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The Great Pyramid Mystery

The Great Pyramid of Egypt was built more than 4,500 years ago.

© SOURCE: Getty PHOTOGRAPHER: Kitti Boonnitrod


The Great Pyramid of Egypt was built more than 4,500 years ago. Nearly 500 feet high, it’s taller than a 40-story skyscraper. For more than 4,000 years, it held the record for the world’s tallest structure.

Now thousands of buildings stand even higher, but they were built with machines powered by engines and electricity. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have those.

How did they cut and move more than 2 million giant stone blocks? Most of the blocks weigh more than 2 tons, as much as a small car. Some weigh more than 50 tons. How did workers lift them so high and stack them in just the right place?

Scientists and historians have lots of ideas, but no one knows for sure. Everyone agrees, however, that it took a lot of hard work and a few simple machines.

To cut and shape the pyramid’s huge, heavy blocks, workers used sharp wedges, including copper chisels and axes and hard stone tools. Most of the blocks were carved from nearby stone quarries, or pits. But some had to travel hundreds of miles.

The ancient Egyptians did not have wheels and axles when they built the Great Pyramid. Wheels would not have rolled well across the sandy, rocky ground anyway. Workers probably used levers to move the blocks onto wooden sleds.

The sleds could be pushed or pulled onto boats to travel long distances. Some experts think workers dug canals to get the boats as close to the pyramid as possible.

To go over land, teams of workers might have dragged the sleds. Some researchers think the workers used rollers under the sleds. Others think they poured water or oil on the ground to make it more slippery.

Most people think the Egyptians built ramps to help workers move the blocks up the pyramid. But no one agrees on what type.

It’s all still a mystery!




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Kids Magazine: The Great Pyramid Mystery
The Great Pyramid Mystery
The Great Pyramid of Egypt was built more than 4,500 years ago.
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