mastaba măs´təbə [key], in Egyptian architecture, a sepulchral structure built aboveground. The mastabas of the early dynastic period (3200–2680 BC), such as those of the I dynasty at Sakkara, were elaborate, having many storage or offering compartments, and were quite evidently close copies of contemporary houses. Better known are the mastabas of the Old Kingdom (2680–2181 BC), which were an elaboration of the predynastic burial-pit and mound form. The typical mastaba was generally rectangular in plan with a flat roof and inward-sloping walls, built of brick and faced with limestone slabs.
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