Modern scientific engineering tackles the enduring mystery contained within the greatest monument ever built.
Egyptologist Brier (Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians, 1999, etc.) joins French architect Houdin to offer a theory about how the Great Pyramid of the necropolis of Giza was really built. What, precisely, were the methods, lost for eons, that brilliant chief engineer Hemienu might have devised 4,500 years ago to construct the tomb of his Pharaoh, Khufu? In a brief review of pyramidology, this accessible text uncovers the work of the ancient pioneers of mortuary skills, of the artists and artisans, engineers, bureaucrats and the multitude of laborers housed in the Lost City near the worksite who carved history in stone those long millennia ago. Various theories have been posited regarding the building of Khufu’s massive portal to eternity, a place he may never have occupied. Some have supposed the use of counterweights to haul and lift the hewn blocks of stone. Others posited a huge ramp, possibly a mile long, which would have required more mass than the pyramid itself. In this account, technology assists archeology. With the aid of georadar and microgravimetry, the monument, with its internal passages and chambers, can be built again on a computer monitor using sophisticated 3-D computer modeling. According to Brier, who wrote the text, and Houdin, who reverse-engineered at the computer, the best way to construct Khufu’s big memorial was with a ramp that spiraled inside the structure as it rose to the capstone over the years. It’s a plausible theory, well-illustrated, and makes a useful addition to the always seductive study of pyramids.
An intriguing new twist to an old enigma.