Stone, the most enduring of all building materials, was used by the ancient Egyptians to construct their pyramids, tombs, temples, and palaces. The stones for these structures were often transported a great distance from nearby quarries, so engineers designed durable construction methods that would ensure that future generations could still enjoy the glory of the pharaohs' achievements.
The pyramid was the tomb for the king or queen who ruled after the Pharaohs. It was their final resting place, where they would be well taken care of by an army of servants who would cook food for them three times a day and clean their rooms every week. Sometimes archaeologists find personal items in the ruins of the pyramid, including jewelry, weapons, and even a pair of shoes!
The Pharaohs also had large estates, called "kingships", that included small villages where their subjects lived and worked the land. On the kingship sites, archaeologists have found evidence of crops such as wheat, barley, flax, and grapes being grown here. They also found workrooms where wood was hewn from trees into planks for use in buildings, along with tools for shaping the wood (such as axes) and painting it (using colors derived from minerals and insects).
The pyramids (particularly the Great Pyramids of Giza) are some of the most stunning man-made monuments in history, having been built during a time when Egypt was one of the richest and most powerful civilizations on the planet.
Although they were primarily constructed of stone, the pyramids also used wood and clay as building materials. The Egyptians invented concrete and many other modern technologies such as masonry and metal working.
In addition to the pyramids, Egypt is best known for its ancient culture, including the Ancient Egyptian language, which remains in use today by several hundred thousand people worldwide.
Egyptian civilization existed from about 3100 BC until AD 642. During this time, it produced many famous artists, musicians, architects, engineers, mathematicians, physicians, scribes, and writers who influenced cultures around the world. The ancient Greeks described the Egyptian environment as "marshy land inhabited by frogs and crocodiles", but Egypt's great age of discovery brought about a change in perception regarding its ability to produce advanced technology. In 1798, Napoleon's army invaded Egypt and took with them pieces of the Rosetta Stone, which helped scientists from both Europe and America understand each other's languages. This led to the realization that the Egyptians were not as primitive as had been thought, but rather had developed a sophisticated society.
The ancient Egyptians built pyramids for almost 1,200 years. Some of them, such as the Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, as well as the Step Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid, were successful (the third largest in Egypt). But most were not; only one builder's effort produced a true monument to his reputation-and that was Benben, the pyramid of Pharaoh Mentuhotep II.
Almost all Egyptian pyramids were constructed from limestone or granite, but some were also made from sandstone or mudbrick. The best way to understand how they were built is to go to the Valley of Kings near Luxor and look at some of the stones lying around. These are some of the remnants of the great pyramid builders' tools: hammers, chisels, saws, and drills. You can even see the marks where the wood has been burned away to produce sharp edges.
The Egyptians used an innovative system of carpentry that involved cutting each piece of wood separately and then joining it together with wooden pegs. The parts were arranged on top of each other with the help of ropes and pulleys powered by water wheels or animals. Finally, the whole structure was covered in smooth stone or colored clay.
Pyramids have always been important to the Egyptians and they continued to be built right up until the end of ancient Egypt about 3100 years ago.
Unbaked mud brick and stone were the two most common construction materials in ancient Egypt. Stone was widely utilized for tombs—the permanent residences of the dead—and temples—the eternal houses of the gods—from the Old Kingdom onward. The Egyptians built their tombs according to what kind of life they hoped to lead after death. The better off built well-furnished graves full of luxury goods; the less fortunate ones had simple structures with a floor of packed earth or dust.
The rich used rock-solid limestone for their tombs, which included small chambers that could be added on to over time. The Egyptians believed that people would need food and shelter after death, so they also built large tombs to accommodate all their possessions. The smaller graves were only furnished with a single slab to serve as a bed.
The poor were buried in unmarked graves or simply thrown into the desert where they would be lost forever. However, some bodies were taken down from their original location and reburied with more prestigious individuals or in different locations. This practice may have been done to elevate the social status of the deceased or because there was room for more bodies. Although this is not known for sure, it's possible that some of these relocated corpses were slaves who had been killed by their owners before being dumped in deserted places.