fair enough. ihave read about king khufu building the pyramids using 100 000 workers, in 28 years, if that were to happen, one block of stone would have to be cut quarried and erected every two minutes without interuption or accident continualy from the day the king got to the throne to the day he died.
Hi again Tash, gosh! pop goes the weasel! How about trying some recent readings other than Herodotus?!
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/ex ... lders.html
MARK LEHNER, Archaeologist, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and Harvard Semitic Museum was interviewed by NOVA for a special on the Pyramids. Below is another excerpt from that article.
NOVA: Herodotus, the Greek historian, wrote that 100,000 workers built the pyramids and modern Egyptologists come up with a figure more like 20,000 workers. Can you explain that for us?
LEHNER: Yeah, well, first of all Herodotus just claims he was told that. He said, 100,000 men working in three shifts, which raises some doubt, I guess if you read it in the original Greek as to whether it's three shifts of 100,000 men each or whether you subdivide, you know, the 100,000 men. But my own approach to this stems to some extent from "This Old Pyramid." You know, the popular film that was done by NOVA [where we attempted to build a small pyramid at Giza]. And certainly we didn't replicate ancient technology 100 percent because there's no way we could replicate the entire ancient society that surrounded this technology. So our stones were delivered by a flatbed truck as opposed to barges. You know, we didn't reconstruct the barges that brought the 60-ton granite blocks from Aswan. So basically what we were doing is, as we say in the film and in the accompanying book, that we're setting up the ability to test particular tools, techniques and operations, without testing the entire building project.
One of the things that most impressed me, though, was the fact that in 21 days, 12 men in bare feet, living out in the eastern desert, opened a new quarry in about the time we needed stone for our NOVA Pyramid, and in 21 days they quarried 186 stones. Now they did it with an iron winch, you know, an iron cable and a winch that pulled the stone away from the quarry wall, and all their tools were iron. But other than that they did it by hand. So I said, taking just a raw figure, if 12 men in bare feet -- they lived in a lean-to shelter, day and night out there -- if they can quarry 186 stones in 21 days, let's do the simple math and see, just in a very raw simplistic calculation, how many men were required to deliver 340 stones a day, which is what you would have to deliver to the Khufu Pyramid to build it in 20 years. And it comes out somewhere between -- I've got this all written down -- but it comes out in the hundreds of men. Now I was bothered by the iron tools, like 400 men, 4 to 500 men. I was bothered by the iron tools, especially the iron winch that pulled the stone away from the quarry walls, so I said, let's put in a team of men, of about say 20 men, so that 12 men become 32. And now let's run the equation. Well, it turns out that even if you give great leeway for the iron tools, all 340 stones could have been quarried in a day by something like 1,200 men. And that's quarried locally at Giza. You see most of the stone is local stone.
So then because of our mapping and because of our approach where we looked at, what is the shape of the ground here, where's the quarry, where is the pyramid, let's see, where would the ramp have run, we could come up with a figure of how many men it would take to schlep the stones up to the pyramid. Now it's often said that the stones were delivered at a rate of one every two minutes or so. And New Agers sometimes point that out as an impossibility for the Egyptians of Khufu's day. But the stones didn't go in one after another, you see. And you can actually work out the coefficient of friction or glide on a slick surface, how much an average stone weighed, how many men it would take to pull that. And in a NOVA experiment we found that 12 men could pull a 1.5 ton block over a slick surface with great ease. And then you could come up with very conservative estimates as to the number of men it would take to pull an average size block the distance from the quarry, which we know, to the pyramid. And you could even factor in different configurations of the ramp which would give you a different length.
Well, working in such ways, and I challenge anybody to join in the challenge, it comes out that you can actually get the delivery that you need. You need 340 stones delivered you see, every day, and that's 34 stones every hour in a ten hour day, right. Thirty-four stones can get delivered by x number of gangs of 20 men, and it comes out to something like 2,000, somewhere in that area. We can go over the exact figures. So now we've got 1200 men in the quarry which is a very generous estimate, 2,000 men delivering. And so that's 3,200. OK, how about men cutting the stones and setting them? Well, it's different between the core stones which were set with great slop factor, and the casing stones which were custom cut and set, one to another, with so much accuracy that you can't get a knife blade in between the joints, so there's a difference there. But let's gloss over that for a moment.
One of the things the NOVA experiment showed me that no book could, is just what is it like to have a 2 or 3-ton block -- how many men can get their hands on it? Well, you can't have 50 men working on one block, you see. And you can only get about four or five, six guys at most working on a block, say two on levers, you know, cutters and so on. And you know, you put pivots under it and as few as two or three guys can pivot it around if you put a hard cobble under it. There are all these tricks they know. But it's just impossible to get too many men on a block. But you figure out how many stones have to be set to keep up with this rate, to get in with 20 years. And it actually comes up 5,000 or less men, including the stone setters. Now the stone setting gets a bit complicated because of the casing, and you have one team working from each corner, and another team working in the middle of each face for the casing and then the core. And I'm going to gloss over that.
But the challenge is out there: 5,000 men to actually do the building and the quarrying and the schlepping from the local quarry. This doesn't count the men cutting the granite and shipping it from Aswan or the men over in Tura. OK, so that increases the numbers somewhat....And that's what things like the ancient technologies series done by NOVA really bring home, I think. No, we're not recreating ancient society, and ancient pyramid building 100 percent. And probably not even 60 percent. But we are showing some nuts and bolts that are very useful and insightful, far more than all the armchair theorizing.
Go check out the entire article it is wonderful!
Please remember what Orisis II said it is true... the Egyptians learned by progressive improvment over what had already been learned. It wasn't like one day Khufu said "Hey i want to build a perfect, great pyramid and this is how we are going to do it." His father Snefern built 3 pyramids, the first an improvment over the Step Pyramid. The second is called the bent pyramid its sides were to steep and it collapsed during the construction. The third was the Red Pyramid and it had the correct incline for the sides.