Ancient Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza appears to have been constructed using techniques that are different from what was previously thought, a structural engineer claimed after he looked into the "staggering" effort such a venture must have taken.
While most archaeologists believe each of 2.3 million limestone blocks the building consists of was first cut and then transported from a nearby quarry and pulled into place using a large external ramp, Peter James, who has been working on preserving the historic buildings and temples of Egypt with his company Cintec for the past 14 years, says, as cited by the Express, that the technique can hardly be put to practice.
“The theory is based on the assumption that the pyramids contain several million large blocks”, he outlined in his book “Saving the Pyramids: Twenty First Century Engineering and Egypt's Ancient Monuments”.
Yet, he went on, experts are likely to have overestimated the number of the pyramid’s constituent parts.
James attempted to depict the algorithm underlying the said technique, saying that at the next stage, it would be necessary to pinpoint, mark out, and cut the assumed 2.3 million blocks as well as dress them to fit each course. Then, the expert says, they would be transported on paved roadways to the pyramid or where the external ramp was.
“It has been calculated that this method of construction would need to have been undertaken every six minutes during a ten-hour day for 25 years to complete the construction of the pyramid”, he went on, suggesting the number of people needed to partake in the construction amounted to 20,000-30,000.
The latter largely corresponds to the commonly accepted and reported data, he said.
Although some Egyptologists believe the working space was too small for such a staggering number of labourers, this is only half of the problem, James believes, as the biggest constraint lied in something else.
“The stones would have to be cut from the quarry face, therefore access would be the limiting factor, not the number of workers”, he explained, assuming the quarrymen would get in one another’s way as one face would have to be “worked and totally removed before the next face was exposed”.
The Newport-based author, who has restored such historically significant structures as Windsor Castle and the White House, believes the outside of the Great Pyramid differs from the inside. He assumed working access to the inside of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was provided by internal ramps, which contradicts the external ramp theory presupposing gigantic stone blocks.
This infill would comprise much smaller and thus more easily managed stones so as to speed up the building process, leaving large segments of the structure empty or “filled with a material that is a different density to the outside”, Peter James recounted.