Ancient Logbook May Unveil Details of Great Pyramid Construction

The Great Pyramid
Credit: ustung / Flickr

Cairo, Egypt — The Great Pyramid of Giza, built during the reign of the pharaoh Khufu (ca. 2551 B.C.-2528 B.C) is considered to be one of the “7 Wonders of the World”. Standing at over 450 feet high and 750 feet long at its base, the precise nature in which it was built has left scholars, past and present, debating exactly how this engineering marvel was achieved.

Its construction brings forth so many mind-bending questions that have remained unanswered to this very day. For example, how were over 2.5 million blocks of stone so perfectly polished and fitted? And with each block weighing 2 to 20 tons, how did they manage to move and fit them in place? In present time, we have the luxury of modern methods and equipment but we’re talking about something that was built around 4,500 years ago.

In 2013, an archaeological team from France and Egypt, led by archaeologists Pierre Tallet and Gregory Marouard, discovered an ancient logbook at the Red Sea harbor of Wadi al-Jarfin. And they believe this logbook, written in hieroglyphics on papyri around 4,500 years ago, may help answer some of those lingering questions.

Credit: Egyptian Museum in Cairo

In a 2014 report published in the journal Near Eastern Archaeology, Tallet and Marouard wrote that the logbook identified its writer as a construction inspector named Merer, who was “in charge of a team of about 200 men,”.

Furthermore, “Over a period of several months, [the logbook] reports — in [the] form of a timetable with two columns per day — many operations related to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza and the work at the limestone quarries on the opposite bank of the Nile”.

The logbook also revealed that in the 27th year of pharaoh Khufu’s reign, the construction was overseen by Khufu’s half-brother Ankhaf — a high official who served as the “chief for all the works of the king,”. The logbook is currently on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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