For thousands of years, scientists from around the world have tried to understand how the Egyptians designed and built the Great Pyramid of Giza – the last remaining of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Now, an architect and researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) says he has the answer to this ancient puzzle.
According to Ole Bryn, the Great Pyramid's building grid was developed based on the prime number seven – and the core of Khufu's 146.6 meters high monument is likely a step pyramid.
Khufu's Great Pyramid, located on the Giza Plateau, was constructed around 2600 BC. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years, making it what is likely the most studied build in the history of mankind. Over time, many theories have been put forward – some more plausible (although still not accepted by the mainstream) than others – as to how the Egyptians constructed the 'true' pyramids.
Ole J Bryn, an architect and associate professor in NTNU’s Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art, argues that modern day scholars have been so preoccupied by the weight of the estimated 2.3 million limestone blocks – which weight roughly 7 million tons – that they tend to overlook the other major problems the pyramid builders would have faced.
In his paper, Bryn does not touch on how the ancient Egyptians would have put those enormously heavy building blocks in place – there are numerous theories about ramps and other suggestions already out there. Rather, the Norwegian scholar examined how the builders would have known where to put them.
Scientists from around the world have tried to understand how the Egyptians erected their giant pyramids. Now, an architect and researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) says he has the answer to this ancient, unsolved puzzle.
Researchers have been so preoccupied by the weight of the stones that they tend to overlook two major problems: How did the Egyptians know exactly where to put the enormously heavy building blocks? And how was the master architect able to communicate detailed, highly precise plans to a workforce of 10,000 illiterate men?
A 7-million-ton structure
These were among the questions that confronted Ole J. Bryn, an architect and associate professor in NTNU's Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art when he began examining Khufu's Great Pyramid in Giza. Khufu's pyramid, better known as the Pyramid of Cheops, consists of 2.3 million limestone blocks weighing roughly 7 million tons. At 146.6 meters high, it held the record as the tallest structure ever built for nearly 4000 years.
What Bryn discovered was quite simple. He believes that the Egyptians invented the modern building grid, by separating the structure's measuring system from the physical building itself, thus introducing tolerance, as it is called in today's engineering and architectural professions.