Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Surprising Truth Behind the Construction of the Great Pyramids

  1. May 25, 2007 #1

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oh my, this does change history quite a bit. The limestone blocks for the pyramids were formed onsite and not dragged by slaves or teleported by aliens?

    This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

    "A year and a half later, after extensive scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations and other testing, Barsoum and his research group finally began to draw some conclusions about the pyramids. They found that the tiniest structures within the inner and outer casing stones were indeed consistent with a reconstituted limestone. The cement binding the limestone aggregate was either silicon dioxide (the building block of quartz) or a calcium and magnesium-rich silicate mineral.

    The stones also had a high water content—unusual for the normally dry, natural limestone found on the Giza plateau—and the cementing phases, in both the inner and outer casing stones, were amorphous, in other words, their atoms were not arranged in a regular and periodic array. Sedimentary rocks such as limestone are seldom, if ever, amorphous.

    The sample chemistries the researchers found do not exist anywhere in nature. “Therefore,” says Barsoum, “it’s very improbable that the outer and inner casing stones that we examined were chiseled from a natural limestone block.”

    More startlingly, Barsoum and another of his graduate students, Aaron Sakulich, recently discovered the presence of silicon dioxide nanoscale spheres (with diameters only billionths of a meter across) in one of the samples. This discovery further confirms that these blocks are not natural limestone.

    Generations misled

    continued...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience...gtruthbehindtheconstructionofthegreatpyramids
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2007 #2
    The pyramids were never made by jewish slaves. Thats just myth from the bible.
     
  4. May 25, 2007 #3

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I never knew there was a myth about Jewish slaves.

    Stories I've read ranged from slaves (captured in war, criminals, etc..) to farmers that were obligated to spend non-planting and harvest months as subscribed laborers to fully paid laborers.

    This really changes things. If the blocks could be formed on site at the level they were to be placed, there is no mystery as to how they were carted up to the top, they were made on the spot.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2007
  5. May 25, 2007 #4
    Isnt it in the bible, about how the pharaoh slaved the jews and built the pyramids?

    Thats where the saying "Let my people go!" comes from.
     
  6. May 25, 2007 #5

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Wasn't that the wrong time period?

    I thought the saying "let my people go" came from the cruel and unusual decree for mandatory square dancing during the reign of Pharoah Doseedo.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2007
  7. May 25, 2007 #6
  8. May 25, 2007 #7
    I don't think it changes history quite that much. All it shows is that the ancient Egyptians had brilliant chemists and builders. But I must say I'm surprised that all this didn't come to light sooner, what with all the "Egyptologists".
    Also note that it still remains something of a mystery, as to how the 70 tonne bricks were hoisted to such heights using the primitive tools at the time.
     
  9. May 25, 2007 #8

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    They didn't have to be hoisted if they were made on the current top layer of the pyramid.
     
  10. May 25, 2007 #9
    Hmm.. I've serious doubts about this. Although I'm not very sure of the exact nature of the chemical processing involved, it would probably involve using a very large furnace and other heavy materials.
    Setting up such a plant on each layer would be equally tedious, especially as you get towards the top. A single large plant at the bottom would be more realistic.

    This is also mentioned in the article, so I guess he must have seen the impossibility of the situation.
     
  11. May 25, 2007 #10

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It would appear that the blocks were cast in place. So they only needed to calcine the limestone and other constituents elsewhere, then carry the powder and mix near the forms, or wet concrete up and pour it in forms. Interesting.

    http://www.materials.drexel.edu/Pyramids/

    Shouldn't this thread be in the History forum, or are we raising the standards in GD. :biggrin:
     
  12. May 25, 2007 #11
    This is very interesting!
     
  13. May 25, 2007 #12

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I remember seeing a scientist proposing this idea on The Discovery Channel or the like some years ago, and have wondered what became of the idea. It makes much more sense than anything I've heard before.
     
  14. May 25, 2007 #13
    wow this IS realy interesting and shows the ancient egyptians even more advanced than we ever thought. amazing.

    although.. aliens would have still been more interesting :biggrin:

    I don't remember the bible mentioning pyramids, but it's very probable that jews would have been kept as slaves— pretty much anyone was kept as a slave by one nation or another during ancient times. as I understand it, back then it was pretty much the norm that, after a war, the strongest people would enslave the weaker, regardless of race or religion.
     
  15. May 25, 2007 #14

    iansmith

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think I saw the same show, and if I remember correctly, it stated that it found materials in unique block that came from three different spot in Egypt and it had to be assembled as a "cement-like" product.
     
  16. May 25, 2007 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    And when you think about it, it would seem to be a natural step in the evolution of mound building.
     
  17. May 25, 2007 #16
    and it took us a few hundred years to come up with the idea that it could be made of cement... whcich civilization is the advanced one?
     
  18. May 26, 2007 #17

    matthyaouw

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Aren't sizable fossils visible in a lot of the rocks that would have been destroyed if these were cast blocks? :confused:
     
  19. May 26, 2007 #18
    Nice. I've been reading all the theories and this always bugged me. It's at the very least a most plausible explanation.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2007
  20. May 26, 2007 #19

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If the blocks were cut from a quarry and left intact, then there would probably be intact fossils. Ostensibly, the complete absence of fossils would seem to be an indicator that the rocks were processed to something equivalent to powder.
    http://www.rumford.com/articlemortar.html

    These may need to be revised -
    http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/material.htm
    http://www.touregypt.net/construction/

    I think it would be easy to take sample of blocks and compare the microstructure cut from various quarries to see if they are similar or quite different.
     
  21. May 26, 2007 #20

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It appears that the pyramids are made of both quarried rocks at lower levels and cast blocks at higher levels.

    This page has a picture showing what the two distinct types of blocks look like.

    http://www.materials.drexel.edu/News/Item/?i=948
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: The Surprising Truth Behind the Construction of the Great Pyramids
  1. Surprise party! (Replies: 24)

  2. Surprising facts (Replies: 47)

Loading...