No pyramid is an island.
Well, actually, symbolically it was: representing the mound of creation that, on the very first day, rose from the primordial ocean.
However the reason for the Egyptian slant on John Donne's famous line is that pyramids didn't work in isolation, standing in solitary grandeur somewhere off in the desert. Rather, they were part of a great complex that has sometimes been dubbed a 'resurrection machine'.
Apart from the pyramid itself, the complex also included a smaller cult pyramid for the king's ka (life force) statue, cemeteries for family and favoured members of court, and two temples with a grand causeway that linked them.
At the base of the pyramid was the memorial temple, the focus for the continued worship of the king after his death and for the offerings which were to keep him well-fed in the afterlife. A long causeway ran down from the memorial temple, down to the level of the Nile flood-plain, where a Valley Temple served as an entrance to the pyramid complex.
The causeway would have felt like a tunnel: the walls were lit by a slit between the roofing slabs which ran the whole of its length. The walls were carved and painted with elaborate reliefs, progressing from the living world in the east to the land of the dead in the west.
The causeway for King Khafre at Giza (ca. 2550 B.C.) runs over 490 metres, past the Great Sphinx enclosure, down to his Valley Temple. It was along this causeway that the body of the king would have been carried to be placed in his tomb, hopefully for eternity. However the pyramids proved to be irresistible targets for thieves, and the roof and walls of the causeway itself were pulled down and carted off in early Islamic times for mosque and palace-building projects in nearby Cairo.
This 1950 photo was taken by Hugo Wilmar, standing on the roof of the Valley Temple, looking up towards the giant pyramid of Khafre.