Egypt’s archaeologists set out to rebuild the outside of the tiniest pyramid at Giza

Egypt’s archaeologists set out to rebuild the outside of the tiniest pyramid at Giza

In an enormous endeavor, archaeologists are trying to reconstruct the appearance of the smallest of the three well-known pyramids in Giza to its original state some 4,000 years ago. The initiative to replace the hundreds of granite blocks that formerly made up the exterior layer of King Menkaure’s pyramid, the smallest of the three main pyramids on the famous Giza Necropolis, was revealed by an Egyptian-Japanese archaeological mission.

“Egypt’s gift to the world in the 21st century,” according to Secretary-General Dr. Mostafa Waziry of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, declared in a video statement that it will be the “project of the century.”
According to Waziry, there were roughly 124 pyramids in Egypt, and the one built for King Menkaure circa 2,150 BC is the only one known to have been built with an exterior shell of granite slabs. According to him, the massive blocks that cover the pyramid’s sides were originally arranged in 16–18 rows, but only the bottom five–eight rows of blocks are still in place.

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When and how the blocks fell are unknown. There are still some of them surrounding the foot of the pyramid, some of them partially or completely buried, despite the fact that some experts think they fell some 800 years ago.

The intention is for them to be carefully unearthed and replaced by archaeologists. In the process, the team hopes to uncover additional priceless relics that may be concealed beneath or surrounding the blocks.

But not all archaeologists are on board with the initiative; when excavation began, one former head of Egypt’s antiquities ministry voiced concerns.

Dr. Mohamed Abd El-Maqsoud, a former top official in Egypt’s antiquities ministry and Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector, advised against moving the granite stones until a thorough analysis had shown that they were all originally a part of the edifice.

According to him, some of them were probably utilized in the construction of the enormous ramp that led up to the pyramid more than 4,000 years ago rather than being a part of the pyramid itself. He claimed that some of the blocks didn’t seem to have been polished, which was what he would anticipate from an external building element.

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“I believe that not all the blocks near the pyramid were part of the exterior casing,” Abd El-Maqsoud told. “Some of them belong to the funerary temple, some were never used because the king died, and his son didn’t complete the project.”

“The project is in its early stage of the studying and documenting and classifying the blocks, then they will share the results with an international committee,” Waziry told. “No action will be taken until the study is completed and no blocks will be reinstalled until the committee determines so.”

According to him, the project would probably take three years to do. It would include lifting and reinserting the granite blocks after they had been studied using contemporary techniques like photogrammetry and laser scanning.


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