Known to the Greeks as Cheops, Pharaoh Khufu (r c.2604-2581BCE) was depicted by Herodotus as a cruel pharaoh who enslaved thousands of people to build the Great Pyramid. However, archaeological evidences pointed otherwise. According to the evidence found which includes an entire village nearby the pyramid; wall inscriptions documenting the hierarchical orders of work that look comparable to the modern day unionized workers; and mummies of workers, provide strong evidence that all their injuries were well taken care of, were given wages, holiday as well as food and wine.
^It is also the geographical center of Earth’s landmass!!!
Many archaeologists believe that Egyptians were pleased to be given the task to build the great Pyramid as to them it is not just a tomb but a place where their living God can become immortal and return to protect them and their countries. Some archaeologists, on the other hand, have different theories. They believe that not everyone was happy about having to do the hard work to build this enormous size tomb. However, money was uncommon then and labour was a way of paying tax to their ruler. A few months a year they would be subjected to work for the king to pay their tax.
Although the Great Pyramid of Khufu is thought to be a tomb for the pharaoh himself and his wives, no body or treasure was found inside the pyramid. In fact, Khufu’s body was never found anywhere at all. What is left of Khufu boils down to one tiny statue. Was his tomb raided? Many experts says that is highly unlikely as his tomb was constructed with three layers of thick granite door shielding off everyone from going in or out of the tomb, with very small passage way for the builder to crawl out after they have finished building and setting the granite doors in place. There are also theories by Robert Temple that the pyramids were built before 2,500BCE and that the Egyptians were the ones who came and took it as their own. This remains the mystery that has gathered a lot debates with no definite answer.
Mind blowing math
Egyptians were known to be great at math. Just look at the stability of their pyramids!
Well, if you did do the calculations to check the math (clap clapmini applause for you), the approximations are slightly less than the actual measurements by 11 miles and 170 miles respectively. I’m sure that most of you would go like “170 miles and just slightly off calculations?! If I were to go home from Sentosa and missed my house by that much, I would be in Malaysia!!!” But, here, if we looked at how the total distance is 24,902miles, the percentage error would only be 0.68%. And following on their math would be their astronomical skills in astronomy...
Finding True North
Here are some hypotheses by Egyptologist Kate Spence on the methods that ancient Egyptians could have found true north.
- Pinpointing the fixed location on the celestial map of the skies
The celestial map of the sky changes with time and Thuban (3000BCE)-
used to be the North Pole then. Our current Pole star is Polaris(500CE-
- Plump Line to match constellation method
Orion and Giza
The constellation of Orion is one of the most prominent and recognizable constellation in the sky, as its location on the celestial equator allows it to be seen almost anywhere on Earth. It is of central importance to many ancient cultures, as alignment with the position of the stars matches up precisely to various ancient structures, like the Giza pyramids.
Together, the three pyramids of Giza demonstrate the concept of celestial alignment, as they map the belt of stars of Orion on Earth. Matching star brightness with pyramid size, the two larger pyramids are lined up perfectly in comparison to the smaller offset pyramid of Menkuare.
Digital reconstruction of the celestial map with a computer program showed the alignment of a shaft from the Khufu’s pyramid King chamber leading out to aim at the brightest star of trio on the Orion’s belt (Al Nitak). Moreover, Al Nitak is interpretated from Egyptian texts to be the celestial representation of Osiris, the God of the dead and rebirth, which falls in line with the obsession of Egyptian pharaohs in their aspirations after death. To be reborn as a god. (Maybe that’s why we cannot find his body!!?)
Hancock, G., & Bauval, R. (1996). The Message of the Sphinx. A Quest for the Hidden
Legacy of Mankind. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.(pdf version is free online:
Temple, R. (2011). Egyptian Dawn. London, LND: Arrow books.