An Introduction to Ancient Egypt
Part 4: The Pyramids
How the ancient Egyptians got those heavy stones so high in the air to put on top of the Pyramids is still a mystery. But they did it.
Huge blocks of rock were cut from places many miles away and taken by boat to Giza and other places where pyramids were being built. The slaves used a series of logs rolling on the ground to move the giant stones. Then, they put them in place as parts of a pyramid.
The first pyramids were called "Step Pyramids" because they looked like giant steps. The pyramids we most recognize today, the smooth ones, were built later.
Why were these pyramids built? The pharaohs wanted to use them as tombs.
The Egyptian people had a strong belief in the afterlife. They believed that life here on Earth was just a stage in a long journey. They believed that the spirit continued on after the body died. That's why you can find so many earthly things in the tombs of the times. The pharaohs were buried with gold, jewelry, and other goods that they would find familiar in the afterlife. The tombs were also decorated with the names of the pharaohs and pictures and messages wishing them well. These pictures were believed to give the pharaoh whatever was in the picture.
To make sure the pharaohs made it to the afterlife, the people made them into mummies.
Graphics courtesy of ArtToday