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Basic considerations on the construction of pyramids in the Old Kingdom

Müller-Römer, Frank

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Abstract

Given that the lower third of a pyramid contains about 70% of the stone blocks, the only efficient way of reducing building time at the minimum is a method which allows for upward transport of material from all four sides simultaneously. Ramps positioned tangentially with a slope of 26° come to mind. The time required for upward transport of blocks significantly influences the total building time. By comparison, the production of blocks in the quarry as well as their transport to the building site and horizontal transfer on the respective level would have been far less challenging as more workforce would have been available. In the model presented here, upward pulling of blocks on horizontal rollers is accom- plished by letting workers move downwards on the other side of the ramp. After completion of the stepped core, the ramps are removed, and the casing, which consists of horizontal courses, is laid. For this, a stepped auxiliary platform and tangential ramps are used. Thus, it is possible to set the pyramidion and subsequently polish the exterior face top down without significant danger, while also removing the auxiliary platform.

Document type: Article
Date: 2017
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2017 11:07
Faculties / Institutes: Research Project, Working Group > Individuals
DDC-classification: Ägypten (Altertum)
Subject (Propylaeum): Egyptology
Controlled Subjects: Ägypten <Altertum>, Pyramide, Architektur
Subject (classification): Architecture
Countries/Regions: Egypt (Antiquity)