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PyramidConstruction:DeskStudybyPeterPrevos

Maastricht,January1997
CopyrightPeterPrevos

1.Introduction
During1995IwasworkingattheJamunaMultipurposeBridgeProjectinBangladeshwherewewere
doingsocalledrivertrainingworks.Thegoaloftheprojectwastofixtheriverbetweentwoguidance
dikes.Theseareneededtoprotectthefoundationsofthenewlybuiltbridgefromeroding.Onepartof
theprojectwastobuildadikeinabendofriver,thistopreventtheriverfromerodingtoofarinland
andflowinfrontofthebridgeinsteadofunderit.
Becauseofunavailabilityofsuitableequipmentweemployedapproximately5,000localpeopletodo
partoftheexcavationworksmanually.Allwork,exceptthecompacting,wasdonemanuallyusingso
called'headpans'.Thesearesmallbasketsthatarefilledwithsoilandthencarriedontheheadsofthe
workerstoremovethematerial.Seeingthesepeoplemoveallthatsoilwith,fromourpointofview,
primitivetoolsmademethinkabouthowthepyramidsWouldhavebeenbuilt.
MygoalwastoanalysehowapyramidofsimilarsizeastheGreatPyramidatGizacanbeconstructed,
withresourcessimilartothoseoftheancientEgyptians.Manybookshavebeenwrittenaboutthis
subject,butnoneofthesebookshavelookedatthisfromacivilengineerspointofview.Itisnot
possibletogiveandetailedaccountonhowthegreatpyramidhasbeenbuiltsincetherearenorecords
onpyramidconstructionwrittenbytheEgyptians.TheearliestaccountiswrittenbytheGreek
historianHerodotus,morethan2,000yearsaftertheactualconstruction.Thisstudyisthereforenot
abouthowthepyramidwasbuilt,buthowitcouldbebuilt.Thegoalofthisstudyistoanalysethe
logisticalaspectsofpyramidconstruction.
Forthispreliminarydeskstudyasimplifiedmodelisused.Thepyramidshallbeapproximatelyofthe
samedimensionsastheGreatPyramidofKhufuontheGizaplateauinEgypt,butshallhaveamassive
core,withoutanypassagesorchambers.ThebuildingmethodtobeusedisdescribedbyPeterHodges,
inhisexcellentbookHowthePyramidswerebuilt.Inhisviewtheproblemoftheverticaltransportof
theindividualelementsthatmakeupthecoreofthepyramidwassolvedbyusinglevers.
Thebasicoutlineofthisreportisasfollows:Firstageneraldescriptionoftheobjectisgiven,stating
thedimensions,materialsused,equipmentandmanpower.Thenthebuildingmethodwillbedescribed
insomedetail,includingestimatesconcerningliftingandtransportationspeedoftheelements.With
thisdataaplanismade,estimatingthetotalconstructiontimeandthetotaluseoflabourresources.
Finallyacostpriceisestimated,assumingthatapyramidwouldbebuiltinBangladesh.
Thereportiswrittenasa'projectpreparationreport'asifanewpyramidwouldbeactuallybuilt,using
onlythetechnologyknowntotheEgyptiansofthefourthdynasty.
Therefore,pastaswellasfuturetenseisusedinthetext,thistodistinguishbetweenfactsconcerning
theoriginalpyramidinKhufuandthenewidea'sputforwardinthisstudy.
Ihopethisstudyisavaluableadditiontoallthepreviousworkthathasbeendoneonthissubject.

2.Generaldescriptionoftheworks

2.1Geometry
ThegreatpyramidwasbuiltduringthereignofKhufu(CheopsinGreek),secondkingofthefourth
dynasty2,7202,560BC.ItstandsontheGizaplateaunearbyCairoandisthebiggestpyramidin
Egypt.
Thepyramiditselfnowstands137metershigh,itsoriginalheightof146.16metersisindicatedbyan
ironposterectedontheapex.Eachsideoriginallymeasured230.362metersor440royalcubits(1
cubit=0.524metres).Atpresentthesidemeasures227meters,duetothelossofthecasingstones.The
coremasonryconsistsoflargeblocksoflocallimestonetakenfromthenearbyquarriesandbuilt
aroundandoverarockyknoll.Thesizeoftheknollcannotbedetermined,sinceitiscompletely
coveredbythepyramid.
Theentrancetothepyramidisinthecentreofthenorthernface.Itislocatedinthethirteenthcourseof
masonryfromthebase.Thisentrancehasapointedroofformedofmassiveslabsoflocallimestone
andopensintoalongsteeplydescendingpassage.Fromtherea36meterslongascendingpassageleads
toa35meterslonghorizontalpassagethatleadstothesocalled'Queen'schamber'.Thischamber
measures5.2by5.7metersandthemaximumheightofitspointedroofisabout15meters.Thenorth
andsouthwallseachhaveasmallholeafewcentimetressquareabout1meterfromthefloor.These
leadintonarrowchannelsthatoriginallyopenedontheexteriorofthepyramid.Atthejunctureofthe
ascendingandhorizontalpassageisanopeningofashaftwhichdescendstoadepthof60meters.It
opensintothelowerpartofthedescendingpassage,closetotheunfinished,undergroundchamber,and
isbelievedtohavebeenanescapeshaftfortheworkmenwhofiledtheascendingpassagewithhuge
stonesaftertheking'sfuneral.FromthehorizontalpassagetheGrandGallery,whichleadstotheking's
chamber,starts.Itis47meterslongand8.5metershigh,andhasacorbelledroof.Inthecentreofthe
floorisasunkenrampabout60centimetresdeep.TheGrandGalleryendsinahorizontalgranite
passagewhichservesasanantechamber.Itmeasures8.4meterslongand3.1metershigh,andhasslots
forthreeportcullises.Beyondtheantechamberisthesocalled'King'sChamber'whichislined,roofed
andpavedwithredgranite.Itmeasures5.2by10.8metersandis5.8metershigh.Itsflatroofis
formedofninemonolithicslabsofgraniteThenorthernandsouthernwallseachhavean'airchannel',
oneofwhichisopentotheoutside.ThePyramidcanbeseentohaveabouttwohundredlevelcourses
ofsquaredstones.Thelayersallhaveadifferentthicknessrangingbetweenapproximately50and145
centimetres.Theaverageblocksizeisabout1cubicmeter.
OntheKhufupyramidallthecasingelementswereremovedinthe14thcentury.Thefewcasingstones
whichdoremainintheGreatPyramidalllieinthe1.5meterthickbottomcourseandcannotbe
representativeofthestoneswhichwouldhavebeenusedinthehigherpartsoftheconstruction.The
onlyexamplesoffaceworkwhichremainsarethoseonthepyramidsatMeidum,DashurandGiza
(Khafre's).
Figure1showsawireframemodelofthePyramid.Thewallaroundthepyramidandthetempleare
notincludedinthisreport.

Figure1,WireframemodeloftheGreatPyramid
Asimplifiedmodelofthegreatpyramidwillbeusedforthisstudy.Thepyramidhasasquarebase
measuring230metersinlengthandtheheightoftheapexwillby146meters.Thefoundationisalevel
surfaceonwhichthefirstlayercanbeplaced.Anysettlementduetothepressuresduringorafter
constructionwillbedisregarded.Thepyramidissolid,withoutanypassagesorchambers.Becausethe
volumeofthepassagesandchambersisonly0.07%ofthetotalvolumethepassagesandchambers
canbeomitted.Theconstructionwillbedonein200subsequentlayersofequalthicknessbeing0.73
meter.Thestandardelementwillbecubicalwithsidesof1.17meters.Thisisatheoreticalassumption
sinceblocksofthissizewillnotbeabletobalanceonthealreadyplacedsteps.Tobeabletoestimate
toconstructiontimeforthecore,theusedparameters,suchasthenumberoflayersandtheelement
size,havetobeascloseaspossibletothoseoftheactualpyramid.Duringtheactualconstructionthe
layerthicknesshastobeadaptedaccordingtothethicknessofthestrataatthequarry.Theblocksize
willhavetobeadaptedtobeabletobalanceonthesteps.Eachlayerwillhavefittingelementsthatare
slightlysmallerorlargerthanthestandardelementsize.Thecoreelementswillthusformastep
pyramid.Thesizeofthestepsis0.575meters.Theouterlayerwillconsistofwedgeshapedcasing
elementssothepyramidwillhaveasmoothsurfacewhencompleted.

2.2Materials
Thecoreofthegreatpyramidconsistsofsolidlimestoneblocks.Limestoneisasedimentaryrockwith
adensitybetween2.5and2.7tonnespercubicmeter.Itisquitesensitivetoweathering,thereforethe
toplayerwasconstructedofamoredurablelimestone.TheKingsChamberandtheGrandGalleryare
constructedofredgranite.Granite,anigneousrockismoredensethanlimestoneandhasbettergeneral
physicalpropertiesandisthereforeusedintheupperchambers.Thebulkofthelimestonewasquarried
ontheplateauitself.TheredgranitehadtocomefromnearAswanabout700kmupstreamfromCairo.

Theproblemofopeningandexploitingthequarriesneededfortheconstructionisaveryinteresting
andcomplexproblembutisnotapartofthisstudy.Thepyramidforthisstudyiscompletelymadeof
limestone,assumingadensityof2,600kg/m3.Theweightofoneelementis:1.17*1.17*0.73*2,600
=2,598kg.

2.3Labourandequipment
TheancientEgyptiansbuiltthepyramidswiththesimplestmethods.Bothinquarryingandbuilding
workmenusedcopperchisels,aswellasflint,quartzanddioritepounders.Furthertheyusedwooden
crowbars,sledgesandrollerstotransporttheelements.Figure2isasceneshowingthetransportof
blocksofstonefromthequarriesinTura,inwhichweseeoxendraggingthesledges.

Figure2,TransportationofstoneblocksinaquarryatTura
Thismethodworksverywellfortransportingoverlongdistances,butusuallymanpowerwasusedto
movebuildingelements.Figure3showshow172menworktodraganalabastercolossusofthe
twelfthdynastymonarch,Dhutihotep,fromthequarriesofHatnubinMiddleEgypt.Thisstatue
measuredover6.5metershighandweighedabout60tonnes.
Thescenealsoshowsmencarryingleversandotherspouringliquid,presumablywater,frompotsin
ordertoreducethefrictionbetweenthestatueandthesurface.Totransporta2.6tonneselementina
similarway,172/60*2.6=7to8peopleareneeded.Totransporttheelementsonthesledgesspecial
roadswereconstructed.Theyconsistedofabaseofrockrubbleonwhichwoodenplankswhere
embeddedatregularintervalsinalayerofclay.Thefrictionwasreducedbywettingtheclay,ascanbe
seeninfigure3.

Figure3,TransportingastatuefromthetombofDhutihotep,ElBersheh

Allliftingworkwillbedonebymeansoflevers.Withtheseleversallelementscanbejackedupalong
thesidesofthealreadyconstructedpartandputintoposition.Theliftingmethodwillbedescribedin
moredetailinthemethodstatement.Leverscanalsobeusedforhorizontaltransport,butonlyforshort
distancesortoputanelementatitscorrectplace.
Theleversaremadeofwoodandhavealengthof2meters.Atthefulcrumthelevermeasures100*100
mmandistaperedtobothendsforeasyhandling.Themaximumliftingforceforoneleveris
determinedbythelengthofthelever,theplaceofthefulcrum,thesectionoftheleverandthetypeof
woodusedforthelever.Thesectionhastobeabletoresistthebendingstressesinducedbythe
leveringaction.Whenassumingthattheleveragepointisat0.1metersfromtheend,andthemaximum
downwardforcetobeappliedbyonepersonis600Ntheupwardforceontheotherendis1.9*600/
0.1=11,400N.Theactualbendingstressintheleverwillbe6.84N/mm2whichisallowableformost
timber.Threeleverswouldbesufficienttolifta2.6tonneselement,butforreasonsofstabilityfour
levershavetobeused.
Workwillbedoneon350daysperyear,takingintoaccountanyreligiousorotherholidaythatmay
occur.Aworkingdayisfromdusktodawn,sinceworkingwithartificiallightisnotpossible.Average
daylightperday,measuredoverayear,is12hours.Anylunchbreaksorotherwisewillalsobe
accountedforbymeansofanefficiencyfactorof70%.

3.Methodstatement
Theconstructionofthepyramidcanbedividedintofourdifferentactivities:

Preparationoftheworkarea;

Constructionofthecore;

Casingandtrimming;

Productionoftheelements;

3.1Preparationoftheworkarea
Theworkareahastobeclearedfromsandandweatheredrockandthesurfacehastobesmoothto
enablethehorizontaltransportoftheelements.
Assumingthatittakes1manabout2hourstoclearonesquaremeterandthattwoteamsof115men
willworktowardseachotheritwilltake460hours,or5.5/0.7=9weekstoclearthecompletearea.For
eachmandoingtheclearingandcuttingateamoffourmoremenhavetoremovethedebrisbehind
themanddisposeitoutsidetheworkarea.Thetotalworkforceneededforthisactivityis2*115*5=
1,150menforaperiodof9weeks.Thisactivityhastobecompletedbeforetheconstructionofthecore
cancommence.

3.2Constructionofthecore
Manytheorieshavebeenputforwardconcerningcoreconstruction.Mostoftheseincludetheuseof
rampstotransporttheelementstotheworkplatform.Therearethreepossibleversionsofaramp.A
longramporashortsteeprampwithhorizontalplateauandthespiralramp.Thereareseveralproblems
withthesetheories.Firstthevolumeoftheramptobebuilt.Inthelongorshortrampscenariothe
volumeofthesestructureswouldbemorethanthevolumeofthepyramiditself.Incaseofthespiral

rampstabilitywillbeamajorproblem.Theslopeofthepyramiditselfismorethan50andsothewall
oftheramphastobeevensteeper.AlthisisverywellanalysedinHodges.
Coreconstructionisdoneintwoactions.Firsttheelementhastobejackeduptothelayerunder
constructionafterwhichitcanbeplacedinitsfinalposition.
Onthesidesandthetopofthepyramidteamscanworkinjackuplinesasshowninfigure4.

Figure4,Distributionofworkteamsonthepyramid
Liftingteamscanworkfromonlytwosidesofthepyramidsimultaneously.Whenworkingfrommore
thantwosidestheworkplatformcannotbedividedintoequalsquarearea'swhichisneededtoensure
asmoothflowofelements.Workingfromonesidewouldnotbeaveryefficientoption.Whenworking
fromthreeorfoursidestheplacingteamswillbeineachothersway.Theremainingtwoslopescanbe
usedtoliftthebigslabsneededfortheconstructionofthechamber.Forthisthegeometrycanbe
changedbyleavingbiggerstepsonwhichthebigsizeelementscanbejackedupthesidesandplaced
ontheplatform.Whennomoreoddsizeelementsareneeded,thestepswillbefilledwithstandardsize
elements.Betweentwo'jackuplines'theremustbesomespaceforsupervisorsetc.Theremustbe
workingspacebetweentheteamsinverticaldirectionalso.Figure5showsthedistributionofthejack
upteamsalongthepyramidside.

Figure5,Spacingbetweenjackupteams

Becausethereareblocksbeingjackedupeveryfourmetersthereisanalmostconstantflowofmaterial
totheworksurface.Thehorizontaltransportontheworkplatformactuallydeterminestheconstruction
timeforthatparticularlayerandnotthetimeneededtolifttheelements.Whenanelementhasreached
thelevelunderconstructionitwillbemovedtoitsfinalplaceinthepyramidbythesameteamthathas
broughtittothetop.Thiswillcreateacontinuousflowofelementsontheworkplatform.Afterarow
isplacedtheteamsgodowntheunusedsidesofthepyramidandstartanewcycledownatthebase
wheretheyreceiveanewelementtobringtotheworkplatform.Atthemomentthefirsttworowsofa
layerareplaced,halfwayalongtheworkplatform,themaximumnumberofworkersarebeing
employed.Thisgraduallyreducesuntilthelastrowsareplaced.Whenplacingthenextlayerthe
numberofworkteamsincreasesagain.Thisisacomplexflowofpeopleandmaterialwhichneedsvery
goodmanagementtomakesurethereisminimumtimeloss.
Thebigproblemwiththismethodisthesafetywhilejackinguptheelements.Isitquitelikelythatan
elementcanloseitsbalanceandtumbledownthepyramidcreatingaverydangeroussituation.Because
ofthisdangertheverticaltransporthastobedoneverycarefully.Exceptforthegreattimelossinsuch
asituation,manyhumanlivescanbelostwhenworkersarehitbyalimestoneblockavalanche.
Inthenextparagraphsthismethodisbeingquantifiedandthetotalconstructiontimeforthecoreis
estimated.

Verticaltransport
Theelementswillbeliftedtotherequiredlevelbyteamsof7menusing4levers.Fourmenoperatethe
levers,twotoinsertthetimberpackingandonemantocoordinatetheactions.Thejackupprocedure
isasfollows:
1.

Theleversareputinpositionforthefirst'jack'.Twooneachside,fourinall.Theelementhas
beendeliveredontimberpacking;

2.

Afterthefirstjackiscompleteextrapackinghastobeinsertedbelowthestoneateachend;

3.

Anextrapackinghastobeinsertedbelowthelevers;

4.

Startthenextjack;

Thissequenceisrepeateduntiltheelementreachesthenextlevel.

Figure6,Jackupprocedure
AccordingtoHodges,whohasconductedfullsizetestsoftheabovedescribedprocedure,ittakes25
secondstocompleteonecycle.Witheveryjacktheelementislifted100mm,taking8completecycles
tolifttheelementtothenextlevel.Tomovetheelementontothenextstepithastobemoved
horizontally.Thishorizontaltransportcanbedonebyusingtheleversinapaddlingmovement.
Hodgesmentionsahorizontaltravellingspeedof13metersperhourforthismethod.Acompletecycle
ofmovingablocktothenextstep(0.73meterverticaland0.575meterhorizontaltravel)takes359
seconds.Inthecalculations513seconds(5.12meterperhour)willbeused,takingintoaccountany
lossduetoresting,humanerrororotherwise(efficiency70%).

Placingtheelements

Thisisalsodonebyusingthepaddlingmovementusedintheliftingprocedure.Inthecalculationsa
speedof9.10meterperhourwillbeused(70%of13metersperhour).Thedistancebetweentwo
teamsontheplatformisthetimethatoneteamtravelshorizontallybeforethenextteamreachesthe
top.Inourcasethisdistanceis:9.10*4/5.12=7.11meters.Thisisslightlymorethanthedistancein
horizontaldirectionandshouldbesufficient.

Calculationofconstructiontime
InAppendix1theconstructiontimeforeachlayeriscalculatedusingparameterslistedbelow.
WWidthofthepyramid[230m]
HHeightofthepyramid[146m]
zElementheight[0.73m]
l,bElementsize[1.17m*1.17m]
VvVerticalspeed[5.12m/h]
VhHorizontalspeed[9.10m/h]
SvVerticalspacing[4m]
ShHorizontalspacing[7m]
SpSpacingontheplatform[7.11m]
nLayernumber[1to200]
Foreachlayerntheheighth(n),widthw(n)andthenumberofelementstobeplacede(n)are
calculated.

Thetimeneededtoplacealltheelementsisthetimebetweenthemomentthatthefirstrowofelements
arrivesontheworkplatformandthemomentthatthelastrowhasbeenplaced.AftereverySv/Vv=
0.78hoursanewbatcharrives.Thisisrepeateduntilthelastrow,w(n)/binnumber,isplaced.
Theelementsalsohavetobemovedsidewaystofilluptherows.Allelementshavetobemoved
sidewaysoveranaveragedistanceof.Shmeter.TheabovesequencehastoberepeatedSh/ltimesto
filltheplatform.

Infigure7thesequenceofplacingonerowofelementsontheplatformisillustrated.

Figure7,Placingsequence
Nowtheconstructiontimeperlayercanbecalculatedby:

Thetotalconstructiontimeforthecoreofthepyramid,2,556,988blocks,ascalculatedinAppendix1
is45,684hours,or10.88years.InHodgestheconstructiontimeorthecoreisestimatedat17years,
butwithcompletelydifferentassumptionsandmethod.Theverticalspeedinhiscalculationsis9.125
m/hwhichistomypointofviewnotpossible.Alsotheefficientlyistakenas100%,whichwould
mean17yearsofworkwithoutanymistakesandproblems!Thehorizontaltransportontheplatformis
nottakenintoaccount.Alsothenumberofteamstobeemployedatanytimeisequalforeverylayer.
Whenplacingatmaximumcapacity56blocksperhourcanbeplacedonaveragethroughoutthealmost
11yearsthecoreisunderconstruction.Theintheabovedescribedwaycalculatedcapacityisthe
maximumcapacity.Incasethequarrycannotsupplysufficientelementstheplacingcapacitywillbe
equaltothequarrycapacity,leavingnostock.Inparagraph3.4thequarryproductionwillbelookedat
inmoredetailandtheplacingcapacitywillbelevelled.

Labour

Atanystagethereareteamsworkingontwosidesandonthetopofthepyramid.Bycalculatingthe
numberofteamsthatcanbeemployedatonetimeinhorizontaldirectionTh(n),inverticaldirection
Tv(n)andontheworkplatformTp(n)thetotalnumberofteamscanbedetermined.

Whenanewlayerisstartedonlythetwosidesareoccupied,thenumberofteamsbeing:
2*(Th(n)*Tv(n)).Whenthefirstrowofelementsreachesthemiddleoftheworkplatformthe
platformisalsooccupied.
Themaximumnumberofteamstobeemployedatonetimefortheconstructionofthelayeris
calculatedwith:

Theactualnumberofelementsbeingmovedonthepyramidatonetimeliesbetween2*Tv(n)*Th(n)
andT(n).
Foreachlayerthemaximumnumberofteamsiscalculatedbyusingabovementionedformulas.In
figure8thenumberofworkteamsissetoutagainstthelayernumber.Fromthisitcanbeseenthatthe
totalworkforcewillbesmallerasthepyramidgrows.Thisisbecausethesurfacetoworkonisgetting
smaller,althoughthepyramidisgettinghigher,lessteamscanbeplacedonit.
Toestimatethetotaluseoflabourresourcestheworkforceismultipliedbytheconstructiontimeper
layerandthenumberofmenperjackupteam.Thiswaythetotaluseoflabourresourcesisestimated
tobe3,579,745manweeks,or71,595manyears.Themaximumnumberofworkersisatlayernumber
11,being1,135*7=7,945.men.
Infigure8thenumberofworkersduringtheconstructionperiodareshown.

Figure8,Numberoflabourersusedforcoreconstruction

3.3Casingandtrimming
Afterthehighestpointisreachedthefinalaction,smoothingofthesurface,canstart.Therearetwo
distinctivelydifferentmethodsofshapingthesurfaceofthepyramid,bothofwhichwillbeanalysed.
Theillustrationbelowshowstheprincipleofthetwodifferentmethodsofpyramidshaping.

Figure9,Finalshapingofthepyramid

Placingcasingelements
Thefirstmethoddescribedistheplacingofreadymadecasingelements.Thewedgeshapedelements
measure2*0.575metersatthebaseandare0.73metershigh.
Tocoverthecore45,970elementshavetobeplacedwhichiscalculatedwith:

Theelementshavetobeelevatedtotherequiredlevelandsubsequentlyplacedaccuratelyontheface
ofthepyramid.Jackupteamscanworkonallfoursidesofthepyramidsimultaneouslyusingthesame
methodasfortheconstructionofthecore.Thefirstelementstake146/Vv=29hourstoreachthetop.

Whenworking100%efficientthisactionwillalreadystartrightafterthelastcoreelementstartsits
wayuptothetop.Butwhenthehighestpointofthepyramidisreachedatwoweekholidaywillbe
veryappropriatesothejackuplineshavetobeestablishedagain.EveryjackuplinehastomoveS h/2
=3.5elementstotheworkarea.AftereverySv/Vv=0.78hoursanewelementarrives.Ittakes3.5*
0.78=2.73hourstofillonelayer.Thusthetotaljackuptimeforallthecasingelementsis200*3.5*
0.78=546hours,or6.5weeks.Placingtheelementsinthefacewillalsoconsumealotoftime.Itis
assumedthatittakestwentyminutestopositionacasingelementintothefinalposition.Thisisavery
crudeassumptionbutnoreliabledataisavailabletomeatpresent.Thetotalplacingtimeforall
elementsis45,970*20/60=15,323hours(3.65year).Thusthetotalconstructiontimeforthecasing
actionis29+546+15,323=15,898hours(3.79year).TheuseoflabouriscalculatedinAppendix2.
Thelayernumbersareinreversedordersincethecasinghastostartatthetop.Foreachlayerthe
numberofliftingteamsiscalculatedinthesamewayaswiththecoreconstruction,butworkingfrom
fourfacesinsteadoftwo.Thenthetotalconstructiontimeforthelayeriscalculatedusing20minutes
placingtimeperblock,addingthe2.73hoursperlayerandforthetoplayerthe29hourstopositionthe
firstelement.Togetthetotalmanweekstheconstructiontimeismultipliedbythenumberofteams
workingonthatlayerandthenumberofworkersperteam.FromAppendix2itcanbeseenthatthe
totaluseoflabourtoplacethecasingelementsofthefaceofthepyramidis1,088,028manweeks,or
21,761manyear.

Trimmingthepyramid
Inthismethodtheouterlayerofthecoreisconstructedofthecasingmaterialwhichisamoredurable
limestonethanthecorematerial.Afterthelastcoreelementhasbeenplacedthestonemasonsstartto
chipawaymaterialsothatthefinalshapecanbemade.
Thismethodimpliesthatmorecorematerialhastobeplaced.Effectivelythismeansthateverylayer
willbe1.15meterswider.Oneextralayerof230*230meters,consistingof38,644elements,hasto
beconstructed.Usingtheformulasfromparagraph3.2givesaconstructiontimeof460hours,usingat
maximum1,126teams(43,198manweeks).Thishastobeaddedtothecoreconstruction.
Theactualtrimmingisdoneatonelayeratthetimebecauseallthedebrishastoberemoved
continuously.Thevolumeofmaterialtoberemovedcanbecalculatedby:
[(2,556,988+38,644)*(1.17*1.17*0.73)](2302*146*1/3)=19,341m3
Assumingthatonestonemasoncanchipaway0.5m3perdayandthattheyarepositionedeverytwo
metersittakesonefulldaytocompleteonelayerand200daystotrimthecompletepyramid.To
removethematerialtwochainsofworkersareplacedonthesideofthepyramid.Thismethodisoften
usedinBangladeshandiscalledthe'headpan'method.Abasket,containingapproximately20kgof
materialispassedon,overtheheadsoftheworkers,downtheslopeofthepyramid,hencethename
headpan.Thesecondrowisusedtobringtheemptyheadpansbacktothestonemasons.Thiswaya
productionof4m3/hour,or48m3/day,canbeachieved.One'chain'canremovethematerialproduced
by96stonemasons.
Atthebottomofthepyramidthechainhastocontinuetobeabletodepositthematerialatitsfinal
destination.Behindeverymasontwolabourersworktoremovethedebrisfromunderhisfeetand
bringittotheremovalteams.Thiswaytheproduceddebriscanberemovedfromthefaceofthe
pyramidveryeasily.
ThetotalamountofworkersneededperlayeriscalculatedinAppendix3.Foreverylayerthewidthis
calculatedandthenumberofteams,usingabovementionedparameters.Thetotalnumberoflabourers
dependsonthedistancethematerialhastobetransportedfromthebaseofthepyramid.Inthe
calculations100metersareassumed.ThefiguresfromAppendix3havetobecorrectedforaefficiency
factorof70%.Intotal348,052/0.70=497,217mandaysor1,421manyearsareusedtotrimthe
pyramid.Thetotaltimeneededtotrimthepyramidfaceis200/0.70=286daysor40.8weeks.

Conclusion
Thetrimmingmethodisthefastestandmostefficientwayofgivingthepyramiditsfinalshape.The
extramaterialthathastobeplacedinthecorewillbeaddedtothatactivitybringingthetotalnumber
ofcoreelementsto2,556,988+38,644=2,595,632elements.Theconstructiontimewillincreaseby
460hours.Thetotaluseoflabourwillincreaseby40,710manweeks.

3.4Productionoftheelements
Theproductionandtransportationcapacityofcoreelementshastobehighenoughtomakesurethat
thereisalwayssufficientstock.
InAppendix1theaverageplacingcapacityiscalculatedperlayer.Thisrangesbetween0.4and84
elementsperhour.Theaverageplacingcapacityis56elementsperhour.Thequarrycapacityismainly
determinedbythegeometryofthequarries.Thethicknessandsizeofthestratatobeuseddetermines
thenumberofelementsthatcanbeyieldedatonetime.Thedistanceofthequarriesandthenumberof
quarriesarealsoanimportantfactorwhichisnotknowntometatthistime.
Whenthereisalwayssufficientstock,theconstructiontimeforthecorewillbeascalculatedin
paragraph3.2.Whentherearenomoreelementstobeplacedthecoreconstructionwillbedelayed.In
thissituationtheplacingcapacitywillbeequaltothequarrycapacity.InAppendix1theconstruction
timeaswellasthestockarelevelledforthissituation.
Animportantparameteristhenumberofelementsinstockbeforestartingtheactualconstructionofthe
core.Producingthisstockwilltakeextratime,buttheconstructiontimeforthecorewillbereduced.
Thefollowingtableshowstherelationbetweenmaterialinstockandthetotalconstructiontimeforthe
core,assumingaproductioncapacityof56elementsperhour.
Instock

Preparationtime

Constructiontime

TOTAL

52,429

52,429

100,000

1,786

50,742

52,510

200,000

3,571

48,864

52,435

300,000

5,357

47,079

52,436

378,000

6,750

45,684

52,434

2,556,988

45,684

45,684

91,368

Table1,Constructiontimefordifferentstocklevels
Thefiguresdonotincludetheextratimeneededtoplacetheelementsforcoretrimmingasputforward
inparagraph3.3.Fromthisdataitcanbeconcludedthatnostockisreallyneededsincethelonger
constructiontimeiscompensatedbyashorterpreparationtime.Theoverallconstructiontimestays
moreorlessthesame.Producingmorethenthe378,000elementsisnoteffective,becausethecore
constructionisonmaximumcapacityandthetotalconstructiontimeisatitsminimum.
Incasethequarrycapacityislessthantheplacingcapacitytheconstructiontimewillbenegatively
effected.Whenthequarrycapacityisequaltothemaximumplacingcapacity(84pcs/hour)the
constructiontimewillbelowest.Table2showsthetotalconstructiontimefordifferentquarry
productions.Nostockisproducedbeforehand.
Quarry
capacity

Constructiontime[hr] Constructiontime[yr]

84

45,684

10.88

70

47,116

11.22

60

50,384

12.00

56

52,429

12.49

50

56,444

13.44

40

67,369

16.04

30

87,168

20.75

20

128,707

30.64

Table2,Constructiontimefordifferentquarryproductionlevels
Tomakeagoodestimateofthetotalconstructiontimethequarrycapacityhastobeknownasexactas
possible.Sinceitisnotfeasibletogiveareliableestimateofthequarrycapacityatthistimean
arbitraryfigureisused.Forfurthercalculationsacapacityof30elementsperhourisused.Ahigher
quarrycapacityisnotverylikelyandaevenlowercapacitywillincreasetheconstructiontime
considerableascanbeseenintable2.Assumingthatittakesabout1daytocutoneelementfromthe
quarryface,360elementshavetobeinproductionatonetimeatthedifferentquarries.Therehastobe
enoughspaceinthequarriestoproducealltheseelementsandenoughtransportationcapacitytobring
theelementstotheconstructionsite.Detailedstudyofthequarriessitesisrequiredtodeterminethe
quarrycapacitymoreaccurately.
Becauseoftheextendedconstructiontimetheuseoflabourwillalsobedifferenttothesituationin
whichthereisalwayssufficientstock.Tomakesuretherearenottoomanyteamswaitingforsupply
theplacingcapacitywillbereduced.Thisisdonebyincreasingtheverticalspacingofthejackup
teams.

Figure10,Optimizingtheplacingcapacity

Theverticalspacingcanbechangedinthespreadsheetsothatthenewmaximumcapacitycanbe
calculated.Infigure10theresultsofthecalculationsforthecoreconstructiontimearegivenfor
differentvaluesoftheverticalspacing,usingaquarrycapacityof30elementsperhourandnostock
producedbeforeconstruction.Thetoplineshowstheuseoflabourinmanyears.Ataverticalspacing
of7.5meterstheuseoflabourisminimal.Theothertwolinesaretheconstructiontimeinhours,using
themaximumplacingcapacityandthelevelledcapacity.Thewaitingtimeforthejackupteamsis
proportionaltothedifferencebetweenthemaximumcapacityandthelevelledcapacity.Thedifference
betweenthesetwoisminimalataverticaldistanceofmorethan10meters.

Summary
Thequarryorproductioncapacitycannotbeestimatedproperlysincenodataaboutthegeometryof
thequarriesisavailabletomeatthistime.
Fromtable1canbeseenthatproductionofstockbeforestartingtheconstructionofthecorewillnot
haveasubstantialbeneficialeffectonthetotalconstructiontimeforthecore.
Becausetheplacingcapacityisdifferentforeverylayer,butthequarrycapacityistakenasaconstant,
theplacingcapacityhastolevelledforthat.Table2showstheconstructiontimesforthecorefor
differentquarryproductions.Aquarryproductionof30elementsperhourisusedforfurther
calculations.Thevalidityofthisfigurecannotbeproperlyestablishedatthistime.
Thequarrycapacityismostofthetimelowerthentheplacingcapacitysotherewillbealotofwaiting
timeforthejackupteams.Toreducethiswaitingtheplacingcapacityisreducedbyincreasingthe
verticalspacing.Figure10showsthatataverticalspacingof7.5meterstheuseoflabourisminimal.
Usingthismodelthetotaltimeneededtoproducethe2,595,632elementsis1,030weeks.The
minimumconstructiontimeforthecoreis85,233hours,thelevelledconstructiontimeis97,758hours
(1164weeks),using128,641manyearstocomplete.Theaverageplacingcapacityisequaltothe
quarryproductioncapacityof30elementsperhour.

4.Planning
Todeterminethetotalconstructiontimeforthepyramidallfouractivitieswillbesummarised.Theuse
oflabourwillnotbelevelled,assumingthatanunlimitedsupplyofworkersisavailableatanytime.

4.1Preparationoftheworkarea
Thisisthefirstactivitytostartandlastsfor5.5weeks,using1,150workers,6,325manweeks.

4.2Constructionofthecore
Startsdirectlyafterthepreparationoftheworkareaiscompleted.Thetotaltimeneededtopositionall
thecoreelementsis97,758+460=98,218houror1,169weeks.Thetotaluseoflabourforthis
activity,ascalculatedinparagraph3.4is6,432,039manweeks.Onaverage5,500peoplewillbeat
workonthepyramidatanytime.

4.3Trimmingthepyramid
Thetrimmingmethodtakes286daystocomplete(41weeks)andwillstartrightafterthecore
constructioniscompleted.497,217mandayswillbeusedforthetrimming.

4.4Productionoftheelements
Theproductionoftheelementswillstartthesametimeasthepreparationoftheworkarea.Asmall
stock,ofsixweeksproduction,willbecreated.Thiswillnothaveagreatinfluenceonthecore
construction.Thetimeneededtoproducealltheelementshastobelessthanthecoreconstruction
time.Thetotaltimetoproduceallthe2,595,632elementsis86,521houror1,030weeks.

4.5Totalconstructiontime
Thetotalconstructiontimeisdeterminedbyaddingupallactivitiesaslistedaboveincludingatwo
weekholidaybetweenthecompletionofthecoreandthestartofthetrimmingactivities.
9+1,169+2+41=1,221weeks,or24.4yearsareneededtoconstructthepyramid.Figure11shows
thatthecriticalpathinbold.Theonlyactivitywithsomefloatistheelementproduction.

Figure11,Planningchart
Althoughthecoreconstructionisinthecriticalpathithastobenotedthattheplacingcapacityhas
beenreducedtominimisewaitingtime.Whenusingthemaximumplacingcapacitytheelement
productionwillbecritical.

5.Costestimate
Togiveanimpressionoftheactualvolumeoftheworkthecostsofthetotalprojectareestimated.For
thisitisassumedthatsomeonewouldwanttobuiltapyramid,ofsimilarsizeastheKhufucomplex.
TheconstructionsitewillbesituatedinBangladeshbecauseoftheabundanceofcheaplabourandthe
factthatthelocalpeoplehavealotofexperiencewithmovinggreatvolumesofmaterialbyhand.The
localcurrencyinBangladeshistheTaka(BTK),allcostswillbeestimatedintheEuropeanCurrency,
theEuro.Thefollowingexchangerateswillbeused:
1Euro=51Taka
1USDollar=40Taka
Atthe1995priceleveltheaveragesalaryforaunskilledlabourerinBangladeshisabout65Takafora
8hourday.Overtimeispaid50%extraperhour.Theworkingdaysatthepyramidare12hours,
makingthedailyrate114Takaperday,or2.23Europerday.

5.1Elementproduction

BecauserockofanybiggersizeisnotavailableinBangladeshconcretewillbeusedtoproducethe
coreandcasingelements.OnlybouldersarefoundinBangladesh,theyarenormallycrushedandused
asaggregateforconcrete.Thedensityoflightaggregateconcreteisabout2,00kg/m3,thepressurein
thebottomlayerbecomes3.4MPa.Thisgivesanindicationoftherequiredcompressionstrengthofthe
coreelements.Lowgradeconcretewillbesufficient.
Themineralaggregatecanbereplacedbybrickchips,whichisaverycommonandmuchcheaper
option.Thepriceforconcretewithbrickchipaggregate,withoutreinforcementwouldbe
approximately3,000BTK/m3,includingallcostsforlabourandtransport.Onecoreelementwould
cost2,998BTKor58.78Europerelement.

5.2Preparationoftheworkarea
Inparagraph3.1itwasestimatedthatoneteamoffivemenwillclear6m2perday.Theunitratefor
thesiteclearingwillbe(5*2.23)/6=1.87XUE/m2.

5.3Coreconstruction
Intheusedscenario,withaquarryproductionof30pcs/hrthetotaluseoflabourresourcesis
6,432,039manweeks.Thecostsforcoreconstructionperelementare:(6,432,039*7*2.23)/
2,595,632=36.68XUEperelement.

5.4Trimmingthepyramid
Thetrimmingofthepyramidtakes286daysandatotalof497,217mandays.Totalcostsofthis
activityis497,217*2.23=1,108,794Eurolumpsum.

5.5Housingandaccommodation
Housingandaccommodationforallthelabourerswillcostapproximately350Takapermanperweek.
Thetotalnumberofmanweeksoverthecompleteprojectis:
Activity

ManWeeks

Preparation
Coreconstruction

Labour

10,350

1,150

6,432,039

1,169

5,502

429,217

41

10,468

6,871,606

1,219

5,637

Trimming
TOTAL

Duration

Table3,Totalnumberofmanweeks
Theoccupationoftheworkerscampwillchangeaccordingtotheneedoflabour.Theaveragenumber
ofpeopletobetakencareofatonetimeis5,637.Theelementproductionissubcontracted,thecosts
ofhousingetc.areallincludedintheunitrateofthesubcontractor.Oneweekaccommodationforone
manwillcost6.86Euro.Thetotalcostsforfoodandaccommodationwillbe47,139,217Euro.

5.6Totalconstructioncosts
Intable3thecostsforeachactivityaresummarisedandtotalled.Allthepricesareexclusiveof
overheads,profit&risk.
Activity

Quantity

Unit

Unitrate

Amount

Elementproduction

2,595,632 pcs

Preparationworkarea

52,900 m

Coreconstruction
Trimming

2,595,632 pcs

Housing

LS
6,871,606 weeks

TOTAL

58.78

152,576,898

1.87

98,923

36.68

95,207,782

1,108,794
6.86

47,139,217
296,131,614

Table4,Totalconstructioncosts

6.Conslusions
Fromallthecalculationsmadeinthepreviouschapterscanbeseenthatitisverywellpossibleto
constructapyramidofthegiganticsizeastheoneatGizabymerelyusingthetechnologyand
resourcesfromtheancientEgyptians.
Theconstructionrequiresverygoodplanningandmanagement.Theworkhastobedoneverycarefully
topreventablockavalanchewhichwillsetbacktheconstructionforweeks.Itisveryconceivablethat
suchadisasterwillactuallyhappenbutnoriskanalysisaremadeonthatpoint.
Themostimportantconclusionthatcanbemadefromthisreportisthatwhentryingtoanalysethis
problemthequarryproductionneedsthemostattention.Allpreviousreportshavefocusedsolelyon
theproblemofverticaltransport.Ihavetriedtoshowthatthisisnottherealproblemifallworkis
organisedwell.Themaximumplacingcapacityissufficienttoensurecontinuousflowofelementsto
theworkplatform.Theproductionofthemorethan2.5millionelementsistherealachievementofthe
pyramidbuildersThatbuildthegreatpyramid.Accommodationandfeedingofthelabourersisthe
secondmajortask.Nottomentionthegreatnumberofsupervisorsandotherstaffmemberstocontrol
theconstructionprocess.

6.1Reliabilityoftheassumptions
Thereliabilityoftheassumptionsmadetoreachtotheconclusionsdiffersperactivity.Preparationof
theworkareisonlyaverysmallpartofthewholeprocess.Coreconstructioncanbeestimatedquite
wellsincetheuseddatacomesfromactualexperimentsasdescribedinHodges.Allfiguresincludean
efficiencyfactorof70%.Thereisnoactualdataavailabletoestimatetheelementproductionsoan
arbitraryfigureisused.Thetotalconstructiontimehighlydependsonthisactivitysoagoodestimate
wouldbeessential.Thefigureof30elementperhourisquitehigh,thereasonIuseditisbecauseit
leadstoatotalconstructiontimeofabout20yearswhichiswhatHerodotusmentionsinhisbookthe
Historiesasdescribedinthenextparagraph.

6.3Herodotuscomments
TheoldestknowndocumentabouttheconstructionofthepyramidiswritteninHerodotus'bookthe
Histories,partII.HevisitedvisitedEgyptinthefifthcenturyBC.InAppendix4therelevanttextabout
pyramidconstructionisgiven.Herodotusmentionsseveralparametersthatarealsoreferredtointhis
document.Onefurlong,asmentionedinthetextis1/8ofamile,201.163meters.Afathommeasures6
feet,1.829meter.
Line11states'Ahundredthousandmenlabouredconstantly...'

Accordingtothecalculationsdoneinthisreportanaverageworkforceofabout5,500menwouldbe
presentatanytime,excludingthelabourneededtoproduceandtransporttheelementtothequarry
site.Assumingthatittakesonewholedaywithtwopeopletocutoneelementoutofthequarryface
andthat30elementsareproducedperhour,360elementshavetobeinproductionandin
transportationatthesametime.Transportationfromthequarriestothepyramidfaceisdonebyoxen
sledgesasshowninfigure2.Toproduceandtransport360elementssimultaneouslynotmorethen
3,600menwouldbeneeded.Themaximumnumberofworkersemployedatanytimeduringthe
project,includingstaff,cooksetc.Wouldprobablynotbemorethen10,000atanytime.
Line20states:'Thepyramiditselfwastwentyyearsinbuilding.'
Toconstructthepyramidinthistimeframeaquarryproductionof30elementsperhourwouldhaveto
bemaintained.Itisstillquestionableifthisisachievable.
Line27states...machinesformedofshortwoodenplanks.
Thispassagecoulddescribetheleversthatwouldhavebeenusedtotransporttheelementsalongthe
sidesandontopofthepyramid.Thelevermethodistheonlywaythevastvolumeofbigsizeelements
canbebroughttotherequiredlevels.
Line38states...1,600talentsofsilver.
Onetalentofsilverisequalto26kg.Thesewereonlythecostsoffoodforthelabourerswho
constructedthepyramid.Thesedays1,600talentsofsilverwouldbeequivalenttoapproximately
4,900,000Euro(118Euro/kg).Usingthecalculationsfromchapter5thiswouldbe1.35Europerman
perweektofeedtheworkers.

6.3Furtherstudy
Thereareseveralpointsnotfullyanalysedinthisstudy.Firstthequarryproblem.Iwouldneedmore
dataabouttheactualplaceofthequarries,themaximumyieldperfaceandtogetabetterinsightinto
thequarryingmethodsusedbytheEgyptians.IamplanningatriptoEgypt,laterthisyear,tostudythe
possiblequarrysitesandtrytoanalysethequarryproductionprocess.Alsotheinfluenceofthe
constructionofthechambersontheconstructionprocessneedssomefurtheranalyses.Theliftingof
thebigsizeelementswillneedadaptationstothegeometryofthecore,whichhavetobefilledupafter
theconstructionofthechambersiscompleted.
Thisreportwillbefollowedbyasecondoneinwhichamorereliableestimateofthequarryproduction
willbedoneandpossibleamendmentstothisreport.
ItwasArchimedeswhofirstdescribedthemathematicalaspectsofusingleversformovingheavy
objectsandIwouldliketoendthisreportwithaquotefromhim:
GivemeafirmplacetostandandIwilllifttheworld.