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How the Great Pyramid at Giza Looked in 2560 BCE (kottke.org)
183 points by mpweiher 60 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 118 comments



The article states "smooth layer of fine white limestone on the outside" and that the current outer rough surface is due to "hundreds of years of pollution and weathering".

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...


"In AD 1303, a massive earthquake loosened many of the outer casing stones, which in 1356 were carted away by Bahri Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan to build mosques and fortresses in nearby Cairo."


It seems like earthquakes did for most of the other "seven wonders of the ancient world", too. The others far more completely than the great pyramid, though.


Casing stones still exist on the Giza pyramids: https://www.google.com/search?q=pyramid+casing+stones&source...


I believe "marble" when used for sculpture/construction is a term that includes limestone, so that isn't inconsistent.


It only states that it's "colored a dark sandy brown from hundreds of years of pollution and weathering". Maybe I'm being too literal, but I don't interpret this to mean that weathering and pollution are the only causes of all of its changes in the past 4500 years.


My favorite fun fact:

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)


If we all got quietly wiped out tomorrow, I wonder how long it would take for the Burj Khalifa to fall down. Probably less than 3800 years. Then maybe some older, shorter, stronger skyscraper in a geologically stable zone would take the crown for a while.

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.


I think anything made of steel and concrete would crumble within a couple of centuries, without maintenance. The rebar would rust.

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.


>Tower of Jericho held the record for ~4000 years, but it was only 28 feet (8.5m) tall

Wondering if they made the same mistake as the Spinal Tap guys..


I can't move on from this discussion without a nod to you for this comment. It provided an unexpected and much needed laugh.


Is there any evidence that these things weren't painted? Given what we know about statues in the classical world, and the way hieroglyphs look, it feels like a safe assumption to make that the pyramids were sporting some artwork.

edit: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-16/egypt-unveils-one-of-...


Ancient accounts of the pyramids say it was white with inscriptions on it. (No casing stones with carvings survive, however.) It's not unlikely that any carvings on the exterior would have been painted. There's no indication of the entire thing being painted. But any paint could easily have worn off by the time we get any historical accounts of their appearance, those being thousands of years after construction.


> Given what we know about statues in the classical world, and the way hieroglyphs look, it feels like a safe assumption to make that the pyramids were sporting some artwork.

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.


>How can you not mention egypt's own royal tombs, which were chock full of rich artwork

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.


I find the "it's not a tomb" argument needs some work. If we also consider the other pyramids were all tombs, and that there is evidence of undiscovered rooms in Khufu's pyramid (scanpyramids project and others) then it seems pretty weak.


On a tangent, why do a lot of ancient Egyptian paintings have dark skinned men and lighter skinned women?


It could be something as simple as men going out into the harsh Egyptian sun more and women being discouraged to do the same.

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.


Yes, exactly - good suggestion. My bet is on the outside of the pyramids having had lots of similarities.


I wonder what future civilizations will try to guess my home Manhattan looked like in my time and what they'll have to reconstruct it from.

If you haven't read the poems Ozymandias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias


Hmm, I've seen a depiction like this before, except around the base it was very green, very jungle like as the climate in the area was not desert like as it is now. Or perhaps the Nile was utilised differently. Very hard to tell. Our history is a distortion of the facts. We have photographs and video of genuine moments right now, but with photoshop and deepfakes we are moving into a new era of distortion.


Wow... to think the most authentic age has been ruined by some tools that have useful edge cases.

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.


How much would it cost and how long would it take to build an exact replica of the original today, including all the tunnels, chambers, etc?


I suspect the main cost would be the materials. Every block of the Great Pyramid weighed about 2.5 tons. It has an astounding 2.3 million blocks. That would be incredibly expensive to purchase and transport to the site, even today. For comparison, building the Great Pyramid would require moving about 10 times the mass of a giant skyscraper like the Bhurj Khalifa.

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?


That's quite humbling. Thousands of years later, we could build it "cheaper" (relative to our sum societal output), but not a lot cheaper.

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. """


> That's quite humbling.

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.


Things aren't actually getting cheaper to make. We're just finding ways to make worse, cheaper things that perform similar function.


That's not fair. We find lots of ways to make BETTER, cheaper things that perform similar functions. We could build a mostly hollow Great Pyramid, full of livable housing for thousands of people, for a tiny fraction of that cost.


I like the comparison with the Bhurj Khalifa. If we take 10x as the metric, that would be 15 Billion (based on an estimated 1.5 Billion for the Bhurj Khalifa) which seems in the right ballpark.

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


I've also seen some arguments that the pyramids and other monuments were de facto public works programs, as it was a source of paid employment for farmers during the slow months of the year, and the same construction efforts would have gone into the roads, quarries, central housing, etc to support the staggering amount of manpower needed.


Interesting. A truck arriving every 10 minutes means 144 trucks per day (3 shifts). If a truck can carry 10 blocks, it means 1440 blocks per day and about half a million blocks per year, meaning four years to transport the blocks.

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.


The vast majority of the blocks were hauled from just one or two hundred meters away. So you just need to buy a big chunk of land that has good stone for quarrying.


I imagine it would probably cost more than a billion. I mean, we have football stadiums in the United States that run about that. If there's 2.3 million blocks, well, I can't imagine that these 2.5 ton blocks would cost any less than $1000 each (assuming you're not cheating by using cheaper material like concrete). The cost of materials alone would probably cost a few billion.


It's interesting to think about how an ancient society was capable of what would be a billion dollar project today, even with modern tools and methods.


My thinking is that the biggest advantages we'd have as a modern society is that it would be faster to build and take fewer people. That only makes their accomplishment far more impressive, though.


Well, to my mind the biggest difference should be how you treat the people working on the project.

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.


Makes you wonder what we could achieve today if we had 6 months off every year.


Slavery is hell of a stimulus package.


Except the Great Pyramid wasn't built by slaves (1)

1: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/11/great-pyramid-...


I was under the impression that slavery is widely acknowledged to be less economically efficient than paying people to do the work.

You still have to feed the slaves.


Yes, I can correct you. 100% of the cost would be labor. The materials are stone, it's free for the taking. Paying for the blocks and transport is paying someone to get stones from where they sit, shape them, and transport them.

A billion dollars would be dirt cheap, may as well be free at that price.

I'd guess a full trillion.


The heaviest single blocks were in the 40-50 ton range.


I think it'd be cooler to just renovate it to it's original state. How much would that cost? Probably considerably less.


One of the interesting things to consider when playing Assassin's Creed Origins... You can climb the great pyramid. In the time period of the game setting, it is already 2000+ years old.


This is very nice. I would love to see 'How they looked like' for other ancient architectural wonders like Tanjore Big Temple, Taj Mahal, Leshan Giant Buddha, Colosseum etc.


Even better, I'd like to see them restored to their initial glory. Imagine visiting something like the Temple of Karnak as it was shortly after completion.


AR tours of the site, with the reconstructed original laid over the present forms. You can switch the overlay on and off, or slide it in/out to study the differences. You heard it here first.


I wonder at what is the age (and SD?) that a building is decided to be an historical artifact that we're not allowed to restore? The Giza pyramid, the Acropolis in Athens, and many more like it are just left to decay. But we constantly maintain buildings like the Eiffel tower and thousands of historical buildings in cities.

I think it's a shame that some buildings are relegated to being ruins, rather than being actively maintained.


There's also plenty of evidence that at the time of its construction it wouldn't have been surrounded by desert, but rather a much richer and greener savanna like landscape.


Sounds like a restoration project just waiting to happen.


Yeah, that would be amazing. It would make them last a lot longer too.


Are they at risk of disintegrating?


Considering that they are 4500 years old, not anytime soon. Even without maintenance, they would last some more millenia. But if you look at the difference between how they look now and how they used to look, they have suffered quite a bit. Only because they are the most robust structure ever built by man, doesn't mean we should just watch slowly decay. Especially while most of their structure is still close to original, it would be a good time to restore them.

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.


To be clear, the Acropolis did not “decay”. It was blown up by the Venetians when they fired on the Parthenon, which at the time was used to store gunpowder.


Thanks, I didn't know that. But the world is full of ruins of great old places, which we try to preserve today, but had not been kept in shape when they were still close to their origininal state. I think old churches are one of the few exceptions.


"Beeldenstorm in Dutch (roughly "statue storm"), and Bildersturm in German ("image/statue storm") are terms used for outbreaks of destruction of religious images that occurred in Europe in the 16th century, known in English as the Great Iconoclasm or Iconoclastic Fury. During these spates of iconoclasm, Catholic art and many forms of church fittings and decoration were destroyed in unofficial or mob actions by Calvinist Protestant crowds as part of the Protestant Reformation. Most of the destruction was of art in churches and public places."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm?wprov=sfla1


Sure, a lot of churches also got destroyed. Yet, a lot of churches are in a remarkably good state of preservation. They are not the only preserved buildings, but the most obvious ones. There are also a few roman aquaeducts preserved, like the one in Nimes, France. And if I am not mistaken, some of the water delivery to todays Rome still uses partially roman aquaeducts. Also, the Pantheon in Rome is in a remarkably great state.


The sad thing about the Parthenon (and the Acropolis in general) was that it had been well preserved until then, albeit with changes. It had successively been a church and a mosque. Unfortunately, the Acropolis was also the most defensible position in Athens, so it was (since its inception) a strategic outpost as well. :-(


Is pollution accelerating the decay at all?


Acid rain can't be good for limestone. At the size of the pyramids, though, I'm not sure if the effects would be noticeable at all. It also doesn't rain much in the desert.


Yes indeed. If using the original technology, it really should be restored to its original state.


...by original technology do you mean thousands of slaves, or?


First of all, the pyramids were not built by slaves but ancient egyptians believed it to be their duty to help with the building of the pyramids. Second, I was referring to using original materials and processing. E.g. grinding and polishing slabs of limestone. This can of course be done by using modern machinerny.

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.


> First of all, the pyramids were not built by slaves but ancient egyptians believed it to be their duty to help with the building of the pyramids.

I’m sorry, I honestly can’t tell—are you joking? If not, you really ought to provide a source for this.


No, I am not joking - thats what I learned at school. But just look at wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_pyramid_construction_...

You have to consider that the pharao wasn't just the "king" but also the link to the gods.


> 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.


It is just that all sources seem to point in the direction that it wasn't outright slavery. That many workers were forced by economical needs or their believes to contribute, is another thing, but that applies to many ventures.


Well, I think that’s where I might object. There are no reliable sources—just theories. Until we find a direct written account of the Pyramid’s construction, we’re just storytelling.


So on what base do you assume slavery?


I’m not…where did I say that? Like I said above, there’s no way to know who built them.


Then why are you discussing? As far as I know from my history studies, the old egyptian society didn't practice slavery. So there is no reason for the assumption, that the "pyramids were built by slavery". Does that rule out, that some of the workers were forced to participate, be it by economic needs or other forms of pressure, e.g. forced labors of prisoners? Of course not.


> Then why are you discussing?

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.

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


Well, this article refers a time frame about 1000 years after the pyramids have been built. It also mixes slavery, where people are "owned" by other people, with forced and mandatory labor, where people have to provide a certain amount of labor to the state, but are not owned.

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.


> Well, this article refers a time frame about 1000 years after the pyramids have been built. It also mixes slavery, where people are "owned" by other people, with forced and mandatory labor, where people have to provide a certain amount of labor to the state, but are not owned.

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.


We know who built them

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.


> The workers were paid for their labour and consisted mainly of farmers who were idle during the off season.

Have we learned nothing? Please link to the original sources that support this.


I will try an find a source, but I think it might have been: A History of Egypt by Nicholas Grimal.

However for a while I read widely on the topic so I can't be sure.


You may call them "slaves" using a more modern lens, sure, but of course different times and places require a relativistic shift in order to understand things as a local living in the time would have understood them. You are right that we can't ask someone living in that time/place if they thought themselves a slave, or whether they thought it was good or bad to be one. However, we do know enough about ancient Egypt to at least fill in some context that minimally casts doubt on the notion that they saw themselves as unwilling slave laborers.

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?


If they were slaves, they were treated very well.

"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!'""

https://harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/who-built-the-pyramids-h...

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."

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


I read that first excerpt twice, and couldn’t find anything that supports the idea that they were well treated. Help?

Awesome sources! That diary looks fascinating.


Massive wall of text and I missed the important bit. They were fed very well.

"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."


No slaves were used...


So did it just stood there in the middle of the desert or were there cities and busy streets near it? I can't even fathom what they were thinking when they decided to build these massive monuments...


Pyramids and burial tombs (i.e. Valley of the Kings) had religious and cultural significance for the ancient Egyptians. There is a detailed process of entering the after-life, whereby you are mummified, some of organs placed in jars, and you even get your favorite possessions and live servants buried with you. The Pharaohs had these elaborate death monuments commissioned decades in advance of their death...can you imagine being 10 years old and breaking ground on your own pyramid?

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.


That's why I can't fathom what they were thinking or how. They must have had a completely bizarre and alien way of seeing life, their place in the universe and what will become of themselves. We already have this kind of gap between religious and non-religious; but this is on completely different level.


The great pyramid should really be regarded as a separate phenomenon than burial site pyramids


Magnificent, isn't it?


Some would say it's wonderful


What blows my mind is that this is 2500 BC.


Yeah, probably huge amount of labors spent a good chunk of their life in the project...


Absolutely mind blowing.


Pyramidion [1] made of gold (thereby reflecting the sun) explains where the idea of the Obelisk of Light [2] in the game C&C came from. My 2 ct of nostalgia.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramidion

[2] https://cnc.fandom.com/wiki/Obelisk_of_Light_(Tiberian_Dawn)


That example picture is amazing!

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?


Assassin’s Creed Origins depicts the pyramids like that. Parts of Northern Egypt including Alexandria and the lighthouse are also depicted and interactive.

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.


A lot like the top of the Washington Monument, apparently.


iirc in relatively recent history locals would climb up and slide down the pyramids for fun, when they were still smooth


According to Wikipedia the casing stones were disturbed in a massive earthquake in 1303, many of which were carted away in 1356 to build mosques. That stretches the definition of "recent" by a bit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza#Casing_s...


given that they're 3500 years old, 700 years ago is relatively recent


> relatively recent history

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?


It's only a 32 degree angle.

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.


32 degrees seems really really shallow compared to what I see in pictures. This source https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/geometry/angle.html says it's 51.5 degrees.


I was going to say it might depend whether the angle is measured along the middle of a face or along an edge, but with a face angle of 51.5 degrees I calculate an edge angle of 41.6 degrees.

That's assuming I still know how to trig, and it's entirely possible I don't.


Middle of the face, and probably more like 51.8° originally. That corresponds to base faces measured in turns of a measuring wheel and a height of the same number of wheel diameters, which would be an incredibly sensible way of laying it out (letting the tools do the calculation for you).


Are you sure you're not thinking of Assassin's Creed?


That's not the Great Pyramid; it's the Pyramid of Khafre.

Neat rendering though.


It’s a lighthouse for the ocean of sand!


That might actually be a cool idea to use in a fictional setting like Dark Sun. :)


This is really great!



Hardly. It's linking to newsweek article, from where it gets the info about Giza and the picture, but is its own thing and has nothing to do with the supposed "original" of britannica (which is just a general piece on the 7 wonders with briefly mentions Giza, and says nothing about its surface, which is the topic here). It also features a NatGeo video on the topic.

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...


The image (which is basically the whole "article") even has a Budget Direct watermark on it.

It's still blatant blogspam, whether the person/site doing it is well-known or not.


You keep using this word "blogspam". I don't think it means what you think it means. (Or "blatant" for that matter)

"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...


It's not blogspam. Kottke is a well-known website which collects beautiful things online. It's also curated by one person. I think this kind of blogs actually provide a more human, opinionated way to browse the web than, say, algorithmic recommendations on Google.


That’s a shame, I go browsing on Britannica.com for random interesting articles all the time...


The chain is a bit much, though. Besides, one would hope that news aggregators[1] like HN would direct to the original source as much as possible.

[1]: 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"?


It’s just blogging - Kottke is one of the longest standing and most successful of all of them, and if his schtick was just mindlessly reposting links with no commentary or value add, he wouldn’t have lasted half as long as he had. ‘Welcome to 2019’ is a bit rich given Kottke started in 1998.


Sure, but britannica.com shows nothing unless you sign up.


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