I know the pyramid is supposed to have pointed to the north star at the time, and also that some proportions (height to width??) are in the Golden Ratio. Is there a complete list of such features, as well as any information on the history of its construction?

  • 1
    This is a rather broad question. Have you checked the Wikipedia article? It covers much of what you asked. As it is, this question seems overly broad. "If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much." And yes, I've seen many books written entirely about the Great Pyramid of Giza. Aug 2 '12 at 13:55

Those are all facts about its construction.

The pyramids at Gisa are aligned pretty accurately north, if you are building something that big and you don't have theodolites and RTK-GPS then having a fixed star to aim at is a very easy way to get the sides parallel. If there is/was any religous significance to the Pole star I suspect it was invented by the royal surveyors.

The golden ration comes from using a survey wheel. If you lay out a line by rolling a wheel a certain number of times, and then set a height by stacking the same wheel vertically you get an angle of 51 deg or 43 degrees (depending on how many high). Then the geometry of circles gives you pi and the golden ration without you every having to calculate it.

They also knew that a 3:4:5 triangle gave a right angle (since 5^2 = 4^2 = 3^2 ) but didn't know about Pythagoras theorem in general

  • Overall I like this answer. Wasn't it the case that the entire idea of the "golden ratio" was inspired by the fact that so many human built things (quite possibly including said pyramids) were made to those proportions?
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 3 '12 at 18:50
  • @T.E.D. - I'm not sure how sensitive the result is. A building that is 1:1.5 is too short and squat, one that is 1:1.8 is too tall. So anything around 1.62 looks good - I don't know if 1.6 or 1.65 would necessarily look too bad (although US paper size are wrong!)
    – none
    Aug 3 '12 at 22:45

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