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Word Count: 958
From Mastabas to Pyramids Prior to the construction of the step pyramids rulers were buried in Mastabas The mastaba is a non-pyramidal shaped structure which closely resembles burial mounds These tombs surround the pyramids of the Old Kingdom Families of the monarch nobilitys and courtiers were all buried in these low rectangular brick or stone structures These structures evolved from the simpler pile of stones made only to protect the body Shafts were dug leading to the mummy chamber and were decorated with inscriptions and pictures of the deceased and what was important to them in their life titles estates workmen all with reference to the funerary worship Around 2780 BC King Djosers architect Imhotep built the first pyramid by placing six mastabas each smaller than the one beneath in a stack to form a pyramid rising in steps Like the pyramids they were oriented very specifically with the four sides facing north south east and west They were built on the west side of the Nile symbol of death where the sun falls into the underworld These rectangular chambers were built with brick or stone and vary in length from 15 to 170 feet long and vary in height from 10 to 30 feet The inside of each chamber is different and vary in content but all include a cellar or serdah which contained the statue of the deceased the ka statue and treasure a chapel or offering room that was used to hold the offerings left by relatives of the deceased and a shaft that ran from the mastaba down through the ground and into the actual burial chamber located sometimes over 100 feet below ground level As stated earlier the first pyramid was constructed by placing six mastabas each smaller than the one beneath in a stack to form a pyramid The Step Pyramid stands on the west bank of the Nile River Like later pyramids it contains various
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