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The Great Pyramid of Giza
Building an ancient treasure in your own backyard!
Project Description     

    The Great Pyramid of Giza is a defining symbol of Egypt and the last of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It is located on the Giza plateau near the modern city of Cairo and was built over a twenty-year period during the reign of the king Khufu (2589-2566 BCE) of the 4th Dynasty. Until the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France in 1889 CE, the Great Pyramid was the tallest structure made by human hands in the world; a record it held for over 3,000 years and one unlikely to be broken.

    One of the many intriguing mysteries surrounding the Great Pyramid is how the ancient Egyptians were able to construct such a large stone monument with unparelled precision using only simple hand tools and human labor.  In addition, the pyramid is constructed from over a million limestone blocks weighing several tons each and yet there are chambers, galleries and passageways throughout its interior that could be duplicated today even using modern, sophisticated measuring and stone cutting techniques.  Finally, although the Pharoah and the Queen's burial chamber were discovered intact, there was no treasure or rooms filled with priceless artifacts which begs the question whether or not there exist secret burial chambers left undiscovered. Hmmm.

    Our project will be constructed from plywood and foam and will be semi scale in appearance.  We are going to leave one of the four sides open to reveal additional interior detail.  The base will measure 18 inches across, ten inches high with sides measuring 13.5 inches long.  Here goes...

Materials UsedTools Needed

3/4 inch sanded plywoodJig or circular saw
1/4 inch plywood veneer   Router
      24" by 24"  closed cell foam   Belt sander
Carpenter's glueMedium grit sanding blocks
The Base

    We selected a piece of 3/4 inch plywood and cut each side to measure 21 inches in length.  We rounded the edges of the base using a handheld router and followed with a medium grit sanding block to smooth out any rough spots.  The actual base of our pyramid will be 18 inches wide and should fit comfortably on the 3/4 inch ply.

    Once we have sanded the base smooth, we will apply a stain to darker the color.  We will add a light layer of white glue and sprinkle sand to the surface for a realistic texture.
The Side Templates

    We went online to look for measurements for our pyramid that would provide us with a scale appearance.  We knew that the four sides of the Great Pyramid were of equal dimension but were not equilateral triangles.  Our first attempt at making a scale template did not take into consideration the length of the triangle from the midpoint of the base to the top.  We checked our measurements, crunched some numbers and came up with a new template that looks much better.

    Pictured to the right we traced our templates onto thin cardboard and made four copies.  We then used masking tape to temporarily secure the sides together in order to check our measurements for accuracy.  Sure enough, after placing the cardboard template on the base we are beginning to see what our pyramid is going to look like. 

    The next step will be to cut each side out of 1/4 inch plywood veneer.  We used a band saw to cut four sides from  plywood using our updated measurements. (See below).
This page was last updated: December 6, 2017