The Ancient Egyptians ruled a significant chunk of the world for almost 3,000 years, and left behind a rich legacy of art, architecture and mythology. But Ancient Egypt also left behind a few mysteries that archeologists and scholars still haven’t been able to solve, even thousands of years later. Here are some of the enduring mysteries of Ancient Egypt.
1. What did ancient Egyptians look like?
Despite the mummies, statues and engravings that the ancient Egyptians left behind, there is still much controversy over just what, exactly, they looked like. One thing’s for certain though — despite what you might believe about them given Hollywood’s whitewashing of Egyptians, the residents of ancient Egypt weren’t white.
According to Slate, they were probably a range of colors, and “neither white nor black” by our contemporary understandings: “Ancient Egypt was a racially diverse place, because the Nile River drew people from all over the region. Egyptian writings do not suggest that the people of that era had a preoccupation with skin color. Those who obeyed the king, spoke the language, and worshipped the proper gods were considered Egyptian.”
2. How were the pyramids built?
Ancient Egypt’s massive pyramids are another element of their legacy that has long puzzled the experts. Just how, exactly, did a society with no modern construction equipment manage to transport the giant, heavy stones needed to build the enormous pyramids? According to recent research by physicists at the University of Amsterdam, part of the answer may be wet sand.
“It turns out that wetting Egyptian desert sand can reduce the friction by quite a bit, which implies you need only half of the people to pull a sledge on wet sand, compared to dry sand,” study lead author Daniel Bonn told LiveScience. An ancient wall painting also seems to depict Egyptians wetting the sand as they pulled a sledge bearing a giant statue, offering more evidence that water may have been part of the arduous and complicated process of building the ancient pyramids.