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Surveys of the Great Pyramids1


THERE seems a periodicity in the attention to the size of the Great Pyramid: the French survey 1799, Howard Vyse 1838, my survey 1881, and now Mr. Cole's survey in 1925, are at nearly equal intervals. The difficulty in measurement results from the Arab destruction of nearly the whole of the fine sloping blocks of casing, about 3 feet thick, thus leaving the inner core of masonry in steps, and further, the banking of the ruins up to 20 or 30 feet against the faces, which obstructs the base. The last remains of the lowest course of casing are only a short length in the middle of each side, and the purpose of this recent survey was to utilise more of these points of the original casing than had been seen before, such being more accessible since the removal of large quantities of the fragments, for making the road and building an hotel. In 1881 it was a risky affair to sink pits in loose rubbish 20 feet deep; I only escaped burial by a few seconds; seventeen shafts were sunk, but the casing edge was only found once on each side. In 1925 it was possible to uncover the casing over lengths of between 45 and 170 feet on different sides, and the use of such further material was very desirable in order to define the faces more precisely.


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    "Determination of the Exact Size and Orientation of the Great Pyramid of Giza". By J. H. Cole . (Survey of Egypt, Paper No. 39; Government press, Cairo.) 1925. 8vo. 9 pp. 1 pl. 10 P.T. (2s. 1d.).

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PETRIE, W. Surveys of the Great Pyramids1. Nature 116, 942–943 (1925).

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