Scientists may have solved the mystery of how the ancient Egyptians transported millions of 2-ton stone blocks across the desert to build pyramids.

Scientists may have solved the mystery of how the ancient Egyptians transported millions of 2-ton stone blocks across the desert to build pyramids.

Scientists may have solved the mystery of how the ancient Egyptians transported millions of 2-ton stone blocks across the desert to build pyramids.

A family poses for a selfie in front of the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Tourists pose for a photo in Giza, Egypt on October 21, 2021. The iconic pyramids are surrounded by a rugged desert, prompting scientists to wonder how the bricks were brought to the site.Wang Dongzhen / Xinhua / Getty Images

  • The ancient Egyptians built the spectacular pyramids of Giza in what is now a desert landscape.

  • How they transported the ton heavy building blocks to the pyramids has long been a mystery.

  • By tracing the ancient pollen, scientists have discovered a branch of the Nile that disappeared thousands of years ago.

Researchers have discovered a dried-up branch of the Nile that reached the great pyramid complex of Giza some 4,500 years ago.

The findings, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explain how the ancient Egyptians were able to haul millions of tons of heavy building blocks to the site of the iconic pyramids over four miles of what is now a desert landscape.

“It was impossible to build the pyramids here without this branch of the Nile,” study author and geographer Hader Sheesh told The New York Times.

The Sphinx is seen at sunset

The Sphinx at the Pyramids of Giza on November 20, 2019.KHALED DESOUKI / AFP via Getty Image

A 4,500-year-old architectural marvel that still baffles scientists

Impressive in size, with perfect geometry and adorned with intricate decoration, the pyramids of Giza, on the outskirts of modern Cairo, served to demonstrate the power of the pharaohs in the golden age of Egypt.

The site includes three pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, built as ornate and majestic mausoleums for the pharaohs Khufu, Chefren and Menkaure between about 2560 BC and 2540 BC.

The pyramid of Cheops, known as the Great Pyramid, was the first to be built and the largest of the three. It comprises approximately 2.3 million limestone and granite blocks. Each block weighs between 2.5 and 15 tons, according to National Geographic.

The Great Pyramid is the oldest of the famous Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one to remain largely intact. It initially rose about 481 feet, making it the tallest man-made structure in the world for nearly 4,000 years.

Yet the Nile lies about four miles east of the pyramids. How the builders of the time managed to transport the huge blocks to the pyramid site has long puzzled scientists and archaeologists.

A map shows the distance between the Nile and the site of the pyramids.

The Giza pyramid complex is located approximately 4 miles from the Nile.Google Maps

Investigative work to discover a river bed

Scientists had already thought that the Egyptians may have brought the stones to the site via water.

A papyrus discovered in 2013 showed the location of an ancient port near the Red Sea where stones were loaded, suggesting that the Egyptians knew how to move blocks along rivers.

Other excavations had suggested that a harbor was built near the pyramids and that builders had dug intricate waterways near the harbor.

A close-up shot of the pyramids shows the size of the heavy building blocks.

An Egyptian walks to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt on April 26, 2021.Wang Dongzhen / Xinhua via Getty

To determine if the Nile followed a different path at the time, scientists dug holes in the desert surrounding the pyramids for ancient pollen from plants such as papyrus and cattails, which thrive in an aquatic environment.

The study showed that during the rule of Cheops, Khafre and Menkaure, some 4,500 years ago, a stable branch of the Nile River extended towards the pyramids.

This branch has long since disappeared. Pollen from drought-tolerant plants such as grasses showed that this branch of the river had been in decline for centuries when King Tutankhamun came to power, around 1350 BC, according to The Times.

“Knowing more about the environment can solve part of the puzzle of building the pyramids,” Sheisha told the Times.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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