Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 3 – The Second Pyramid at Giza

Pharaoh Chephren's pyramid at Giza, with remaining casing stones from the quarries at Tura at the top. In the foreground part of the local quarries that were used to for providing backing stones for the pyramids. Photo: Per Storemyr

Pharaoh Chephren’s pyramid at Giza, with remaining casing stones from the quarries at Tura at the top. In the foreground part of the local quarries that were used for providing backing stones for the pyramids. Photo: Per Storemyr

A quarry? The Second Pyramid?? The Pyramid of Old Kingdom Pharaoh Chephren at Giza??? This is not a quarry – it is a Wonder of the World, it is a Pyramid! False. It is also a quarry!

Because: The Romans stripped it for favourable stone 2.500 years after it was built, but it was mainly the sultans of the Middle Ages that gave it the appearance it has today, perhaps aided by an earthquake: They took the brilliantly white casing stone, which originated at the ancient quarries of Tura across the Nile, to use it for building mosques in Cairo. Thus, what we now see are the backing stones, which were taken in the immense quarries just beside the pyramid. But the earthquake, or the Romans, or the sultans – did not manage, or bother, to get to the top! And that’s why there are still remains of casing stones high up. They were brought in place by yet unknown means in the Bronze Age, 4.500 years ago. What a feat! And: Reuse of stone is definitely not just a modern phenomenon!

Want to know more?

Here’s a summary of the series, with links to all the stories: Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: Series summary

The web on Giza:

General on Ancient Egyptian quarries:

  • Harrell, J.A. & Storemyr, P. (2009): Ancient Egyptian Quarries – An Illustrated Overview. In: Abu-Jaber, N., Bloxam, E., Degryse, P. & Heldal, T. (eds.): QuarryScapes. Ancient stone quarry landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean, Geological Survey of Norway Special Publication 12, 7-50. PDF (7,6 MB)

About Per Storemyr

I work with the archaeology of old stone quarries, monuments and rock art. And try to figure out how they can be preserved. For us - and those after us. For the joy of old stone!
This entry was posted in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, Old quarries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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