Secrets of the Great Pyramid Revealed

The Great Pyramid of Khufu, at Giza outside Cairo, is the only one of the original "seven wonders of the world" still in existence. It was built 4500 years ago using 3 million stone blocks, each weighing about 2.5 tons. Plus the 15-ton cap on the top of the pyramid. How was it built by a civilization that only had stone and copper tools?

After years of study, architect Jean-Pierre Houdin believes he has solved the mystery, and he revealed his solution to the world yesterday in a high-tech, animated 3-D presentation called Khufu Revealed. A screen-shot from the web version of the presentation is shown below:

The Great Pyramid of Khufu

Frankly, I was pretty impressed by the presentation on a number of levels. First, I was impressed by Mr. Houdin's theory. I'm not an architect, but the construction methods he describes seem very plausible to me (and were probably even more plausible if you happened to be a God-King who owned lots of slaves).

Second, Houdin's theory takes into account the fact that, well, people are smart. Most people assume that folks nowadays are smart, but that people throughout history, especially this far back, were just stupid barbarians.

That's just far from the truth. Anatomically, people 4500 years ago were the same as people today. Their civilization may not have had access to the wealth of knowledge that we now possess (thanks to things like the printing press, better agricultural techniques that free up resources for other pursuits, etc.), but the people back then possessed the same knack for devising clever solutions that we possess today.

Finally, the presentation is just cool, from the technical and aesthetic perspectives. The web version of the presentation requires an ActiveX control to be downloaded, so it will only run on Internet Explorer (which is actually the only uncool feature).

Once you've downloaded the required ActiveX control, the web presentation includes a short documentary on the construction theory, a nice soundtrack and an enjoyable animated approach that is very effective at showing how Houdin believes the pyramid was built.

As a bonus, the web presentation includes a "Free Navigation" mode that allows users to explore the pyramid and environs using simple mouse and keyboard controls to navigate through the animated setting.


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