ HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_sources» \o
«Wikipedia:Citing sources» citation needed ], which would require
accounting and bureaucratic skills of a high order. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland» \o «Poland» Polish HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architect» \o «Architect» architect
Wieslaw Kozinski believed that it took as many as 25 men to transport a
1.5-ton stone block. Based on this, he estimated the workforce to be
300,000 men on the construction site, with an additional 60,000
off-site. 19th century Egyptologist HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Flinders_Petrie» \o «William
Flinders Petrie» William Flinders Petrie proposed that the workforce
was largely composed not of slaves but of the rural Egyptian population,
working during periods when the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile» \o «Nile» Nile river was flooded
and HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture» \o
«Agriculture» agricultural activity suspended. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l «_note-workforce» \o «» [4]
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptology» \o «Egyptology»
Egyptologist HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miroslav_Verner»
\o «Miroslav Verner» Miroslav Verner posited that the labor was
organized into a HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy» \o
«Hierarchy» hierarchy , consisting of two gangs of 100,000 men, divided
into five zaa or phyle of 200 men each, which may have been further
divided according to the skills of the workers. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l «_note-1» \o «» [5] Some research
suggests alternate estimates to the accepted workforce size. For
instance, HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics» \o
«Mathematics» mathematician HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Mendelssohn» \o «Kurt Mendelssohn»
Kurt Mendelssohn calculated that the workforce may have been 50,000 men
at most, while HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Borchardt» \o «Ludwig Borchardt»
Ludwig Borchardt and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Louis_Croon&action=edit» \o
«Louis Croon» Louis Croon placed the number at 36,000. According to
Verner, a workforce of no more than 30,000 was needed in the Great
Pyramid’s construction.

A construction management study (testing) carried out by the firm
HYPERLINK «http://www.dmjmhn.aecom.com/» \o
«http://www.dmjmhn.aecom.com/» Daniel, Mann, Johnson, & Mendenhall in
association with HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Lehner»
\o «Mark Lehner» Mark Lehner and other Egyptologists, estimates that
the total project required an average workforce of 14,567 people and a
peak workforce of 40,000. Without the use of pulleys, wheels, or iron
tools, they surmise the Great Pyramid was completed from start to finish
in approximately 10 years. HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l
«_note-civilengineer» \o «» [6] Their HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_path_analysis» \o «Critical path
analysis» critical path analysis study reveals estimates that the
number of blocks used in construction was between 2-2.8 million (an
average of 2.4 million), but settles on a reduced finished total of 2
million after subtracting the estimated area of the hollow spaces of the
chambers and galleries. Most sources agree on this number of blocks
somewhere above 2.3 million. The Egyptologists’ calculations suggest the
workforce could have sustained a rate of 180 blocks per hour (3
stones/minute) with ten hour work days for putting each individual block
in place. They derived these estimates from construction projects that
did not use modern machinery. This study fails to take into account
however, especially when compared to modern third world construction
projects, the logistics and craftsmanship time inherent in constructing
a building of nearly unparalleled magnitude with such precision, or
among other things, the use of up to 60-80 ton stones being quarried and
transported a distance of over 500 miles.

In contrast, a Great Pyramid feasibility study relating to the quarrying
of the stone was performed in 1978 by Technical Director Merle Booker of
the Indiana Limestone Institute of America. Consisting of 33 quarries,
the Institute is considered by many architects to be one of the world’s
leading authorities on limestone. Using modern equipment, the study

“Utilizing the entire Indiana Limestone industry’s facilities as they
now stand [for 33 quarries], and figuring on tripling present average
production, it would take approximately 27 years to quarry, fabricate
and ship the total requirements.”

Booker points out the time study assumes sufficient quantities of
railroad cars would be available without delay or downtime during this
27 year period and does not factor in the increasing costs of completing
the work. HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l «_note-2» \o «»

The entire HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza_Plateau» \o
«Giza Plateau» Giza Plateau is believed to have been constructed over
the reign of five pharaohs in less than a hundred years. In the hundred
years prior to Giza, beginning with HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djoser» \o «Djoser» Djoser who ruled
from 2687-2667 BC, three other massive pyramids were built — the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Step_pyramid» \o «Step pyramid»
Step pyramid of Saqqara (believed to be the first Egyptian pyramid),
the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bent_Pyramid» \o «Bent
Pyramid» Bent Pyramid , and the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Pyramid» \o «Red Pyramid» Red Pyramid
. Also during this period (between 2686 and 2498 BC) the Wadi Al-Garawi
dam which used an estimated 100,000 cubic meters of rock and rubble was
built. HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/» \l «_note-3» \o «»

The accepted values by Egyptologists bear out the following result:
2,400,000 stones used / 20 years / 365 days per year / 10 work hours per
day / 60 minutes per hour = 0.55 stones laid per minute.

Thus no matter how many workers were used or in what configuration, 1.1
blocks on average would have to be put in place every 2 minutes, ten
hours a day, 365 days a year for twenty years to complete the Great
Pyramid within this time frame. This equation, however, does not take
into account among other things the designing, planning, surveying, and
leveling the 13 acre site the Great Pyramid sits on.

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