The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh Online
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"The Great Pyramid has lent its name as a sort of by-word for paradoxes; and, as moths to a candle, so are theorisers attracted to it. The very fact that the subject was so generally familiar, and yet so little was accurately known about it, made it the more enticing; there were plenty of descriptions from which to choose, and yet most of them were so hazy that their support could be claimed for many varying theories."

  — Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, 1883

Sir Flinders Petrie's 1880–82 survey of the Giza plateau, which included the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the relatively unknown Trial Site, is probably the most detailed Egyptian study ever undertaken by a surveyor.

This is the original edition of 1883 which was sold out during the first few months and never reprinted. A highly abridged second edition, which summarized many of the tables into a few lines of text and omitted much of the technical work, appeared in early 1885.

Other surveys of lesser scope have been conducted on the Giza plateau, but Petrie's contribution stands head and shoulders above them all. His extensive measurements of the Great Pyramid, in particular, have become the standard of reference for virtually all studies of that amazing edifice.

At this time in history, when air pollution and tourism have wreaked severe damages upon the Great Pyramid, and it no longer stands as tall as it did in Petrie's day, we are profoundly indebted to him for his foresight, determination, and unswerving loyalty to accuracy.

He has, in his own meticulous way, saved it for us.


This online version of The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh was scanned from an original edition and converted to an early form of HTML by Graham Oaten, of Melbourne, Australia. As an original edition is also in my possession, he and I entered into a collaboration to detect and correct the several errors and legibility problems associated with Petrie's handwritten record of the Great Pyramid course elevations. These corrected data, together with their rationale, are available via the above menu.

In 2003, Graham requested that I undertake the presentation of this book on the internet, which I was pleased to do in appreciation of his months of selfless endeavor. Since then I have extensively upgraded and revised the format; I have also added many corrections and commentaries, several of which serve to make this presentation more accurate than the original book. In no event, however, has Petrie's original text been altered in any way—it is true to the original, with corrections and other refinements being served through HTML links.

Although the book has been exhaustively proofread, errors may still occur. Please e-mail me with any questions of this nature.

— Ronald Birdsall

Suggested Form of Bibliographic Citation:
Petrie, W. M. Flinders. The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. 1st ed. London: Field and Tuer; New York: Scribner & Welford, 1883. Republished online at The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh Online. Ed. Ronald Birdsall, 2003. Rev. August 27, 2014 <>

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2003–14 Ronald Birdsall. All rights reserved.

Last revision August 27, 2014.

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