The different kinds of pyramids of Egypt


The differents kinds of pyramids

In practice, the period of the pyramids is often divided into several phases that follow the classical curve of any architectural, musical, cultural or other style. : Phases of discovery, learning, phases of improvement, a climax, phases of decline and late phases. For the pyramids of Egypt, the following phases are preferred:


The Egyptian pyramids were essentially built during the ancient empire, which corresponds to the golden age of this empire. The first appeared around -2700 BC, at the beginning of the Third Dynasty. After some attempts to transform these initial pyramids, in degrees, into smooth-faced pyramids, we entered the phase of gigantism in the early 2500s (2580, roughly). The sequel provided the story with a large amount of classical pyramids depicting the golden age of the pyramids that ran from the reign of Menkaure (a hundred years later, in -2490) at the end of the 6th Dynasty (-2150).

The other pyramids are later: Some were built during the Middle Kingdom (-1992 - 1800), the last during the New Kingdom (around -1550). All these dates are approximate, of course, because on the one hand we can not limit an architectural phase in a precise way, and on the other hand the specialists themselves can not be perfectly sure of the dates, there is too little Archaeological evidence to date certain events such as the construction of a pyramid during the old empire.

The major phases

The step pyramids (3th dynasty)

This is the very first period of the pyramids. They begin with the pyramid of Djoser, the first pyramid in the history of mankind, built around -2700. Fruit of the imagination of the architect / priest / doctor Imhotep, it is made of two superposed mastabas completed by 4 steps smaller and smaller.

This is the period when architects discover the possibilities they have to climb tiers on top of each other, forming primitive pyramids.

Learn more about Step Pyramids

Provincial Pyramids (3rd and 4th Dynasties)

It is a short period during which a Pharaoh built small stepped pyramids in remote areas of the capital. They are not tombs, unlike the others. There are 8 of which some are still visible nowadays, although seriously damaged. One of them was engulfed by the urbanization of the Nile Delta.

Learn more about the provincial pyramids

Smooth-faced pyramids (4th Dynasty)

For a few years a pharaoh, Snefru, tried to make smooth-faced pyramids, without success, to the red pyramid, the first Egyptian smooth-faced pyramid. His attempts are still visible nowadays, they represent the pyramids of original form like the pyramid of Meïdoum or the rhomboidal pyramid.

Learn more about Smooth-Faced Pyramid Attempts

The giant pyramids (IVth dynasty)

From the moment when the technique of construction was developed, the pharaohs built gigantic tomb pyramids. These monuments can still be seen today, for some of them. It was the beginning of the age of the giant pyramids.

Learn more about giant pyramids

The Golden Age of the Pyramids (4th and 5th Dynasty)

Returning to reasonable sizes, the pyramids of the pharaohs of the IV, V and VI dynasties were relatively similar, one had reached an "age of reason" in the Egyptian monumental construction.

Learn more about the golden age of the pyramids

Pyramids with text (5th Dynasty)

This is the next period, that of the pyramids whose corridors are abundantly covered with hieroglyphs. We are entering a new era, one in which the book of the dead is gaining importance.

Learn more about the pyramids with texts

The pyramids of the middle empire (twelfth and thirteenth dynasty)

During the Middle Kingdom some pharaohs built tomb pyramids, but this is only a rebound in history that has not followed.

Learn more about the pyramids of the middle empire

The Late Pyramids (17th and 18th Dynasty)

The last royal pyramids were built during the New Kingdom, but this was also a rebound in history. This type of tomb was then definitely abandoned.

Learn more about late pyramids

See also:

Discover the pyramids

The temple of the Great Sphinx

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