The Pyramids of Egypt

Essay by mysteriousgirl22College, Undergraduate February 2006

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The ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for the pharaos and their queens. The pharaohs were buried in pyramids of many different shapes and sizes.

The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to be buried properly. A proper burial would allow them to live again in the afterlife. Thus, most people who could afford to, spent a lot of time and effort making sure that they would be buried well.

Most ordinary ancient Egyptians were probably buried in the desert. Their relatives would wrap their body in a simple cloth and bury it with some everyday objects and food.

Those with more wealth would be able to afford a better burial. The graves of some craftsmen and workers have been found containing a mummified body as well as bread, fruit, amulets and furniture for the afterlife. They believed that the dead person could take their earthly posessions along to the next world.

Nobles and very wealthy people were often buried in tombs that we call mastabas. The mastaba was constructed during the First and Second dynasties. This kind of tomb has an underground burial chamber and an above ground offering chapel. These tombs would contain the person's mummified body, as well as food, jewellery and special objects.

In the third dynasty, a pharaoh named King Zoser had a large stone pyramid built by architect Imhotep at Saqqara called The Step Pyramid. This pyramid has many layers and looks like several mastabas stacked on top of each other. It was never covered with a stone to give it a smooth surface.

The three largest and best-preserved of the pyramids were built at Giza during the Fourth Dynasty. The design of these pyramids was based on the pyramids that had been built before. These are the largest and pyramids that were...