3d model and reconstruction


The reconstruction of the archaeological area of Giza, with the large pyramids, mastabas and the celebrated Sphinx, has been developed with a view to reproducing not only the monument, which are mostly still on site, but also to show the whole area with the canals and outlet into the Nile, as well as the cultivated areas.

From a dissemination and didactic perspective, then, we reproduced the image which shows a section of the pyramid of Cheops with the structure and access corridors to the sepulchral chamber, and a comparison with the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome, to give an idea how majestic and grand these very ancient monuments looked.

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Short history of


Today Giza is a peripheral neighbourhood of Cairo, located 12 km to the south-west of the city centre, on the left bank of the Nile, bordering with the western desert.

The most significant monument there are the three pyramids built by the IV dynasty as burial site for the pharaohs Cheops, Chefren and Mykerinos and the famous Sphinx. Around the great regal burials there are smaller pyramids, tombs and mastabas of royal family members or officials working of the pharaohs’ time. Near the pyramids, inside ditches, there were five sacred boats.

The pyramid of Cheops , also known as the “great pyramid”, is the northernmost one of the three built in Giza, as well as being the tallest and most imposing among those built in ancient Egypt: indeed it measured 146 m (today about 137), its base was 230 m long (today 227) and its inclination angle 51°50’. It covers a total area of more than four hectares. It has been calculated that it was built using about 2,500,000 stone blocks weighing between 2.5 and 15 tons. The project was changed three times while the work was in progress. The ancient entrance is on the southern side, at a height of about 15 metres, but the modern-day visitor walks in through a passage opened by the caliph Ma’mun in the 9th century A.D., located further down than the original entrance.

The pyramid of Chefren was 143.5 m tall (today 136.5): it is located between the pyramid of Cheops (the focus of this exploration) and the pyramid of Mycerin; its base was about 215.15 m long (today 210.5) and the inclination angle about 53°. For its construction a total of 1,860,000 blocks were used. Even though it is smaller than the nearby pyramid of Cheops, it looks taller because it was built on slightly raised ground. On top of the monument there is still a large part of the original smooth external covering made with limestone from Tura. There are two entrances to the pyramid, both on the northern side: the first is reached from the floor level which surrounds the monument, while the second is about 13 m further up. The two entrance corridors merge into one which leads to a chamber excavated in the rock, where the red granite sarcophagus was stored. The entrance to the pyramid was found by Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778-1823) from Padova in March 1818, but the inside had already been looted in ancient times.

The pyramid of Mykerinos, the smallest of the three built in Giza, was 66.50 m tall (today 62); its base was 108 m long and the inclination angle was 51°. About three quarters of the building, from the tip downwards, were covered with the excellent white limestone from Tura, while red granite slabs were used for the base. The entrance is on the northern side; from here you reach a room excavated in the rock at a depth of 6 m, which was the burial chamber in the initial project. Later on a descending corridor was built at the centre of the floor leading to the actual funerary chamber where a basalt sarcophagus was found.

The valley temple of the pyramid is undoubtedly the best preserved from ancient Egypt. It is a red granite building, with a square plan and simple geometric lines, consisting of an access terrace, a vestibule, a large T-shaped room divided into three naves by two rows of pillars, and of a smaller side room. Onto the wall rested the pharaoh’s statues made of hard stone (diorite, schist and alabaster).

The great sphinx of Giza shows a crouched lion with a human head, depicting the face of the pharaoh Chefren (IV dinasty) looking east. It is about 73 metres long and 20 m tall; it was sculpted in a poor-quality limestone rock formation found in this area. Instead of eliminating it, the decision was taken to model it in the shape of the Pharaoh, who, like a lion, is looking over his pyramid.

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