By Dr Joyce Tyldesley
Last updated 2011-02-17
Djoser's pyramid has a stepped appearance. It is an extension of the mound found in mastaba tombs and is usually interpreted as a symbolic mound of creation, but can also be read as a stairway to heaven.
Djoser's architect, Imhotep, built in stages. The tomb started life as an unusual square, solid mastaba, but a series of extensions saw it develop into a six-stepped pyramid with a rectangular ground-plan.
Below ground, a warren of tunnels, galleries and rooms surrounded Djoser's burial chamber. Around the pyramid, his mortuary complex included courts and buildings, each with its own particular function, and its own particular magic.