Building a pyramid
During the Old Kingdom, pharaohs built huge tombs, called pyramids. Pyramids were constructed on the western bank of the Nile River because it was thought that the land of the dead lay to the west. A single pyramid could take up to 20 years, and around 20,000 workers, to build.

Pyramids of Giza
Pyramids of Giza

Evolution of pyramids Early tombs were single-story buildings called mastabas. The Old Kingdom architect Imhotep designed a building made of six mastabas placed one on top of the other—the first pyramid. Later, builders began filling in the pyramid sides

A mastaba was made of mud bricks. Inside, a deep chamber was dug, in which the dead were buried

. The Step Pyramid was designed as a stack of mastabas. It was made of small stone blocks laid like bricks.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the world’s largest true pyramid.
It was built by placing large stone blocks together, which were then overlaid with polished limestone.
Building tools The sides of true pyramids were angled at 52-53 degrees and all the stones were cut to the same size. Egyptian builders used tools such as the triangle to measure the angles, cubit rods to measure lengths, and boning rods to make sure that the stones were even.


Each of the three pyramids at Giza had temples as well as pyramids for wives and mothers. The Sphinx belongs to the middle pyramid. Officials were buried nearby in a separate area


Pyramid builders Laborers carried stones from quarries, sometimes over long distances, to build pyramids. At the construction site, they would lift the stones using ropes, or drag them up a ramp and lay them using cement or mortar