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Mathematics and the Construction of Pyramids in Egypt


This research reviews the application of mathematics by the ancient Egyptians in the construction of pyramids. This research focuses on two issues. The first issue involves the mathematical principles that, of necessity, were applied in the construction of the pyramids. The second issue concerns the contention by some people that alien civilizations from outer space were the source of mathematical knowledge required for the construction of the pyramids in Egypt, as the Egyptians of that era had not developed the knowledge of mathematics required for such an undertaking.

A pyramid is a polyhedron whose base is a polygon and whose sides are triangles having a common vertex. The pyramids at Giza outside of Cairo are illustrated below in Exhibit 1.

The base of Great Pyramid at Giza is approximately 227 meters square, accurate to within 20 centimeters on each side. The original height of the pyramid, 150 meters, approximates 140 meters today because of the disintegration or removal of part of the top. The four sides of the pyramid are aligned to the four cardinal points, with its least accurate side, the east, diverging by only 5'30" from true north-south.

The base of the Great Pyramid covers an area of 13.1 acres. The sides of the pyramid slope at an average angle of 51'55".

The accuracy in the construction of the pyramids in ancient Egypt is evidence of the mathematical, especially geometrical, knowledge that they possessed. They were able to apply the principles of right triangles well, which is evidenced by the accuracy of the pyramid corners at the baseła maximum error of 3'33" (Williams, 1995).

Several studies have established that the ancient Egyptians did not focus on the theoretical aspects of mathematics. These findings have frequently led to erroneous conclusions that the peoples of ancient Egypt, therefore, could not have deve...

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Mathematics and the Construction of Pyramids in Egypt. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:08, May 04, 2016, from