There has long been a debate over exactly how the Great Pyramid of Giza and surrounding complex of smaller structures were built by a Bronze Age civilization with limited technology, but a major clue was just discovered that could finally answer that question.
It has been understood for some time that the massive pyramid was constructed with granite stone blocks quarried more than 500 miles away in Aswan for the internal structure with limestone casing blocks for the exterior quarried just eight miles away in a place called Tura. But nobody could say for sure how those huge blocks were transported to the final destination.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the blocks weighing an estimated 2.5 tons each — approximately 170,000 tons total — were moved from the quarries to the site of the pyramid via special boats tied together and guided by ropes that utilized a network of canals off the Nile River built specifically for that purpose. The canals ended mere yards from the base of the Great Pyramid.
That revelation came from an ancient scroll of papyrus that was discovered by archaeologists in the seaport of Wadi al-Jarf, believed to be the oldest such papyrus scroll of its kind.
That scroll was written by a construction overseer named Merer, according to the Daily Mail, and it detailed the processes his team of 40 elite workers utilized for their role in the construction of the giant pyramid.
Merer described how his men had helped build the network of canals that led directly to the construction site, and his description of the boats used seemed to coincide with that of a special ceremonial boat found inside the Giza complex that has been restored by a team of specialists.
According to the U.K. Independent, it took four years for a man named Pierre Tale to decipher the ancient hieroglyphics of the scroll.
“Since the very day of the discovery, it was quite evident that we have the oldest papyrus ever found in the world,” stated Tale.
The canals that Merer and his elite team helped construct ended with a massive inland port that was specially constructed right at the center of the complex.
“We’ve outlined the central canal basin, which we think was the primary delivery area to the foot of the Giza Plateau,” explained Mark Lehner, an American archaeologist who has spent some 30 years excavating historical artifacts in Egypt.
This is an incredible discovery that sheds a great amount of light on one of the more perplexing mysteries of the sole remaining Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza, which housed the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu and is believed to have been built more than 4,000 years ago.
With every year, it seems, deep studies of the past reveal ever more secrets — whether in Egypt or elsewhere. But if archaeologists have really solved the mystery of the Great Pyramid, our current sketchy understanding of the ancient world could soon become a thing of the past.
More information on this and other things related to the pyramids can be seen on British Channel 4’s new documentary “Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence.”
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H/T New York Post