Egyptian Pyramids Attract Tourists, Grave Robbers
by Gisselle Barrera, age 13
Ancient Egyptians are well-known for their massive pyramids. What many do not know, though, is why the rise of the New Kingdom in 1550 BCE marked the end of the infamous pyramid-raising period.
Extensive funeral rites called ancient Egyptians to bury the bodies of the rich and powerful with material goods like food, clothing, jewelry, chariots, gilded furniture, and weapons. They hoped that doing this would provide the deceased with anything they might need in the afterlife. Tomb sites were highly visible because pyramids were resurrected around them. However, these pyramids also drew the attention of grave robbers.
Around 1550 BCE, Egyptians implemented a strategic plan to deter these robbers. They began to bury their dead in underground tombs, which they no longer marked with pyramids. Furthermore, they protected the underground tombs with a secret police force that used traps to detain unwelcome intruders.
Though intruders still managed to find and rob some of the underground tombs, many were preserved. In “The Valley of the Kings,” an area near the modern town of Luxor, archeologists have found and studied 62 tombs that were constructed during the New Kingdom. The most famous and incredible of these tombs belonged to Tutankhamun, who is also known as King Tut. Uncovered in 1922, the inner-most chambers of King Tut’s tomb have remained untouched for over 3,260 years.
[Source: Encyclopedia of the Ancient World]