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The Egyptian pyramids are well known architectural achievements of our ancestors in the ancient world. Actually it’s a great product of the incredible feat of engineering. Yet the Egyptologists study deep about these pyramids and their structures. As we all know the Giza pyramid complex has been able to draw the extreme attraction of the tourists since the days of the Grand Tour. And also the children who are engaged in studying about the Egyptian pyramids   can’t help but associate the pyramids with the grand pharaohs of yesteryear.

The secrets of these amazing pyramids are still hidden in the ancient world of mystery. However the scholars have successfully been able to learn and reveal many of the secrets of the pyramids to the world. According to the studies they say that the blend of technical prowess, mythology and superstition led the pharaohs to construct these wonderful giant structures. This type of incredible architecture has proven that it’s the best structures created ever! There is a lot more for you to get to know except the things which you learnt on pyramids at school.

7 Amazing Facts That You Aren’t Aware Of The Egyptian Pyramids

Step pyramid in Saqqara. (Photo: meunierd via Shutterstock)

All the Pyramids were not pointed.

As you can see nowadays, all these pyramids were not constructed equal. Same as the other building constructions, pyramids too have distinct phases. The earliest pyramids constructed by the age old people are not pointed as what we see now. They were almost flat.

The huge Saqqara burial ground located in the capital of Ancient Egypt’s, Memphis is an example. The ancient pyramids there are considered as earliest constructions. Pyramids there include the Pyramid of Djoser too. It’s expected to have been built during the third dynasty. And also they say that the designing was done by architect Imhotep. The pyramid was constructed between 2630 BCE and 2611 BCE. This is considered as one of the world’s ancient monuments made of cut masonry. In fact it’s not pointed in shape.

This is a step pyramid which Imhotep had mastabas which are called the Egyptian tombs of diminishing size stacked on top of one another. This typology is found in many cultures. We can witness this type of a culture in El Castillo pyramid built by the Maya in Chichen Itza and the Borobudur Temple in Indonesia.

Most of the pyramids were constructed west of the Nile.

Symbolism and superstitions which guide decision making is a significant feature of Ancient Egyptian culture. So it’s no surprise that the location of these pyramids too were guided by mythology.

Most of these pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile for a special reason. It’s believed that the pharaohs should reside in a place where their souls can start their journey after the end of their life, as the pyramids are the final resting places of them. Ancient Egyptians believed the sun and the afterlife to be in a close relationship. Osiris, an Egyptian god was closely connected with the afterlife. This represented the powerfulness of new life. Over time, he also became associated with the cycle of the sun and how it brought new growth from dormant seeds.

As a result of these close connections the setting sun came to symbolize death. And also the sun died in the west each night. Therefore the intention of building the pyramids in the west of the river Nile was to connect their souls with the setting sun before rising again in the morning. It’s a symbol of eternal life. The location of the pyramids gave the pharaohs the correct area to live which metaphorically signified “death”.

Schematic drawing of wall painting found in the tomb of Djehutihotep that depicts water pouring in front of a sled. (Photo: sir john gardner wilkinson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

We’re still searching on how the pyramids were built.

Construction techniques used are one of the major mysteries about the Egyptian pyramids. The achievement of the ancient Egyptians is really impressive when considering the 2 million limestone and granite blocks used in construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Each piece of masonry was about 2.5 tons or 2.3 metric tons in weight.

Don’t you get a question about how these giant blocks were moved? Unfortunately, the written records were not left out by the Egyptians. But, still many scholars propose different theories. According to a 2014 study theory, it’s said that the course of moving the stones could be as easy as water and sand. And also a wall painting dating back to 1900 BCE shows a procession of men pulling a large statue on a sled as one person stands at the front pouring water over sand. Even though the out view of it depicts a ceremony, the hidden scientific evidence shows that this painting holds the key to unlock the mystery of how the old Egyptians moved all that weight.

Going by the technique used in that particular paint, the researchers experimented pulling large amounts of weight on a sled across sand and discovered that when they added the right amount of water to it the course was easier. The friction of the stones were reduced by the dampness of the sand to 50%. This method made it much more feasible to haul large amounts of weight.

Astronomy was used as guidance by the Egyptians.

A British Egyptologist said that the stars were used as a guiding force to get to know how the pyramids were aligned. Kate Spence of Cambridge University published her research in 2000 which clearly shows how the Little Dipper and Big Dipper were used to align the pyramids in a south- north direction.

The measurements of the ancient constructors were precise that they only have a margin of error of up to 0.05 degrees. It’s really interesting to date the ancient pyramids using astronomical records when we have all these special information.

Photo: Merydolla via Shutterstock

No slavery used at the building process.

Some have the idea that slavery was used in the process of construction of these pyramids. It’s not actually true. The main reason to hang on to this idea was the written work of the Greek historian Herodotus. He said in his writing that slaves were used to build pyramids those days. Now, it has been proven that this is just a concept propagated by Hollywood. The graves of pyramid builders were discovered during the 1990s. Egyptologists are quite sure that the builders were the ones from low income families, not slaves.

Their service in building the pyramids were honoured by the burial in a tomb. And of course you know that slaves aren’t given that much respect.

The Great Pyramid is able to tell time.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the most known pyramid as well as the only one still standing among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World . The Great Pyramid is significant for many reasons. A very special one among those characteristics of this celebrated monument is its ability to tell time. The giant structure actually stands as a sundial. The shadow of it is able to tell the hour by falling on marks made in the stone.

Not only that, but also the Great Pyramid also helped the Egyptians to define the solar years too. It couldn’t be just any old sundial. The high level of sophistication meant that it not only told time. The pyramid had the ability to signal solstices and equinoxes.

Masonry that forms the Great Pyramids. (Photo: Fedor Sidorov via Shutterstock

Archaeologists are still trying to unveil the mysteries of the pyramids.

Egyptology can be considered as a highly active field. Many researchers are engaged in reading inscriptions. But they continue to excavate and use technology to answer the hidden mysteries about the pyramids. The recent discovery of the 4,500-year-old ramp north of Luxor gives scholars clues on how the ancient Egyptians hauled masonry for long distances.

And also cat mummies which were discovered close to the Saqqara burial site as well as the wooden cat statues in a tomb revealed that there’s still much more hidden things to explore about the Ancient Egyptians.

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