Egypt's Pyramids: Monuments with a Message

The word "pyramid" actually comes from the Greek word "pyramis," which means "wheat cake." The word "pyramis" was used to describe the ancient Egyptian buildings because they reminded the Greeks of pointy-topped wheat cakes. The ancient Egyptian word for the pyramids was "Mer."
The British Museum

What we know about ancient civilizations comes from what those civilizations left behind. Sometimes it's a shard of pottery, part of a tool, a piece of jewelry. Archaeologists scour the earth for such remnants of ancient civilizations to piece together a picture of the past. But in Egypt there are clues to the past that are hard to miss: they're six and a half million tons, taller than the Statue of Liberty, and as wide as 10 football fields. You don't need a trowel and a brush to discover these artifacts; you can see them from space!

Guiding Questions

What purposes do the Egyptian pyramids serve? (Historically, they house and protect the pharaoh and his belongings after his death; presently, they lead archaeologists to evidences and understandings of ancient Egyptian culture.)

How do the pyramids tell us about the peoples of ancient Egypt?

Learning Objectives

Explain the meaning of the word artifact

Explain an example of size and scale of the pyramids

Discuss the purpose of pyramids