Ancient Egypt for Kids
Pyramids & Tombs
It was only during the time of the Old Kingdom that the ancient Egyptians built pyramids to hold the royal tombs of their kings. Pyramids were huge structures. Pyramids had storage rooms, courtyards, secret passageways, and all kinds of fancy traps designed to catch robbers who tried to break into the pyramid to rob it.
Pyramids were full of treasures. The average person created grave goods to take with them to their afterlife. Imagine the treasures a pharaoh might feel were necessary to bring along!
The first pyramid, the Step Pyramid, was built around 2700 BCE, nearly 5000 years ago! Pyramid construction was abandoned after the time of the Old Kingdom. It was simply too easy to find a pyramid. Grave robbers knew exactly where the pharaohs were buried, and thus knew exactly where to find riches and wealth. If you were caught, the penalty for grave robbing was death.
The ancient Egyptians did not simply build a pyramid, bury a pharaoh, and walk away. A whole city grew up around a pyramid during its construction. These cities were called pyramid cities.
The pharaoh provided homes for everyone who worked on the pyramid construction. People were paid for their work in goods and food and homes.
After a pyramid was finished, the pyramid city continued to exist. Some of the people who stayed had jobs maintaining and guarding the pyramid. Others, like bakers and basket weavers, were merchants who created needed goods.
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