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Who Constructed the Great Pyramid.

It has been shown (with the exception of the 'well'-shaft, 'star' shafts and other minor features), that the architectural design features of the Great pyramid are contemporary with those seen at other 'Memphite' pyramids in the region. However, when viewed together, the normal evidence of the steps required to achieve such an imaginative process are lacking, and neither the physical construction nor the social philosophy behind it have no historical precedent in Egypt. This fact has frequently led people to suggest that the construction of the Giza pyramids (and therefore, all early dynasty Egyptian pyramids), show an external influence as yet unidentified. While there is little argument that they were constructed in the time of the fourth dynasty pharaohs, the influences in design and construction are debated.

The delicate distinction between evidence and proof appears to be the reason why it has been so hard to determine the pyramids builder exactly. The following section examines the 'evidence' to discover if it is possible to ascertain, using currently available knowledge, who constructed the great pyramid.   

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   The 4th Dynasty Pharaohs at Giza:

The earliest solid evidence of association between the pyramids and the fourth dynasty pharaohs comes from the 'Inventory stele' found between the sphinx's paws. Although it is widely considered to be a later 'Saite' product, there is no doubting its existence, nor the association between Khufu and Giza. There is also much local archaeological evidence (cartouches and statues), that supports a clear and strong connection between Giza and the fourth dynasty pharaohs. Added to the 'quarry-marks' found in the relieving chambers above the Kings chamber, it is reasonable to conclude that the Giza complex was essentially constructed by the fourth dynasty pharaohs.

We have already seen that the 'inventory stella' contradicts the idea that Khafre built the Sphinx. Rather, it suggests that Giza was in use prior to Khufu's time. (Sphinx, Valley temple, etc).


Confirmation of 4th Dynasty activity at Giza:

Finding cartouches at the site is not proof of construction, only of association.

Snoferu - (Father of Khufu). Petrie found a piece of bowl inscribed, 'nofru'

Queen Hetepheres - (Wife of Snoferu). Inscription found in 'Burial' pit and Khufu satellite 'attributed'.

Khufu - Found in the relieving chambers above the kings chamber, and on blocks of the Great pyramid. Khufu himself calls the pyramid, the house of 'Isis' in the inventory stele.

Khafre - Statue in valley temple, over 400 'figurines', a bowl and a mace-head found in temple east of pyramid.

Djefre - Cartouche found on roof stone of 'Solar barge' pit next to Central pyramid.

Menkaure. - Cartouche found in satellite pyramid.

Shepseskhaf - Cartouche found at Khafre's mortuary temple.

Queen Khentkaues. - Rock tomb between Khafre and Menkaure's causeways.


An impressive list from which we can determine that:

Cartouches of almost all known fourth dynasty royals have been found at Ghiza.

The Great pyramid contains original 'Khufu' (and Khnum-Khufu) cartouches.


The Giza pyramids and their presumed builders, in chronological order:

The issue of the 'Khufu' cartouches in the Great pyramid is covered more completely in the section below. Mostly, it is their interpretation that is in debate. One of the few other written references to Khufu is contained on the 'inventory stele', discovered at Giza in the 1850s. It commemorates the restoration by Khuf... of a small temple near the Pyramid, and indicates that the Sphinx, the Sphinx Temple, and possibly the Great Pyramid itself, were already in existence in his day. The stele is written in a later style of writing and whereas some Egyptologists regard it as a copy of a 4th dynasty original, others consider it to be an original Saite product. Either way, it contradicts the idea that the sphinx was built by Khafre, who ruled after Khufu.

Egyptologists currently believe Hemiunu (fl. 2570 BC) to be the architect of the Great pyramid. He was the son of Nefermaat, a relative of Khufu. Archaeologists have found mentions of Hemiunu with titles roughly translated as Master of works and Vizier. His tomb lies close to Khufu's pyramid, and contains reliefs of his image. Some stones of his mastaba are marked with dates referring to Khufu's reign.

For the second pyramid (Khafre's), and quoting Petrie - 'The only monumental evidences are the pieces of a bowl and a mace head with his name found in the temple (east) of this pyramid' (11). And from Fix - 'Statues of Khafre have been found in the vicinity, but Khafra - whom Petrie thought reigned from 3908-3845 BC. - was, like Khufu and Menkaure, also worshipped in later times (Petrie, A History of Egypt, p.53) and there is now no way of telling whether the artefacts and statues bearing his cartouche are products of the pyramid age or a later era'. (11).

And of the third pyramid, again from Fix - 'The third pyramid has been attributed to Menkaura only because Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus attributed it to him and because the name Menkaura was found written in red paint on the ceiling of a chamber of the three subsidiary pyramids south of the Third pyramid. (Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt, p. 120). No such name was found in the third pyramid itself. It is quite likely that small pyramid is not contemporary with the third pyramid'. (11).


The lack of concrete evidence for the constructions at Giza explains why people have been forced to recognise (Petrie, Breasted, Edwards, etc), that beyond the traditional association between the Giza complex and the fourth dynasty Pharaohs, there is very little actual evidence regarding the extent of the 4th dynasty works at Giza. In fact, it has been suggested that the 4th dynasty were simply building over an already 'sacred' place, which shows signs of use since at least the 1st dynasty.



   Evidence of Occupation at Giza Before the 4th Dynasty:

It is worth recognising at this point that Giza was occupied before the fourth dynasty. As it turns out, there is plenty of evidence that clearly demonstrates this fact.

The earliest monument at Giza is 'mastaba V' , which dates to the reign of the first dynasty pharaoh Djet.

'The Giza plateau is also home to many other ancient Egyptian monuments, including the tomb of Pharaoh Djet of the First dynasty as well as that of Pharaoh Ninetjer of the Second dynasty'. ( )

 Other pre-4th dynasty discoveries

Mortensen (46) discusses four ceramic jars, reportedly found in the late 1800's 'at the foot of the Great Pyramid' (the exact location has not been recorded). When these jars were first found, the Pre-dynastic period was little understood and, given the accepted 4th Dynasty context of the Giza site, the jars were assumed to be of 4th Dynasty date. Mortensen, however, has re-examined these jars and considers them to be typical of the late Pre-dynastic Ma'adi period. Given that the jars were found intact, Mortensen has also argued that they were from a burial rather than a settlement site. These jars, together with other isolated finds at Giza, have been interpreted as evidence for a Ma'adi-period settlement at Giza that was destroyed when the 4th Dynasty pyramids were built (47)

Set against the context of the 4th Dynasty development, the destruction of Pre-dynastic and Early Dynastic artefacts within the Giza necropolis is an important consideration.

In the mid 1970's, Karl Kromer, investigated one such area of debris, approximately one kilometre south of the Great Pyramid. (48) Within the fill, Kromer reported finds from the Late Pre-dynastic, 1st, 2nd and 4th Dynasties.

We can be certain from this that Giza was occupied before the fourth dynasty.



   The Quarry Marks (Cartouches):

The now famous 'Quarry-marks' were discovered inside the Great pyramid, and above the King's chamber in one of the 'Relieving Chambers'. In 1837 Col. Howard Vyse and his assistants, by passing the narrow crawl-way leading from the top of the eastern wall of the Grand Gallery to the compartment directly above the ceiling of the King's Chamber (without inscriptions), managed to discover four more 'construction' chambers above it, each two to four feet high. They had been sealed since the Pyramid was built and gunpowder had to be used to gain access to them.

On some of the walls and ceilings of these four chambers crude hieroglyphs were found (on limestone blocks only), daubed in red paint, which are thought to have been added by the work-crews. The inscriptions included two cartouches (royal names enclosed in an oval) -- 'Khufu' (Shofo) and 'Khnum-Khufu' (Noumshofo) (12), and Egyptologists have taken this as confirmation that the Pyramid was built for the pharaoh Khufu.As previously noted, the problems associated with the cartouches are two-fold, firstly the question of their authenticity, and then their interpretation. Perhaps it might be best to confirm their authenticity before attempting to interpret them.


The Authenticity of the 'quarry-marks'.

As one might almost expect, these inscriptions have become a point of contention, as it was been claimed that they contain spelling errors from a well known book on hieroglyphics that Col. Vyse was known to have had with him when he made the discoveries. Other findings by Col. Vyse have also been questioned over their authenticity, and therefore possibly discredit him. It was also suggested by the grandson of Humphries Brewer, the master mason who was engaged by Vsye to blow his way into the pyramid, and who was witness to the cartouches being painted, was objected, and was expelled from the site for disagreeing with the action. (Ref: Sitchin).

Apart from the fact that some inscriptions apparently continue beneath other blocks confirms that they are genuine. (Which inscriptions and which chambers exactly?), it is worth looking closer at the accusations against Vyse:

The sketch appears for the first time in Perrings The Pyramids of Gizeh, published in 1839, and some years later in the book of the alleged faker himself, in Vyses Operations carried out on the great Pyramid of Giza in 1837, published in 1842. (Perring has the cartouche in question on table VII), Sitchin shows the drawing in Stairway to heaven in a small and an enlarged version:

Sitchin, 'Stairway to Heaven' Table 146 a, b p. 301


Look at the small sketch on the left side. Inside the circle you can see a small structure, which condenses in the larger picture on the right to a dot. Let's compare this to the pictures in the original reports: - 

       Khufu by Vyse                           Khufu by Perring         


The cartouche by Perring looks different than Sitchins picture. The tail of the snake ends for example with an upward turn, whereas Sitchins snake bends the tail down. Sitchins picture actually looks more like Vyses drawing. But one thing is clearly visible: in both sources, Vyse and Perring, the small structure in the circle are three horizontal lines. Both pictures unmistakably show a "Kh" and not a "Re". And while we can see that Sitchins small picture on the left comes from Vyses report, we can also see that his "enlargement" on the right is no enlargement at all, but a new picture, probably drawn by Sitchin himself - and faked! Sitchin did not find a fake, he produced one himself to get his faker story.

This cartouche was found at Ghiza. It is the same as Hawass' photo (a solid disc).

Note - We now have four variations of the same cartouche.

According to Sitchin, Vyse believed that "Khufu" was written with a solar disc. And because of that the faker had written it this way into the chamber. But Vyses Journal tells another story:

On May 27th 1837 we find the first entry dealing with the Khufu-cartouche. In the following days Vyse begins with an analysis. And if one is able to read his hand writing he finds out fascinating things. Yes, Vyse was no expert on hieroglyphics. And yes, Vyse had the fatal book "Material Hieroglyphica" with him. And because he HAD the book with him he expected a solar disc as the first sign. And he was wondering, why this sign was NOT a solar disc. He couldn't get a sense out of the "Kh", therefore he philosophises on this page of his journal about the possibility to write a "Re" with lines in it instead of a dot.

He even copied the faulty picture from Wilkinson to this page of his notes, it's on the upper left - the hollow solar disc is clearly visible. On the right side he notes, that this disc can also be written with a dot in the middle (the small circle on top) and that he had expected one of these two writings - and notes, that he instead got a circle with three lines. This is clearly an aberration from Wilkinson, a famous hieroglyphic expert. So Vyse did not copy something from a book to the walls - he found something that completely contradicted a table of a famous academic book.

It is interesting to note that nothing more has been discovered since Vyse's original 'discoveries'.



The Interpretation of the 'quarry-marks'.

(Birch's Analysis of the Cartouches from Perrings "Pyramids of Gizeh" from 1839)

A 'Khufu' cartouche was found on the southern roof blocks of Campbell's chamber, the topmost one and a 'Khnum-Khuf' cartouche was found on the south wall of 'Lady Arbuthnot's' chamber, the one below top. (10) We can see that the two cartouches do not appear side by side. The style of writing is certainly hieroglyphics, but it also contains characters that have yet to be translated.

Fix opens with the following: 'In terms of direct and solid evidence, the association of Khufu with the great pyramid rests entirely on the apparently straightforward fact that there are cartouches reading "Khufu" painted on the walls of hidden chambers inside the building. However, the general controversy surrounding the pyramid extends even to the meaning of these marks, and the evidence is not as straightforward as it may seem. The cartouches reading Khufu are not the only cartouches in the relieving chambers. There are others, more numerous, which read Khnum-Khuf. The problem is that Egyptologists do not know who or what Khnum-Khuf was. As Breasted has explained, the writing from these early dynasties "is in such an archaic form that many of the scanty fragments which we possess from this age are unintelligible to us". In addition, these cartouches are found together in a few other places' (11) (i.e. Mount Sinai).

This is not then, a question of authenticity, but of interpretation. It is important to note that he accepts (as do others), that the cartouches are genuine, what he (and others) question, is their meaning.

Extract from Petrie: - 'Another name is found on the blocks in the Pyramid, side by side with those bearing the name of Khufu. This other name is the same as that of Khufu, with the prefix of two hieroglyphs, a jug and a ram and it is variously rendered Khnumu-Khufu, Nh-Shufu, and Shu-Shufu. The most destructive theory about this king is that he is identical with Khufu, and that the ram is merely a symbol of the god Shu, and put as the determinative in this place of the first syllable of the name. But against this hypothesis it must be observed (1) that the pronunciation was Khufu, and not Shufu, in the early times; (2) that the first hieroglyph, the jug, is thus unexplained; and (3) that there is no similar prefix of a determinative to a king's name, in any other instance out of the hundreds of names, and thousands of variants, known.***
(*** Sent is sometimes named by a fish, a determinative without hieroglyphics; and An sometimes has a fish as a determinative in the name; but there is no case of a determinative prefixed).

Petrie also says of this 'The only great royal inscription (of Khufu) is on the rocks of Sinai. There are two tablets: one with the name and titles of Khufu, the other with the king smiting an enemy, and the name Khnum-khufu The name is found in five places The two names being placed in succession in one inscription cannot be mere chance variants of the same. Either they must be two distinct and independent names of one king, or else two separate kings. If they were separate kings, Khnum-khuf must have been the most important. Fix also points out that while the 'Khnum-Khufu' inscription occurs more frequently than Khufu's, the name does not appear on any of the Kings-lists. (11)

Manetho's king list names the two pharaohs, 'Suphis I and II', the first of which, etymologically connects from 'Raufu- Khufu' through 'Shoufu' and 'Shuphis' to Suphis. We are left with the other 'Khnum-Khufu' cartouche, which only requires identifying the 'Khnum' part. Garnier (19), says of the cartouches, 'Suphis II, called Num Shufu, Is shown to have been co-regent with Suphis, and to have co-operated with him in the construction of the great pyramid; the two names being constantly found on its masonry with the mark indicating them to be joint rulers' . (He references Osborn's Monumental History of Egypt, Vol 1, pp 279-281)

There is then, an argument that the cartouches were for two Co-regents. On the monuments bearing the name of Khnumu-Khufu at Gizeh, and at Wady Maghara, there also occurs with different titles, the name of Khufu himself. 'That the names should thus be found together is very likely, if they were co-regents, as their joint occurrence in the Pyramid, and elsewhere, would lead us to expect. Such co-regencies often existed. (15)

Max Muller thought that 'Khnum-Khufu' represented a God. Fix also noted the association between Khufu and Hermes. He said: 'One scholar (Stewart?) says there was a god in Egypt called Khnemu who was the embodiment of intellect itself. Alternative names for Khnemu were Khnum, and Chnuphis or Chnouphis which is etymologically similar to Souphis'. (11)

'Khufu' is an abbreviated form of 'Khnum-Khufu', which means 'Khnum protects me'. The god Khnum was the divine potter who carried out the works of creation planned by Thoth. Thoth (or Djehuti) was the god of wisdom, the directing intelligence of the universe, and was known in later times as Hermes, Mercury, and Enoch. Thoth-Hermes was the inventor of the arts and sciences, the patron of the secret wisdom, and an initiator. The name was adopted by many initiated adepts, who were known as 'serpents of wisdom'; the caduceus or staff of Hermes is entwined with either one or two serpents. Khnum later became known as Kneph or Chnuphis, who was represented as a huge serpent; he stood for divine creative wisdom, and was the patron of the initiates. (2b)

It has also been argued that the presence of the Khufu and Khnum-Khufu cartouches inside the Great Pyramid and on some of the core masonry stones on the exterior does not prove that it was the 4th-dynasty pharaoh Khufu who built it; he may have been named after the Pyramid, rather than the other way around. Khufu's cartouche has been found on dozens of tombs and monuments in Egypt, some of them from later than the 4th dynasty.

This disparity between argument highlights exactly how little people understand the events of the fourth dynasty. We are left with the following possibilities.

  • Khufu may have been named after or associated with a god called 'Khnum' or 'Khnum-Khufu', but why put a gods name in a cartouche.

  • 'Khnum-Khufu' or 'Num-Shufu' was a co-regent. Possibly 'Suphis II', Khafre, (both), or another unknown person. Explain why the cartouche/name doesn't exist in ANY of the Kings-lists.

  • The Ram and the Jug have a different, non-literal meaning.

  • The word 'Khnum' or 'Noum' means something as yet translated incorrectly.

It is noticeable that the extra symbols on the cartouche were a 'Ram' and a 'Jug'. Both of which are Astronomical symbols (Aries is symbolized by a Ram and Pisces comes from the Jug of Aquarius). There is also a viable association between the 'Hyksos' or 'Shepherd-Kings' and the 'Ram'.



   The King-Lists:

There are several remains of 'King-lists' available. There is the one at Abydoss, the Palermo Stone, Manetho's versions and several others. Unfortunately, no two are the same, although they all clearly originate from an original 'King-List'. Deciding which is the more accurate has been a matter of debate since Egyptology became an intellectual sport.

Petrie quotes Manetho from an extract in 'Fragments' from 1832. He notes that while the 3rd kingdom is said to be composed of Memphite kings, and the 5th dynasty of Elephantine rulers, the 4th dynasty was supposed to have been composed of 'eight Memphite Kings of a different race'.

It has already been noted that 'Khnum-Kufu' is not mentioned on any of the known king-lists, which makes it unlikely that there ever was a Pharaoh with that name (or he was deleted earlier than the known king-lists).

We know that the Lists were 'manipulated', and that in certain cases, names have been omitted. Fortunately, the fourth dynasty appears to be without too many conflicts:













Soris (29)






Suphis (63)



Saophis I (29)




(17 kings





Suphis II (66)



Saophis II (27)



Mencheres (63)



Moschares (31)



Rhatoeses (25)






Bicheres (22)




Shepseskaf ?


Sebercheres (7)






Thampthis (9)




284 yrs
448 yrs
448 yrs.

A table of the major chronologies of the 4th dynasty.


It was argued, by Davidson (2), that the 'king-list' composed by Eusebius, was in fact composed 200 years earlier than that of Manetho. He made a strong case for the Kings-list representing a mnemonic aid for the raw-data of the measurements of the pyramid. He believed that whereas the King-lists of Abydoss and the Palermo stone etc, were genuine historical records, the 'dated' kings-lists of Manetho, Eusibius, Josephus etc, had been dated specifically for a purpose. He claimed that the resultant dates for the Eusebius kings-list bore uncanny resemblances to some of the Great Pyramids dimensions. The confusion over dating methods was a result of deliberately changes, placed in order to attain certain representative numerical figures. In other words, as he put it; 'Supposing that the Great pyramid had been demolished, its principal features, dimensions and its units could be reconstructed from the Egyptian King-List' (2).

Comment - Davidson makes mention that one of the key figures of measurement included in the King-list was that of Precession. It is said that the same number exists in the dimensions of the pyramid in 'pyramid inches'. This number, which he finds in the sum of the base diagonals is 25,826.5 P". The importance of precessionary figures in the king lists of Manetho, Eusibius and Josephus should not be under-estimated.

(More about Precession)



   Who Were the Hyksos: 'The Shepherd Kings'

'This invading nation was styled Hycsos, that is Shepherd Kings; for the first syllable, 'Hyc', in the sacred dialect denotes a king: and 'Sos' signifies a shepherd, but only according to the vulgar tongue' (12).

The Shepherd Kings are referred to at least twice in Egyptian history. While most agree that they occupied Egypt in about the 15th, 16th and possibly 17th dynasties. Any association with the Giza pyramids must come from an earlier time or previous occupation. The problem remains Proving that they were there then too.

The earliest evidence of the 4th dynasty Hyksos comes from 'Fragments' by Isaac Cory. 1832. In which Manetho clearly states that the 3rd dynastic rulers were composed of Memphite kings and the 5th dynasty of Elephantine Kings. The 4th dynasty however, was said to be 'composed of eight Memphite kings of a different race'. Manetho also says that 'Choeps', was 'arrogant towards the gods', 'closed the temples', and 'wrote the sacred book'.

The following interpretation (from Miracle of Ages), adequately describes the now famous conversation between Herodotus and Manetho. - 'In the course of his questioning he (Herodotus) encountered one Manetho, an Egyptian High Priest, scholar and Historian, with whom he conversed at length thru the agency of an interpreter. Manetho informed his distinguished guest that the architect of the huge mass of stone was one "Philition", or "Suphis", of a people known as the "Hyksos", that is "Shepherd Kings". According to Manetho, the Shepherd Kings were "a people of ignoble race" who came from some unknown land in the East; they were a nomadic band who numbered not less than 280,000 souls; they brought with them their families and all mobile possessions, including vast flocks of sheep and herds of cattle; and they "had the confidence to invade Egypt, and subdued it without a battle". this same people, said Manetho, overthrew the then-reigning Dynasty, stamped out idolatry and endeavoured to firmly establish in the place thereof the worship of the One true God having completed the Great pyramid, migrated eastward into the land afterwards known as Judea and founded there the city of Salem, which later became Jerusalem, the Holy city.' (12)  (It is noted that although Manetho is a proud Egyptian, he still stated that the pyramids were built by foreigners).

The following extract is from Rawlinson's 'Phoenecia' concerning the architecture of Jerusalem. 'The wall had an original height of from seventy to one hundred and fourty feet. In places it is built from bottom to top of large squared stones, bevelled at the edges and varying between 3 ft 3 inches and 6 ft in height. The stones are laid without cement. The longest hitherto discovered measures 38 ft 9 inches in length (not less than one hundred tonnes). Many of the other blocks are from half to two thirds of this height. The massiveness of the work is on par with the Egyptian pyramid-Kings; and the perfection of the cutting and fitting of the stones is nearly equal.' (1)

Note - Garnier (19), concluded the following:- 'Suphis I, the builder of the great pyramid, and the over-thrower of Egyptian idolatry, was none other than the Shepherd patriarch Shem, i.e. Typhon, or Set, the over-thrower of Osiris; and the same Shepherd King "Set the Powerful", who overthrew the same idolatry; and that Philition "The lover of right", the shepherd after whom the pyramid, or its builders, were called, was the same Shepherd patriarch, Shem, the righteous king and founder of Jerusalem'. He translated 'Philition' as 'The lover of right', using  the Greek words 'Philo', meaning 'I love', and 'ithus', meaning 'upright', 'just', 'or 'equitable'.

Smyth says: 'Some strangers from the Eastern direction were, indeed, continually filtering into Lower Egypt through the Isthmus of Suez, the natural channel of immigration in all ages from Asia, and the path from which the Egyptians themselves had originally come'. (12)

The following extract is from Seiss (15) - 'Wilford, in his Asiatic researches, vol. iii, p.225, give an extract from the Hindoo records which seem to support certain factors of Manetho's idea that they were of  'Arabian' origin. The extract  says that one Tamo-vasta, a child of prayer, wise and devout, prayed for certain successes, and that God granted his requests, and that he came to Egypt with a chosen company, entered it "without any declaration of war, and began to administer justice among the people, to give them a specimen of a good king" This Tamo-vasta is represented in the account as a good king of the powerful people called the Pali, Shepherds, who in ancient times governed the whole country from the Indus to the mouth of the Ganges, and spread themselves, mainly by colonization and commerce, very far through Asia, Africa and Europe. They colonised the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Sea-Coasts of Arabia, Palestine, and Africa, and ere the long-haired people called the Berbers in North Africa. They are likewise called Palestinae, which name has close affinity with the Philition of Herodotus. These Pali of the Hindoo records are plainly identical with some of the Joktanic peoples.'

Extract from Smyth's 'The great pyramid' - Herodotus elaborates by explaining that 'Cheops, on ascending the throne, plunged into all manner of wickedness. He closed the temples, and forbade all Egyptians to offer sacrifice, compelling them instead to labour one and all in his service; viz. in building the great pyramid Choeps was succeeded by his brother Chephren, who imitated the conduct of his predecessor, built a pyramid - but smaller than his brothers - and reigned 56 years. Thus during 106 years the temples were shut and never opened'. And he says, 'The Egyptians so detest the memory of those kings (Cheops and Cephren), that they do not much like even to mention their names. Hence they commonly call the pyramids after Philiton (or Philitis), a shepherd who at that time fed his flocks about the place'. Piazzi points out that the following two pharaohs (according to Manetho), Mycerinus and Asychis, also built pyramids, but were praised for re-opening the temples, so it was not the act of building that made the people hate them (Cheops and Chephren), but more likely, the religious aspect of closing the temples. He also suggests that the animosity towards the 15th-17th dynasty Hyksos may have been caused by the experience of the 4th dynasty Hyksos.

It is a little peculiar that the changes at that time 'coincided with the ascendancy of the priests of Heliopolis as a major political force in Egypt. Their domination over the power of the pharaoh had certainly become fully established in the fifth dynasty' (10). And yet most authors seem to avoid the idea that these priests and the Hyksos and the change in design and religion, (Sun worship instead of animal-totem-multiple-god worship), (and the change in name) might all be related.

It was suggested by Garnier, that 'Shufu', is a soubriquet meaning 'Long Haired', indicating that both these kings possessed that peculiarity, which distinguished them from other Pharaohs. He also notes that Apepi, the pharaoh under whom Josephus was ruler, although a pure Egyptian, and at first a supporter of the Egyptian gods, was also called a shepherd king, because he afterwards rejected idolatry.

We are told that pyramid building began before the Hyksos invasion. However, the history of 'memphite' pyramid building was a short lived one (5), and it may yet turn out that the proximity of the timing with the Hyksos is not such a co-incidence. For while the pyramids were, in probability, constructed at the time of Khufu and Khafre, there are still important questions such as when that was and the extent of the Hyksos influence on the country (specifically pyramid building), after they arrived. It is necessary to create a clear picture of pre-dynastic Egypt, in order to determine what changes occurred.

'Most Egyptologists are inclined to think that at about 3,400 B.C. a large-scale invasion of Egypt took place the invading dynastic race which was to usher in the pharaohic civilization of Egypt called themselves the followers of Horus...'(5). Could this be the first Hyksos invasion?

Glyn Daniels(1), response to the question of the 'spontaneous' emergence of Egyptian civilisation, was that it is reasonably accepted that this process did not take place without some direct influence from Mesopotamia (Sumeria). Evidence includes:-


Three Mesopotamian cylinder seals of the later Uruk or proto-literate period have been found in Egypt: One was from Naqada. From then onwards the Egyptians used the cylinder seal - a Mesopotamian invention.

Mesopotamian motifs appear in Egyptian art. On the ivory handle of a flint knife from Abydoss (above), there is represented the Mesopotamian hero Gilgamesh, subduing two lions, the same theme is repeated on a wall painting from Hierakonpolis, belonging to one of the earliest brick buildings in southern Egypt.

There appeared suddenly in Egypt the monumental style of building based on mud-brick, and we find the ancient Egyptians abandoning reed, papyrus, palm branches and rush matting in favour of sun-dried bricks made in wooden rectangular moulds. And in using bricks in their buildings they also incorporated recessed facades and pilasters such as were used in early Mesopotamian buildings.

Hieroglyphic writing is first found on the slate palettes of late pre-dynastic times; where it is already well advanced and is using ideograms and phonograms. This first Egyptian writing must surely have derived from another, as yet, unidentified source such as earlier Mesopotamian writing.

(Other Examples of Egyptian-Mesopotamian Contact)



  • Most of the known royal members of the 4th dynasty are represented by cartouche at Ghiza.

  • Apart from Khufu's pyramid, the other two larger pyramids have no other 'markings' in them to identify their builders.

  • The 'inventory' Stella suggests that the Sphinx (and valley temple) were built before Khufu's reign.

  • There are two different cartouches in the 'relieving chambers'.

  • They appear to be original features of the pyramid.

  • The cartouche from Vyses' 'Materia Hieroglyphica' reads 'Ra-ufu', (with a plain solar disc).

  • The cartouche Vyse describes from the pyramid has three lines in the solar disc (and two extra 'symbols'). The names upon them have been variously translated as: Khufu and Khnumu-Khufu, Shufu and Nem-Shufu,, Shofo' and 'Noum-shofo', Nh-Shufu, and Shu-Shufu .

  • The same two cartouches have been found together at 5 other sites in Egypt.

  • In the pyramid, they do not appear side by side.

  • The Abydoss cartouche reads as 'Ra-ufu',

  • The 'Khnoum-Khufu' cartouche does not appear on any kings-list.

  • 'Khnoum-Khufu' appears more frequently than 'Khufu'.

  • The 'Khnoum' section is a prefix, composed of two symbols: a Ram's head and a Jug. There is no consensus over the interpretation of these symbols.

  • The different King-lists appear to originate from a common source.

  • Manetho states that the fourth dynasty builders were of a different race.

  • The earliest accounts (Manetho, Herodotus, Diodorus), associate the 'Hyksos' or 'Shepherd-kings with a 'shift' in power/religion at the time of Khufu and Khafre.

  • The Hyksos came from the East.

  • Herodotus said that the people detested the memory of Choeps and Chephren.

  • The Hyksos were said to have left to create Jeru-salem.

  • There is a similarity in the style of construction between Giza and early foundation stones at Jerusalem.

  • There are similarities between the early Mesopotamian (Sumerian), civilisation and early dynastic Egypt.


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1). G. Rawlinson. The Story of the Nations: Phoenicia. 1889. T. Fisher Unwin.
2). D. Davidson & H. Aldersmith. The Great Pyramid: It's Devine Message. 1924. Williams and Norgate.
5). Kurt Mendelssohn. The Riddle of the Pyramids. 1974. Book Club Associates.
10). Ian Lawton & Chris Ogilvie-Herald. Giza The Truth. 1999. Virgin Publishing.    
11). William R. Fix. Pyramid Odyssey. 1978. Mayflower books.
12). Charles Piazzi Smyth. The Great Pyramid. 1978. Bell Publishing.
13). W. M Flinders Petrie. The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. 1990. Histories and Mysteries of Man Ltd.
15). Joseph A. Seiss, D.D. The Great Pyramid: A Miracle in Stone. 1973. Steiner Books.


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