- The Egyptians were at first buried in simple pit tombs in the desert sand with such grave goods as pottery and slate palettes. This remained the normal state of burial for the bulk of the population throughout Egypt’s history, although the type of grave goods varied. However, the king and wealthier members of society demanded more elaborate burials, so the mastaba tomb was developed during the late Predynastic Period. This burial place initially consisted of a rectangular mudbrick superstructure over the tomb shaft in which were a number of chambers for storage of grave goods and for use as a chapel. Beginning in Dynasty 3, the king began to use a pyramid burial built in stone, and his courtiers later followed his example using stone or stone-lined mastabas that enabled the production of carved reliefs of religious scenes and more particularly scenes of daily life. Some earlier private tombs, like those at Meidum, were decorated with painted wall reliefs, but these have rarely survived. While the use of freestanding tombs continued throughout history in such locations as Saqqara in Upper Egypt, it was more common for the elite to be buried in rock-cut tombs in the cliffs that lined the NileValley. The scenes in the tombs could be painted on a mud plaster base or more elaborately carved into the rock. The bulk of these tombs survive from the New Kingdom at Thebes, but earlier examples are known throughout the country in the Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan and elsewhere. The royal family adopted this method to hide their tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens during Dynasty 18, Dynasty 19, and Dynasty 20. During later periods of Egyptian history, when the country was not so properous, many tombs were reused, and the royal family and priests were buried in tombs built within temple precincts for greater protection, like those at Tanis. During the Graeco-Roman Period, large communal cemeteries with mausolea containing individual family vaults were built at Alexandria and are only just being investigated.See also Afterlife; KV1; KV2; KV3; KV4; KV5; KV6; KV7; KV8; KV9; KV10; KV11; KV12; KV13; KV14; KV15; KV16; KV17; KV18; KV19; KV20; KV21; KV22; KV23; KV24; KV25; KV26; KV27; KV28; KV29; KV30; KV31; KV32; KV33; etc KV.Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier
Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. EdwART. 2011.