Beyond the Great Pyramid:  Egypt's Hidden Pyramid Count

14th March, 2024


When we think of Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Giza instantly comes to mind. But it's the most famous of many scattered across the desert landscape.

What Defines a Pyramid?

Key Points: ● Royal Tombs: Primarily built as burial monuments for Egypt's powerful pharaohs. ● Evolved: Early pyramids were stepped; later ones had smooth sides. ● Symbol of Power: Aimed to showcase the godlike status of the pharaoh and ensure his afterlife.

So, How Many Are There?

The Answer: Around 120 pyramids have been discovered throughout Egypt. BUT... ● State of Preservation: Varies greatly – some are majestic, others mere ruins. ● Ongoing Discoveries: Desert sands still hold secrets, so the count might change!

Pyramid Building Periods

Points to Consider ● Old Kingdom Boom: Peak of pyramid building, including Giza's wonders (4th Dynasty) ● Middle Kingdom Decline: Smaller, less durable pyramids with mudbrick ● New Kingdom Changed Focus: Pharaohs favored hidden tombs in the Valley of the King

Saqqara: A Treasure Trove of Pyramids

Why It's Special: ● The First Monumental Pyramid: Built for Pharaoh Djoser, marking a turning point in pyramid design. ● More Than One: Saqqara is a vast necropolis boasting pyramids from various dynasties. ● Architectural Evolution: Witness the progression from stepped to attempted smooth-sided pyramids here.

Dahshur: Home of Experimental Pyramids 

Why It's Special: ● Building Lessons: The Bent Pyramid's changing angle suggests structural issues mid-construction. ● Pharaoh Sneferu's Projects: One pharaoh was responsible for at least two major pyramids here. ● The Red Pyramid: Also at Dahshur, it is considered the first 'true' smooth-sided pyramid.

Meidum: A Pyramid's Inner Workings

Why It's Special: ● Collapse as Insight: While unfortunate, reveals the building techniques used within pyramids. ● Changing Designs: It may have started as a step pyramid, later altered for a smooth finish. ● Solitary Setting: Its isolated location adds to its evocative atmosphere.

The Sudanese Pyramids: Echoes of Egypt

Why It's Special: ● Nubian Kingdom: The powerful Kingdom of Kush, south of Egypt, adopted pyramid traditions. ● Unique Style: Their pyramids are steeper and often have accompanying burial chapels. ● Lesser-Known Legacy: Highlights cultural exchange and the far reach of ancient Egyptian influence.