The Pyramids Of Giza

Anome

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#31
I have to say that I have been pretty disappointed in the engineering approach to the whole situation here. They found a shaft with no obvious other end, so they built a robot to drag a camera up there to see what was there. They found a door. So they had to build another robot that could drill through the door. Then they found another door, so we have to wait another six months or so while they build a robot that can get past the first door, and drill through the second door. If they'd thought far enough ahead, they would have designed the second robot to get past the first door, and be able to try the same trick again if it encountered another door.

By the time they find the chamber (should it actually exist), they're going to be amazingly disappointed in what it contains (my money's on razor blades).
 

rynner2

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#33
Bump! Two 'robot' threads merged. And a new article on pyramid building:

The 'eccentric man' who moves big rocks
Ottawa's Nick Raina may have solved one of the world's greatest mysteries. Brushing aside hundreds of years worth of theories by historians and archeologists, the 69-year-old man claims he can build a Great Pyramid just like the one constructed by the Egyptians, in approximately 2450 BC, using simple hand tools and minimal force.

Mr. Raina is not an engineer or a scientist. He describes himself simply as "an eccentric old man that moves big rocks."

He will give a full-scale demonstration in Perth today at the Stewart Park Festival.

Whereas it has traditionally been assumed that the Egyptians built ramps and laboriously dragged more than two million limestone slabs, each weighing approximately 2.3 tonnes, to the top of the Great Pyramid, Mr. Raina said the real answer to the mystery can

be found in a bizarre-looking wooden contraption that sits on his driveway.

"Modern man's concept of how ancient man moved rock is balderdash," he said, standing outside his Onondaga Crescent house in Nepean, surrounded by logs, rocks and rope. "I've reduced moving rocks to the pyramid to a mom-and-pop operation."

In order to move large rocks intelligently, he said, you have to use the weight of the rock. Friction must be eliminated and momentum, once it starts, has to be maintained.

Mr. Raina believes that the rectangular rocks were moved from the quarry to the site of the pyramid by fastening wooden planks to the four sides of the slabs (almost like the bottom of a rocking chair) and then pulling it along with a rope so it rolls.

He uses the wooden casing filled with concrete on his driveway to demonstrate.

"I've had a seven-year-old girl pull 535 pounds herself," he said.

Once the rocks have been placed at the site, Mr. Raina thinks the Egyptians devised a process of teeter-tottering and shimmying -- all based on using the weight of the rock to build the elaborate architecture.

"The system of moving rocks by rotation is not a new theory," said Mr. Raina. "It was an inherent trait that has been lost over time."

In fact, Mr. Raina believes the ancient Egyptians tried to preserve the theory in cartography of scarab beetles, a sacred bug in ancient Egypt that Mr. Raina believes gave them the idea of using rotation to move rocks.

The beetles would roll large balls of dung to a safe place so they could lay their eggs in it.

Although he is a member of the Inventors Association in Ottawa, Mr. Raina has no scientific background or training. He has worked most of his life as a window consultant.

But moving rocks has always been his passion. Mr. Raina was raised on a farm near Kemptville, an experience he describes as the "school of hard knocks with plentiful rocks."

"It takes a very ordinary farm boy to discover very early in his life that it is much simpler to relocate a large rock by rotation than by dragging," he said.

Fifteen years ago he started to really think about how to simplify the process without the use of modern technology.

He claims to have solved the mystery 10 years ago, although he is constantly revising it.

Mr. Raina has never been to Egypt nor have any scientists travelled to his humble home for a demonstration. He has shown off his theory at various fairs, high schools and the Ottawa Exhibition. He has also been featured on CBC's As It Happens.

Mr. Raina said over the years he has received many calls from Egyptologists interested in learning more about his theory.

"They hate me because I have skewered ancient Egypt on them," he said with a chuckle.
 
A

Anonymous

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#34
just an odd thought but have WE built anything that will be visitable in about 2 to 3 thousand years time?possibly even older depending on your veiw of the subject

let alone enterable!
 

stu neville

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#36
Re-reading the thread, anyone got any idea why Dr Hawass is so hell-bent on keeping serious, qualified people with testable theories out of Giza (unless he can hi-jack the operation and claim credit)?

I must admit, I have a nagging suspicion that he knows something everyone else doesn't. Can't think of any other explanation (monstrous ego-ism aside - "If I can't win, you can't play in my pyramid, so naaargh :blah: ).
 
A

Anonymous

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#38
New robot to uncover Pyramid mysteries: Egyptologist

http://english.people.com.cn/200408/12/eng20040812_152630.html

New robot to uncover Pyramid mysteries: Egyptologist
08:11, August 12, 2004


A new robot, currently being designed by a Singaporean university, will hopefully explore the bowels of the Great Pyramid next year, a noted Egyptologist said on Wednesday.

"The manufacturing of the robot will start in October, with the university footing the bill. The exploration will likely start next year," Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters.

"Stone doors inside the Great Pyramid could not just be there as an ornament. They must have a function and hide something behind them," he said.

"They could not just be there for dead King Cheops (Khufu) to slip through on his journey to heaven, as is widely believed," he said.

He noted that Egypt has 118 pyramids scattered in various areas, but they have no such doors.

Their omni-presence inside Cheops must have reasons that should be revealed to help researchers answer many questions about ancient Egyptians, he added.

This will be the second robotic experiment after an American robot conducted the first exploration inside the Great Pyramid in September 2002, when the robot was stopped in its tracks by a wall.

The American robot sent a camera through a small hole drilled in the block only to encounter another stone blocking the way.

The Great Pyramid, also known as the Khufu Pyramid, was built about 4,500 years ago.
 

Breakfastologist

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#39
If I was an ancient pyramid builder I think I might include a narrow inaccessible shaft and put a door in there that brought the whole structure down when it was opened. I reckon I'd find that pretty funny...
 

Timble2

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#40
If there really are all these secret chambers, the pyramids must be like Swiss cheese.

At:http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1293377,00.html

Secret chamber may hold key to mystery of the Great Pyramid

Amateur French Egyptologists on track of 'lost' tomb of Cheops

Laura Spinney in Paris
Monday August 30, 2004
The Guardian


It is one of the seven wonders of the world, but the precious objects the Great Pyramid was built to shelter for all eternity - the mummified remains of King Cheops or Khufu - have never been found, and are presumed to have been stolen by tomb robbers. Now, 4,500 years after it was completed, this semi-mythical structure may be about to reveal its greatest secret: the true resting place of the pharaoh.
Using architectural analysis and ground-penetrating radar, two amateur French Egyptologists claim to have discovered a previously unknown corridor inside the pyramid. They believe it leads directly to Khufu's burial chamber, a room which - if it exists - is unlikely ever to have been violated, and probably still contains the king's remains.

But Gilles Dormion, an architect, and Jean-Yves Verd'hurt, a retired property agent, have so far been refused permission by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities to follow up their findings and, they hope, prove the room's existence.

"To do so, one would simply have to pass a fibre optic cable down through existing holes in the stone, to see if there are portcullis blocks in the corridor below," said Mr Verd'hurt. "Then it will be necessary to enter the front part of the corridor and penetrate the room, taking all precautions to ensure that it is not contaminated."

The portcullis blocks were large granite slabs that the ancient Egyptians lowered into the corridor leading to the king's funeral chamber, via a system of cords descending from above, to seal it after his burial.

Until these procedures have been carried out, the two are at pains to stress that the room has not been discovered. However, they have been working in the pyramids for 20 years, and their radar analyses in another pyramid, at Meidum, led in 2000 to the discovery of two previously undetected rooms.

One respected Egyptologist, Jean-Pierre Corteggiani, of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, was impressed by their work from the start. What first struck him, he said, was that the georadar images were collected and interpreted by a non-Egyptologist, Jean-Pierre Baron, of Safege, a French company that specialises in georadar.

"This specialist works for a company, one of whose main projects is to lay out the future TGV [express train] route from Paris to Strasbourg," said Mr Corteggiani. "If he says it is safe to lay the rails here, because there is no cavity under the ground here, he'd better be right. If not, the death toll will be very high."

Mr Corteggiani was also intrigued by the location of the proposed room - under the so-called queen's chamber, but further west - which would place it "at the cross-section of the diagonals and the absolute heart of the pyramid", a possibly symbolic resting place for Khufu.

Mr Corteggiani brought Mr Dormion and Mr Verd'hurt's ideas to the attention of Nicolas Grimal, who holds the chair in Egyptology at the Collège de France. Mr Grimal was sufficiently impressed to write in his preface to Mr Dormion's book, La Chambre de Chéops, which will be published in France on Wednesday, that if the findings are confirmed, they represent "without doubt, one of the greatest discoveries in Egyptology".

However, when the two present their conclusions to an international congress of Egyptologists in Grenoble in a week's time, they are likely to meet with more scepticism.

"The idea that Khufu's burial chamber is still to be found in the pyramid I find unbelievable," said Aidan Dodson, an expert in Egyptian funerary archaeology at the University of Bristol. "Architecturally there is no reason why there should be a corridor underneath the queen's room. The burial chamber has always been known."

The two Frenchmen have come up with a hypothesis that challenges one of the most popular theories about the Great Pyramid: that its internal structure was conceived in advance and built as planned.

The pyramid contains three known chambers: a subterranean cavity, which was clearly never used, the confusingly named queen's chamber, which was never intended as a burial chamber for the queen, but possibly to hold the king's funeral gifts, and higher up, the king's chamber, which contains an empty granite sarcophagus. This sarcophagus is conventionally thought to have contained Khufu's mummy.

But Mr Dormion and Mr Verd'hurt argue that the pyramid evolved by trial and error, as the architects saw that rooms initially conceived as burial chambers would not take the weight placed on top of them, and went back to the drawing-board.

Above the king's chamber, whose roof is reinforced with granite beams weighing 50 tonnes each, they built in an ingenious system of relieving chambers or cavities.

"The idea was to deflect the weight of the masonry over the core of the pyramid away from those roofing beams and out to the sides," said Jeffrey Spencer, deputy keeper of the British Museum's department of ancient Egypt and Sudan.

But the granite beams are cracked - faults that Mr Spencer said had traditionally been put down to earthquake activity long after the pyramid was completed. Mr Dormion argues instead that "this accident occurred during the building of the pyramid, in the sight and to the knowledge of the builders".

He points to traces of 4,500-year-old plaster in the cracks - evidence, he believes, of attempts to shore up the roof.

"At the end of the day," Mr Dormion writes, "the entire problem of the Great Pyramid can be summed up by this theory: Khufu had three funeral chambers built for himself. The first remained unfinished, the second was available and the third cracked. Khufu was therefore interred in the second."

Or rather beneath the second, because the queen's chamber itself was not equipped to receive a dead king - lacking, most notably, an entrance wide enough to accommodate the stone sarcophagus Khufu ordered for himself.

Whether Mr Dormion is right remains to be seen. Mr Verd'hurt describes his "absolute frustration" at the Supreme Council of Antiquities' refusal to authorise further investigations, for which they have offered him no explanation. No one from the council was prepared to comment. But the pyramids are a sensitive issue in Egypt, and similar requests have been refused in the past
 
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#41
Secret chamber may hold key to mystery of the Great Pyramid

Amateur French Egyptologists on track of 'lost' tomb of Cheops

Laura Spinney in Paris
Monday August 30, 2004
The Guardian

It is one of the seven wonders of the world, but the precious objects the Great Pyramid was built to shelter for all eternity - the mummified remains of King Cheops or Khufu - have never been found, and are presumed to have been stolen by tomb robbers. Now, 4,500 years after it was completed, this semi-mythical structure may be about to reveal its greatest secret: the true resting place of the pharaoh.

Using architectural analysis and ground-penetrating radar, two amateur French Egyptologists claim to have discovered a previously unknown corridor inside the pyramid. They believe it leads directly to Khufu's burial chamber, a room which - if it exists - is unlikely ever to have been violated, and probably still contains the king's remains.

But Gilles Dormion, an architect, and Jean-Yves Verd'hurt, a retired property agent, have so far been refused permission by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities to follow up their findings and, they hope, prove the room's existence.

"To do so, one would simply have to pass a fibre optic cable down through existing holes in the stone, to see if there are portcullis blocks in the corridor below," said Mr Verd'hurt. "Then it will be necessary to enter the front part of the corridor and penetrate the room, taking all precautions to ensure that it is not contaminated."

The portcullis blocks were large granite slabs that the ancient Egyptians lowered into the corridor leading to the king's funeral chamber, via a system of cords descending from above, to seal it after his burial.

Until these procedures have been carried out, the two are at pains to stress that the room has not been discovered. However, they have been working in the pyramids for 20 years, and their radar analyses in another pyramid, at Meidum, led in 2000 to the discovery of two previously undetected rooms.

One respected Egyptologist, Jean-Pierre Corteggiani, of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, was impressed by their work from the start. What first struck him, he said, was that the georadar images were collected and interpreted by a non-Egyptologist, Jean-Pierre Baron, of Safege, a French company that specialises in georadar.

"This specialist works for a company, one of whose main projects is to lay out the future TGV [express train] route from Paris to Strasbourg," said Mr Corteggiani. "If he says it is safe to lay the rails here, because there is no cavity under the ground here, he'd better be right. If not, the death toll will be very high."

Symbolic


Mr Corteggiani was also intrigued by the location of the proposed room - under the so-called queen's chamber, but further west - which would place it "at the cross-section of the diagonals and the absolute heart of the pyramid", a possibly symbolic resting place for Khufu.

Mr Corteggiani brought Mr Dormion and Mr Verd'hurt's ideas to the attention of Nicolas Grimal, who holds the chair in Egyptology at the Collège de France. Mr Grimal was sufficiently impressed to write in his preface to Mr Dormion's book, La Chambre de Chéops, which will be published in France on Wednesday, that if the findings are confirmed, they represent "without doubt, one of the greatest discoveries in Egyptology".

However, when the two present their conclusions to an international congress of Egyptologists in Grenoble in a week's time, they are likely to meet with more scepticism.

"The idea that Khufu's burial chamber is still to be found in the pyramid I find unbelievable," said Aidan Dodson, an expert in Egyptian funerary archaeology at the University of Bristol. "Architecturally there is no reason why there should be a corridor underneath the queen's room. The burial chamber has always been known."

The two Frenchmen have come up with a hypothesis that challenges one of the most popular theories about the Great Pyramid: that its internal structure was conceived in advance and built as planned.

The pyramid contains three known chambers: a subterranean cavity, which was clearly never used, the confusingly named queen's chamber, which was never intended as a burial chamber for the queen, but possibly to hold the king's funeral gifts, and higher up, the king's chamber, which contains an empty granite sarcophagus. This sarcophagus is conventionally thought to have contained Khufu's mummy.

But Mr Dormion and Mr Verd'hurt argue that the pyramid evolved by trial and error, as the architects saw that rooms initially conceived as burial chambers would not take the weight placed on top of them, and went back to the drawing-board.

Above the king's chamber, whose roof is reinforced with granite beams weighing 50 tonnes each, they built in an ingenious system of relieving chambers or cavities.

"The idea was to deflect the weight of the masonry over the core of the pyramid away from those roofing beams and out to the sides," said Jeffrey Spencer, deputy keeper of the British Museum's department of ancient Egypt and Sudan.

But the granite beams are cracked - faults that Mr Spencer said had traditionally been put down to earthquake activity long after the pyramid was completed. Mr Dormion argues instead that "this accident occurred during the building of the pyramid, in the sight and to the knowledge of the builders".

He points to traces of 4,500-year-old plaster in the cracks - evidence, he believes, of attempts to shore up the roof.

"At the end of the day," Mr Dormion writes, "the entire problem of the Great Pyramid can be summed up by this theory: Khufu had three funeral chambers built for himself. The first remained unfinished, the second was available and the third cracked. Khufu was therefore interred in the second."

Or rather beneath the second, because the queen's chamber itself was not equipped to receive a dead king - lacking, most notably, an entrance wide enough to accommodate the stone sarcophagus Khufu ordered for himself.

Whether Mr Dormion is right remains to be seen. Mr Verd'hurt describes his "absolute frustration" at the Supreme Council of Antiquities' refusal to authorise further investigations, for which they have offered him no explanation. No one from the council was prepared to comment. But the pyramids are a sensitive issue in Egypt, and similar requests have been refused in the past.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1293377,00.html
 

Kondoru

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#43
Behind the door is the Pharoahs lavitory complete with papyri bog roll and plush seat.

The inscriptions on the walls will keep scholars and crackpots alike busy for a millenium and will rewrite history from the point of veiw of the night soil collector.
 

Cavynaut

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#44
anome said:
Oh, no. Not again!
Me an' all Anome.

It's like the boy who cried wolf.

Why don't they just not bother until they can show us a vimana or two and decent maps of the antediluvian world. That Piri Reis stuff is crap.
 

KeyserXSoze

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#46
Hidden Tomb

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2004/09/02/international1640EDT0672.DTL&type=science
Egypt's antiquities chief on Thursday revealed a 2,500-year-old hidden tomb under the shadow of one of Giza's three giant pyramids, containing 400 pinkie-finger-sized statues and six coffin-sized niches carved into granite rock.

Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists had been working for three months to clear sand from a granite shaft found between the pyramid of Khafre -- also known by its Greek name of Chephren -- Giza's second-largest tomb of a pharaoh, and the Sphinx.

Under blaring sun Thursday, Hawass said Giza's latest ancient discovery came to light after archaeologists detected what appeared to be a four-sided shaft. The antiquities chief verified it by climbing a pyramid to get a bird's eye look.

Excavators later removed several tons of fine sand to descend 33 feet below ground level to where they found the niches.

Hawass said a wooden coffin and a pile of turquoise-colored figurines made of faience, a non-clay ceramic material used by ancient Egyptians, were also found.

"The statues, called 'shawabtis,' depict servants. Their task was to answer questions for the deceased in the after life and to serve the dead people," Hawass told The Associated Press.

Hawass said workers will continue clearing sand from the shaft for a further 33 feet, where he believes more antiquities, including a granite sarcophagus, could be unearthed.

The shaft was built in the 26th pharaonic dynasty during a period of cultural revival when "remarkable, huge tombs" were constructed, Hawass said.
:cool:
 

KeyserXSoze

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#47
Secret room of Cheops

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBZ2X3YPYD.html
French Egyptologist Defends Pyramid Theory, Despite Attack by Egyptian Antiquities Chief

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - A pair of French Egyptologists who suspect they have found a previously unknown chamber in the Great Pyramid urged Egypt's antiquities chief to reconsider letting them test their theory by drilling new holes in the 4,600-year-old structure.
Jean Yves Verd'hurt and fellow Frenchman Gilles Dormion, who has studied pyramid construction for more than 20 years, are expected to raise their views during the ninth International Congress of Egyptologists in Grenoble, France, which starts Monday. They also published a book about their theory this week.

Standing in their way is Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, who heatedly rejected the theories during a Cairo press conference this week.

"There are 300 theories concerning hidden rooms and other things inside the pyramid, but if I let them all test their theories they will do untold damage to the pyramid, which was built with the blood of Egyptians," said Hawass. "I will not let Egyptian blood be damaged by amateurs."

He said earlier requests from the same pair were turned down in 1999 and 2003.

In their book, "The Room of Cheops," Dormion and Verd'hurt write that 1988 study of an area below the queen's burial chamber in the pyramid found what appeared to be an 11 1/2-foot "structure," according to the French magazine Science and Future.

"The study of this part of the pyramid was always neglected because there had been a grill to block access," they wrote. "While we were working on ventilation in 1988, we were able to penetrate into the depths and study briefly but not enough to state anything essential."

Verd'hurt laughed off Hawass' "amateur" tag, citing previous close relationships with Egyptian antiquities officials and work that he and Dormion had conducted in 1998 on the Meidum pyramid south of Cairo, which dates back more than 4,500 years to the 4th pharaonic dynasty.

The work at Medium, according to Verd'hurt, led to the discovery of two rooms and two passages that had been previously "undisturbed and unknown." They want to do similar work at the Great Pyramid, built by Khufu, a ruler also known as Cheops.

"To be sure of this process, we wanted to verify the result of our architectural works using a radar that confirmed the location of a passage and a system of closures. So I think that now we should at least take these results into account in order to go further in our work."

Verd'hurt said Egyptian opposition to his theory is a "shame." They are expected to raise the issue again with Hawass in Grenoble, but the Egyptian antiquities official said he will not speak to them.

Verd'hurt said he was disappointed by Hawass' refusal.

"It's true that Cheops arouses and attracts passions but, with regard to history, it's really too bad," he said. "I think it's too bad that he doesn't sit down with us to let us explain ourselves."
 

Kondoru

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#48
Why dont these people go investigate the Great white pyramid in China?? Its bigger and painted in pretty colours.
 

revmoon

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#51
Visit to the pyramids: what to do/see?

Hi all,

I'll be visitting a client in Cairo in a few weeks time. Of course I'll stay on a day or so to visit my ol' pals Menky, Khufu and Chefren and their pussycat. I heard they just reopened their habitats for the general public and I was wondering if any of you could advise me on explicitly fortean things to do or see when there. Awaiting your reponse,

sincerely, the reverend.
 

Iris

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#52
I sometimes talk online to one of the tourguides from there.
They all have to have a degree and know everything about all the antiquities. He had some group awhile ago who were meditating and doing some kind of initiations in one of the temples. He said if tourists on the tours ask him he will talk about reincarnation and dreams because that interests him but he doesn't push it to those not interested. I don't know if you were going to take any tours but if you want I could give his company email and his name.
I don't know how to email you from here.
 

revmoon

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#53
Hi,

that would be great. You can either click the little button labelled 'PM' below this post to send me a personal message, or just mail me at [email protected]

I'll email your tourguide-friend before I go and see what he can do for me....

thanks!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#54
If you know something about the pyramids tell your tour guide, they are only too happy to get into the nitty gritty if you already know the tourist twaddle.

Whatever you do, go inside the Great Pyramid, even to walk through Mamoun's Hole is mystical.
If you do a camel ride around them, be careful, agree a price before hand and pay it, they are chancers the lot of them. But don't be afraid to give the guards of the sites a bit of discrete bakshees, you never know where they might let you in.

A firm but polite manner is best.

Definitely go and see the recovered barque, it is breath taking. And in general, enjoy. Finish the day if you can at all, by taking a beer on the terrace and watching the sound and light show, it is fantastic and well worth the cash. Finally, if you are back in Cairo, go to the El Gezirah island in the Nile, climb up the Lotus tower and look back over Giza city at the Pyramids, it gives a marvellous perspective to the entire plateau and your experience. I so envy you. I have been there twice and I think a part of me will always be in Egypt.

You lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, sod! :)

LD
 

revmoon

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#55
Ecellent! I heard about the light show already. I'll make a point of seeing the barque. How about things absolutely NOT to do?
 

Sertile

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#56
I heard the great pyramid stinks. Literally, all those sweaty bodies packed into such a tight space, walking uphill... I'm just warning you!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#57
Can't say I noticed a stink as such, and I was there in August!

Inside the Great Pyramid there is an ascending tunnel that is quite low in head height and steep in gradient. It can be somewhat unnerving to see the gigantic posterior of some western world tourist eclipsing the lights from the begining of the Grand Gallery.

Apart from that, the King's Chamber is surprisingly small. The unadorned internal walls of the entire structure have a sort of ominous quality, especially when you think of the towering piles of m,asonry above your head as you make your way to the heart of the pyramid.

LD
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#58
I brought a precision compass and was measuring the alignment of the pyramids.
I had always heard they had been aligned perfectly N-S.
I don't have my notes atm but I suppose the few degrees it was out could be explained by the precession of the earth and a slightly different N-S location 5K years ago.
 

Mike_Pratt33

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#59
Fenris said:
I brought a precision compass and was measuring the alignment of the pyramids.
I had always heard they had been aligned perfectly N-S.
I don't have my notes atm but I suppose the few degrees it was out could be explained by the precession of the earth and a slightly different N-S location 5K years ago.
The pyramids are aligned to the earth axis of rotation which is different from the magnetic axis.

revmoon: If you have time the step pyramid at Saquarra is worth seeing. Its a few miles south of Cairo
 

Alatotep

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#60
Cairoaming

I'd definitely hit the Saqara pyramid - get there early in the morning, when there's nobody around. Much ruined temple stuff around it, plus some some lovely tombs just over the hill (and the Serapeum, where they buried sacred bulls, if its open just now).

The Bent Pyramid etc beyond it also worth visiting - very desolate, and no touts, so you can really take it in. Oh and, if you're visiting the pyramids at Giza, make sure you don't miss the funeral barge!

If you're of a Christian bent, the various Coptic Churches well worth visiting - not as impressive as the ancient Egyptian or Islamic stuff, but if nothing else you can see the cave where Mary, Joseph and Jesus supposedly stayed while in Egypt.

And many, many wonderful, wonderful mosques... The American University Bookshop is very good for interesting Cairo guidebooks / history books, plus all the Egyptian novelists you'd ever need to read. Would particularly recommend The Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz for Cairo reading.

Smoke a shisha for me in the Khan al Khailili!

*jealous*
 
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