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Egyptian ‘bent’ pyramid dating back 4,600 years opens to public (independent.co.uk)
108 points by everbody 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 52 comments



Related, physicist Kurt Mendelssohn’s The Riddle of the Pyramids is a great read. It proposes that the “bent” pyramid has its shape because of the catastrophic collapse of another pyramid being built at the same time, which led to choosing a safer angle for the remaining portion of the bent pyramid.

It took away a lot of the marketing “mystery” of the pyramids for me, instead taking a very practical engineering, scientific, and analytical approach to investigating the pyramid phenomenon.


I was there at the end of June- it's pretty spectacular. We arrived on a Friday morning at 7am to beat the heat, and we were the only tourists on site at all.

Extremely surreal to go down in to the middle of an engineering marvel that large, and I couldn't believe that I was alone inside of it.


That's awesome! I went to Cairo in 2016 and only got to see the Bent Pyramid at a distance from the Step Pyramid site, since I didn't have much time there. Even from afar it's an amazing sight.

I'm longing to go back there, even more now.


It is hard to comprehend a large timescale of four thousand six hundred years. I wonder how much of our current software would last that long.


There's a well known science fiction novel where a "programmer-archaeologist" on an interstellar fleet digs into a bunch of nested hypervisors and software nobody has touched in thousands of years, to find things still running on the unix time epoch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fire_Upon_the_Deep

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Deepness_in_the_Sky


The best part of that was, being a space-faring civilization, the narrator muses that its starting point is probably based on the date when humans first left Earth to go to the moon!


My second round of amusement and feeling impressed was that, after thousands of years, the guy was off by only 1 year.


Jaron Lanier made an observation in one of his books about how technology concepts tend to get locked in, and predicted that MIDI has shaped digital music so much that in 1000 years we might still be stuck with its conceptual foundations.

(possibly You Are Not a Gadget, but could have been another)


I bet Pac Man will be preserved for posterity. It has that a simplicity and a timeless quality to it.


I'd bet on tetris. I think there are more independent unlicensed implementations of tetris than any other game ever. Any particular implementation of it may wither away, but I bet if there are still programmers in a thousand years, there will probably be no shortage of tetris implementations.


I bet most hardware wouldn't even last 100 years.


None.


I don't know - I have a 'prototype' application that, rather to my horror, I have found recently is still in production about 7 years after it should have been replaced by the 'real' system.

It'll probably outlast me!


Pyramids are awesome feats of engineering and construction.

Also reminds me of the muon detection tech that can probe through solid material. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/ancient/cosmic-ray-muons-...


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As thaumasiotes points out, the overall homicide rate is not the most relevant when selecting where to be a tourist. For instance, between 2012 and 2015, 15 and 5 British citizens were murdered in the US and Egypt, respectively

https://www.quora.com/How-many-tourists-have-been-murdered-w...

even though ~3M brits visit the US each year but only ~50k visit Egypt. So we can be pretty confident the murder rate for British tourists is at least an order of magnitude larger in Egypt.


Tourists are distinctive enough that you could probably usefully use the rate of intentional homicide of tourists rather than the rate of intentional homicide of anyone, though I doubt those statistics are kept.

Egypt sees tourists as vital enough that one of the purposes of the police is to specifically look out for the well-being of nearby tourists, so probably pretty good on that metric.


Yeah, you probably have a lot of information about yourself that can be used to best a much more accurate estimate of being the victim of homicide. For instance, the homicide rates in different US states span an order of magnitude.


Fascinating data. There's a breakdown per-state showing that only eleven states have a lower homicide rate than Egypt.

Looks like Puerto Rico, District of Columbia and Louisiana are the worst as of 2012 (latest the set shows unfortunately). Puerto Rico is an outlier at 2x the next, but District of Columbia has improved massively between 2000 and 2012.

EDIT: This might be a bit misleading. While there is more recent data for the US (up to 2016), there seems to be no reliable data on Egypt post 2012. Additionally, the 2012 number (2.5) represents a 4x /increase/ in homicides since 2003 (0.6). Only 2011 (year of the Egyption revolution) was higher at 3.2. So there's a clear trend towards an increase in homicide rates that might not be accounted for.

That said, I guess it's unlikely that the number is much higher than the US average, even discarding the outliers mentioned above.


Your loss. Quite the amazing sights and sounds.


Tourists will be allowed inside the ancient structure after archaeologists found “hidden tombs” containing mummies, masks and tools.

Did they miss a NOT? That seems like a strange reason to go from not allowing tourists to allowing them!


> Authorities are looking to promote tourism at Dahshur, located about 17 miles south of central Cairo.

> The site, which lies in the open desert, attracts just a trickle of visitors and is currently free of the touts and bustle of Giza.

> The promotion of Dahshur is part of a wider push to boost tourism, an important source of foreign revenue for Egypt that dipped steeply after the country’s 2011 uprising before gradually recovering.


Funny the occupants didn't mind it was bent. I guess those things must have been really expensive to rebuild. :P


More likely they missed a "PAID"


Ah Sneferu ... the OG who started this whole pyramid for burial chambers trend. If I'm not mistaken, before this fella, royal tombs were buried (concealed) in caves dug into mountain sides - far from Cairo. This guy Sneferu thought "why don't we build a mountain like tomb right here?"

The reason it is "bent" is because they ran out of boulders and so had to reduce the pitch to reduce the number of blocks required to finish the project.


Yes. Buried, then concealed, then Sneferu's attempts via "mastabas" (Arabic for "bench"), building mastabas over mastabas for proof of concept of a pyramid. These projects were on the scale of lifetimes. These were incredible engineers.


These projects were on the scale of lifetimes.

Not quite, given that Sneferu had at least three built.


Wasnt it the other way around? I thought the valley of the kings/queens/workers were after the pyramids and due to the fact the pyramids drew too much attention to the site from graverobbers (tomb-raiders? :P).


> The reason it is "bent" is because they ran out of boulders and so had to reduce the pitch to reduce the number of blocks required to finish the project.

The article contradicts you.


The reason given in the article is not the whole story either. When the bent pyramid was under construction the ‘collapsed’ pyramid at Medium collapsed. This probably contributed to some last minute design changes for the bent pyramid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meidum


Very cool, although that picture in the narrow tunnel does not look very inviting. Especially not if I think about how crowded some landmarks can become. Imagine being stuck with 400 other tourists for 2 hours in tunnels like that.


Heh -

I've been reading some of Joseph Campbell's Oriental Mythology and he goes into some of the early burial rituals. It's truly fascinating stuff. Did you know that a lot of the early rulers of the area were buried with their entire retinue (10s or 100+ servants) alive? Including sometimes the ruler himself. Gruesome stuff, but also quite fascinating.


I don't know, it's a bit like mass murders, we should expunge their murderous names from all records.

Sod them and their misery inflicting monuments.


> I don't know, it's a bit like mass murders, we should expunge their murderous names from all records. Sod them and their misery inflicting monuments.

"Those who don't know history, are doomed to repeat it." It's important to understand who (by our standards) bad people were, why they were bad, and what circumstances enabled them to be bad. If you erase them, you can't learn from them.


Doesn't mean we have to remember their names though, which is what they wanted.


Well...

I think it's a bit more complicated than that. Sure, there were murderous tyrants, but there were also the ancient Sumerians who executed their kings at the moment of ahem coitus. Something about completing the circle between life and death or some such.

They were a weird wacky bunch, and some of them were terrible, but I think it's a more complicated picture than you paint.


> "Tourists will be allowed inside the ancient structure after archaeologists found “hidden tombs” containing mummies, masks and tools."

That's not true, is it? I'm under the impression the bent pyramid was looted dry thousands of years ago, like the others.


Pyramids represent such amazing engineering and such untold suffering. Farming only started 10k years ago and 5k years later we had such an energy and time surplus that we were moving mountains around for our rulers' ego's.

A lot of whippings would have to be handed out for me to move rocks around in the sun.


Most Egyptologists do not think the pyramids were built by slave labor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Egypt


I didn't use the world slavery once, but I'll bite. They probably weren't entrepreneurs.

None of that looks like a situation I'd want to have imposed on me. No individuals say "you know what I want to do today? Move rocks for zero economic use."

I quote from your page:

"Forms of forced labor and servitude are seen throughout all of ancient Egypt even though it wasn’t specifically declared as the well known term we have today, slavery.

... Conscripted workers were not owned by individuals, like other slaves, but rather required to perform labor as a duty to the state."

Yeah awesome. Sign me up. The term is irrelevant. The pyramids are undoubtedly both great works and massive causes of suffering.


I’m certainly not arguing that it was an enjoyable or desirable profession. I was simply responding to your “a lot of whippings” comment. It is a common falsehood on the internet that the pyramids were built with slave labor. They would be better described as peasants with no political power and few other options. This would also describe the overwhelming majority of the population until at least the renaissance.

There is a consensus among Egyptologists that the Great Pyramids were not built by slaves. Rather, it was peasants who built the pyramids during flooding, when they could not work in their lands.


I read somewhere they had a labor union (maybe not exactly but early day version of it) and once they ran out of makeup (Alovera based moisturizer) and they went on strike untill their supply of moisturizer was restored. They had to work in sun so I can understand why they'd do it.

I also read about analysis of their remains which brought out the fact that they were all well fed with plenty of meat and grains.


Fascinating, is there a site with pictures taken on the inside of the pyramid.


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Please don't post unsubstantive comments here.


I think they have a new antiquities minister/secretary. Remains to be seen if under pressure he might accede to making things more “touristy”.

The previous minister (Hawass) seemingly managed their patrimony reasonably well.


From all the reporting coming out of Egypt the last couple of years it certainly seems like so - someone has issued a memo to better leverage the heritage for tourism.


It is in the best interests of the Egyptians to preserve it and they happen to have experience in preserving pyramids and turning them into assets that attract tourists.


Having incentive != operational competence in execution of that incentive, or the lack of competing incentives at such a time


I said && and not ==.


nothing lasts forever


That doesn't mean we have to put the peddle to the gas all the time for every damn thing to decay.


Entropy disagrees




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