Background and Function of the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt

Amita Vadlamudi is a longtime computer systems engineer who has an interest in ancient civilizations, such as the Romans, Mayans, and Incans. Amita Vadlamudi also enjoys reading about the culture of ancient Egypt and the pyramids that were built by that civilization. There are more than 100 pyramids in total, with nearly all of them on the outskirts of Cairo to the south of the Nile Delta.

Built until the end of the Middle Kingdom, the pyramids were designed either to hold the pharaoh’s and his retinue’s bodies or (as was the case with smaller cult pyramids adjacent to the great ones) to house the deceased personage’s soul. Main pyramids would typically be surrounded by a courtyard.

In addition to the cult pyramid, there would be an adjacent mortuary temple and a causeway past the circumference wall that connected to a valley temple. Interestingly, a tradition of building much smaller, steep-sided pyramids continued in Nubia after the main thrust of royal pyramid building died down, with these built by prominent private families.

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