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On top of the stone was placed a smooth layer of white limestone. At the very top was placed a capstone, some say made of electrum a mixture of gold and silver. The limestone surface and the capstone would have made the entire pyramid sparkle in sunlight. Inside the Great Pyramid are three burial chambers. The first lies underground, The second, often mistakenly called the Queen's Chamber, is located just above ground. A Grand Gallery leads up to it. It is believed that Khufu was buried in a heavy, granite coffin within the King's Chamber.

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It seems amazing that an ancient culture could build something so massive and precise, especially since they had only copper and bronze tools to worth with. The workmen who built the Great Pyramid were not slaves, as once thought, but regular Egyptian peasants who were conscripted to help with building for about three months out of the year -- i.

The stone was quarried on the east side of the Nile, cut into shape, and then placed on a sledge that was pulled by men to the river's edge. Here, the huge stones were loaded onto barges, ferried across the river, and then dragged to the construction site. As each level was completed, the ramp was built higher, hiding the level below it. When all the huge stones were in place, the workmen worked from top to bottom to place the limestone covering. As they worked downward, the earthen ramp was removed little by little.

Only once the limestone covering was completed could the ramp be fully removed and the Great Pyramid be revealed. No one is sure how long the Great Pyramid stood intact before being looted, but it was probably not long. Centuries ago, all of the pharaoh's riches had been taken, even his body had been removed.

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All that remains is the bottom of his granite coffin -- even the top is missing. The capstone is also long gone. They did manage to find the Grand Gallery and the granite coffin, but it had all been emptied of treasure long ago. Upset at so much hard work with no reward, the Arabs pried off the limestone covering and took some of the cut-stone blocks to use for buildings. In total, they took about feet off the top of the Great Pyramid. What remains is an empty pyramid, still grand in size but not as pretty since just a very small portion of its once beautiful limestone casing remains along the bottom.

The Great Pyramid at Giza now sits with two other pyramids. The purpose was to have each block supported by the wall of the Gallery, rather than resting on the block beneath it, in order to prevent cumulative pressure. At the upper end of the Gallery on the right-hand side there is a hole near the roof that opens into a short tunnel by which access can be gained to the lowest of the Relieving Chambers.

Perring , who dug tunnels upwards using blasting powder. In the shelves there are 54 slots, 27 on each side matched by vertical and horizontal slots in the walls of the Gallery. These form a cross shape that rises out of the slot in the shelf. The purpose of these slots is not known, but the central gutter in the floor of the Gallery, which is the same width as the Ascending Passage, has led to speculation that the blocking stones were stored in the Grand Gallery and the slots held wooden beams to restrain them from sliding down the passage.

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At the top of the Grand Gallery, there is a step giving onto a horizontal passage some metres long and approximately 1. Fragments of granite found by Petrie in the Descending Passage may have come from these now-vanished doors. In , scientists from the ScanPyramids project discovered a large cavity above the Grand Gallery using muon radiography , which they called the "ScanPyramids Big Void". Its existence was confirmed by independent detection with three different technologies: nuclear emulsion films, scintillator hodoscopes , and gas detectors.

The "King's Chamber" [2] is 20 Egyptian Royal cubits or It has a flat roof 11 cubits and 5 digits or 5.

Pyramid of Khufu

The purpose of these shafts is not clear: they appear to be aligned towards stars or areas of the northern and southern skies, yet one of them follows a dog-leg course through the masonry, indicating no intention to directly sight stars through them. They were long believed by Egyptologists to be "air shafts" for ventilation, but this idea has now been widely abandoned in favour of the shafts serving a ritualistic purpose associated with the ascension of the king's spirit to the heavens.

The King's Chamber is entirely faced with granite. Above the roof, which is formed of nine slabs of stone weighing in total about tons, are five compartments known as Relieving Chambers. The first four, like the King's Chamber, have flat roofs formed by the floor of the chamber above, but the final chamber has a pointed roof. Vyse suspected the presence of upper chambers when he found that he could push a long reed through a crack in the ceiling of the first chamber. It is believed that the compartments were intended to safeguard the King's Chamber from the possibility of a roof collapsing under the weight of stone above the Chamber.

As the chambers were not intended to be seen, they were not finished in any way and a few of the stones still retain masons' marks painted on them. One of the stones in Campbell's Chamber bears a mark, apparently the name of a work gang. The only object in the King's Chamber is a rectangular granite sarcophagus , one corner of which is broken. The sarcophagus is slightly larger than the Ascending Passage, which indicates that it must have been placed in the Chamber before the roof was put in place.

Unlike the fine masonry of the walls of the Chamber, the sarcophagus is roughly finished, with saw-marks visible in several places.

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This is in contrast with the finely finished and decorated sarcophagi found in other pyramids of the same period. Petrie suggested that such a sarcophagus was intended but was lost in the river on the way north from Aswan and a hurriedly made replacement was used instead. Today tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers' Tunnel, a tunnel purportedly created around AD by Caliph al-Ma'mun 's workmen using a battering ram.

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It is believed that their efforts dislodged the stone fitted in the ceiling of the Descending Passage to hide the entrance to the Ascending Passage and it was the noise of that stone falling and then sliding down the Descending Passage, which alerted them to the need to turn left. Unable to remove these stones, however, the workmen tunnelled up beside them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid until they reached the Ascending Passage.

It is possible to enter the Descending Passage from this point, but access is usually forbidden. The Great Pyramid is surrounded by a complex of several buildings including small pyramids. The Pyramid Temple, which stood on the east side of the pyramid and measured There are only a few remnants of the causeway which linked the pyramid with the valley and the Valley Temple. The Valley Temple is buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman; basalt paving and limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated. He theorizes that such a saw could have been attached to a wooden trestle and possibly used in conjunction with vegetable oil, cutting sand, emery or pounded quartz to cut the blocks, which would have required the labour of at least a dozen men to operate it.

On the south side are the subsidiary pyramids, popularly known as the Queens' Pyramids. Three remain standing to nearly full height but the fourth was so ruined that its existence was not suspected until the recent discovery of the first course of stones and the remains of the capstone. Hidden beneath the paving around the pyramid was the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I , sister-wife of Sneferu and mother of Khufu. Discovered by accident by the Reisner expedition, the burial was intact, though the carefully sealed coffin proved to be empty.

A notable construction flanking the Giza pyramid complex is a cyclopean stone wall, the Wall of the Crow. In light of this new discovery, as to where then the pyramid workers may have lived, Lehner suggested the alternative possibility they may have camped on the ramps he believes were used to construct the pyramids or possibly at nearby quarries.

In the early s, the Australian archaeologist Karl Kromer excavated a mound in the South Field of the plateau. This mound contained artefacts including mudbrick seals of Khufu, which he identified with an artisans' settlement. There are three boat-shaped pits around the pyramid, of a size and shape to have held complete boats, though so shallow that any superstructure, if there ever was one, must have been removed or disassembled.

In May , the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh discovered a fourth pit, a long, narrow rectangle, still covered with slabs of stone weighing up to 15 tons. These were entrusted to a boat builder, Haj Ahmed Yusuf, who worked out how the pieces fit together. The entire process, including conservation and straightening of the warped wood, took fourteen years. The result is a cedar-wood boat During construction of this museum, which stands above the boat pit, a second sealed boat pit was discovered. It was deliberately left unopened until when excavation began on the boat.

Although succeeding pyramids were smaller, pyramid-building continued until the end of the Middle Kingdom. However, as authors Brier and Hobbs claim, "all the pyramids were robbed" by the New Kingdom , when the construction of royal tombs in a desert valley, now known as the Valley of the Kings , began. Edwards discusses Strabo 's mention that the pyramid "a little way up one side has a stone that may be taken out, which being raised up there is a sloping passage to the foundations". Edwards suggested that the pyramid was entered by robbers after the end of the Old Kingdom and sealed and then reopened more than once until Strabo's door was added.

He adds: "If this highly speculative surmise be correct, it is also necessary to assume either that the existence of the door was forgotten or that the entrance was again blocked with facing stones", in order to explain why al-Ma'mun could not find the entrance.