- from Pyramids
Egyptian burial places were not always grand like the pyramids are. The first Egyptians were buried in the desert in shallow pits, where the desert’s hot sand preserved the bodies.
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 was both a royal tomb and a temple for worshipping the spirit of the dead king.
By 1600 B.C., robbers had raided many of the pyramids for gold and precious articles. Later pharaohs decided that 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 they’d find everlasting life in a paradise known as the Field of Reeds. To reach it, the dead had to pass through an underworld full of terrible monsters and demons. Priests put together a collection of spells to help keep the newly dead safe on this trip. One such collection was the Book of the Dead. A copy was placed in each tomb, but no one copy includes all 200 spells.