The Great Pyramid of Giza was built using over 2 million hetrogeneous blocks of granite stone, each weighing as much as a car. Making the blocks hetrogeneous (meaning each block is of a slightly different shape and size) is incomprehensibly more difficult then making them homogenous (same shape and size). Not only are the blocks hetrogeneous but they are stacked to create an angle of 52 degrees. 45 degrees would have been much easier, but 52 degrees is necessary if you want your pyramid to include Pi and the golden ratio. Hetrogeneous blocks would be necessary to make your pyramid earthquake-proof.


The Temple of Seti I at Abydos, Egypt.

This temple consists of seven sanctuaries lined up in a row, each of which are dedicated to a different deity (the southernmost of these honours 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Seti I himself). The purpose for the construction of this building was to act as a funerary shrine for Seti I, as confirmed by the name of the building: “The house of millions of years of the King Men-Ma'at-Re [Seti I], who is contented at Abydos." Although he was actually buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, Seti followed the royal tradition of constructing a second funerary complex at Abydos -the cult centre of the Egyptian god Osiris.

The bas-reliefs of this temple are some of the best persevered from ancient Egypt, and many retain the original paint work. A classical, traditional style is evoked by the raised relief decoration carved under Seti I on fine white limestone.

From north to south, the temple is dedicated to the following Egyptian deities: Horus, Isis, Osiris, Amen-Re, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah. Seti restoring the worship of the traditional gods of Egypt after the Amarna period could explain this combined dedication. The aftermath of the Amarna period is also reflected in the "king’s gallery”. This is a rather selective list of legitimate pharaohs from Egyptian history, with the names of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamen excluded -as though erasing their reigns from recorded history.

The first photo was taken by Irene Soto, and the rest by Kyera Giannini, all courtesy the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World via Flickr. When writing up this post, Kathryn A. Bard's Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (2005) was of use.


Dinotopia is a fictional utopia created by author and illustrator James Gurney. It is the setting for the book series with which it shares its name. Dinotopia is an isolated island inhabited by shipwrecked humans and sentient dinosaurus who have learned to coexist peacefully as a single symbiotic society. The first book has “appeared in 18 languages in more than 30 countries and sold two million copies.”Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time and Dinotopia: The World Beneath both won Hugo awards for best original artwork.


The Temple of Debod.

This ancient Egyptian temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, was built during the Greco-Roman period, and originally located 15 km south of Aswan. It has since been moved to Madrid in Spain.

The construction of the Aswan Dam threatened to submerge the Nubian monuments in southern Egypt. In order to save these important aspects of Egypt’s cultural heritage, UNESCO in 1960 launched their project for the re-location of these monuments. The project was successful, and as a token of appreciation for the help received from Spain, the Egyptian government donated to the country this temple.

Photos courtesy of & taken by Pablo de Medina.


The Egyptian Osireion, Abydos, 19th Dynasty, ca. 1280 B.C.E.

This huge cenotaph is behind the temple of Seti I, and was built to represent both the Primeval Mound and the tomb of Osiris (god of the afterlife, underworld, and the dead).

The ‘Primeval Mound’, according to Egyptian mythology, was the first land to rise above the primeval ocean at the dawn of time. It remained the center of the cosmos, and a place of everlasting creation. Osiris was strongly associated with the Primeval Mound by the New Kingdom. Some Underworld Books show the souls of Osiris and Ra meeting in bird form at the top of the Mound in order to bring new life to the dead. The resurrected Osiris was shown enthroned on top of the Mound at the center of the underworld.

The Osireion, the largest cenotaph built, is on an artificial island surrounded by a moat (mythologically, the primeral waters) where water was channeled through a subterranean pipeline. On this moat stand two rows of large granite pillars, each weighing 55 tons. Two square depressions on the island (mythologically the first land in the primeral waters) mark the site of a canopic chest and the sarcophagus. Although now open, the Osireion was originally sealed off, likely under an earthen mound. Outside the great enclosure walls to the north lies the real entrance to the cenotaph. This image may help in understanding the layout of the Osireion.

Photos courtesy & taken by Olaf Tausch. When writing up this post, G. Pinch's Handbook of Egyptian Mythology and M. Seidel & R. Schulz’s Egypt: Art and Architecture were of great use.