Discusses the origin and development of the Egyptian pyramids, describes their role in Egyptian religion and culture, profiles pyramid explorers, and explains how they were built
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: Archetypal symbols of remote antiquity, the pyramids have for centuries inspired passionate theories about their origins, purpose, and method of construction. Archaeologists, engineers, astronomers, poets, painters, and travelers have all had their say--but how much do we really know about these awe-inspiring wonders of the ancient world? Here is the first fully illustrated compendium of every major pyramid of ancient Egypt. Mark Lehner surveys the history, building, and use of the pyramids in unprecedented detail, looking at the practical aspects (the quarries, ramps, and tools used to build them) and the conceptual--the cosmology and iconography of the pyramids and the intriguing Pyramid Texts. The contents include: * the Whole Pyramid catalogue, a unique survey and description of the pyramids and their development, from the first simple pit-graves to the sublime pyramids of Giza and beyond; * a discussion of the rituals and mythology surrounding the death and burial of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt; * accounts of explorers, looters, and archaeologists, from the later Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to the great explorations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; * specially commissioned artist's and computer reconstructions of the interiors of the pyramids and their chambers; * an overview of Egyptian history and the pyramids, numerous fact files, detailed maps and site plans, and a guide to visiting the pyramids.