Pyramids (photo: Yasin Hassan).The oldest pyramids of Egypt date back to 2670 BC. These monuments were tombs built for Egypt’s pharaohs. The monuments provided for the pharaoh in his after-life. The pyramidal shape is thought to represent the rays of the sun. Today, over 115 pyramids have been found in Egypt.

Photo:  The pyramids of Egypt were tombs for their monarchs (Creative Commons: Yasin Hassan).

Pyramids as Burial Tombs

The pyramids of Egypt were burial tombs for the monarchs of Ancient Egypt. They were constructed along the Nile River. As many as 36,000 to 50,000 workers were needed to construct a single pyramid.

A pharaoh was a king of ancient Egypt. The early Egyptians believed that the pharaoh had been selected by the gods. This representative of the gods was cared for in life and death. When a pharaoh died, the monarch was mummified.

The mummy was buried within the pyramid with furniture, food, and gold. These riches provided for the pharaoh and his followers in the after-life. In some instances, companions and guards were also entombed with the pharaoh.

Construction of the Pyramids

The pyramids were built from limestone blocks.  The blocks were first cut in limestone quarries. They were then transported to the site. Most blocks weighed about 2.5 tons. Some weighed as much as 80 tons.

There are a number of theories about how the pyramids were constructed. The most popular theory is that the blocks were moved up a ramp. Another theory believes that the Egyptians used levers. The lever theory claims that the pyramid was first built with a series of steps. The finishing blocks were then moved from level to level with levers.

Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.


How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.


Building the Great Pyramid, BBC.
Egyptian Pyramids, History.
Old Kingdom: The Great Pyramids of Giza, Khan Academy.
Peering into the Pyramids, Time.


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8 comments on "Egypt’s Pyramids: Pharoah Care in the Afterlife"

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