HOW THE GREAT PYRAMID WAS BUILT

Craig B. Smith, Author, C. Smith, Author, Mark Lehner, Afterword by , foreword by Zahi Hawass, afterword by Mark Lehner. Smithsonian $27.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58834-200-3

Many questions regarding the Great Pyramid of Giza remain unanswered: How was a structure approximately two-thirds the size of Hoover Dam built by the ancients? How were 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite weighing several metric tons each lifted into place? How did the ancient Egyptians manage to build such a structure with the tools and human resources at their disposal? In this rather dull book, construction engineer Smith imagines the building of the pyramid as if it were a modern construction project. He lays out the building plans (speculating based on evidence that the Egyptians had plans, scale drawings and models) and the work schedules that Pharaoh Khufu—whose burial tomb the pyramid was—would have needed. Smith examines the evolution of pyramid design to demonstrate that the builders of the Great Pyramid learned to avoid the flaws of earlier models such as the step pyramid. But like others, Smith can only take an educated guess as to how the massive stones were lifted hundreds of meters into place—with ramps. Smith's book is anachronistic in imposing modern standards and methods on an ancient building project, and the history of the Egyptian religion and culture he offers is already well known and better related elsewhere. 32 color, 50 b&w illus. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/29/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
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Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-089158-9
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