Far out on the Giza Plateau, in the desert on the outskirts of what is modern-day Cairo, Egypt, loom three of the most familiar and yet most mysterious megalithic structures in the world: the great pyramids of Egypt, like three bronze mountains orphaned on the plain. But how were they made?
The Great Pyramid of Khufu, the oldest and largest of the three, towers four hundred and eighty feet above the sand, or as high as a fifty-story skyscraper. Weighing in at six and a half million tons, it took two and a half million blocks of stone to build the structure. And those two and a half million blocks of stone? They are believed to have come from a quarry five hundred miles away from the site of the pyramids. 'The average weight of each stone is an astonishing two and a half tons, with the heaviest stone weighing in at an estimated fifty to eighty tons.
The Great Pyramid is one of the greatest marvels of architectural engineering in world history. And yet archaeologists have long speculated about how the ancient Egyptians were able to build such a structure. In today's largest construction sites and quarries, massive mega-machines are used to dig, cut, and lift stone. These man-made vehicles dwarf their builders and perform the work of thousands of men, using modern hydraulic technology. Without equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, forklifts, and excavators, builders could never construct modern skyscrapers.
According to Egyptologists, the civilization that built the pyramids, however, had not yet invented the wheel, did not have pulleys, and had not discovered iron. Mainstream Egyptologists believe that ancient Egyptians built the pyramids with only the simplest of tools: stone balls, copper chisels, rope. But with these limited tools, how did they cut enormous blocks of stone with such precision? How did they transport enormous blocks of stone hundreds of miles on sand and then lift them precisely into place?
In fact, there is little consensus among mainstream historians and Egyptologists as to the actual tools and methods used in constructing the pyramids. Despite years of research and study, archaeologists and Egyptologists remain uncertain.