Why was the Great Pyramid of Gizeh built?

For over 4000 years, the Great Pyramid has been one of Earth’s most charismatic and puzzling constructions. Last century’s exponential increase of knowledge only managed to add scientific layers of mystery to the old questions of who, how and why was the pyramid built. The knowledge exhibited by the builders has many present day scholars in awe, some going as far as considering this remaining Ancient Wonder to be an alien construction. In this article, we will focus on a rather realistic, thus more probable scenario.

To start understanding the Great Pyramid we must do the same as when trying to understand anything that has been a puzzle for a long time: we must drop as many prejudices as possible.

While there seems to be widespread acceptance that Kufru (also known as Keops, or Surid) was the Pharaoh who oversaw the construction of the pyramid, one must be intrigued by the lack of information on him, as well as with everything that has to do with the Great Pyramid. Very much like our present world, Ancient Egypt was a civilization obsessed with recording data, so this must have been deliberate. Indeed, the pyramid is devoid of any inscriptions that glorify its builder, very unusual in Egyptian archaeology. In fact, everything surrounding Kufru is mysterious, as if he was concerned that his personal reputation should not exceed that of his work’s. And just like a consumed artist aware of his genius, Kufru may be understood only when and if his masterpiece will be understood.

Historians, archaeologists and scientists are just as puzzled as the visitors who merely wonder at its size. The questions abound and deepen as one studies its geographical location, the finesse of the construction or the unusual system of passages and rooms. How can ancient people achieve a level of precision with multi-ton blocks of stone that requires laser technology nowadays? Why are the knowledge of Golden Ratio and Pi so prominently employed in its dimensions? Why are there air passages crossing the entire pyramid and turning the King’s Chamber and Queen’s Chamber into rooms of life? Why build an ascending passage and then block it with a huge granite block, thus ensuring no funeral procession can go through. Why build a shaft for access to the chambers, then seal it? Why have a Great Gallery exactly 7 times higher than the plugged ascending passage, and why hide it in the heart of the pyramid? How did the builders know how to use the construction rooms above the King’s Chamber in such a way that there is absolutely no stress on the chamber itself (a feat acknowledged only by 21st century 3D engineering software models)? Every step of research brings more questions forcing the honest researcher into a humbler approach of his or her view of the ancient world.

Here are some (safe) assumptions we can make about the building of the Great Pyramid:

  • the builders of the pyramid mastered architecture, construction and even geology. They built the pyramid using the materials, location and methods that would ensure its durability. They also mastered geometry, astronomy, physics.
  • the pyramid is not intended as a grave or a personal shrine, as there were absolutely no signs and inscriptions that adorn every Pharaonic tomb. On the contrary, Kufru seemed intent on not recording his own reign and existence in the Pyramid or anywhere else.
  • the pyramid was to have a prominent position – after being built, a decree was given forbidding the construction of a bigger edifice which strangely enough was respected. Interesting to note, the second pyramid (Kefre’s) is built on a higher plane and at a steeper angle which only makes it _seem_ taller, while actually stopping short.

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We are enjoying the most technologically advanced period in our history. After all, I am uploading the pyramid images for this post on a trans-continental flight’s wi-fi Internet connection. At the same time, the Great Pyramid tells us that we’re arrogant to consider the ancient civilizations to be primitive, living in dark mysticism and unable to think past survival instincts. The 7 Ancient Wonders alone should be enough evidence. An overwhelming number of signs indicate enlightened civilizations – the Egyptians had 3 languages for different purposes, and at the unification of the Upper and Lower Egypt they recorded even the discussions about how religion was to be unified, which god gets what position and so on. We consider hieroglyphs a primitive form of writing, yet we all agree (at least in software engineering) that charts and icons are much more powerful and efficient forms of communication. We think the ancient people were simply worshipping objects and creatures without a capability of abstraction. We consider them technologically backward, yet they built huge cities such as Babylon, crossed the oceans thousands of years before Columbus, diverted the Euphrates river to conquer a city, observed and mapped the cosmos, were able to move Stonehenge-size blocks in the middle of nowhere.

If the Great Pyramid is not enough to make you willing to explore ancient civilizations with an open mind, just research Hammurabi’s code, the sea peoples, the Hyksos or the Egyptian Book of the Dead, to name a few. You will find unquestionable evidence supporting vibrant, complex, knowledgeable civilizations often discrete and often with significant technological superiority compared to that of the most successful documented kingdoms of their time. You will find evidence that contradicts the general notion that all nations in those days were simple and stupid. You will find there is much we do not know and there is much we assume based on our ignorance alone.

One also wonders of the wealth of knowledge recorded in the library of Alexandria since we owe the very foundations of mathematics, physics, philosophy to the Greeks who studied there. Its destruction in what might be the first “friendly fire” major catastrophe serves us as lesson that we are capable of destroying knowledge when we are too busy waging war against each other. So it’s about time we look at unrecorded (and undiscovered) ancient history with a great deal of respect.

We know Kufru’s Egyptian Kingdom passed away. Babylon, Medo Persia, Alexander the Great’s Macedonian Empire, Rome shared the same fate. The one constant in mankind’s history is the civilization that starts spartan and efficient and ends up collapsing under its own weight by overgrowing and overextending. More importantly, the idea of an Atlantis world exists in many ancient civilizations. Our resistance to a superficial (ie literal) interpretation of the Biblical flood makes us refute the idea (and thus not do any meaningful research) in spite of how ubiquitous it is in ancient scripts. If we analyze these scripts more carefully, we will find a civilization ruled by “giants” who filled the Earth with violence and caused its destruction. Funny enough, nowadays we use the same language: we talk about bull & bear markets, industry giants, financial titans, superstars and entertainment idols. Add to that prediction software, financial wizards, Google Glass, Oracle, “magical and revolutionary” and so on, and you get the picture. How many of us really know how radio waves, computers or even the car electronics work? While we are so advanced, we are also so ignorant. Should a nuclear war obliterate us and all that survived would be a DVD with music videos, how kindly do you think future generations of scientists would think of us?

There is a Coptic record that implies Pharaoh Kufru, also known as Surid wrote the following about the Great Pyramid:

“I, Surid the King, have built these Pyramids, and have finished them in sixty-one years. Let him, who comes after me, and imagines himself a king like me, attempt to destroy them in six hundred. To destroy is easier than to build. I have clothed them with silk : let him try to cover them with mats.” He identifies the threat of destruction in the future, and indeed the pyramid has suffered significant damage from people who built cities with its stones… and yet there it stands, defying the destruction of time and that of the people.

It is very possible, even likely, that the Great Pyramid is a message designed to last through the ages, ready to be decoded when the mankind has reached once again the ability to self-destruct.

In spite of our many faults, the human race has one amazing quality: there will always be curious minds. And it is the case of the curious mind that a great question will lead to exponentially more progress and understanding than a quick answer. It all started with the Rosetta Stone in Napoleon’s days and emphasized by some incredibly detailed studies such as Piazzi Smyth’s at the end of the 19th century (get this free copy on Google Play). Anyone who took a serious look at the pyramid came away with life changing questions. So yes, study the Great Pyramid, but do not stop there! Find out WHY the pyramid was built and what messages it caries for us. And do not fear, it is not a rabbit hole, even if it will change your life. It is more like galleries leading to the King’s and Queen’s Chambers.



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