How Were the Pyramids Built?

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  • ℹ️ Published 8 years ago
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Key aspects of pyramid construction from quarry to completion.

The most common misconception about the pyramids is that they were built by slaves. Recent archeological evidence suggests they were instead constructed by paid workers. Some may have performed this work as a form of tax payment for several months of the year. Skilled engineers would have planned and orchestrated the building. An estimated 10,000-20,000 people would have been working on a pyramid at any one point in time. They were well fed and provided with shelter near the pyramids. Plus their burial sites close by indicate they were respected and were not slaves.

Much of the limestone was quarried from the Giza plateau itself, meaning the stones did not need to be transported far. The granite casing of Menkaure's pyramid, on the other hand, was transported from Aswan, around 600 miles, or 1000 km up the Nile.

Editing assistance by Dustin Chow


💬 Comments
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Well the pyramids were built before Isaac Newton invented gravity, so the stones weight wasn't a problem.

Author — Sol Invictus

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I love that these pyramids are too big to be destroyed. They can be weathered but no empire could take apart the pyramids. It would take considerably more effort to destroy it than building it. It’s a structure that I think the Egyptians knew would outlive their society and maybe humans as a whole. This was their legacy.

Author — Hammerbeam

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To be fair, sleds through sand probably works much better than wheels through sand. To use wheels, they would need to build roads, which would be a significant additional bit of work.

Author — Eric Dew

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Since there's no markings inside or out and we can't carbon date stone, we really dont even know if the Egyptians built them. The Egyptians were quite proud of their writing system and they seemed to write and draw all over everything else they made, so this is definitely abnormal, let alone to think who would undertake such a massive feat to build the pyramids at Giza and not want to be known for their work. There's also no proof they were ever used as tombs or what purpose they were built for. There's no mortar at all and many surfaces are smooth/flat beyond surgical lab precision level which is not something thats dont unless it has to be done, most cant tell the difference w their eye. There's some theories about flooding the area and using rafts to float the blocks among other interesting theories. If you want to how its possible to move large masses in a basic primitive way, lookup Wally Wallington. Try to imagine that at a scale like this is another thing tho.

Author — Reezy Resells

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I thought the copper saw theory had been debunked via Denys Stock's experiments. He used a 22lb copper saw with the method you described on granite. The max stone material he was able to remove was 2.7 mm of stone per hr and his saw lost 1lb of metal (5% of the saw) over 14 hours. Based on the numbers from real testing it would take 6, 200 hours of cutting simply to make one sarcophagus. Not to mention all the other stones used in the pyramids...

Author — crzy speed freak

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Imagine being part of a civilization in which you worked so hard, that a future civilization believes that "aliens did it."

Author — gokurocks9

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It's so awesome how much content accumulated over the years in this channel. I am a relatively recent subscriber and it always blows me away when I get some video-recommendation from this channel.

I hope you revisit this topic some day and collect some experts and kind of give an overview about the current theories on how such big project had been realized back in the days

Author — Nitram X

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I went to the Pyramids to finish some quests in Assassination Creed, I must admit I must appreciate the level of detailing they have done and it was a sight to behold after climbing up the pyramid, you can see the entire city from there.

Author — Bilal Khan

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First, I love this channel and your videos, but in this case… I think you’re missing some obvious questions, like: how would pounding dolorite on granite produce such fine and thin cuts and/or the perfect angles that are evident all over (like the granite lids underground in bedrock chambers)… One of the thin cuts was shown behind you in a frame or two when you did the dolorite demonstration. Dolorite and / or copper tools with sand as grit just doesn’t add up.

Author — Adam Wilbanks

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I don't believe the Egypts pulled all blocks about 2km round and round on ramps like these - not if you could pull it upwards by simply using counterweights on the other which could be rubble in baskets. These could be easily carried up the top in small portions for every heavy stone on the other side.
You'd need much less physical strength per worker that way.

Author — Dirk Haar

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I love how a single youtuber can make all this quality science/history content, yet the actual History Channel on television can't do any better than pawn stars or storage wars.

Author — scopaf

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Interesting. Liked the clip. I've heard a theory to the effect that a ramp was indeed used and was part of the pyramid, so that the blocks were pushed up a rising course the coiled around the structure and then backfilled on the way donwn in a manner of speaking.

Author — Jim Parsons

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More recent theory of the Pyramids' construction is that the ramps are inside the pyramids. This way there is no need to deconstruct the ramps, and in fact it uses less materials for the construction due to the hollowed out corridors.

Author — lumus1

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I think the outside is made of sandstone and certain sections such as the grand gallery, the kings chamber and the queens chamber are made of red granite. Not the other way around. There was once a polished marble casing covering the entire structure.

Author — Johnny Windza

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UnchartedX has a great channel about this sort of thing. I'm always amazed at how academics repeat the mainstream views about the history of the they carved channels in granite by bouncing a stone??? And how they were smart enough to make a pyramid...but not smart enough to roll something heavy on a log??? To anyone who is curious I suggest Graham Hancock / Randall Carlson, Bright Insight. Many others too but that will get you started.

Author — 5280ryan

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Imagine how beautiful the pyramids looked like once they were completely finished and the sun shined brightly onto to them.

Author — dr

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Great vid chief !
Seems to me you got some Egyptian blood in you after all :)

*Some minor notes* :

"Wheels" were well known in Egypt at the time, but they were never half as practical as "sledges" for moving big objects exceeding a certain density.

"Zallaga" _(the Egyptian word for "Sledge" & wherefrom the latter originates linguistically) _ means slippery in the sense of viscosity (like a snail emerged in its own mucus), not in the sense of surface smoothness (like silk).

In the tableau you featured, you'll find that the man with the jar is actually pouring a mixture of natural Mucins (from various plant & animal sources) whereby he's creating a "Gel-track" under the rails ..[ like a giant snail/tank :) ]

The the other guy who is clapping on the top is actually the "coxswain" of the 4 puller-teams. He's responsible for coordinating the 4 alternating discrete pulls in a cyclic rotation. ( like a 4-cylinder engine :)
He must insure that the sledge never stops to a halt, all the way until the lay-down site.
_ [ it is crucial to keep moving within the comforts of "Dynamic Friction" to avoid burnouts in both Man-power & Mucin under "Static Friction" ... one could only imagine the colossal heat generated by a 1st nudge to such a Gigantor _ :)


All in all great show chief 👍

Author — Tamer Samadoni

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It would have been more understandable if you had built or, done an animation of, how a pyramid, covered in the silver/gold electrum and, continued in the blazing white limestone actually looked at the time.

Author — Reuven B. Frank

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Has anyone ever modelled how the sun would reflect off the pyramids when first completed?

Author — Ape

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Imagine how they looked when not only they were beautiful and new but also a beautiful city around it and probably some kind of decorative park leading to them.

Author — Electric paisy