Saturday, March 05, 2011

Maybe the Egyptian Pyramids Weren’t Built by Union Workers

First Things (Joe Carter / Mark Shiffman)

Exerpt below, but see the above link for the full story posted by Joe Carter:

Back in January 2010, I posted a link to an article on MSNBC which claimed that a new archaeological findings revealed the work was performed by skilled laborers who had the perks of a labor union.

Mark Shiffman, an assistant professor of Humanities at Villanova University wrote in yesterday to dispute the claim. With his permission I’ve reposted his reply below:

Ancient sources unanimously claim that the pyramids and Egypt’s grand construction projects were carried out by slave labor. The Greek historian Herodotus (Histories 2.124) was told by Egyptian officials that 100,000 Egyptians (probably a number exaggerated to impress him) were forced by Cheops or Khufu to build his great pyramid in Giza. The Book of Exodus shows the Hebrews as slaves making bricks (though does not mention pyramids), and the ancient Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities, 2.9) makes the explicit claim that they did work as pyramid builders. These were all written over 1000 years after the fact.

In the 1990’s, archaeologists began to excavate the cemeteries around this pyramid. They found hundreds of tombs, many of high political and religious officials, but also many of construction overseers and artisans. They also began examining the remains of the fields and estimating from animal bones how much meat the workers ate.

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