Even after more than four thousand years, the Pyramids in Egypt continue to inspire awe and wonderment for their sheer size, complexity, and the lingering questions and myths regarding the manner in which they were constructed so long ago. With no record of how they were originally constructed, much work has been done to untangle these mysteries, and researchers have arrived at a series of probable conclusions. These revelations form the basis for the new Naked Science documentary Pyramids.
How did the Egyptians manage to craft such a massive structure to such an acutely accurate degree? How were the millions of heavy stones transported without the use of a crane? What was the thinking behind their inventive triangular design? And who was ultimately responsible for layering brick upon brick?
These are questions that continue to challenge and perplex even the most accomplished engineers and Egyptologists. This is particularly the case with the Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt. Standing 481 feet into the air, 775 feet in diameter, and weighing the equivalent of sixteen Empire State buildings, this iconic structure is the only surviving Wonder of the World. It consists of millions of heavy stones weighing as much as 50 tons each.
The experts in the film demonstrate the incredible precision with which these stones were layered, and speculate as to which rudimentary tools of the time they could have utilized to achieve this. We hear a recounting of how tireless the efforts must have been to complete the project; 25,000 workers placing a block every two minutes over a period of 23 years. The film also provides well-reasoned examinations of long-standing myths (were the pyramids really built on the backs of slaves?), we're given a sense of what these structures represented to the Egyptian people, and engineers attempt to explain how they've managed to remain nearly intact after so many thousands of years.
It's difficult to imagine a more stunning work of architecture in the known history of our planet, or one that is more wrapped in riddles and mysteries. With an infectious inquisitiveness typical of the Naked Science documentary series, Pyramids weaves a spell as tantalizing and entrancing as its subject.