The Great Pyramid

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Few structures have become as well known or inspired as much awe and wonder as the pyramids in Egypt. Built centuries ago, long before modern building technology, these massive structures leave many wondering how and why there are there. The largest and most famous pyramid is the Great Pyramid of the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. Today, the pyramid is over 4,500 years old and has continued to astound scientists, archaeologists, and mathematicians with its size, precision, and consistency.

The ancient Egyptians built pyramids as burial places for their pharaohs. They believed that the pyramid acted as “the gateway to the next world” (Engineering the Impossible). The Egyptian people believed that their pharaoh was a human embodiment of the Sun God, Aman, and that it was necessary to mummify and bury him in a pyramid, where he would be able to rise into the heavens and watch over his people. By building a pyramid for their pharaoh, the Egyptian people believed that they were helping themselves because when the pharaoh returned to the heavens he would reward his people with rich harvests (Engineering the Impossible).

In the year 2551 BCE, Khufu was named pharaoh of Egypt. Shortly after he became pharaoh, he ordered the construction of what would become the largest stone structure in the world – the Great Pyramid (Figure 1). It was common for pharaohs to begin construction on their pyramids early in their reign because if a pharaoh died and did not have a pyramid to be buried in, he could go on into the afterlife. Because of this, building an enormous pyramid was very risky (Engineering the Impossible).

Building Khufu’s pyramid would take around twenty years and use thousands of men (Engineering the Impossible). By using the timetable of the Red Pyramid, researchers have found that “the Great Pyramid would have employed 26,000 people during the first year of its building, a figure that would have dropped dramatically at first and then steadily … to fewer than 4000...
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