A famous ancient building is the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is believed to have taken between 14 and 20 years to construct, concluding around 2650 BC.

A famous modern building is the Sydney Opera House. Much smaller than the Great Pyramid, and constructed with the use of powerful machinery unavailable to Pharaoh Khufu, it took 14 years to complete.

This should give us pause. The Pharaoh, it would appear, was not constrained by costs or labour problems, but the erection, from approximately 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (imported from Aswan) and 500,000 tons of mortar, using only manual labour, of a geometrically precise structure that was originally 146.5 metres high is a phenomenal achievement, however many ...

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