Pyramid of Djoser

The pyramid of Djoser (or Djeser and Zoser), sometimes called the Step Pyramid of Djoser, is an archaeological site in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the ruins of Memphis. The 6-tier, 4-sided structure is the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt. It was built in the 27th century BC during the Third Dynasty for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser. The pyramid is the central feature of a vast mortuary complex in an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures and decoration. Its architect was Imhotep, chancellor of the pharaoh and high priest of the god Ra. The pyramid went through several revisions and redevelopments of the original plan. The pyramid originally stood 62.5 m (205 ft) tall, with a base of 109 m × 121 m (358 ft × 397 ft) and was clad in polished white limestone. The step pyramid (or proto-pyramid) was considered to be the earliest large-scale cut stone construction made by man as of 1997, although the nearby enclosure wall “Gisr el-Mudir” is suggested by some Egyptologists to predate the complex, and the South American pyramids at Caral are contemporary.


Perspective view, plan and elevation images Djoser’s Pyramid Complex taken from a 3d model, Djoser was the first or second king of the 3rd Dynasty (c. 2670–2650 BC) of the Old Kingdom of Egypt (c. 2686 – c. 2125 BC). He is believed to have ruled for 19 years or, if the 19 years were biennial taxation years, 38 years. He reigned long enough to allow the grandiose plan for his pyramid to be realized in his lifetime. Djoser is best known for his innovative tomb, which dominates the Saqqara landscape. In this tomb he is referred to by his Horus name Netjerikhet; Djoser is a name given by New Kingdom visitors thousands of years later. Djoser’s step pyramid is astounding in its departure from previous architecture. It sets several important precedents, perhaps the most important of which is its status as the first monumental structure made of stone.

Djoser’s mortuary complex comprises the great trench, enclosure wall, colonnaded entrance, ‘T’ temple, Sed festival complex, north and south pavilions, south tomb and court, western mounds, mortuary temple, and the crowning feature of it all, the step pyramid with its substructure.The complex was a landmark achievement for Egyptian architecture. It was the advent of the pyramidal form of the royal tomb and the first instance of the mass use of limestone in construction, replacing mudbrick which had been the staple building material prior. This shift to limestone – a hard, dense material compared to mudbrick – presented novel challenges to the architects, though they kept to earlier tradition, copying architectonic elements and carving them into the stone.