Digging up the past

Chapter 1 Land of the pyramids

Khafre's Pyramid

Khufu's son Khafre (Greek: 'Chephren'), built the next great pyramid. It was only three metres lower than his predecessor's, but because its angle of height is slightly more, 52 degrees 20 minutes instead of 51 degrees 52 minutes, it is 14 1/2 metres smaller at the base and consequently contains a much smaller volume of stone. This pyramid still retains at its top some of the original limestone facing with which most of the pyramids were covered. This Tura limestone was greatly coveted by local builders, who denuded the pyramids for their building needs.

To the east of Khafre's pyramid stands the giant Sphinx. It has the face of Khafre and the body of a crouching lion. It is 73 metres long and 20 metres high. The body was carved out of the solid rock that stood there on the site and the feet are made of bricks.

Khafre's (Chephren's) pyramid with Tura limestone top

The enigmatic face of the Sphinx

Khafre's face with a lion's body standing guard