Ancient Egypt: Great structures

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By Teresa SaundersEducational journalist and Children’s writer

Unravel the mysteries of the pyramids and investigate their astrological and mathematical references

The Pyramids

The evidence

It is 1880 – the dawning of the golden age of Egyptology. William Flinders Petrie, a brilliant young scientist from Kent, arrives in Egypt to carry out a mathematical survey of the pyramids at Giza. He is fascinated by the air of history around him, but ‘sickened at the rate at which everything is being destroyed, and the little regard paid to preservation’.

Unsolved puzzle

William Flinders Petrie was drawn to Egypt by the tales of mystery that surrounded the pyramids and the mathematical precision of their construction. He wanted to carry out his own survey. From the start he was disturbed by the behaviour of some of the people he found there, believing them to be more like treasure seekers than archaeologists. His approach was much more scientific – he believed in excavating with care and precision, preserving rather than destroying, making meticulous field notes, and keeping records of finds and dates. These methods soon set the standard for others to follow.

Modern archaeology

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  1. Mags99
    on 30 July 2010

    Ancient Egypt:Great Structures

    Thank you for these cross-curricular links. I especially like the maths idea re. triangles.

    4out of 5