November 12, 2021 7 min read
In 1842, Karl Richard Lepsius identified 67 pyramids in the first modern list of pyramids in Giza, Egypt. Since then, many more have been uncovered. There are at least 118 Egyptian pyramids known to exist today.
On the outskirts of the Western Desert, around 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) west of the Nile River near Giza and about 13 kilometers (8 miles) southwest of Cairo's city center is the Giza Pyramid Complex, also known as the Giza Necropolis, is a site on Egypt's Giza Plateau that encompasses the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, as well as their accompanying pyramid complexes and the Great Sphinx of Giza. All were constructed between 2600 and 2500 BC during the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom. There are also multiple cemeteries on the property, as well as the remnants of a worker’s settlement.
The pyramids are thought to have acted as both a tomb and a storage hole for various objects the pharaoh would require in the afterlife. “In Ancient Egypt, death on Earth was seen as the beginning of a journey to the next realm.” It was thought that a portion of the pharaoh's spirit, known as his ka, remained with his body. In order for the "former Pharaoh to perform his new duties as king of the dead," proper care of the remains was essential.
There are three main pyramids surrounded by other smaller ones. The largest one is known today as the Great Pyramid. Its sides rise at an angle of 51° 52’ and are perfectly aligned with the four main directions, north, south, east and west. It is called Khufu’s Pyramid since it contains the mortal remains of the Pharaoh Khufu and his family. The length of each side at the base averaging 755.75 feet (230 metres) and its original height being 481.4 feet (147 metres). To put it into perspective, the average 10 storey building is 95.5 feet (29 meters).
The fourth of the eight rulers of the 4th dynasty, Khafre had the middle pyramid erected for him; it measures 707.75 feet (216 metres) on each side and was initially 471 feet (143 metres) high. The pyramid of Menkaure, the fifth king of the 4th dynasty, was the southernmost and last to be built; each side measures 356.5 feet (109 metres), and the structure's completed height was 218 feet (66 metres). All these pyramids were made of yellowish limestone rock found near the Nile river. In ancient and mediaeval ages, all three pyramids were looted both from the interior and the outside.
On the same Giza Plateau, To the south of the Great Pyramid near Khafre’s valley temple stands the Great Sphinx of Giza. Often known as the Sphinx, it is a monolithic limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with a man's face and a lion's body. It faces directly from west to east and is nearly 240 feet (73 metres) long and 66 feet (20 metres) high.
Several thousand expert specialists, unskilled workers, and support personnel may have been involved in quarrying, hauling, fitting, and carving the massive amount of stone necessary to build the pyramids. The project also employed bakers, carpenters, water haulers, and others. Along with the methods used to build the pyramids, there is much conjecture about the actual number of employees required for such a monumental task. According to evidence form the tombs, each pyramid took approximately from 20-30 years and a workforce of over 10,000 laborers working in 3-month shifts.
Isn’t it amazing to think how so many people worked tirelessly without any modern equipment to create these magnificent pyramids that stood the test of time? It is perhaps, because they learnt their art and science practically. You can too, by joining Practically! Download the app to learn concepts of science and math in fun and interesting ways!
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