Encyclopedia > Great Pyramid of Giza

  Article Content

Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza served as a tomb for the 4th dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops).

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, this pyramid in Giza, Egypt, was built by the civilization of ancient Egypt. The estimated date of its completion is 2680 BC and it is the earliest and largest of the three great pyramids in the necropolis of Memphis[?].

It is the largest of the many pyramids of Egypt at 137 metres (481 feet) in height, covering more than 5.5 hectares (13 acres) at the base, which is a square of over 235 metres (775 feet) on each side. The accuracy of work is such that the four sides of the base have only a mean error of 0.6 inch in length and 12 seconds in angle from a perfect square.

It was constructed of limestone, basalt, and granite stones from two to four tonnes in weight each, adding to a total weight of some 7 million tonnes, and a volume of 2,600,600 cubic metres. When originally built, the pyramid had inset facing blocks of polished limestone, creating smooth sides; they have since fallen out, or been recycled for other building projects, leaving the underlying step-pyramid structure visible.

The great pyramid also differs in its internal arrangement from the other pyramids in the area. The greater number of passages and chambers, the high finish of parts of the work, and the accuracy of construction all distinguish it. The chamber which is most normal in its situation is the subterranean chamber; but this is quite unfinished, hardly more than begun. The upper chambers, called the king's and queen's, were completely hidden, the ascending passage to them having been closed by plugging blocks, which concealed the point where it branched upwards out of the roof of the long descending passage. Another passage, which in its turn branches from the ascending passage to the queen's chamber, was also completely blocked up. The object of having two highly-finished chambers in the mass may have been to receive the king and his co-regent (of whom there is some historical evidence), and there is very credible testimony to a sarcophagus having existed in the queen's chamber, as well as in the king's chamber.

On September 18, 2002, archaeologists used a remote-controlled robot to access a hitherto sealed chamber within the pyramid: the robot drilled a hole in a long-sealed door and poked a fiber-optic camera through. Unfortunately, all that was revealed was another closed door.

Since the pyramids were built, they have moved 4 kilometers south, due to the movement of the Earth's crust.

As a structure of impressive construction and mystery, the great pyramid has attracted the attention of occultists (as have many other aspects of ancient Egyptian culture). The great pyramid and the Sphinx are often alleged to have been built with mysterious ancient forces rather than human labor and/or by Atlanteans, extraterrestrials, or other mysterious creators.

Some of those who have examined the great pyramid have made speculations regarding the ratios amongst the dimensions and angles present in the structure; one popular assertion is that the ratio of the pyramid's perimeter to its height times two (P / 2*H) gives a close approximation of the mathematical value Pi. The great pyramid is peculiar in this respect, as it is one of the few pyramids to have the necessary slope to express such a ratio, but variations in the accuracy of measurement, combined with the deterioriating condition of the structure, make such a claim difficult to verify.

Additionally, it has been alleged that the dimensions and details, properly interpreted, provide prophecies of events in modern times. This theory was first proposed in the 1800s by John Taylor, who believed the pyramid had actually been constructed by the biblical Noah. Charles Piazzi Smyth, the Astronomer Royal of Scotland, later elaborated in his book Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid. No scientific evidence has been found to support these allegations to date. Edgar Cayce was apparently sympathetic to the idea, though his convoluted language makes it difficult to be certain.

Smyth also claimed that the measurements he obtained from the great pyramid indicate a unit of length, the pyramid inch[?], equivalent to roughly 1.01 British inches, that could have been the standard of measurement by the pyramid's architects. From this he extrapolated a number of other measurements, including the pyramid pint, the sacred cubit, and the pyramid scale of temperature. These derivations are frequently regarded by skeptics as having no scientific merit, and of being merely an artificial device for attributing numerical significance to the great pyramid's dimensions.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Communes of the Gironde département

... - Saint Pardon de Conques[?] - Saint Paul[?] - Saint Pey d'Armens[?] - Saint Pey de Castets[?] - Saint Philippe d'Aiguille[?] - Saint Philippe du Seignal[?] - Saint ...