Mystery of the pyramids Essay

This essay has a total of 833 words and 4 pages.

Mystery of the pyramids




Egyptian Pyramids When most people think of Ancient Egypt they think of Pyramids. To
construct such great monuments required a mastery of architecture, social organization,
and art that few cultures of that period could achieve. The oldest pyramid, the
Step-Pyramids, grow out of the abilities of two men, King Djoser and Imhotep. Djoser, the
second king of 3rd dynasty, was the first king to have hired an architect, Imhotep, to
design a tomb (Time-Life Books, 74). Imhotep was known as the father of mathematics,
medicine, architecture, and as the inventor of the calendar (White, 40). He had a great
idea of stacking mastabas until they reached six tiers, a total of 60 meters high and its
base 180 meters by 108 meters (Casson, 118). A glistening costing of limestone was added
to the mastabas that made them shimmer in the sun. The main feature of the pyramid was its
92-foot underground shafts and burial room lined with pink granite. It was the first time
that this feature appeared (White, 41). Imhotep surrounded Djoser’s pyramid with a number
of funerary courtyards and temples. He then, surrounded these complexes with a mile long
protective wall (Time-Life Books, 74). Another pyramid was Khufu’s Great Pyramid. It is
the largest tomb every built. It was the height of a forty-story building, and its base
was the average size of eight football fields. The pyramid contains about 2,300,000 stone
blocks. The limestone was covered with a layer of polished stone to add a shine. Deep
inside the pyramid are the tomb chambers, one for the king and another for the queen.
Narrow shafts lined with granite lead the way to the tomb chambers (Time-Life Books,
75).Social organization was another key factor in creating such a grand monument. Imhotep
was the man that brought forth this sense of organization. He assembled one workforce to
quarry the limestone, another to haul the two and half ton stones to the site, and one
more to carve the blocks and put them in place (Casson, 129). Just to move one block took
the work of forty men. The daily life of the workers constructing the pyramids was one of
immense toil spanning over a long period of time. The quarrymen toiled away with soft
copper chisels that hardly made a dent in the limestone. Another team dug a network of
canals to transport the stones and food for the workers. Finally, another team of workers
would haul the massive blocks on wooden sleds and put them into position (Casson,
130-137). This great social organization became the force that knit the country
together. Another important group was the artisans. They were the people who decorated the
inside of the pyramids. The artisans, also, brought a sense of social organization by the
many processes it took to produce a work of art. For instance, the actual sculpting of a
statue was not considered a single process, but as on process among many. The quarrymen
had to quarry the stone with soft copper chisels, and it was transported to a sculptor.
After the sculptor was finished with it, the sculpture was sent to another artisan. This
artist would cut hieroglyphs in the statue. The hieroglyphs were about the life of the
person that the statue represented. Then, they would send it to a metal worker who
inserted the eyes and other details. Finally, the statue was sent to a painter to be
painted (White, 153-154). These sculptures were placed in the tomb of a deceased king, as
a ka piece. A ka is considered the life force of the deceased king. One can see how
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