Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Peter Brand

Committee Member

Suzanne Onstine

Committee Member

Patricia Podzorski

Committee Member

Benjamin Graham


This dissertation is the first overview of location choices for Early Dynastic Period (2900-2545 B.C.E) and Old Kingdom (2543-2118 B.C.E) pyramid complexes since Miroslav Bárta’s 2005 article “Location of the Old Kingdom Pyramids in Egypt.” The factors that went into the decision of Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom pharaohs for the locations of their pyramid complexes is based on a variety of geological, religious, and historical contexts. An overview and analysis of the geology of the seventy-one-kilometer stretch of pyramid complexes from Abu Rawash to Meidum will be conducted. Additionally, the overall history of each site prior to the construction of their pyramid complexes will be discussed as well. While the first pyramid complex ever constructed in ancient Egyptian history comes from the Third Dynasty (2592-2544 B.C.E), many of the eight sites discussed in this dissertation: Abu Rawash, Giza, Zawiyet el-Aryan, Abusir, Saqqara, South Saqqara, Dahshur, and Meidum had a history prior to the construction of the first pyramid complex. Outside of the political histories that incorporated the Early Dynastic Period, the history of construction and monumental architecture that emerged at these sites prior to the first pyramid complex of Djoser at Saqqara will be discussed as well. Further analysis will also delve into the larger religious symbolism and veneration of the past that pharaohs portrayed in choosing a location for their complex. This includes looking at the ancient Egyptian sense of the past and how they viewed their own history. Of course, this data will lean towards the elite members of society, more specifically the pharaoh, because most surviving textual and archaeological sources on pyramid complexes dealt with the pharaoh. As this dissertation will show, the ancient Egyptian sense of the past and how a pharaoh used that past to display their power changed over the course of the almost 500 year period that made up the Old Kingdom. Together, these facets are undeniably part of larger reasons why the Third through Sixth Dynasty pyramid sites of chosen. While there are undoubtedly more reasons than what is listed, the three factors mentioned above: geological, religious, and historical, are at the forefront of the current study. With their analysis, I will provide a clearer picture of understanding the mindset of the pharaohs who built their pyramid complexes from Abu Rawash to Meidum during the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access