4 Mysteries From Ancient Egypt We Still Can't Figure Out

Source: AP
Source: AP

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?

White actress Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
Source: 
AP

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.

3. How did King Tut die?

The young King Tutankhamun has fascinated historians since his tomb was discovered in 1922, but the specifics of his life — and death at the age of 19 — remain somewhat of a mystery. A longstanding theory that he died in a chariot crash was seemingly debunked when scans of his mummified body revealed that he had a "partially clubbed foot" that would have made it impossible for him to stand on his own, reported the Independent in 2014.

The new research also revealed, through genetic analysis, that Tutankhamun's parents were likely brother and sister, and he may have died "as a result of genetic impairments."

4. What's hidden inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu?


The Khufu pyramid, the largest of the three pyramids at Giza, may actually contain some hidden secrets. A 2015 thermal scan of the Great Pyramid indicated that there were "thermal anomalies" within the structure, reports the Guardian, though it's unclear what, exactly, that might mean.

A statement released about the results of the scans said the anomalies could mean many things: "To explain such anomalies a lot of hypothesis and possibilities could be drawn up: presence of voids behind the surface, internal air currents," reported the Guardian. There could even be an as-yet-undiscovered hidden tomb, but the project, which is expected to last through the end of 2016, hasn't drawn any conclusions yet.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Anna Swartz

Anna is a staff writer for Mic covering breaking news. She can be reached at aswartz@mic.com.

MORE FROM

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.