GEP > Egypt > Articles > The Giza Plateau and Pyramids > Glossary
Amon: a deity considered the creator of all other gods, and to have no beginning and no end.
Anomaly: an irregularity or deviation not easily classified. (The "anomalies" in measurments detected by radar and other "remote sensing" techniques in and around the Sphinx have provoked speculation that there are soft or hollow areas, which could be natural geological occurrences, tunnels or underground rooms. None of these anomalies have been excavated, so very few hard facts are as yet known about them.).
Architrave: horizontal beam resting directly on top of a column
Artifact: something created by humans in the past and remaining from a particular period
Bedrock: The solid rock underlying the soil on the earth's surface
Heiroglyphic Cartouche: an oblong figure containing the "name" of a particular pharaoh
Causeway: A raised roadway across ground or water. In Egypt, long "causeways" were built connecting the pyramids with a temple. Herodotus describes the causeway of the pyramid of Khafre as having a roof which covered it's entire length and was decorated with stars on it's inside.
Cubit:an ancient unit of length based on the length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (usually about 45.7 cm).
Diorite: a very hard granular, crystalline rock, usually composed of acid plagioclace and hornblende, pyroxene or biotite
Equinox: The times (twice a year) when the sun crosses the celestial equator, and day and night are the same length.
Granite: A coarse, hard rock composed mainly of quartz and mica and other minerals. It often appears speckled and can be green, gray, whitish, or pink. Pink granite in Egypt is known only to come from Aswan, 500 miles from Giza, up the Nile River.
Lintel: a horizontal architectural piece spanning
and usually carrying the load above an opening such
as a doorway or window.
Limestone: a soft rock formed millions of years ago from sediments deposited on the bottom of a sea. It is composed mainly of calcium carbonate from the bodies of sea creatures. The sphinx is carved in a knoll of limestone bedrock
Mastaba: an oblong masonry structure sloping sides and a flat top, usually above a deep shaft, from the modern Arabic word for "bench".
Necher (Nechru): also written as Neter (Neteru), the pantheon of Egyptian Gods
Papyrus: the pith of the papyrus plant cut into strips and pressed into material to write on; a written scroll made of papyrus
Pharaoh: A "divine ruler" of ancient Egypt
Pyramidion: the top stone or capstone of a pyramid
Sarcophagus: a box, with lid. Some are large and of stone, some rectangular, some are rounded, and some are used as coffins for burials
Serapeum: an underground catacomb near Memphis where the sacred bulls of Apis were believed to have been buried
Serdab: a hidden chamber in a tomb
Solstice: The times, twice a year (summer and winter), when the sun is farthest from the equator, and therefore reaches a most northern or southern position. At the summer solstice, the day is the longest of the year, at the winter solstice, the day is the shortest of the year.
Stele: an upright stone slab usually inscribed or sculpted.
Temple: A place for worship; the dwelling place of a god or gods.
Triad: a union group of three; trinity