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accretion theory is by no means dead and still finds a degree of favor among students, it seems highly improbable that it can be relied on to explain the case. From the indications it seems necessary to assume that Cheops from the first planned a structure very nearly as large as the one he actually com
(After Petrie) SECTION OF GREAT PYRAMID Showing Lower Limit of Original Plan. (A-A)
pleted; and plausible to account for the subsequent falling-off in size in the other monuments as due to excessive costs or possibly a failure of engineering skill.
The latter factor in the time of Cheops was indeed marvelous, as is revealed by the nicety of measure
ment and accuracy of orientation. The error in attempting to make the front of the tomb face the true north is practically negligible, and the same is said to be true of the slight errors in placing the four corners. Considering the primitive tools and the configuration of the land, which precluded direct sighting, the results attained were extraordinary, and could not be bettered, even if they could be equaled, by modern engineers. As for the fitted blocks of the exterior casing, while few remain, it is possible to see that their joints were of amazing accuracy, and the work in the casing of the inner hall is frequently compared for minuteness of exactitude to the best work of modern opticians.
As for the cost, it must have been great, even though the labor employed on the actual building was forced and probably unremunerated by anything save food. Quarrying, which doubtless went on all the year in the cliffs on the other side of the Nile, must have entailed an enormous expense. But the building on the spot, which was mainly carried on while the Nile was in high flood, can hardly have been as costly, since at that period of the year a vast body of the fellaheen would have no other work, owing to the flooding of their fields, and would be free to labor on the royal tomb.
Herodotus relates that at such seasons 100,000 men
were employed and that the work on the actual
pyramid occupied twenty years. Professor Petrie avers that this account is entirely consistent with the task involved in conveying this enormous volume of cut stone from the quarries of Turra and raising it into position with the crude engines of that day. Besides this, Herodotus relates that ten years more were spent in preparing the platform of rock and in building the causeway up which the stone was carried after it had been floated across the flooded river. In round numbers, 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each containing about forty cubic feet, were put into the monument. Archæologists deny that the engineers of the period knew anything of the pulley, and there is a division of opinion as to whether they even knew the roller. But surely it is incredible that the latter was not employed, and, I take it, the better and more sensible view is that it certainly was. Levers, of course, were indispensable.
The sides of the pyramids are almost invariably canted at the canonical angle of (approximately) fifty-two degrees. In their best estate, before the hand of the spoiler was laid upon them, all were coated with a smooth casing of polished stone. A little of this is left in situ at the top of the pyramid of Khephrên. That it was common to cover the polished casement with inscriptions, as Herodotus alleges, is
now denied by many authorities, who hold that what he saw must have been " graffiti,” or vandal writings scrawled on the walls by visitors. No traces of real inscriptions are found in the surviving bits of casing, and the great bulk of it has unfortunately been carted away to be used in the old buildings of Cairo notably in the grand mosque of Sultan Hassan.
The dimensions of the Great Pyramid mean little in the abstract and are furnished by innumerable guidebooks. The length of each side of the pyramid of Cheops is now seven hundred and fifty feet, and its present height is four hundred and fifty-one feet. The Second Pyramid, that of Khephrên, is now four hundred and forty-seven and a half feet and each side measures six hundred and ninety and a half feet. The difference, therefore, at the present time is very slight, and owing to the fact that the Second Pyramid stands on slightly higher ground, besides retaining its apex, it appears from a distance to be the larger of the two. The third notable pyramid, that of Mycerinus, is but two hundred and four feet in the perpendicular and its side is only three hundred and fifty-six and a half feet. It is not to be compared with the other two for magnitude and its interior arrangements are simple.
It is, I am convinced, the height of folly to explore the interior of any pyramid, even that of Cheops. The
descent of the first passage, over worn and slippery stone, and the ascent to the “King's Chamber," over a pavement that is like "glare ice” in a stifling heat of over 80 degrees, with vehement Arabs pushing and pulling, is bad enough, but worse still when it is realized that for most of the way one is forced to crouch because of the low roofing. Moreover, the Arabs are capable of being extremely annoying to unattended women - and owing to the narrowness of the passages one is always practically unattended, save by the immediate Bedouin guides. Once the grand gallery is attained, the progress is much easier, but after all, there is little to see that will interest any but the investigator of scientific bent. Few who enter the pyramid have a word of praise for the experience, and the fatigue of it is so extreme that it generally deters one from superadding an ascent of the exterior, which is universally admitted to be well worth while. Omit, then, the exploration of the tomb within and climb the outside in preference. The Bedouin will be offensive and unbearable anyway — but much less annoying in the open. Besides, there's the view, which is like unto no other in the world.
A glance at the plan of the pyramid of Cheops will serve to show more of its arrangement than a visit to its depths. A steeply descending passage leads down to a sepulchral chamber deep in the