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Details about  Sale Beautiful SPHINX & PYRAMIDS statue: Large 10.5" brown wood colour sculpture

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Sale Beautiful SPHINX & PYRAMIDS statue: Large 10.5" brown wood colour sculpture
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  Sale Beautiful SPHINX & PYRAMIDS statue: Large 10.5" brown wood colour sculpture
   
 




















50% off the shipment cost of your second item purchased and sent with this one (as long as selected postage is the same type and lower cost - if other item has higher cost postage you get 50% off the postage of this item)!!!!
Crazy Mother's DAY SALE!!!
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A beautiful, hand made in Egypt painted sculpture of the sypinx and Giza Pyramids but can also be enjoyed as a desktop paper weight, on the mantlepiece or anywhere in your home. Very lovely and a great gift for decorating any house or apartment!

 

Height: 16.5 cm 6.5 inches

Width: 26 cm 10.5 inches

Depth: 7 cm 3 inches

Weight: 700 g (unpacked)

Auction is for 1 sphinx / pyramids statue / sculpture!


Made out of a high quality resin for strength, durability and appearance.


Limited time offer: NOW receive a free EGYPTIAN PAPYRUS BOOKMARK in plastic sleeve! Collect all 10! Each bookmark either has a image of ancient Egyptian art or a smaller image with the Hiroglyphic Alphabet and the equivalent English letters. Buy 3 or more items and get a set of 5 in a plastic display wallet. 
Buy now while stocks last! If we run out before removing this notice you'll receive a genuine papyrus print instead!


The Great Sphinx of Giza (Arabicأبو الهول‎ Abū al-Haul, English: The Terrifying One; literally: Father of dread), commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in GizaEgypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra.

It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide, and 20.22 m (66.34 ft) high.[1] It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC).[1][2]

 

 

Origin and identity

The Great Sphinx partly under the sand, ca. 1870's.

The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues but basic facts about it, such as when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. These questions have resulted in the popular idea of the "Riddle of the Sphinx,"[3] alluding to the original Greek legend of the Riddle of the Sphinx.

The Brazilian Imperial Family in front of sphinx, 1871
The Great Sphinx partially excavated, ca. 1878.
The Sphinx against the Pyramid of Khafre, 2005.

Pliny The Elder mentioned the Great Sphinx in his book, Natural History, commenting that the Egyptians looked upon the statue as a "divinity" that has been passed over in silence and "that King Harmais was buried in it".[4][5]

Names of the Sphinx

It is not known by what name the creators called their statue, as the Great Sphinx does not appear in any known inscription of the Old Kingdom, and there are no inscriptions anywhere describing its construction or its original purpose. In the New Kingdom, the Sphinx was called Hor-em-akhet (English: Horus of the Horizon; HellenizedHarmachis), and the pharaoh Thutmose IV (1401–1391 or 1397–1388 BC)[6] specifically referred to it as such in his Dream Stele.

The commonly used name Sphinx was given to it in classical antiquity, about 2000 years after the accepted date of its construction, by reference to a Greek mythological beast with a lion's body, a woman's head and the wings of an eagle (although, like most Egyptian sphinxes, the Great Sphinx has a man's head and no wings). The English word sphinx comes from the ancient Greek Σφίγξ (transliterated:sphinx), apparently from the verb σφίγγω (transliterated: sphingo / English: to squeeze), after the Greek sphinx who strangled anyone who failed to answer her riddle.

The name may alternatively be a corruption of the ancient Egyptian Ssp-anx (in MdC), a name given to royal statues of Dynasty IV (2575–2467 BC) and later in the New Kingdom (c. 1570–1070 BC) to the Great Sphinx more specifically, although phonetically the two names are far from identical.

Medieval Arab writers, including al-Maqrīzī, call the Sphinx balhib and bilhaw, which suggest a Coptic influence. The modern Egyptian Arabic name is أبو الهول (Abū al Hūl, English: The Terrifying One).

Builder and timeframe

Despite conflicting evidence and viewpoints over the years, the view held by modern Egyptology at large remains that the Great Sphinx was built in approximately 2500 BC for the pharaoh Khafra, the builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza.[7]

Selim Hassan, writing in 1949 on recent excavations of the Sphinx enclosure, summed up the problem:

"Taking all things into consideration, it seems that we must give the credit of erecting this, the world's most wonderful statue, to Khafre, but always with this reservation: that there is not one single contemporary inscription which connects the Sphinx with Khafre; so, sound as it may appear, we must treat the evidence as circumstantial, until such time as a lucky turn of the spade of the excavator will reveal to the world a definite reference to the erection of the Sphinx."[8]

The "circumstantial" evidence mentioned by Hassan includes the Sphinx's location in the context of the funerary complex surrounding the Second Pyramid, which is traditionally connected with Khafra.[9] Apart from the Causeway, the Pyramid and the Sphinx, the complex also includes the Sphinx Temple and the Valley Temple, both of which display the same architectural style, with 200-tonne stone blocks quarried out of the Sphinx enclosure.

diorite statue of Khafre, which was discovered buried upside down along with other debris in the Valley Temple, is claimed as support for the Khafra theory.

The Dream Stele, erected much later by the pharaoh Thutmose IV (1401–1391 or 1397–1388 BC), associates the Sphinx with Khafra. When the stele was discovered, its lines of text were already damaged and incomplete, and only referred to Khaf, not Khafra. An extract was translated:

"... which we bring for him: oxen ... and all the young vegetables; and we shall give praise to Wenofer ... Khaf ... the statue made forAtum-Hor-em-Akhet."[10]

The Egyptologist Thomas Young, finding the Khaf hieroglyphs in a damaged cartouche used to surround a royal name, inserted the glyph ra to complete Khafra's name. When the Stele was re-excavated in 1925, the lines of text referring to Khaf flaked off and were destroyed.

Dissenting hypotheses

Theories held by academic Egyptologists regarding the builder of the Sphinx and the date of its construction are not universally accepted, and various persons have proposed various alternative hypotheses about both the builder and the dating.

Early Egyptologists

Some of the early Egyptologists and excavators of the Giza pyramid complex believed the Great Sphinx and other structures in the Sphinx enclosure predated the traditional date of construction (the reign of Khafre or Khephren, 2520–2492 BC).

In 1857, Auguste Mariette, founder of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, unearthed the much later Inventory Stela (estimated Dynasty XXVI, c. 678–525 BC), which tells how Khufu came upon the Sphinx, already buried in sand. Although certain tracts on the Stela are considered good evidence,[11] this passage is widely dismissed as Late Period historical revisionism[why?].[12]

Gaston Maspero, the French Egyptologist and second director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, conducted a survey of the Sphinx in 1886 and concluded:

"The Sphinx stela shows, in line thirteen, the cartouche of Khephren.[13] I believe that to indicate an excavation carried out by that prince, following which, the almost certain proof that the Sphinx was already buried in sand by the time of Khafre[13] and his predecessors [i.e. Dynasty IV, c. 2575–2467 BC]."[14]

In 1904, English Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge wrote in The Gods of the Egyptians:

"This marvelous object [the Great Sphinx] was in existence in the days of Khafre, or Khephren,[13] and it is probable that it is a very great deal older than his reign and that it dates from the end of the archaic period [c. 2686 BC]."[15]

Modern dissenting hypotheses

Rainer Stadelmann, former director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, examined the distinct iconography of the nemes (headdress) and the now-detached beard of the Sphinx and concluded that the style is more indicative of the Pharaoh Khufu (2589–2566 BC), builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza and Khafra's father.[16] He supports this by suggesting that Khafra's Causeway was built to conform to a pre-existing structure, which, he concludes, given its location, could only have been the Sphinx.[12]

Colin Reader, an English geologist who independently conducted a more recent survey of the enclosure, agrees that the various quarries on the site have been excavated around the Causeway. Because these quarries are known to have been used by Khufu, Reader concludes that the Causeway (and the temples on either end thereof) must predate Khufu, thereby casting doubt on the conventional Egyptian chronology.[12]

In 2004, Vassil Dobrev of the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale in Cairo announced that he had uncovered new evidence that the Great Sphinx may have been the work of the little-known Pharaoh Djedefre (2528–2520 BC), Khafra's half brother and a son of Khufu.[17] Dobrev suggests that Djedefre built the Sphinx in the image of his father Khufu, identifying him with the sun god Ra in order to restore respect for their dynasty. Dobrev also notes, like Stadelmann and others, that the causeway connecting Khafre's pyramid to the temples was built around the Sphinx suggesting it was already in existence at the time.[16]

Fringe hypotheses

Orion correlation theory

The Orion correlation theory, as expounded by popular authors Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval,[18] is based on the proposed exact correlation of the three pyramids at Giza with the three stars ζ Oriε Ori and δ Ori, the stars forming Orion's Belt, in the relative positions occupied by these stars in 10500 BC. The authors argue that the geographic relationship of the Sphinx, the Giza pyramids and the Nile directly corresponds with LeoOrion and the Milky Way respectively. Sometimes cited as an example ofpseudoarchaeology, the theory is at variance with mainstream scholarship.[19][20][21]

Water erosion hypothesis

The Sphinx water erosion hypothesis contends that the main type of weathering evident on the enclosure walls of the Great Sphinx could only have been caused by prolonged and extensive rainfall,[22] and that it must therefore predate the time of the pharaoh Khafra. The hypothesis is championed primarily by Robert M. Schoch, a geologist and associate professor of natural science at the College of General Studies at Boston University, and John Anthony West, an author and alternative Egyptologist.

The Great Sphinx as Anubis

Author Robert K. G. Temple proposes that the Sphinx was originally a statue of the Jackal-Dog Anubis, the God of the Necropolis, and that its face was recarved in the likeness of a Middle Kingdom pharaoh, Amenemhet II. Temple bases his identification on the style of the eye make-up and the style of the pleats on the head-dress.[23]

Racial characteristics

Over the years several authors have commented on what they perceive as "Negroid" characteristics in the face of the Sphinx.[24] This issue has become part of the Ancient Egyptian race controversy, with respect to the ancient population as a whole.[25] The face of the Sphinx has been damaged over the millennia.

Medical analysis

Surgeon Hutan Ashrafian from Imperial College London has analysed the Sphinx to identify that it may have represented an individual suffering from prognathism which may have been a reflection of a disease suffered by the sculpture’s human inspiration. Furthermore as the Sphinx represented a lion, the same individual may have suffered from an associated condition where “lion-like” features were apparent (Leontiasis ossea).[26]

Restoration

After the Giza Necropolis was abandoned, the Sphinx became buried up to its shoulders in sand. The first documented attempt at an excavation dates to c. 1400 BC, when the young Thutmose IV (1401–1391 or 1397–1388 BC) gathered a team and, after much effort, managed to dig out the front paws, between which he placed a granite slab, known as the Dream Stele, inscribed with the following (an extract):

... the royal son, Thothmos, being arrived, while walking at midday and seating himself under the shadow of this mighty god, was overcome by slumber and slept at the very moment when Ra is at the summit [of heaven]. He found that the Majesty of this august god spoke to him with his own mouth, as a father speaks to his son, saying: Look upon me, contemplate me, O my son Thothmos; I am thy father, Harmakhis-Khopri-Ra-Tum; I bestow upon thee the sovereignty over my domain, the supremacy over the living ... Behold my actual condition that thou mayest protect all my perfect limbs. The sand of the desert whereon I am laid has covered me. Save me, causing all that is in my heart to be executed.[27]

Later, Ramesses II the Great (1279–1213 BC) may have undertaken a second excavation.

Mark Lehner, an Egyptologist, originally asserted that there had been a far earlier renovation during the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2184 BC),[28] although he has subsequently recanted this "heretical" viewpoint.[29]

In AD 1817, the first modern archaeological dig, supervised by the Italian Captain Giovanni Battista Caviglia, uncovered the Sphinx's chest completely. The entire Sphinx was finally excavated in 1925 to 1936, in digs led by Émile Baraize.

In 1931 engineers of the Egyptian government repaired the head of the Sphinx when part of its headdress fell off in 1926 due to erosion, which had also cut deeply into its neck.[30]

Panoramic view of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza, 2010

Missing nose and beard

The Sphinx profile in 2010
Limestone fragments of the Sphinx's beard

The one-metre-wide nose on the face is missing. Examination of the Sphinx's face shows that long rods or chisels were hammered into the nose, one down from the bridge and one beneath the nostril, then used to pry the nose off towards the south.[31]

The Arab historian al-Maqrīzī, writing in the 15th century, attributes the loss of the nose to iconoclasm by Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a SufiMuslim from the khanqah of Sa'id al-Su'ada. In AD 1378, upon finding the local peasants making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest, Sa'im al-Dahr was so outraged that he destroyed the nose, and was hanged for vandalism.[32] Al-Maqrīzī describes the Sphinx as the "talisman of the Nile" on which the locals believed the flood cycle depended.[citation needed]

There is also a story that the nose was broken off by a cannonball fired by Napoleon's soldiers, that still lives on today. Other variants indict British troops, the Mamluks, and others. Sketches of the Sphinx by the Dane Frederic Louis Norden, made in 1738 and published in 1757, show the Sphinx missing its nose.[33]

In addition to the lost nose, a ceremonial pharaonic beard is thought to have been attached, although this may have been added in later periods after the original construction. Egyptologist Vassil Dobrev has suggested that had the beard been an original part of the Sphinx, it would have damaged the chin of the statue upon falling.[16] The lack of visible damage supports his theory that the beard was a later addition.

Mythology

Colin Reader has proposed that the Sphinx was probably the focus of solar worship in the Early Dynastic Period, before the Giza Plateau became a necropolis in the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2134 BC).[34] He ties this in with his conclusions that the Sphinx, the Sphinx temple, the Causeway and the Khafra mortuary temple are all part of a complex which predates Dynasty IV (c. 2613–2494 BC). The lion has long been a symbol associated with the sun in ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Images depicting the Egyptian king in the form of a lion smiting his enemies date as far back as the Early Dynastic Period.

In the New Kingdom, the Sphinx became more specifically associated with the god Hor-em-akhet (HellenizedHarmachis) or Horus at the Horizon, which represented the pharaoh in his role as the Shesep-ankh (English: Living Image) of the god Atum. Pharaoh Amenhotep II (1427–1401 or 1397 BC) built a temple to the north east of the Sphinx nearly 1000 years after its construction, and dedicated it to the cult of Hor-em-akhet.

Images over the centuries

In the last 700 years there have been a proliferation of travellers and reports from Lower Egypt, unlike Upper Egypt, which was seldom reported from prior to the mid-18th century.AlexandriaRosettaDamiettaCairo and the Giza Pyramids are described repeatedly, but not necessarily comprehensively. Many accounts, by no means all by people who had actually seen it, were published and widely read. These include those of George SandysAndré ThévetAthanasius KircherBalthasar de MonconysJean de ThévenotJohn GreavesJohann Michael VanslebBenoît de MailletCornelis de BruijnPaul LucasRichard PocockeFrederic Louis Norden and others. But there is an even larger crowd of more anonymous people who wrote obscure and little-read works, sometimes only unpublished manuscripts in libraries or private collections, including Henry Castela, Hans Ludwig von Lichtenstein, Michael Heberer von Bretten, Wilhelm von BoldenselePierre Belon du MansVincent StochoveChristophe Harant, Gilles Fermanel, Robert Fauvel, Jean Palerne Foresien, Willian Lithgow, Joos van Ghistele, etc.

Over the centuries, writers and scholars have recorded their impressions and reactions upon seeing the Sphinx. The vast majority were concerned with a general description, often including a mixture of science, romance and mystique. A typical description of the Sphinx by tourists and leisure travelers throughout the 19th and 20th century was made byJohn Lawson Stoddard;

It is the antiquity of the Sphinx which thrills us as we look upon it, for in itself it has no charms. The desert's waves have risen to its breast, as if to wrap the monster in a winding-sheet of gold. The face and head have been mutilated by Moslem fanatics. The mouth, the beauty of whose lips was once admired, is now expressionless. Yet grand in its loneliness, – veiled in the mystery of unnamed ages, – the relic of Egyptian antiquity stands solemn and silent in the presence of the awful desert – symbol of eternity. Here it disputes with Time the empire of the past; forever gazing on and on into a future which will still be distant when we, like all who have preceded us and looked upon its face, have lived our little lives and disappeared. John L. Stoddard's Lectures (1898) 2, 111.

From the 16th century far into the 19th century, observers repeatedly noted that the Sphinx has the face, neck and breast of a woman. Examples included Johannes Helferich (1579), George Sandys (1615), Johann Michael Vansleb (1677), Benoît de Maillet (1735) and Elliot Warburton (1844).

Most early Western images were book illustrations in print form, elaborated by a professional engraver from either previous images available or some original drawing or sketch supplied by an author, and usually now lost. Seven years after visiting Giza, André Thévet (Cosmographie de Levant, 1556) described the Sphinx as "the head of a colossus, caused to be made by Isis, daughter of Inachus, then so beloved of Jupiter". He, or his artist and engraver, pictured it as a curly-haired monster with a grassy dog collar. Athanasius Kircher (who never visited Egypt) depicted the Sphinx as a Roman statue, reflecting his ability to conceptualize (Turris Babel, 1679). Johannes Helferich's (1579) Sphinx is a pinched-face, round-breasted woman with a straight haired wig; the only edge over Thevet is that the hair suggests the flaring lappets of the headdress. George Sandys stated that the Sphinx was a harlot; Balthasar de Monconys interpreted the headdress as a kind of hairnet, while François de La Boullaye-Le Gouz's Sphinx had a rounded hairdo with bulky collar.

Richard Pococke's Sphinx was an adoption of Cornelis de Bruijn's drawing of 1698, featuring only minor changes, but is closer to the actual appearance of the Sphinx than anything previous. The print versions of Norden's careful drawings for his Voyage d'Egypte et de Nubie, 1755 are the first to clearly show that the nose was missing. However from the time of the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt onwards, a number of accurate images were widely available in Europe, and copied by others.

The Disney film Aladdin attributes the Sphinx's broken nose to a stonemason who accidentally chipped it off after being distracted by Aladdin and Jasmine flying past on theirmagic carpet during the song "A Whole New World". In the cartoon book Asterix and Cleopatra, Obelix climbs up the face of the Sphinx and accidentally knocks the nose off.

In 2008, the film 10,000 BC showed a supposed original Sphinx with a lion's head. Before the film, the theory was presented on earlier documentary films about the origin of the Sphinx.

Gallery

Popular documentaries

  • Mystery of The Sphinx, narrated by Charlton Heston, a documentary presenting the theories of John Anthony West, was shown as an NBC Special on 10 November 1993 (winning an Emmy award for Best Research[citation needed]). A 95 minute DVD, Mystery of the Sphinx: Expanded Edition was released in 2007.[35]
  • Age Of The Sphinx, a BBC Two Timewatch documentary presenting the theories of John Anthony West and critical to both sides of the argument, was shown on 27 November 1994.

 

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El GizaEgypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu,[1][2]Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called[3] Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only pyramid in Egypt known to contain both ascending and descending passages. The main part of the Giza complex is a setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honour of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.

Transparent view of Khufu's pyramid from SE. Taken from a 3d Model

 

 

History and description[edit]

It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu and was constructed over a 20-year period. Khufu's vizierHemon, or Hemiunu, is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid.[4] It is thought that, at construction, the Great Pyramid was originally 280 Egyptian cubits tall, 146.5 metres (480.6 ft) but with erosion and absence of its pyramidion, its present height is 138.8 metres (455.4 ft). Each base side was 440 cubits, 230.4 metres (755.9 ft) long. The mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The volume, including an internal hillock, is roughly 2,500,000 cubic metres (88,000,000 cu ft).[5] Based on these estimates, building this in 20 years would involve installing approximately 800 tonnes of stone every day. Similarly, since it consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks, completing the building in 20 years would involve moving an average of more than 12 of the blocks into place each hour, day and night. The first precision measurements of the pyramid were made by Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie in 1880–82 and published as The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh.[6] Almost all reports are based on his measurements. Many of the casing stones and inner chamber blocks of the Great Pyramid were fit together with extremely high precision. Based on measurements taken on the north eastern casing stones, the mean opening of the joints is only 0.5 millimetres wide (1/50th of an inch).[7]

Great Pyramid of Giza from a 19th-century stereopticon card photo

The pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years,[8] unsurpassed until the 160-metre-tall (520 ft) spire of Lincoln Cathedral was completed c. 1300. The accuracy of the pyramid's workmanship is such that the four sides of the base have an average error of only 58 millimetres in length.[9] The base is horizontal and flat to within ±15 mm (0.6 in).[10] The sides of the square base are closely aligned to the four cardinal compass points (within four minutes of arc)[11] based on true north, not magnetic north,[12]and the finished base was squared to a mean corner error of only 12 seconds of arc.[13] The completed design dimensions, as suggested by Petrie's survey and subsequent studies, are estimated to have originally been 280 cubits high by 440 cubits long at each of the four sides of its base. The ratio of the perimeter to height of 1760/280 cubits equates to 2π to an accuracy of better than 0.05% (corresponding to the well-known approximation of π as 22/7). Some Egyptologists consider this to have been the result of deliberate design proportion. Verner wrote, "We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of π, in practice they used it".[14]Petrie, author of Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh concluded: "but these relations of areas and of circular ratio are so systematic that we should grant that they were in the builder's design".[15] Others have argued that the Ancient Egyptians had no concept of pi and would not have thought to encode it in their monuments. They believe that the observed pyramid slope may be based on a simple seked slope choice alone, with no regard to the overall size and proportions of the finished building.[16]

Materials[edit]

The Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million limestone blocks which most believe to have been transported from nearby quarries. The Tura limestone used for the casing was quarried across the river. The largest granite stones in the pyramid, found in the "King's" chamber, weigh 25 to 80 tonnes and were transported from Aswan, more than 800 km (500 mi) away. Traditionally, ancient Egyptians cut stone blocks by hammering wooden wedges into the stone which were then soaked with water. As the water was absorbed, the wedges expanded, causing the rock to crack. Once they were cut, they were carried by boat either up or down the Nile River to the pyramid.[17] It is estimated that 5.5 million tonnes of limestone, 8,000 tonnes of granite (imported from Aswan), and 500,000 tonnes of mortar were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid.[18]

Casing stones[edit]

Casing stone

At completion, the Great Pyramid was surfaced by white "casing stones" – slant-faced, but flat-topped, blocks of highly polished whitelimestone. These were carefully cut to what is approximately a face slope with a seked of 5½ palms to give the required dimensions. Visibly, all that remains is the underlying stepped core structure seen today. In AD 1300, a massive earthquake loosened many of the outer casing stones, which were then carted away by Bahri Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan in 1356 to build mosques and fortresses in nearbyCairo. The stones can still be seen as parts of these structures. Later explorers reported massive piles of rubble at the base of the pyramids left over from the continuing collapse of the casing stones, which were subsequently cleared away during continuing excavations of the site. Nevertheless, a few of the casing stones from the lowest course can be seen to this day in situ around the base of the Great Pyramid, and display the same workmanship and precision that has been reported for centuries. Petrie also found a different orientation in the core and in the casing measuring 193 centimetres ± 25 centimetres. He suggested a redetermination of north was made after the construction of the core, but a mistake was made, and the casing was built with a different orientation.[19] Petrie related the precision of the casing stones as to being "equal to opticians' work of the present day, but on a scale of acres" and "to place such stones in exact contact would be careful work; but to do so with cement in the joints seems almost impossible".[20] It has been suggested it was the mortar (Petrie's "cement") that made this seemingly impossible task possible, providing a level bed which enabled the masons to set the stones exactly.[21][22]

Construction theories[edit]

Clay seal bearing the name of Khufu from the great pyramid. On display at the Musée du Louvre.

Many alternative, often contradictory, theories have been proposed regarding the pyramid's construction techniques.[23] Many disagree on whether the blocks were dragged, lifted, or even rolled into place. The Greeks believed that slave labour was used, but modern discoveries made at nearby workers' camps associated with construction at Giza suggest it was built instead by tens of thousands of skilled workers. Verner posited that the labour was organized into a hierarchy, consisting of two gangs of 100,000 men, divided into five zaa or phyle of 20,000 men each, which may have been further divided according to the skills of the workers.[24]

One mystery of the pyramid's construction is its planning. John Romer suggests that they used the same method that had been used for earlier and later constructions, laying out parts of the plan on the ground at a 1-to-1 scale. He writes that "such a working diagram would also serve to generate the architecture of the pyramid with precision unmatched by any other means."[25] He also argues for a 14-year time span for its construction.[26]

A modern construction management study, in association with Mark Lehner and other Egyptologists, estimated that the total project required an average workforce of 14,567 people and a peak workforce of 40,000. Without the use of pulleys, wheels, or iron tools, they used critical path analysis to suggest the Great Pyramid was completed from start to finish in approximately 10 years.[27]

Interior[edit]

Diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid. The inner line indicates the pyramid's present profile; the outer line indicates the original profile.

The original entrance to the Great Pyramid is 17 metres (56 ft) vertically above ground level and 7.29 metres (23.9 ft) east of the center line of the pyramid. From this original entrance there is a Descending Passage 0.96 metres (3.1 ft) high and 1.04 metres (3.4 ft) wide which goes down at an angle of 26° 31'23" through the masonry of the pyramid and then into the bedrock beneath it. After 105.23 metres (345.2 ft), the passage becomes level and continues for an additional 8.84 metres (29.0 ft) to the lower Chamber, which appears not to have been finished. There is a continuation of the horizontal passage in the south wall of the lower chamber; there is also a pit dug in the floor of the chamber. Some Egyptologists suggest this Lower Chamber was intended to be the original burial chamber, but Pharaoh Khufu later changed his mind and wanted it to be higher up in the pyramid.[28]

At 28.2 metres (93 ft) from the entrance is a square hole in the roof of the Descending Passage. Originally concealed with a slab of stone, this is the beginning of the Ascending Passage. The Ascending Passage is 39.3 metres (129 ft) long, as wide and high as the Descending Passage and slopes up at almost precisely the same angle. The lower end of the Ascending Passage is closed by three huge blocks of granite, each about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) long. At the start of the Grand Gallery on the right-hand side there is a hole cut in the wall, (and now blocked by chicken wire). This is the start of a vertical shaft which follows an irregular path through the masonry of the pyramid to join the Descending Passage. Also at the start of the Grand Gallery there is a Horizontal Passage leading to the "Queen's Chamber". The passage is 1.1m (3'8") high for most of its length, but near the chamber there is a step in the floor, after which the passage is 1.73 metres (5.7 ft) high.

Queen's Chamber[edit]

The Queen's Chamber is exactly half-way between the north and south faces of the pyramid and measures 5.75 metres (18.9 ft) north to south, 5.23 metres (17.2 ft) east to west, and has a pointed roof with an apex 6.23 metres (20.4 ft) above the floor. At the eastern end of the chamber there is a niche 4.67 metres (15.3 ft) high. The original depth of the niche was 1.04 metres (3.4 ft), but has since been deepened by treasure hunters.[citation needed]

In the north and south walls of the Queen's Chamber there are shafts, which unlike those in the King's Chamber that immediately slope upwards, are horizontal for around 2 m (6.6 ft) before sloping upwards. The horizontal distance was cut in 1872 by a British engineer, Waynman Dixon, who believed a similar shaft to the King's Chamber must also exist. He was proved right, but because the shafts are not connected to the outer faces of the pyramid or the Queen's Chamber, their purpose is unknown. At the end of one of his shafts, Dixon discovered a ball of black diorite (a type of rock) and a bronze implement of unknown purpose. Both objects are currently in the British Museum. [29]

The shafts in the Queen's Chamber were explored in 1992 by the German engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink using a crawler robot he designed, Upuaut 2. After a climb of 65 m (213 ft),[30] he discovered that one of the shafts was blocked by limestone "doors" with two eroded copper "handles". Some years later the National Geographic Society created a similar robot which drilled a small hole in the southern door, only to find another larger door behind it.[31] The northern passage, which was difficult to navigate because of twists and turns, was also found to be blocked by a door.[32]

Research continued in 2011 with the Djedi Project. Realizing the problem was that the National Geographic Society's camera was only able to see straight ahead of it, they instead used a fiber-optic "micro snake camera" that could see around corners. With this they were able to penetrate the first door of the northern shaft and view all the sides of the small chamber behind it. They discovered hieroglyphs written in red paint. They were also able to scrutinize the inside of the two copper "handles" embedded in the door, and they now believe them to be for decorative purposes. They also found the reverse side of the "door" to be finished and polished, which suggests that it was not put there just to block the shaft from debris, but rather for a more specific reason.[33]

Grand Gallery[edit]

The Grand Gallery of the Great Pyramid of Giza

The Grand Gallery continues the slope of the Ascending Passage, but is 8.6 metres (28 ft) high and 46.68 metres (153.1 ft) long. At the base it is 2.06 metres (6.8 ft) wide, but after 2.29 metres (7.5 ft) the blocks of stone in the walls are corbelled inwards by 7.6 centimetres (3.0 in) on each side. There are seven of these steps, so at the top the Grand Gallery is only 1.04 metres (3.4 ft) wide. It is roofed by slabs of stone laid at a slightly steeper angle than the floor of the gallery, so that each stone fits into a slot cut in the top of the gallery like the teeth of a ratchet. The purpose was to have each block supported by the wall of the Gallery rather than resting on the block beneath it, which would have resulted in an unacceptable cumulative pressure at the lower end of the Gallery.[citation needed]

At the upper end of the Gallery on the right-hand side there is a hole near the roof which opens into a short tunnel by which access can be gained to the lowest of the Relieving Chambers. The other Relieving Chambers were discovered in 1837/8 by Colonel Howard Vyse and J. S. Perring, who dug tunnels upwards using blasting powder.

The floor of the Grand Gallery consists of a shelf or step on either side, 51 centimetres (20 in) wide, leaving a lower ramp 1.04 metres (3.4 ft) wide between them. In the shelves there are 54 slots, 27 on each side matched by vertical and horizontal slots in the walls of the Gallery. These form a cross shape that rises out of the slot in the shelf. The purpose of these slots is not known, but the central gutter in the floor of the Gallery, which is the same width as the Ascending Passage, has led to speculation that the blocking stones were stored in the Grand Gallery and the slots held wooden beams to restrain them from sliding down the passage.[citation needed] This, in turn, has led to the proposal that originally many more than 3 blocking stones were intended, to completely fill the Ascending Passage.[citation needed]

At the top of the Grand Gallery there is a step giving onto a horizontal passage approximately 1.02 metres (3.3 ft) long, in which can be detected four slots, three of which were probably intended to hold granite portcullises. Fragments of granite found by Petrie in the Descending Passage may have come from these now-vanished doors.

King's Chamber[edit]

The King's Chamber is 10.47 metres (34.4 ft) from east to west and 5.234 metres (17.17 ft) north to south. It has a flat roof 5.974 metres (19.60 ft) above the floor. 0.91 m (3.0 ft) above the floor there are two narrow shafts in the north and south walls (one is now filled by an extractor fan in an attempt to circulate air inside the pyramid). The purpose of these shafts is not clear: they appear to be aligned toward stars or areas of the northern and southern skies, yet one of them follows a dog-leg course through the masonry, indicating no intention to directly sight stars through them. They were long believed by Egyptologists to be "air shafts" for ventilation, but this idea has now been widely abandoned in favour of the shafts serving a ritualistic purpose associated with the ascension of the king’s spirit to the heavens.[34]

The King's Chamber is entirely faced with granite. Above the roof, which is formed of nine slabs of stone weighing in total about 400 tons, are five compartments known as Relieving Chambers. The first four, like the King's Chamber, have flat roofs formed by the floor of the chamber above, but the final chamber has a pointed roof. Vyse suspected the presence of upper chambers when he found that he could push a long reed through a crack in the ceiling of the first chamber. From lower to upper, the chambers are known as "Davison's Chamber", "Wellington's Chamber", "Nelson's Chamber", "Lady Arbuthnot's Chamber", and "Campbell's Chamber". It is believed that the compartments were intended to safeguard the King's Chamber from the possibility of a roof collapsing under the weight of stone above the Chamber. As the chambers were not intended to be seen, they were not finished in any way and a few of the stones still retain masons' marks painted on them. One of the stones in Campbell's Chamber bears a mark, apparently the name of a work gang, which incorporates the only reference in the pyramid to Pharaoh Khufu.[1][2]

The entrance of the Pyramid

The only object in the King's Chamber is a rectangular granite sarcophagus, one corner of which is broken. The sarcophagus is slightly larger than the Ascending Passage, which indicates that it must have been placed in the Chamber before the roof was put in place. Unlike the fine masonry of the walls of the Chamber, the sarcophagus is roughly finished, with saw marks visible in several places. This is in contrast with the finely finished and decorated sarcophagi found in other pyramids of the same period. Petrie suggested that such a sarcophagus was intended but was lost in the river on the way north from Aswan and a hurriedly-made replacement was used instead.

Modern entrance[edit]

Today tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers' Tunnel dug by workmen employed by Caliph al-Ma'mun around AD 820. The tunnel is cut straight through the masonry of the pyramid for approximately 27 metres (89 ft), then turns sharply left to encounter the blocking stones in the Ascending Passage. Unable to remove these stones, the workmen tunnelled up beside them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid until they reached the Ascending Passage. It is possible to enter the Descending Passage from this point, but access is usually forbidden.

Pyramid complex[edit]

Map of Giza pyramid complex - "Pyramid of Khufu" refers to the Great Pyramid.

The Great Pyramid is surrounded by a complex of several buildings including small pyramids. The Pyramid Temple, which stood on the east side of the pyramid and measured 52.2 metres (171 ft) north to south and 40 metres (130 ft) east to west, has almost entirely disappeared apart from the black basalt paving. There are only a few remnants of the causeway which linked the pyramid with the valley and the Valley Temple. The Valley Temple is buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman; basalt paving and limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated.[35][36] The basalt blocks show "clear evidence" of having been cut with some kind of saw with an estimated cutting blade of 15 feet (4.6 m) in length, capable of cutting at a rate of 1.5 inches (38 mm) per minute. John Romer suggests this "super saw" may have had copper teeth and weighed up to 300 pounds (140 kg). He theorizes such a saw could have been attached to a wooden trestle and possibly used in conjunction with vegetable oil, cutting sand, emery or pounded quartz to cut the blocks, which would have required the labour of at least a dozen men to operate it.[37]

On the south side are the subsidiary pyramids, popularly known as Queens' Pyramids. Three remain standing to nearly full height but the fourth was so ruined that its existence was not suspected until the recent discovery of the first course of stones and the remains of the capstone. Hidden beneath the paving around the pyramid was the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I, sister-wife of Sneferu and mother ofKhufu. Discovered by accident by the Reisner expedition, the burial was intact, though the carefully sealed coffin proved to be empty.

Group photo of Australian 11th Battalion soldiers on the Great Pyramid in 1915.
Aerial photography, taken fromEduard Spelterini's balloon on 21 November 1904

The Giza pyramid complex, which includes among other structures the pyramids of Khufu, Khafreand Menkaure, is surrounded by a cyclopean stone wall, the Wall of the Crow. Mark Lehner has discovered a worker's town outside of the wall, otherwise known as "The Lost City", dated by pottery styles, seal impressions, and stratigraphy to have been constructed and occupied sometime during the reigns of Khafre (2520–2494 BC) and Menkaure (2490–2472 BC).[38][39] Recent discoveries by Mark Lehner and his team at the town and nearby, including what appears to have been a thriving port, suggest the town and associated living quarters consisting of barracks called "galleries" may not have been for the pyramid workers after all, but rather for the soldiers and sailors who utilized the port. In light of this new discovery, as to where then the pyramid workers may have lived Lehner now suggests the alternative possibility they may have camped on the ramps he believes were used to construct the pyramids or possibly at nearby quarries.[40]

In the early 1970s, the Australian archaeologist Karl Kromer excavated a mound in the South Field of the plateau. This mound contained artifacts including mudbrick seals of Khufu, which he identified with an artisans' settlement.[41] Mudbrick buildings just south of Khufu's Valley Temple contained mud sealings of Khufu and have been suggested to be a settlement serving the cult of Khufu after his death.[42] A worker's cemetery used at least between Khufu's reign and the end of the Fifth Dynasty was discovered south of the Wall of the Crow byZahi Hawass in 1990.[43]

Boats[edit]

There are three boat-shaped pits around the pyramid, of a size and shape to have held complete boats, though so shallow that any superstructure, if there ever was one, must have been removed or disassembled. In May 1954, the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh discovered a fourth pit, a long, narrow rectangle, still covered with slabs of stone weighing up to 15 tons. Inside were 1,224 pieces of wood, the longest 23 metres (75 ft) long, the shortest 10 centimetres (0.33 ft). These were entrusted to a boat builder, Haj Ahmed Yusuf, who worked out how the pieces fit together. The entire process, including conservation and straightening of the warped wood, took fourteen years.

The result is a cedar-wood boat 43.6 metres (143 ft) long, its timbers held together by ropes, which is currently housed in a special boat-shaped, air-conditioned museum beside the pyramid. During construction of this museum, which stands above the boat pit, a second sealed boat pit was discovered. It was deliberately left unopened until 2011 when excavation began on the boat.[44]

Looting[edit]

Comparison of the Great pyramid to other similar constructed buildings

Although succeeding pyramids were smaller, pyramid building continued until the end of the Middle Kingdom. However, as authors Briar and Hobbs claim, "all the pyramids were robbed" by the New Kingdom, when the construction of royal tombs in a desert valley, now known as the Valley of the Kings, began.[45][46] Joyce Tyldesley states that the Great Pyramid itself "is known to have been opened and emptied by the Middle Kingdom", before the Arab caliph Abdullah al-Mamun entered the pyramid around AD 820.[47]

I. E. S. Edwards discusses Strabo's mention that the pyramid "a little way up one side has a stone that may be taken out, which being raised up there is a sloping passage to the foundations." Edwards suggested that the pyramid was entered by robbers after the end of the Old Kingdom and sealed and then reopened more than once until Strabo's door was added. He adds: "If this highly speculative surmise be correct, it is also necessary to assume either that the existence of the door was forgotten or that the entrance was again blocked with facing stones", in order to explain why al-Ma'mun could not find the entrance.[48]

He also discusses a story told by Herodotus. Herodotus visited Egypt in the 5th century BC and recounts a story he was told about vaults under the pyramid built upon an island where the body of Cheops lies. Edwards notes that the pyramid had "almost certainly been opened and its contents plundered long before the time of Herodotus" and that it might have been closed again during the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt when other monuments were restored. He suggests that the story told to Herodotus could have been the result of almost two centuries of telling and retelling by Pyramid guides.[49]

 

 

The Giza Necropolis (Arabicأهرامات الجيزة‎, IPA: [ʔɑhɾɑˈmɑːt elˈɡiːzæ], "pyramids of Giza") is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of CairoEgypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an industrial complex. It is located some 9 km (5 mi) inland into the desert from the old town of Giza on the Nile, some 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Cairo city centre. The pyramids, which have historically loomed large as emblems of ancient Egypt in the Western imagination,[1][2] were popularised in Hellenistic times, when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of theSeven Wonders of the World. It is by far the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.

 

 

The Pyramids and the Sphinx[edit]

Aerial view from north of cultivated Nile valley with the pyramids in the background
The Great Sphinx partially excavated, photo taken between 1867 and 1899
Auguste Mariette (seated, far left) andPedro II of Brazil (seated, far right) with others during the Emperor's visit to the Giza Necropolis at the end of 1871

The Pyramids of Giza consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (known as the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Cheops andKhufu), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters further south-west. The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids.[3]

Khufu’s pyramid complex[edit]

Khufu’s pyramid complex consists of a Valley Temple, now buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman; basalt paving andnummulitic limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated.[4][5] The Valley Temple was connected to a causeway which was largely destroyed when the village was constructed. The Causeway led to the Mortuary Temple of Khufu. From this temple only the basalt pavement remains. The mortuary temple was connected to the king’s pyramid. The king’s pyramid has three smaller queen’s pyramids associated with it and five boat pits.[6] The boat pits contain a ship, and the two pits on the south side of the pyramid still contained intact ships. One of these ships has been restored and is on display. Khufu's Pyramid maintains a limited collection of casing stones at its base. These casing stones were made of fine white limestone quarried from the nearby range.[3]

Khafre’s pyramid complex[edit]

Khafre’s pyramid complex consists of a Valley temple (sometimes referred to as the Sphinx temple), a causeway, a mortuary temple and the king’s pyramid. The Valley Temple yielded several statues of Khafre. Several were found in a well in the floor of the temple by Mariette in 1860. Others were found during successive excavations by Sieglin (1909–10), Junker, Reisner, and Hassan. Khafre’s complex contained five boat-pits and a subsidiary pyramid with a serdab.[6] Khafre's Pyramid appears larger than the adjacent Khufu Pyramid by virtue of its more elevated location, and the steeper angle of inclination of its construction – it is, in fact, smaller in both height and volume. Khafre's Pyramid retains a prominent display of casing stones at its apex.[3]

Menkaure’s pyramid complex[edit]

Menkaure’s pyramid complex consists of a Valley Temple, a causeway, a mortuary temple, and the king’s pyramid. The Valley Temple contained several statues of Menkaure. During the 5th dynasty, a smaller ante-temple was added on to the Valley temple. The Mortuary temple also yielded several statues of Menkaure. The king’s pyramid has three subsidiary or Queen’s pyramids.[6] Of the four major monuments, only Menkaure's Pyramid is seen today without any of its original polished limestone casing.[3]

The Sphinx[edit]

The Sphinx dates to the reign of king Khafre.[7] A chapel was located between its forepaws that had unfortunate history of being repeatedly destroyed by unusual circumstances. During the New Kingdom, Amenhotep II dedicated a new temple to Hauron-Haremakhet and this structure was added onto by later rulers.[6]

Tomb of Queen Khentkaues I[edit]

Khentkaus I was buried in Giza. Her tomb is known as LG 100 and G 8400 and is located in the Central Field, near the pyramid ofMenkaure. The pyramid complex of Queen Khentkaus includes: her pyramid, a boat pit, a Valley Temple and a pyramid town.[6][8]

Construction[edit]

Most construction theories are based on the idea that the pyramids were built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place. The disagreements center on the method by which the stones were conveyed and placed and how possible the method was.

In building the pyramids, the architects might have developed their techniques over time. They would select a site on a relatively flat area of bedrock—not sand—which provided a stable foundation. After carefully surveying the site and laying down the first level of stones, they constructed the pyramids in horizontal levels, one on top of the other.

For the Great Pyramid of Giza, most of the stone for the interior seems to have been quarried immediately to the south of the construction site. The smooth exterior of the pyramid was made of a fine grade of white limestone that was quarried across the Nile. These exterior blocks had to be carefully cut, transported by river barge to Giza, and dragged up ramps to the construction site. Only a few exterior blocks remain in place at the bottom of the Great Pyramid. During the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century), people may have taken the rest away for building projects in the city of Cairo.[3]

To ensure that the pyramid remained symmetrical, the exterior casing stones all had to be equal in height and width. Workers might have marked all the blocks to indicate the angle of the pyramid wall and trimmed the surfaces carefully so that the blocks fit together. During construction, the outer surface of the stone was smooth limestone; excess stone has eroded as time has passed.[3]

Purpose[edit]

The Pyramids of Giza and others are thought to have been constructed to house the remains of the deceased Pharaohs who ruled over Ancient Egypt.[3] A portion of the Pharaoh's spirit called his ka was believed to remain with his corpse. Proper care of the remains was necessary in order for the "former Pharaoh to perform his new duties as king of the dead." It's theorized the pyramid not only served as a tomb for the Pharaoh but also as storage for the various items he would need in the afterlife. "The people of Ancient Egypt believed that death on Earth was the start of a journey to the next world. The embalmed body of the King was entombed underneath or within the pyramid to protect it and allow his transformation and ascension to the afterlife."[9]

Workers' village[edit]

The work of quarrying, moving, setting, and sculpting the huge amount of stone used to build the pyramids might have been accomplished by several thousand skilled workers, unskilled laborers and supporting workers. Bakers, carpenters, water carriers, and others were also needed for the project. Along with the methods utilized to construct the pyramids, there is also wide speculation regarding the exact number of workers needed for a building project of this magnitude. When Greek historian Herodotus visited Giza in 450 BC, he was told by Egyptian priests that "the Great Pyramid had taken 400,000 men 20 years to build, working in three-month shifts 100,000 men at a time." Evidence from the tombs indicates that a workforce of 10,000 laborers working in three-month shifts took around 30 years to build a pyramid.[3]

The Giza pyramid complex is surrounded by a large stone wall, outside which Mark Lehner and his team have discovered a town where the workers on the pyramids were housed. This town is located to the southeast of the Khafre and Menkaure complexes. Among the discoveries at the workers' village are communal sleeping quarters, bakeries, breweries and kitchens (with evidence showing that bread, beef and fish were staples of the diet), a hospital and a cemetery (where some of the skeletons were found with signs of trauma associated with accidents on a building site).[10] The workers' town discovered appears to date to the middle 4th dynasty (2520–2472 BC), after the accepted time of Khufu and completion of the Great Pyramid. According to Mark Lehner and the AERA team;

"The development of this urban complex must have been quite rapid. All of the construction probably happened in the 35 to 50 years that spanned the reigns of Khafre andMenkaure, builders of the Second and Third Giza Pyramids".

Without carbon dating, using only pottery shards, seal impressions, and stratigraphy to date the site, the team further concludes;

"The picture that emerges is that of a planned settlement, some of the world's earliest urban planning, securely dated to the reigns of two Giza pyramid builders: Khafre (2520–2494 BC) and Menkaure (2490–2472 BC)".[11][12]

Cemeteries[edit]

Giza pyramid complex (map)
Giza pyramid complex seen from above

As the pyramids were constructed, the mastabas for lesser royals were constructed around them. Near the pyramid of Khufu, the main cemetery is G 7000 which lies in the East Field located to the east of the main pyramid and next to the Queen’s pyramids. These cemeteries around the pyramids were arranged along streets and avenues.[13] Cemetery G 7000 was one of the earliest and contained tombs of wives, sons and daughters of these 4th dynasty rulers. On the other side of the pyramid in the West Field, the royals sons Wepemnofret and Hemiunu were buried in Cemetery G 1200 and Cemetery G 4000 respectively. These cemeteries were further expanded during the 5th and 6th dynasty.[6]

West Field[edit]

The West Field is located to the west of Khufu’s pyramid. It is divided into smaller areas such as the cemeteries referred to as the Abu Bakr Excavations (1949–50, 1950–1,1952 and 1953), and several cemeteries named based on the mastaba numbers such as Cemetery G 1000, Cemetery G 1100, etc. The West Field contains Cemetery G1000 – Cemetery G1600, and Cemetery G 1900. Further cemeteries in this field are: Cemeteries G 2000, G 2200, G 2500, G 3000, G 4000, and G 6000. Three other cemeteries are named after their excavators: Junker Cemetery West, Junker Cemetery East and Steindorff Cemetery.[6]

Cemeteries in the West Field at Giza[6]
Cemetery Time Period Excavation Comments
Abu Bakr Excavations the 5th and 6th dynasty (1949–53)  
Cemetery G 1000 the 5th and 6th dynasty Reisner (1903–05) Stone built mastabas
Cemetery G 1100 the 5th and 6th dynasty Reisner (1903–05) Brick built mastabas
Cemetery G 1200 Mainly 4th dynasty Reisner (1903–05) Some members of Khufu’s family are buried here; Wepemnefert (King’s Son), Kaem-ah (King’s Son), Nefertiabet (King’s Daughter)
Cemetery G 1300 the 5th and 6th dynasty Reisner (1903–05) Brick built mastabas
Cemetery G 1400 the 5th dynasty or later Reisner (1903–05) Two men who were prophets of Khufu
Cemetery G 1500   Reisner (1931?) Only one mastaba (G 1601)
Cemetery G 1600 the 5th dynasty or later Reisner (1931) Two men who were prophets of Khufu
Cemetery G 1900   Reisner (1931) Only one mastabas (G 1903)
Cemetery G 2000   the 5th and 6th dynasty Reisner (1905–06)
Cemetery G 2100 the 4th and 5th dynasty and later Reisner (1931) G 2100 belongs to Merib, a King’s (grand-)Son and G2101 belongs to a 5th dynasty king’s daughter.
Cemetery G 2200 Late 4th or early 5th dynasty Reisner ? Mastaba G 2220
Cemetery G 2300 5th dynasty and 6th dynasty Reisner (1911–13) Includes mastabas of Vizier Senedjemib-Inti and his family.
Cemetery G 2400 5th dynasty and 6th dynasty Reisner (1911–13)  
Cemetery G 2500   Reisner  
Cemetery G 3000 6th dynasty Fisher and Eckley Case Jr (1915)  
Cemetery G 4000 4th dynasty and later Junker and Reisner (1931) Includes tomb of the Vizier Hemiunu
Cemetery G 6000 5th dynasty Reisner (1925–26)  
Junker Cemetery (West) Late Old Kingdom Junker (1926–7) Includes mastaba of the dwarf Seneb
Steindorff Cemetery 5th dynasty and 6th dynasty Steindorff (1903–07)  
Junker Cemetery (East) Late Old Kingdom Junker  

East Field[edit]

The East Field is located to the east of Khufu’s pyramid and contains cemetery G 7000 . This cemetery was a burial place for some of the family members of Khufu. The cemetery also includes mastabas from tenants and priests of the pyramids dated to the 5th dynasty and 6th dynasty.[6]

Cemeteries G 7000 – Royalty[6]
Tomb number Owner Comments
G 7000 X Queen Hetepheres I Mother of Khufu
G 7010 Nefertkau I Daughter of Sneferu, half-sister of Khufu
G 7060 Nefermaat I Son of Nefertkau I and Vizier of Khafra
G 7070 Sneferukhaf Son of Nefermaat II
G 7110–7120 Kawab and Hetepheres II Kawab was the eldest son of Khufu
G 7130–7140 Khufukhaf I and Nefertkau II King’s Son and Vizier and his wife
G 7210–7220 Djedefhor King’s Son of Khufu and Meritites
G 7350 Hetepheres II Wife of Kawab and later wife of Djedefre
G 7410–7420 Meresankh II and Horbaef Meresankh was a king’s daughter and king’s wife
G 7430–7440 Minkhaf I Son of Khufu and Vizier of Khafra
G 7510 Ankhhaf Son of Sneferu and Vizier of Khafra
G 7530–7540 Meresankh III Daughter of Kawab and Hetepheres II, wife of Khafra
G 7550 Duaenhor Probably son of Kawab and thus a grandson of Khufu
G 7560 Akhethotep and Meritites II Meritites is a daughter of Khufu
G 7660 Kaemsekhem Son of Kawab, a grandson of Khufu, served as Director of the Palace
G7760 Mindjedef Son of Kawab, a grandson of Khufu, served as Treasurer
G 7810 Djaty Son of Queen Meresankh II

Cemetery GIS[edit]

This cemetery was dated to the time of Menkaure (Junker) or earlier (Reisner), but contains several stone-built mastabas dating to as late as the 6th dynasty. Tombs from the time of Menkaure include the mastabas of the royal chamberlain Khaemnefert, the King’s son Khufudjedef who was master of the royal largesse, and an official named Niankhre.[6]

Central Field[edit]

The Central Field contains several burials of royal family members. The tombs range in date from the end of the 4th dynasty to the 5th dynasty or even later.[6]

Central Field – Royalty[6]
Tomb number Owner Comments
G 8172 (LG 86) Nebemakhet Son of Khafre, served as Vizier
G 8158 (LG 87) Nikaure Son of Khafre and Persenet, served as Vizier
G 8156 (LG 88) Persenet Wife of Khafre
G 8154 (LG 89) Sekhemkare Son of Khafre and Hekenuhedjet
G 8140 Niuserre Son of Khafre, Vizier in the 5th dynasty
G 8130 Niankhre King’s Son, probably 5th dynasty
G 8080 (LG 92) Iunmin King’s Son, end of 4th dynasty
G 8260 Babaef Son of Khafre, end of 4th dynasty
G 8466 Iunre Son of Khafre, end of 4th dynasty
G 8464 Hemetre Probably daughter of Khafre, end of 4th dynasty or 5th dynasty
G 8460 Ankhmare King’s son and Vizier, end of 4th dynasty
G 8530 Rekhetre King’s daughter (of Khafre) and Queen, end of 4th dynasty or 5th dynasty
G 8408 Bunefer King’s daughter and Queen, end of 4th dynasty or 5th dynasty
G 8978 Khamerernebty I King’s daughter and Queen, middle to end of 4th dynasty. Also known as the Galarza Tomb

Tombs dating to the Saite and later period were found near the causeway of Khafre and the Great Sphinx. These tombs include the tomb of a commander of the army named Ahmose and his mother Queen Nakhtubasterau, who was the wife of Pharaoh Amasis II.[6]

South Field[edit]

The South Field includes some mastabas dating to the 2nd dynasty and 3rd dynasty. One of these early dynastic tombs is referred to as the Covington tomb. Other tombs date to the late Old Kingdom (5th and 6th dynasty). The south section of the field contains several tombs dating to the Saite period and later.[6]

Tombs of the pyramid builders[edit]

In 1990, tombs belonging to the pyramid workers were discovered alongside the pyramids with an additional burial site found nearby in 2009. Although not mummified, they had been buried in mud-brick tombs with beer and bread to support them in the afterlife. The tombs' proximity to the pyramids and the manner of burial supports the theory that they were paid laborers who took great pride in their work and were not slaves, as was previously thought. The commonly held belief of slaves building the pyramids was likely to have been popularized by Hollywood films based on the original archaeological and anthropological opinion that they could not have been built without forced labor. Evidence from the tombs indicates that a workforce of 10,000 laborers working in three-month shifts took around 30 years to build a pyramid. Most of the workers appear to have come from poor families. Farms supplied the laborers with 21 cattle and 23 sheep daily. Specialists such as architects, masons, metalworkers and carpenters, were permanently employed by the king to fill positions that required the most skill.[14][15][16][17][18]

New Kingdom[edit]

During the New Kingdom, Giza was still an active site. A brick-built chapel was erected near the Sphinx during the early 18th dynasty, probably by king Thutmose IAmenhotep IIbuilt a temple dedicated to Hauron-Haremakhet near the Sphinx. Pharaoh Thutmose IV visited the pyramids and the Sphinx as a prince and in a dream was told that clearing the sand from the Sphinx would be rewarded with kingship. This event is recorded in the Dream stela. During the early years of his reign, Thutmose IV together with his wife Queen Nefertari had stelae erected at Giza. Pharaoh Tutankhamun had a structure built which is now referred to as the king's resthouse. During the 19th dynastySeti I added to the temple of Hauron-Haremakhet, and his son Ramesses II erected a stela in the chapel before the Sphinx and usurped the resthouse of Tutankhamun.[6]

Late Period[edit]

During the 21st dynasty, the Temple of Isis Mistress-of-the-Pyramids was reconstructed. During the 26th dynasty, a stela made in this time mentions Khufu and his QueenHenutsen.[6]

Astronomy[edit]

The Giza pyramid complex at night

The sides of all three of the Giza pyramids were astronomically oriented to the north-south and east-west within a small fraction of a degree. Among recent attempts [19] to explain such a clearly deliberate pattern are those of S. Haack, O. Neugebauer, K. Spence, D. Rawlins, K. Pickering, and J. Belmonte. The arrangement of the pyramids is a disputed representation of the Orion constellation in theOrion Correlation Theory.

 

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Questions and answers about this item

Q: hello, i need to contact a foundry to reproduce a copper/bronze support for a lamp. Can you advise? thanks
A: Hi, Thank you for your question. I'm not sure about that. Good luck with it however. Best regards, Michael
08 Jun, 2014




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