Pyramids

Pyramids

Imagine living in Ancient Egypt about 3,000

B.C. Imagine a society teeming with life and happiness. Imagine
looking around and seeing beautiful buildings, fields of crops, and the
great pyramids with their white limestone façade blazing in the
sun of the midday. It would be quite the experience to have lived
back then.

The history of Egypt begins with the unification
of Upper and Lower Egypt into one united kingdom. The first
ruler under this new system was Menes. Thirty other dynasty's would
follow. To further unify Upper and Lower Egypt Menes founded a capital
city where the two met: at the apex of the Nile, where it fans out into
the silt plain. This city was named "White walls" by the Egyptians
but later called Memphis by the Greeks. It is here at Memphis that
the great pyramids where built.

The pyramids were built to house the dead
pharaoh of that time. Death was seen by the Egyptians as just the
beginning of a journey to the other world. In Egyptian society each
individual believed that his eternal life was dependant on the continued
existence of their king, a belief that made the building of the pyramid
a concern of the entire kingdom. Many people would be called to duty
to work on the pyramids and many would go at will. It was found that
the Egyptian people actually liked working on the pyramids. Many
youths would travel down the Nile to work on the pyramids so that they
could see the great city of Memphis.

Furniture and riches not to mention body
parts of the dead king were buried with him in the pyramid, so that in
the afterlife the king would be able to have all the comforts that he had
in his life. Wives and people of high standing in the king's court
were buried beside his tomb when they died. The queens pyramid was
always much smaller than the kings. The other wives and attendants
tombs were built beside the king's pyramid but were only small rectangular
tombs or mastabas.

In early tombs, the central area was the
burial chamber. The other surrounding rooms contained the king's
furniture, jewelry, and other things that were owned by the King.

False doors of heavy stone represented passageways between these rooms
and others. There were no real doors because it was believed that
the king, in the afterlife, would be able to move about without the help
of structural passageways.

The first pyramid was the step pyramid
of King Zozer built at Saquarra in 2750 B.C. The structure of the
pyramid was that of six steps all of larger size if you were to decending
from the top of the pyramid. I was 200 feet high and covered around

12,000 square meters. The pyramid was made mostly of limestone blocks
and desert clay. Inside the pyramid Zozers burial chamber was quarried

25 meters below out of the rock beneath it. The tomb, like those
that followed, was meant to be a replica of the royal palace.

The pyramids built on the Giza plateau
at Memphis are the largest of all of the pyramids. The largest is
the Great Pyramid, or the pyramid of Khufu. It stands 450 feet high.

The second largest is the pyramid of Khafre. It stands 448 feet high
and still has some of the original limestone at the top. The third
is the pyramid of Menakaure.

The pyramids at Giza are primarily built
of Granite and Limestone. The blocks of granite were quarried out
of the plateau nearby and the limestone out of many different quarries
as far away as fifty miles upriver. All the blocks were checked
for dimensions with special rods made specifically for that purpose.

Most of the blocks used for the main structure weighed about two and a
half tons. In all, around 2,300,000 blocks of stone are used to build
a pyramid, with a workforce of around 30,000 people. The burial chamber
was built first and contained the largest and heaviest blocks, some weighing
around 40-60 tons a piece. During the building of the burial chamber
work was started on the procession ramp leading from the Nile river up
to the pyramid. The ramp provided a way to get the king up into the
pyramid after being embalmed and floated to the site. After the blocks
were checked they would then be slid up slightly inclined ramps that were
built on the side of the pyramid. As the pyramid grew, the ramps
grew along with it curling up and around the pyramid on all four sides.

The ramps were built out of clay, wood and papyrus. After the
main Granite part of the pyramid was finished the Limestone capping would
be placed on the pyramid from the top