The Great Pyramid
IndexSpecifications of the pyramid site
Specifications of the pyramid site:
When engineers thought of building the pyramid, they had to choose precisely the site where the pyramid would be erected and in accordance with the following:
A general perspective on the pyramid:
Preliminary operations for building the pyramid:
The final step taken by engineers, after choosing the suitable site, was to remove the layer of sand, small stones, and pebbles from the site, so that the pyramid might be built on a stable rocky base. Afterwards, engineers pave the rocky ground by means of water and the rocks cut from the ground. They kept it for use in time of need. Due to being careful of this operation, deviation in the horizontal level of the ground on which the pyramid was built, was less half an inch than the right horizontal level.
The last step in this operation was to make sure that the pyramid base took the shape of complete square as possible. In this step, they used wooden sticks the end of each touched the end of the other, or used long ropes. When they used ropes made of flax on palm fibers their length increased slightly when they are pulled on use. Therefore, we find a difference between the longest and shortest side in the Great pyramid which is 7,9 inches. This mistake took place in sides whose length is more than 9000 inches.
This shows the accuracy observed in building the pyramid particularly with the presence of a rocky protrusion in the middle which makes it difficult to measure the square diagonals correctly.
Adjusting the pyramid sides:
The pyramid builders could adjust the sides of the pyramid towards the four cardinal points by the help of one or more celestial bodies. The fault ratio was very slight. This gives no room for doubt that the work of the pyramid bwas accurate.
We tried to know the method used in adjusting the pyramid sides and fouthat the right method was to observe a star in the northern half of the sky, At the beginning, the angle formed from its rising place and the place where observation took place and its setting place is halved to get the required accuracy, it was necessary either to watch the real horizon at the two points where the star rises and sets, or to make an artificial horizon at a regular height above those two points. It was necessary to make an artificial horizon because the ground level was so irregular in any place that it made it difficult to know the real horizon. This can be done by building a circular wall (whose diameter is some feet) on the rocky land which had been paved for the pyramid building. . The wall should be high enough so that any person standing inside the circle can’t see anything outside it except the sky. This does not mean that the wall should be higher that the person. The higher surface of the wall should be equally high. This can be done easily by water and by making temporary mud bridges above the circular wall surfaces from inside and outside while taking the necessary precautions to prevent water leakage. One person performs the watch. He looks from over a short bar fixed vertically in the ground at the circle center. Another person stands inside the circle and takes instructions from the first person. When the star appears above the wall, he puts a sign directly above the wall along with the straight line between the watchman and the star. This operation should be done first towards the east, then towards the west some hours later. The star should be observed in the two cases. The builder’s level (the spirit level) should be lowered between the two signs which are a wall. They put two signs on the land in the two points on which the level is vertically lowered. When we halve the angle, we get the real North. Line (a) would be the North- South direction. To be surer, we can do this again by observing some various stars in the same way before demolishing the circular wall. The East and West lie at an angle of 90º from the line we have got. Uptil now, the triangle and the other tools which might have been used for measuring such an angle, hone not yet been found. Through the study of that era’s buildings we notice that their corners form a right angle. This shows that they knew a precise tool that made them reach this result.
As there were preliminary operations in the pyramid site, there were some preparations for building elsewhere as well.
They laid the foundations of the ascending road from the locally cut stone so as to be used in transporting building materials.
To make the outer covering of the pyramid, the covering was cut from good limestone from El-Mokattam mountain. Egyptians had good copper tools, including chisels and saws, to cut stones with. It was thought that the Egyptians had some methods that made copper very strong and solid. They also used chisels and wedges. Chisels were used to separate the sides of a rock block. Wedges were used to isolate the block from beneath. Therefore, we find in a trench of one of the quarries a deep hollow extending alongside the passage between the ceiling and the block to enable one of the workers to creep above the block surface to make vertical cracks by means of the chisel. This is done by separating it from the rock from the back. Another worker makes similar vertical cracks below the two sides. In the end the wedges are put in holes made at the base so as to separate it Horizontally from the rock. It was believed there was another way to separate the block, that is by separating the wedges in the last method by wooden ones. Here the block is separated by wetting the wood with water so as to expand. Thus, they do not need to make a hollow under the block. They begin to make the vertical cracks directly without making a hollow. This provides a spacious place for workers, where none of them had to work in a trench under the block so as to separate it. Those two methods were used to separate the limestone.
As for granite, it has a special characteristic, that is, if highly heated then suddenly cooled, this will cause apparent cracks and its surface will crumble. Therefore, they heated the granite blocks by fire, then pour cold water on them. This leads to crumbling the block surface. This is removed by a small stone scraper. This is repeated until they get the required solidity.
Afterwards they separated the granite stone. It was a harder job because it led to hitting the rock around the block by dolerite stone balls (dolerite is a hard, slightly green stone in the Western Desert).
Regarding, transporting the stone blocks, this took place on boats during the flood season. On land, they were transported via sledges on which the stone blocks are put by means of levers. The sledge and the block are tied together by ropes so as to be lifted again by levers for putting a wooden cylinder underneath. The carried sledge is drawn over a wooden road, and pulled by the ropes fixed to it. The number of men who pulled the sledge depends on the weight of the block.
Building the pyramid:
Engineers were taking great interest in how the sides of the pyramids are equal where the base forms a complete square. This square is covered from the inside with Tova stones which fill the inside space of that square. By doing this the first step of the pyramid will be established. So as to be able to put the huge chunks above the first stage, they build a scaling slope where the huge chunks are to be run over. This is done by putting cylinders under the chunk to be able to put it in its right position. Each chunk was put into the other one which lies beneath it. They followed that system by building step by step via the ascending slope .As one step is added, the other ascending slope is raised.
After reaching the top, the pyramid takes the shape of a series of small steps. Then, the outer covering is added. This covering consists of chunks of stones which are put to fill in the steps. Then, they are carved by taking the shape of an angle until they form a soft inclined surface.
Three stones of low surface are left to decrease the heavy pressure on the stone called the king’s stone.
They also prepared the pyramid by adding openings connected to the king's room whose temperature is kept at 22 degrees all the year round. There are two lobbies inside the pyramid, one of them is ascending from the inside to the king΄ s room, and it is different from the other descending one which is imprecisely carved within the stones. The pyramid is built taking the shape of a square so as its sides face the four cardinal points where the entrance it to be found on its northern front.
The strength of building of the pyramids:
It has been found that all the buildings which are built on the shape of a pyramid resist some environmental conditions as well as earthquakes and storms all the years. The clear evidence is the biggest pyramid which faced some strong earthquakes, one of them took place in the late 13th century and destroyed Cairo. Another on led to the fall of the outer covering which consists of a limestone used in new buildings in Cairo and its surroundings such as the mosque of Sultan Hussein (1356 A.D). So as to protect the five rooms which lie in the middle of the pyramid, the engineers put the high chunk (the highest part of the pyramid) above the limestone instead of the solid granite wall. They have done so because the limestone can be crushed in case of collapse.
Hence, the limestone can bear the shock instead of the rows of the lowest chunks (the lowest part of the pyramid). There fore, the walls are kept out of danger in contrast to the granite stones which cannot be crushed and hence lead to its fall on the pyramid’s stones and smashing them.
Two temples were built beside each pyramid; one of them is called the funeral temple beside the pyramid so that the priests might perform rituals to the pharaoh. The other one is called the valley temple for common people to visit tpharaoh .It is built east of the Nile.