Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancient Egypt's pyramids: Norwegian researcher unlocks construction secrets

Date:
September 24, 2010
Source:
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Summary:
Scientists from around the world have tried to understand how the Egyptians erected their giant pyramids. Now, an architect and researcher from Norway says he has the answer to this ancient, unsolved puzzle.

The precision system of Khufu's Great Pyramid.
Credit: Ole J. Bryn / NTNU

Scientists from around the world have tried to understand how the Egyptians erected their giant pyramids. Now, an architect and researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) says he has the answer to this ancient, unsolved puzzle.

Researchers have been so preoccupied by the weight of the stones that they tend to overlook two major problems: How did the Egyptians know exactly where to put the enormously heavy building blocks? And how was the master architect able to communicate detailed, highly precise plans to a workforce of 10,000 illiterate men?

A 7-million-ton structure

These were among the questions that confronted Ole J. Bryn, an architect and associate professor in NTNU's Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art when he began examining Khufu's Great Pyramid in Giza. Khufu's pyramid, better known as the Pyramid of Cheops, consists of 2.3 million limestone blocks weighing roughly 7 million tons. At 146.6 meters high, it held the record as the tallest structure ever built for nearly 4000 years.

What Bryn discovered was quite simple. He believes that the Egyptians invented the modern building grid, by separating the structure's measuring system from the physical building itself, thus introducing tolerance, as it is called in today's engineering and architectural professions.

The apex point a key

Bryn has studied the plans from the thirty oldest Egyptian pyramids, and discovered a precision system that made it possible for the Egyptians to reach the pyramid's last and highest point, the apex point, with an impressive degree of accuracy. By exploring and making a plan of the pyramid it is possible to prepare modern project documentation of not just one, but all pyramids from any given period.

As long as the architect knows the main dimensions of a pyramid, he can project the building as he would have done it with a modern building, but with building methods and measurements known from the ancient Egypt, Bryn says.

In a scientific article published May 2010 in the Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, Bryn discusses aspects that can explain the construction of a multitude of the Egyptian pyramids by taking the building grid, and not the physical building itself, as the starting point for the analysis.

A new map

If the principles behind Bryn's drawings are correct, then archaeologists will have a new "map" that demonstrates that the pyramids are not a "bunch of heavy rocks with unknown structures" but, rather, incredibly precise structures.

Ole J. Bryn's findings will be presented and explained at the exhibition The Apex Point in Trondheim from September 13th to October 1st. The exhibition is an official part of the program to celebrate the centenary (1910-2010) of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

About the author:

Ole J. Bryn is a former practising architect, and currently holds a position as Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.

The development of Bryn's theories on the building grids used in Egyptian pyramids has benefited from cooperation with Dr. Michel Barsoum, Grosvenor and Distinguished Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ole J. Bryn. Retracing Khufu's Great Pyramid. Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 2010; 22 (1/2)

Cite This Page:

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Ancient Egypt's pyramids: Norwegian researcher unlocks construction secrets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084615.htm>.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). (2010, September 24). Ancient Egypt's pyramids: Norwegian researcher unlocks construction secrets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084615.htm
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Ancient Egypt's pyramids: Norwegian researcher unlocks construction secrets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084615.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A mammoth skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit on Wayne McEwen's Texas farm back in May. It's now being donated to a museum. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) The signature is one of a couple Lincoln autographs that have popped up recently. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) A new study is packed with interesting Neanderthal-related findings, including a "definitive answer" to when they went extinct. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins