Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 October 2005
The principal factors influencing the location of the Old Kingdom pyramids in Egypt are reconsidered. The decisive factors influencing their distribution over an area of c. eighty kilometres were essentially of economic, geomorphologic, socio-political and unavoidably also of religious nature. Primary importance is to be attributed to the existence of the Old Kingdom capital of Egypt, Memphis, which was a central place with regard to the Old Kingdom pyramid fields. Its economic potential and primacy in the largely redistribution-driven state economy sustained construction of the vast majority of the pyramid complexes in its vicinity. The location of the remaining number of the Old Kingdom pyramids, including many of the largest ever built, is explained using primarily archaeological evidence. It is claimed that the major factors influencing their location lie in the sphere of general trends governing ancient Egyptian society of the period.