The History, People and Culture of the Nile Valley
Ancient Egypt Magazine
Volume Five Issue Two -- October/November 2004
NETFISHINGANCIENT EGYPT explores the WORLD WIDE WEB ... So you want to know about … Pyramids. In the last edition of ANCIENT EGYPT (Issue 25), Aidan Dodson gave an excellent summary of the publications you might want to read on the subject of Pyramids. Pyramids are a subject of eternal fascination and there is, as one might expect, a vast range of web-sites devoted to this topic; and so, following Aidan’s lead, this month we will examine some of the web-sites that look at the topic of "Pyramids".
Unfortunately the content of any web-site cannot really be judged until you actually visit it and start to read what it has to say. With a book you can tell at a glance if it is worth reading or not by looking at the author’s name and the publisher’s name. The size of the book, the amount of text, the feel of the paper and the quality of the illustrations all give you additional help in judging its worth, and if the author’s name is unknown to you then a quick look on the back fly-sheet will tell you about them, and more importantly about their experience and qualifications in the field they are writing about – regrettably, this is something that you just cannot do (or check up upon) with a web-site.
Anyone can set up a web-page and present themselves as an expert. Thus a quick search on the web under the entry "Pyramids" will bring up sites covering topics as diverse as "the Pyramids on Mars", that wearing pyramids can improve your mental health (!), that Pyramids are linked with the stars (correct), that Pyramids are linked with the constellation of Orion (incorrect) and, hopefully, articles about the research undertaken on the Giza plateau by professionals in the field.
Whilst it might benefit some people to sit with a plastic pyramid balanced on their head (at least it keeps them quite and stops them from bothering anyone else) the rest of us might find it more interesting to look at the websites devoted to the actual archaeological discoveries made, on the ground, in Egypt.
For good general information about the pyramids try the Nova site at:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid
You can explore the Great Pyramid of Khufu by going to: http://www.guardians.net/egypt/gp1.htmor: http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/pyramid.html The second pyramid of Khafra can be looked at on: http://www.guardians.net/egypt/kheph1.htm whilst the smaller pyramid of Menkaura can be seen at: http://www.guardians.net/egypt/menk1.htm For further links to other sites visit the Guardians.net page: http://www.guardians.net/egypt/pyramids.htm THE PYRAMID BUILDERS VILLAGE Whilst certain web-sites would advance the theory that the pyramids were built by (a) extra terrestrials, or (b) an earlier (as yet) undiscovered civilization, all the evidence clearly shows these views to be false. Indeed it is a slur and insult to the Egyptians themselves to suggest that they could not have built these monuments without outside assistance.
There is a clear archaeological development which shows the Egyptians learning to construct these monuments over hundreds of years, and at Giza the fact that the village, where the workmen lived whilst they worked on the pyramids, has been discovered clearly shows that it was the Egyptians themselves who constructed these extraordinary monuments and not anyone else. Information about this village is provided at:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/excavation/ or go to Zahi Hawass’ site: http://www.guardians.net/hawass/buildtomb.htm THE "AIR SHAFTS" Much has been written about the "airshafts" to be found within the Great Pyramid. It has been suggested that these actually line up with certain stars, although as the shafts are NOT straight, in reality they do not appear to point to any particular stars at all (as certain authors would have us believe) and so it is still probably best to describe them as "air-shafts" at this time. Indeed many of the drawings of the shafts are oversimplified and misleading to the general public. To get a more detailed understanding of the design of these shafts visit "The Upuaut Project" web-site (named after the robot which explored these shafts) at: http://www.cheops.org/ These pages make use of CAD (Computer Aided Design) features to enable you fully to explore the pyramid in great detail – although the system does take some getting used to:
Click on the panel with the hieroglyphs on to enter the site.
Click onTHE FINDINGS, and click on your desired air shaft (scroll down the pages)
Click onCYBER DRAWINGS (this is a CAD Package which enables you to explore the Pyramid) Scroll Down the page and click on CHEOPS SHAFTS (wait for the page to load fully).
To move around the image: hold down the mouse button and drag the picture; and to enlarge/reduce the picture detail, click the + and - button on the toolbar.CONSTRUCTION METHODS There are various views on how the pyramids were constructed, for an overview look at: General development of pyramid construction: http://touregypt.net/construction/ Different methods of construction: http://touregypt.net/construction /construc.htm Enjoy your time exploring the pyramids and please let NETFISHING know of any different sites you find. Victor Blunden
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