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Pyramid

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The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest of the three pyramids of Giza.

Pyramids of all different shapes and sizes lie scattered across the ancient land of Egypt, some in complete ruins while others withstand the test of time. While there are around 100 pyramids total there are around 17 significant ones that stand out the most through their history and modern day beauty. [1] Because of the vast age of these monuments that were constructed so long ago, it is difficult for archaeologists to pinpoint specific dates and facts pertaining to each one.

From deteriorating artifacts, grave robbers, and simply time itself, there is just not enough evidence to support conclusive data. With the help of biblical records and time constraints mentioned within scripture, archaeologists are able to compare historical findings with the Bible to help construct firm theories. For example, Mizraim's founding of Egypt, Abraham's journey to Egypt, Joseph a ruler under a Hyksos Pharaoh, Moses and the Hebrew slaves' participation in the construction of pyramids. Beginning from the first idea of a pyramid to the great pyramids of the later dynasties, it is incredible to see the vast developments the Egyptians took and how their devotion to these magnificent structures is still evident today.

Contents

Religious Foundations

The method and purpose of pyramid construction is deeply rooted in the religious beliefs and practices of the particular time frame of construction. Egyptian gods drove thoughts on how to proceed with deriving construction materials and then applying them.

The construction of pyramids went through three distinct phases. The first phase followed the deity Khnum, who is the protector of Khufu (full name is Khnum-Khufu) and was revered as creator. Later in Egyptian history the deity Amun would rise as the creator entity.

The significance of these two deities cannot be understated. Khnum claims to have created man from smaller parts assembled into a whole while Amun claims to have created man by carving him from his own body. When Khnum was in reverence through the 12th Dynasty, pyramids were constructed in standalone form of smaller parts (agglomerated stone casting). When Amun was in reverence (e.g. period of Ramses II) construction took place by carving out of the living rock. The monument to Ramses and the tombs at the Valley of the Kings exemplify this philosophy.

In both cases, the religious underpinnings constrained them to use these methods for temples and tombs but not for common construction. Only much later in Egyptian history were these constraints washed away and the construction methods applied interchangeably. This final state of affairs is often applied implicitly to all of Egyptian history, but doing so misses major driving factors in how the Pharaohs and the priests comported themselves during the construction.

The Beginning of the Pyramids

The knowledge of the origin of such great architectural creations such as the pyramids of Egypt has been widely debated. One of the theories postulated by David Wright is that the intelligence of how to construct such massive monuments came from Babel and those who created the Tower of Babel.

Another more plausible theory is that the father of Mizraim, Ham the son of Noah, had enormous influence in the early centuries of Egyptian culture. The Bible notes that Shem outlived Abraham, and if Ham and Japheth also lived for extraordinary durations (as did all pre-Flood humans) then Ham would have been available to jump-start the Egyptian culture with the knowledge amassed from the pre-Flood world. Some suggest that Ham and Imhotep are the same person. This would explain why Imhotep was able to live for a very long time, also that he possessed and applied extraordinary knowledge of architecture, chemistry, mathematics and medicine, far beyond the capacity for one person to amass in a single lifetime.

Imhotep is credited with the architecture and construction of the first pyramid at Saqqara, so would have been able to apply his knowledge to this endeavor. A primary reason why this is important is that the Egyptians did not build their early pyramids with carved stone. They constructed the stones from geopolymers using advanced chemistry and raw materials that were massively abundant in Giza.

The first actual pyramid to be erected was the Step Pyramid of Saqqara and it was not built until the 3rd dynasty. Its construction would have been somewhere between 2100 and 2000 B.C. The Biblical Chronology places the Flood around 2400-2500 BC. Archeologists have dated the Tower of Babel to be around 2300 B.C. which would provide more than an adequate amount of time for people to migrate and distribute information. There would be approximately 150-250 years between the days of the Tower of Babel and the first pyramids of Egypt. [2]

Egypt is also called by the name Mistrayim which translates to Mizraim, or Ham’s son. Mizraim is the grandson of Noah from the Bible and is believed to be the founder of the land of Egypt. (Genesis 10:6,13 ). Egypt is also called the "land of Ham" (Psalm 78:51 ) (Psalm 105:23-27 ) (Psalm 106:22 ).

After living in Babel, Mizraim took his family to live in the land of Egypt. He brought with him his 8 children, 4 of which were girls and 4 of which were boys. By calculating the marriages of his children, and the amount of children an average couple would have during that time, it can be estimated that over the course of 30 years each couple would have around 8 children each.

This approximation would lead to around 30,000 descendants of Mizraim over the course of 150 years which would be around the time the first pyramid was constructed. If however the time between the Tower of Babel and Egypt was more like 250 years, there could very well have been around 1 million descendants which would be more than enough people to build these massive structures. Because the Bible states in Genesis 11 of how the people back then lived to be quite old, such as over 200 years old, the amount of people living in the land could have been enormous.

Although many people would be needed to build a pyramid, using stone-casting and chemical agglomeration (geopolymers), even the Great Pyramid could have been easily constructed within 20 years with less than 1500 workers, working only a few months per year during the Nile flooding season. Recent discoveries of a worker's village for about 2000 workers confirms that the pyramid did not require a massive contingent of workers, nor did it require an abundance of slaves.

We must also consider that Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth carried with them the accumulated knowledge of technologies and sciences acquired prior to the Flood. As Shem is recorded as outliving Abraham, who visited Egypt preceding the Fourth Dynasty (Cheops), we may also presume that Ham and Japheth lived a considerable length of time after the Flood. This would explain the enigmatic presence of Imhotep in the first centuries of Egypt's growth, who had a vast knowledge of architecture, chemistry, medicine, metallurgy and science, far beyond that which a common man could accumulate in a lifetime. Ham, son of Noah, is the best candidate to fill the shoes of Imhotep.

Ancient alien theory

Theories of alien intelligence being involved in the building of the pyramids is propagated by the History Channel on their program titled, "Ancient Aliens". The critical scholarship however does not endorse such fantastic theories and maintains that the pyramids were built by Egyptian architects. There was a cultural cult of worshiping the dead that developed the need for massive housing so to allow proper ceremony and ritual.

Rising from the plain of GIZA and at other locations, the structures were no longer simple tombs but stages for elaborate ceremonies where priests offered continual prayers and gifts as part of an ongoing mortuary cult. Later pharaohs were forced to reduce the size of their pyramids, eventually abandoning the form entirely because of a lack of resources, but the Giza monuments remained vivid examples of Egypt’s architectural glories.[3]

The primary reason that the alien-theories maintain their footing is not based on evidence, but on the mystery of how the Egyptians accomplished the construction. Like the theory of evolution, these alien theories are based on a lack of evidence rather than an abundance of it.

Now that we know that the pyramids were constructed from agglomerated stone (cast limestone), this fully dissipates the strength of any argument or conjecture that purports herculean effort, exotic technologies or space aliens.

Pyramid Construction

Over the past several centuries, scholars have both debated and marveled over the potential construction methods used by the Egyptians. These debates have centered upon the types of methods that the workers would have used to move the stones. With the average stone weighing over two tons. this would require up to sixty men to pull just one of them. To build the Great Pyramid however, as Herodotus notes was completed in twenty years, would require the installation of over fourteen hundred stones per day. Truly a herculean effort if performed by brute-force physics with "elbows-knees-and-backs".

A primary obstacle to large-scale stone movement, considering the size and stones-per-day required to complete construction of the Great Pyramid, is the estimated size and length of the required ramps. Any and all of these would have been larger in size, greater in scope and contain far more material than the Great Pyramid itself. The ancient world used practical, reproducible and deterministic methods for construction, none of which apply if attempting to move stones of this size and quantity.

Over the past decades however, technology has increased to the point where the pyramid stones can be carefully examined for density, chemical composition, physical contents and many other aspects. By simply examining a given stone at face value, all of them appear to be the of the same composition, that of limestone. Once technology can peel back the mysteries of their complete chemical composition and physical contents (e.g. X-rays and penetration technologies) a very different story is revealed.

Recent research[4] has been regularly presented at the various Egyptology Symposiums with increasing support. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has embraced and now supports the theory of cast-not-carved pyramid stones. The basic observations are followed by their conclusions and explanations, the following centered on the Great Pyramid (Cheops) which itself sits on a bedrock of hard limestone.

Stone Composition

The stones themselves have a different set of properties than local natural limestone:

  • They are perfectly even, gravitationally true across each level
  • So tightly fitted that not even a razor blade can fit in the seams
  • Are made of amorphous (non-crystallized) limestone
  • Contain a very high level of natron (salt)
  • Are twenty percent less dense than any hard limestone in the area
  • Are very dense at the bottom of the stone, decreasing density toward the stone's top until some are even porous. The erosion of these stones is very distinct. All of them exhibit extraordinary wear at the tops of the stones with very little wear on the bottom of the stones.
  • Contain generous quantities of air bubbles
  • Contain a wide variety of foreign materials include animal parts and hair
  • Contain a generous contingent of small fossils (expected of deposited limestone) but the fossils are jumbled and in disarray, not stratified as would be if laid down with gradual deposition
  • Contain additional chemicals not found in the hard limestone of the region
  • Are made of the same limestone (chemically) as the soft limestone found around the Sphynx
  • Some levels (e.g. level 35) contain stones over 10 tons in size
  • Exhibit closely stratified "lift lines" as found in common concrete casting, although they are not concrete
  • Exhibit many other characteristic of common Portland concrete makeup, but are not concrete.
Experiments

Researchers have experimented with the same soft limestone content as is locally available near the pyramid construction site. Conservative estimates of the original volume of this resource would have been in the millions of tons. It is soft limestone mixed with kaolinitic clay, easily disaggregated with water into a lighter, transportable form. It is then mixed with natron salt and lime ash, also abundant chemicals. When this mixture dries, it forms a very hard stone. The arid climate of Giza would have accelerated drying and likewise increased productivity.

This type of technology (geopolymers) was well-known to the Egyptians. A geologist armed with common chemical analysis would regard the cementing agents (binders) as impurities. Only more advanced technologies such as x-ray and spectral analysis reveal the chemical nature of these stones.

To affect their construction, wooden molds were set up using neighboring stones as one or more of the mold walls, then this mixture packed into molds and allowed to dry. This is why the seams between stones are so tight. Workers could make multiple stones in this manner and easily exceed a tally of fourteen hundred stones per day. Some estimates suggest as many as five thousand stones per day. This would preclude the workers from having to labor around the clock for twenty straight years. Or for that matter, the workers would use the Nile flooding times (water is necessary for this process) and produce a huge amount of material, making pyramid construction seasonal rather than round-the-clock.

Recent discoveries of worker villages at Giza[5] reveal housing complexes for no more than 2000 workers. Proponents of stone-carving construction estimate that hundreds of thousands of workers would be required to complete the Great Pyramid inside the asserted twenty-year timeframe. Proponents of stone-casting construction estimate that no more than 1500 active workers would be necessary, leaving plenty of room for administrators, foremen, and other supporting staff. The worker village intersects with the predictions of the stone-casting proponents.

Explanations

Perhaps a primary reason why the pyramids are not hailed and celebrated by the ancient Egyptian culture is that they were actually large-scale but very commonplace construction projects. If the stones had been carved, we would have expected the early pyramids to be of weaker architecture and getting stronger with each subsequent construction as technical prowess increased. Instead, we witness a decline in size and quality after Cheops, the clear explanation being that the Cheops project depleted the construction resources (soft limestone and clay) for future construction. In fact, the Egyptians went through three historical eras of construction practices, one of agglomerated stone, one of mud-bricks and one of carved stone.

Davidovits points out that according to all records in ancient civilizations, chemistry was one of the first sciences mastered and put to work in everyday life.

Other forms of geopolymer artifacts include vases and urns made of diorite, an extremely hard substance, yet they exhibit no tool marks with exceptionally smooth surfaces. Small trays and dishes made of delicately crafted patterns are actually made of gneiss, which is even harder than granite, but these dishes are less than 1/16th inch in thickness and have delicate folds and artwork, with no tool marks whatsoever.

Colossus of Memnon

Perhaps the greatest testimony to Egyptian geopolymer technology (also called agglomerated stone) are the massive seven-story Memnon statues. They are made of quartzite, an extremely hard substance that would be impossibly tough to work with the best tools of today. Yet they contain very intricate detail.

After x-ray and spectroscopic analysis revealing their secrets, they are now considered by many as excellent examples of the statues having been first constructed as giant molds and the liquid agglomerated quartzite poured inside. Later the mold was pulled away to reveal the statue. Of note in this process are the symbols, hieroglyphs and other art that are in the body of the finished work. Short of using complex tools such as lasers or compressed water jets, modern tools could not achieve this level of detail in quartzite.

Implications of Stone Casting over Carving

The most significant implication is that the pyramids lose a great deal of their mystique, perhaps even losing status as a "wonder of the world". If they are truly the product of a giant construction product using cast stones, they are no different than any other massive edifice made today using easily-assembled parts. Perhaps a grand structure but still a commonplace construction product.

It does however, significantly elevate the ancient Egyptians in their mastery of the chemical sciences, especially for large-scale building products but also in their everyday production of cultural applications that we see today as artifacts of their lifestyles.

In addition, if the pyramids were a common construction project, for no better reason than to feed the Pharaoh's ego, this dismisses claims of "herculean" efforts or the need to appeal to mysterious or alien technologies (the simplest answer is the best answer).

Imhotep - Knowledge of Geopolymers

The enigmatic Imhotep and his contribution to Egyptian culture are blurred by his Hollywood and entertainment representations. He was the first architect of the pyramids (e.g. the Step Pyramid of Saqqara) and was master of chemistry and medicine[6]. Some researchers pay homage to Imhotep as the father of both chemistry and medicine. Here, Imhotep's chronology places him in 2500 BC, bumping against the time boundary of the Flood. The Saqqara pyramid appeared under Pharaoh Djoser at the beginning of the Old Kingdom, 3rd Dynasty, some two hundred years after the establishment of Egypt (also very close to the Flood).

The chronologies of Egypt mapped to Biblical and other civilizations[7] places Abraham in 2091 BC and Joseph in Egypt in 1880 BC. As the Biblical Chronology records, Shem (son of Noah) outlived Abraham. We may also assume that Ham and Japheth lived for extraordinary durations after the Flood. Egypt is called the "land of Ham" and was founded by one of his sons Mizraim. Based on the timeframe and the extraordinary knowledge-base of Imhotep, we may suppose that Imhotep and Ham are the same person? Ham would have found favor with the leaders of Egypt, being the father of Mizraim, and would have possessed a storehouse of knowledge from the pre-Flood world.

A common misconception is the attempt to link Imhotep with Joseph because of the writings on the Famine Stele, which describe a time of seven years of famine followed by seven years of plenty, an odd parallel to the story of Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream. However, Joseph asserted that the dream, seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, is exactly the opposite of the Famine Stele's rendition. Moreover, the Famine Stele relates how Imhotep stopped, not predicted a famine, through applied science and engineering. The Stele also reveals Imhotep's practices for building in-scale through agglomerated geosynthesis, or cast stonework. Those who attempt to connect Joseph and Imhotep casually disregard the account in Genesis where Pharaoh presents Joseph to the Egyptians as a ruler, not a vizier, and does so with Joseph in his "second chariot" (Genesis 41:43). The Hyksos introduced chariots to the Egyptians, which means that the Hyksos kings had already arrived in Egypt for Joseph to be riding in a chariot. This simple evidence summarily dismisses "revisionist" timelines that attempt to shuffle the Hyksos into a later time frame in order to align Imhotep with Joseph. Pursuit of this alignment unfortunately attempts to wash away the extraordinary scientific advancements promulgated by Imhotep. Joseph had no such training and his primary point of fame is in large-scale agrarian logistics, not science.

As we look back to Genesis 2 and God's mandate to Adam to manage the resources of the creation, one of the primary aspects would be a mastery of chemistry, especially for purposes of nutrition, medicine and construction, to name a few. After all, just as a father might sit down with his kids to play with building-blocks or Legos(tm), the Lord walked with Adam "in the cool of the day" and would have been personally able to deliver to Adam the precise chemical knowledge-base necessary to harness the elements, molecules, compounds and an understanding of biological life. We have every reason to believe that Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth carried pre-Flood science and technical knowledge with them. Egypt was founded by Mizraim, son of Ham. It is not unreasonable to presume that Ham is Imhotep, having jump-started Egypt with a vast knowledge of science.

Dynasty 3

The Step Pyramid of Saqqara

The Step Pyramid of Saqqara marked a change in pyramid construction.

The Step Pyramid of Saqqara is said to be one of the greatest advancements in ancient day construction. This structure is believed to be the very first actual pyramid of Egypt, which replaced the flat, rectangular mastabas. Netjerykhet, better known as Zoser or Djoser, was the first king of the 3rd dynasty (Old Kingdom - 2500 BC to 2150 BC)[8] and was responsible for this pyramid's construction, but the mind behind its actual creation is believed to have been Zoser’s vizier named Imhotep (the Biblical Ham, son of Noah and father of Mizraim, the founder of Egypt). This pyramid alone jump-started the creation of all other pyramids that would later be built by following pharaohs of Egypt.

Unlike mud bricks used to build the mastabas, agglomerated (cast) stone blocks were used to produce this pyramid and pave the way for even greater ones to come. Even this pyramid is an experimental work. At its foundation is a large mastaba. On top of this is a smaller step-pyramid with levels that provide a way to build the larger-step-pyramid atop it. However, this is an asymmetric construction. The mastaba and original pyramid are built on-center while the larger portion is built-out as an extension. One corner and two sides of the original smaller pyramid are exposed while the larger portion extends these walls and its height.

At the beginning of its formation it is believed that the Step Pyramid started off as being another mastaba with a burial shaft and tomb chamber. It is debated whether or not the other stages added were intentional from the start or if they were an additional idea that came after construction already began. There are a total of six steps, or stages. This pyramid was built in three different phases, the first layer and then four of which were built after the original layer and two more layers following that. The base is measured to be 410 by 354 feet with a height of 203 feet. Surrounding the land of the pyramid is a 34.4 foot wall.[9]

Inside this original edifice was found only a partial remain of a human body and other smaller artifacts. A single hip bone was derived from the tomb and was later deciphered as being from a woman. Archaeologists also found 40,000 stone plates. vases and cups made of alabaster and also semi-precious stones. Of note are the vases and artifacts made from granite, diorite and gneiss, three of the hardest substances in the world. The delicate construction of these artifacts, some with walls and leaves that are nearly paper-thin, are evidence of casting and molding with geopolymer/chemical paste with the primary stone as the foundation. Manethon, one of the last great priests of Heliopolis, records Imhotep as being the "inventor of the art of building with [Greek: xestos lithos]" which was erroneously translated as "hewn stone". In fact "xestos" means "smooth or polished". This is a reference to Imhotep's mastery of the construction of these vases and artifacts that are made of extraordinarily hard substances yet have smooth and polished surfaces with no evidence of tool marks. It is believed that Imhotep mastered this chemical-based construction and discovered a means to create stones with high compression strength suitable for larger-scale projects.


Outside the pyramid a replicated statue of King Zoser stands at guard by the entrance. The original statue is currently located within the Cairo museum safely on display. Like most of the following pyramids it was also covered in white limestone to hide its imperfect sides. Since then other builders have taken the distinct facing and reused them for their own benefit, but modern day architects have since recovered part of the pyramid to show what it could have appeared as in ancient times. Although time has taken away pieces of this pyramid, it has its benefits. Archeologists are now able to configure how and in what sort of states they were built by examining the different stones in different layers.[9]

Dynasty 4

Seneferu

Seneferu was the first king to erect an actual pyramid in its true form as people in modern times see them. As the first king of the 4th dynasty, he built a total of three pyramids. Combined, the stones of all three pyramids totaled to around 9 million tons. It is still unknown as to the exact reason why Seneferu decided to construct three large pyramids instead of a single one for himself in the afterlife. There are several thoughts about this being debated upon such as if he wanted his structures to be perfect and needed to keep building until he made one that was. Another is if he simply wanted to keep building one after another, and not stopping. Regardless of the reason why he continued to build these pyramids, he is still known today as the ‘greatest pyramid builder of all time.’ [10]

As noted in a prior section, the pyramids were commonplace construction projects, requiring no special mechanical technologies, simplifying the conjecture required to determine why the kings built these structures. The answer may be as simple as that he just wanted a lot of monuments, or was attempting to completely deplete the natural resources required to build them so that he would not only be the greatest, but the final pyramid builder.

Considering that his three pyramids contain more material combined than the Great Pyramid, these provide excellent proof-of-concept or prototypical platforms for the large-scale stones and lentils later used for the Great Pyramid. We would not expect them to start with a large-scale project without having confidently proven it on a smaller scale. Saqqara is the original scale-model of the approach, followed by Seneferu's projects.

If these initial pyramids had been built with hewn stone, archaeologists would have expected them to include much larger stones because carving and dressing smaller stones requires more effort. In using larger stones cast-in-place with agglomerated limestone, they effectively solved three major problems. One in that many of the former pyramids were used as quarries, pillaged to build other structures. Larger stones would discourage and effectively prevent this. Two in that the purpose of protecting the sepulcher is more effectively secured with blocks weighing in the tens of tons. Three in that the stones don't have to be transported. It is easier to transport raw material to cast the stones.

The collapsed pyramid of Meidum was built by Seneferu of the 4th Dynasty.

Meidum Pyramid

The first pyramid constructed under the reign of Seneferu was the Meidum pyramid, named after its location. This 302 feet high structure is surrounded by several mastabas as it rises at a 51.5 degree angle and covers 482 feet travelling diagonally across the base. Although this first pyramid was never fully completed, there was an odd pile of rubble found at its base. This pile went under lots of speculation as to what caused the destruction and why it was there. It wasn’t until 1984, when Egyptian archaeologists began taking away some of the rubble in order to figure out exactly what had occurred. By examining the pieces being excavated archeologists can find more facts and evidence as to its cause. Though the pyramid’s construction was never actually completed, writings on a funeral chapel prove its date of construction. Located east of the pyramid the texts from the 18th dynasty include the mentioning of King Seneferu and his temple. Aside from these writings as evidence, there is still speculation that this pyramid was not the work of Seneferu, but of the following pharaoh by the name of Huni. He was the last pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty, but no actual evidence has been provided to prove that the pyramid in Meidum was in fact his. [10]

Bent Pyramid

The second pyramid of Seneferu is the Bent Pyramid of Dahshur. Out of all the pyramids in Egypt, this pyramid looks the most like it did back in its creation. Much of the outer covering is still intact, unlike other pyramids that have been stripped of its facing stones by other builders. It is said to be the most well-preserved of the pyramids and provides the best example to modern day viewers of these ancient structures. It is called the Bent Pyramid because of its odd angular change during its construction. When viewed, it is easily seen that the builders began shaping the pyramid at a 52 degree angle, but higher up it changes to a 43 degree angle. This is because the weight of the stones was too concentrated and it started to crack, requiring them to back down and change the angle.

This pyramid has a base of 617 feet square and holds two chambers within its walls. These two chambers are connected through passageways running throughout the pyramid. The archeologists who discovered this pyramid found nothing within either of the two chambers. On the outside there are two entrances on either the north or west sides. Also on the outside of the pyramid there is located an inscription on the northeast corner. Written in red ochre, the statement says that it was the 21st year of Seneferu. Another caption was found halfway up the pyramid which states that it was the 22nd year of Seneferu.

These writings are believed to have indicated the year of which the pyramid was being constructed. The only questionable part of this theory is that the builders only took around two years to create the bottom half of the pyramid. Through calculations of manual labor and the enormity of the project, it would otherwise seem an extremely difficult and nigh impossible feat. [10] However, per the known use of casting materials, if the project consisted merely of building molds and packing the wet raw materials into them, one can see that two years may have been a luxury of time when compared to the twenty years required for the Great Pyramid. In fact, the master builders may have seen the workers as slackers, having taken so long to accomplish something so commonplace.

The Red Pyramid is the last pyramid of Seneferu and is the first true pyramid shaped structure.

Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid is located just north of the Bent Pyramid. The final pyramid of Seneferu stands 344 feet high and has a base length of 722 feet. It is believed to be the first actual pyramid to be constructed in its true angular form as people in modern times see pyramids, with its flat sides and accurate angles. This was the only pyramid whose complete structure retained the same ideal angle, this one in particular was kept at a constant 43 degree angle. Being the last of Seneferu’s accomplishments within the architectural world, it is believed that he wanted to finally construct a complete pyramid fit for a king. Because the past attempt at a 52 degree angle appeared to have failed, such as with the Bent Pyramid, it would have been ideally safer to build a whole pyramid at a constant lower angle. Unlike Seneferu’s second pyramid, the Red Pyramid has already lost its outer shell of stones to cover the not as appealing building stones. But even though it lost its lustrous coat it still has its capstone. Within the walls there are passageways, two antechambers, and a tomb chamber. Inside the tomb chamber researchers were able to find the remains of some human bodies. These bodies that were found cannot be distinguished as to who they formerly were. There are writings on this pyramid as well which indicate that it was built within the 21st and 23rd year of an unidentified king. Although Seneferu was not mentioned by name, he is still believed to be the master behind this monument. Of course if the writing is true and Seneferu did in fact build the Red Pyramid another question is speculated as to if he would have built both the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid around the same time. [10]

Pyramid of Khufu

The Great Pyramid of Gizeh is the single largest Egyptian pyramid in the world. The son of Seneferu, Khufu, or Cheops, built this 480 foot high monument as his tomb for eternity. It was considered to be one of the Old Kingdom structures, but its geometric accuracy leaves even modern day people astonished. It is also found that each of the corners of the pyramid face each direction of north, south, east, and west. [11] Constructed in the 4th dynasty, Khufu used around 2,300,000 stones to build it. [12]Each of these stones individually would have weighed around 2.5 tons each. Some of them have even reached weights that go over 16 tons. In the burial chamber some of the granite slabs that were found weighed over 50 tons. The base of this incredible structure covers around 750 feet of ground along the side. [11]

Using agglomerated (cast) stone, this construction project could have been completed easily within twenty years. The work crews would require no special mechanical equipment, herculean effort or day-and-night schedules. In fact, the construction could be very aggressive during the monsoon season when the Nile rose, providing water for the disaggregation of the limestone/clay raw materials. Using simple bucket-brigade lines for transporting raw materials, then packing raw materials into molds, mold construction and work crew oversight would transform a mysterious effort into the everyday. Once the monsoon season completed, the workers could go back to their other construction projects, or continue to gather more secondary raw materials (e.g. lime ash) to support the next construction push. The Famine Stele actually provides chemical and procedural details on how these blocks were cast and formed.

Herodotus had access to the era within which Egypt had adopted stone-carving for construction and had no visibility to the ages prior to this, or the age of agglomerated stone casting.

The work went on in three-monthly shifts, a hundred thousand men in a shift. It took ten years of this oppressive slave labour to build the track along which the blocks were hauled -- a work in my opinion of hardly less magnitude than the pyramid itself, for it is five furlongs in length.... To build the pyramid itself took 20 years --Herodotus [12]

In the above, Herodotus only available facts were the visible ramps used for construction in the present age, which he falsely extrapolates into the Great Pyramid age. He does however note the time to construct the Great Pyramid as 20 years. If it was in fact completed in 20 years using stone carving and block-transportation, it would require the work crews to operate in 24x7 fashion to lay down 1400 blocks per day, each block requiring up to 60 men to pull. Those who have attempting to reproduce this approach have failed. If however, the blocks were made of agglomerated stone, the workers could make "seasonal pushes" and lay down far more than 1400 blocks per day. In fact, they could lay down dozens-of-blocks-at-a-time, with work crews consisting largely of bucket-brigade-style transportation of limestone mud.

Dynasty 12

South Lisht Pyramid

The only pyramid constructed by Sesostris I in the 12th dynasty was the South Lisht Pyramid. Built sometime during the 12th dynasty, the building stones were made of limestone. Apart from the actual foundational stones, the pyramid was solidified by filling the open crevices with unfired bricks. After completing the monument it was covered with Tura limestone to give off a more beautiful and elaborate appearance. The total height of Sesostris I’s pyramid was 200 feet (61 meters) and the length of one of its sides was 344 feet (105 meters). Along with his own place of burial, Sesostris I built ten other smaller satellite pyramids surrounding his. These other chambers were for the royal family and were supposed to keep them in the afterlife. For example one of these pyramids was created for Nefru, the wife of Sesostris I. Her satellite pyramid was constructed slightly larger than the rest of them, but the others also only housed deceased women of the family, not men. Mastabas were also found located in the same vicinity of the main pyramid. [13]

Joseph and the Hyksos Kings

The Middle Kingdom had just closed and the Second Intermediate Period had just commenced by the time Joseph arrived in Egypt (1898 BC). These were the Hyksos Kings (the Shepherd Kings) and as Canaanites, Joseph would have quickly found favor with them. Joseph rapidly rose to power and influence, ultimately in the position of second-in-command over all Egypt.

"He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, 'Make way!' Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt." Genesis 41:43

As the Hyksos kings introduced chariots to Egypt, this is evidence that the Hyksos had at least arrived in Egypt, but other evidences strongly suggest that Joseph's Pharaoh was in fact a Hyksos. Many years after Joseph died, the Hyksos continued to revere him and to honor the Israelites. In the 1570's BC, the kings of the 18th Dynasty (New Kingdom) supplanted and routed the Hyksos kings. The Bible records this transition as the arrival of a "king which knew not Joseph" (Exodus 1:8).

Moses

According to the shortened time line provided by biblical records, as integrated to the secular records[14], including Exodus 12:40, from the time of Joseph to the time of the Exodus was four hundred and thirty years.

During this time, the Middle Kingdom transitioned to the Second Intermediate Period, a time that was ruled by the Hyksos (shepherd kings). These were Canaanites and would have found favor with Joseph, a fellow Canaanite. The Bible records that when Joseph interpreted the dream and Pharaoh placed him in power, he paraded Joseph in his "second chariot" (Genesis 41:43). This is significant because the Hyksos introduced the chariot to Egypt, along with the lute, lyre and compound-bow.

Based in Memphis, the Hyksos were in rule from roughly late-1800's BC until 1570 BC. Joseph was highly revered, as were his descendants for many years. The Hyksos were routed by the kings of the 18th Dynasty. This transition is recorded in the Bible as when Egypt was taken over by a king that "knew not Joseph" (Exodus 1:8).

  • 1880 - Joseph and Jacob (Second Intermediate Period, Hyksos Kings)
  • Pass 430 years
  • 1450 - The Exodus

Born during the 18th Dynasty, the estimated time of the birth of Moses is 1530 BC. He lived for 120 years, placing his death in 1410 BC. According to Scripture his life-span had the following major junctures:

  • 1570 - New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty begins (Pharaoh that "knew not Joseph" Exodus 1:8)
  • 1530 - Birth of Moses - Pharaoh Tutmosis-I, Moses was nurtured by daughter Neferu-Ra
  • 1510 - Death of Tutmosis-I, daughter Neferu-Ra Marries Tutmosis-II
  • 1508 - Tutmosis-II dies, Neferu-Ra becomes Pharaoh Hatshepsut
  • 1490 - Hatsepshut vanquished, Moses exiled from Egypt - Pharoah Tutmosis-III takes throne
  • 1460 - Tutmosis-III dies, succeeded by Amenhotep-II
  • 1450 - Moses returns to Egypt, faces Amenhotep-II
  • 1450 - Exodus, Red Sea, Giving of Law, Amenhotep-II dies at Red Sea
  • 1450 - Amenhotep-II succeeded by Tutmosis-IV, not his first-born son[15]
  • 1410 - Death of Moses

Note that most scholars include the 20+ years of Hatshepsut's reign as a co-Pharaoh arrangement with Tutmosis-III, giving him up to 50+ years for the duration of his rule.

Amenhotep-II was the Pharaoh in power when Moses returned to Egypt. He was killed at the Red Sea. Tutmosis-III had a reign of thirty years beginning at the exile of Moses, and oversaw the most expansive kingdom period. Amenhotep-II reigned for ten years afterward. He was succeeded by Tutmosis-IV who on his own Dream Stele claims he is not the firstborn of Amenhotep-II. Likewise, Amenhotep-II is not the firstborn of his own father, Tutmosis-III[16], so would not himself have died from the last plague.

During the reign of Tutmosis-I, his daughter Neferu-Ra rescued Moses from the waters of the Nile. As portrayed in Exodus 2 of Moses' birth, his birth mother made for him a basket and floated him safely down the river where the pharaoh's princess came to find him and keep him as her own. While the Bible states that she 'came down to wash herself at the river', it is now presumed that because of her infertility and the Egyptian belief in gods, she was there praying to the fertility god for a child. Raised within the pharaoh's house, Moses would have been like a son under Tutmosis-I's rule.

Neferu-Ra married Tutmosis-II, who died shortly afterward. Tutmosis-III was too young to rule, so Neferu-Ra declared herself Pharaoh Hatshepsut and ruled as such for twenty years. During this time, Egyptian records show her constantly alongside a person who was not her son, named Semnut. This Semnut was an accomplished architect and was considered to be in line for the throne as any other prince. Some scholars suggest that Semnut is Moses. Sculptures of Semnut reveal distinctly Semitic features. Both Hatsepshut and Semnut vanished at the same time.

In Exodus it tells of how Moses, when he was grown around the age of 40, killed an Egyptian who was beating one of the Hebrew slaves. When he went to disband a quarrel between two of the Hebrews they confronted him about his murder. The pharaoh soon caught word of Moses' betrayal which forced Moses to escape to Midian, where he remained for 40 years. In the 30th year he learned of the death of Tutmosis-III. Ten years later he would leave Midian to confront Amenhotep-II.

Israelites

The transition from the Second Intermediate Period to the New Kingdom ushered in the 18th Dynasty and threw out the kings who had honored the Israelites because of the influence of their patriarch Joseph.

"Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. "Look," he said to his people, "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country." So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly." Exodus 1:8-14

The 12th dynasty era is found to be the time when pyramids were made of mud-bricks. They had apparently run out of the large-quantities of soft limestone/clay raw materials used to build their prior magnificent structures. These massive stones were dried by the sun to harden and as they were constructed into pyramids, covered by smooth stones. The addition of the stones on the surface provided the pyramids with a more grandiose appearance in place of the mud slabs.

With the shortened chronology and biblical records, the Israelites did presumably build monuments of some kind during their extended enslavement by the Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty, the verseExodus 5:7-8 proves that the reigning pharaoh forced their labor into constructing some monument for it says, "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. they are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'" Josephus' ancient writings also provide evidence that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and did in fact build some latter forms of their pyramids."They [the Egyptian taskmasters] set them also to build pyramids." [1] Of course, the major work in pyramid-building happened much earlier in Egyptian history, depleting the necessary resources to cast stones. This reduced them to inferior materials and poorer architecture.

Despite the doubt from other archeologists and the old chronology, biblical accounts specifically mark the dates of the Israelite's in Egypt during the 18th dynasty at approximately 1660 to 1445 BC. IKings 6:1 helps to put the Israelites into a timeline for it states, "In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord." [1].

There is also evidence found about the great exodus from Egypt. The secular archeologists can not decipher why such a mass of people would migrate so quickly from the land. Only the Bible can confirm the reason why so many Hebrew slaves detained in Egypt would suddenly be released and allowed to leave. [1] Another piece of evidence proving the Israelites existence in Egypt is the discovery of several excavated boxes found buried beneath what would have been the Hebrews houses. Inside these boxes were several skeletons of babies. These babies are believed to be those that were ordered to be killed by the pharaoh, the order of which brought Moses into the Egyptian palace. Exodus 1:16

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References

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Down
  2. Were There Enough People to Build the Pyramids? By David Wright. Answers. February 13, 2008
  3. Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt By Margaret R. Bunson. 2002 Revised Edition, pg. 50
  4. Why the Pharaohs Built the Pyramids with Fake Stones 2nd (second) Revised Edition, Geopolymer Institute; 2nd Revised edition edition (0010), ASIN B00E6TGTVU, 2009, Joseph Davidovitz
  5. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0805_020805_giza.html
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imhotep
  7. NIV Integrated Study Bible, A New Chronological Approach For Exploring Scripture, Zondervan, EIN 978-0-310-41103-1, J.R. Kohlenberger, Editor, 2103
  8. NIV Integrated Study Bible, A New Chronological Approach For Exploring Scripture, Zondervan, EIN 978-0-310-41103-1, J.R. Kohlenberger, Editor, 2103
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Saqqara
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 (Ashton pg. 32-35)
  11. 11.0 11.1 The pyramids of Ancient Egypt Bible History Online
  12. 12.0 12.1 (Ashton pg. 36-38)
  13. Sesostris I Egypt – Land of Eternity. Tripod
  14. NIV Integrated Study Bible, A New Chronological Approach For Exploring Scripture, Zondervan, EIN 978-0-310-41103-1, J.R. Kohlenberger, Editor, 2103
  15. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/02/04/amenhotep-ii-and-the-historicity-of-the-exodus-pharaoh.aspx#Article
  16. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/02/04/amenhotep-ii-and-the-historicity-of-the-exodus-pharaoh.aspx#Article

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