The Ancient Pyramids

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The Ancient Pyramids – the Only Wonder Still Standing

There are some things that the human instinct just induces people to do – even if no one tells them to do it. Humans on nearly every continent have built something like pyramids at one time or another. There are ancient pyramids in North Africa, Europe, Central America and even something like them  in India. Humans built these in ancient times when they didn’t even know of one another.  It was just human instinct that made them do this.

But there could be a practical reason why everyone in ancient times built in this shape.  When you have a tapering shape like that, most of the heavy duty building work is on the lower levels. Since pyramids have narrow tops, not as many stones have to be hauled up there. When one builds stepped pyramids like they did in Central America, hauling stones to the top would have been easier.

While smooth sided pyramids were the most common in Egypt, they built stepped ones too, sometimes. There are about 80 pyramids in Egypt built along the banks of the River Nile. They built them over a whole millennium, starting with the year 1640 BC. As popular as these structures were, surprisingly, no one really knows how exactly they were built. There seem to be no proper records that describe the building process.  As far as anyone can tell, the stones were dragged on rollers to the top on long ramps.

To the Egyptian royalty, pyramids were more than just a huge mausoleum that marked how grand they were. To them, there was a practical reason why they wanted them to be triangular shaped. They wanted them that way because apparently, they felt that pyramids were the ramps to the heavens. They were like ramps that could help them climb up to heaven. They figured that if they needed shelter when they were alive, they would need them after they died, also. Seen that way, the ancient pyramids were just palaces for the dead.

In the movie The Ten Commandments, they show scenes of how the pyramids were built – ostensibly with very badly treated slave labor. In reality though, they were built by properly paid workers. Not only were they very well paid, since they were building something that was very important for the King, they were given their own burial spaces right next to the pyramids they built.

When you go to visit the ancient pyramids today, all you see are the pyramids themselves – standing there in the desert all by themselves. But that’s not how they were designed.

Each pyramid used to stand in a huge complex with grounds, a temple that was connected to the pyramid, and yet another temple by way of a covered causeway, and so on. While the mummified pharaoh was kept in the pyramid, there was an entire complex of smaller funeral homes all around for the ministers, the relatives of the King, the Queens, and so on.

Just consider this – of the original Seven Wonders of the World, the huge great pyramid is the only one still standing.


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