Pete, you mentioned, "wealth is a function of the size and age of an economy/culture....wealth aggregates over time within a culture...' that is quite true but the wealth of any culture would increase quite enormously, if: 1 you discovered a gold mine, or 2 you conqured the then known world.
That is what I suggest old Nimrod, I mean, Narmer did! They had all the money they needed. That is why their passage graves could be built so big.
PS: remember not all the stones in the Pyramids were so big; the upper and outer stones were realatively easier to handle. Just the foundation stones. They were really big!!
PSS here is a true story: I was walking along Marine Drive in Chicago amoung the toniest of buildings. Up on a lower roof some stone masons were doing repairs. The work they were doing was on a level about 15 feet or so above the roof they were on. They had a mere ladder going up to the next storey. Well there was a stack of stone abous 3' feet by a foot in length. The stone mason had to move the stone up a storey to where he was working.
I figured they would have some sort of crane to lift the stone to the next level.
Well to my surprise, the mason, a stocky guy but shorter than me, didn't use any stinking crane. He picked up one of these large stones, put it on his shoulder, and carried it up the ladder by himself! Well, needless to say, if I tried to do this my knees would turn to painfull dust. But he proceded up and down the ladder, stone after stone.
Now these stones were smaller than any stone in the pyramids but he did it himself! On his shoulder! Up and down a ladder!
The moral: Don't underestimate the abilities of stone masons!
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