The Egyptian pyramids are one of the great wonders of the world with very good reason. These pyramids are so mystical and magical that some people believe they were built by extraterrestrials. This is quite the compliment to the ancient Egyptians who managed to engineer and design such impressive structures which are still studied today, thousands of years later.
One cannot properly describe how the pyramids were built without first putting the enormous undertaking of this feat into perspective given the period of time and tools available to construct such a momentous structure. It is important to understand that the most recognizable pyramids of today were not the first to be constructed. It is said the first pyramids were built around 2700 B.C. The Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the largest one recognized today, was built a few hundred years later to be the tomb of Pharaoh of Khufu.
Many of the pyramids where constructed with similar base materials; whereas, the capstones were often treated differently to attract the most attention by creating reflective surfaces so sun rays would bounce and gleam brighter than the last. The interior of the pyramids were traditionally made of local limestone and the exterior of the pyramids were constructed of a higher quality limestone to give off a lighter and more reflective surface to be seen from a great distance. One might say these were the legacies left behind by the pharaohs, and most of them began the construction of their final resting place the moment they took over. No one disagrees about the reasons why the pyramids were built; however, much debate has occurred over how these wonders were actually constructed so many centuries ago.
The pyramids have been studied by each generation, and each generation fails to completely understand how the pyramids could have possibly been constructed. Everyone has a theory, some of which are plausible, yet the mystery remains. As mentioned, some believe extraterrestrials constructed the pyramids, and some people believe the Egyptians created a technology and machines which were lost over the centuries. It has also been said that they were built by slaves; however, even this theory has come to be discredited as it is now widely believed that peasants worked in exchange for food, shelter, tax breaks, and clothing rather than pharaohs actually enslaving the workforce to complete their tombs as ancient Egyptians actually enforced very complicated slave laws.
No matter who built the pyramids, it was clearly a massive undertaking, particularly the Great Pyramid of Giza. The construction of this pyramid is often compared to Notre Dame in Paris, which took nearly 200 years to complete, for people to gain perspective. The Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built thousands of years prior and without any modern technologies, is said to have taken only 23 years to complete. Each of the roughly 2.3 million blocks made to construct this masterpiece weighed 5,500 pounds, or 2,495 kilos. It is estimated that up to 30,000 laborers would have been required to complete this project in less than 23 years, and some people believe upwards of 100,000 people worked on the pyramid throughout the course of its construction.
It is widely accepted that men and oxen were used to move the limestone blocks from the quarries to the pyramid location with a system of ropes and oiled slipways. Some theories say a ramp with similar methodologies was used to construct the pyramids, while the most recent theory by a French architect depicts a more sophisticated design of the structure being built from the inside out with a spiral ramp. This has not yet been conclusively proven.
Architects and archeologists may be as close as they have ever been for hundreds of years to determining exactly who the pyramids were built, yet no one is entirely certain. Experts do agree that the pyramids were built very quickly and by laborers rather than slaves. It is also certain that even if they do determine exactly how these wonders were constructed, it will not take away from the impressive accomplishments of the ancient Egyptians and their ability to execute their visions of grandeur.