The Pyramid of Khafre

Kafre pyramid is surrounded by an inner, huge stone wall perimeter, which is an open courtyard of just ten meters wide, which delimits the four sides of the pyramid proper. This courtyard is paved with limestone slabs of irregular shape.

 Due to two different inputs to this structure, some Egyptologists believe that the main pyramid of Chephren was originally to be bigger and stand slightly to the north, and then completed his position. However, modern scientists have considerable expertise on this pyramid, as Lehner, doubt this hypothesis. As the pyramid of Cheops in Egypt and others, the structure of Khafre takes advantage of a rock outcropping to both increase the stability of its core, and to keep the amount of building materials needed for its construction. In fact, the lowest levels of its southwest corner are actually hacked into the bedrock. The bedrock surface northwest had to be cut down some 10 meters by its ancient builders, while the southeast corner has been built using huge chunks of masonry. However, by far the substance of the pyramid core is made of locally quarried limestone blocks of roughly equal height. In the vicinity north of their pyramid, one can still clearly see the traces of how these blocks were extracted. The blocks have not been brought to the care that was given to the soul of the pyramid of Cheops, for the layers do not always run exactly horizontally, and the joints are sometimes very wide. Often, there is no mortar between the blocks. In fact, because the four corner angles are not quite properly aligned to meet pyramid apex, there is a slight snag at the top.

Baseline levels of the envelope were made of pink granite, while the upper layers, which become much smaller upward (about a cubit thick) are a fine Tura limestone. The outer faces of the casing blocks are often offset by a few millimeters rather than flush, which may mean they have faced before their placement. As the capstone and the top were lost at the top of the pyramid, a small portion of the original envelope remains in place, which helps us see how the finishing blocks were laid and connected to the core the pyramid. However, because it is clear that the envelope is remaining erosion, recent research by Italian experts have shown that the remaining edges of the mantle are not completely right. The individual blocks are slightly turned in different directions. An analysis of this feature suggests that this was the result of seismic activity. Small earthquakes are not uncommon in ancient Egypt, because they are also known to occur in modern times.
The older of the two entries in the subterranean depths of Khafre's pyramid is now located in the ground about thirty meters north of the pyramid. Completely carved from bedrock, it is sometimes called the "lower entrance". The portal communicates with a corridor leading down initially before running horizontally. In this horizontal leg of the corridor, a passage on the west wall gives way to a small room carved into the rock and provided with a roof pented, where part of the burial equipment was possibly stored. After the horizontal section of the entrance passage, he finally climbs into a horizontal corridor shared by the "upper entrance".
The second portal, known as "upper inlet", is located in the wall of the north face of the pyramid of about twelve feet above ground level. It communicates with a corridor lined with pink granite that first descends before running horizontally at the base of the pyramid. At the transition point between its descending and horizontal sections, there is a barrier made of pink granite, which in antiquity, grave robbers managed to dig around. The horizontal passage continues south after the barrier, to finally reach the burial chamber, which is on the vertical axis of the pyramid. Given the location and relatively simple construction of the access corridor and the burial chamber, it is likely that the architects of this pyramid sought to avoid complications that builders of the pyramid of Cheops had met with their system technically difficult passages, barriers and chambers.

As with earlier pyramids, the tomb chamber is rectangular, east-west oriented ground plan which puts it at a right angle with the passage system. With the exception of its ceiling, it was excavated completely out of the rock. Located above the base of the pyramid, the gabled ceiling of the burial chamber is constructed from huge blocks of limestone, pented. The original intention was perhaps to cover the walls of the burial chamber of the chamber in pink granite.
There are entries tree in both the north and south walls of the burial chamber which at first seem similar to those of the queen and king of the cambers of the Great Pyramid, but are rather short, horizontal openings that could be used to build a wooden structure inside the tomb.
Near the west wall of the burial chamber, almost directly under the vertical axis of the pyramid and situated in a niche is the black granite sarcophagus of the king who was originally surmounted by a sliding cover. The lid was found in two pieces nearby. Near the sarcophagus, a small tree in the ground probably held royal canopic vessel, which was the first instance of this funerary equipment placed in a pyramid .. No identifiable remains positively to the king's mummy or his other funerary equipment were found in the pyramid.

Violation of the Pyramid
Perhaps as early as the First Intermediate Period, as is the case with other pyramids, thieves had probably already broken into the tomb of Chephren. Registrations by the "overseer of temple construction" indicate that already by the 19th Dynasty, considerable damage had already occurred. In fact, the written sources indicate that, on the orders of Ramesses II, the housing of the pyramid of Chephren was used to construct a temple in Heliopolis. Other sources suggest that much of the pyramid casing was removed between 1356 and 1362 for use in the Mosque of al-Hassan.

Anyway, the Arab historian Ibn Abd as-Salaam records that the pyramid was opened in 774 after Hijra (1372 CE), during the reign of Emir el Grande Jalburgh Khassaki. It is possible that the tunnels on granite around barriers in the entrance passage could have been dug at the time.
The Great Sphinx

Walls on the outside may have extended around the entire complex of Khafre Pyramid, including by the Great Sphinx. Close study by geologist Thmas Aigner of the geological strata of the Sphinx issue that was closely related to the mining and construction of the complex of Khafre.

Therefore, it is an indication that this was part of a pyramid complex of Khafre. However, it is far from certain, so here we have avoided the question for now, the election rather discuss separately the Great Sphinx.

The mortuary temple of Khafre

The Causeway between the funerary temple near the southern end of the front facade.
The funerary temple, unlike later pyramid complexes, did not border directly against the pyramid, but rather has been separated from its wall by the court pyramid. Rectangular in its ground plan, it is oriented east-west and has walls built of local limestone that are cased in fine limestone, a technique introduced in this structure. Inside, the building was almost completely surrounded by granite. The funerary temple, in its basic design, the basics for mature mortuary temples ultimately developed by Sahura at Abusir, including an entrance hall, an open courtyard, five statue chapels, various shops and a bathroom offer. This structure marks a breakthrough architecture, being both larger than the previous examples and for the first time, including all five elements that would become the norm.


The entrance to the mortuary temple is led through a small antechamber adorned with a pair of monolithic pink granite pillars. About the entrance area were a bit small rooms (two rooms of granite immediately to the left of the entrance, and at the other end of a small corridor along the front of the temple, four bedrooms plus coated alabaster) are suspected to have been storage annexes or serdabs. Ricke, in his investigation of the funerary temple, found this area strikingly similar to the valley temple, and regarded as a kind of rehearsal. He has designated the area as the "ante-temple" (Vortempel) and the remaining area of ​​the mortuary temple as the "temple worship" (Verehrungstempel).

This antechamber in turn led into the hall itself where there was more than a dozen pairs of pillars similar to those in the hall. The entrance hall had a floor plan of an original inverted T Therefore, the first part of the entrance hall was transverse, with recessed bays. It led in turn to a rectangular section. Off the transverse part of the room, two long narrow rooms branched off from each end, and it was suggested that huge statues adorned the king's dark passages.

After the entrance hall there is a large open courtyard located approximately in the middle of the temple. Paved with slabs of alabaster and oriented north-south along its sides runs a covered ambulatory with a flat roof made of limestone slaps supported by broad pillars of pink granite. The lower part of this ambulatory was formed by a red granite paneling and limestone. It was covered with brightly colored reliefs of which only fragments remain. Ricke thought that the ambulatory was led by 3.75 meter tall statues of Khafre sitting on his throne overlooking the courtyard, but Lehner thinks these were standing statues of the rule. Lehner bases his belief on the discovery of a small statuette in the workshops west of the pyramid. This artifact shows the ruler, wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, standing before a sort of pillar. The remains of a small canal suggest that it was drainage for an altar that was in the middle of the yard.

A door in the west side of the ambulatory communicated with five, long chapels (actually niches) that also originally housed statues of the king. Another narrow corridor opens from the southwest corner of the court and led to a hall offers located in the western part of the temple. The hall was a narrow, long room running north-south (in contrast to later mortuary temples) with a false door located on the west wall, specifically the long axis of the pyramid. Between the five cult chapels and the room offers a group of five storage rooms were provided for cult vessels and offerings used during various ceremonies.

A staircase in the northeast corner of the temple led to the roof terrace, while in the northwest corner of the courtyard, another corridor leads to the paved pyramid enclosure.

The Valley Temple of Khafre

The valley temple of Khafre at Giza complex is one of the best preserved temples of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. As a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian monumental architecture, it has been cleared of sand and, in 1869, this temple, with other monuments at Giza, became the backdrop for the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal .

 The temple was in front by a large terrace is paved with slabs of limestone, through which two roads led from the channel of the Nile. Just about the middle of the terrace, fragments of which may have been a small, simple wooden structure was unearthed and carpet may have been the site of a statue of Khafre. However, others believe it is a tent used for purification, although the known examples of such a structure found only in a few private tombs.

In 1995, Zahi Hawass re-cleared the area in front of the temple valley and in so doing, discovered that the road passed over tunnels that were framed with brick walls and paved with limestone. These tunnels have a slightly convex profile resembling that of a boat. They formed a narrow corridor or a north-south canal. Sphnix opposite the temple, the channel empties into a drain leading northeast, probably buried under a dock in place modern tourist. The road connected the Nile canal with two separate entrances on the facade of the temple valley which have been sealed by huge single doors probably of cedar wood and hung on copper hinges. Each of these doors were protected by a Sphinx lying. The northernmost of these portals was dedicated to the goddess Bastet, while the southern portal was dedicated to Hathor.

The temple was built in about a square plan. It is located just off the Great Sphinx and its temple is associated. It is not surprising, since the valley temple was a gateway or portal to the entire complex, it is very similar to the front of the mortuary temple of Khafre. Its base wall was built of huge blocks that sometimes weighed as much as 150 tons. This inner core was then covered by slabs of pink granite, a material widely used throughout the complex that was extracted near Aswan far to the south. This wall was slightly inclined and rounded at the top, making the whole structure appear somewhat like a mastaba.

Between the two entrances to the valley temple was a vestibule with single pink granite walls that were originally polished to a luster. Its floors were paved with white alabaster. A door then led to a T-shaped room that has a majority of the temple. This area was too wrapped polished pink granite and open with white alabaster, although it was also decorated with sixteen-piece pink granite pillars, many of which are still in place today, which supported architrave blocks of the same material, interconnected with copper strips in the form of the dovetail. In turn, supported the roof.

Here in the darkness provided by slots at the tops of walls, up to 24 statues of the king (although a basic statue in the middle that is larger than the others may have been counted twice) made from diorite, slate and alabaster. This line of statues continues along the cross of the T-shaped room that ends at a door into a hallway from which a stair railing clockwise winds and above the corridor before terminate on the roof of the valley temple.

On the south side of the roof had a small yard, located directly over six storage chambers also built of pink granite and arranged in two stories of three units each. They were integrated into the main building of the T-shaped room Ducts lined symbolic alabaster, a material specifically identified in the purification, run from the court of the temple roof down into the rooms deep, dark below. These symbolic circuits run through the entire temple, taking in both the chthonic and solar aspects of beliefs beyond the ritual of embalming and for which the valley temple was the scene, according to some Egyptologists .

Therefore, the Polish scholar Bernhardt Grdseloff proposed that purification rituals were performed on the roof terrace in a tent specially built for this purpose. He then theorized that the body was embalmed in the antechamber of the temple. A French Egyptologist, Etienne Drioton proposed a similar view, switching locations in the antechamber for the purification and the embalming of the roof terrace. However, Ricke correctly pointed out that these types of rituals required considerable water that was only available near the canal, so at best the valley temple priests would perform rituals that symbolically.
At the other end of the cross in the T-shaped hall (north), an opening has given way to a passage, also paved with alabaster, that led to the northwest corner of the temple, and he joined the roadway.

King Khufu or Cheops

Pharaoh Khufu, known as Cheops to the Greeks, is credited with ordering the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, near modern Cairo and Memphis. Unlike his grandfather Djoser Netjeriket, and his father Sneferu, both of which were remembered as caring and compassionate rulers, Khufu was reported by Herodotus to have been a cruel despot.

Horus name of Khufu was Medjedu, and his full birth name was Khnum-Khufu, meaning, "the god Khnum protects me." Khnum was considered the local god of Elephantine, near the first Nile cataract, who created mankind on his "pottery wheel" and was also responsible for the flooding of the Nile proper.

Khufu may have already been in the years when he took the throne. Its parent and grand vizier, Hemiunu, was also the architect of the Great Pyramid. First wife of Khufu was appointed Merityotes, and she and his other two wives were each buried in one of three smaller subsidiary pyramids that lie just south of the funerary temple of the main pyramid. Khufu had several son, Kawab among them, would have been his heir, Khufukhaf, Minkhaf and Djedefhor, Chephren or Khafre and Didoufri. Westcar the so-called Papyrus contains stories of some of these son.

Although the Great Pyramid somehow represents the essence of "Ancient Egypt," the king for whom it was built as a tomb has left little recorded information of his actual reign. Khufu probably reigned for 23 or 24 years. There is evidence that he sent expeditions to the Sinai and worked the diorite stone quarries deep in the Nubian Desert northwest of Abu Simbel. Inscriptions on the rocks at Wadi Maghara record the presence of its troops there to exploit the turquoise mines, and a very low enrollment at Elephantine indicates that he probably used the red granite of Aswan as well.

Herodotus, who wrote his stories and commentaries on Egypt around 450 BC, centuries after Khufu had reigned around 2585 BCE, recorded this about the King: "Kheops brought the country in all kinds misery, he closed the temples, forbade his subjects to offer. sacrifices, and compelled, without exception, to work on his works ... Egyptians can hardly bring himself to forget ... Khufu ... so great is their hatred. "It was even said that Khufu set one of his daughters to a brothel so that it can generate revenue to build the pyramid, also asking each customer for a block of stone so she can build her own pyramid. There is no evidence of such history, if there are smaller pyramids which probably belonged to half-sister/wives of Cheops, and it has done at least three girls back.

Even before Herodotus, the author of the document now known as Cheops Westcar Papyrus is also cruel. The text was inscribed in the Hyksos period before the 18th dynasty, though its composition seems to date from the 12th dynasty. A story, Kheops and the Magicians, tells of a magician named Djedi deemed that can bring the dead back to life. It is presented to Khufu, who orders a prisoner brought to him, so he can see a demonstration of the talents of magician. Khufu further orders that the prisoner should be killed, then Djedi can bring it to life. When objects Djedi, King relents his initial decision, and Djedi then demonstrates his talent on a goose.


  It should be noted that while Khufu has acquired this reputation, accurate or not, the years and the work that went into building his pyramid tomb was surpassed by the three pyramids built by his father, who was unlike Snefru remembered as a gracious sovereign.

The Great Pyramid was originally 481 feet high complete with its original case, but since he lost his best 30 feet, it is only 451 feet now. It covers about 13 hectares. The outer casing was shining white limestone, laid up and down. It was largely stolen from the Middle Ages to build medieval Cairo. Today nothing remains of the funerary temple of limestone, which was 171 feet by 132 feet, with the exception of its black basalt floor. Valley of the temple complex has disappeared under the Arab village, although traces of this temple could be seen when new sewer systems have been set.

With the pyramid itself, the remains of a magnificent 141-foot long ship of cedar wood were also found in a pit cut into the rock near the south shore of the Great Pyramid. A second ship may also rest in a second sealed pit, but not as good as the first. The ship was restored over many years and is now in a museum specially built near the pyramid itself. The ship may have symbolized the solar journey of the dead king with the gods, especially the sun god Ra.
It is ironic indeed that for all the magnificence of his pyramid, his boat burial, and the wonders of grave goods that have been discovered belonging to his mother, Queen Hetepheres, wife of Sneferu, the only portrait we have of Cheops is a 3-inch high-tiny statue carved in ivory.

It had to be easy to contemplate the manufacturer of such a monument as the Great Pyramid have virtually enslaved his people to accomplish it, and to order a royal princess to prostitute themselves. Sneferu, Khufu's father, had three separate pyramids built during his reign. Certainly, workers or the nobles would have left evidence of their displeasure at least the strangeness of their sovereign if not his despotism. Yet, we remember that Snefru friendly and voluptuous. And Khafre, Khufu's son, left not only a pyramid, but most likely as a sphinx. And history, or at least, historians, not to record Khafre is being a bully.
 Continuing work at Giza is still showing that the men responsible for building the pyramids led normal lives. They bread, ate fish, made offerings to their dead and the gods blessed and cared for their families. They left funerary stelae and tombs behind to give us an indication of how they considered their fate. It is more likely that the Greeks could less easily conceive such a long term project work as anything but forced. Perhaps some archaeologist millennia in our own future may find rusted iron skeletons of some of our finest skyscrapers and wonder how cruel lords that we had the sweat of our own forced labor.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

How the Great Pyramid was built is a question that can never be answered. Herodotus said that it would take 30 years and 100,000 slaves built. Another theory is that it was built by peasants who were unable to work the land while the Nile flooded between July and November. They may have been paid with food for their work. Flood waters would have also helped in moving the stone enclosure. These stones were Aswan and Tura and the water would have brought the stones right to the pyramid. This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589 - 2566 BC. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. The total weight was 6,000,000 tons and a height of 482 feet (140m). It is the largest and oldest of the pyramids of Giza.

Not much is known about Cheops (Khufu). The tomb was robbed long before archeologists came to him. Any information about him was taken with the objects inside the tomb. It is thought to have been the leader of a highly structured society, and it must have been very rich. He was buried alone in this massive tomb. His wives may have been buried nearby in smaller mastabas.
Covering the marble that covered the outside of the pyramid has eroded or been removed over time. With this off-shell, the pyramid lost 33 feet (11m) in all its dimensions. The platform is 10m square. The base of the pyramid is 754 feet and covers 13 hectares. The original entrance of the pyramid was about 15m higher than the input that is used today. Apparently, Al Mamun, who opened the new passage, could not find the original opening. The new passageway leads straight and joined with the passage of origin, the descending passage. The descending passage led only to an underground chamber. This descending passage that leads down is set at an angle of 26 degrees that descends 345 feet (105m) in the earth under the pyramid. The passage is only 3'6 "(1.1m) wide and 3'11" (1.2m) high. The chamber is closed to the public. The chamber itself is room that measures approximately 46 'x 27'1 "x 11'6" (14 x 8.3 x 3.5 m). There is a passage that leads 100 feet horizontally on the west side. The purpose of the pit is uncertain. It is possible that it could have been the burial chamber, but after a change of plan, it was abandoned.

The descending passage beyond where the new entry meets, is closed by a steel door. The ascending passage rises at the same angle as the descendants, 26 degrees. The ascending passage leads up into the pyramid. The ascending passage is the same dimensions as the descending, 3'6 "(1.1m) wide and 3'11" (1.2m) high. It can be quite a difficult trek for some people. The passage leads to 129 feet (39m).

At the point where the ascending passage levels off, you can go two ways. If you continue horizontally, this passageway leads to the Queen's Chamber. Queen's Chamber was never used. The floor of this room was never polished, it is always rough. Egyptologists believe that the chamber was brought to this point, then the builders changed their minds and moved to the King's Chamber. The possible explanation for the abandonment is that the sarcophagus built for Cheops was much too large for the narrow passages that had already been built. There are ventilation shafts that are another mystery. These trees are sealed at the ends of the two shafts. The trees must have been made as the pyramid rose, as the builders most likely would not have continued to trees after the decision to leave the room. We also think it is not actually ventilation shafts, but more of a religious significance. This could be related to Egyptian beliefs of the Old and the stars are inhabited by gods and souls of the dead.

The second and most spectacular courses in the stabilization of the crossing point upward, is to carry on up the Grand Gallery. The gallery is 157 feet (48m) long and 28 feet (8.5 m) tall and is the same 26 degrees as alleys. The roof of the gallery is corbelled. It is said that no one piece of paper or a needle can be inserted between the stones that make up the roof. The gallery is only 62 inches (1.6m) wide at the base and is only 41 inches (1m) wide at the top of the slope.

The Grand Gallery leads into the King's Chamber. The chamber walls are made of pink Aswan granite. Inside this chamber is the sarcophagus large red granite from Aswan, uncovered. The sarcophagus must have been placed inside the chamber as the pyramid was built. It is much too large to be moved in the sequel, as was the usual custom of that time. The King's Chamber is 34'4 "x 17'2" x 19'1 "high (5.2mx 10.8mx 5.8m high). This room also has ventilation shafts possible that the Queen's Chamber. They are under the same angle as the trees in Queen's Chamber. thinking about the religious significance applies to these trees as well. The main feature of the night sky, was the Milky Way. The stars were thought to have been in the Nile the sky. The tree of southern King's Chamber points directly to where Orion's belt was in the ancient sky. Tree South Chamber points to Syrius Queen. the tree North points to the King's Chamber circumpolar stars. These stars never disappear in the sky. It is thought that these trees were to help the spirit of the dead pharaoh find the important stars.
Above this chamber is a series of five relieving chambers that are essential to support the weight of the stones above and to distribute weight away from the burial chamber. The upper chamber has a pointed roof made of limestone blocks. This is the largest discharge chambers. These rooms are the only inscriptions in the pyramid.

Around the Pyramid

When you exit the pyramid, you can see the remains of the original wall that is located on the north and east sides. It is about 10m from the base of the pyramid. Little remains of the mortuary temple of Cheops. What is left is basalt paving and lies near the east side of the wall. You can also see occasional traces of the road that leads from the valley temple in the village, Nazlat al-Samman, at the foot of the plateau. This floor has collapsed over the last 150 years. Three small pyramids to the east of the pyramid of Cheops. They are seems to have been for her sister, Merites, who was also his wife, and perhaps two other queens.

To the west of the Great Pyramid is the royal cemetery. It contains 15 mastabas which have recently been opened to the public after being closed for over 100 years. Discovered on this site was the mummy of a woman 4600 years old. She had a coating of plaster very unique which has never been seen or found anywhere else.
 At the base of the south face of the Great Pyramid, is the boat pits and the museum. Five boat pits were discovered in 1982. A boat is on the site and can be seen at the museum. The boat, which is encased in the stones, not nails. It took place with ropes and stakes, but not nails, and it is surprisingly intact. The purpose of these boats may have been intended for use in life after or to accompany the sun god during his trip.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops

The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), for some 43 centuries, was ranked as the highest man-made structure on earth, being surpassed in height in the nineteenth century AD. To give a relative idea of ​​its size, consider that the area covered by the Great Pyramid could accommodate St Peter's in Rome, the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, and Westminster and St Paul's in London combined.

Khufu probably abandoned the royal necropolis of Dahshur because it lacked enough space to build large complex he intended for his burial, and because there was not enough limestone nearby, but it can also have been concerned about the stability of the basement, which consists of shale. He chose instead to build his pyramid on a rocky promontory in the desert near modern Giza, where the basement was much more stable and there was also an abundant supply of high quality limestone.

Like some other pyramids, the structure was built on a rock jutting out in the middle, which made the core of the pyramid easier to build and at the same time, it strengthened. Otherwise, the outcrop was reduced to a horizontal level which was just 2.1 cm (one inch below). Because of its greater accuracy, Borchardt thought the east side was probably the baseline used for measurements of foundation.
The materials used in the construction of the pyramid came from quarries in the southeast of the pyramid. The limestone blocks were almost certainly carried on a ramp on the construction site. According to Lauer, the pyramid was probably built then through a system of ramps, including ramp 50 meters wide main careers that led to the construction site. It is very possible that other smaller ramps eventually became a part of the core of the pyramid. Of course, there are other theories about the construction of the structure, with new semblance arise every year. However, somewhat recently, remnants of ramps have been found by Dr. Zahi Hawass on the south side of the pyramid that attest that some type of ramp was actually used.
This simple and effective method has elevated over an area of ​​about five hectares, blocks weighing three tons (at lower levels) to a ton (higher levels). However, some blocks were even heavier. For example, the construction of the king's chamber used pink granite boulders weighing forty to sixty tons, and granite beams that the roof of the King's Chamber and the anti-stress rooms above, it was estimated weigh from fifty to eighty tons. These all had to be raised to a height of about seventy meters.

Borchardt agreed with Lepsius that the masonry base was inclined layered accretion. However, recent investigations made by the French geophysicists have shown that the ring structure is extremely heterogeneous. It probably also contains compartments filled with sand, rubble probably low and other wastes, which have not only saved considerable time, but it would have diverted the pressure inside of the pyramid more effectively than solid masonry . It must also have been useful during the occasional earthquakes that occur in Egypt. However, the dimensions and arrangements within the basis of these compartments can not at this point be accurately determined. These and other factors to explain why recent estimates of some researchers to reduce the estimated number of blocks in the pyramid of about 2.3 million to about half of which, of course have a significant impact on time and the work required to complete the structure.

However, the exterior walls of the soul are indeed built with huge blocks laid in horizontal rows. Today, only 203 blocks remain. Those in the upper rows in September appear to have been broken. The height of the blocks varies between about one and a half meters. As with the previous Red pyramid, the walls are slightly concave designed to increase the stability of the mantle of the pyramid.
Between the core and mantle, another layer of smaller stones was associated with mortar, which increased the cohesion of the two materials and two masonry structures. In archaeological terminology, this intermediate layer is known as the "accompanying stones".

The housing, which has the outer surface of the pyramid was made smooth large blocks of white limestone and end, traditionally regarded as having been harvested from the Muqattam range on the east bank of the Nile. Some, but very little of it is still in place, mostly at the base. These stones can weigh up to fifteen tons. Recently, some researchers have assumed that these stones could be from the nearest and most accessible to the west of the career pyramid Didoufri in Abu Rawash, where valuable, high quality, bright white limestone is also found.
Originally, the pyramid was topped by a pyramid shaped stone called a capstone. Pyramidion Khufu may have been covered in electrum, a shiny metal gold and silver. However, this capstone is now lost, and can never be recovered, although not so long ago, Dr. Hawass has found the capstone of the pyramid worship nearby.

With the capstone in place, the pyramid is thought to have spent a few meters (146.59 feet 481) at the origin with a slope of 51o 50 '40 ". Over the years, he lost about 10 meters (30 feet) from the top. Its base length is calculated as 230.33 meters (756 feet), with the greatest difference in side lengths of 4.4 cm (1 3/3 inches). The structure is square at all levels. It is the orientation to each of the cardinal points, although there is an error of 3 '6 "off of true north.


Tutankhamun mummy photos

 Mummy of Tutankhamun

Discovery and examinations           
The mummy of Tutankhamun is the only New Kingdom royal mummy that had lain undisturbed in its tomb until the excavation-season of 1925/26, when Howard Carter finally removed the lid of the third and last mummy-coffin.

Tutankhamun mummy photos
tutankhamun body

Before Carter and his men lay an impressive, neat and carefully made mummy, over which has been poured anointing oils and occupying the whole interior of the third coffin. A brilliant golden mummy mask was found hiding the mummy's head. Two golden hands, holding the royal insignia, lay upon the mummy's chest and just below, a Ba-bird was to protect the mummy.

The enormous amount of anointing oils that had been poured over the mummy had, in the years, consolidated and formed a thick, black layer that literally glued the mummy to the coffin and the golden mask. This, along with the countless amulets, jewels and other objects that lay on the mummy or between its wrappings, made unwrapping the mummy extremely difficult. More bad luck struck the team when the X-ray machine that was to be used to examine the mummy prior to its unwrapping, had broken down.

Despite these obstacles Carter, assisted by Dr. Derry, proceeded with the unwrapping and examination of the mummy. According to the official account, the mummy was very carefully pried loose from the coffin using hot knives to melt the resin. Carter also removed all the amulets and jewels, meticulously recording their position on the tutankhamun's body. Probably to Carter's disappointment, the mummy was poorly preserved and carbonised, something that he blamed on the over-use of resin and oils during the embalming.

The mummy was measured to 1.63m in height, to which Derry added some 2.5cm (1 inch) to compensate for some shrinking during the mummification-process. This estimate corresponds to the height of the two statues found guarding the entrance to the burial chamber. Derry also noted a large lesion in the mummy's left jaw and estimated the age of death at between 17 and 19 years old.

After its careful examination, the mummy was photographed and, still according to the official account, re-wrapped and laid to rest in its outer coffin.

In 1968, a British team headed by R.G. Harrison, obtained permission to re-open Tutankhamun's coffin in order to X-ray the royal mummy. X-rays of the mummy's head revealed that the resins used to liquefy and remove the brain, were introduced into the head at two different occasions: once when the body of tutankhamun was laying on its back and again when it was hanging upside down! Tutankhamun's is the only known royal mummy to have been treated in such a manner.

Even more startling was the discovery that the king's sternum and much of the rib-cage had been removed by the embalmers, most likely at the time when the internal organs were removed. This fact had not been noticed by Dr. Derry, who did not have an X-ray machine available to him, because the chest cavity had been filled with bundles of cloth.

Harrison's examination further confirmed Derry's conclusion that the king had died 'within the early part of the age-range of 18-22', even though one of Harrison's team-members would later rather reduce this age to 16-17 on the basis of the wisdom teeth.

Because the quality of Harrison's X-rays was not sufficient to examine the king's teeth, Tutankhamun was again subjected to an examination in 1978, this time by James E. Harris.

Was Tutankhamun murdered?

Tutankhamun's early demise and the lesion in his left jaw have resulted in a lot of speculation about the cause of his death. It has often been supposed that the young king fell victim to a vicious plot and accusing fingers are regularly pointed in the direction of two of Egypt's most powerful men at that time: Ay and Horemheb.

Harrison's discovery of a bone fragment inside the mummy's skull, has only heightened speculation, as it was deemed unlikely by some that the fragment is part of the nose-bone that is broken during the mummification. It is not clear if this bone fragment is related to the lesion in the king's left jaw.

On the other hand, it must be noted that the lesion had already started healing before the king passed away. Whatever the cause of this wound, it did not kill him immediately.

A possible piece of the puzzle that was discovered in 1968, is the fact that the king's sternum and part of his rib-cage are missing.

Denis Forbes pointed out correctly that it is very unlikely for Tutankhamun to have been born without them and lived to become a teenager. This means that the sternum and missing ribs were removed some time after his death, either during the mummification process or after the mummy's initial examination by dr. Derry. The latter could explain why Derry does not mention that they were missing.

Forbes hypothesises that these vital body parts were therefore removed before the king's burial, thus during the embalming process. As the removal of the sternum and part of the rib-cage was not part of the normal mummification, Forbes assumes this was done because they were badly damaged. Perhaps the damage to the chest was such, that it hindered the embalmers' work.

The only way the sternum and rib-cage could have been damaged to necessitate their removal, is if the king's chest had been crushed.

With a crushed chest and a healing wound in his left jaw, it can not be doubted that Tutankhamun died a violent death. Again, Forbes may have a valid point when he notes that "it is hard to imagine either Ay or Horemheb dropping a boulder on the royal chest". Crushing someone's chest would indeed constitute a poor and very indiscreet way of trying to kill him.

Another piece of the puzzle has been dicovered during the Egyptian CAT-scan examination of the king's remains in 2005. The scan revealed a broken leg which might have caused a quick spread of gangreen, resulting in the young king's death. Even if one assumes that Forbes' initial assumption that the sternum and ribs were removed during the mummification proces, is wrong, a broken leg too would point to an accidental death.

Forbes further hypothesises that young Tutankhamun may have been thrown off balance during a hunt, falling from his chariot and being crushed by the chariots of his hunting-companions.

Although this is not an unlikely scenario, there also remain other possibilities. Scenes from the tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara show foreigners being led in captivity before the great general, probably during the reign of Tutankhamun. Other sources from Tutankhamun's reign also point to military activity in Asia and perhaps also in Nubia. If Tutankhamun was present on the battlefield, he may have received a blow against his left jaw, causing him to loose his balance and fall. In the tumult of the battle, it would also be possible that the fallen king was crushed by horses or chariots. As in Forbes' scenario, he would have lived long enough for the wound to his jaw to start healing, but he would finally succumb to the gangreen resulting from his broken leg. If his sternum and ribs had been severely damaged during the fall, then that too would have speeded up the young king's death.

The royal mummy after its discovery

The first discovery Harrison and his team made in 1968 was that, contrary to Carter's official account, the mummy had not been re-wrapped at all before its re-burial in 1926. It simply lay, denuded and covered by a simple sheet, on a tray of sand in the outer coffin, almost exactly as in the official pictures taken in 1926.

For unknown reasons, Carter had neglected to re-wrap the mummy and had lied about it in his official account.

It also became clear that Carter had been a lot less careful while unwrapping the pharaoh than he claimed.

Both arms were severed from the chest at the shoulders. The forearms and hands had been amputated, to allow the removal of the many bracelets. The legs and feet of the royal mummy had received a similar treatment: the legs had been amputated at the hip, knees and ankles to help reveal the king's age of death.

The body trunk was separated from the pelvis to facilitate its removal from the mummy coffin. In order to be able to free the mummy from its golden mask, its head was severed from the body at the 7th cervical vertebrae. The tissue in the back of the neck was destroyed, probably while decapitating the king or removing the severed head.
The archaeologists may probably have inflicted even more damage to the royal mummy in their attempt to free it from its coffin. Not only did they use hot knives to melt the resin, by itself a questionable technique, they also exposed the mummy for hours to the hot desert sun. This, and not, as Carter stated, the liberally poured embalming oils, may have caused the mummy to start carbonising.

Aware of what they had done, Carter and his team neatly camouflaged the damage they had inflicted on the royal mummy when the official pictures were taken. Tutankhamun's body was laid on a tray of sand (see image above) with enough sand not only to support the royal remains, but also to hide the fact that it had been cut apart. Detail pictures of the king's head too did not reveal that it had been severed from its body.

A comparison of the mummy in 1968 and 1978 with the pictures taken in 1926 revealed some other curious facts. Both the king's right ear and his penis, clearly present in the older pictures, were missing in 1968! Have they, for some obscure reasons, been removed in 1926?

Worse still, it was noted that the mummy's condition had drastically deteriorated! The eyelids, that were neatly preserved in 1926, had collapsed. And where Derry described the mummy's skin as "greyish in colour", it had appeared darker and more charred-looking to the later examiners. This might indicate that over the 42 to 52 years between the first, second and third examination, the mummy has started carbonising and disintegrating. After each examination, the mummy has been put back in its outer coffin and in its original tomb, instead of moving it to a place with a more controllable environment.

One can only wonder how long it will take before the remains of the only New Kingdom king to have been found undisturbed in his tomb, will be reduced to some bones and dust...

Facial Reconstruction

Based on the 3-D scans of the king's head that were made during the CAT scan examination of his mummy, two teams worked independently on a reconstruction of his face.

One team knew the origin of the scans, the other did not. Not surprisingly, the first team came up with a facial reconstruction that very closely resembles the statuette showing the king's head rising from a lotus (on the left). The second team's findings were further away from any known representation of Tutankhamun (on the right), leaving out details such as skin colour, hair and eye colour.

 Tutankhamun mummy photos :-