Foundation can be defined as “the basis on which a thing is founded or is supported.” I believe that the pyramids, tombs, and temples covered in this unit are connected by a common foundation of materials, building methods, and underlying meanings for each design.
Pyramids in Egypt and Mexico housed some of the first societies that used the repetition of stacking as a building method to increase size, as well as a method of displaying the hierarchy of the structure. Teotihuacan, “City of the Gods”, in Mexico contains two main temples called the Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of the Sun.The sun and moon were symbols for life and death and with the placement of the two different pyramids the culture further understood the importance of their own journeys toward death. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest in the world and the location of the pyramid allows many important astrological events, in terms of agriculture and belief systems of the society, to be seen. Therefore the height, orientation and details of the man-made building were significant to the role of the society it is built in and the higher powers they believe in. Another thought to the height of pyramids is that with more power displayed in size, the higher need to protect the civilization and with the advantage of height the people can see enemies coming from farther away.
Tombs were common structures in Egypt that housed the remains of important leaders of a community. The larger and more impressive the burial site, symbolized the more influential that leader was on its culture. Stone was the most common material used due to its availability and durability but the higher the stones were stacked and the addition of limestone, gems, and other precious items increased the importance of the deceased buried within. For example, the Great Pyramid of Giza is monumental in size and houses the remains for the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. He reigned for twenty-three years and was followed in reign by his sons.
The prototypes for temples began in Egypt along the lines of Gods of the living and dead, built into the sides of mountains and build up from the sand. Temples quickly developed a common foundation of materials, structure, and purpose. Stone continued to be the material used, columns became a familiar element, and a place of scared gatherings. Greece and Rome grew to be the place that I think of when I hear talk of temples. They both began expanding the ideas of columns as a progressional element and enhancing the experience their societies had within the temples of Gods and Goddesses.
All of these structures are connected by the original goals of wanting to literally reach the divine powers they worshiped, give importance to each structure built, and out due any other cultures foundation.