Scientists deciphered a 4,500-year-old papyrus to reveal the secret of how the Great Pyramids were built
One of the most perplexing mysteries of the ancient world has long been how the Great Pyramids of Giza came to be built. Ceaselessly, scientists working in science have pondered how people living in that era managed to build such enormous structures without the assistance of heavy, modern construction equipment. The mystery of the Egyptian pyramids may never be solved in our lifetimes. Archaeologists have been successful in making a discovery, which has allowed them to decipher this ancient mystery for which they have been searching for so long. Historians have at long last solved the code of the oldest document discovered on Earth, which was found quite some time ago.
A remarkable piece of information
In 2013, archaeological excavations were carried out in an old harbour located on the coast of the Red Sea in a region formerly known as Wadi al-Jarf. Pierre Tallet and Gregory Marouard, two French archaeologists, discovered a genuine treasure buried beneath some old buildings made of limestone that more closely resembled artificial caves. There were many papyrus scrolls in their midst. While others reached lengths of up to several meters and were just fragmented in nature. They all have texts written in hieroglyphics or hieratic, the ancient Egyptian form of shorthand that was used for everyday communication.
During the reign of Pharaoh Khufu, the historical documents had dates that showed they were created “the year after the 13th cattle count.” This puts his reign somewhere around its 27th year at this point. These papyri are now the oldest historical records that have ever been discovered anywhere on Earth.
Despite the shocking nature of this discovery, there was much more to come. The fact that these documents were authored by the same individuals who constructed the Great Pyramids was the most incredible thing about it. It was discovered by scientists who interpreted the inscriptions that some of the items were bills for purchasing groceries. The rests were estimates and orders for the work. There were detailed explanations of every activity that was carried out. According to the archives, the construction of the magnificent pyramids in Egypt involved almost twenty thousand more people than a simple dozen thousand.
Journal kept by the foreman
How ancient records were written is comparable to that of contemporary electronic tables. They were broken up into columns detailing what was required, what had already been delivered to the construction site, and what else needed to be brought there. A few of the papyri contained texts that only provided an account of the labor performed within a specific time. The observations written by a man named Merer stood out as particularly significant among these documents. According to the documentation, he served in a capacity similar to that of a foreman.
Merer provided a detailed account of the journey he and his group of two hundred men took from one end of Egypt. They assembled all of the required components and transported them to the location where the work was carried out. Most of what they did consisted of moving blocks of limestone from quarries in Tours to the location where the pyramids were being built in Giza. There are approximately a dozen and a half kilometres between these two points.
It is common knowledge among historians that the pharaohs used limestone imported from Tura to construct the pyramids. This city on the banks of the Nile is most well-known for the limestone quarry located inside its borders. These stones were put to use in the construction of the pyramids’ outside walls. This layer gradually eroded over time, revealing crudely hewn granite slabs. These records by Merer provide an account of the final year known to have been under Khufu’s reign. During this time, the ancient Egyptians were getting very close to completing the Great Pyramid’s construction.
A full description of each stage
According to the records that Merer kept, his team transported the stones from Tura. They loaded them onto boats and transported the vessels up the Nile to Giza. This trip took around two days to complete. Only one day was needed to make the trip back without the load. These trips occurred three times per week. An Egyptian week was ten days. Workers attempted to accomplish this goal during the annual floods when the Nile floods made it easier for heavily laden ships to pass through the area.
According to the findings of the researchers, the ships can transport goods weighing between 70 and 80 tons. Around three dozen blocks weighing 2.5 tons were used to line Khufu’s pyramid. Merer’s crew moved approximately two hundred blocks per month, as evidenced by the records kept on the papyrus. This number reached a thousand when boats could travel down the river and along the canals.
Merer further adds that he was following the orders of a specific noble lord who went by the name Ankh-khafu at the time. In addition to being Khufu’s half-brother, he served as the provincial commander of the region. In addition, he oversaw the completion of the pyramid’s construction in its last phase. Even the ancient name of the Great Pyramid, Ahet-Khufu, which translates to “Horizon of Khufu,” is mentioned in the diary.
The greatest discovery of the 21st century
According to Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, the finding of the papyrus and its subsequent decipherment is the most significant discovery of the 21st century. These documents contributed to a complete understanding of the geography of Lower Egypt. Explained the network of canals and harbours necessary for the transportation of stones, workers, and food to the area where the pyramids were built. The people that were employed at the building site possessed a high level of specialized expertise. In addition to removing and transporting building materials, they were also capable of handling managerial and accounting responsibilities.
After the final laborers who worked on the building project had left, all of these documents and accounting data were still in Wadi al-Jarfa. Following the death of Pharaoh and upon completion of the building, all of the papyri were buried in this location, which served as a hiding spot. The dates that are written on the documents confirm this. When Khufu passed away, his heir, Khafra, took his place atop the Egyptian throne. The construction work started in the northern region of Ain Sukhna.