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What did the Egyptians do to keep robbers from finding the pharaohs’ tombs?

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What did the Egyptians believe would happen if the treasures were stolen from the tomb?

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Why was the outside of the pyramid made of smooth limestone?


Robbing Tombs

In 1922, an ancient tomb was discovered by a man named Howard Carter, an archeologist from England. It was the tomb of a young pharaoh called Tutankhamun or King Tut. King Tut’s tomb was filled from floor to ceiling with treasures. One was the solid gold coffin of the pharaoh Tutankhamun himself.


Howard Carter had made a great discovery. Other tombs of the pharaohs had been found by archeologists, but they had all been empty when the archeologists opened them. The tombs had been robbed in ancient times, and the robbers had taken the treasures.


The pharaohs didn’t want their tombs to be robbed. The things in the tomb were all meant to go with the pharaoh into the afterlife. If they were stolen, the pharaoh’s mummy would not be able to use them. It would be like going on a trip and losing all of your luggage.


Let’s see how the ancient Egyptians tried to stop the robbers.

Tricks to Stop Robbers

The ancient Egyptians used many tricks to keep the robbers from finding and stealing treasures from the tombs. Let’s look at a pyramid that is called the Great Pyramid to learn more about these tricks.


One way to protect the mummy and the treasures was to hide the entrance to the pyramid.


First, the pharaoh’s mummy was put inside a room inside the pyramid. Archeologists call this kind of room a burial chamber. The treasure was also put in chambers inside the pyramid.

Then the outside of the pyramid was covered with smooth pieces of limestone. To finish the job, the entrance to the pyramid was also covered with limestone so that the robbers would not know how to get in.


The pyramid builders had other ways to make it hard for robbers to find the chambers, too. They didn’t make just one tunnel that led straight to the chambers. Instead, they made a maze of tunnels so that the robbers would get lost inside the pyramid. Some of the long tunnels were dead ends that didn’t lead to anything.


Sometimes, the builders made a secret hole in the roof of a tunnel. These secret holes would lead to the burial chamber. The builders hoped that the robbers would never find the hole, and so they would never reach the burial chamber. The hole in the roof of the tunnel was hidden by a giant, flat rock.

Most of these tricks didn’t work. Even with all the dead-end tunnels and secret doors, the robbers still found their way to the burial chambers to steal the mummies and treasures.

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