Pyramid Quiz


The pyramids on the banks of the Nile River aren't only an architectural marvel, they're also where kings and queens are honored and entombed. Test your knowledge of these ancient landmarks.

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Question 1 of 20

The Mayans and Aztecs primarily built pyramids as:

religious temples
tombs to kings and leaders

... Unlike Egypt, where pyramids were generally tombs and monuments to kings and queens, the Mayans and Aztecs of Central America built their pyramids primarily as religious temples.


Question 2 of 20

How much does the Great Pyramid of Khufu weigh?

about 2 million tons
about 4.5 million tons
about 6.5 million tons

... Weighing about 6.5 million tons, the Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest and most elaborate pyramid in the world. It is 146 meters high and is composed of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite.


Question 3 of 20

One of the primary differences between pyramids in Central America and Egypt is:

Central American pyramids were smaller and took longer to build than Egyptian pyramids.
Central American pyramids eroded more quickly than Egyptian pyramids .
Central American pyramids were built by fewer people; Egyptian pyramids were built by thousands.

... The pyramids built by the Mayans and Aztecs were smaller than the ones constructed in Egypt, but they also took longer to build and were modified over hundreds of years. Egyptian pyramids generally took a few decades to build and were away from the civilization's major cities, in contrast to Central American pyramids, which were integrated into Mayan and Aztec cities.


Question 4 of 20

In Mesopotamia, stepped pyramids were called:


... Mesopotamian stepped pyramids were known as ziggurats. They were also common in Central America, but were eschewed by the Egyptians for a different building technique when the pyramids of Giza were constructed.


Question 5 of 20

When was Egypt's Red Pyramid completed?

4500 B.C.
2560 B.C.
1480 B.C.

... Completed in 2560 B.C., the Red Pyramid was built as a response to the Bent Pyramid, which had disappointed the pharaoh when it was completed. The Red Pyramid was the same height as the Bent Pyramid, but had a better foundation and shallower angle.


Question 6 of 20

The sarcophagus in an Egyptian pyramid was:

the tomb that held the king or queen's body
a special passageway connecting all of the chambers to one another
air shafts designed to provide ventilation and a "path to the heavens" for the burial chambers

... A pyramid's sarcophagus was the tomb itself, located inside the primary burial chamber. It held the body of the king, queen or other leader the pyramid was honoring. In the case of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, it was surrounded by hieroglyphics.


Question 7 of 20

The exterior of an Egyptian pyramid was lined with:

sandstone rocks
white limestone rocks
baked mud bricks

... Egyptian pyramids were lined with limestone rock on the exterior, giving them a smooth face. They did, however, erode over time, but there is still some limestone on some pyramids.


Question 8 of 20

Which of the following best describes a vizier's role in building a pyramid?

He was the leader of the skilled workers who built the pyramid.
He was responsible for transporting the building materials to the pyramid site.
He was the master builder of the pyramid and oversaw the planning and building of the structure.

... The vizier was the pharaoh's master builder, the man who oversaw the plans, models and construction of the pyramid. Viziers were responsible for choosing building sites and figuring out the best architectural techniques for building a good pyramid.


Question 9 of 20

The ancient Egyptians used cubits as measurements for building pyramids. A cubit was:

the width of a person's hand with the thumb extended
the length of a person's knee down to the foot
the length from the tip of a person's middle finger to his elbow

... The length from the tip of a person's middle finger to his elbow was known as a "cubit," a measurement the Egyptians used when building pyramids. When building a pyramid's foundation, Egyptians dug post holes at intervals of 10 cubits.


Question 10 of 20

According to experts today, how many stones were placed on a pyramid each day during construction?

about 300
about 500
about 1,500

... Egyptologists still aren't exactly sure how each massive, 2.5-ton stone block was transported or lifted to build the pyramid, but they estimate that 300 stones were placed on a pyramid each day during construction.


Question 11 of 20

How did the Egyptians line up the three large pyramids at Giza?

according to how flat the geography was -- hauling those stones was hard enough work without going uphill
on precise compass directions, even though they had no magnetic compasses at the time
according to the stars and solar system

... The sides of each of Giza's three great pyramids -- Menkaure, Khafre and Khufu -- were lined up in precisely north-south or east-west directions. The builders accomplished this feat without the use of magnetic compasses.


Question 12 of 20

Which of the following pyramids must you view at a distance instead of up close?

Black Pyramid of Amenemhet III

... Visitors can only photograph the Black Pyramid of Amenemhet III from a distance -- maybe nearby Dahshur or Bent pyramids -- because the Black Pyramid is in a restricted military zone. It gets its black reference from its dark color.


Question 13 of 20

Through use of CT scanning and other advanced methods of investigating mummies, what have Egyptologists discovered about ruling Queen Hatshepsut?

Hatshepsut had osteoporosis and probably diabetes.
She was not murdered by her stepson King Tut.
The queen had poor dental health.
all of the above

... Dr. Zahi Hawass and a team of investigators researched several female mummies to identify Hatshepsut, Egypt's most powerful ancient female ruler. She was obese, had osteoporosis and arthritis, along with poor dental health. In fact, it was a tooth encased in a wooden box that led Hawass to her identity. The team was able to determine she lived to be 45 to 60 years old and did not die a violent death.


Question 14 of 20

How did Egypt's sun god Re pass through the heavens?

on a camel
in a gold and jeweled chariot
in a solar boat

... The solar boat makes sense as a mode of transportation for an important Egyptian god, because the Nile River was such a crucial part of ancient Egyptian civilization. Many of the most well-known Egyptian pyramids stand tall near the Nile, including the Giza complex, the Fayoum region and the Dahshur and Saqqara complexes.


Question 15 of 20

What role did a robot recently play at one of Giza's great pyramids?

The armed robot fought off tomb raiders.
The talking robot provided guided tours to visitors in several languages.
The exploration robot took photos inside a secret chamber.

... The robot explorer, named Djedi for the magician Pharaoh Khufu used when planning the pyramid's layout, captured pictures of a secret chamber with a "micro snake" camera. No person can fit inside the tiny channels and openings into the chamber.


Question 16 of 20

How did the Mayans align the pyramids at Teotihuacan?

with the stars and solar system
in north-south and east-west directions
to align with nearby cities

... The Mayans aligned the pyramids precisely with survey points in the surrounding mountains to match the stars and solar system.


Question 17 of 20

Who built the Egyptian pyramids?

Jewish slaves

... There is no evidence that aliens built the pyramids and archaeologists say enough men could move the giant blocks without machines, but with proper techniques. There also is no evidence that Jews were in Egypt at this time -- and the idea that slaves built the pyramids is a myth. Peasant workers received room and board for their labor, working in rotations of a few months at a time, alongside permanent masons and skilled craftsmen.


Question 18 of 20

What are China's huge pyramids near Xian made of?

sand and rubble

... There are at least 25 huge, flat-topped pyramids near Xian (China's ancient capital), discovered by the West during World War II when American pilot James Gaussman flew over them. The pyramids are said to be made of sand and rubble; many now are covered in vegetation.


Question 19 of 20

What did workers do with stone fragments left over from building Giza pyramid temples?

ground them down into mud bricks and made paths between the temples
incorporated pieces into walls of tombs for pyramid workers who died on the job
left the fragments in a giant rubble pile that has been mostly pilfered, and pieces sold in roadside stands

... In 1990, an American tourist was thrown from her horse when the horse tripped on the remains of a mud-brick wall. That's when archaeologists discovered tombs for workers who had died on site. Higher workers had grander digs for the afterlife and some even had their job titles carved into the stones, but most workers' tombs in the lower cemetery were simple.


Question 20 of 20

Some scientists have said that the Egyptians may have been the first to use this building material:


... A theory first proposed by a French professor in the 1980s, and later tested at Drexel University and MIT, says that the Egyptians in effect invented concrete, using limestone particles as a base. This would push the invention of concrete back about 2,000 years -- stealing the innovation from the Romans. Most Egyptologists and archaeologists disagree with the concrete theory.


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