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Who Built the Pyramids?

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The question of that built the pyramids, and also just how, haslong been questioned by Egyptologists and also historians. Standing at the base of thepyramids at Giza it is hard to believe that any kind of of these huge monumentscan have been developed in one pharaoh"s life time. Herodotus, the Greekchronicler that wrote in the 5th century B.C., 500 years before Christ, is theearliest known chronicler and historian of the Egyptian Pyramid Era. By hisaccounts, the labor pressure that constructed Khufu totalled even more than 100,000 civilization.But Herodotus checked out the pyramids 2,700 years after they were constructed and hisoutstanding number was an educated guess, based upon hearsay. ModernEgyptologists think the genuine number is closer to 20,000.Mark Lehner and also Zahi Hawass have been trying to fix the puzzle of wright here the20,000 - 30,000 laborers who developed the pyramids lived. Once they discover the workers" living location, they deserve to learn even more around the workforce, their day-to-day stays, and also perhapswhere they came from. Mark has been excavating the bakeries that presumablyfed this army of workers, and also Zahi has actually been excavating the cemetery for thisgrand also labor pressure. It is thought that Giza hosupplied a skeleton crew of workersthat labored on the pyramids year round. But during the late summer and also earlyfall months, in the time of the yearly flooding of the fields via water from theannual innundation of the Nile flooded the fields, a huge labor pressure would appear at Giza to put in time on the pyramids. These farmers and neighborhood villagers gathered atGiza to work-related for their god emperors, to develop their monuments to the hereafter.This would encertain their own immortality and also would also benefit the future andprosperity of Egypt all at once. They might well have actually been willing employees, alabor force functioning for ample rations, for the benefit of guy, king, andcountry.The complying with interviews via Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass address thecontroversial question of who actually constructed the pyramids at Giza:MARK LEHNER, Excavator, Asian Institute of the College of Chicearlier, and also Harvard Semitic MuseumNOVA: In your comprehensive work and also research study at Giza have you ever as soon as questionedwhether people developed the pyramids?
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LEHNER:
No. But have I ever before wondered about whether they had actually divine or superintelligent inspiration? I first saw Egypt in 1972 and also ended up livingthere 13 years. I was imbued through concepts of Atlantis and also Edgar Cayce and also so on.So I discussed, starting from that allude of see, but whatever I experienced told me,day by day, year by year, that they were exceptionally human and also the marks of humanityare everywhere on them. And you watch there"s this curious reversal whereperiodically New Age thinkers say that Egyptologists and also archaeologists aredenigrating the ancient culture. They occasionally put up a scarecrow argumentthat we say they were primitive. And the New Agers occasionally desire to say thesewere extremely sophisticated, technologically innovative civilization that built thesethings, they were not primitive. Well, actually there"s a particular irony here,because they say they were incredibly sophisticated technological people andsocieties that built the pyramids and the Sphinx, and yet they weren"t the onesthat we find. So to me, it"s these suggestions that are really denigrating thecivilization whose names, bodies, family relationships, devices, bakeries that weactually discover.

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Everypoint that I have actually found convinces me more and more that indeed it is thissociety that developed the Sphinx and also the pyramids. Everytime I go back to Giza myrespect rises for those people and that society, that they might execute it.You view, to me it"s also even more fascinating that they did this. And that bydoing this they contributed somepoint to the humale career and its overalladvance actually. Rather than simply saying, you know copping out andsaying, there"s no way they can have actually done this. I think that denigprices thepeople whose evidence we actually uncover.NOVA: Herodotus, the Greek chronicler, wrote that 100,000 workers developed thepyramids and also modern-day Egyptologists come up through a number more like 20,000workers. Can you describe that for us?LEHNER: Yeah, well, initially of all Herodotus just clintends he was told that. Heshelp, 100,000 men functioning in three shifts, which raises some doubt, I guess ifyou review it in the original Greek as to whether it"s 3 shifts of 100,000men each or whether you subdivide, you know, the 100,000 males. But my owntechnique to this stems to some extent from "This Old Pyramid." You recognize, the well-known film that was done by NOVA. And definitely we didn"treplicate ancient innovation 100 percent bereason there"s no way we couldreplicate the whole primitive culture that surrounded this technology. So ourstones were yielded by a flatbed truck as opposed to barges. You know, wedidn"t rebuild the barges that brought the 60-ton granite blocks fromAswan. So basically what we were doing is, as we say in the film and in theaccompanying book, that we"re setting up the capability to test specific devices,approaches and operations, without experimentation the whole building job.
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One of the things that the majority of impressed me, though, was the fact that in 21 days,12 guys in bare feet, living out in the eastern desert, opened a new quarryin about the moment we required stone for our NOVA Pyramid, and also in 21 days theyquarried 186 stones. Now they did it via an iron winch, you know, an ironcable and a winch that pulled the stone away from the quarry wall, and also alltheir tools were iron. But other than that they did it by hand also. So I sassist,taking just a raw figure, if 12 males in bare feet—they stayed in a lean-toshelter, day and night out there—if they deserve to quarry 186 stones in 21 days,let"s execute the simple math and see, simply in a really raw simplistic calculation,just how many guys were required to supply 340 stones a day, which is what you wouldhave to provide to the Khufu Pyramid to develop it in 20 years. And it comes outsomewbelow between—I"ve got this all composed down—yet it comes out in thenumerous men. Now I was bothered by the iron devices, like 400 guys, 4 to 500men. I was bothered by the iron tools, especially the iron winch that pulledthe stone away from the quarry wall surfaces, so I said, let"s put in a team of guys, ofaround say 20 guys, so that 12 men become 32. And now let"s run the equation.Well, it turns out that even if you offer great leeway for the iron devices, all340 stones can have been quarried in a day by somepoint prefer 1,200 guys. Andthat"s quarried locally at Giza. You watch many of the stone is regional rock.
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So then because of our mapping and also bereason of our method wbelow we looked at,what is the form of the ground here, where"s the quarry, wbelow is thepyramid, let"s check out, where would the ramp have run, we can come up with afigure of exactly how many type of guys it would take to schlep the stones approximately the pyramid.Now it"s regularly shelp that the stones were delivered at a rate of one eextremely twominutes or so. And New Agers sometimes suggest that out as an imopportunity forthe Egyptians of Khufu"s day. But the stones didn"t go in one after another,you watch. And you deserve to actually work-related out the coreliable of friction or glide ona slick surface, how a lot an average stone weighed, just how many males it would taketo pull that. And in a NOVA experiment we found that 12 men can pull a 1.5ton block over a slick surface with excellent ease. And then you might come upwith very conservative estimates as to the variety of men it would take to pullan average dimension block the distance from the quarry, which we know, to thepyramid. And you might even variable in various configurations of the rampwhich would give you a different length.Well, functioning in such means, and I obstacle anybody to join in the difficulty,it comes out that you have the right to actually acquire the shipment that you require. You need340 stones ceded you view, every day, and also that"s 34 stones eextremely hour in aten hour day, appropriate. Thirty-four stones have the right to gain ceded by x variety of gangsof 20 males, and also it comes out to something prefer 2,000, somewbelow in that area.We deserve to go over the exact numbers. So now we"ve obtained 1200 men in the quarrywhich is a really generous estimate, 2,000 men carrying. And so that"s 3,200.OK, just how around men cutting the stones and setting them? Well, it"s differentin between the core stones which were set through excellent slop aspect, and the casingstones which were practice cut and also set, one to another, with so much accuracythat you can"t get a knife blade in in between the joints, so there"s a differencethere. But let"s gloss over that for a minute.One of the things the NOVA experiment proved me that no book can, is justwhat is it prefer to have a 2 or 3-ton block—just how many males have the right to acquire their hands onit? Well, you can"t have actually 50 men functioning on one block, you view. And you canonly get about four or 5, 6 men at most functioning on a block, say two onlevers, you know, cutters and also so on. And you understand, you put pivots under it andas few as 2 or 3 men deserve to pivot it about if you put a hard cobble underit. There are all these tricks they know. But it"s simply difficult to obtain toomany kind of guys on a block. But you figure out exactly how many type of stones need to be collection to keepup through this rate, to gain in with 20 years. And it actually comes up 5,000 orless guys, consisting of the rock setters. Now the stone establishing gets a bitcomplex because of the casing, and you have actually one team working from eachedge, and another team working in the middle of each challenge for the casing andthen the core. And I"m going to gloss over that.
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But the challenge is out there: 5,000 guys to actually carry out the building and also thequarrying and also the schlepping from the regional quarry. This does not count the mencutting the granite and also shipping it from Aswan or the males over in Tura. OK, sothat rises the numbers somewhat....And that"s what points favor the primitive innovations series done by NOVA really bringhouse, I think. No, we"re not recreating ancient culture, and prehistoric pyramidstructure 100 percent. And probably not even 60 percent. But we are showingsome nuts and also bolts that are extremely helpful and also insightful, much more than all thearmchair theorizing.Now simply newly I was contacted by the building firm DMJM—theinitials stand for Daniel, Mann, Johnchild & Mendenhall—it"s among the biggest constructionfirms, they"re functioning right now on the Pentagon. And one of the senior vicepresidents made a decision to take on for a formal resolve for fellow engineers, aprogram monitoring research of the Great Pyramid. So these are not men liftingboilers in Manhattan, these are senior civil designers through one of the largestbuilding corporations in the USA. And I"m sure they"d be happyto go on record via their study which looked at what they call critical pathanalysis. What execute you have to acquire the job done? What devices did they have?And they contacted me and also other Egyptologists and we gave them some references.Here"s what we recognize about their devices, the inclined airplane, the lever and so on.And without any type of key sophistication or concealed modern technology, just basically whatarchaeologists say, this is what these folks had. DIM JIM came up with 5,000, 4to 5,000 males can develop the Great Pyramid within a 20 to 40 year duration. Andthey have actually incredibly specific calculations on every single aspect, from the gravel,for the ramps, to baking the bcheck out. So I throw that out tbelow, not becausethat"s gospel truth, but because reasoned building and construction designers, that plangood projects prefer bridges and also structures this particular day and earthfunctions and also so on, lookat the Great Pyramid and also don"t opt out for shed worlds, extraterrestrials, or concealed technologies. No, they say it"s a very impressive job,extraplain for the civilization that lived then and also tright here, but it might be done.They are huguy monuments.NOVA:
You"ve made recommendation to inscriptions at Giza that indicate who builtthe pyramids. What execute the engravings say?LEHNER: One of the a lot of compelling pieces of proof we have actually is graffiti onprimitive stone monuments in areas that they didn"t intend to be shown. Like onstructures once we dig down below the floor level, up in the relievingchambers above the King"s chamber, and in many monuments of the Old Kingdom,temples, the Sun holy places, other pyramids. Well, the graffiti offers us aimage of organization wbelow crews, wright here a gang of workmales was arranged intotwo crews. And the crews were subsplit into 5 phyles. The word phyles isspelled p-h-y-l-e-s. It"s the Greek word for tribe. The Egyptian word is za.They were divided into five za"s. In later times as soon as the Greeks came and also inbilingual inscriptions, as soon as somebody was translating za into Greek they usedthe word phyles, the word for tribe, which is exceptionally amazing actually.Were these militaristic kinds of conscripts? Certainly they weren"t servants.Could they actually have actually been herbal areas of the Nile Valley sort ofcontributing choose the means the Inca build their bridges and also so on? .....So thephyles then are subdivided right into divisions. And the divisions are established bysingle hieroglyphs via names that expect things prefer endurance, perfection,strong. OK, so exactly how do we recognize this—you pertained to a block of stone in therelieving chambers above the Great Pyramid. And initially of all you check out thiscartouche of a King and also then some scrawls all in red paint after it. That"sthe gang name. And in the Old Kingdom throughout the Pyramids of Giza, thegangs were called after majesties. So for instance, we have a name, compounded withthe name of Menkaure, and also it seems to interpret "the drunks or the drunkards ofMenkaure." There"s one that"s well attested, actually in the relievingchambers over the Great Pyramid, the Friends of Khufu gang, the Drunks ofMenkaura gang, and also then you have the green phyles and also then the effective ones.None of this sounds choose slaincredibly, does it?And in reality it gets more intriguing. Because in specific monuments you find thename of one gang on one side of the monument and one more gang, we assumecompeting on the other side of the monument. You uncover that to some degree inthe holy place, the Pyramid temple of Menkaure. It"s as though these gangs arecompeting. So from this proof we deduce that tright here was a labor force thatwas assigned to corresponding crew gang phyles and also divisions.NOVA: Wright here did the gangs come from? Were they local world or did theytake a trip from afar?LEHNER: There"s some evidence to suggest that world were rotated in and outof the raw labor force. So that you might be a young male in a village say inmiddle Egypt, and you had never seen even more than a few hundred civilization in yourvillage, maybe at sector day or somepoint. And the King"s men come and it maynot have been entirely coercion, yet it appears that everybody owed a labor taxes.We do not know if it was totally coercive, or if in fact, component of it was a
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natural community donation as in the Inhave the right to Empire for instance, to buildingtasks where they had actually an excellent party and also so on. But anyway they startedkeeping track of people and also their time on the imperial labor task. And if youwere brought from a distance you were brought by boat. So deserve to you imaginefloating dvery own the Nile and say you"re working on Khafre"s Pyramid, and also youfloat previous the good pyramid of Meidum and also the Pyramids of Dashur, and my God,you"ve never watched anypoint prefer this. These are the hugest points. We"retalking about a culture wbelow they didn"t have cameras, you didn"t view yourselfage. You didn"t view great imeras. And so here are these stupendous, giganticpoints thrusted approximately the skies, poliburned white limestone, blazing in thesunshine. And then they go on down to Giza and also they come about this edge,actually the corner of the Wevery one of the Crow appropriate into the harbor, and there"sKhufu, the best point on the world actually in the means of a building untilthe revolve of the century—our century. And you check out, for the initially time inyour life, not a few hundred, yet thousands, probably, of employees and peopleand markets of all kinds. And you"re rotated right into this endure and youserve in your corresponding crew, gang, phyles and division, and also then you"rerotated out and you go earlier because you have actually your own huge household to whomyou are assigned on a kind of an estate arranged society. You have your ownvillage, perhaps you also have your very own land that you"re responsible for. Soyou"re rotated back but you"re not the exact same. You have viewed the centralprinciple of the first country state in our planet"s history, the pyramids, thecentralization, this organization. And so they should have actually been powerfulsocializing forces.Anymethod, we think that that was the endure of the raw recruits. But thereshould have actually been a cadre of incredibly seasoned laborers that really kbrand-new how to cutrock so fine that you might join them without acquiring a razor blade inin between. And maybe they were the stone cutters and also setters, and theskilled quarry guys at the quarry wall. And the world that rotated in andout were those doing all the different raw labor, not only the schlepping ofthe stone but preparing gypamount and we do not understand to what extent the otherindustries were likewise arranged in the phyles system. But it"s quite an amazingpicture. And one of the things that really is motivating me currently is thequestion of what vision of culture is said by a pyramid prefer Khufu"s? Wasit in truth coercive? Was it a aggressive type of state WPA project? Or isit possible that we can uncover evidence that would certainly bring Egypt right into line withwhat we recognize of various other typical ancient societies. Like as soon as the Inca builda bridge, and every family winds its twine together, and the twine of allthe households in the village are wound right into the villages" contribution to therope. And the rope on the excellent day of bridge building is wound right into a greatcable. And all the villages" cables are wound into this virtual bridge. Or inMesopotamia we understand that they built city walls, good mud brick city walls, bythe clans turning out and giving their contribution, a kind of organic, naturalcommunity involvement in the building project. I wonder if that wasn"t theinstance with the Great Pyramid of Khufu. You recognize, it"s practically prefer an Amishbarnincreasing. But you understand, the Great Pyramid of Khufu is one hell of a barn.NOVA: Several of the theories of who constructed the pyramids suggest that the buildersmight not have been from Egypt. Can you respond to that?LEHNER: One point that strikes me when I review about these ideas—that itcouldn"t have been the Egyptians who developed the pyramids, it couldn"t have actually beenthe Egyptians who developed the Sphinx, of the 4th Empire, it had to have actually been anolder human being. And I think about those claims and then I look at themarvelous statue of Khafre via the Horus falcon at the back of his head. Ilook at the sublime ship of Khufu that was uncovered hidden south of the pyramid.And we understand that these objects day from the moment of Khafre and Khufu, and Ithink, my God, this was a great people. This was as good as it comes inregards to art and also sculpture and also building ships from any kind of location in the planet, inthe whole collection of ancient cultures. Why is there such a need to look foryet one more culture, to say "No, it wasn"t these human being, it was somecivilization that"s shed, also older." And to some extent I think we feel thehave to look for a lost people on time"s other horizon because we feellost in our world and somejust how we do not want to confront the bit manbehind the curtain as you had in "The Wizard of Oz." We desire the excellent andeffective wizard with all the sound and fury. You know, go gain me thebroomstick of the wicked witch of the west. We want that sound and fury. Weconstantly want even more out of the past than it really is.ZAHI HAWASS, Director General of GizaNOVA: Let"s attend to the question of that developed the pyramids.HAWASS: We are lucky bereason we found this whole evidence of theworkguys that built the pyramids and we discovered the artisans and Mark uncovered thebakery and we found this negotiation of the camp, and all the evidence, thehieroglyphical engravings of the overseer of the website of the Pyramid, theoverseer of the west side of the Pyramid, the craftsguy we found, the man whoprovides the statue of the overseer of the craftsmale, the inspector of buildingtombs, director of building tombs—I"m informing you all the titles. We found25 distinct brand-new titles connected via these human being. Then that built the pyramids?It was the Egyptians who constructed the pyramids. The Great Pyramid is dated withall the proof, I"m telling you now to 4,600 years, the power of Khufu. TheGreat Pyramid of Khufu is just one of 104 pyramids in Egypt through superstructure.And tbelow are 54 pyramids through substructure. Tright here is assistance (that) thehome builders of the pyramids were Egyptians. They are not the Jews as has beensassist, they are not people from a lost civilization. They are not out of area.They are Egyptian and also their skeleloads are right here, and were examined by scholars,doctors and the race of all the civilization we found are completely sustaining thatthey are Egyptians.NOVA: The Greek chronicler Herodotus declared in 500 B.C. that 100,000 peoplebuilt the pyramids, and yet contemporary Egyptologists think the figure to be moreprefer 20,000 to 30,000.HAWASS: Herodotus, when he came here, met guides who tell stories and also thingsfavor that. But I really personally believe that based on the size of thenegotiation and also the entirety work of a room that we discovered, I think thatpermanent and temporary workmales who functioned at structure the pyramid were36,000.NOVA: And just how perform you come to that number?HAWASS: I came to that number based on the size of the pyramid project, agovernment job, the dimension of the burial places, the cemetery. We understand we candig deep into the cemetery for numerous years—generations after generation canwork-related in the cemetery—and also the second is the settlement location. I really believetright here were long-term workguys who were working for the king. They were passist bythe king and also these are the technicians that reduced the stones, and also tbelow areworkmen who move the stones and also they come and also occupational in rotation. You have thisgroup and an additional group. In the very same time tbelow are the world who live aroundthe pyramids that don"t need to live in the pyramids. They come by beforehand inthe morning and they occupational fourteen hours from sunincrease to sunset.NOVA: From your excavations of the workers" cemetery you say you foundskeletons. Did you analyze the bones, and also if so, what did you learn around theworkmen?
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HAWASS:
We uncovered 600 skeleloads. And we found that those world, number one,they were Egyptians, the very same favor you view in eextremely cemetery in Egypt. Numbertwo, we uncovered evidence that those human being had emergency treatment. They hadmishaps during building the pyramids. And we found 12 skeletons that hadcrashes with their hands. And they supported the two sides of the hand also withhardwood. And we have another one, a rock dropped down on his leg, and they made asort of operation, and they cut his leg and he lived 14 years after that.NOVA: How execute you recognize that?HAWASS: Because we have actually a team below from the National Research Center that aremedical professionals and also they usage the x-ray and also they deserve to discover all the evidence around age.They discovered that the age of death for those workmen were from 30 to 35. Thoseare the human being that really built the pyramids, the poor Egyptians. It"s verycrucial to prove exactly how the pyramid was built. The pyramid you know, has actually magic,it has actually mystery. It"s a structure that was built, you understand, 4,600 years back.Tbelow is no accurate book until currently that really described every one of that. All thetheorists, in other publications they say that the stones were taken from Tura, about5 miles to the eastern of the pyramid. This is not true. All the stones havebeen taken from the plateau, other than the casing stones that came from Tura, andthe granite in the burial chamber that came from Aswan. But the magic of thepyramid provides world think around it. An amateur comes by and looks at thisframework and also doesn"t understand the mechanics. The cult of the Egyptians, thefaith, the pyramid, is a part of a totality world.NOVA: There is an engraving above Khufu"s interment chamber that identifies thepyramid as that of Khufu. Some civilization case that is a fake inscription. Canyou discuss that?HAWASS: They say that the engravings inside the five relieving chambers arefake. Fine. I went last week and we lighted all of them. It has been neverlighted prior to. We did beautiful lighting. Then we deserve to review each singleinscription.

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NOVA: And what do they say?HAWASS: The workguys who were affiliated in structure the Great Pyramid weredivided into gangs, teams, four groups, and also each team had a name, and eachteam had actually an overseer. They wrote the names of the gangs. And you have thenames of the gangs of Khufu as "Friends of Khufu." Due to the fact that they were thefriends of Khufu proves that building the pyramid was not really somepoint thatthe Egyptians would press. You recognize, it"s prefer this day. If you go to any kind of villageyou will certainly understand the device of prehistoric Egyptians. When you develop, I intend adam, or you build a large house, world would certainly concerned aid you. They would certainly worktotally free for you, the family members will certainly send food to feed the workmales. And once theybuild the dwellings you will carry out the exact same for them. And that"s why the pyramid wasthe national project of Egypt because everyone had to get involved in buildingthis pyramid. By food, by workguys, this way the building of the pyramid wassomething that everyone felt to get involved, and really it was love. They arenot really pushed to do it. When the king takes the throne, the human being have tobe ready in participating in structure the pyramid. And then when they finishit, they celebprice. That"s why also now in contemporary Egypt we still really docelebrations once we finish any task because that"s specifically what happened inancient Egypt.NOVA: But what about the incriptions in the relieving chambers in Khufu andthe case that they were not created during Khufu?HAWASS: They say that these inscriptions have been created by people whoentered inside. And if you go and also view them they are typical graffiti that canbe checked out roughly eexceptionally pyramid in Egypt, because the workmen around the pyramidleft this. I would choose those civilization that talked about this to come via me.And I will take them personally to the rooms. First of all they say that onlyinscribed is the second room—it"s not true. All the 5 relieving chambersare inscribed. Number 2, tright here are some engravings tright here that cannot becomposed by anyone other than the workmen that put them tright here. You cannot go andreach tright here. It has to be the male that put the block above the other one to dothat. I think that probably the just few Egyptologists, the just twoEgyptologists in the world that will certainly really have actually an open up mind, it"s me and also MarkLehner, because we think the public has actually the right for us to tell them thetruth. We are really working excavating roughly the pyramids to tell the worldthe fact.Photos: (1, 2) Aaron Strong; (3-5) From "This Old Pyramid";(6)Aaron Strong; (7) Mark LehnerPyramids Home | Pyramids | ExcavationContents | MailNOVA Home | WGBH Home | wgc2010.org HomeSearch | Feedago | Shop© 1997 WGBH and wgc2010.org