It was my understanding that the outer surface was polished marble, and that it was removed by looters, not natural degradation. But I haven't been able to find a good source, aside from https://www.reddit.com/r/history/comments/cxgj96/what_happen...
The Great Pyramid holds a record that will almost certainly never be broken: it was the tallest human-made structure in the world for over 3800 years.
(OK technically the Tower of Jericho held the record for ~4000 years, but it was only 28 feet (8.5m) tall; another neolithic archaeological dig could unseat it; that’s not happening with Giza)
In the long run though, I suspect the solid stone construction and ultra stable shape of the Great Pyramid would see it regain the title and keep it for hundreds of thousands of years until it blew away.
Interesting to speculate about, anyway. Let us hope we all live forever.
Maybe the stone cathedrals would last longer?
In any case, the biggest man made structure would probably be an open-cast mine or a slag heap.
Wondering if they made the same mistake as the Spinal Tap guys..
How can you not mention egypt's own royal tombs, which were chock full of rich artwork (somewhat we know because several KVs still have lot of artwork) e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Egypt.KV62.01.jpg in KV62, which is considered "modest wall decorations", or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Egypt.KV43.01.jpg from KV43.
This is actually an interesting point by people who argue the Great Pyramid is not a royal tomb...all other royal tombs are richly decorated, whereas the chambers in the great pyramid are noticeably bear.
I always understood the white polished casing stones were not painted but did have carved hieroglyphics (I think this is how they have identified some of the reused stone in mosques for example). On the other hand, the Sphinx still has some blue and yellow paint on it.
In parts of Pakistan at least (where I was born) there is this sense of fairness of skin being a desirable trait (goes almost without saying that it is not a belief I endorse at all). I can imagine such unrealistic beauty standards echo through the centuries.
If you haven't read the poems Ozymandias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias
Maybe we can use block chain to encrypt these real moments so it can be identifiable as real or not. Then again, some super secrete society can try and change ledgers or propose ledgers for deep fakes that get through the cracks.
You could probably build all of the other 6 wonders of the ancient world today, side by side, for less than the cost of building that one pyramid. I'm fairly confident it'd be a billion dollar project.
That said, I'm not in construction. Perhaps someone could correct me?
Then again, the proportion of basically good people probably hasn't changed much over the millennia either.
"""One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Well, yeah. But also some things are just that hard. There's lots of talk here about the rocket equation. Doing X requires at least Y effort. Maybe building a railroad from the quarry to the monument site will save you a bit, but you still have to move a lot of really big rocks.
Not biblical, but in the same spirit
""" And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' """
In some ways, it's humbling, but really, i'll never be as rich as the wealthiest among us. I can't have this sort of vanity project.
In some ways, it's comforting. No matter how powerful you are, as time passes you will be forgotten. Everyone will be forgotten. I'm clearly not Ozymandias. But we all end up the same.
Most importantly (in my humble opinion) it's just sort of sad. So much blood sweat and tears devoted to vanity.
I wept when i saw the 5k year old linen at the met. So much time and effort to produce cloth, with such primitive tools. Perhaps the pyramids were a public works project, which has some redeeming value. But a road, or a waterway, that's a thing that would ease the burdens of hundreds of generations.
i suppose i'll take your much more modern view (by like 3k years!) "All things are full of labour"
perhaps it's best to labour for the benefit of our collective decedents.
Another way of looking at it, is that the Bhurj Khalifa is an arguably pointless vanity project by a small but wealthy state. Building a Great Pyramid replica could be a pointless. vanity project for a slightly more wealthy state. Maybe that's all the original was, a vanity project for a wealthy state
The string of trucks traveling at 60 km/h at 10 minute intervals would mean one truck every 10 kilometers. A distance of 100 km from a quarry to the construction site would mean 20 trucks in rotation (10 going each way).
Probably using a railway would make more sense.
The Mount Airy quarry produces 82,000 tons of stone per year so 5 million tons would take about 60 years. The pace would need to be increased more than ten fold or multiple quarries utilized for the 5 year target.
I think it could be done in under ten years.
I have heard different gospels about how people were treated and felt either compelled to their horrible slavery tasks or honored to be part of the construction of a holy monument of your revered living-human-deity.
Now the biggest challenge today would be probably to sell the project politically: even Mao and Stalin didn't have the political power (or will) to waste so much resources on such a useless rock pile – tourism and archeological documentary apart.
You still have to feed the slaves.
A billion dollars would be dirt cheap, may as well be free at that price.
I'd guess a full trillion.
I think it's a shame that some buildings are relegated to being ruins, rather than being actively maintained.
Imagine, if for example the acropolis in Athens would have been kept in original state vs. mostly having decayed. All those wonders of the past we decided to keep, we should preserve, while it is still possible.
It only matters that the original materials and processing of the materials are maintained, but not that it is done with modern machinery. One would of course also use modern cranes and scaffolding.
I’m sorry, I honestly can’t tell—are you joking? If not, you really ought to provide a source for this.
You have to consider that the pharao wasn't just the "king" but also the link to the gods.
Sure, but is it really volunteering when the alternative is capital punishment? Or societal ostracization? Heck, if that was the case, I would "volunteer" as well.
I see nothing in the Wikipedia article that convincingly argues who built them, other than the theories of two archaeologists.
We weren't there, and AFAIK, there are no first-account written records documenting the construction of the Great Pyramid. So until something like that shows up, we won't know definitively who built them.
It might have been built by slaves. Or not. We don't know.
I replied because you stated an assertion as truth which has no evidence substantiating it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
> As far as I know from my history studies, the old egyptian society didn't practice slavery.
Since you've already linked to Wikipedia above, here's an entire article specifically focused on slavery in Ancient Egypt. Unlike the topic which we've been discussing, there is written documentation of actual slave labor being extensively used.
In other posts to this discussion, people have provided further links documenting, that the pyramid were not being built by "slaves". That is the current state of historic science in old egypt.
I don't understand what you're getting at. You said there was no slavery in old Egypt. I provided a link showing otherwise. I'm not here to debate the details of it. If you even just peruse the article, there are tons of written records showing that there were people who were "bound for life". It was a thing!
> In other posts to this discussion, people have provided further links documenting, that the pyramid were not being built by "slaves". That is the current state of historic science in old egypt.
It seems like I'm not going to convince you of anything, but I looked, and despite what you've said, I couldn't find a single comment providing definitive evidence of who built the pyramids. Again, lots of theories, but no evidence!
In one comment, there's a theory that the workers were were well-fed because there were cattle remains in the proximity of their graves. That's not evidence of anything. Maybe it was a trash dump. Maybe they were beasts of burden that helped move the stones. So many other explanations, but I suppose for some it's rock-solid proof of whatever it is they want to believe.
Thing is, history isn't the study of belief. It's the study of written records. Making up stories is fun, but it's not history.
The workers were paid for their labour and consisted mainly of farmers who were idle during the off season.
There are even records of the workers striking and that their demands for better food and work conditions were met.
This does not sound like slavery to me.
Have we learned nothing? Please link to the original sources that support this.
However for a while I read widely on the topic so I can't be sure.
A good thought exercise is to consider: What are some things you are compelled to do today by your own government or economic limitations? How many of those things could you imagine a different and presumably more wealthy/capable future society would consider abhorrent enough to think you a "slave" or something like one?
"There were slaves in Egypt, says Lehner, but the discovery that pyramid workers were fed like royalty buttresses other evidence that they were not slaves at all, at least in the modern sense of the word. Harvard's George Reisner found workers' graffiti early in the twentieth century that revealed that the pyramid builders were organized into labor units with names like "Friends of Khufu" or "Drunkards of Menkaure." Within these units were five divisions (their roles still unknown)—the same groupings, according to papyrus scrolls of a later period, that served in the pyramid temples. We do know, Lehner says, that service in these temples was rendered by a special class of people on a rotating basis determined by those five divisions. Many Egyptologists therefore subscribe to the hypothesis that the pyramids were also built by a rotating labor force in a modular, team-based kind of organization.
"If not slaves, then who were these workers? Lehner's friend Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who has been excavating a "workers' cemetery" just above Lehner's city on the plateau, sees forensic evidence in the remains of those buried there that pyramid building was hazardous business. Why would anyone choose to perform such hard labor? The answer, says Lehner, lies in understanding obligatory labor in the premodern world. "People were not atomized, separate, individuals with the political and economic freedom that we take for granted. Obligatory labor ranges from slavery all the way to, say, the Amish, where you have elders and a strong sense of community obligations, and a barn raising is a religious event and a feasting event. If you are a young man in a traditional setting like that, you may not have a choice." Plug that into the pyramid context, says Lehner, "and you have to say, 'This is a hell of a barn!'""
Weirdly, we do have first-hand written records from the construction of Khufu's pyramid.
"Though the diary does not specify where the stones were to be used or for what purpose, given the diary may date to what is widely considered the very end of Khufu's reign, Tallet believes they were most likely for cladding the outside of the Great Pyramid. About every ten days, two or three round trips were done, shipping perhaps 30 blocks of 2-3 tonnes each, amounting to 200 blocks per month. About 40 boatmen worked under him."
Awesome sources! That diary looks fascinating.
"The surprises were just beginning. Faunal analyst Richard Redding, of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, identified tremendous quantities of cattle, sheep, and goat bone, "enough to feed several thousand people, even if they ate meat every day," Lehner adds. Redding, who has worked at archaeological sites all over the Middle East, "was astounded by the amount of cattle bone he was finding," says Lehner. He could identify much of it as "young, under two years of age, and it tended to be male." Here was evidence of many people—presumably not slaves or common laborers, but skilled workers—feasting on prime beef, the best meat available."
If you're like the pharaohs, you need a massive protector for your body, so your ka or "soul" can live on in eternity with your favorite items and servants.
It would have looked even more amazing if the land was greener back then instead of a desert as some theories speculate.
This is on the level of dinosaurs having feathers; radically changing our perceptions of the past.
I wonder how come no fiction has depicted the pyramids like that? Or has it?
It was praised enough that the developer introduced an education mode for schools to use which allow walking around without missions or fighting.
Worth picking up on sale and just walking around ancient Egypt.
What does that mean? I don’t think the pyramids have been smooth for a very long time.
Also I am doubtful that sliding down one of the great pyramids would be particularly fun. Aside from the abrasion even a “smooth” pyramid would cause, I’d expect you’d pick enough speed up that the impact would kill you.
To put it another way, citation?
You could certainly walk up it fine.
Citation needed for sure and the authorities must have never encouraged it and I'm not sure why it'd be super fun to slide down but given the popularity of hiking, rock climbing, sledding, skiing, and snowboard it's totally logical people would want to go up and down it it.
That's assuming I still know how to trig, and it's entirely possible I don't.
Neat rendering though.
It's also by a well-known website that does personal curation (not mere aggregation or mindless posting, and no shady SEO and other BS, to be worthy of the "blogspam" title). Kottke is a one-man-brand and has been at it for 2 decades...
It's still blatant blogspam, whether the person/site doing it is well-known or not.
"Noun. blogspam (Internet) promotional material posted to a weblog, often one specifically created for the purpose" -- https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blogspam
This definition makes it the very opposite of the post, since it's neither promotional, nor "specifically created for the purpose" of promotion.
At worst this is a personal blog site that posts interesting links and curates them. Don't know if you missed the whole 2000-2010 era, but that was a popular thing back in the day.
Sorta like a non-social HN -- where a single person selects the best bits and comments on them. Is HN "blogspam"?
Is anything that's not an original post "blogspam"?
If we were talking about automated aggregation, listicle sites, "link farms", etc, one could agree...
: Is there a better term for this? HN isn't solely focused on news (and in fact has a lot of focus on olds), but the term "content aggregator" seems to imply something more like freebooting. "Social link aggregator"?