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The Pyramid Building Process

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Essay title: The Pyramid Building Process

The Pyramid Building Process

By: Brittany Vandermeulen

Step 1 - Location

To begin the process, Ramses II hires priests and officials of Egypt to choose an auspicious site to build the pyramid on. The pyramid is to be built on the west side of the Nile River, for that is where the sun sets at night. Ramses II believes he will travel to a new world after he dies. Because he would have to travel towards the darkness at death, he believes that if he starts out where the sun set, he will not have as far to go. After considering religious interest and safety, the priests and officials choose to build the pyramid in Dahshur, west of the Nile River.

Step 2 - Planning, Blueprints and Dimensions

Before the actual building of the pyramid occurs, considerable planning has to take place. The responsibility of the "royal master builder" falls upon the vizier. The vizier is the head of all the royal works. To begin the process, specialists draw up plans for the particular pyramid on papyrus. Limestone models of the pyramid are made as well.

Step 3 - Orienting the Pyramid

In order to have the true primary coordinates of the pyramid, the Egyptians use stellar measurements. To begin, a circular wall is built. The wall is several feet in diameter, and is tall enough for the person inside it to see nothing by the night sky. A star is then chosen and its position is marked on the walls by one man where it rises and sets. By using a plumb line, the points on the wall are extended to the foot of the wall and joined to the centre of the circle. The resulting angle is north of the bisection.

Step 4 - Managing the Workforce and Shelter

An official of Ramses II then hires workers to build his pyramid. He hires 100,000 workers in total. 86,000 of the workers consist of farmers, 10,000 of skilled craftsmen, and 4,000 of officials. The farmers make up the bulk of the work, for they do not have to care for their crops during certain months because their fields are flooded. They are to be paid in food and clothing. Not a lot of skilled craftsmen are on site, for their only skills are precision carving and sculpting. They do not quarry or carry the heavy blocks. The officials are scribes and overseers, and they work with the dimensions of the pyramid, and oversee everything to make sure that it pleases Ramses II. Shelters are built nearby the pyramid, where the workers are to stay. Bakeries are also build near the site, so the people can be fed.

Step 5 - Materials Needed and Delivery

The next step is to get the appropriate materials delivered to the site of the pyramid in Dahshur. The stones are taken from locations on the other side of the Nile. The main building material is to be limestone, so boats travel across the Nile to Tura to pick it up. Granite is also to be used, so boats again travel across the Nile to Aswan to gather it. For the floor of the pyramid, basalt and alabaster will be the key materials. The basalt will be taken from Fayoum, and the alabaster will come from Hatnub and Amarna. Approximately 2,093,676 blocks will be needed to build the pyramid. Around 10,000 workers will be in charge of gathering the materials needed. The clay and mud bricks that are to be used are taken from Dahshur. The dried mud bricks are made from a mixture of clay, straw, and dung, properly mixed, and put into a mold, and left to dry. The clay is taken from the shallow waters of the Nile. Tools are also made and collected. The tools are made of copper and bronze, which consist of chisels, saws, adze's, and drills. Approximately 25,000 workers are put in charge of making tools and sledges, making and sharpening tools, making pots for food preparation, hauling water for mortar, baking foods, brewing, and a few other jobs. The remaining workers are in charge of the actual building of the pyramid.

Step 6 - Quarrying the Stone

To quarry the stones

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