4500-year-old papyrus describes the construction of the Great Pyramid of Egypt

The document was written by a witness at the time and explains how the immense granite blocks arrived at the monument.


The way the ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid is impressive: it took 20 years of construction, in which around 100,000 men worked on the 139-meter-high monument, without the help of complex tools and the raw materials used tended to come from far away.

While limestone was produced in Tura, almost 13 kilometers from Giza, granite traveled much further, at least 800 km, and was brought from cities in southern Egypt such as Aswan and Luxor.

This question has always bothered archaeologists and experts.


Who would have helped the Egyptians in moving these giant pieces of stone, weighing at least 25 tons each?

Traditional archaeologists believe the key to the question lies in an ancient papyrus, a 4,500-year-old manuscript that is considered the oldest in Egyptian history and is on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The document was discovered near the pyramids of Giza in 2013, more precisely in the ancient port of Wadi al-Jarf, on the Red Sea and, since then, it has supported the work of an international group of researchers.

The most recent conclusions were released in the 2017 documentary Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence, produced by British TV Channel 4.

According to the group, the construction of the Great Pyramid, which would serve as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu, was only possible thanks to a complex system of river channels.

It is believed that the author of the papyrus, known as Merer, was an officer responsible for leading a group of 40 sailors during the construction of the Great Pyramid.

In his diary, he details how the operation worked:

“Through the waters of the Nile, the stones traveled on wooden boats. Thanks to channels excavated to the foot of the pyramid under construction, the boats could get as close as possible to the work. Thus, the boats were pulled by thousands of workers with the help of strings”.

Around 170 thousand tons of limestone and at least 2.3 million blocks of stone would have reached Giza this way.