When were the Pyramids built and what is inside them? – The Sun | The Sun

TOURIST destination and Wonder of the World, the Pyramids stand dramatically against the skyline.

The Pyramids are thousands of years old, perhaps older – here's everything you need to know about them.

When were the Pyramids built?

The oldest known pyramids in Egypt are found at the Saqqara burial ground, northwest of Memphis.

Among these, the Pyramid of Djoser was the first to be built, having been completed in 2611 BC after 19 years of construction work.

Pyramid building peaked around 2300 BC, with the last pyramid built at some point between 1550 – 1292 BC.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, near Cairo, is thought to have been constructed for Pharaoh Khufu around 2550 BC.

It is one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World and one of the only ones which remains in tact.

The second Pyramid of Giza was built by Khufu's son Khafre around 30 years later.

Khafre is also credited with the building of the Sphinx, another iconic feature of the Egyptian landscape.



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How were Pyramids built?

There are an estimated 138 surviving Egyptian pyramids, the most famous being the Great Pyramid.

The 455ft Great Pyramid – the tallest man-made structure for 3,800 years and many people have questioned how it could be built with ancient tools.

While some conspiracy theorists have suggested aliens may be involved, scientists and archaeologists have a more down-to-earth explanation.

They believe thousands of slaves used sledges to pull huge stone blocks and a pulley system to haul them up the pyramid's slopes.

Water would be used to lubricate the stone blocks as they were lugged along the sand, before being winched into place.

In 2013, ancient papyri were found which document the journey of Captain Merer and his crew.

They ferried limestone and workers up and down the Nile, taking them to the Pyramids to help construction.

Researchers also found evidence to suggest 20 degree ramps were used to pull blocks of stone up using a two-way pulley system.

The discovery was made when a 4,500-year-old system was found at a quarry and archaeologists think the same system would have been applied to the building of the pyramids.

While the Pyramids look perfect and align so the corners are pointed in each cardinal direction, there is space for human error.



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Archaeologist Glen Dash said they are "rotated slightly counterclockwise from the cardinal points."

This is known as the Indian circle method and would have been achievable with the tools of the time.

While many of the earlier "step" pyramids didn't have smooth sides, later pyramids all did, reflecting how much the Egyptians' techniques improved over time.

However, we still don't know exactly how the extremely sophisticated buildings were constructed, and historians still disagree on many of the details.

What is inside the Pyramids?

The inside of the Pyramids are a maze of tunnels and chambers, including ancient burial chambers.

Many of the artefacts found inside were taken by explorers and can be found in museums around the world.

Treasures were plundered by thieves over the years, even the mummies have been removed from their resting place leaving the tombs empty.

Besides the chambers, Pyramids are mainly blocks upon blocks of limestone.

The Great Pyramid has a hidden chamber above the Grand Gallery, which is an empty void and not connected to any other tunnels.

Despite the use of modern technology to explore the Pyramids many of the discoveries still confuse scientists.

Experts discovered the Great Pyramid of Giza can focus electromagnetic energy in its internal chambers and its base.

Boffins from ITMO University and the Laser Zentrum Hannover found that the 481-foot building is capable of creating pockets of higher energy in its inner rooms and at its base.

Tourists used to be allowed to climb up to the top of the pyramids – but the Egyptian government has cracked down in recent years.

For conservation reasons, visitors aren't allowed inside or on top of the pyramids.

You run the risk of being arrested if start climbing, try to sneak in, or try to bribe a guard to let you.

Who made the Pyramids?

The Pyramids were ordered by pharaohs, the kings of ancient Egyptian society, who would recruit high-ranking architects and engineers to oversee their construction.

However, the back-breaking construction work was left to an army of slaves and skilled labourers, who are believed, in some cases, to have worked in return for food and a salary.

Most of the pyramids were built as tombs and monuments to the pharaohs of old.

They served as the final resting places of Egypt's ancient kings, who showed off their status in life by being buried in enormous pyramid tombs in death.



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The Pyramid Code documentary director Carmen Boulter does not think the Great Pyramid was used as a tomb and could have been some sort of "energy machine".

It is unlikely all the secrets of the Pyramids will ever be revealed.

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