The most basic brick-building material in antiquity is sun-baked clay or mud. It is a pretty tough, resistant material of its own right. If this were the brick used to build the Tower of Babel, the structure itself would have stood only 1500 feet above the ground. But there was a statement in the Old Testament that the bricks may have been heated rather than left to bake under the sun. Studies have shown that heated bricks are even more resistant than the traditional sun-baked bricks. If this were the case, Babel would have been a pyramid closer to half a mile tall.

But the bricks used to build the pyramids of ancient Egypt are primarily limestone. Limestone made possible the Great Pyramid's dizzying height of 481 feet.

Let's go back to the megapyramid, the Egyptian pyramid as big as Shimizu--2004 meters tall and eight square miles in area. Which material would best suit the weight of a pyramid of that size, stone or heated brick?

For more on this Egyptian megapyramid:

The Japanese Mega-Pyramid in Ancient Egypt--Would it Work?

An Ancient Superpyramid

  • $\begingroup$ Remember that as soon as structures get this big they start to act like boats on the mushy ground. I think they use pilings that go down to the bedrock to help with that. $\endgroup$
    – DudeFace
    Jun 25, 2016 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ at a certain point no matter what you build it out of the internal blocks are crushed by the weight, the whole thing compresses the center down and the center collapses. The center of mountain is under a tremendous amount of pressure and springs back when it is removed. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 22, 2019 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


Be easier just to carve the thing out of a large hill or small mountain I would think. Why use bricks for the building part?

Rough-hew a hill/mountain then just layer bricks of whatever type to suit your fancy in detailing so it looks like a pyramid. Visitors to city would be impressed at the "built" structure and it'd look the same, especially if built around a "lonely mountain" kind of scenario.


In short, neither. A pyramid of that size would require a low-density high-strength material to support its own weight, e.g. steel or titanium.

Another problem with making it out of limestone would be the internal structure. Because pyramids and ziggurats were (and are) so heavy, it was impossible to put large spaces in the inside, because hollowing the inside of a limestone block that big would be hazardous, to say the least.

It is an interesting idea, but I believe that it would need to be constructed out of a lighter, stronger material.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .