Ancient Egyptians moved more than 170,000 tons of limestone to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Archaeologists have long puzzled over just how they accomplished that feat, but papyrus rolls found by a French-Egyptian team offers some insight.
In 2013, researcher Pierre Tallet came across papyrus written by men who helped with the Great Pyramid of Giza’s construction. The papyrus was found in a set of caves used for boat storage in Wadi-al-Jarf, in a remote desert area. Tallet said in the Channel 4 documentary Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence, aired this month, “Since the very day of the discovery it was quite evident that we have the oldest papyrus ever found in the world.”
Among the documents was the journal of an official never heard of before, named Merer. Tallet has spent the past four years deciphering Merer’s words, including his claim that stone was brought to the pyramids via boat – which adds up, since archaeologists found boat remains near the pyramids. Boats transported limestone to the building site via canals dug for that purpose along the Nile River. Then, according to IFLScience, the stone blocks were rolled on special tracks to arrive at the site.
The limestone came from Tora, around eight miles away from Giza, and granite used in the great pyramid came from even farther: more than 500 miles south in Aswan. According to IFLScience, the same kind of boats that brought the limestone to the site could have been used to bring granite from Aswan. The Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu’s tomb, was constructed more than 4,000 years ago, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that remains intact.