Starting with the Pyramids
For example, some of these problems were encountered in the construction of
the earliest pyramid at Saqqara in Egypt, which was the first stone building
of any size to be found in the world. It was commissioned by King Zoser of the
third dynasty and while the king was the "sponsor" of this project,
the "project manager" was one of his ministers, Imhotep.
We are told that "Although no trustworthy details of the lives of Zoser
and Imhotep have come down, we can be sure that they were able men who worked
long and effectively together. Probably Imhotep was a universal genius like Archimedes
and Leonardo da Vinci. Such was his repute as a physician, architect, writer,
statesman, and all-round sage that in later times collections of wise sayings
circulated under his name."
Thus was born the reputation of the project manager. This particular project
was not without its own problems, however. The account goes on "[previously]
... Egyptian kings and nobles were buried in a tomb called a mastaba ... [but]
... Zoser and Imhotep ... built a stone mastaba of unusual size and shape.
It was square instead of oblong like its predecessors, and was over 200 feet
on a side and 26 feet high.
"Not yet satisfied, Zoser and Imhotep enlarged this mastaba twice by adding
stone to the sides. Before. the second of these enlargements was completed, the
king changed his mind again. He decided not only to enlarge the structure still
further, but also to make it into a stepped pyramid, resembling four square mastabas
of decreasing size piled one atop the other. Then Zoser changed his mind once
more. The tomb ended as a stepped pyramid of six stages, 200 feet high on abase
358 by 411 feet ..."
de Camp, L., The Ancient Engineers, Ballantine Books, New York, February 1974,