“The pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years,”
“The Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks which most believe to have been transported from nearby quarries. ”
” The Greeks believed that slave labour was used, but modern discoveries made at nearby workers’ camps associated with construction at Giza suggest that it was built instead by tens of thousands of skilled workers. Verner posited that the labour was organized into a hierarchy, consisting of two gangs of 100,000 men, divided into five zaa or phyle of 20,000 men each, which may have been further divided according to the skills of the workers.”
“A modern construction management study, in association with Mark Lehner and other Egyptologists, estimated that the total project required an average workforce of 14,567 people and a peak workforce of 40,000. Without the use of pulleys, wheels, or iron tools, they used critical path analysis to suggest that the Great Pyramid was completed from start to finish in approximately 10 years.”
“There are only a few remnants of the causeway which linked the pyramid with the valley and the Valley Temple. The Valley Temple is buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman; basalt paving and limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated. The basalt blocks show “clear evidence” of having been cut with some kind of saw with an estimated cutting blade of 15 feet (4.6 m) in length, capable of cutting at a rate of 1.5 inches (38 mm) per minute. John Romer suggests that this “super saw” may have had copper teeth and weighed up to 300 pounds (140 kg). He theorizes that such a saw could have been attached to a wooden trestle and possibly used in conjunction with vegetable oil, cutting sand, emery or pounded quartz to cut the blocks, which would have required the labour of at least a dozen men to operate it.”
Recent discoveries by Mark Lehner and his team at the town and nearby, including what appears to have been a thriving port, suggest the town and associated living quarters consisting of barracks called “galleries” may not have been for the pyramid workers after all, but rather for the soldiers and sailors who utilized the port. In light of this new discovery, as to where then the pyramid workers may have lived Lehner now suggests the alternative possibility they may have camped on the ramps he believes were used to construct the pyramids or possibly at nearby quarries.
“There are three boat-shaped pits around the pyramid, of a size and shape to have held complete boats, though so shallow that any superstructure, if there ever was one, must have been removed or disassembled. In May 1954, the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh discovered a fourth pit, a long, narrow rectangle, still covered with slabs of stone weighing up to 15 tons. Inside were 1,224 pieces of wood, the longest 23 metres (75 ft) long, the shortest 10 centimetres (0.33 ft). These were entrusted to a boat builder, Haj Ahmed Yusuf, who worked out how the pieces fit together. The entire process, including conservation and straightening of the warped wood, took fourteen years.
The result is a cedar-wood boat 43.6 metres (143 ft) long, its timbers held together by ropes, which is currently housed in a special boat-shaped, air-conditioned museum beside the pyramid. During construction of this museum, which stands above the boat pit, a second sealed boat pit was discovered. It was deliberately left unopened until 2011 when excavation began on the boat.”
“The exact number of stones was orginally estimated at 2,300,000 stone blocks weighing from 2-30 tons each with some weighing as much as 70 tons. Computer calculations indicate 590,712 stone blocks were used in its construction.”
“The mortar used is of an unknown origin. It has been analyzed and it’s chemical composition is known but it can’t be reproduced. It is stronger than the stone and still holding up today. The cornerstone foundations of the pyramid have ball and socket construction capable of dealing with heat expansion and earthquakes. The four corner sockets are at different heights. The vertical distance between the highest and lowest is 17 inches. The reference point known as the “mean socket level”, or base level, is generally used as the reference for height and perimeter measurements. The “sidereal socket level” is the mean of just the SW and SE socket heights.”
“Egyptian hieroglyphs from as early as 2600 BC describe gold, which king Tushratta of the Mitanni claimed was “more plentiful than dirt” in Egypt. Egypt and especially Nubia had the resources to make them major gold-producing areas for much of history. The earliest known map is known as the Turin Papyrus Map and shows the plan of a gold mine in Nubia together with indications of the local geology. The primitive working methods are described by both Strabo and Diodorus Siculus, and included fire-setting. Large mines were also present across the Red Sea in what is now Saudi Arabia.
“Besides being a topographic map of surprisingly modern aspect, the Turin Papyrus is also a geological map (the earliest known) because it accurately shows the local distribution of different rock types (with black and pink hills), the lithologically diverse wadi gravels (with brown, green and white dots), and it contains information on quarrying and mining. The draughtsman clearly and carefully distributed distinctive features in accordance with the reality of a particular area, adding clarity by the use of legends and contrasting colors. In this respect, the Turin Papyrus may be regarded as the earliest known Geographic Information System.”
“The word alchemy was borrowed from Old French alquemie, alkimie, taken from Medieval Latin alchymia, and which is in turn borrowed from Arabic al-kīmiyā’ (الكيمياء) ‘philosopher’s stone’. The Arabic word is borrowed from Late Greek chēmeía (χημεία), chēmía (χημία) ‘black magic’ with the agglutination of the Arabic definite article al- (الـ). This ancient Greek word was derived from the early Greek name for Egypt, Chēmia (Χημία), based on the Egyptian name for Egypt, kēme (hieroglyphic khmi, lit. ‘black earth’, as opposed to red desert sand).”
“Technology – The dawn of Western alchemy is sometimes associated with that of metallurgy, extending back to 3500 BCE. Many writings were lost when the emperor Diocletian ordered the burning of alchemical books after suppressing a revolt in Alexandria (292 CE). Few original Egyptian documents on alchemy have survived, most notable among them the Stockholm papyrus and the Leyden papyrus X. Dating from 300 to 500 CE, they contained recipes for dyeing and making artificial gemstones, cleaning and fabricating pearls, and manufacturing of imitation gold and silver. These writings lack the mystical, philosophical elements of alchemy, but do contain the works of Bolus of Mendes (or Pseudo-Democritus) which aligned these recipes with theoretical knowledge of astrology and the Classical elements. Between the time of Bolus and Zosimos, the change took place that transformed this metallurgy into a Hermetic art.”
“The philosophers’ stone or stone of the philosophers (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals such as lead into gold (chrysopoeia, from the Greek χρυσός khrusos, “gold,” and ποιεῖν poiēin, “to make”) or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality; for many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal in alchemy. The philosophers’ stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosophers’ stone were known as the Magnum Opus (“Great Work”).”
“Mention of the philosophers’ stone in writing can be found as far back as Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis (c. 300 AD). Alchemical writers assign a longer history. Elias Ashmole and the anonymous author of Gloria Mundi (1620) claim that its history goes back to Adam who acquired the knowledge of the stone directly from God. This knowledge was said to be passed down through biblical patriarchs, giving them their longevity. The legend of the stone was also compared to the biblical history of the Temple of Solomon and the rejected cornerstone described in Psalm 118.”
“”Squaring the circle”: an alchemical symbol (17th century) of the creation of the philosopher’s stone”
“As a heavy element, the cosmogenic origin of gold must be in extremely energetic nuclear reactions, which occur only in high-mass stars. It has been proposed that most of heavy elements like gold are produced in neutron star collisions. Thus, all gold on Earth was accreted on Earth during the formation of the Earth and the solar system, and no new gold is being created.
Very small amounts of gold can be created artificially with particle accelerators or nuclear reactors, see Gold in synthesis. However, these methods produce radioactive isotopes and are extremely costly, requiring rare precursor isotopes and expensive product separation and purification. Thus, synthesis of gold by nuclear reaction does not appear commercially viable.”
The equivalent of the philosophers’ stone in Buddhism and Hinduism is the Cintamani.
Synthesis from other elements
Gold was synthesized from mercury by neutron bombardment in 1941, but the isotopes of gold produced were all radioactive. In 1924, a Japanese physicist, Hantaro Nagaoka, accomplished the same feat.
Gold can currently be manufactured in a nuclear reactor by irradiation either of platinum or mercury.
Only the mercury isotope 196Hg, which occurs with a frequency of 0.15% in natural mercury, can be converted to gold by neutron capture, and following electron capture-decay into 197Au with slow neutrons. Other mercury isotopes are converted when irradiated with slow neutrons into one another, or formed mercury isotopes which beta decay into thallium.
Using fast neutrons, the mercury isotope 198Hg, which composes 9.97% of natural mercury, can be converted by splitting off a neutron and becoming 197Hg, which then disintegrates to stable gold. This reaction, however, possesses a smaller activation cross-section and is feasible only with un-moderated reactors.
It is also possible to eject several neutrons with very high energy into the other mercury isotopes in order to form 197Hg. However such high-energy neutrons can be produced only by particle accelerators.[clarification needed]
“Papyrus was first manufactured in Egypt and Southern Sudan as far back as the fourth millennium BCE.[not in citation given] The earliest archaeological evidence of papyrus was excavated in 2012-2013 at Wadi al-Jarf, an ancient Egyptian harbor located on the Red Sea coast. These documents date from ca. 2560–2550 BCE (end of the reign of Khufu). In the first centuries BCE and CE, papyrus scrolls gained a rival as a writing surface in the form of parchment, which was prepared from animal skins. Sheets of parchment were folded to form quires from which book-form codices were fashioned. Early Christian writers soon adopted the codex form, and in the Græco-Roman world, it became common to cut sheets from papyrus rolls to form codices.
Codices were an improvement on the papyrus scroll, as the papyrus was not pliable enough to fold without cracking and a long roll, or scroll, was required to create large-volume texts. Papyrus had the advantage of being relatively cheap and easy to produce, but it was fragile and susceptible to both moisture and excessive dryness. Unless the papyrus was of perfect quality, the writing surface was irregular, and the range of media that could be used was also limited.”
“a dry climate, like that of Egypt, papyrus is stable, formed as it is of highly rot-resistant cellulose; but storage in humid conditions can result in molds attacking and destroying the material. Library papyrus rolls were stored in wooden boxes and chests made in the form of statues. Papyrus scrolls were organized according to subject or author, and identified with clay labels that specified their contents without having to unroll the scroll. In European conditions, papyrus seems to have lasted only a matter of decades; a 200-year-old papyrus was considered extraordinary. Imported papyrus once commonplace in Greece and Italy has since deteriorated beyond repair, but papyrus is still being found in Egypt; extraordinary examples include the Elephantine papyri and the famous finds at Oxyrhynchus and Nag Hammadi”
“Papyrus is still used by communities living in the vicinity of swamps, to the extent that rural householders derive up to 75% of their income from swamp goods. Particularly in East and Central Africa, people harvest papyrus, which is used to manufacture items that are sold or used locally. Examples include baskets, hats, fish traps, trays or winnowing mats and floor mats. Papyrus is also used to make roofs, ceilings, rope and fences. Although alternatives, such as eucalyptus, are increasingly available, papyrus is still used as fuel.
“Though some fragments on papyrus are much older, the largest number of papyri are written in Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Persian Empire, and document the Jewish community among soldiers stationed at Elephantine under Persian rule, 495-399 BCE. The Elephantine documents include letters and legal contracts from family and other archives: divorce documents, the manumission of slaves, and other business, and are a valuable source of knowledge about law, society, religion, language and onomastics, the sometimes surprisingly revealing study of names.”
“Deed of Emancipation
Nearly twenty-two years after her marriage to Ananiah, Tamut’s master released her and her daughter, Yehoishema, from slavery. It was rare for a slave to be freed. And though a slave could marry a free person, their children usually belonged to the master. As an institution, slavery in Egypt at that time differed in notable ways from the practice in some other cultures: Egyptian slaves retained control over personal property, had professions, and were entitled to compensation. During the Persian Period in Egypt, it was not uncommon to sell children, or even oneself, into slavery to pay debts.”
Building the pyramids from quarried stone blocks
One of the major problems faced by the early pyramid builders was the need to move huge quantities of stone. The Twelfth Dynasty tomb of Djehutihotep has an illustration of 172 men pulling an alabaster statue of him on a sledge. The statue is estimated to weigh 60 tons and Denys Stocks estimated that 45 workers would be required to start moving a 16,300 kg lubricated block, or eight workers to move a 2,750 kg block. Dr R H G Parry has suggested a method for rolling the stones, using a cradle-like machine that had been excavated in various new kingdom temples. Four of those objects could be fitted around a block so it could be rolled easily. Experiments done by the Obayashi Corporation, with concrete blocks 0.8 m square by 1.6 m long and weighing 2.5 tons, showed how 18 men could drag the block over a 1-in-4 incline ramp, at a rate of 18 meters per minute. This idea was previously described by John Bush in 1977, and is mentioned in the Closing Remarks section of Parry’s book. Vitruvius in De architectura described a similar method for moving irregular weights. It is still not known whether the Egyptians used this method but the experiments indicate it could have worked using stones of this size. Egyptologists generally accept this for the 2.5 ton blocks mostly used but do not agree over the methods used for the 15+ ton and several 70 to 80 ton blocks.
As the stones forming the core of the pyramids were roughly cut, especially in the Great Pyramid, the material used to fill the gaps was another problem. Huge quantities of gypsum and rubble were needed. The filling has almost no binding properties, but it was necessary to stabilize the construction. To make the gypsum mortar, it had to be dehydrated by heating which requires large quantities of wood. According to Egyptologists, the findings of both the 1984 and 1995 David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Projects may suggest that Egypt had to strip its forest and scrap every bit of wood it had to build the pyramids of Giza and other even earlier 4th Dynasty pyramids. Carbon dating samples from core blocks and other materials revealed that dates from the 1984 study averaged 374 years earlier than currently accepted and the 1995 dating averaging 100–200 years. As suggested by team members, “We thought that it was unlikely that the pyramid builders consistently used centuries-old wood as fuel in preparing mortar. The 1984 results left us with too little data to conclude that the historical chronology of the Old Kingdom was wrong by nearly 400 years, but we considered this at least a possibility”. To explain this discrepancy, Egyptologists proposed the “old wood” theory claiming the earlier dates were possibly derived from recycling large amounts of centuries old wood and other earlier materials.
There is good information concerning the location of the quarries, some of the tools used to cut stone in the quarries, transportation of the stone to the monument, leveling the foundation, and leveling the subsequent tiers of the developing superstructure. Workmen probably used copper chisels, drills, and saws to cut softer stone, such as most of the limestone. The harder stones, such as granite, granodiorite, syenite, and basalt, cannot be cut with copper tools alone; instead they were worked with time-consuming methods like pounding with dolerite, drilling, and sawing with the aid of an abrasive, such as quartz sand. Blocks were transported by sledge likely lubricated by water. Leveling the foundation may have been accomplished by use of water-filled trenches as suggested by Mark Lehner and I.E.S. Edwards or through the use of a crude square level and experienced surveyors.
“Diodorus Siculus’ description of the shipment of the stone from Arabia is correct since the term “Arabia” those days implied the land between the Nile and the Red Sea where the limestone blocks have been transported from quarries across the river Nile. Both Herodotus’ and Diodorus Siculus’ writings are known to contain gross errors of fact, and Siculus is routinely accused of borrowing from Herodotus. Herodotus’ description of slave labor is one of the most persistent myths of the construction process. Herodotus’ accounts are known to be unreliable, it is impossible to select his technique from historical documents as correct. However, these documents do give credit to both the levering and ramp methods.”
“The entire Giza Plateau is believed to have been constructed over the reign of five pharaohs in less than a hundred years, which generally includes: the Great Pyramid, Khafre and Menkuare’s pyramids, the Great Sphinx, the Sphinx and Valley Temples, 35 boat pits cut out of solid bedrock, and several causeways, as well as paving nearly the entire plateau with large stones. This does not include Khafre’s son Djedefre’s northern pyramid, Abu Rawash, which would have also been built during this time frame of 100 years. In the hundred years prior to Giza, beginning with Djoser who ruled from 2687–2667 BC, amongst dozens of other temples, smaller pyramids and general construction projects, three other massive pyramids were built – the Step pyramid of Saqqara (believed to be the first Egyptian pyramid), the Bent Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid. Also during this period (between 2686 and 2498 BC) the Sadd el-Kafara dam, which used an estimated 100,000 cubic meters of rock and rubble, was built.”
Estimates of the manpower needed to build Stonehenge put the total effort involved at millions of hours of work. Stonehenge 1 probably needed around 11,000 man-hours (or 460 man-days) of work, Stonehenge 2 around 360,000 (15,000 man-days or 41 years). The various parts of Stonehenge 3 may have involved up to 1.75 million hours (73,000 days or 200 years) of work. The working of the stones is estimated to have required around 20 million hours (830,000 days or 2,300 years) of work using the primitive tools available at the time. Certainly, the will to produce such a site must have been strong, and an advanced social organization would have been necessary to build and maintain it. However, Wally Wallington’s work suggests that Stonehenge’s construction may have required fewer man-hours than previously estimated.
Note that the estimate of 20 million man-hours means that 10,000 men working on the site for 20 days each year, for 8 hours per day, could have completed it in 12.5 years.
British author John Michell wrote that Alfred Watkins’s ley lines appeared to be in alignment with various traditional sacred sites around the country. Michell wrote that “There is a curious symmetry about the positioning of the three Perpetual Choirs in Britain. Stonehenge and Llantwit Major are equidistant from Glastonbury, some 38.9 miles away, and two straight lines drawn on the map from Glastonbury to the other two choirs form an angle of 144 degrees…The axis of Glastonbury Abbey points toward Stonehenge, and there is some evidence that it was built on a stretch on ancient trackway which once ran between the two Choirs”. Michell created diagrams that illustrated correlations between the design of Stonehenge and astronomical proportions and relationships. However, the Welsh Triads refer not to Stonehenge but to the village of Amesbury which is two miles from Stonehenge.