How Much Would It Cost To Build An Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Today?

The Great Pyramid of Giza is on a lot of people's bucket list, and for good reason. Photos can't do the thing justice. It's enormous, astonishing, beautiful, a stairway to the heavens or maybe even an antenna to whatever alien culture helped build it (probably not that last one, but it's cool to imagine). It does inspire awe, though, and for centuries we've been trying to solve its mysteries — with the biggest one being the mystery of how the heck anyone managed to build such a thing. 

According to LiveScience, the Great Pyramid is 756 feet long (times four sides) and 481 feet tall, and it's made of roughly 2.3 million 3-ton stones. Verbal tradition says the ancients built in 20 years, but that seems pretty unlikely given that it would have taken thousands of people working day and night to place one block every five minutes in order to complete the whole thing in that time frame. 

So maybe it took longer than 20 years, but that doesn't explain how it was done. Current theory says it was built from the inside out — builders first constructed a spiral, internal ramp and then they somehow used that to place all of the giant blocks. Still sounds a little unlikely, but who are we to question the experts? 

Could it be done today?

Anyway, if we were to duplicate the feat today, we would probably not have a bunch of shirtless dudes dragging stones with sleds and ropes, though that would be pretty cool. And we wouldn't need 4,000 workers for 20 years, either. We'd only need 1,500 to 2,000 workers and we could probably do it in five years, using cranes, helicopters, and earth-moving machinery. The total cost would be about $5 billion. Sure, that seems like a lot of money — but when you compare it to the cost of rebuilding One World Trade Center, it's not actually outrageous. That modern building took eight years to build and cost $4 billion, so it's not like the price is out of reach if you have enough dead pharoahs to put inside of it. Um, know any dead pharoahs?