The ancient lighthouse on the island of Pharos and the Great Pyramid at Giza gave Egypt two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. These large masonry structures dating back to 2600 BCE are engineering marvels. Commonly constructed as tombs for Pharaohs, the number of workers involved in building the pyramids could have reached 100,000. Our knowledge of this period is greatly indebted to James Breasted (1865-1935). He was the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Egyptology and the first to teach the subject in the US. He transcribed, translated, and published every ancient Egyptian historical inscription ever discovered. In 1923, Breasted was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and inspired George Ellery Hale of the Academy's building committee to incorporate numerous ancient Egyptian details into the design of the Academy building, which opened in 1924. The archeological discoveries of the nineteenth century revealed physical evidence of the scope, depth, and sophistication of Mesopotamian and Egyptian societies. The languages were translated for the first time, providing a glimpse into the mental and spiritual life of these exotic societies The early decades of the twentieth century, as the Academy building was being designed, were full of enthusiasm and wonder about the mysteries of the East.