This chapter summarizes and justifies one of the founding hypotheses of the study.
To understand the pyramid of Cheops we must begin by understanding the first pyramid, that of Djoser.
Before this pyramid, kings were buried in rooms at the bottom of a well covered with a mastaba certainly in the shape of a pyramid, but small size made of a stack of all coming covered with a stone facing. Structures today completely devastated of which there remain only scattered ruins.
Suddenly a king finds a way to stack millions of heavy stones on a great height, building around the pyramid a gigantic mortuary complex in finely cut and adjusted stones.
It is therefore that there has been technical innovation at the service of an architectural innovation:
Ability to extract quarries and finely cut stones by the millions.
Ability to move and raise very high “easily” very heavy blocks.
The tool used has disappeared, but it remains in the pyramid an important trace that is easy to decode:
It is under the base of the pyramid 11 wells 33 m deep, section 3.5 M² aligned on the east face, their vertical plane cuts the pyramid 20 m higher in the second degree.
A twelfth well of section 49 M² depth 33 m is located in the center of the pyramid it contains in its center on its bottom placed on a small dyke a volume in granite having a circular opening closed off by a granite cork, that the archaeologist Jean Philippe Lauer declared being the Djoser’s vault.
Another identical well is 300 m farther south giving free air and escaping the pyramid, connected to the first by a horizontal duct at -33 m.
These wells recall the earlier tombs tradition, but they do not play the function, because the volumes in which these wells open can be accessed by a north descending gallery and a south corridor for the central well and 4 descending galleries for the wells to the east. They therefore had not the function of accessing the rooms.
In addition the central well CONTAINS the “vault” instead of being the access and with a arch that makes the ceiling so it was empty and not filled according to tradition.
Despite appearances we are no longer in the previous funeral tradition, but in an architectural revolution allowed by a technical innovation.
For a civilization that has a long maritime and fluvial tradition, it is logical to think that these wells that otherwise had no functional utility were there to hold water which in turn could lift a float, a kind of heavy duty utility vessel loaded with stones, designed for a vertical path and not horizontal as usual.
The principle of operation is very straightforward, the float is a waterproof hull whose deck is caped by a long rod and stabilized below by a weighted keel.
Here is the functional picture as it could have appeared while the pyramid was at zero level, one of the dug wells containing the float was filled with water to the base to reveal the stem in all its scope .
This illustration is that of an elevator of the oriental wells while it floats unloaded.
We can detail the tray carries loads which ends
The stem resting on
The watertight hull supporting the rod whose “bridge” is flush with the water level in the well.
A long keel always immersed in the water extends the hull downwards.
Which contains a very heavy ballast very probably in granite in lower part which will stabilize this ship whose load is very high above the bridge.
This is one of the 11 water elevators that could have been found in the eastern wells at the beginning of the site.
Above the base which is the high point of the well, there is a height of 20 m of piled stones which form the body of the pyramid, it will be the maximum range of the float and the length of the stem.
Below the base there is 33 m of well depth, so that the float makes a run of 20 m it must have exactly 13 m length between its hull bridge and the low point of its keel containing the ballast, 13 m will be his “draft” to use a term of naval architecture.
To vary the lifting height it was enough to gradually raise the water level of the wells according to the height of the course, the pyramid being built in successive horizontal layers (as today works a 3D printer!)
To fix ideas:
To raise a load of stones of 0.6 t on a maximum height of 20 m, the float would have had a total length of 33 m including 20 m of stem, a section of 1.7 x 1.7 m of 3 M², sliding without rubbing on the edges, first in the well which is 1.9 x 1.9 m, and finally in a cage of the same section which crosses the course whose maximum height would have been 20 m. The moving set weighing 25 t including 14 t of ballast.
With a load of 660 Kg KG placed on the plateau, the float is sunk and rests at the bottom of the well, the plateau is at the base of the pyramid.
With a load of 630 kg on the plateau the mobile unit is in static equilibrium and weighs zero in the water, it remains motionless.
With 600 KG on the platform the mobile unit weighs 30 KG less than the Archimedes thrust and rises with a very small acceleration, it will rise slowly taking 1 minute to make a 20 m path.
However for this elevator to work with such precision there is a condition to fulfill:
As the rod rises, its immersed volume decreases and also decreases the Archimedes thrust received by the float. In order for the float to continue its elevation, this reduction due to the stem must be exactly compensated by an increase in the immersed volume of the hull, which, whatever happens, is always entirely immersed in water. This condition will be achieved by leaving in the hull a certain volume of air which increases when the float rises because the pressure to which this air is subjected decreases.
Link to the float calculation note
The 11 wells under the pyramids could fill up to the 20 m level, it is obvious that there must be in the pyramid two additional floors to reach 62 m in height.
To date there is no trace of these wells, which is normal since buried in the heart of the pyramid and never searched.
These wells on the eastern side were enough to fill the pyramid, if it is a twelfth central well of a much larger section 7 x 7 m or 49 M², it was that he had the task of raising to 20 m height much larger stones up to 15 t and for what purpose if not to build, the (real) funeral apartments of the king.
Nestled in the heart of the pyramid these rooms had to withstand the pressure of 40 m of stones and therefore had to receive ceilings made of large stones similar to those that can be observed in the following pyramids.
The exposed granite construction placed on a wall and dubbed “vault” of Djoser could have made the ballast of the float built in this well following the principles described above, leaving the possibility to raise to 20 m stones weighing the order 15 t.
No ramps, no sledges, no ropes, the operators had only to climb on the course by stairs or ladders, then let down on the float plateau, to raise a load corresponding to the sum of their weight. The energy efficiency of this water lift is very close to ONE.
It is unthinkable that such a simple and effective principle was not retained for the following pyramids!
The innovation stay in three points:
The king is at the top center of the pyramid the place most surrounded by large stones, without access. And not at the bottom where it was too easy to find.
A powerful hydraulic lift principle raises the stones in the pyramid.
A staging in the basement allows “visitors” to believe that they are in the death chamber, but completely cleaned by looters.
It would be totally improbable that the following pyramids did not renew these three revolutionary concepts, but the explosive increase in size, 150 years later that of Cheops will be 8 times the volume of the first, will only have been made possible by a continual improvement in the performance of tools and methods used to obtain and handle blocks that are becoming heavier.
Meidum, red pyramid, and bent: where are the wells? so visible in the pyramid of Saqqara.
Too compromising for the safety of the mortuary complex of the king, they have been blocked and made up either in “funeral” rooms, or in antechambers, the general rule is that any room or antechamber with a corbelled vault was a well blocked and made up, when he was not concealed behind a lintel like in the pyramid of Meidum.
The rule changes with the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren, because the floats have changed their mode of operation and the “chambers” have become reservoirs of water for the functioning of the floats, the corbelled vaults have given way to double slope roofs, the wells became totally invisible except for one, that of the upper chamber of the pyramid of Cheops, a portion of which is disguised as the room of the harrows.
It should be understood here that the rooms of the Cheops pyramid were built at the same time as the course rose, which allows these double slope roofs that protrude from the walls, while the rooms of the previous pyramids, Meidum, red and bent, were initially wells throughout the construction, which were capped with an arched vault at the end, king buried.