- from Pyramids
Egyptian tombs were not always as grand as the pyramids. The first Egyptians were buried in the desert in shallow pits. The desert’s hot sand preserved the body.
Around 3000 B.C., kings and high officials began to build large, flat-topped tombs called mastabas (MAS-tuh-buhz). Each of these tombs contained a burial chamber and rooms filled with goods.
The first pyramid, known as the Step Pyramid, was built out of stone around 2700 B.C. Like later pyramids, it had two purposes. It was both a royal tomb and also a temple for worshipping the spirit of the dead king.
By 1600 B.C., robbers had raided many of the pyramids. They stole gold and other precious things. Seeing that, later pharaohs thought their bodies would be safer in hidden tombs cut from solid rock. Many of these pharaohs are buried in the desolate Valley of the Kings.
Ancient Egyptians believed that everlasting life took place in a paradise known as the Field of Reeds. To get there, the dead had to pass through an underworld filled with fearsome monsters and demons. To help make sure they got through safely, priests put together a collection of spells. One such collection was the Book of the Dead. A copy was placed in each tomb. No one copy contains all 200 spells.