Egypt Finishes Restoration of Oldest Pyramid

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March 8, 2020

Egypt has reopened the world's oldest pyramid after a 14-year restoration.

The pharaoh Djoser, who ruled nearly 5,000 years ago during the Third Dynasty, mandated a number of large building projects. However, he was most well-known for commissioning the building of his tomb, which was the first Step Pyramid. His faithful minister Imhotep designed and oversaw the building of the pyramid, at Saqqara.

Djoser cartouche

It was the first king's tomb not to be a simple rectangular chamber known as a mastaba. Imhotep's design was a series of mastabas built on top of one another. For each level going up, the mastaba was slightly smaller; the result looked a number of large steps going up. Also, Djoser's "steps" were made of limestone, not clay bricks, as had been the standard for king's tombs. Carved into the limestone were images of reeds and trees. The builders inscribed Imhotep's name on the pyramid. When it was completed, Djoser's Step Pyramid was 204 feet tall. The temple was the main element of a building complex, which also contained a temple and housing for its priests and various shrines. Djoser was buried deep within the pyramid, in a chamber of granite.

Step Pyramid

Restoration began in 2006 and stopped in 2011, after the removal of President Hosni Mubarak from power; work began again in 2015.

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 1992 badly damaged the pyramid. Workers filled in gaps in the mastabas and renovated a number of internal passages and burial shaft tomb walls. Workers also did restoration work on Djoser's sarcophagus.

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2020
David White

Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2020
David White