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A flat‐topped, bench‐like Egyptian tomb structure under which rulers, high‐ranking officials, and priests were buried, mainly of the early Dynastic and Old Kingdom. The term comes from the Arabic word for ‘bench’. Early examples tend to be low rectangular buildings with a flat roof and vertical or slightly inclined walls that enclosed a shaft leading to an underground burial chamber. Later versions were reinforced with stone and were more elaborate. They often contained a chapel and a statue of the deceased, and had several rooms. The pyramids were a direct development from the mastaba.

Subjects: Archaeology — Art.

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