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by Wayne Blank
The pyramids are the most ancient of the old Seven Wonders of The World (the others were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Artemision at Ephesus, Colossus of Rhodes, the Olympian Zeus Statue by Phidias and Pharos at Alexandria). The pyramids are the only one of the seven still in substantial existence in modern times.
There are numerous other pyramids located throughout Egypt, but the best known are found west of The Nile River along a 40 mile area of the Nile Valley near ancient Memphis. The three great pyramids at Giza are the most famous of all. They are believed to have been constructed during the Old Kingdom (see The Ancient Egyptians) which existed from about 2600-2100 B.C. - approximately 4,100 to 4,600 years ago, over 700 years before the Exodus of the Israelites. The pyramids were already very old when the Israelites first arrived in Egypt.
Most researchers now agree that the pyramids were very elaborate monuments for the dead (see Mummies). They were apparently also intended to bring the deceased a little closer to their idea of heaven because scientists have discovered that the pyramids do have some remarkably accurate alignments with certain astronomical movements e.g. the rising and transit points of certain stars and constellations. Whether stemming from a scientific knowledge of astronomy, or a superstitious involvement with astrology, or a likely combination of both, the builders of the pyramids did seem to have something very deliberate in mind when they did their extremely durable work.
Fact Finder: What sort of animals were used in Pharoah's dream to warn of the coming famine?