Saturday, January 25, 2014
Unlocking the Great Pyramid (2008) [UR] ****
Egypt's 480-foot high Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids on the Giza Plateau. Many theories have been proposed to explain how two million 2.5-ton stone blocks were moved and assembled, including a mile-long, straight external ramp or an external spiral ramp built against the pyramid's side. However, French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin recently proposed a new theory, developed by modeling the pyramid using 3D computer software from Dassault Systemes.
Houdin's theory is that the pyramid was built using a spiraling, inclined interior tunnel, and that the tunnel remains hidden inside the pyramid. Houdin's theory suggests the pyramid was built in two stages. First, blocks were hauled up a straight external ramp to build the pyramid's bottom 200 feet of height. Then, workers began building an inclined, internal tunnel, which followed a spiral path up and around as the pyramid rose. The blocks used in the first stage external ramp were then recycled in the second stage for the pyramid's upper 280 feet. And because the tunnel is inside, as the pyramid rose in height, it disappeared from view.
Supporting evidence for Houdin's tunnel theory includes an open notch at the 300-foot elevation on the northeast edge of the pyramid, inside of which is a small L-shaped room. According to Houdin's theory, an interior tunnel requires open areas at the pyramid's four corners, to give workers space to pivot the blocks through 90-degree turns; the notch and room are remnants of one such opening. In addition, micro gravimetric studies done several years ago found evidence of the spiral tunnel.
This riveting documentary, narrated by Egyptologist Bob Brier, also presents evidence of Houdin's second, equally incredible theory: that the Grand Gallery housed a giant rolling pulley and counterweight system used to haul 60-ton granite blocks up the outside ramp, blocks that were used to construct the five false ceilings above the King's Chamber, protecting it from the pyramid's great weight. If you’re interested in theories about how and when the Giza Pyramids were constructed, and especially if you enjoyed the science-fiction thriller Stargate, you won’t want to miss Unlocking the Great Pyramid.
Labels: documentary, history
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=NA, viewers=62)
National Geographic Webpage
Great Pyramid Mystery Solved?