Egyptian Art Lesson - Pyramids
Pyramids of Ancient Egypt
The rich and famous of Egypt were buried in a building known as a Mastabas. A Mastabas was a flat roofed building with sloping sides. It had a shaft in the middle of the building down to another chamber where the body and goods of the deceased would be housed.
Djoser was the first pharaoh to build a pyramid for his burial place. Originally Inhopet, the designer, built a large Mastabas for Djoser. On the Mastabas he then constructed a four step pyramid. Later it was expanded again to a six step pyramid which still can be seen today. The step pyramid is rectangular with six levels over 195 feet in height. He built the pyramid about 25 miles south of current day Cairo at a complex know as Saqqara.
In the Forth Dynasty the pyramid changed to the smooth pyramids of which the Cheops and is the most famous near Cairo. The Cheops pyramid measures 479 feet high. It has 2,300,000 stones each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. To quarry the stone, small holes would be drilled into rocks in a strait line. Then wood wedges would be placed in the holes and water would be added to them. The water would cause the wood to expand and eventually break the rock along the line of holes. The rocks for the pyramid. which were quarried down river would be transported by boat to the pyramid site. The rocks would be placed on logs, and pulled to the pyramids, and up dirt ramps and put into place. The stone would then be finished to fit in with those around it. They were able to lay an average of 285 stones a day. The preciseness in which the pyramids were built is amazing. The total variance of each side if the pyramid is only eight inches.