The Pyramids of Giza - The Workforce That Built Them

The Pyramids of Giza: A Symbol of Egyptian Power and Wealth

The pyramids of Giza are some of the most recognizable and important structures in the history of the ancient world. They were built for the burial of three pharaohs – Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure – and stand as symbols of Egyptian power and wealth.

The Great Pyramid: An Architectural Marvel

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of the three, standing 451.4 feet (138 meters) high. It is made of 2.5 million blocks of limestone. It has an ascending passage, a grand gallery, and a subterranean chamber.

A Symbol of Egyptian Culture and Religion

In antiquity, the pyramids of Giza were a powerful symbol of Egyptian culture and religion. They were a way to immortalize pharaohs who had died and to bury their bodies with precious grave goods in the sarcophagi deposited within the burial chambers.

Ancient Egypt's Belief in the Afterlife

Aside from being massive and intricate, pyramids were also a symbol of ancient Egypt's belief in the concept of an afterlife. As a result, many of the items buried with pharaohs in their tombs were considered to be of value and importance in their afterlife.

The Workforce Behind the Pyramids

To build the pyramids, a huge workforce was required. The workers were fed a meat-rich diet that provided all the nutrients necessary for long days of heavy labor, and they lived near the pyramid sites in small villages.

Heit el-Ghurab: The Village of the Pyramid Builders

One such village was Heit el-Ghurab, where Merrer's crew lived and worked. The town was located near the port of Giza where the barges loaded with the stone for the pyramids were docked, according to a study by the American Exploration and Research Agency (AERA).

An Abundance of Meat for the Pyramid Builders

Using animal bone remains from the site and data about their daily nutrition requirements, Redding found that enough cattle, sheep, and goats were slaughtered every day to provide 4,000 pounds of meat a day for the workers. This would have been a substantial meal for a person working long days in harsh conditions, Redding told Live Science in 2013.

The Construction of the Great Pyramid

The papyrus that was discovered by AERA archaeologists at the site suggests that a foreman named Ankhaf and his crew were responsible for the construction of the Great Pyramid. However, scholars have not been able to determine who was in charge of the entire project.

The Steps of Pyramid Construction

Researchers are examining the details of the building process in order to better understand how and why pyramids were built. They have identified some of the most critical steps, including identifying a suitable site for constructing a pyramid and deciding on the size of the structure to be built.

The Choices of Building Materials

Another step was the selection of a building material that would be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the stones being hauled from the quarry to the pyramids' upper levels. The choice of stone was based on the astronomical measurements that were taken to align the sides with the four cardinal points, said Mark Lehner, the head of AERA, and an expert in pyramid construction.

Variety of Stones Used

A large number of amorphous and smooth-sided stones were used to construct the pyramids' lower courses, whereas smooth-sided and angular stones were hauled up to the top to form the burial chambers. The amorphous and smooth-sided stones are more resistant to breaking than the solid granite or stone that was used for the outer casing of the pyramids.

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