Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock, composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. A related rock is dolostone, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolostone was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones. About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones; the solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes, in which water erodes the limestone over thousands to millions of years. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. Limestone has numerous uses: as a building material, an essential component of concrete, as aggregate for the base of roads, as white pigment or filler in products such as toothpaste or paints, as a chemical feedstock for the production of lime, as a soil conditioner, or as a popular decorative addition to rock gardens.
Like most other sedimentary rocks, most limestone is composed of grains. Most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as foraminifera; these organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite, leave these shells behind when they die. Other carbonate grains composing limestones are ooids, peloids and extraclasts. Limestone contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or siliceous skeletal fragment, varying amounts of clay and sand carried in by rivers; some limestones do not consist of grains, are formed by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite, i.e. travertine. Secondary calcite may be deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters; this produces speleothems, such as stalactites. Another form taken by calcite is oolitic limestone, which can be recognized by its granular appearance; the primary source of the calcite in limestone is most marine organisms. Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock building upon past generations. Below about 3,000 meters, water pressure and temperature conditions cause the dissolution of calcite to increase nonlinearly, so limestone does not form in deeper waters.
Limestones may form in lacustrine and evaporite depositional environments. Calcite can be dissolved or precipitated by groundwater, depending on several factors, including the water temperature, pH, dissolved ion concentrations. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubility, in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases. Impurities will cause limestones to exhibit different colors with weathered surfaces. Limestone may be crystalline, granular, or massive, depending on the method of formation. Crystals of calcite, dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock; when conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together, or it can fill fractures. Travertine is a banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution supersaturated with the chemical constituents of calcite.
Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls. Coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral or shells. During regional metamorphism that occurs during the mountain building process, limestone recrystallizes into marble. Limestone is a parent material of Mollisol soil group. Two major classification schemes, the Folk and the Dunham, are used for identifying the types of carbonate rocks collectively known as limestone. Robert L. Folk developed a classification system that places primary emphasis on the detailed composition of grains and interstitial material in carbonate rocks. Based on composition, there are three main components: allochems and cement; the Folk system uses two-part names. It is helpful to have a petrographic microscope when using the Folk scheme, because it is easier to determine the components present in each sample; the Dunham scheme focuses on depositional textures. Each name is based upon the texture of the grains. Robert J. Dunham published his system for limestone in 1962.
Dunham divides the rocks into four main groups based on relative proportions of coarser clastic particles. Dunham names are for rock families, his efforts deal with the question of whether or not the grains were in mutual contact, therefore self-supporting, or whether the rock is characterized by the presence of frame builders and algal mats. Unlike the Folk scheme, Dunham deals with the original porosity of the rock; the Dunham scheme is more useful for hand samples because it is based on texture, not the grains in the sample. A revised classification was proposed by Wright, it adds some diagenetic patterns and can be summarized as follows: See: Carbonate platform About 10% of all sedimentary rocks are limestones. Limestone is soluble in acid, therefore forms many erosional landforms; these include limestone pavements, pot holes, cenotes and gorges. Such erosion landscapes are known
Saqqara spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of mastabas. Located some 30 km south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km. At Saqqara, the oldest complete stone building complex known in history was built: Djoser's step pyramid, built during the Third Dynasty. Another 16 Egyptian kings built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation or dilapidation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period, it remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times. North of the area known as Saqqara lies Abusir; the area running from Giza to Dahshur has been used as a necropolis by the inhabitants of Memphis at different times, it was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.
Some scholars believe that the name Saqqara is not derived from the ancient Egyptian funerary deity, but from a local Berber Tribe called Beni Saqqar. The earliest burials of nobles can be traced back to the First Dynasty, at the northern side of the Saqqara plateau. During this time, the royal burial ground was at Abydos; the first royal burials at Saqqara, comprising underground galleries, date to the Second Dynasty. The last Second Dynasty king, was buried in his tomb at Abydos, but built a funerary monument at Saqqara consisting of a large rectangular enclosure, known as Gisr el-Mudir, it inspired the monumental enclosure wall around the Step Pyramid complex. Djoser's funerary complex, built by the royal architect Imhotep, further comprises a large number of dummy buildings and a secondary mastaba. French architect and Egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer spent the greater part of his life excavating and restoring Djoser's funerary complex. Tomb of king Hotepsekhemwy tomb of king Nynetjer Buried Pyramid, funerary complex of king Sekhemkhet Gisr el-Mudir, funerary complex of king Khasekhemwy Step Pyramid, funerary complex of king Djoser Nearly all Fourth Dynasty kings chose a different location for their pyramids.
During the second half of the Old Kingdom, under the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, Saqqara was again the royal burial ground. The Fifth and Sixth Dynasty pyramids are not built wholly of massive stone blocks, but instead with a core consisting of rubble, they are less well preserved than the world-famous pyramids built by the Fourth Dynasty kings at Giza. Unas, the last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty, was the first king to adorn the chambers in his pyramid with Pyramid Texts. During the Old Kingdom, it was customary for courtiers to be buried in mastaba tombs close to the pyramid of their king. Thus, clusters of private tombs were formed in Saqqara around the pyramid complexes of Unas and Teti. Mastabet el-Fara'un, tomb of king Shepseskaf Pyramid complex of king Userkaf Haram el-Shawaf, pyramid complex of king Djedkare Pyramid of king Menkauhor Mastaba of Ti Mastaba of the Two Brothers Pyramid complex of king Unas Mastaba of Ptahhotep Pyramid complex of king Teti Mastaba of Mereruka Mastaba of Kagemni Mastaba of Akhethetep Pyramid complex of king Pepi I Pyramid complex of king Merenre Pyramid complex of king Pepi II Tomb of Perneb Pyramid of king Ibi From the Middle Kingdom onward, Memphis was no longer the capital of the country, kings built their funerary complexes elsewhere.
Few private monuments from this period have been found at Saqqara. Pyramid of king Khendjer Pyramid of an unknown king During the New Kingdom Memphis was an important administrative and military centre, being the capital after the Amaran Period. From the Eighteenth Dynasty onward many high officials built tombs at Saqqara. While still a general, Horemheb built a large tomb here, although he was buried as pharaoh in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes. Other important tombs belong to the vizier Aperel, the vizier Neferrenpet, the artist Thutmose, the wet-nurse of Tutankhamun, Maia. Many monuments from earlier periods were still standing, but dilapidated by this period. Prince Khaemweset, son of Pharaoh Ramesses II, made repairs to buildings at Saqqara. Among other things, he restored the Pyramid of Unas and added an inscription to its south face to commemorate the restoration, he enlarged the Serapeum, the burial site of the mummified Apis bulls, was buried in the catacombs. The Serapeum, containing one undisturbed interment of an Apis bull and the tomb of Khaemweset, were rediscovered by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette in 1851.
Several clusters of tombs of high officials, among which the tombs of Horemheb and of Maya and Merit. Reliefs and statues from these two tombs are on display in the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden, the Netherlands, in the British Museum, London. During the periods after the New Kingdom, when several cities in the Delta served as capital of Egypt, Saqqara remained in use as a burial ground for nobles. Moreover, the area became an important destination for pilgrims to a number of cult centres. Activities sprang up around the Serapeum, extensive underground galleries were cut into the rock as burial sites for large numbers of mummified ibises, cats and falcons. Several shaft tombs of officials o
Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist, former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. He has worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, the Upper Nile Valley. Hawass was born in a small village near Egypt. Although he dreamed of becoming an attorney, he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Greek and Roman Archaeology from Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt in 1967. In 1979, Hawass earned a diploma in Egyptology from Cairo University. Hawass worked at the Great Pyramids as an inspector—a combination of administrator and archaeologist; when he was 33 years old, Hawass was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to study Egyptology, earning a master of arts degree in Egyptology and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology in 1983, his PhD in Egyptology in 1987 from the Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, concentrating on "The Funerary Establishments of Khufu and Menkaura During the Old Kingdom."
After 1988, Hawass taught Egyptian archaeology and culture at the American University in Cairo, the University of California, Los Angeles. Hawass has described his efforts as trying to help institute a systematic program for the preservation and restoration of historical monuments, while training Egyptians to improve their expertise on methods of excavation and preservation. Hawass was appointed to the position of Chief Inspector of the Giza Pyramid Plateau, but left the position in 1993—according to Hawass, a resignation. Hawass was reinstated as Chief Inspector in early 1994. In 1998, Hawass was appointed as director of the Giza Plateau, in 2002 as Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities; as his biography at the National Geographic Explorers webpage notes, he claims to beresponsible for many recent discoveries, including the tombs of the pyramid builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya. At Giza, he uncovered the satellite pyramid of Khufu. In 2005, as part of the National Geographic Society-sponsored Egyptian Mummy Project to learn more about patterns of disease and mortality in ancient Egypt, he led a team that CT scanned the mummy of King Tutankhamun.
His team is continuing to CT scan mummies, both royal and private, hopes to solve some of the mysteries surrounding the lives and deaths of such important figures as Hatshepsut and Nefertiti. When U. S. President Barack Obama was in Cairo in June 2009, Hawass gave him personal tours of the sites of ancient Egypt. At the end of 2009, he was promoted by President Hosni Mubarak to the post of Vice Minister of Culture. On January 29, 2011, in the midst of the Egyptian protests of that year, Hawass arrived at the Egyptian Museum to find that a number of cases had been broken into and a number of antiquities damaged, so police were brought in to secure the museum. According to Andrew Lawler, reporting for Science, Hawass "faxed a colleague in Italy that 13 cases were destroyed.'My heart is broken and my blood is boiling,' the… archaeologist lamented."Hawass told The New York Times that thieves looking for gold broke 70 objects, including two sculptures of Tutankhamun, took two skulls from a research lab, before being stopped as they left the museum.
He was appointed Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, a newly created cabinet post, by Mubarak on January 31, 2011 as part of a cabinet shake-up during the 2011 Egyptian protests. A press release including a statement from Hawass stated that he "will continue excavating, writing books, representing his country," ensuring that archaeological sites in Egypt were being safeguarded and looted objects returned. Regarding the Egyptian Museum looting, he said that "The museum was dark and the nine robbers did not recognise the value of what was in the vitrines, they opened thirteen cases, threw the seventy objects on the ground and broke them, including one Tutankhamun case, from which they broke the statue of the king on a panther. However, the broken objects can all be restored, we will begin the restoration process this week." Hawass rejected comparisons with the looting of antiquities in Afghanistan. On February 13, Mahmoud Kassem of Bloomberg reported Hawass as saying that "18 artifacts, including statues of King Tutankhamun," were stolen from the Egyptian Museum in January.
Hawass said “They should give us the opportunity to change things, if nothing happens they can march again. But you can’t bring in a new president now, in this time. We need Mubarak to stay and make the transition.” On March 3, 2011 he resigned after a list was posted on his personal website of dozens of sites across Egypt that were looted during the 2011 protests. Hawass was reappointed Minister of Antiquities by then-Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, On March 30, 2011 a tweet was posted stating "I am happy to be the Minister of Antiquities once again!" but resigned on July 17, 2011, after Sharaf informed him he would not be continuing in the position. According to opinion report from an Egyptian commentator in The Guardian, Hawass was "sacked". Hawass has since begun working as a lecturer in Egypt and around the world, promoting Egypt's tourism globally in cooperation with the country's Ministry of Tourism, he writes weekly articles in various newspapers and magazines, continues worki
François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette was a French scholar and Egyptologist, founder of the Egyptian Department of Antiquities. He was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Educated at the Boulogne municipal college, where he distinguished himself and showed much artistic talent, he went to England in 1839 when eighteen as professor of French and drawing at a boys' school at Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1840 he became pattern-designer to a ribbon manufacturer in Coventry, but he returned the same year to Boulogne, in 1841 took a degree at the University of Douai. Mariette proved to be a talented draftsman and designer, he supplemented his salary as a teacher at Douai by giving private lessons and writing on historical and archaeological subjects for local periodicals. Meanwhile, his cousin Nestor L'Hote, the friend and fellow-traveller of Champollion and the task of sorting his papers filled Mariette with a passion for Egyptology. Self-taught, he devoted himself to the study of hieroglyphics and Coptic, his 1847 analytic catalogue of the Egyptian Gallery of the Boulogne Museum got him a minor appointment at the Louvre Museum in 1849.
Entrusted with a government mission for the purpose of seeking and purchasing the best Coptic, Syriac and Ethiopic manuscripts for the Louvre collection so that it retained its then-supremacy over other national collections, he set out for Egypt in 1850. After little success in acquiring manuscripts due to inexperience, to avoid an embarrassing return empty-handed to France and wasting what might be his only trip to Egypt, he visited temples and befriended a Bedouin tribe, who led him to Saqqara; the site looked "a spectacle of desolation... mounds of sand", but on noticing one sphinx from the reputed avenue of sphinxes, that led to the ruins of the Serapeum at Saqqara near the step-pyramid, with its head above the sands, he gathered 30 workmen. Thus, in 1851, he made his celebrated discovery of this avenue and the subterranean tomb-temple complex of catacombs with their spectacular sarcophagi of the Apis bulls. Breaking through the rubble at the tomb entrance on November 12, he entered the complex, finding thousands of statues, bronze tablets and other treasures, but only one intact sarcophagus.
He found the intact tomb of Prince Khaemweset, Ramesses II's son. Accused of theft and destruction by rival diggers and by the Egyptian authorities, Mariette began to rebury his finds in the desert to keep them from these competitors. Instead of manuscripts, official French funds were now advanced for the prosecution of his researches, he remained in Egypt for four years, excavating and despatching archaeological treasures to the Louvre, following the accepted Eurocentric convention. However, the French government and the Louvre set up an arrangement to divide the finds 50:50, so that upon his return to Paris 230 crates went to the Louvre, but an equal amount remained in Egypt. However, unsatisfied with a purely academic role after his discoveries at Saqqara, after less than a year he returned to Egypt on the insistence of the Egyptian government under Sa'id of Egypt, who in 1858 created the position of conservator of Egyptian monuments for him. Moving with his family to Cairo, his career blossomed into a chronicle of unwearying exploration and brilliant successes: gaining government funds open the museum in Cairo at Bulaq in 1863 in order to take the pressure off the sites and stop the trade in illicit antiquities.
The pyramid-fields of Memphis and the tombs of Saqqara the necropolis of Meidum, those of Abydos and Thebes the great temples of Dendera and Edfu were disinterred important excavations were carried out at Karnak, Medinet-Habu and Deir el-Bahri Tanis was explored in the Delta Gebel Barkal in Sudan was explored He cleared the sands around the Sphinx down to the bare rock, in the process discovered the famous granite and alabaster monument, the "Temple of the Sphinx". In 1860 alone, Mariette set up 35 new dig sites, his success was aided by the fact that no rivals were permitted to dig in Egypt, a fact that the British and Germans protested at as a'sweetheart deal' between Egypt and France. Nor were Mariette's relations with the Khedive always stable; the Khedive, like many potentates, assumed all discoveries ranked as treasure and that what went to the museum in Cairo went only at his pleasure. Early on, in February 1859, Mariette dashed to Thebes to confiscate a boatload of antiquities from the nearby tomb of Queen Ahhotep I that were to have been sent to the Khedive.
In 1867, he returned to oversee the ancient Egyptian stand at the Exposition Universelle, to a hero's welcome for keeping France pre-eminent in Egyptology. In 1869, at the request of the Khedive, he wrote a brief plot for an opera; the following year this concept, worked into a scenario by Camille du Locle, was proposed to Giuseppe Verdi, who accepted it as a subject for Aida. For Aida, Mariette and Du Locle oversaw the scenery and costumes, which were inspired by the art of Ancient Egypt. T
Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, literature, religion and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of its native religious practices in the 4th century AD. A practitioner of the discipline is an "Egyptologist". In Europe on the Continent, Egyptology is regarded as being a philological discipline, while in North America it is regarded as a branch of archaeology; the first explorers were the ancient Egyptians themselves. Thutmose IV restored the Sphinx and had the dream that inspired his restoration carved on the famous Dream Stele. Less than two centuries Prince Khaemweset, fourth son of Ramesses II, is famed for identifying and restoring historic buildings and temples including the pyramid; some of the first historical accounts of Egypt were given by Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus and the lost work of Manetho, an Egyptian priest, during the reign of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BC. The Ptolemies were much interested in the work of the ancient Egyptians, many of the Egyptian monuments, including the pyramids, were restored by them.
The Romans carried out restoration work in Egypt. Throughout the Middle Ages travelers on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land would deviate to visit sites within Egypt, which would include Cairo and its environs, where the Holy Family was thought to have fled, the great Pyramids, which were thought to be Joseph's Granaries, built by the Hebrew patriarch to store grain during the years of plenty. A number of their accounts have survived and offer insights as to conditions in their respective time periods. Abdul Latif al-Baghdadi, a teacher at Cairo's Al-Azhar University in the 13th century, wrote detailed descriptions on ancient Egyptian monuments; the 15th-century Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi wrote detailed accounts of Egyptian antiquities. European exploration and travel writings of ancient Egypt commenced from the 13th century onward, with only occasional detours into a more scientific approach, notably by Claude Sicard, Benoît de Maillet, Frederic Louis Norden and Richard Pococke. In the early 17th century, John Greaves measured the pyramids, having inspected the broken Obelisk of Domitian in Rome destined for the Earl of Arundel's collection in London.
He went on to publish the illustrated Pyramidographia in 1646, while the Jesuit scientist-priest Athanasius Kircher was the first to hint at the phonetic importance of Egyptian hieroglyphs, demonstrating Coptic as a vestige of early Egyptian, for which he is considered a "founder" of Egyptology. In the late 18th century, with Napoleon's scholars' recording of Egyptian flora and history, the study of many aspects of ancient Egypt became more scientifically oriented; the British gained the Rosetta Stone. Modern Egyptology is perceived as beginning about 1822. Egyptology's modern history begins with the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte; the subsequent publication of Mémoires sur l'Égypte in 1800, Description de l'Égypte between 1809 and 1829 made numerous ancient Egyptian source materials available to Europeans for the first time. Jean-François Champollion, Thomas Young and Ippolito Rosellini were some of the first Egyptologists of wide acclaim; the German Karl Richard Lepsius was an early participant in the investigations of Egypt.
Champollion announced his general decipherment of the system of Egyptian hieroglyphics for the first time, employing the Rosetta Stone as his first aid. The Stone's decipherment was a significant development of Egyptology. With subsequently ever-increasing knowledge of Egyptian writing and language, the study of Ancient Egyptian civilisation was able to proceed with greater academic rigour and with all the added impetus that comprehension of the written sources was able to engender. Egyptology became more professional via work of William Matthew Flinders Petrie, among others. Petrie introduced techniques of field preservation and excavating. Howard Carter's expedition brought much acclaim to the field of Egyptology. Many educated amateurs now travelled to Egypt, including women such as Harriet Martineau and Florence Nightingale. Who both left accounts of their travels, which revealed learned familiarity with all the latest European Egyptology. In the modern era, the Ministry of State for Antiquities controls excavation permits for Egyptologists to conduct their work.
The field can now use geophysical methods and other applications of modern sensing techniques to further Egyptology. Egyptology was established as an academic discipline through the research of Emmanuel de Rougé in France, Samuel Birch in England, Heinrich Brugsch in Germany. In 1880, Flinders Petrie, another British Egyptologist, revolutionised the field of archaeology through controlled and scientifically recorded excavations. Petrie's work determined that Egyptian culture dated back as early as 4500 BC; the British Egypt Exploration Fund founded in 1882 and other Egyptologists promoted Petrie's methods. Other scholars worked on producing a hieroglyphic dictionary, developing a Demotic lexicon, establishing an outline of ancient Egyptian history. In the United States, the founding of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and the expedition of James Henry Breasted to Egypt and Nubia established Egyptology as a legitimate field of study. In 1924, Breasted started the Epigraphic Survey to make and publish accurate copies of monuments.
In the late 19th
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place, now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes; the history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great; the Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs; the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids and obelisks.
Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were copied, its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world, its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy; the Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid. Large regions of Egypt were traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs and beads; the largest of these early cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which originated in the Western Desert. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements; as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East Canaan and the Byblos coast.
Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Nekhen, at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile, they traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, jewelry made of gold and ivory, they developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, used well into the Roman Per
The Red Pyramid called the North Pyramid, is the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis in Cairo, Egypt. Named for the rusty reddish hue of its red limestone stones, it is the third largest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafra at Giza, it is believed to be Egypt's first successful attempt at constructing a "true" smooth-sided pyramid. Local residents refer to the Red Pyramid as el-heram el-watwaat; the Red Pyramid was not always red. It used to be cased with white Tura limestone, but only a few of these stones now remain at the pyramid's base, at the corner. During the Middle Ages much of the white Tura limestone was taken for buildings in Cairo, revealing the red limestone beneath; the Red Pyramid was the third pyramid built by Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu, is located one kilometer to the north of the Bent Pyramid. It is built at the same shallow 43 degree angle as the upper section of the Bent Pyramid, which gives it a noticeably squat appearance compared to other Egyptian pyramids of comparable scale.
Construction is believed to have begun during the thirtieth year of Sneferu's reign. Egyptologists disagree on the length of time it took to construct. Based on quarry marks found at various phases of construction, Rainer Stadelmann estimates the time of completion to be 17 years while John Romer, based on this same graffiti, suggests it took only ten years and seven months to build. Archaeologists speculate its design may be an outcome of engineering crises experienced during the construction of Sneferu's two earlier pyramids; the first of these, the Pyramid at Meidum, collapsed in antiquity, while the second, the Bent Pyramid, had the angle of its inclination altered from 54 to 43 degrees part-way through construction. Some archaeologists now believe that the Meidum pyramid was the first attempt at building a smooth-sided pyramid, that it may have collapsed when construction of the Bent Pyramid was well under way — and that the pyramid may by have begun to show alarming signs of instability itself, as evident by the presence of large timber beams supporting its inner chambers.
The outcome of this was the change in inclination of the Bent Pyramid, the commencement of the Red Pyramid at an inclination known to be less susceptible to instability and therefore less susceptible to catastrophic collapse. The Red Pyramid is 105 metres high. A rare pyramidion, or capstone, for the Red Pyramid has been uncovered and reconstructed, is now on display at Dahshur. However, whether it was ever used is unclear, as its angle of inclination differs from that of the pyramid for which it was intended; the Red Pyramid, along with the Bent Pyramid, was closed to tourists for many years because of a nearby army camp. It is now open for tourists and a somewhat intrusive ventilation has been installed which pipes air down the entrance shaft to the interior chambers. Visitors climb steps cut in or built over the stones of the pyramid to an entrance high on the north side. A passage, 3 feet in height and 4 feet wide, slopes down at 27° for 200 feet to a short horizontal passage leading into a chamber whose corbelled roof is 40 feet high and rises in eleven steps.
At the southern end of the chamber, but offset to the west, another short horizontal passage leads into the second chamber. This passage was closed at one time and the offset was a measure intended to confuse potential robbers; the second chamber lies directly beneath the apex of the pyramid. High in the southern wall of the chamber is an entrance, now reached by a large wooden staircase built for the convenience of tourists; this gives onto a short horizontal passage that leads to the third and final chamber with a corbelled roof 50 feet high. The first two chambers have their long axis aligned north-south, but this chamber's long axis is aligned east-west. Unlike the first two chambers, which have fine smooth floors on the same level as the passages, the floor of the third chamber is rough and sunk below the level of the access passage, it is believed that this is the work of robbers searching for treasure in what is thought to have been the burial chamber of the pyramid. World's tallest free standing structure on land Great Pyramid of Giza List of Egyptian pyramids List of megalithic sites Romer, John.
The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-87166-2. Lehner, Mark; the Complete Pyramids. Thames and Husdon. ISBN 0-500-05084-8. Mendelssohn, Kurt; the Riddle of the Pyramids. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-500-05015-6. Verner, Miroslav, "The Pyramids – Their Archaeology and History", Atlantic Books, 2001, ISBN 1-84354-171-8 The Red Pyramid of Snofru