#6: The Pyramids Were Smooth, White and Shiny
We get so busy being amazed by the Pyramids, with their massive, meticulously layered sandy golden bricks, that we forget that what we’re seeing are the broken-down remnants. If you could see them new, you’d barely recognize them. They were much more awesome back then.
What we think of today as the Pyramids are really just the exposed layers of the structural base. The original pyramids lit up like the Times Square of ancient Egypt. Egyptians were all about having the maximum amount of glittery goodness, especially when it came to death.
And since the Pyramids were the tombs of the pharaohs, they made sure they were the biggest, most sparkly things of all. The original outside consisted of smooth, white limestone that hid the layers of brick, giving the effect that a pyramid was one giant solid piece. Don’t take our word for it; you can still see bits of that decorative layer on some of them:
That outer crunchy candy shell was then polished until it was on the verge of blinding from all the light it would reflect from the sun or moon. It was said that they could be seen from miles away, even during the night.
Of course that wasn’t enough, so the capstone was then plated in gold or electrum. Had the technology existed, we’re sure the pharaohs would have stuck 24-inch chrome rims on them, too.
Why We Picture it Wrong:
What we’re looking at today are the equivalent of sports cars that have been long forgotten in some junkyard.
Weather and time have been beating down the pyramids for four and a half thousand years. Well, partly it was time, but mostly it was assholes. Those shiny layers of white and gold? They were stripped off and used in the construction of Medieval Cairo, and there are cracks and holes where 19th century treasure hunters tried to get in with pickaxes and in one unfortunate case, dynamite.
Oh don’t worry about it looters, those were only the greatest architectural accomplishments of the Ancient World. We’re sure what you needed the stuff for was way more important.