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Unwritten Mystery: The Electromagnetic Properties of the Great Pyramid and 2 More Stumping Facts

“The chambers of the pyramid act as resonators, concentrating electromagnetic energy inside them. The study also found that the pyramid as a whole focussed radio waves from above into a region just below the ancient monument.”

An artist's illustration of the electromagnetic properties of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Djoser’s revolutionary project changed Egypt in more ways than one. Not only did the Step Pyramid Complex change Egyptian architectural forever by introducing the first colossal stone building in Egypt, and the earliest large-scale cut stone construction, but it introduces the pyramid as a revolutionary new monument, one that would be further evolved after Djoser, eventually resulting in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Step Pyramid is thought to have been built in no more than nineteen years, which means that unlike may other pharaohs, Djsoer actually managed to see his project complete in his lifetime. The Step Pyramid started off as a strange, square mastaba (there are no square mastabas in Egypt) which was gradually enlarged on its sides. Eventually, the builders would build ” a kind of mastaba atop the other” until the monument had six, superimposed structure tacked one atop the other, completing the Step Pyramid we see today.

It measures 62.5 meters in height and has a base of 121 meters by 109 meters, and a total volume of 330,400 cubic meters (11,667,966 cu ft), which makes it even larger than Menkaure’s pyramid at Giza.

A view of the Step Pyramid of Djoser at the royal necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt. Shutterstock.
A view of the Step Pyramid of Djoser at the royal necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt. Shutterstock.

Although we would expect a long line of Step Pyramids to follow that of Djoser, Egypt’s next pyramid was built generations after Djoser, during the Fourth Dynast reign of the greatest pyramid builder in Egyptian history, Pharaoh Sneferu.

The founder of the Fourth Dynasty is credited for building three large pyramids; one at Meidum and two at Dahshur. If Sneferu did build all three pyramids, then this would mean that his pyramids alone contain more than 3.5 million cu. meters of stone. All the other pyramids of Egyptian Kings combined contain only 41 percent of the total mass of the pyramids of Sneferu, his son Khufu and grandson Khafre. Although Menkaure still used multi-toned stone books for his pyramid, in terms of total mass the third-largest pyramid of Giza has less mass than Djoser’s Step Pyramid.

Sneferu’s pyramid directly influenced the future of pyramid building techniques in Egypt, and greatly contributed to the planning and construction of Egypt’s Great Pyramid.

This masterpiece of ancient engineering and architecture is thought to have been completed around 4,500 years ago. It is the greatest of all pyramids for several reasons. Upon completion, the Great Pyramid is thought to have been the tallest manmade structure on Earth for over 3,800 years.

It is the only pyramid in existence that has both ascending and descending passages, and its the only known—officially confirmed—eight-sided pyramid in Egypt. Its precision and alignment is unparalleled. I. E. S. Edwards, an English Egyptologist explained the pyramid’s eight sides in his 1975 book The Pyramids of Egypt:

In terms of size, the pyramid is a monstrous monument. It is estimated that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built with approximately 2.3 million blocks of stone, and has an estimated total weight of around 6.5 million tons.

In addition, the Great Pyramid covers a total area of 92,000 ft2 or 55,000 m2. Measurements of the pyramid have revealed that each of its sides covers 5.5 acres. This means that its total surface is 22 acres. (1 acre being 4046.86 square meters)

Although today we see the core of the pyramid, in ancient times, the monument was covered by extremely polished white limestone casing stones. Scholars estimate that more than 144,000 casing stones were used to cover the entire pyramid.

The Electromagnetic Properties of the Great Pyramid

While the pyramid’s size is truly awe-striking, and its precision remained unparalleled for a monument built thousands of years ago, what is perhaps even a greater fact are the Great Pyramid’s Electromagnetic properties.

The study detailing the energy concentration of the pyramid and its electromagnetic properties was polished in 2018 (accepted in the journal in June 2018) by scientists from the Department of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials, ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia and the Laser Zentrum Hannover, Germany.

Propagation of electromagnetic waves inside the pyramids of Cheops at different lengths of radio waves (from 200 to 400 meters). The black rectangular position of the so-called King’s Chamber. Image Credit: ITMO University, Laser Zentrum Hannover.

The scientists applied methods of theoretical physics to research the electromagnetic response of the Great Pyramid to radio waves. Scientists discovered that the 4,500-year-old structure concentrates electromagnetic energy in its internal chambers, but also beneath its base, where the Great Pyramid’s unfinished chamber is located. Scientists also successfully mapped the distribution of electromagnetic fields within the pyramid.

Most incredibly, scientists first modeled the pyramid as a solid limestone structure that had not internal chambers. Then, they looked at how the presence of chambers would affect the propagation of radio waves. Their simulations predict that the chambers of the pyramid act as resonators, concentrating electromagnetic energy inside them. The study also found that the pyramid as a whole focussed radio waves from above into a region just below the ancient monument.

The study eventually revealed a fascinating feature of the pyramid that had remained unnoticed until now: “It is revealed that the Pyramid’s chambers can collect and concentrate electromagnetic energy for both surrounding conditions. In the case of the Pyramid on the substrate, at the shorter wavelengths, the electromagnetic energy accumulates in the chambers providing local spectral maxima for electric and magnetic fields.”

The researchers explained that “basically, the Pyramid scatters the electromagnetic waves and focuses them into the substrate region.”

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