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Why did ancient Egyptian pharaohs stop building pyramids?


Manwon Lender
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Egyptian pharaohs constructed pyramids between the time of King Djoser (reign 2630 to 2611 B.C.), who built a step pyramid at Saqqara, to the time of King Ahmose I (reign 1550 to 1525 B.C.), who built the last known royal pyramid in Egypt at AbydosThese iconic pyramids displayed the pharaohs' power, wealth and promoted their religious beliefs. So why did the ancient Egyptians stop building pyramids shortly after the New Kingdom began? "There are plenty of theories, but since pyramids were inevitably plundered, hiding the royal burials away in a distant valley, carved into the rock and presumably with plenty of necropolis guards, surely played a role.

" Peter Der Manuelian, an Egyptology professor at Harvard University. "Even before they gave up on pyramids for kings, they had stopped placing the burial chamber under the pyramid. The last king's pyramid — that of Ahmose I, at Abydos — had its burial chamber over 0.5 km [1,640 feet] away, behind it, deeper in the desert," Aidan Dodson, an Egyptology professor at the University of Bristol. One historical record that may hold important clues was written by a man named "Ineni," who was in charge of building the tomb of Thutmose I in the Valley of the Kings. Ineni wrote that "I supervised the excavation of the cliff tomb of his majesty alone — no one seeing, no one hearing." This record "obviously suggests that secrecy was a major consideration. 

Why did ancient Egyptian pharaohs stop building pyramids? | Live Science

 

 

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They got wind of the bad reputation of pyramid schemes and the investors decided to call it a day.

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I have my own guess, but I don't know for sure. I would think pyramids were just too obvious to tomb robbers. They kind of stuck out, like an advertisement. Here I am and I'm loaded with treasures. Later Pharaohs took to hiding their tombs better in cliffs. Even then, tomb robbers found them. There was just no hiding the goodies from those who wanted to steal them.

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3 hours ago, Manwon Lender said:

Why did ancient Egyptian pharaohs stop building pyramids?

Because the ET's went home.

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2 hours ago, susieice said:

I have my own guess, but I don't know for sure. I would think pyramids were just too obvious to tomb robbers. They kind of stuck out, like an advertisement. Here I am and I'm loaded with treasures. Later Pharaohs took to hiding their tombs better in cliffs. Even then, tomb robbers found them. There was just no hiding the goodies from those who wanted to steal them.

That sounds like a perfectly plausible reason.

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46 minutes ago, Noteverythingisaconspiracy said:

That sounds like a perfectly plausible reason.

Thanks. I can't say that's why they stopped, but it makes sense to me.

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Unions.

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When they stopped building tombs in the VoK because they were being robbed, by the builders, they emptied the existing tombs of treasure, because they were strapped for cash at that time, and hid the kings' mummies in two caches. So, I wonder if when they stopped building pyramids they emptied them of whatever treasure and mummies remained, and cached the mummies in a place yet to be discovered. While suggesting this, I very much doubt it as from the first to last pyramid there had been two intermediate periods during which I would think all the pyramids and tombs of the rich would have been looted, but maybe there is some hope that some king's may have been found still in their tombs and cached in the early 18th Dynasty.

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9 hours ago, susieice said:

I have my own guess, but I don't know for sure. I would think pyramids were just too obvious to tomb robbers. They kind of stuck out, like an advertisement. Here I am and I'm loaded with treasures. Later Pharaohs took to hiding their tombs better in cliffs. Even then, tomb robbers found them. There was just no hiding the goodies from those who wanted to steal them.

I did some research on this subject and it appears that you are right Susie, everything I have found so far agrees with your thoughts on this subject. Apparently very close to the same time they stopped building Pyramids, they began to covertly as possible start burying the Pharaoh's in what we now know as The Valley of The Kings. I think there are two reasons for this in the beginning, what you have already stated and it also required less of a guard force to protect those scared dead. However, I am unaware during what time period they stopped guarding these tombs, because to date the only tomb in the Valley of The Kings that has been discovered intact was the tomb of  King Tutankhamun, who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end of the 18th Dynasty (ruled c. 1332 – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology)

I am going to dig into this a little further to see if I can answer some more of these questions, any help anyone could give would be appreciated.

 Great Post Susie, and thanks for your help!:tu:

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30 minutes ago, Wepwawet said:

When they stopped building tombs in the VoK because they were being robbed, by the builders, they emptied the existing tombs of treasure, because they were strapped for cash at that time, and hid the kings' mummies in two caches. So, I wonder if when they stopped building pyramids they emptied them of whatever treasure and mummies remained, and cached the mummies in a place yet to be discovered. While suggesting this, I very much doubt it as from the first to last pyramid there had been two intermediate periods during which I would think all the pyramids and tombs of the rich would have been looted, but maybe there is some hope that some king's may have been found still in their tombs and cached in the early 18th Dynasty.

Thanks for the information it appears you have a good working knowledge of this subject, I would appreciate anything else you may be able find and to add to this thread.:tu:

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9 minutes ago, Manwon Lender said:

 I would appreciate anything else you may be able find and to add to this thread.:tu:

Well, as you ask. The VoK tombs were robbed by the people who built them, and a number of papyri exist which documents this, for instance the Harris and Mayer papyri. By the end of the New Kingdom the tombs were not so much being robbed, as being "mined" by the state for gold and silver. A priest, one of the necropolis officials who took part in these "mining operations" and of the stripping and caching of the king's mummies, later expressed remorse, written on a papyrus found, I think, in his tomb. The last king of the New Kingdom, Ramesses XI, had started to build a tomb in the VoK, but it was never finished, and he is one of the missing kings, along with the Theban "Priest Kings" of Amun. The general thought is that all Old Kingdom pyramids were ransacked in the First Intermediate Period, and the Middle Kingdom ones ransacked when the MK fell, or were looted by the Hyksos.

The basic fact is that the moment an opportunity to rob a tomb appeared, then it was robbed, no matter the difficulties, and an MK pyramid was robbed in such a way that it can only have been by the builders, who knew the layout, and knew they had to move a specific huge block.

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9 minutes ago, Wepwawet said:

Well, as you ask. The VoK tombs were robbed by the people who built them, and a number of papyri exist which documents this, for instance the Harris and Mayer papyri. By the end of the New Kingdom the tombs were not so much being robbed, as being "mined" by the state for gold and silver. A priest, one of the necropolis officials who took part in these "mining operations" and of the stripping and caching of the king's mummies, later expressed remorse, written on a papyrus found, I think, in his tomb. The last king of the New Kingdom, Ramesses XI, had started to build a tomb in the VoK, but it was never finished, and he is one of the missing kings, along with the Theban "Priest Kings" of Amun. The general thought is that all Old Kingdom pyramids were ransacked in the First Intermediate Period, and the Middle Kingdom ones ransacked when the MK fell, or were looted by the Hyksos.

The basic fact is that the moment an opportunity to rob a tomb appeared, then it was robbed, no matter the difficulties, and an MK pyramid was robbed in such a way that it can only have been by the builders, who knew the layout, and knew they had to move a specific huge block.

Thank you that is very interesting information I was not aware of and it also makes sense, unlike a lot of cultures they execute the builders. This is why  Attila the Huns' tomb has never been discovered, the builders and all directly involved in his funeral were buried with him as the historical legend has it. But what interesting to me is why  King Tutankhamun was left basically intact. I am aware that grave robbers did enter it and begin to rob it, but they were stopped and the tomb was discreetly and quietly resealed and reburied. To date no one to my knowledge has fully explained this, I think it would very interesting to some how discover what occurred!

Peace  

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The Abbott Papyrus is very illuminating about the level of corruption at Thebes, at least towards the end of the New Kingdom during the reign of Ramesses IX. I'll severly truncate the story. One of the workmen, Amunpanufer, had been arrested for tomb robbery, but a can of worms was uncovered during the investigation. The mayor of the West Bank, Pawero, had responsibility for the tomb builders village at Deir el-Medina, and though never proven, it does seem clear that Pawero, the highest official on the West Bank, was utterly corrupt and working with, if not controlling, the tomb robbers. There was some argy bargy with the mayor of Thebes itself, Pawero, who seemed honest, but the overall level of corruption was so great that during the investigation valuable items stolen from kings' tombs were found in the possesion of a number of high ranking Theban families, notably within the Amun priesthood. The "foot soldier" of robbery, Amenpanufer, took the rap and was executed, but not those controlling or benifitting from the robberies, notably mayor Pawero who walked away smiling. A vignette of the corruption occuring when an empire sinks.

The VoK was used in order not just for concealment, but to be able to control access to the royal necropolis, something difficult to do, if not impossible, during the Old and Middle Kingdoms with pyramids more and more scattered about. The problems with the VoK occured when the builders and guardians became the thieves, usually, it seems, in difficult times. Tutankhamun was robbed almost as soon as his tomb was sealed, probably because it was a rushed burial and the new king, Ay, was too preoccupied with securing his position, and so the mice will play. During the times of Ramesses IX, there had been a failed harvest, and so desperate times lead people to do what they can to survive, but I think the corruption by then was endemic and deep rooted anyway.

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On 11/28/2021 at 5:41 PM, Wepwawet said:

Who was in fact named Paser.

Sincerely thank you for your participation in this thread, your knwoledge has been fantastic!:tu:

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