.. s three miles southwest of Cairo. The largest pyramid, 481 feet high and 786 feet along east side of base, was built for Khufu, who reigned between 2900 and 2877 B.C. The pyramid of Khafre, who reigned about 2859 B.C. is slightly smaller, but it is on a higher ground so that the apex is higher.
The smallest pyramid (yet not small at all) was built by Menkure about 2800 B.C. (Casson 5). One of the most famous sites of Mayan culture is Tikal in Guatemala. Numerous buildings stayed almost intact at the Great Plaza: the Temple of the Giant Jaguar (700 A.D.), the Temple of the Masks (699 A.D), and the North Acropolis. At the heart of the Temple of the Giant jaguar is the tomb of high priest.
The sanctuary for worship at the top of the structure sits on a nine-tiered pyramid. In each cultures each pyramid was built for the body of only one man. Usually, caskets full of jewels, furniture in laid with ivory and gold, silver and alabaster bowls and vessels, chests filled with clothing and precious ornaments, jars filled with food and wine were put in the room next to the room with the mummy. Among the objects found in the Egyptian pyramids were the shabtis. Shabtis are small statues in the form of nude humans, often wrapped in linen and placed in model coffins.
They were inscribed with a prayer for food offerings, although they probably also functioned as alternative abode for the ka. By the Middle Kingdom (2025 B.C) the figures had become mummiform in shape, and their inscriptions clearly join the deceased with Osiris, the god of the underworld, who rose to prominence during this period. By late Dynasty XII (1850 B.C.) The statuettes original function as residence for the ka has expanded greatly. Although the original identification with the tomb owner was never lost, the figures were seen primarily as workers who performed a service for the deceased, and they became known by the ancient Egyptians as shabits. Rapidly shabit-figures came to represent the deceaseds servants in the afterlife and were so popular that they replaced the model servant statues previously deposited in upper-class graves of the Old and Middle Kingdoms (Life sect.1). One of the most important traditions in the Egyptian culture was the mummification of the dead body. According to Egyptian religion the body had to be intact in order for Ka to return. Mummification of the dead body was a complicated and long process. The famous Greek historian Herodotus reported on the Egyptian practice of mummification: They take first a crooked piece of iron, and with it draw out brain through the nostrils, thus getting rid of a portion, while the skull is cleared of the rest by rinsing with drugs; next they make a cut along the flank with a sharp Ethiopian stone, and take out the whole contents of the abdomen, which they then cleanse, washing it throughly with palm wine, and again frequently with an infusion of pounded aromatics.
After this they fill the cavity with the purest bruised myrrh, with cassia, and every other sort of spicery except frankincense, and sew up the opening. (Herodotus sect.1) After these procedures were done the body was placed in natrum for saventy days. They put the body into the wooden coffin which was shaped into the man figure. Sometimes the wooden coffin was placed into the golden one decorated by precious stones and paint. In Mayan culture we find no evidences that any techniques of mummification were used.
In the humid climate of Central America it is very hard to preserve a dead body for such a long time that is needed for the mummification process. As we can see Mayan and Egyptian cultures have a lot in common. However, some major differences can be found. Mayan religion was not obsessed with an afterlife beliefs as Egyptians were. Their pyramids were built either for Gods or as a memorial to the dead ruler or priest.
Egyptians built their pyramids for the dead. Their buildings were meant to be used in the other life by the great spirits buried in them. Some visual differences also occur. Most of the Mayan pyramids are shorter then the ones at Giza site. They are not sealed forever but has an access for the priests and authorized people.
The major difference is that Maya put the shrine right on top of the pyramid. The stairs led from the ground to the top of the pyramid. This way people thought they would be closer to God. In Egypt only pharaoh was considered to be closer to God therefore an enormous buildings reaching the sky was meant to be the stairway to the heaven only for the pharaoh. Nowadays these both ancient cultures still hold many mysteries for us.
Most of the things we know are based on the speculations of the scientists, not on the certain facts. Archeologists working on discovering more and more about the ancient civilizations that existed thousand years ago but appeared much more advanced then we used to think about it. However, many of the documents, scripts and art evidences disappeared during such a long time. Robbers, invaders and weather were the reason for the huge loss of historical items that were kept in ancient Maya cities and along the Nile. I am sure that in the future many of the mysteries will be unfolded, but as for now, ancient people keep fascinate us with their enigmas. Bibliography Casson, Lionel. Ancient Egypt Canada: Time Inc.
1965. Cities of the ancient Maya. Mystery of Maya. CMCC. May 1999. http://www.civilization.ca/membrs/civiliz/maya/mmc 01eng.html Herodotus Reports on Mummification.
May 1999. http://pluto.clinch.edu/history/wciv1/civ1ref/mumm y.html Life in Ancient Egypt. Shabtis. Ed. Craig Patch. Exc.
from Reflections of Greatness: Ancient Egypt at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 1990. http://www.yahoo.com/egypt/ Maya Civilization. Mystery of Maya. CMCC. May 1999. http://www.civilization.ca/membrs/civiliz/maya/mmc 01eng.html Newby, P.H.
The Egypt story, its art, its monuments, its people, its history. Italy: Abbreville Press: 1979. Payne, Elizabeth. The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. New York: Random House, Inc.
1984. Photographs of Maya ruins of Tikal showing how Hasselblad cameras and Zeiss lenses result in better pictures. Maya Art & books. International Photographic Archive of Maya Art. June 1998. http://www.maya-art-books.org/html/New photos.html The First Egyptian Mummies. Corkankhamun explains mummification. May 1999. http://members.aol.com/mumifyddog/first.html Why Egyptians Made Mummies.
Corkankhamun explains mummification. May 1999. http://members.aol.com/mumifyddog/first.html.