Science: Make-Work on the Nile

For many years, Egyptologists have puzzled over a major archaeological riddle. If each pharaoh built a pyramid for use as his own tomb and his eventual ascension to the sun, why are there more pyramids than there were pharaohs? British Physicist Kurt Mendelssohn believes that he has discovered the answer. Writing in American Scientist, he suggests that the pharaohs directed the construction of several pyramids at the same time to achieve maximum employment. Building the pyramids, in other words, may have been history's first great public-works project.

The Oxford University scientist, who is also...

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