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Saqqara: Step Pyramid of Djoser, 3rd Dynasty

The Step Pyramid of Djoser, in the northern part of Saqqara (Google Earth).

The 3rd Dynasty ruler Djoser (2670 BC) built a major burial complex in the north part of Saqqara centering on a step pyramid, designed by his vizier Imhotep. The pyramid, shown in this image, has a massive stone masonry core that has left it much better preserved than other pyramids at Saqqara built with mud brick cores.

The structure consists of six overlapping mastabas built atop one another, in an evolving plan which ended in a multi-tiered pyramid some 62 meters high. The basal area is 109 x 125 m. The entire monument was originally covered in white limestone, later removed for other buildings, perhaps during the Roman period.

A number of smaller mastaba tombs from the 3d and 4th Dynasties are visible around the pyramid. The lower enclosure of its mortuary temple is visible at the very top of the image.

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