In Egypt a team of Japanese archaeologists has just started work in an attempt to unravel one of the world's greatest engineering and architectural mysteries....
GV PAN: two of Egypt's ancient pyramids, and the Sphinx
SV: Egyptian labourers hauling concrete blocks off truck.
SV: Japanese camera crew.
LV AND CU: Egyptians hauling blocks by rope across stone pivots end over end (6 shots)
LV PAN: base at site of new pyramid, with ancient pyramid in background.
SV AND LV: new blocks being measured and chipped. (2 shots)
SV AND CU: stone being hauled on wooden sled along wooden rollers on wooden 'rails'.
Cu: Japanese overseer
SV: overseer examining first stone in position on base.
CU AND SV: model of new pyramid in section, with Japanese producer and director examining it. (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Egypt a team of Japanese archaeologists has just started work in an attempt to unravel one of the world's greatest engineering and architectural mysteries....how the ancient Egyptians managed to build the massive pyramids.
SYNOPSIS: The team has been given permission to build its own miniature version just five miles (8 kilometres) south of the real ones.
Although not always possible, they will use the primitive methods adopted over four thousand years ago.
The million dollar project is being sponsored by a Japanese commercial television company. It is going to take an estimated sixty days, using ten thousand local workmen to build the Japanese version. The Egyptians used 100,000 men and took over thirty years to build to biggest pyramid, Cheops. Although the Japanese are using modern transport to bring the stone blocks from quarries to the site they are insisting that for the last few yards the labourers use sweat and muscular pain to recreate what they call the drama of the world's most amazing construction project.
Their version is one fifteenth of the size of the original it is modelled on. It will take over 25,000 tons of limestone blocks to built it. That compares with the seven million tons of rock that make up Cheops. Those blocks weigh an average two and a half tons.
There are more than two million blocks in Cheops, which is built over an area big enough to accommodate five European cathedrals. The Japanese hope to find out, in practice, just how the ancient Egyptians managed to co-ordinate such a massive engineering project, using primitive methods.
There are many theories about how the Egyptians built the pyramids, but most are based on speculation. Now, using this new approach, called experimental archaeology, the Japanese team hopes to explain a few of the mysteries. There is one certainty however. The Japanese pyramid will not be there for long. It is going to be pulled down when completed.