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{{About|pyramid-shaped structures|the geometric term|Pyramid (geometry)|other uses}}File:Giza-pyramids.JPG|thumb|right|The Egyptian pyramids of the Giza NecropolisGiza NecropolisFile:Koh Ker temple(2007).jpg|thumb|right|Prasat Thom temple at Koh Ker, CambodiaCambodiaFile:PyramidOfTheMoonTeotihuacan.jpg|thumb|right|Pyramid of the Moon, TeotihuacanTeotihuacanFile:Candi Sukuh 2007.JPG|thumb|Candi Sukuh in Java, IndonesiaIndonesiaFile:Pyramide Güimar.jpg|thumb|right|Pyramids of Güímar, TenerifeTenerifeA pyramid (from {{transl|el|pyramís}})πυραμίς, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital LibraryThe word meant "a kind of cake of roasted wheat-grains preserved in honey"; the Egyptian pyramids were named after its form (R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 1261). is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single step at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or of any polygon shape. As such, a pyramid has at least three outer triangular surfaces (at least four faces including the base). The square pyramid, with a square base and four triangular outer surfaces, is a common version.A pyramid's design, with the majority of the weight closer to the ground,Centre of volume is one quarter of the way up—see Centre of mass. and with the pyramidion on top, means that less material higher up on the pyramid will be pushing down from above. This distribution of weight allowed early civilizations to create stable monumental structures.Civilizations in many parts of the world have built pyramids. The largest pyramid by volume is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, in the Mexican state of Puebla. For thousands of years, the largest structures on Earth were pyramids—first the Red Pyramid in the Dashur Necropolis and then the Great Pyramid of Khufu, both in Egypt—the latter is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still remaining.

Ancient monuments

{{See also|Ancient pyramid (disambiguation){{!}}Ancient pyramid}}


File:Choghazanbil2.jpg|right|thumb|Chogha Zanbil is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of IranIranThe Mesopotamians built the earliest pyramidal structures, called ziggurats. In ancient times, these were brightly painted in gold/bronze. Since they were constructed of sun-dried mud-brick, little remains of them. Ziggurats were built by the Sumerians, Babylonians, Elamites, Akkadians, and Assyrians for local religions. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex which included other buildings. The precursors of the ziggurat were raised platforms that date from the Ubaid periodCrawford, page 73 during the fourth millennium BC. The earliest ziggurats began near the end of the Early Dynastic Period.Crawford, page 73-74 The latest Mesopotamian ziggurats date from the 6th century BC.Built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, the ziggurat was a pyramidal structure with a flat top. Sun-baked bricks made up the core of the ziggurat with facings of fired bricks on the outside. The facings were often glazed in different colors and may have had astrological significance. Kings sometimes had their names engraved on these glazed bricks. The number of tiers ranged from two to seven. It is assumed that they had shrines at the top, but there is no archaeological evidence for this and the only textual evidence is from Herodotus.Crawford, page 85 Access to the shrine would have been by a series of ramps on one side of the ziggurat or by a spiral ramp from base to summit.


The most famous pyramids are the Egyptian — huge structures built of brick or stone, some of which are among the world's largest constructions. They are shaped as a reference to the rays of the sun. Most pyramids had a polished, highly reflective white limestone surface, to give them a shining appearance when viewed from a distance. The capstone was usually made of hard stone – granite or basalt – and could be plated with gold, silver, or electrum and would also be highly reflective.WEB, Redford, Donald B., Ph.D., McCauley, Marissa, How were the Egyptian pyramids built?,weblink Research, The Pennsylvania State University, 11 December 2012, After 2700 BC, the ancient Egyptians began building pyramids, until around 1700 BC. The first pyramid was erected during the Third Dynasty by the Pharaoh Djoser and his architect Imhotep. This step pyramid consisted of six stacked mastabas. The largest Egyptian pyramids are those at the Giza pyramid complex. The Egyptian sun god Ra, considered the father of all pharaohs, was said to have created himself from a pyramid-shaped mound of earth before creating all other gods.The age of the pyramids reached its zenith at Giza in 2575–2150 BC.MAGAZINE,weblink Egypt Pyramids-Time Line, National Geographic, 2002-10-17, 2011-08-13, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-08-10, Ancient Egyptian pyramids were in most cases placed west of the river Nile because the divine pharaoh's soul was meant to join with the sun during its descent before continuing with the sun in its eternal round. As of 2008, some 135 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt.NEWS, Michael, Slackman, In the Shadow of a Long Past, Patiently Awaiting the Future,weblink The New York Times, 2008-11-17, 2010-04-12, BOOK,weblink Mark Lehner (2008). The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries. p. 34., Thames & Hudson, 978-0-500-28547-3, Lehner, Mark, 2008-03-25, The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest in Egypt and one of the largest in the world. At 481ft, it was the tallest building in the world until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD. The base is over {{convert|52600|m2}} in area. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is the only one to survive into modern times. The Ancient Egyptians covered the faces of pyramids with polished white limestone, containing great quantities of fossilized seashells.Viegas, J., Pyramids packed with fossil shells, ABC News in Science, Many of the facing stones have fallen or have been removed and used for construction in Cairo.Most pyramids are located near Cairo, with only one royal pyramid being located south of Cairo, at the Abydos temple complex. The pyramid at Abydos, Egypt were commissioned by Ahmose I who founded the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom.BOOK, Filer, Joyce, Pyramids, 16 January 2006, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-530521-0, 38–39, The building of pyramids began in the Third Dynasty with the reign of King Djoser.BOOK, Davidovits, Joseph, They Built the Pyramids, 20 May 2008, Geopolymer Institute, 978-2-9514820-2-9, 206, Early kings such as Snefru built several pyramids, with subsequent kings adding to the number of pyramids until the end of the Middle Kingdom.The last king to build royal pyramids was Ahmose,BOOK, Filer, Joyce, Pyramids, 16 January 2006, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-530521-0, 99, with later kings hiding their tombs in the hills, such as those in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor's West Bank.BOOK, Fodor's, Fodor's Egypt, 4th Edition, 15 March 2011, Random House Digital, Inc., 978-1-4000-0519-2, 249–250, In Medinat Habu, or Deir el-Medina, smaller pyramids were built by individuals. Smaller pyramids with steeper sides were also built by the Nubians who ruled Egypt in the Late Period.BOOK, Harpur, James, Pyramid, 1997, Barnes & Noble Books, 978-0-7607-0215-4, 24,


File:Nubian20pyramids.jpg|right|thumb|Nubian Pyramids at Meroe with pylon-like entrances.]]While pyramids are associated with Egypt, the nation of Sudan has 220 extant pyramids, the most numerous in the world.NEWS,weblink BBC News, Sudan's past uncovered, 2004-09-09, 2010-04-12, Lawrence, Pollard, Nubian pyramids were constructed (roughly 240 of them) at three sites in Sudan to serve as tombs for the kings and queens of Napata and Meroë. The pyramids of Kush, also known as Nubian Pyramids, have different characteristics than the pyramids of Egypt. The Nubian pyramids were constructed at a steeper angle than Egyptian ones. Pyramids were still being built in Sudan as late as 200 AD.


One of the unique structures of Igbo culture was the Nsude Pyramids, at the Nigerian town of Nsude, northern Igboland. Ten pyramidal structures were built of clay/mud. The first base section was 60 ft. in circumference and 3 ft. in height. The next stack was 45 ft. in circumference. Circular stacks continued, till it reached the top. The structures were temples for the god Ala, who was believed to reside at the top. A stick was placed at the top to represent the god's residence. The structures were laid in groups of five parallel to each other. Because it was built of clay/mud like the Deffufa of Nubia, time has taken its toll requiring periodic reconstruction.Basden, G. S(1966). Among the Ibos of Nigeria, 1912. Psychology Press: p. 109, {{ISBN|0-7146-1633-8}}


Pausanias (2nd century AD) mentions two buildings resembling pyramids, one, 19 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of the still standing structure at Hellenikon,BOOK, Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public, 2006, Routledge, 978-0-415-30593-8, Mary Lefkowitz, Mary Lefkowitz, Garrett G. Fagan, 188, Archaeology and the politics of origins, a common tomb for soldiers who died in a legendary struggle for the throne of Argos and another which he was told was the tomb of Argives killed in a battle around 669/8 BC. Neither of these still survive and there is no evidence that they resembled Egyptian pyramids.File:Pyramide von Hellinikon.jpg|thumb|left|Pyramid of HellinikonPyramid of HellinikonThere are also at least two surviving pyramid-like structures still available to study, one at Hellenikon and the other at Ligourio/Ligurio, a village near the ancient theatre Epidaurus. These buildings were not constructed in the same manner as the pyramids in Egypt. They do have inwardly sloping walls but other than those there is no obvious resemblance to Egyptian pyramids. They had large central rooms (unlike Egyptian pyramids) and the Hellenikon structure is rectangular rather than square, {{convert|12.5|by|14|m}} which means that the sides could not have met at a point.BOOK, Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public, 2006, Routledge, 978-0-415-30593-8, Mary Lefkowitz, Mary Lefkowitz, Garrett G. Fagan, 189–190, Archaeology and the politics of origins, The stone used to build these structures was limestone quarried locally and was cut to fit, not into freestanding blocks like the Great Pyramid of Giza.{{cn|date=May 2017}}The dating of these structures has been made from the pot shards excavated from the floor and on the grounds. The latest dates available from scientific dating have been estimated around the 5th and 4th centuries. Normally this technique is used for dating pottery, but here researchers have used it to try to date stone flakes from the walls of the structures. This has created some debate about whether or not these structures are actually older than Egypt, which is part of the Black Athena controversy.BOOK, Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public, 2006, Routledge, 978-0-415-30593-8, Mary Lefkowitz, Mary Lefkowitz, Garrett G. Fagan, 185–186, Archaeology and the politics of origins, Mary Lefkowitz has criticised this research. She suggests that some of the research was done not to determine the reliability of the dating method, as was suggested, but to back up an assumption of age and to make certain points about pyramids and Greek civilization. She notes that not only are the results not very precise, but that other structures mentioned in the research are not in fact pyramids, e.g. a tomb alleged to be the tomb of Amphion and Zethus near Thebes, a structure at Stylidha (Thessaly) which is just a long wall, etc. She also notes the possibility that the stones that were dated might have been recycled from earlier constructions. She also notes that earlier research from the 1930s, confirmed in the 1980s by Fracchia was ignored. She argues that they undertook their research using a novel and previously untested methodology in order to confirm a predetermined theory about the age of these structures.BOOK, Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public, 2006, Routledge, 978-0-415-30593-8, Mary Lefkowitz, Mary Lefkowitz, Garrett G. Fagan, 195–195, Archaeology and the politics of origins, Liritzis responded in a journal article published in 2011, stating that Lefkowitz failed to understand and misinterpreted the methodology.Liritzis Ioannis, "Surface dating by luminescence: An Overview" GEOCHRONOMETRIA 38(3) 292–302, June issue,weblink{{dead link|date=April 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}


The Pyramids of Güímar refer to six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures, built from lava stone without the use of mortar. They are located in the district of Chacona, part of the town of Güímar on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The structures have been dated to the 19th century and their original function explained as a byproduct of contemporary agricultural techniques.Autochthonous Guanche traditions as well as surviving images indicate that similar structures (also known as, "Morras", "Majanos", "Molleros", or "Paredones") could once have been found in many locations on the island. However, over time they have been dismantled and used as a cheap building material. In Güímar itself there were nine pyramids, only six of which survive.


File:Tomb of the General 1.jpg|right|thumb|Ancient Korean tomb in Ji'an, Northeastern China]]There are many square flat-topped mound tombs in China. The First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (circa 221 BC, who unified the 7 pre-Imperial Kingdoms) was buried under a large mound outside modern day Xi'an. In the following centuries about a dozen more Han Dynasty royals were also buried under flat-topped pyramidal earthworks.


A number of Mesoamerican cultures also built pyramid-shaped structures. Mesoamerican pyramids were usually stepped, with temples on top, more similar to the Mesopotamian ziggurat than the Egyptian pyramid.The largest pyramid by volume is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, in the Mexican state of Puebla. Constructed from the 3rd century BC to the 9th century AD, this pyramid is considered the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world, and is still being excavated. The third largest pyramid in the world, the Pyramid of the Sun, at Teotihuacan is also located in Mexico. There is an unusual pyramid with a circular plan at the site of Cuicuilco, now inside Mexico City and mostly covered with lava from an eruption of the Xitle Volcano in the 1st century BC. There are several circular stepped pyramids called Guachimontones in Teuchitlán, Jalisco as well.Pyramids in Mexico were often used as places of human sacrifice. For the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, Where, according to Michael Harner, "one source states 20,000, another 72,344, and several give 80,400"."The Enigma of Aztec Sacrifice". Natural History, April 1977. Vol. 86, No. 4, pages 46–51.

North America

(File:Mississippian culture mound components HRoe 2011.jpg|thumb|A diagram showing the various components of Eastern North American platform mounds)Many pre-Columbian Native American societies of ancient North America built large pyramidal earth structures known as platform mounds. Among the largest and best-known of these structures is Monks Mound at the site of Cahokia in what became Illinois, completed around 1100 AD, which has a base larger than that of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Many of the mounds underwent multiple episodes of mound construction at periodic intervals, some becoming quite large. They are believed to have played a central role in the mound-building peoples' religious life and documented uses include semi-public chief's house platforms, public temple platforms, mortuary platforms, charnel house platforms, earth lodge/town house platforms, residence platforms, square ground and rotunda platforms, and dance platforms.JOURNAL, Higher Ground: The Archaeology of North American Platform Mounds, Owen Lindauer, John H. Blitz2,weblink 2011-11-02, Journal of Archaeological Research, 5, 2, 1997, BOOK,weblink Handbook of North American Indians : Southeast, Raymond Fogelson, Smithsonian Institution, September 20, 2004, 978-0-16-072300-1, 741, JOURNAL, Florida Anthropologist, The Etowah Site, Mound C :Barlow County, Georgia, Henry van der Schalie, Paul W. Parmalee, 8, September 1960, 37–39,weblink Cultures who built substructure mounds include the Troyville culture, Coles Creek culture, Plaquemine culture and Mississippian cultures.

Roman Empire

File:Pyramid of cestius.jpg|thumb|Pyramid of CestiusPyramid of CestiusThe 27-metre-high Pyramid of Cestius was built by the end of the 1st century BC and still exists today, close to the Porta San Paolo. Another one, named Meta Romuli, standing in the Ager Vaticanus (today's Borgo), was destroyed at the end of the 15th century.JOURNAL, Lacovara, Peter, Pyramids and Obelisks Beyond Egypt, Aegyptiaca, 2018, 2, 124-129,weblink 17 June 2019,

Medieval Europe

Pyramids have occasionally been used in Christian architecture of the feudal era, e.g. as the tower of Oviedo's Gothic Cathedral of San Salvador.


Many giant granite temple pyramids were made in South India during the Chola Empire, many of which are still in religious use today. Examples of such pyramid temples include Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. However, temple pyramid the largest area is the Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu. The Thanjavur temple was built by Raja Raja Chola in the 11th century. The Brihadisvara Temple was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987; the Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram were added as extensions to the site in 2004weblink Temple-Temple.jpg|The granite gopuram (tower) of Brihadeeswarar Temple, 1010 CE.Back view of Raja gopuram.jpg|The pyramidal structure above the sanctum at Brihadisvara Temple."Architecture of World Heritage Monument Airavatesvara Temple".JPG|Pyramid-structure inside Airavatesvara Temple.Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappali (24) (37254366620).jpg|Ranganathaswamy Temple gopurams at Srirangam dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of the Hindu deity Maha Vishnu.


File:Borobudur-Nothwest-view.jpg|thumb|right|Borobudur, Central Java, IndonesiaIndonesiaNext to menhir, stone table, and stone statue; Austronesian megalithic culture in Indonesia also featured earth and stone step pyramid structures called punden berundak as discovered in Pangguyangan site near CisolokWEB, Pangguyangan, Dinas Pariwisata dan Budaya Provinsi Jawa Barat,weblink Indonesian, and in Cipari near Kuningan.BOOK, Hasil Pemugaran dan Temuan Benda Cagar Budaya PJP I, I.G.N. Anom, Sri Sugiyanti, Hadniwati Hasibuan, Maulana Ibrahim, Samidi, Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan, 1996,weblink 87, Indonesian, The construction of stone pyramids is based on the native beliefs that mountains and high places are the abode for the spirit of the ancestors.BOOK, Sendratari mahakarya Borobudur, Timbul Haryono, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, 2011, 9789799103338,weblink Indonesian, 14, The step pyramid is the basic design of 8th century Borobudur Buddhist monument in Central Java.BOOK, Pengantar Sejarah Kebudayaan Indonesia 2, R. Soekmono, Kanisius, 2002, 9789794132906,weblink 87, Indonesian, However the later temples built in Java were influenced by Indian Hindu architecture, as displayed by the towering spires of Prambanan temple. In the 15th century Java during late Majapahit period saw the revival of Austronesian indigenous elements as displayed by Sukuh temple that somewhat resemble Mesoamerican pyramid, and also stepped pyramids of Mount Penanggungan.BOOK, Candi Indonesia: Seri Jawa: Indonesian-English, Volume 1 dari Candi Indonesia, Indonesia. Direktorat Pelestarian Cagar Budaya dan Permuseuman, Seri Jawa, Edi Sedyawati, Hariani Santiko, Hasan Djafar, Ratnaesih Maulana, Wiwin Djuwita Sudjana Ramelan, Chaidir Ashari, Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan, 2013, 9786021766934,weblink


Andean cultures had used pyramids in various architectural structures such as the ones in Caral, Túcume and Chavín de Huantar.

Modern examples

File:Louvre at dusk.JPG|thumb|Louvre PyramidLouvre PyramidFile:Luxor Hotel.jpg|thumb|Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada ]]File:TamaRe.jpg|thumb|The central part of the "Tama-ReTama-ReFile:Pyramid Arena.jpg|thumb|Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee]]File:Sunway Pyramid front.jpg|thumb|right|Sunway Pyramid in Subang Jaya is the mall that has an Egyptian-inspired Pyramid with a lion designed SphinxSphinxFile:Walter Pyramid.jpg|thumb|Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, CaliforniaLong Beach, CaliforniaFile:MAM Caracas.jpg|thumb|Oscar Niemeyer's design for a museum in CaracasCaracasFile:SF Transamerica full CA.jpg|thumb|130px|Transamerica PyramidTransamerica Pyramid

Modern pyramid mausoleums

With the Egyptian Revival movement in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, pyramids were becoming more common in funerary architecture. This style was especially popular with tycoons in the US. Hunt's Tomb in Phoenix, Arizona and Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum in Chicago are some of the notable examples but Henry Bergh,WEB, Henry Bergh,weblink Find a Grave, 18 June 2019, Charles Debrille PostonWEB, Charles Debrille Poston,weblink Find a Grave, 18 June 2019, and many others were buried in pyramid shape mausoleums. People in Europe also adopted this style. One of them was Branislav Nušić who was buried in one such tomb.WEB, Branislav Nušić,weblink Find a Grave, 18 June 2019, Even today some people build pyramid tombs for themselves. Nicolas Cage bought a pyramid tomb for himself in a famed New Orleans graveyard.WEB, Nicolas Cage's Pyramid Tomb,weblink 18 June 2019, {{Comparison of pyramids.svg|en|several}}


File:01 khafre north.jpg|Pyramid of KhafraFile:Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe-114973.jpg|Nubian pyramids at Archaeological Sites of the Island of MeroeFile:Monk Mound - Flickr - GregTheBusker.jpg|Monks Mound, CahokiaFile:Shaohao - pyramid - P1050739.JPG|Shaohao Tomb, Qufu, ChinaFile:Stockport Pyramid.jpg|Stockport Pyramid in Stockport, United KingdomFile:Karlsruhe Pyramide Winter Nacht 01.JPG|Karlsruhe Pyramid, GermanyFile:Pyramid 2006.jpg|The Pyramid Arena in Memphis, TennesseeFile:Hanoi Museum 01a.JPG|Hanoi Museum in Vietnam features an overall design of an inverted Pyramid.File:MetCemBrunswigPyramid1.jpg|Metairie Cemetery, New OrleansFile:Summum Pyramid SE 20030406.jpg|The Summum Pyramid in Salt Lake CityFile:Bursa, Zafer Plaza shopping center.jpg|Zafer Plaza shopping center in Bursa, TurkeyFile:Upside down Pyramid, Bratislava 02.jpg|Slovak Radio Building, Bratislava, Slovakia.File:Ivan Grozni monument in Kazan.JPG|Monument of Kazan siege (Church of Image of Edessa) in Kazan, Russia.File:Architektura kazan.JPG|"Pyramid" culture-entertainment complex in Kazan, Russia.File:Autobahnkirche-BB SE.jpg|Pyramidal road church in Baden-Baden, Germany

See also


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