The Pyramids of Egypt Critical Essays

I. E. S. Edwards


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Even though the author discusses entire pyramid complexes, there is never any question that the familiar triangular stone structure is the focus of his book. The everlasting human quest for immortality becomes evident from the ancient Egyptians’ concern with the afterlife. Monarchs built pyramids in which their mummified bodies might be protected for eternity from human view and sacrilege. Unfortunately, the plunder of these burial sites over the centuries has removed much of their contents, and deterioration from the weather has added to the damage. Enough has been preserved, however, to make the pyramids an archaeological and artistic treasure trove.

A great amount of time, materials, and labor went into producing the pyramids and thus into preparations for the afterlife of the high and mighty. Pyramid complexes have also been found to contain the furniture, clothing, jewelry, boats, and other accessories—as well as the human and horse skeletons—of those destined to continue serving their royal masters after the kings’ final exits.

Edwards points out the intricacies of the pyramid structures themselves by describing their entrances, passages, and chambers, including the sepulchral chambers. Among other things, he mentions the difficulty in balancing masses of stone on top of these excavated hollow places. The author manages to present a considerable amount of scholarly material over which he has complete mastery in simple, lay language. Furthermore, he adds some interesting details about individual monuments throughout the text, such as how huge blocks of rock were moved...

(The entire section is 656 words.)