Unlocking the Great Pyramid, The
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(Jan 20, 2009)
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When ancient architects completed construction on the Great Pyramid at Giza, they left behind the greatest riddle of the engineering world how did builders lift limestone blocks weighing an average of two and a half tons, 480 feet up onto the top of the pyramid? For centuries, adventurers and Egyptologists have crawled through every passageway and chamber of the Great Pyramid, measuring and collecting data in an attempt to determine how it was built. For the first time, a revolutionary theory argues that the answer may be inside the pyramid. Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin has devoted his life to solving this mystery by creating incredibly accurate blueprints of the Great Pyramid, using cutting-edge 3-D software. Unlocking the Great Pyramid follows Houdin and renowned Egyptologist Bob Brier in Giza as they put Houdins theory to the test.
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There are actually three theories that are proposed: (1) the massive blocks were raised to the upper levels of the pyramid using an INTERNAL ramp (how simple, how clever!); (2) the Grand Gallery served as a conduit for the raising of the massive roof beams and supports for the King's Chamber- it seems so obvious now but it took the eyes of an Architect to reverse engineer all of the evidence and come up with a plausible theory; and (3) finally, it was proven that the King's Chamber ceiling beams actually cracked slightly while the pyramid was still under construction- again careful observation, measurement and the Architect's eye make this conclusion highly plausible.
And all of what could be a very dry accounting is done with in a thoroughly absorbing and entertaining way, in no small part due to the narration of Bob Brier, one of my favorite Egyptologists on screen.
I have been fortunate enough to explore the Great Pyramid with an Egyptologist friend of mine thanks to the generosity of Dr Zahi Hawass (even when it was closed to the general public), and this documentary brought back so many vivid memories. I think that it would be even more intriguing to those who have not actually been there: if this documentary doesn't inspire them all the more, nothing will.
I highly recommend this film to all, Egypt buff or not. There were even two new things that I learned about the Great Pyramid but I will not give them away here. Suffice to say that this DVD is worth purchasing because you will want to view it over and over again; I certainly did.
High school world history students found this film so fascinating, and it spurred such great class discussion, that several students wanted to watch it again. I would recommend fast forwarding a couple of minutes at the beginning of the film, where they introduce their conclusions, so that kids can really experience the "discovery" phase of looking at the problems surrounding the theories of how the pyramids were constructed.
The pacing of the film was good. My only complaint was that they didn't let the professionals involved really appear as brilliant as they are. Highly recommended!
Watching this gave me the sense of actually being there and how big it is. There is a part of the program, where the host climbs way up the side and it gives you an idea of how tall it is and how dangerous it must have been to build it. I never knew how big the blocks were that made up the pyramid....unreal ! This is a great dvd for anyone interested in the pyramids and how they were built.