Monday Lecture Series Presents: Dr. Bob Brier

“The Secret of the Great Pyramid.” 

No, not boulders rolling down abandoned pyramid traps nor snake pits lying in wait of a wary tomb raider.  However, there were quite a few mummies.

This Monday lecture, Dr. Bob Brier, Senior Research Fellow at C. W. Post of Long Island University, spoke to us about the new theory as to how the great pyramid was constructed.  Pyramids were built to house the remains of pharaohs and to keep them safe from scavenging animals.  A leading expert on mummies, Dr. Brier has heard his share of explanations from building the pyramid with ancient elevators to those of a creative mind set who swear that the aliens in fact were the supreme masterminds.  The most accepted version, however, is that the Egyptians utilized a mile long ramp to roll the 9 to 80 ton heavy stone blocks to the pyramid.

At least, that is what the accepted theory used to be.  Dr. Brier one day was introduced to the French engineer Mr. Jean-Pierre Houdin.  His theory addressed many of the problems that arose in the mile-long-ramp theory. He proposed that instead of having a ramp on the outside of the pyramid, the Egyptians instead used an internal ramp built within the structure itself using a corbeling system.  The engineering feat that this would have been for that period is staggering.  The Egyptians had in fact invented the first arches and the idea is that they used a series of ramps along the inside edges of the pyramid in a square spiral to the top with notches cut into the corner for builders to turn the blocks on the ramp.

There was also a smaller ramp possibly along the southern wall where larger stone blocks were taken to be placed above the burial chamber to provide a false flat ceiling.  This was accomplished by the use of an internal arch and rafter system that transferred the weight of the stone over the burial chamber to the rest of the pyramid. Upon completion of the base, the smaller ramp would have been disassembled and used to finish constructing the remainder of pyramid.  If the pyramid were built using the mile long ramp, this would have not been possible.  The ramp, after completion of the pyramid, would have needed to be de-constructed and the remains would have to disposed of in some manner.  However, there is no evidence of that happening.  Whatever theory may prove true, the ancients accomplished an astounding engineering feat when they built the great pyramid. 


Secret of the Great Pyramid from Webb Institute on Vimeo.

Webb Institute Monday Lecture presented by Bob Brier about new ideas about the construction of the Great Pyramid. Recorded March 18, 2013, Henry Auditorium, Webb Institute, Glen Cove, NY.