Macquarie University
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Engineering and construction in Egypt's early dynastic period: a review of mortuary structures

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posted on 2022-03-28, 20:50 authored by Angela Sophia La Loggia
Throughout history people have marvelled at the pyramids, from the elemental beauty of the Step Pyramid of Djoser to the monumental scale and engineering achievement of the Great Pyramid in Giza. The knowledge needed to build such grand monuments was vast, but not acquired overnight. -- This research reviews 1st and 2nd Dynasty mortuary structures from an engineering and construction perspective in order to gain an insight into not only the levels of knowledge possessed by builders in this early period of Egyptian history, but how they developed their skills. Using modern engineering principles, the tomb structures were analysed, the tools and construction materials were evaluated, the quantity of materials consumed in each tomb calculated, and finally the time and labour force that would have been required was estimated. -- The precursors to the pyramids, the massive mud brick tombs of the 1st and 2nd Dynasties, reveal a high degree of proficiency, ingenuity and capability by the architects, engineers and builders of that time. These mud brick structures built, almost five centuries before the Giza pyramids, reveal a structured and well organised society with well developed construction and management skills. In fact, the construction time and labour force requirements in these earlier structures were efficient and small in comparison to ventures in the proceeding Dynasties. It is through these structures and the development of the skills required to build them that this study will show how these early builders were laying a solid foundation for future generations and the dawn of large scale stone construction.


Table of Contents

PART 1. 1. Introduction, literature review and methodology -- 2. Engineering the early dynastic tombs -- 3. Resources and tools -- 4. Material expenditure of tombs -- 5. Labour force -- 6. Tomb construction -- 7. Impact of construction on society -- 8. Conclusion and bibliography -- PART 2. Appendix 1. Plates -- Appendix 2. Engineering.


Bibliography: pages: 374-355

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Yann Tristant


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Angela Sophia La Loggia 2012.






2 parts (xxii, 374, viii, 120 pages) illustrations, plans

Former Identifiers

mq:28149 2066632