Egyptian pyramids

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A view of the pyramids at Giza from the plateau to the south of the complex. From left to right, the three largest are: the Pyramid of Menkaure, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The three smaller pyramids in the foreground are subsidiary structures associated with Menkaure's pyramid. All Gizah Pyramids.jpg
A view of the pyramids at Giza from the plateau to the south of the complex. From left to right, the three largest are: the Pyramid of Menkaure, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The three smaller pyramids in the foreground are subsidiary structures associated with Menkaure's pyramid.
Egyptian pyramidsEgyptian pyramids
Egyptian pyramids
Egyptian pyramids

Unicode: 𓍋𓅓𓂋𓉴
Pyramid
in hieroglyphs

The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. [1] [2] Most were built as tombs for the country's pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. [3] [4] [5]

Pyramid (geometry) geometrical shape

In geometry, a pyramid is a polyhedron formed by connecting a polygonal base and a point, called the apex. Each base edge and apex form a triangle, called a lateral face. It is a conic solid with polygonal base. A pyramid with an n-sided base has n + 1 vertices, n + 1 faces, and 2n edges. All pyramids are self-dual.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

Contents

The earliest known Egyptian pyramids are found at Saqqara, northwest of Memphis. The earliest among these is the Pyramid of Djoser, which was built c. 2630–2610 BC during the Third Dynasty. [6] This pyramid and its surrounding complex were designed by the architect Imhotep, and are generally considered to be the world's oldest monumental structures constructed of dressed masonry. [7]

Saqqara village in Giza Governorate, Egypt

Saqqara, also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of mastabas. Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km.

Memphis, Egypt Ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, Egypt

Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza.

Pyramid of Djoser archeological remain in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt

The Pyramid of Djoser, or Step Pyramid is an archeological remain in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the city of Memphis. The earliest colossal stone building in Egypt, it was built in the 27th century BC during the Third Dynasty for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by his vizier, Imhotep. The pyramid is the central feature of a vast mortuary complex in an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures and decoration.

The most famous Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built. [8] The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.

Giza City in Egypt

Giza is the third-largest city in Egypt and the capital of the Giza Governorate. It is located on the west bank of the Nile, 4.9 km (3 mi) southwest of central Cairo. Along with Cairo Governorate, Shubra El Kheima, Helwan, 6th October City and Obour, the five form Greater Cairo metropolis.

Giza pyramid complex archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt

The Giza pyramid complex, also called the Giza Necropolis, is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Consisting of a necropolis or mortuary complex of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, it includes the three Great Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an industrial complex. It is located in the Western Desert, approximately 9 km (5 mi) west of the Nile river at the old town of Giza, and about 13 km (8 mi) southwest of Cairo city centre.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World remarkable constructions of classical antiquity

The Seven Wonders of the World or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list of remarkable constructions of classical antiquity given by various authors in guidebooks or poems popular among ancient Hellenic tourists. Although the list, in its current form, did not stabilise until the Renaissance, the first such lists of seven wonders date from the 1st-2nd century BC. The original list inspired innumerable versions through the ages, often listing seven entries. Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact. The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were all destroyed. The location and ultimate fate of the Hanging Gardens are unknown, and there is speculation that they may not have existed at all.

Historical development

The Mastabat al-Fir'aun at Saqqara Mastaba-faraoun-3.jpg
The Mastabat al-Fir’aun at Saqqara

By the time of the Early Dynastic Period, those with sufficient means were buried in bench-like structures known as mastabas. [9] [10]

Early Dynastic Period (Egypt) period of Ancient Egypt immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt

The Archaic or Early Dynastic Period of Egypt is the era immediately following the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the end of the Naqada III archaeological period until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Thinis to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king. Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period.

Mastaba type of ancient Egyptian tomb

A mastaba or pr-djt is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with inward sloping sides, constructed out of mud-bricks. These edifices marked the burial sites of many eminent Egyptians during Egypt's Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. In the Old Kingdom epoch, local kings began to be buried in pyramids instead of in mastabas, although non-royal use of mastabas continued for over a thousand years. Egyptologists call these tombs mastaba, from the Arabic word مصطبة "stone bench".

The second historically-documented Egyptian pyramid is attributed to the architect Imhotep, who planned what Egyptologists believe to be a tomb for the pharaoh Djoser. Imhotep is credited with being the first to conceive the notion of stacking mastabas on top of each other, creating an edifice composed of a number of "steps" that decreased in size towards its apex. The result was the Pyramid of Djoser, which was designed to serve as a gigantic stairway by which the soul of the deceased pharaoh could ascend to the heavens. Such was the importance of Imhotep's achievement that he was deified by later Egyptians. [11]

Imhotep Egyptian polymath, later revered as a god

Imhotep was an Egyptian chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser, probable architect of the Djoser's step pyramid, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. Very little is known of Imhotep as a historical figure, but in the 3000 years following his death, he was gradually glorified and deified.

Djoser ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty

Djoser was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty during the Old Kingdom and the founder of this epoch. He is also known by his Hellenized names Tosorthros and Sesorthos. He was the son of king Khasekhemwy and queen Nimaathap, but whether he also was the direct throne successor is still unclear. Most Ramesside Kinglists name a king Nebka before him, but since there are still difficulties in connecting that name with contemporary Horus names, some Egyptologists question the received throne sequence.

The most prolific pyramid-building phase coincided with the greatest degree of absolutist rule. It was during this time of the Old Kingdom of Egypt that the most famous pyramids, the Giza pyramid complex, were built. Over time, as authority became less centralized, the ability and willingness to harness the resources required for construction on a massive scale decreased, and later pyramids were smaller, less well-built and often hastily constructed.

Old Kingdom of Egypt period of Ancient Egypt in the 3rd millennium BC

In ancient Egyptian history, the Old Kingdom is the period spanning c. 2686–2181 BC. It is also known as the "Age of the Pyramids" or the "Age of the Pyramid Builders", as it encompasses the reigns of the great pyramid builders of the Fourth Dynasty—King Sneferu perfected the art of pyramid-building and the pyramids of Giza were constructed under the kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Egypt attained its first sustained peak of civilization—the first of three so-called "Kingdom" periods which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley.

Egyptian pyramid construction techniques are the controversial subject of many hypotheses. These techniques seem to have developed over time; later pyramids were not constructed in the same way as earlier ones. Most of the construction hypotheses are based on the belief that huge stones were carved from quarries with copper chisels, and these blocks were then dragged and lifted into position. Disagreements chiefly concern the methods used to move and place the stones.

Long after the end of Egypt's own pyramid-building period, a burst of pyramid-building occurred in what is present-day Sudan, after much of Egypt came under the rule of the Kingdom of Kush, which was then based at Napata. While Napatan rule was brief, ending in 661 BC, Egyptian culture made an indelible impression. The Meroitic period of Kushite history, when the kingdom was centered on Meroë, (approximately in the period between 300 BCE and 300 CE), saw a full-blown pyramid-building revival, which saw more than two hundred Egyptian-inspired indigenous royal pyramid-tombs constructed in the vicinity of the kingdom's capital cities.

Al-Aziz Uthman (1171–1198) tried to destroy the Giza pyramid complex. He gave up after damaging the Pyramid of Menkaure because the task proved too huge. [12]

Pyramid symbolism

Diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid. The inner line indicates the pyramid's present profile, the outer line indicates the original profile. Great Pyramid Diagram.svg
Diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid. The inner line indicates the pyramid's present profile, the outer line indicates the original profile.

The shape of Egyptian pyramids is thought to represent the primordial mound from which the Egyptians believed the earth was created. The shape of a pyramid is thought to be representative of the descending rays of the sun, and most pyramids were faced with polished, highly reflective white limestone, in order to give them a brilliant appearance when viewed from a distance. Pyramids were often also named in ways that referred to solar luminescence. For example, the formal name of the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur was The Southern Shining Pyramid, and that of Senwosret at el-Lahun was Senwosret is Shining.

While it is generally agreed that pyramids were burial monuments, there is continued disagreement on the particular theological principles that might have given rise to them. One suggestion is that they were designed as a type of "resurrection machine." [13]

The Egyptians believed the dark area of the night sky around which the stars appear to revolve was the physical gateway into the heavens. One of the narrow shafts that extend from the main burial chamber through the entire body of the Great Pyramid points directly towards the center of this part of the sky. This suggests the pyramid may have been designed to serve as a means to magically launch the deceased pharaoh's soul directly into the abode of the gods. [13]

All Egyptian pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile, which, as the site of the setting sun, was associated with the realm of the dead in Egyptian mythology. [14]

Number and location of pyramids

In 1842, Karl Richard Lepsius produced the first modern list of pyramids – now known as the Lepsius list of pyramids – in which he counted 67. A great many more have since been discovered. As of November 2008, 118 Egyptian pyramids have been identified. [3]

The location of Pyramid 29, which Lepsius called the "Headless Pyramid", was lost for a second time when the structure was buried by desert sands after Lepsius's survey. It was found again only during an archaeological dig conducted in 2008. [15]

Many pyramids are in a poor state of preservation or buried by desert sands. If visible at all, they may appear as little more than mounds of rubble. As a consequence, archaeologists are continuing to identify and study previously unknown pyramid structures.

The most recent pyramid to be discovered was that of Sesheshet at Saqqara, mother of the Sixth Dynasty pharaoh Teti, announced on 11 November 2008. [4] [16]

All of Egypt's pyramids, except the small Third Dynasty pyramid of Zawyet el-Amwat (or Zawyet el-Mayitin), are sited on the west bank of the Nile, and most are grouped together in a number of pyramid fields. The most important of these are listed geographically, from north to south, below.

Abu Rawash

The largely destroyed Pyramid of Djedefre Abu Rawash Pyramid.jpg
The largely destroyed Pyramid of Djedefre

Abu Rawash is the site of Egypt's most northerly pyramid (other than the ruins of Lepsius pyramid number one) [5] — the mostly ruined Pyramid of Djedefre, son and successor of Khufu. Originally it was thought that this pyramid had never been completed, but the current archaeological consensus is that not only was it completed, but that it was originally about the same size as the Pyramid of Menkaure, which would have placed it among the half-dozen or so largest pyramids in Egypt.

Its location adjacent to a major crossroads made it an easy source of stone. Quarrying, which began in Roman times, has left little apart from about 15 courses of stone superimposed upon the natural hillock that formed part of the pyramid's core. A small adjacent satellite pyramid is in a better state of preservation.

Giza

Map of the Giza pyramid complex Giza pyramid complex (map).svg
Map of the Giza pyramid complex
Aerial view of the Giza pyramid complex Giza-pyramids.JPG
Aerial view of the Giza pyramid complex

Giza is the location of the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the "Great Pyramid" and the "Pyramid of Cheops"); the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren); the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinus), along with a number of smaller satellite edifices known as "Queen's pyramids"; and the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Of the three, only Khafre's pyramid retains part of its original polished limestone casing, near its apex. This pyramid appears larger than the adjacent Khufu pyramid by virtue of its more elevated location, and the steeper angle of inclination of its construction – it is, in fact, smaller in both height and volume.

The Giza pyramid complex has been a popular tourist destination since antiquity and was popularized in Hellenistic times when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today it is the only one of those wonders still in existence.

Zawyet el-Aryan

This site, halfway between Giza and Abusir, is the location for two unfinished Old Kingdom pyramids. The northern structure's owner is believed to be pharaoh Nebka, while the southern structure, known as the Layer Pyramid, may be attributable to the Third Dynasty pharaoh Khaba, a close successor of Sekhemkhet. If this attribution is correct, Khaba's short reign could explain the seemingly unfinished state of this step pyramid. Today it stands around 17 m (56 ft) high; had it been completed, it is likely to have exceeded 40 m (130 ft).

Abusir

The Pyramid of Sahure at Abusir, viewed from the pyramid's causeway SahurePyramid.jpg
The Pyramid of Sahure at Abusir, viewed from the pyramid's causeway

There are a total of fourteen pyramids at this site, which served as the main royal necropolis during the Fifth Dynasty. The quality of construction of the Abusir pyramids is inferior to those of the Fourth Dynasty – perhaps signaling a decrease in royal power or a less vibrant economy. They are smaller than their predecessors, and are built of low-quality local limestone.

The three major pyramids are those of Niuserre, which is also the best preserved, Neferirkare Kakai and Sahure. The site is also home to the incomplete Pyramid of Neferefre. Most of the major pyramids at Abusir were built using similar construction techniques, comprising a rubble core surrounded by steps of mud bricks with a limestone outer casing. The largest of these Fifth Dynasty pyramids, the Pyramid of Neferirkare Kakai, is believed to have been built originally as a step pyramid some 70 m (230 ft) high and then later transformed into a "true" pyramid by having its steps filled in with loose masonry.

Saqqara

The Pyramid of Djoser Saqqara stepped pyramid.jpg
The Pyramid of Djoser

Major pyramids located here include the Pyramid of Djoser – generally identified as the world's oldest substantial monumental structure to be built of dressed stone – the Pyramid of Userkaf, the Pyramid of Teti and the Pyramid of Merikare, dating to the First Intermediate Period of Egypt. Also at Saqqara is the Pyramid of Unas, which retains a pyramid causeway that is one of the best-preserved in Egypt. Together with the pyramid of Userkaf, this pyramid was the subject of one of the earliest known restoration attempts, conducted by Khaemweset, a son of Ramesses II. [17] Saqqara is also the location of the incomplete step pyramid of Djoser's successor Sekhemkhet, known as the Buried Pyramid. Archaeologists believe that had this pyramid been completed, it would have been larger than Djoser's.

South of the main pyramid field at Saqqara is a second collection of later, smaller pyramids, including those of Pepi I, Djedkare Isesi, Merenre, Pepi II and Ibi. Most of these are in a poor state of preservation.

The Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Shepseskaf either did not share an interest in, or have the capacity to undertake pyramid construction like his predecessors. His tomb, which is also sited at south Saqqara, was instead built as an unusually large mastaba and offering temple complex. It is commonly known as the Mastabat al-Fir’aun. [18]

A previously unknown pyramid was discovered at north Saqqara in late 2008. Believed to be the tomb of Teti's mother, it currently stands approximately 5 m (16 ft) high, although the original height was closer to 14 m (46 ft).

Dahshur

Sneferu's Red Pyramid Snofru's-Red-Pyramid.jpg
Sneferu's Red Pyramid

This area is arguably the most important pyramid field in Egypt outside Giza and Saqqara, although until 1996 the site was inaccessible due to its location within a military base and was relatively unknown outside archaeological circles.

The southern Pyramid of Sneferu, commonly known as the Bent Pyramid, is believed to be the first Egyptian pyramid intended by its builders to be a "true" smooth-sided pyramid from the outset; the earlier pyramid at Meidum had smooth sides in its finished state – but it was conceived and built as a step pyramid, before having its steps filled in and concealed beneath a smooth outer casing of dressed stone. As a true smooth-sided structure, the Bent Pyramid was only a partial success – albeit a unique, visually imposing one; it is also the only major Egyptian pyramid to retain a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing intact. As such it serves as the best contemporary example of how the ancient Egyptians intended their pyramids to look. Several kilometres to the north of the Bent Pyramid is the last – and most successful – of the three pyramids constructed during the reign of Sneferu; the Red Pyramid is the world's first successfully completed smooth-sided pyramid. The structure is also the third largest pyramid in Egypt – after the pyramids of Khufu and Khafra at Giza.

Also at Dahshur is one of two pyramids built by Amenemhat III, known as the Black Pyramid, as well as a number of small, mostly ruined subsidiary pyramids.

Mazghuna

Located to the south of Dahshur, several mudbrick pyramids were built in this area in the late Middle Kingdom, perhaps for Amenemhat IV and Sobekneferu.

Lisht

The Pyramid of Amenemhet I at Lisht AmenemhetIPyramid.jpg
The Pyramid of Amenemhet I at Lisht

Two major pyramids are known to have been built at Lisht – those of Amenemhat I and his son, Senusret I. The latter is surrounded by the ruins of ten smaller subsidiary pyramids. One of these subsidiary pyramids is known to be that of Amenemhat's cousin, Khaba II. [19] The site which is in the vicinity of the oasis of the Faiyum, midway between Dahshur and Meidum, and about 100 kilometres south of Cairo, is believed to be in the vicinity of the ancient city of Itjtawy (the precise location of which remains unknown), which served as the capital of Egypt during the Twelfth Dynasty.

Meidum

The pyramid at Meidum Pyramid of sneferu Meidum 01.jpg
The pyramid at Meidum

The pyramid at Meidum is one of three constructed during the reign of Sneferu, and is believed by some to have been started by that pharaoh's father and predecessor, Huni. However, that attribution is uncertain, as no record of Huni's name has been found at the site. It was constructed as a step pyramid, and then later converted into the first "true" smooth-sided pyramid when the steps were filled in, and an outer casing added. The pyramid suffered several catastrophic collapses in ancient and medieval times; medieval Arab writers described it as having seven steps – although today only the three uppermost of these remain, giving the structure its odd, tower-like appearance. The hill on which the pyramid is situated is not a natural landscape feature – it is the small mountain of debris created when the lower courses and outer casing of the pyramid gave way.

Hawara

The Pyramid of Amenemhet III at Hawara Pyramid of amenemhet hawarra 01.jpg
The Pyramid of Amenemhet III at Hawara

Amenemhat III was the last powerful ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty, and the pyramid he built at Hawara, near the Faiyum, is believed to post-date the so-called "Black Pyramid" built by the same ruler at Dahshur. It is the Hawara pyramid that is believed to have been Amenemhet's final resting place.

el-Lahun

The Pyramid of Senusret II. The pyramid's natural limestone core is clearly visible as the yellow stratum at its base. Pyramid at Lahun.jpg
The Pyramid of Senusret II. The pyramid's natural limestone core is clearly visible as the yellow stratum at its base.

The pyramid of Senusret II at el-Lahun is the southernmost royal-tomb pyramid structure in Egypt. Its builders reduced the amount of work necessary to construct it by ingeniously using as its foundation and core a 12-meter-high natural limestone hill.

El-Kurru

Piye's pyramid at El-Kurru Al-Kurru,main pyramid.jpg
Piye's pyramid at El-Kurru

Piye, the king of Kush who became the first ruler of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, built a pyramid at El-Kurru. He was the first Egyptian pharaoh to be buried in a pyramid in centuries.

Nuri

Taharqa's pyramid at Nuri Nuri main pyr.northeast.jpg
Taharqa's pyramid at Nuri

Taharqa, a Kushite ruler of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, built his pyramid at Nuri. It was the largest in the area (North Sudan).

Construction dates and heights

Drawing showing transportation of a colossus. The water poured in the path of the sledge, long dismissed by Egyptologists as ritual, but now confirmed as feasible, served to increase the stiffness of the sand, and likely reduced by 50% the force needed to move the statue. Colosse-djehoutihetep2.jpg
Drawing showing transportation of a colossus. The water poured in the path of the sledge, long dismissed by Egyptologists as ritual, but now confirmed as feasible, served to increase the stiffness of the sand, and likely reduced by 50% the force needed to move the statue.

The following table lays out the chronology of the construction of most of the major pyramids mentioned here. Each pyramid is identified through the pharaoh who ordered it built, his approximate reign, and its location.

Pyramid / PharaohReignFieldHeight
Djoser c. 2670 BC Saqqara 62 meters (203 feet)
Sneferu c. 2612–2589 BC Dashur 104 meters (341 feet)
Sneferu c. 2612–2589 BC Meidum 65 meters (213 feet) (ruined)

*Would have been 91.65 meters (301 feet) or 175 Egyptian Royal cubits.

Khufu c. 2589–2566 BC Giza 146.7 meters (481 feet) or 280 Egyptian Royal cubits
Djedefre c. 2566–2558 BC Abu Rawash 60 meters (197 feet)
Khafre c. 2558–2532 BC Giza 136.4 meters (448 feet)

*Originally: 143.5 m or 471 feet or 274 Egyptian Royal cubits

Menkaure c. 2532–2504 BC Giza 65 meters (213 feet) or 125 Egyptian Royal cubits
Userkaf c. 2494–2487 BC Saqqara 48 meters (161 feet)
Sahure c. 2487–2477 BC Abusir 47 meters (155 feet)
Neferirkare Kakai c. 2477–2467 BC Abusir 72.8 meters (239 feet)
Nyuserre Ini c. 2416–2392 BC Abusir 51.68 m (169.6 feet) or 99 Egyptian Royal cubits
Amenemhat I c. 1991–1962 BC Lisht 55 meters (181 feet)
Senusret I c. 1971–1926 BC Lisht 61.25 meters (201 feet)
Senusret II c. 1897–1878 BC el-Lahun 48.65 m (159.6 ft; 93 Egyptian Royal cubits) or

47.6 m (156 ft; 91 Egyptian Royal cubits)

Amenemhat III c. 1860–1814 BC Hawara 75 meters (246 feet)
Khendjer c. 1764–1759 BC Saqqara 37.35 m (122.5 feet), now 1 m (3.3 feet)
Piye c. 721 BC El-Kurru 20 meters (66 feet) or

30 meters (99 feet)

Taharqa c. 664 BC Nuri 40 meters (132 feet) or

50 meters (164 feet)

Construction techniques

Constructing the pyramids involved moving huge quantities of stone. Papyri discovered at the Egyptian desert near the Red Sea, in 2013 by archaeologist Pierre Tallet, revealed the journal of Merer, an official of Egypt involved in transporting limestone along the Nile River. These papyri reveal processes in the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu, just outside modern Cairo. [21] Rather than overland transport of the limestone used in building the pyramid, there is evidence that limestone blocks were transported along the Nile River, in the journal of Merer, preserved remnants of ancient canals, and transport boats discovered. [22]

It is possible that quarried blocks were then transported to the construction site by wooden sleds, with sand in front of the sled wetted to reduce friction. Droplets of water created bridges between the grains of sand, helping them stick together. [23]

See also

List

Related Research Articles

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Lepsius list of pyramids 1842 list by Karl Richard Lepsius

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Mastabat al-Firaun mastaba

The Mastabat al-Fir’aun is the grave monument of the ancient Egyptian king Shepseskaf, the last king of the Fourth Dynasty documented to date. It is located in South Saqqara halfway between the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara and the pyramids of Sneferu, the founder of the fourth dynasty, at Dahshur. The structure is located close to the pyramid of Pepi II, a ruler of the Sixth Dynasty. The stone quarry for the structure is located west of the Red Pyramid of Sneferu.

Qar was a doctor during the Sixth dynasty of Egypt, which lasted from about 2350 to 2180 BC. He was the royal physician.

Ankhhaf Egyptian prince and vizier

Prince Ankhhaf was an Egyptian prince and served as vizier and overseer of works to the Pharaoh Khufu, who was Ankhhaf's half-brother. He lived during Egypt's 4th Dynasty.

Buried Pyramid step pyramid

The Buried Pyramid is an unfinished step pyramid constructed ca. 2645 BC for Sekhemkhet Djoserty. This pharaoh was the second of the Third Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, which reigned over Egypt circa 2686–2613 BC and is usually placed at the beginning of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Many historians believe that the third dynasty played an important role in the transition from Early Dynastic Period of Egypt to the Age of the Pyramids.

Third Dynasty of Egypt dynasty of ancient Egypt

The Third Dynasty of ancient Egypt is the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Other dynasties of the Old Kingdom include the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth. The capital during the period of the Old Kingdom was at Memphis.

Several Ancient Egyptian solar ships and boat pits were found in many Ancient Egyptian sites. The most famous is the Khufu ship now preserved in the Giza Solar boat museum beside the Great pyramid at Giza. The full-sized ships or boats were buried near Ancient Egyptians' Pyramids or Temples at many sites. The history and function of the ships are not precisely known. They might be of the type known as a "solar barge", a ritual vessel to carry the resurrected king with the sun god Ra across the heavens. However, some ships bear signs of being used in water, and it is possible that these ships were funerary barges.

References

  1. Slackman, Michael (17 November 2008). "In the Shadow of a Long Past, Patiently Awaiting the Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  2. Mark Lehner (2008). The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries. p. 34. Thames & Hudson. 25 March 2008. ISBN   978-0-500-28547-3.
  3. 1 2 "Egypt says has found pyramid built for ancient queen". Reuters. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2017. The pyramid, which Hawass said was the 118th found in Egypt, was uncovered near the world's oldest pyramid at Saqqara, a burial ground for the rulers of ancient Egypt.
  4. 1 2 Slackman, Michael (16 November 2007). "In the Shadow of a Long Past, Patiently Awaiting the Future". New York Times. Retrieved 17 November 2008. Deep below the Egyptian desert, archaeologists have found evidence of yet another pyramid, this one constructed 4,300 years ago to store the remains of a pharaoh’s mother. That makes 138 pyramids discovered here so far, and officials say they expect to find more.
  5. 1 2 Michael Ritter (2003) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Dating the Pyramids. Retrieved 13 April 2005
  6. Gardner, Helen (1980) [1926]. De La Croix, Horst; Tansey, Richard G. (eds.). Art through the Ages (7th ed.). New York: Harcourt Brave Jovanovitch. p. 68. ISBN   0-15-503758-7.
  7. Lehner, Mark (1997). The Complete Pyramids. New York: Thames and Hudson. p. 84. ISBN   978-0-500-05084-2.
  8. Watkin, David (2005). A History of Western Architecture (4th ed.). Laurence King Publishing. p. 14. ISBN   978-1-85669-459-9."The Great Pyramid...is still one of the largest structures ever raised by man, its plan twice the size of St. Peter's in Rome"
  9. Burial customs: mastabas. University College London (2001) Retrieved 14 April 2005
  10. "Early Dynastic burial customs". Digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  11. Quirke, Stephen (2001). The Cult of Ra: Sun Worship in Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, pp. 118–120.
  12. Lehner, Mark. The Complete Pyramids, London: Thames and Hudson (1997), p.41. ISBN   0-500-05084-8
  13. 1 2 Wilkinson, Toby (2004). "Before the Pyramids". Egypt at its Origins. Studies in Memory of Barbara Adams Proceedings of the International Conference "Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt", Krakow, 28th August - 1st September 2002. Peeters. p. 1142. ISBN   978-90-429-1469-8 . Retrieved 18 June 2015. A final echo of earlier practices is seen in the domain established by Djoser to supply his mortuary cult. He called it Hr-sb3-/mti-pt, “Horus, the foremost star in the sky”. We could not wish for a clearer statement of the belief underlying the Step Pyramid: that it was a resurrection machine designed to propel its royal owner, Horus, to the pre-eminent place among the undying stars.
  14. "Discovery Channel Nederland". Discoverychannel.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  15. Kratovac, Katarina (5 June 2008). "Egypt uncovers 'missing' pyramid of a pharaoh". Yahoo News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008.
  16. "New Pyramid Found in Egypt: 4,300-Year-Old Queen's Tomb". News.nationalgeographic.com. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  17. Kenneth Kitchen: Ramesside Inscriptions, Translated & Annotated, Translations, Volume II, Blackwell Publishers, ISBN   0-631-18435-X, 1996
  18. The Mastaba of Shepseskaf
  19. Allen, James; Manuelian, Peter (2005). The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (Writings from the Ancient World, No. 23). Brill Academic. ISBN   978-90-04-13777-6.
  20. Terrence McCoy (2 May 2014). "The surprisingly simple way Egyptians moved massive pyramid stones without modern technology". The Washington Post .
  21. Stille, Alexander. "The World's Oldest Papyrus and What It Can Tell Us About the Great Pyramids". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  22. Holloway, April. "Archaeologists Announce that New Discoveries Solve Mystery of How the Great Pyramid Was Built". Ancient Origins. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  23. "Solved! How Ancient Egyptians Moved Massive Pyramid Stones". Live Science. Retrieved 26 February 2018.

Bibliography

Coordinates: 29°58′34″N31°07′52″E / 29.97611°N 31.13111°E / 29.97611; 31.13111