Great Pyramid Chamber Discovered

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146.6 m (481 ft) or 280 cubits (originally). 138.5 m (454 ft) (contemporary). The Great Pyramid of Giza[a] is the largest Egyptian pyramid and tomb of Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu.

Built in the 26th century BC during a period of around 27 years,[3] it is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. As part of the Giza pyramid complex, it borders present-day Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt. Initially standing at 146.6 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years.

Over time, most of the smooth white limestone casing was removed, which lowered the pyramid's height to the present 138.5 metres (454.4 ft). What is seen today is the underlying core structure.

The base was measured to be about 230.3 metres (755.6 ft) square, giving a volume of roughly 2.6 million cubic metres (92 million cubic feet), which includes an internal hillock.[4]. The dimensions of the pyramid were 280 royal cubits (146.7 m; 481.4 ft) high, a base length of 440 cubits (230.6 m; 756.4 ft), with a seked of 5+1/2 palms (a slope of 51°50'40").

The Great Pyramid was built by quarrying an estimated 2.3 million large blocks weighing 6 million tonnes in total. The majority of stones are not uniform in size or shape and are only roughly dressed.[5] The outside layers were bound together by mortar.

Primarily local limestone from the Giza Plateau was used. Other blocks were imported by boat down the Nile: White limestone from Tura for the casing, and granite blocks from Aswan, weighing up to 80 tonnes, for the King's Chamber structure.[6].

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest was cut into the bedrock, upon which the pyramid was built, but remained unfinished. The so-called[7] Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber, that contains a granite sarcophagus, are higher up, within the pyramid structure.

Khufu's vizier, Hemiunu (also called Hemon), is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid.[8] Many varying scientific and alternative hypotheses attempt to explain the exact construction techniques.

See also

The funerary complex around the pyramid consisted of two mortuary temples connected by a causeway (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), tombs for the immediate family and court of Khufu, including three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite pyramid" and five buried solar barges.

Clay seal bearing the name of Khufu from the Great Pyramid on display at the Louvre museum. Khufu's cartouche found inscribed on a backing stone of the pyramid.

Historically the Great Pyramid had been attributed to Khufu based on the words of authors of classical antiquity, first and foremost Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.

However, during the middle ages a number of other people were credited with the construction of the pyramid as well, for example Joseph, Nimrod or king Saurid.[9]. In 1837 four additional Relieving Chambers were found above the King's Chamber after tunneling to them.

The chambers, previously inaccessible, were covered in hieroglyphs of red paint. The workers who were building the pyramid had marked the blocks with the names of their gangs, which included the pharaoh's name (e.g.: “The gang, The white crown of Khnum-Khufu is powerful”).

The names of Khufu were spelled out on the walls over a dozen times. Another of these graffiti was found by Goyon on an exterior block of the 4th layer of the pyramid.[10] The inscriptions are comparable to those found at other sites of Khufu, such as the alabaster quarry at Hatnub[11] or the harbor at Wadi al-Jarf, and are present in pyramids of other pharaohs as well.[12][13].

Throughout the 20th century the cemeteries next to the pyramid were excavated. Family members and high officials of Khufu were buried in the East Field south of the causeway, and the West Field. Most notably the wives, children and grandchildren of Khufu, Hemiunu, Ankhaf and (the funerary cache of) Hetepheres I, mother of Khufu.

As Hassan puts it: "From the early dynastic times, it was always the custom for the relatives, friends and courtiers to be buried in the vicinity of the king they had served during life.

This was quite in accordance with the Egyptian idea of the Hereafter." The cemeteries were actively expanded until the 6th dynasty and used less frequently afterwards.

The earliest pharaonic name of seal impressions is that of Khufu, the latest of Pepi II. Worker graffiti was written on some of the stones of the tombs as well; for instance, "Mddw" (Horus name of Khufu) on the mastaba of Chufunacht, probably a grandson of Khufu.[14].

Some inscriptions in the chapels of the mastabas (like the pyramid, their burial chambers were usually bare of inscriptions) mention Khufu or his pyramid. For instance, an inscription of Mersyankh III states that "Her mother [is the] daughter of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Khufu."

Most often these references are part of a title, for example, Snnw-ka, "Chief of the Settlement and Overseer of the Pyramid City of Akhet-Khufu" or Merib, "Priest of Khufu".[15] Several tomb owners have a king's name as part of their own name (e.g.

Chufudjedef, Chufuseneb, Merichufu). The earliest pharaoh alluded to in that manner at Giza is Snefru (Khufu's father).[16][17][18]. In 1936 Hassan uncovered a stela of Amenhotep II near the Great Sphinx of Giza which implies the two larger pyramids were still attributed to Khufu and Khafre in the New Kingdom.

It reads: "He yoked the horses in Memphis, when he was still young, and stopped at the Sanctuary of Hor-em-akhet (the Sphinx). He spent a time there in going round it, looking at the beauty of the Sanctuary of Khufu and Khafra the revered."

In 1954 two boat pits, one containing the Khufu ship, were discovered buried at the south foot of the pyramid.

The cartouche of Djedefre was found on many of the blocks that covered the boat pits.