Statuette of Imhotep seated, Egyptian, c 600-501 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Imhotep (2686-2613 BC) was the first known physician and chief adviser to King Zoser (3rd dynasty). He was also the architect of the first pyramid in Egypt, the famous Step Pyramid at Saqqara near Cairo, Egypt. In time he came to be regarded as a sage, and during the Saite period (500 BC) he was worshipped as the life-giving son of Ptah, god of Memphis.