The Great Pyramid of Giza: Enshrined in Mysteries
By Xi yu & Qing Cha
Pyramids are found in the ruins of ancient civilizations throughout the world. The most famous is the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The three famed Pyramids of Giza were built by Pharaoh Khufu, Pharaoh Khafre and Pharaoh Menkaure. In Ancient Egypt, the pharaoh was the supreme ruler. As a religious leader, the supreme ruler acted as an embodiment of the gods on Earth. He — or, in some cases, she — performed rituals and built temples to honor the gods. Common archaeological belief has been that the pyramids were constructed as royal tombs designed to carry spirits to the realm beyond.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Seven Wonders of the World is a list of astonishing constructions of classical antiquity. The list in use today did not stabilize until the Renaissance, but the earliest versions date to the first and second centuries BC. The oldest reference to the existence of a list of seven monuments was made by first-century Greek historian Diodorus Siculus.
All seven wonders were situated in countries in the general vicinity of the Mediterranean. They were the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey), the Colossus of Rhodes (Greece), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Iraq), the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt), the Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt), the Statue of Zeus (Greece), and the Temple of Artemis (Turkey). Over thousands of years, fires, earthquakes, floods, and wars saw the demise of most of the ancient wonders. In the case of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, its fate is unknown and there is speculation that it may never have existed. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only wonder that still stands.
Mysteries of the Great Pyramid of Giza
It has been suggested that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu, whose reign began around 2589 BC. But archaeologists have yet to discover his mummy, or any material goods or sacred objects which would have been considered necessary for the deceased ruler in his eternal afterlife. Instead, several other mummies and more than a thousand funerary statues were found inside a 3,500-year-old hidden underground mausoleum in the Valley of the Kings. If the Great Pyramid was not constructed as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu, then why was it built?
Another theory is that the Great Pyramid of Giza is a giant energy plant that harnesses the natural energy of Earth and amplifies it, which in turn modifies the weather. So far, there is no concrete proof of this.
Embedded in the design of the pyramid is a cyclic number: 142857. By multiplying the cyclic number 142857 by 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, the answers are a repeating sequence or cycle of the digits 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7, until we multiply it by a single 7, which gives the result 999999. If we separate it into two-digit numbers — 14, 28, 57 — and add them, we will get 99. By adding 142 and 857, you get 999. Squaring 142857 will give us 20408122449. After adding the five-digit number 20408 to the six-digit number 122449, the result is back to 142857. This sacred number adds a further sense of mystery and awe to this ancient wonder.
Otherworldly Advanced Technology
The Pyramids of Giza consist of more than five million limestone blocks. Looking at the sheer scale of the blocks out of which the Great Pyramid is made, it is hard to fathom how the workers, given the types of tools and technology that are believed to have existed in that era, could have cut and transported the stones. Did the workers drag the stones on sleds, possibly with the ground wetted by the nearby Nile to reduce friction, or roll them using a type of cradle? Recent findings suggest purpose-built boats and a network of canals were the keys. One theory posits that the limestone blocks were cast in situ, an advanced technology later lost. Such advanced technology is considered by some to indicate extraterrestrial involvement in pyramid construction.
The pyramids have a square base with four triangular sides connecting at a point on top which is called the apex. The Great Pyramid of Giza measures 230 meters on each side at the base, and its original height was 147 meters. It is estimated that 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons, were used. If it did indeed take approximately 23 years to complete this pyramid, then on the average, 12 humongous stone blocks were set in place every hour, day and night. Even with our modern technology and vast engineering knowledge, to erect a pyramid of this size in a desert is no minor feat. The construction of the pyramids remains one of the world’s biggest mysteries.
The Magnificent Ritual Vessel
In 1954, Kamal el-Mallakh, an Egyptian archeologist, acting on a hunch, dug under a stone wall on the south side of the Great Pyramid when he realized that it was shorter than the other three walls by about 4.5 meters. He believed that the ancient Egyptians, possessing such astounding mathematical intelligence, could not possibly have made a mistake in their calculations, and speculated that there may be a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
Beneath a row of 40 limestone blocks was a rectangular, rock-cut pit. Buried inside was an immense, intact, beautifully crafted ship, one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved vessels of antiquity. It was dismantled into 1,224 pieces and reassembled over the course of 16 years, and has been displayed to the public since 1982. Archaeologists believe that the vessel was sealed into the pit circa 2500 BC.
A masterpiece of craftsmanship, it is unlikely to have been created to actually sail on water. The vessel is known as the Khufu Boat or the Solar Boat — it is believed by many to have been a ritual vessel intended to carry the resurrected king through the heavens with the sun god Ra.
In Ancient Egypt, Ra was considered the “King of the Gods.” The first references to Ra date from as early as the second dynasty of the Old Kingdom (2890 — 2686 BC). By the fourth dynasty (around 2625 BC), pharaohs were seen as Ra’s manifestations on Earth and often referred to as “Sons of Ra.”
Khufu’s Solar Boat was built largely of Lebanese cedar. It measures 44 meters long and six meters wide. There are 12 long oars, each carved from a single piece of wood. One might assume the boat was built for the practical purpose of transporting King Khufu’s mummified remains for burial at the Great Pyramid of Giza. But his embalmed body was never found in the pyramid, and the boat lacks rigging and the room to paddle, indicating it was not meant for water. If the pyramid was never meant to be his mausoleum, was the vessel built to serve as his pilgrimage ship to visit holy places? Or was it intended to sail around the celestial realm, carrying Khufu and Ra? These questions have intrigued archaeologists and historians since the Solar Boat was discovered.
The Great Pyramid of Giza stands as a testament to the power of both the known and unknown forces that shape the world. Though shrouded in mystery, its sheer splendor is undeniable. Until the construction of the Eiffel Tower in France in the latter part of the 1880s, the Great Pyramid held the record as the tallest structure in the world for in excess of 3,000 years.
Despite its enduring secrets, it has yielded up valuable information about Ancient Egypt. The art inside the Great Pyramid is bursting with scenes of Egyptian life, including farming, fishing, fowling, costumes, carpentry, religious rituals, and burial practices. Texts and inscriptions have made linguistic research possible. Almost any subject related to the civilization of the pharaohs can be studied on the walls. The pyramid is, in short, a lasting tribute to life.
A true marvel of human ingenuity, the Great Pyramid of Giza is not only an iconic symbol of Egypt, it is a symbol that resonates with humankind as a whole. Although its secrets may never be revealed, it is precisely its unsolved mysteries that captivate the imagination and fire up the intellect. Across millennia and miles, this ancient wonder spreads a message of extraordinary possibility.