The Great Pyramid – the largest of several found at Giza – is the only surviving wonder of the ancient world. With such a fantastical past, it has long been debated how such an astounding structure was built without the help of modern technology. Over the years, it has been conjectured that ancient Egyptians carried large hand-carved rocks up massive ramps to set them in place, but that doesn’t explain how these enormous limestone blocks were transported to the Giza plateau in the first place.
However, in 2017, archaeologists made a fascinating new discovery: a papyrus scroll that finally explains how the building materials were brought from far away. Consisting of one person’s first-hand account, this discovery uncloaks a mystery that has fascinated archaeologists, researchers, and armchair historians for years. Zahi Hawass, minister of antiquities and former chief inspector of the site of the pyramids of Giza, called it “the greatest discovery in Egypt in the 21st century.” It's no wonder the discovery made headlines around the world.
Another Theory: The Stones Were Turned Into 12-Sided Polygons & Rolled To The Site
Dr. Joseph West of Indiana State University developed his own theory about how the stone blocks were moved to the pyramid's construction site. In 2014, he suggested that builders might have secured wooden beams to a stone block, turning it into a dodecagon (a 12-sided object), which would have enabled workers to more easily move them, as opposed to dragging them. He wrote:
A novel method is proposed for moving large (pyramid construction size) stone blocks. The method is inspired by a well known introductory physics homework problem, and is implemented by tying 12 identical rods of appropriately chosen radius to the faces of the block. The rods form the corners and new faces that transform the square prism into a dodecagon which can then be moved more easily by rolling than by dragging.
No One Could Find Any Copper Chisels Around The Great Pyramid Build Site
Over the years, many have wondered how so many of the blocks used in the pyramids were nearly identical in size and weight. People were also puzzled because no one has found a single copper chisel, presumably used to carve the stones, on the grounds of the Giza plateau.
In the mid-'80s, Joseph Davidovits, director of the Geopolymer Institute in St. Quentin, France, theorized that the blocks used to make the pyramids were actually a composite of several materials - limestone, clay, and lime - mixed in water. He completely destabilized the idea that copper was the main component.
The Pyramid Were Actually Constructed From Concrete
French theorist Joseph Davidovits was on the right path. His ideas led to the discovery of concrete blocks that were used on top of the pyramids. Professor Michel Barsoum from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University tested Davidovits's theory and determined several things. The stones both inside and outside the pyramid appeared to be "reconstituted" limestone.
The stones contained a lot of water and were amorphous, which is extremely unusual for limestone. Moreover, silicon dioxide nanoscale spheres were present in one sample, indicating the blocks were not "natural" limestone.
It's very improbable that the outer and inner casing stones that we examined were chiseled from a natural limestone block.
Perhaps The Pyramids Were Built Inside Out
When it comes to placing the large stone blocks in place on the pyramids, many believe the ancient Egyptians used large ramps. Thousands of people would have been required to set two million blocks to make the structures.
In 2013, engineer Peter James, whose company spent nearly two decades restoring the pyramids, disputed that claim. He called it "impossible" because the ramps would have had to be about one-quarter mile long. Otherwise they would be too steep to move the limestone and granite materials. Instead, James theorized that the workers crafted the inner core of the pyramid with smaller blocks using a series of zigzagging ramps.
Then they constructed scaffolding to complete the outer core with larger blocks. James told the Daily Mail:
Looking at the pyramids from a builder’s point of view, and not an archaeologist’s, it’s clear that the current theories are nonsense. Just look at the numbers. Under the current theories, to lay 2 million blocks, the Egyptians would had to have laid a large block once every three minutes.
It would have been impossible to build the pyramids using ramps around the outside, too, because they would have ended up being larger, in some cases, than the pyramids themselves.
Plus, what happened to the ramps once the pyramids were finished? I believe the Egyptians built the pyramids like a modern-day builder builds a house.