Research carried out by engineer Glen Dash and Egyptologist Mark Lehner has revealed that the Great Pyramid of Giza is not as perfect as once believed. Results of testing showed that its base was built lopsided.
According to LiveScience, the builders of the Great Pyramid made a small mistake while constructing it. The new research reveals that the west side of the pyramid is slightly longer than the east side. It means that the long lasting myth about the perfection of this construction is not true. Dash and Lehner detected the small flaw in a new measuring project carried out with the support of Glen Dash Research Foundation and Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA). Mapping and excavating the Giza plateau by AERA took about 30 years.
As Glen Dash wrote in his report:
”Originally, the Great Pyramid was clad in more than 21 acres of hard, white casing stones that the Egyptians had hauled over from quarries at Tura across the Nile. Most of those casing stones were removed centuries ago for building material, leaving the pyramid as we see it today, without most of its original shell. The photo below was taken along the pyramid’s north side. In it, we see some of the pyramid’s few remaining casing stones still in place. These sit on a platform that originally extended out 39 to 47 centimeters (15–19 inches) beyond the outer, lower edge (the “foot”) of the casing. Behind the casing stones in the photo we can see the rougher masonry that makes up the bulk of the pyramid as it stands today.”
Researchers took measurements of the Great Pyramid’s edges and platform, showing what one of the corners may have looked like when built. Researchers noticed a “corner socket,” or a cutting in the rock, whose purpose remains unclear. Credit: Image courtesy of Glen Dash
Lehner undertook research to determine the lengths of the original pyramid sides. His team looked for surviving casing stones situated at the foot of the pyramid’s platform, and which would have formed the pyramid’s original casing baseline. They found 84 points along 155 meters (508 feet) of the original edges of the pyramid, which were marked on a grid system. It was used for mapping all of the features on the Giza Plateau. The obtained data was then processed to receive the most precise outline of the Great Pyramid, which allowed the projection of the original lengths of the pyramid’s base.
The Casing Stones can be seen here at the base of the pyramid ( Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library / Flickr )
The results surprised the researchers, who proved that the pyramid originally measured between 230.3 and 230.4 meters (755.6 and 755.8 feet), while the west side of the pyramid originally measured somewhere between 230.4 to 230.4 meters (755.8 and 756.0 feet). It means that the west side was 5.55 inches (14.1 centimeters) longer than the east side. The researchers claimed that the previous measurements of the Great Pyramid were not exactly correct, and the error in construction comes from ancient times.
According to Dash, the ancient Egyptians laid out the pyramid on a grid. The north-south meridian of the pyramid runs 3 minutes 54 seconds west of due north while its east-west axis runs 3 minutes 51 seconds north of due east. Moreover, the east-west meridian runs through the center of the temple built on the east side of the pyramid too. The measurements by Dash and Lehner prove that the Great Pyramid is oriented slightly away from the cardinal directions. The analysis of the data gathered by the team led by Dash and Lehner will be continued.
In January 2014, April Holloway from Ancient Origins reported about a different discovery of Mark Lehner. His team made some new discoveries ”including the remains of a bustling port, as well as barracks for sailors or military troops near the Giza pyramids. The findings shed new light on what life was like in the region thousands of years ago.
Archaeologist Mark Lehner, director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates, has said that the discoveries suggest Giza was a thriving port, at least 4,500 years ago. Lehner’s team discovered a basin, which may be an extension of a harbour, near the Khentkawes town just 1 kilometre from the nearest Nile River channel.
“Giza was the central port then for three generations, Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure,” said Lehner, referring to the three pharaohs who built pyramids at Giza.
Archaeologists also discovered a series of long buildings, called ‘galleries’, which they believe were used as barracks, either for sailors or for soldiers. The buildings were about 7 metres high and 35 metres long and could have held about 40 troops in each one. These troops may have been participating in voyages from the port to the Levant, or soldiers who may have been used for guarding kings and queens while at Giza.”