How were the Pyramids built?

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The construction of the Egyptian pyramids is a subject of many hypotheses, with most of them based on the belief that large stones were carved from quarries using copper chisels, and these blocks were then dragged and lifted into position1. The construction techniques seem to have developed over time, with later pyramids not constructed in the same way as earlier ones1. The stones used in the construction of the pyramids were quarried from nearby locations. The main body of the pyramids was constructed using locally quarried limestone, while a higher quality of limestone quarried at Tura (near modern Cairo) was used for the outer casing. Granite, quarried near Aswan, was used to construct some architectural elements, including the portcullis (a type of gate) and the roofs and walls of the burial chamber1. The stones were transported to the construction site by boat and sledge. Canals, dug directly to the site of the pyramids, allowed the Egyptians to bring the stone close to the building site by boat. The stone blocks rested on sledges, which resembled modern sleds, and their runners were designed to run on wet mud that was scattered on tracks built from a series of wooden frames filled with limestone chips and covered with plaster2. The Egyptians used simple tools to build the pyramids. They used plumb bobs and square levels to ensure that corners of blocks were square and that surfaces were flat. Stonecutters used copper drills and saws, probably using a quartz slurry to aid in the process. Copper chisels were used to smooth the sides of stones2. The workforce used in the construction of the pyramids was not composed of slaves, as was previously believed. Archaeologists now believe that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built by tens of thousands of skilled workers who camped near the pyramids and worked for a salary or as a form of tax payment until the construction was completed1. The construction of the pyramids was a massive engineering feat. The foundation of the pyramids was leveled to a tolerance of 2 centimeters using a series of levels constructed from right-angled beams. The sides of the foundation were perfectly aligned with the directions on the compass, which was achieved by tracking the path of stars across the sky and then bisecting the arcs to find true north4. Once the foundation was constructed, the engineers and workers moved on to building the main structure. The stones were moved using sleds that were pulled over damp sand to reduce friction. This technique would have allowed the pulling force to be reduced by 50 percent, thus cutting down on the effort needed to move the stones4. The construction of the pyramids was a long process, with the Great Pyramid of Giza, for example, being built in about 23 years4. Despite the complexity and scale of the task, the ancient Egyptians were able to successfully complete these monumental structures, which continue to stand as a testament to their engineering prowess and organizational skills.
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