Chapter 2 – Ancient Engineering

Pyramids and the Sphinx – Giza in Egypt – 2500 BCE


If you want to learn more about pyramids in general, please visit this link

The three great pyramids of Giza in Egypt were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Great Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the pyramid of Cheops, the king’s name in Greek) is the last remaining of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World and rises to a height of 481 feet (147 metres). The pyramid of Khafre is 471 feet tall(144 metres) and that of Menkaure rises to 213 feet (65 metres). The Great Sphinx sits on the eastern side of the plateau apart from the pyramids but it is thought it once was an important part of the pyramid complex which covered the area. The head of the Sphinx is believed by Egyptologists to be that of the king Khafre though others contend that represents Khufu. Further on, the great solar barge of Khufu, which is the oldest intact ship extant, was found buried in a pit near the Great Pyramid in 1954 CE. Dating from 2500 BCE, the ship is 143 feet (43 metres) long and 19 feet (5.9 metres) wide. Near the Pyramid complex there are a number of smaller structures known as the Queens Pyramids. It is uncertain who was buried beneath these pyramids but evidence suggests they were the tombs of Hetepheres I (Khufu’s mother), Meretites (Khufu’s wife) and a later queen named Henutsen.


Here is a link to a video by the BBC on what we know about the building of this great pyramid by leading structural engineer and designer Cecil Balmond.   The BBC goes beyond the well known histories of three celebrated monuments: Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid, to reveal the hidden geometry at their cores. At each iconic structure he examines a fundamental form: at Stonehenge – the circle: the Taj Mahal – the square and the Great Pyramid – the triangle.

Through the abstraction of these forms Cecil reveals the secrets that lie within their iconic design and discovers what these basic shapes can tell us about the sacred and religious, the spiritual and transcendent intentions of the buildings’ architects. On a global journey across structure and shape, Cecil also explores how these simple forms influence our lives. From the earliest of times to our present culture, they have shaped our thinking in science, mathematics and design.


Here is a link to a BBC video about a void discovered in 2017.  A hidden void has been uncovered under the Great Pyramid in Giza. Using a new technique using muons which are a by-product of cosmic rays from the Universe. Explorers have visualized what they think could be a large void at least 30 metres long above the Great Gallery in the 4500 year old Pharaoh Khufu’s Pyramid.


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To the extent possible under law, Jennifer Kirkey has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Engineering and Technology in Society - Canada, except where otherwise noted.

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