Summer's winding down as we enter September—or, as they would have called it in ancient Egypt, Akhet, the height of the rainy season that flooded the Nile once a year and made their entire civilization possible. Ken Jennings has a new book out this month on the land of the pharaohs, so all month he'll be sharing his sphinx-like wisdom with us by debunking millennia of misinformation about the ancient Egyptians. Maybe you've been in "de Nile" for a long time, but finally, here are the Ra facts.
The Debunker: Did Slaves Build the Pyramids?
Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians pulled off the most precocious construction feat in human history. At a time when the tallest building on Earth was no higher than an oak tree, the Egyptians used six million tons of masonry—enough to pave a road all the way across the United States—to build colossal pyramid-shaped tombs almost five hundred feet into the air. The Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only surviving landmark from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was the tallest building on earth for 3,800 years straight!