How Were The Pyramids Built?

The world-famous pyramids of Giza stand at a whopping 481 feet tall!  They were constructed around 2560 B.C.E. without using modern machinery like cranes. 

Four main steps were involved in building the pyramids:

  • Quarrying the stones: The stones used to build the pyramids were mainly limestone. Workers used tools like copper chisels and stone hammers to extract and shape the stones.
  • Transporting the Stones: The stones were transported from the quarries to the construction site using sledges. 
  • Building the Pyramid: The pyramid was constructed layer by layer, laying down the stones horizontally.
  • Final Polishing: The limestones were polished to give the pyramids a smooth finish.


Tools & Techniques

Evidence gathered by researchers and archeologists shows that the Egyptians used Simple Machines to help with complex tasks.

  • Ramps: Egyptians used ramps to move the stones into place.  
    • Workers dragged or rolled the stones up the ramps using ropes and sledges. The ramps were wetted with water to reduce friction.
  • Levers & Counterweights: A system of levers and counterweights was used to lift the stones. 
    • They could lift and move heavy stones with relatively little force by placing a counterweight on the opposite side of a pivot point.
  • Internal Ramps: The Egyptians built internal ramps within the pyramid structure. 
    • These ramps allowed them to haul stones upwards as the pyramid grew taller.


Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the pyramids:

  • The stones used to build the pyramids weighed as much as 16 tons, which is about the same weight as two adult elephants!
  • The outside of the pyramids was originally covered in shiny white limestone, making them sparkle in the sun.
  • The sides of the Great Pyramid of Giza are almost perfectly aligned with the cardinal points of the compass: north, south, east, and west.
  • The angles and proportions of the pyramids create optical illusions, making them appear larger when viewed from a distance and smaller up close.


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about the mystery of the pyramids:

  • What stones were mainly used to build the pyramids? Limestones
  • What tools were used to extract and shape the stones? Copper Chisels & Stone Hammers
  • What type of simple machine was used to move the stones into place? Ramps
  • Why was water used to transport the stones? Reduce Friction
  • What system was used to lift the stones? Levers & Counterweights
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