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Limestone block from the pyram

  • The three pyramids at Giza today. The Great Pyramid is the tallest

    The three pyramids at Giza today. The Great Pyramid is the tallest

 

Height: 28.500 cm
Width: 65.000 cm
Depth: 50.000 cm

EA 490

Room 64: Early Egypt

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Egypt in the Old Kingdom

Limestone block from the pyramid of Khufu


The Step Pyramid of Djoser was followed by the famous pyramids at Giza built as tombs for kings Khufu (Greek: Kheops or Cheops), Khafre (Khephren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus) in the Fourth Dynasty (about 2613-2494 BC).

The pyramids were built mainly of limestone quarried on the Giza plateau itself. The pyramids of Khufu and Khafre were also given a final casing of fine limestone cut to the shape of the blocks, in order that the pyramid would appear smooth-sided rather than stepped.

Only a few large casing blocks survive around the base of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, although there is a considerable area surviving near the apex of the pyramid of Khafre. Menkaure intended to case his pyramid in granite from Aswan, although it is unlikely that it was ever finished.

It was not until the Fifth Dynasty (abot 2494-2345 BC) that the pyramid chambers, previously undecorated, were carved with elaborate Pyramid Texts, religious and magical utterances that were intended to facilitate the king's journey to the Afterlife and the journey of the sun through the sky.

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Discover the history of Ancient Egypt, £7.99

Discover the history of Ancient Egypt, £7.99