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Thread: The Khafre Enigma

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    The Khafre Enigma

    Khafre, son of Khufu and successor of Djedefre, ruled roughly 26yrs, a year or two less than Khufu builder of the Great Pyramid (G1), and is credited with building the "2nd" (G2) or "middle" pyramid at Giza. Originally G2 stood 448ft tall with a base length of 706ft. By comparison G1 stood at 481ft with a base of 756ft. Though slightly smaller with notably less mass and complex interior, unlike G1 G2 used the much more difficult to work and time consuming granite casing for part of its height and employed numerous massive blocks along its base, some weighing upwards of 100 tons. It is said Khufu built G1 in approximately 20yrs, which at the very least would have included the mortuary temple, causeway, and valley temple, yet little consideration is given to the works of Khafre.

    While Khafre would also have built a mortuary temple, causeway, valley temple, and acres of massive paving stones, etc, adding to Khafre's workload vs Khufu's would not only have been the Sphinx with its enclosure and harbor, but also the cutting out enormous amounts of bedrock from the slope around the base of the pyramid including the use of a large in situ sections of it carved into the shape of courses, the use of massive blocks in both the valley and mortuary temples the likes of which the DE did not use prior (of after) with many in the 100 ton range (highly unlikely the same to have been used for G1's temples as they have completely disappeared), at least one weighing roughly 400 tons, the Sphinx Temple, and the magnificent granite component of the Valley Temple interior as well as completely encasing the exterior in granite.

    To give some context, the base of G2 is again 706ft. From the remaining granite casing we can guestimate the average width of a block at 4-5ft. So at say 150 per side this would require approximately 600 granite blocks to make one course. Antiquarian reports say the detritus of fallen stone, including granite, was over 30ft on some sides so we know the granite went up at least several courses. If we say the granite went to at least 15 courses, like G3, this would leave us needing about 7,000-9,000 granite blocks.

    But then there is not only the interior granite pillars, walls, doorways, and lintels of the interior of the Valley Temple, but also the sheathing of the exterior in granite including curved pieces to emulate the corniced roof of the serekh building which I assume ran at least across the front fa├žade of the temple.

    Valley Temple Photo Gallery

    While maybe "only" a few hundred pieces were needed for the temple, they are much larger than those used for the casing stones.

    All things being equal, while it seems readily apparent G2 by the numbers would have taken less time to build than G1, we are left to wonder how much extra by comparison would have been required for Khafre not only to work so extensively in granite, but also the out of character use of numerous massive megalithic temple and pyramid base blocks as well as the carving of the Sphinx and building the Sphinx Temple. As difficult as it is to accept a 20yr timeline for Khufu, to consider the works attributed to Khafre, regardless of the "inferiority" of his pyramid, we are still left with the same reservations of being able to complete these works within the timely reign of one pharaoh
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