The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited

John Romer, Author . Cambridge Univ. $40 (586p) ISBN 978-0-521-87166-2

The largest and most precise stone building in the world and a feat of Bronze Age technology, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built around 2478 B.C. in the reign of King Khufu. But how did the Great Pyramid's makers go about their daily work? what were their timetables, their ambitions? Transposing to Giza some known facts about the building rates of the Red Pyramid during the reign of Khufu's father, Sneferu, archeologist Romer (Great Excavations ) concludes that it would have taken 14 years to build the Great Pyramid and that a nationwide workforce of around 21,000 was employed during the first year of construction and almost half that number as it approached completion. Taking traditional Egyptologists to task, Romer warns readers against swallowing the "myth" that the Great Pyramid was built by a mindless rural labor force kidnapped from distant villages and enslaved by a bureaucracy governed by talented noblemen. Instead, he posits that the workers were intelligent and inventive. Moreover, the author believes that the builders worked from a single construction plan, a "hidden logic" denied by many scholars but that he claims he alone has recovered. Romer is a bracing writer with attitude to spare, yet highly technical data render this volume more suitable to architects than lay readers. Illus. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/08/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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