The Great Pyramid of Giza is among the most famous structures in the world.
The ancient Egyptians were masters of primitive architecture, having built some of the most recognizable structures in the world. Among them are the Pyramids at Giza, four-sided triangular tombs used to house the remains and fortunes of the pharaohs and other leaders in their culture. The Pyramids have stood for thousands of years and were built using materials readily available in the area.
Limestone is a common sedimentary rock composed of calcite, various other minerals and sand. The Egyptians used limestone for two purposes during pyramid construction. The inner core of the pyramids was often built using lower-grade limestone rocks, according to the Cochise College Geology website. The limestone formed a succession of smaller blocks as the structure got higher. Finer limestone pieces were used on the outside of the pyramid. Given the age of the pyramids, limestone was an ideal choice for the preservation of these architectural wonders.
Granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock made up of feldspar, biotite mica and quartz. The amount and type of feldspar in granite can determine its color. In Egypt, the granite used for pyramids was a pink variety now known simply as pink granite.
Pink granite was used on the interior of the pyramids. This material was used sparingly and generally made up the walls of the tomb.
Basalt is a fine-grained igneous rock that is typically dark gray or black. The rock is made up of plagioclase and pyroxene, according to the Geology.com website. This type of rock is generally formed in areas like lava flows.
Pyramid floors were often made of basalt. The smooth black surfaces made for attractive flooring. Temples were another common place in ancient Egypt where floors were covered in basalt.
Alabaster is an extremely fine-grained variety of gypsum. This decorative rock is often white or translucent and was used heavily during the time of the pharaohs. After a decline in the use of alabaster in Egypt, it became popular again when Mohamed Ali Basha used it to build the Alabaster Mosque in Cairo in the 1800s, according to the Tour Egypt website. Today, many pieces of art available in Egypt are made from this stone.
In pyramid construction, alabaster was used to adorn the walls of the pyramids and for the construction of carved work inside the tombs.