Ancient Egypt and Us
Ancient Egypt Pyramids
Almost all the Ancient Egypt pyramids were constructed on the west bank of the Nile straddling the Egyptian capital Memphis, along a fifty mile strip between modern-day Cairo in the north, to Lahun. The technology of building a stone Ancient Egyptian pyramid developed in Egypt. The Mesopotamian civilizations grew up along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, however, here unlike resources for the Ancient Egyptian pyramids, stone was scarce and where it did occur, it was quite remote from the main population centers.

The Great Pyramids of Egypt
Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara
The first stone Ancient Egypt pyramid builder was Khasekhemwy. He constructed the world’s first stone building, a mastaba tomb. He died around 2584BC and his son Djoser succeeded to the throne. His architect, Imhotep, began the construction of the king’s conventional mastaba tomb at Saqqara opposite the Egyptian capital which would eventually become the foundation for the construction of the first pyramid of ancient egypt. The tomb was built out of local limestone. It was faced with beautifully cut and polished white limestone which was transported south by boat from the Tura quarries. Imhotep then demonstrated his genius. He added a slightly smaller mastaba on top of the original tomb and the effect was dramatic. As the reign proceeded, typically every 3-6 years, he added a new mastaba on the top of the last until there were a total of six. He had created the world’s first Ancient Egypt pyramid. Inside fifty years, almost out of nowhere in relation to the hundreds of years single mastabas had been constructed, Ancient Egypt pyramid building had progressed from building modest single story brick tombs to a stone pyramid construction of truly enormous dimensions. The base of Djoser’s step pyramid of Ancient Egypt measured 397 feet by 358 feet and rose to a soaring height of 204 feet. Imhotep and Djoser had created a “stairway to heaven” and by far the largest structure the world had yet seen. The Ancient Egyptian pyramid has survived to the present day, but without the casing which was robbed in antiquity.

Khufu c2470, not wanting his Ancient Egypt Great Pyramid to stand in direct comparison with his father Snefru’s three Ancient Egypt pyramids, chose a splendid new location north of the Egyptian capital. The first precise measurements of the Great Ancient Egyptian pyramid were carried out by Petrie in 1880–82. The volume of the structure, excluding an internal natural shallow mound, is believed to contain roughly 2,300,000 Ancient Egypt pyramid blocks each weighing an average of two to two and a half tons.

The Ancient Egypt Great Pyramid was the grandest pyramid of Ancient Egypt and remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years unsurpassed until Lincoln Cathedral, England was completed c1300AD. The dimensions of the massive Ancient Egyptian pyramid structure are still wonderfully impressive to the visitor. Each side of the base of the Ancient Egypt Great Pyramid measures 756 feet and the height soared to 481 feet when built.

Two more giant stone Ancient Egyptian pyramids were built beside Khufu’s pyramid at the Giza plateau, by his successors, these are shown right. The small Ancient Egyptian pyramids in the foreground are those of the wives of king Menkaure.

The shape of the Ancient Egyptian pyramids still captivates us and there are many examples of small modern pyramids in cemeteries throughout the modern world. The most notable large pyramids built in the last fifty years are those at the Louvre Museum in Paris (70 feet high), the Transamerica tower in San Francisco, the 32 story Pyramid Arena in Memphis Tennessee, the Walter Pyramid for basketball, Long Beach and the 30 story Luxor Hotel Las Vegas with its pyramidion light. The Ancient Egyptian pyramid design is alive and well today.