Pyramids in Egypt

  • Gregg DeYoung
Living reference work entry

The pyramids of ancient Egypt still stand overlooking the Nile, bearing mute testimony to the civilization that constructed them nearly 5,000 years ago. Considering the magnitude of the effort expended, it seems surprising that no information about their planning or construction has been preserved. Such mysteries have generated an incredible array of hypotheses and suppositions concerning both construction techniques and cultural implications of the pyramid.


The origins of pyramid construction are obscure. The Step Pyramid of Third Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser (ca. 2667–2648 BCE) at Saqqara appears to be an elaboration of earlier funerary architecture, combining First Dynasty mastabaforms (low, flat mud brick, or stone superstructure above a subterranean burial vault and storage compartments) with the large, mud-brick-walled funerary enclosures of the Second Dynasty. Djoser’s pyramid appears to be a first experiment in large-scale stone construction. Beginning as a mastaba, it was...


Building Site Ancient Egyptian Core Block Desert Surface Burial Chamber 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American University in CairoCairoEgypt