3 amazing facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids and their legacy

(ORDO NEWS) — Why did ancient civilizations build so many pyramids in ancient times?

For thousands of years, ancient civilizations built monuments that are commonly called pyramids in our time. Since time immemorial, mankind has been shocked by these majestic ancient structures.

Although their exact purpose remains highly debatable, it is believed that some of the many ancient pyramids were used as temples for worship and religious gatherings, while others, such as the ancient Egyptian pyramids, were used as tombs in antiquity.

However, their exact purpose remains debatable, and there are conflicting accounts of the purpose of these huge ancient structures.

Egyptologists claim that the pyramids of ancient Egypt were tombs and only tombs. This is controversial for a number of reasons.

For example, the existence of the so-called provincial pyramids of ancient Egypt directly indicates that not all pyramids of Egypt were used as tombs.

The so-called provincial pyramids are really mysterious structures, and we do not know their exact purpose. Egyptologists claim that the provincial pyramids were built simply as cenotaphs.

In Egypt, eight provincial pyramids were built for reasons that remain unclear to scholars:

  • Ancient pyramid at Elephantine
  • Edfu pyramid
  • Al-Kula Pyramid
  • Pyramid Nagada
  • Pyramid of Sinki
  • Pyramid Zaouiet el Meytin
  • Sale Pyramid
  • Atribis Pyramid

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Their exact purpose has not yet been revealed by scholars, who claim that the smaller pyramids were an exception in ancient Egypt.

If all the other pyramids were built as tombs, starting with the Step Pyramid of Djoser, then the provincial pyramids listed above were simply monuments and did not serve the same purpose as all the other pyramids of Egypt.

In other words, scientists argue that the provincial pyramids were something like cult pyramids, and people came there to pay respect to the rulers and the ancient Egyptian gods.

The provincial pyramids were much smaller monuments than their original counterparts, rising no more than 20 meters in height. Most of the provincial pyramids are in ruins today.

These pyramids appeared shortly after the Step Pyramid was built.

This mysterious building, built by Imhotep on the order of Djoser, marked a revolution in ancient Egyptian architecture. It was a pyramid and a complex of pyramids that will forever leave a mark on the ancient Egyptian pyramids.

Before Djoser, no attempt had ever been made on such a large-scale construction. It was revolutionary not only because the pyramid shape was introduced in ancient Egypt, it is considered to be the earliest colossal stone structure in Egypt. The Djoser Revolutionary Monument is also recognized as the earliest large-scale hewn stone structure.

At least in Egypt, the pyramid of Djoser was the first. Before Djoser, no ruler had ever thought of building a pyramid, although at the time of the construction of the Step Pyramid, pyramids were already being built in other parts of the world, such as America.

In Egypt, Djoser innovated. And his innovation is largely due to the ideas that were put forward by his royal vizier and architect Imhotep. If Djoser had not chosen Imhotep as his architect and commissioned him to build the monument at Saqqara, we cannot imagine what it would have looked like.

Fortunately, Imhotep had fresh ideas that were recognized by Djoser.

But while the Step Pyramid at Saqqara was innovative, it draws precedent from antiquity and classical ancient Egyptian culture.

The kings who ruled Egypt before Djoser built their royal mastabas from adobe bricks and other readily available materials. Although the ancient Egyptians used stone in their buildings before Imhotep, the Step Pyramid was the first large free-standing monument to be built of stone, with the superstructure made entirely of stone blocks.

The mastabas of pre-dynastic Egypt are believed to have passed on many of the architectural elements to the later Pyramid of Djoser. In fact, Imhotep started building the Pyramid of Djoser as a square mastaba.

Mastabas were built in ancient Egypt until the beginning of the Third Dynasty, when Egypt changed forever. With the advent of King Djoser, many new things came to Egypt, and the architectural changes were the most famous.

Although King Djoser followed tradition and built a massive mastaba of adobe bricks in the royal necropolis of Abydos, for unclear reasons, he turned to Saqqara and began construction that would forever distort the history of ancient Egypt.

Many scholars argue that the Step Pyramid went from the original square mastaba to the final six-step pyramid that we see today.

According to Jean-Philippe Lauer, chief excavator of the pyramid complex, there were six stages in which the Step Pyramid was completed: M1, M2, M3, P1, P1′ and P2.

If this theory is correct, then it means that the royal architect was transforming the structure as he went, adding and changing elements as time went on. It could also mean that he inadvertently built a pyramid looking up at the sky.

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The structure of the stepped pyramid. This image shows the most likely construction steps for the Step Pyramid

When the builders of the Step Pyramid began converting the square mastaba into the Step Pyramid, they built a rough core of irregularly shaped stones and a thin limestone shell, with a layer of packing in between.

This method of construction is similar to that used in the constructions of the ancient mastabas, but this time there was one unseemly difference: the architects decided to abandon the horizontal layers and began to build in ascending, tilted inwards.

It is generally accepted that the Step Pyramid of Djoser is crystal clear mastaba elements that were deformed and reshaped by Imhotep, resulting in a structure never before built in ancient Egypt.

This could easily mean that Imhotep’s original plan was not to build the monument we see today, but some kind of elevated mastaba.

Of course, this cannot be confirmed or even refuted, since there is not a single ancient text that would talk about how, why and when exactly the ancient Step Pyramid of Djoser was built.

Since there are no plans, projections or drawings of the Step Pyramid, we do not know how Imhotep and the builders imagined this structure before laying its original foundation.

However, based on various archaeological sites throughout Egypt, we know that it was very difficult for the pharaohs who succeeded Djoser to emulate Djoser’s pyramid complex. In fact, it wasn’t until after Sneferu that a decent pyramid was built in Egypt.

The Greatest Pyramid Builder

King Sneferu was the founding pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom era. The most famous monuments from the reign of Sneferu are the three pyramids built in Dahshur: Bent Pyramid, Red Pyramid and Meidum (Meidum Pyramid).

During the reign of Sneferu, pyramid building methods were once again revolutionized, and his main pyramids eventually laid the necessary foundation for the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

In fact, Sneferu is the greatest pyramid builder in ancient Egyptian history. Although he did not build the largest pyramid in ancient Egypt, he is responsible for building the first smooth-sided pyramid. Sneferu also improved the angle at which the pyramid was built.

The first pyramid of Sneferu is a ruined structure that stands today in Meidum. This monument, which was originally built as a step pyramid, was the first attempt by ancient Egypt to build a pyramid with smooth edges.

This building project failed but provided important clues for the construction of Snefer’s curved pyramid.

The curved pyramid at Dahshur is evidence of a massive architectural innovation. The angle of the pyramid was changed from the original 55 degrees to the 43 degrees we see today.

It is not clear if the Bent Pyramid was originally designed this way, but it is likely that the structure was altered during construction due to unstable accretion layers.

The Bent Pyramid then provided the necessary details for the construction of Egypt’s first successful smooth-sided pyramid, the Red Pyramid at Dahshur.

This massive structure was built with a total volume of 1,694,000 cubic meters (59,823,045 cubic feet). It was the largest and most majestic pyramid built in Egypt before the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Red Pyramid is the third largest pyramid in ancient Egypt, surpassed only by the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre. Most Egyptologists argue that the design of the Red Pyramid is a direct result of engineering problems that arose during the construction of both the Bent Pyramid and the Pyramid at Meidum.

Be that as it may, the pyramid that replaced the Red Pyramid of Sneferu became the greatest of all. The Great Pyramid of Giza marked the zenith of the ancient Egyptian pyramids, establishing itself as the tallest structure on the planet, a title it held for 3,800 years.

The perfection with which the Great Pyramid of Giza was built eventually led to it becoming the only worthwhile wonder of the ancient world.

The total volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza was 2,583,283 cubic meters (91,227,778 cubic feet), making it the second largest pyramid in the world in terms of total volume, surpassed by the Great Pyramid of Cholula, built thousands of years ago in present-day Mexico.

Pyramid Legacy

The ancient Egyptian pyramids are unique not only because of their structural elements, but also because of the materials used in their construction, as well as the precision with which they were built.

The first pyramid and its origin. It is generally accepted that the first pyramid of Egypt is the most interesting. It may not be the largest or tallest built, but it marks a clear change in ancient Egyptian architecture.

In terms of size, the Step Pyramid may not be the largest, but it is an underground complex that has never been built again in the thousands of years of ancient Egyptian pyramid building.

The Step Pyramid is also unique in that it is believed to have started out as a square mastaba, which evolved over time into a step mastaba, giving it the shape of a step pyramid.

The core of the pyramid was built from rough stones, which were subsequently overlaid with fine limestone with a gasket between them.

A short legacy of the step pyramids. Although the Step Pyramid of Djoser was revolutionary, the first of its kind, further pyramid building in ancient Egypt fell on hard times. After the reign of Djoser, several pharaohs tried to replicate the building built by Djoser, but were unsuccessful.

Only after Sneferu did a new type of pyramid appear in Egypt. The Sneferu pyramids alone contain over 3.5 million cubic meters of stone. All other pyramids of the ancient Egyptian kings combined contain only 41 percent of the total mass of the pyramids of Sneferu, his son Khufu and his grandson Khafre.

A pyramid like no other. After Sneferu, Khufu ascended the throne of Ancient Egypt. Like his father, Khufu brought about a revolution in the ancient Egyptian pyramids that was unthinkable for previous generations.

The young Khufu commissioned a pyramid that turned out to be the largest ever built in ancient Egypt and the most precise structure on earth.

As Lechner notes, the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza is leveled to within 2.1 centimeters; the average deviation of the sides from the cardinal directions is 3 feet 6 inches of arc; the largest difference in the length of the sides of the Great Pyramid is 4.4 centimeters.

The precise purpose behind such astounding precision remains virtually inexplicable. Khufu also built the only octagonal pyramid of ancient Egypt.

Subsequent pyramids were not as perfect as the Great Pyramid. During the First Intermediate Period, the construction of the pyramids in Egypt almost ceased. During the Eighteenth Dynasty, the last royal pyramid was built in ancient Egypt.


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