Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)
Funerary area in Egypt, 40 kilometers south of Cairo and Giza. This was the necropolis for the first pharaohs, at the time of Memphis being the capital, and has therefore the oldest pyramids of all. The entire area covers 7 km2. The tombs erected at Saqqara belong to a period stretching from the 27th century to the 24th BC, for the part of the Pharaohs, while the area was used for millennias after this time. The most famous structure of Saqqara is the Step Pyramid of Zoser, which was built under control of the architect Imhotep. This belongs to the middle of the 27th century BC, and was at its time the largest stone structure ever erected. Originally constructed as a mastaba, a simple mud-brick structure, built over a tomb, it was rebuilt 5 times by Imhotep. Eventually it rose 62 metres above ground, consisting of 6 steps, and was covered in white limestone.
The excavations of Saqqara belongs mainly to this century, and the morturary complex around the Step Pyramid of Zoser, was not reclaimed from the sand until 1924. Saqqara remains the main centre for Egyptian archaeology right now, and many tombs are still undiscovered (EO).