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The Building of the Pyramids

Despite the fact that many think that a pyramid was constructed at the pleasure of a king, they actually served a major role for the Egyptians and their worship. That role was that the pyramid was their way of shoring and demonstrating their dedication to their religion.

The time in which pyramids were built is referred to as the Pyramid age. Egyptian history is divided into several periods including the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. The period in which pyramids were constructed was the Old Kingdom, between 2700 and 2200 BC. Pyramids served as royal tombs and temples, specifically made for individual kings. These man made mountains were four- sided.

Construction could not begin right away, though. The pharaoh plotted and picked out where he wanted the pyramid to be. Also, he had to make sure that there was a sufficient number of workers available at the time to build his pyramid. If there was, he hired thousands of men. But, they could not start right away on the pyramid. There were many other things that needed to be constructed too. Before the dead pharaoh was brought into the pyramid, he had to be mummified, and a whole temple was dedicated for this purpose. It was known as the temple valley. The temple and pyramid needed to be joined together, to transport bodies and other various things, so a causeway was constructed. Priests and nobles needed a place to worship and praise the gods, because worship was the reason pyramids were built. Without worship, pyramids would be pointless. Therefore, another small mortuary temple was constructed. The Queen would have her own small pyramid built alongside the main pyramid, called the Queen's Pyramid. Lastly, there was the tomb. This was the central focus of the pyramid. It contained the King and all his buried belongings.

After the outline and plan were approved, construction started. Since pyramids were mainly constructed during the flood seasons of the year, most Egyptian farmers were more than happy to leave their farms and work for the King. The workers began excavating and plotting land, no easy task. It took time to find the right place to build most pyramids. It was very important to make sure that a perfect building point was found, because then they would have to start a process that would take at least 15 years. The men were divided into groups. They were paid in water, food, and clothes. Stonecutters made huge limestone blocks and boulders into squares and all other types of shapes to fit into the pyramid tightly. Surveyors were workers who oversaw the whole project and told their bosses what was needed or what could be improved. Masons were closely associated with the stone cutters because they used tools to perfect the stone. Foremen lead the groups. Carpenters helped design the interior of the pyramid.




Mortar Makers helped with interior construction. To make limestone and rock transportation and organization easier, quarries were formed. Workshops and barracks were also created. Sometimes the quarries were on the other side of the Nile River, so boats were used to transport the rock. They were all made of stone, copper, and dolderite, with wooden handles.

Some of the tools that were needed were chisels, mallets, dolderite balls, hammers, polishing stones, trowels, drills, saws, Adze, and carpenter chisels.

The architectural outline was rather complex. To build the pyramid, the workers devised ingenious designs for efficiency. To make building easier, the workers built the pyramid in layers. They made a ramp that spiraled around the pyramid so rocks could easily be dragged upward. The ramp was largely made from earth, so removing it was easy. The ramp was made steeper and longer as each layer was completed.

Inside the pyramids, there are large and unique galleries. Many paths lead to dead ends and abandoned chambers. Usually the king is intact in his sarcophagus. Also, there was a good chance all of the riches and red granite rocks were stolen.

The inside of the pyramids make them unique. They have galleries so immense, that one could get lost in minutes. Unfortunately, around 1000 BC, every pyramid was looted. The Great Pyramid does in fact show with evidence that people have ventured into it. Napoleon (a French army leader) and his explorers ventured into the pyramid around the 1800's. All the limestone is blackened from the torches they carried.

The Egyptians were perhaps one of the most religious and dedicated people of the Ancient World. Their religion and culture was complex. They worshiped gods and pharaohs. Pharaohs would become gods, but not until they were dead. Pharaohs were rich and very powerful. They could do almost anything. Egyptians would have done mostly anything the pharaoh said. Disobeying the pharaoh was not only disrespectful, but against their religion. All Egyptians worshiped the pharaohs. Pharaohs told the people what was needed or what had to be done. The pyramids were the people's way of showing their religious devotion. In some way, shape or form the average Egyptian contributed to some type of pyramid building, whether it was actual construction, or providing water for the workers. Pharaohs wanted eternal happiness and pleasure. They thought the best way to show this was to build a pyramid.

This was the main reason why pyramids were constructed. Perhaps, it was the Egyptians way of showing off, or merely showing how intelligent they were for their time. Some even believe grains were stored in them. It is possible, but highly unlikely. Kings didn't want to show off, or exploit their masterpieces. Pyramids were and are perhaps the most advanced and unbelievable monuments of the ancient and current world, and after reviewing the facts, there is no way one could prove this wrong.

"Time laughs at all things, but Pyramids laugh at time."



By Austin Gallagher - Freshman at the Thayer Academy (ninth grade)


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