Over the past two decades, archaeologists have made great progress in researching the pyramids. They have uncovered edifices buried for centuries under the desert sand and new technology has enabled them to conduct extensive investigations of the pharaohs' tombs. These discoveries have enabled us to answer some of the fundamental questions that have been asked about the pyramids for centuries: how did a people who lived nearly 5000 years ago, who knew neither iron or bronze and lacked mastery of elementary rules of calculation, manage to construct enormous stone structures with a precision seldom matched even by modern architecture? What culture, politics, and religion stood behind this extraordinary achievement? This text presents a contemporary account of the knowledge we have about the pyramids. It recounts the history of ancient Egyptian culture before and during the period of the pyramids, as well as the exciting history of modern research, which began when Napoleon's troops conquered Egypt 200 years ago.