Real reasons for Egyptian Pyramids?

For the vast bulk of the blocks in the pyramids at Giza, no. The Giza plateau is riddled with quarries that were clearly the source of most of the blocks. Offhand, I think the outer grantite casing was transported from further away, but the majority of each pyramid was local.

*Originally posted by Epimetheus *

From the link just prior to your post, Epithemeus.

See, this is why we’re so spoiled here on the SDMB. Where else can somebody offer a perfectly good setup and get quickly answered by three punchlines, all different and all golden? :smiley:

The way I remember it, I posted my wiseass remark and got totally humiliated when adam yax posted the definitive punchline ten minutes later. But thanks for the ego stroke :slight_smile:

Chronos and Ethilrist . . . sorry, but when you put my natural spelling-police instincts together with the facts that my thesis advisor was born in Cairo and my parents start teaching there next month: that’s pharaoh, dammit. O before A, except after R. Or something.

The latest evidence that they were not slaves includes finding remains that show that some of them had had medical treatment - not something you’d necessarily do with a slave. There’s a number of other pieces of evidence pointing to this.

One of the things I never understood is why so many people thinking that the prevalence of pyramid-like structures throughout the world is evidence of some global civilization, alien influence, etc. The truth is much more mundane - pyramids are prevalent because, if you want to build a really large structure, and you don’t have modern engineering methods, it’s pretty much going to be a pyramid. You start with a huge base, and as it grows it gets narrower and narrow both to give workers a perch to work on the next level, but to reduce structural loads on the rocks below.

Why did they build it? For the same reason Donald Trump built the Trump tower. When you’re Pharoah and king of the known world, where do you go from there? Civilizations like this have typically gone down two paths - their seek to expand their leader’s power through conquest, or they seek to expand their leader’s power through great civic works projects that will be remembered through eternity. A giant tomb is the ultimate way to make your mark in history, and all powerful people seem to want to make their mark in history. No mystery here.


It’s late.
It’s early.
It’s somewhere in the middle.
I’m getting old.
I haven’t had my favorite beverage.


Uh, I am totally WHOOSHED by adam yax’s clever answer to Chronos.

So my general question is a plea for someone to explain it to me. I’m sitting here saying the words “razors” and “pyramids” over and over in hopes that it will click.

No luck.

I remain, your humble and obedient…

Serf Rhosis

All the pyramids didn’t have pharoes buried under them. The biggest one in the Giza complex that was for the pharoe Khufu possibly never have a mummy in it. Or a treasure for that matter. This page has some info that makes it hard to beleive the body and treasure were simply stolen. No one knows where this pharoe’s mummy or his treasure are. If I were one of the workers on that huge pyramid I’d be mighty pissed-off that the dude who was supposed to go in it was kicked into a ditch someplace else :D.

I always thought the purpose of the pyramids was simple, big landing spots for Goa’uld motherships.

Hehe, Ok, I got my information from the Animated story of Moses. The one that came out a few years ago. Definately historically accurate, but Moses did feel bad for all the slaves hauling rocks around (were they building a pyramid or some kind of temple?)and even saved one from getting whipped. You mean they made that up. (Sarcasm of the sort: You mean TV isn’t accurate?)

Hmm, not a good source of historical data? Doh, what about all those people that claim it is historically accurate down to the core? I personally have never read the bible all the way through, and am far from an expert on it, and I get all my information on that subject on this board. My appologies. I see the point though I refuse to believe that some aliens came down and gave us information on how to build them for some sinister purpous of creating nexus points so our psychics of this era can channel the dead easier. (or some such wierd story)

Sir Rhosis: The pyramid/razor thing is a reference to the 70’s fad about “pyramid power”. The New Agers (or whatever they were called in the 70’s) believed that the geometry of the pyramid somehow focused the energy of the Universe and preserved whatever was placed inside it. Selling pyramid-shaped containers was a thing for a while. Kept your razorblades sharper and your milk fresher and whatnot. Now we get Miss Cleo. :rolleyes:

Gawd, if only they’d shut up after the 70’s! Nope, you can still find ads for crystal pyramids to keep your razors sharp. Sharper Image does one better–they offer a pyramid with magnets. If that won’t save ya money on Bics, brother, I don’t know what will!

While I am not among them, I will still note that the bible’s rendition of the enslavement says:

Building storehouses* and working the fields is not the same as building pyramids.

*(More recent translations give this as cities built to hold the grain harvest.)

Ah, Podkayne, how can we forget this classic from the Onion:

“Revolutionary New Insoles Combine Five Kinds of Psuedoscience”
Now, back to the OP. I have no problem with theories that various ancient structures have astronomical significance. But they were build using very old fashioned methods: get lots of people together for many many years and eventually the thing will get built. We are still building cathedrals that were started hundreds of years ago, why couldn’t ancient people embark on decade-long construction projects?


How did they move the blocks? Well, have you ever heard of ropes? Get a few hundred people pulling and you can move very heavy blocks. Distance? Well, they did have boats, which could float large blocks down the Nile to the building site. There are many old quarries all over Egypt, some with stones halfway sawn out. Trees for rollers? Um, Egypt HAS trees, even today. And desertification was less advanced thousands of years ago, so there were even more trees then. Egypt isn’t a barren sand dune. And the Egyptians definately understood the simple tools like levers, pulleys, inclined planes, etc. With simple tools, a little ingenuity, and a couple of thousand workers you can accomplish a lot.

Also, most of the workers probably didn’t work full time on the Pyramids. Most likely the pyramids were built mostly by farmers who contributed labor during the non-growing season. They weren’t slaves, but they weren’t brainwashed zealots dedicating their lives to the project either.

It is not suprising that the pyramids have some kind of astrological significance. Most ancient peoples looked to the sky/stars as being significant in their spiritual beliefs.
Evidence certainly makes it seem as though the Pyramids were in fact build during the dynasties… with slaves… using levers… and big whips.
The Sphinx on the other hand may have a more mysterious past. Some believe it to be much older than the pyramids, and there may be evidence that it was once under water.
Here is a page discussing that topic

and here is another


There, I’m better now.

It seems to me (and I would love correction if I am wrong) that the whole slave/free question may not have any real relevance in the modern sense. I suspect that by modern standards, everyone in Ancient Eygpt was a slave–I mean, certinly anyone without rank (and depending on the Pharoah, often anyone with rank, as well) was subject to Pharoh’s whim. Your life was more or less predetermined by your birth–people didn’t ask “what do I want to be when I grow up?”
One thing I have read is that the builders were not slaves, they were paid wiht bread and beer. Well, feeding slaves is the same as paying workers with food, no?

Any discussion about whether the pyramid workers were slave or free really needs to be preceeded by a definition of “free” and “slave”–becasue that definition has changed alot over the years.

Podkayne, very interesting link. I was very impressed by the story. One thing that made me go “huh?” was this:

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum?!? WTF?! What idiot reporter would ask the curator of a Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum for a serious response to a question on Ancient Egypt? The Rosicrucians had some pretty wack ideas about Egypt in their day (although to be fair, most people at the time had pretty wack ideas about Egypt. Also maybe this Rosicrucian Museum is now a legitimate institution.)

Well, it has one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian antiques in the US. It’s also the largest such museum on the west coast as well. Perhaps it’s legitimate now, despite still being funded and owned by the Rosicrucian Order.

I seen a very interesting show on how the pyraminds could have been built (it was actually providing very convincing debunking for most of the current theories). The bit about using trees as rollers; -according to the show- the only trees available in any abundance in ancient Egypt were date palms, and as a food source it’s unlikely they would have been cut down for rollers. Also the great weight of the stones (up to 70 tons) would have crushed the rollers to a pulp very fast. After having watched some of the “let’s try to move a 5-ton stone with people and rope” shows, it’s pretty clear that a hundred people pulling on ropes isn’t nearly as effective as it sounds… seems to take about half a day to pull one small block 100 yards on a level greased track.
Forgive my ignorance, but I have no clue what the aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh! comment is for. Seems to me that the absolute largest and most famous pyramid ever built by man which took decades to complete, thousands of workers (and undoubtedly many deaths), and huge sums of money and resources to build containing inside it no trace of what was built for - thus making it absolutly useless as far as the “simple burial chamber for the pharoe and his treasure” idea goes and therefore a complete waste of time and resources should raise a few eyebrows. Or perhaps there was an alternate or at least dual role for such a structure?

Okay, follow these directions.

Page back up to my incoherent scream.
Keep paging up until you see another post by me.
Read the last paragraph of that post. All of it.
If you want more elucidation, page up from there until you see Chronos’ and Ethilrist’s interpretations of the spelling of “pharaoh”.
Now page back down to my incoherent scream again.
Look at what I have left un-snipped.

Say good night, Gracie.