The pyramids of Giza, erected some 4,500 years ago, represent one of the greatest feats in the history of engineering, and their construction has long raised a mix of interest, fascination and disbelief. Today, it is widely accepted that ancient Egyptians exploited an ancient branch of the Nile that flowed near the Giza plateau to transport the materials they needed to build the three structures. But the evolution of that landscape that facilitated the construction of one of the wonders of the ancient world has largely remained a mystery.
To help fill this gap, a group of scientists has reconstructed, based on new sediment analysis from the site, 8,000 years of fluvial history of the Nile. They have been able to show that the river’s now-vanished branch, which they named after Pharaoh Khufu, and its water levels at the time the pyramids were built were key to their construction.