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Visiting Giza’s pyramids today there is little evidence to inform the contemporary tourist of the painstaking work that went into their construction. The Great Pyramid, built in 2550 BC, is the largest pyramid ever built.
With a base measuring 53,000 m2, no pyramid matching its stature has been built in the intervening millennia. So would it be possible to replicate the Pyramid today and how much would it all cost?
The Great Pyramid at Giza retains countless secrets beneath its ancient apex. The materials used, the methods employed, the design itself and the manpower behind it are just some of the things that have baffled archaeologists and engineers about this iconic structure for centuries.
The Pyramid was built using limestone, around 2.5 million blocks of it. Each block weighs a colossal three tons. The long-held view has been that the limestone used was quarried nearby and then transported to the construction site either by being dragged or lifted. However, some researchers have disputed this theory claiming that in fact, the limestone blocks were made in casts as an early form of concrete. This would be good news for the modern engineer keen to recreate it. Yet until these theories are proven we’ll consider using quarried limestone for our reincarnation.
A conservative estimate for the price of the amount of limestone needed is a cool $1 billion. And if we were to meticulously recreate the original then the whole structure would need to be built by humble manpower, not employing the use of cranes or any modern engineering technology. And this is where the serious costs would kick in. Ancient Egypt had the ‘benefit’ of thousands upon thousands of pairs of hands at its disposal. Modern estimates are that between 20 to 30,000 labourers were involved in the building of the Great Pyramid. Skilled stone-breakers, quarrymen, stonemasons and haulers would all be needed for the job. Considering the time taken to quarry the stone, transport it and subsequently hoist it into position, you would be looking at employing upwards of 20,000 people for nearly 20 years. The costs are starting to seriously snowball.
Yet it would be in recreating the long-since lost technology of the pioneering Ancient Egyptians that would be most problematic to recreate. Researchers agree that an advanced lever and ramp system was most likely used to construct the Great Pyramid, but perfecting this would be difficult.
As the Pyramid continues to unravel its many secrets, the internal design is still not fully known, modern engineers can still marvel at the precision of the construction and its breath-taking credentials. But with the huge workforce needed, and the large materials cost, outgoings could spiral to nearly $10 billion.
Maybe it’s best just to stick with the original.
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