June 30, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Pyramids Part 1 | Problems and Solution

The results of our investigation so far lead to two main conclusions. The first is the destruction of the Meidum pyramid through a building disaster. The second is an explanation of the rhomboid shape of the Bent Pyramid as a direct consequence of this disaster. In the preceding two chapters we have adduced a considerable number of further observations and correlations to prove the correctness of these two main conclusions. Moreover, this research, like all investigations, has led to other results besides the main line of thought which it is customary to call the ‘fall-out’ of the work. These were the realisation that the stepped phase of the Meidum pyramid was never completed, that a true pyramid always had to have a stepped core, and that pyramid casings were dressed from the bottom of the structure while the top was still building. This fall-out, and the two main conclusions, will be of some interest to Egyptologists but are unlikely to engage the attention of a wider public. They could be adequately accommodated in papers submitted to learned journals but by themselves they would hardly justify a book addressed to the general reader.

Ancient Egyptian Pyramids
It was not until I realised the existence of a third conclusion, based on the two earlier ones, that the subject suddenly acquired a very much wider significance. Up to this point my interest had been entired focused on the immediate consequences of the initial discovery that an immense building catastrophe had occurred almost 5,000 years ago. It proved an absorbing investigation into technological problems of ancient building construction but at no stage had it touched on the intriguing riddle of why the pyramids were built at all. The third conclusion completely changed the aspect of this originally fairly narrow study into an exciting quest for the answer to the riddle. As was made clear in the preface, it had never been my intention to solve this central problem and when its solution came, it was a complete surprise.

The third conclusion concerns the timing of building operations of successive pyramids. We have seen that the sudden decision to change the shape of the southern pyramid at Dahshur resulted from the catastrophe at Meidum. The disaster, as could be proved conclusively, took place in the middle of the third constructional phase at Meidum. On the other hand, the pyramid at Dahshur had reached about half of its projected height when the angle of elevation had been changed. This means that roughly 70 per cent of the masonry of the Bent Pyramid had already been placed in position when the previous pyramid at Meidum was still under construction. The inescapable conclusion is that the building periods of these two pyramids overlapped very considerably.

This, of course, conflicts with the opinion generally held so far that each pharaoh, on ascending the throne, began the building of his pyramid which it was his aim to finish well before his death. It means that the pyramids would have been built consecutively in the succeeding reigns. The discovery of strongly overlapping building periods came at first as a surprise. However, once we consider the technological effort involved, it soon becomes apparent that consecutive construction is an economic and organisational impossibility. Owing to their immense size, the building of pyramids on the scale undertaken in the Fourth Dynasty had to become an activity in its own right which demanded its own economic rules. It essentially dominated the pattern of life and, once started, tended to continue and escalate like a self-sustaining chemical reaction. It was the pyramid and not the pharaoh that ruled Egypt and new pyramids had to be erected, irrespective of whether a pharaoh was ready for burial or not. Once it is realised that the continuous construction of pyramids had become compulsive, the strange fact that Snofru should have built no fewer than three large pyramids acquires new meaning. These assertions must necessarily appear somewhat sweeping and it will now have to be shown how they were derived from our conclusion that the building periods of the large pyramids were overlapping.


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