Monday, September 19, 2005

Who built the pyramids?

As usual with items from the Egyptian Gazette, I have copied the entire piece because it won't be online for more than a couple of days at most. This item is by Zahi Hawass:
"Many people from all over the world believe that the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built by men from the mythical land of Atlantis. Others have different theories, involving aliens from outer space, for example. None of these have any scientific basis. Therefore, when we sent a robot inside one of the airshafts in the Great Pyramid, I wanted everyone to know that we were not hiding anything. I have been excavating at Giza with my friend Mark Lehner for the last 20 years, and we have found no evidence at all to prove any of these theories. On the other hand, we have discovered the tombs of nobles, officials, and priests who served the Egyptian kings of the Old Kingdom. And we have discovered the tombs and houses of the men and women who built the pyramids for these kings. These tombs and houses prove that the pyramids were built by Egyptians, not people from a lost civilisation. In the tombs, we have found the names and titles of many pyramid builders. The names are Egyptian, and they have titles such as "overseer of the side of the pyramid," and "overseer of the workmen who drag the stones". Nearby are workmen's barracks, bakeries, a cafeteria, and a huge administrative building. Up to 55 workmen slept in each barracks, and 11 cows and 33 goats, enough to feed 10,000 workmen, were slaughtered each day. There was a core of permanent craftsmen and supervisors at Giza. But the pyramids were built with the support of households from all over Egypt. Families would send their young people to help with the construction, and in return may have been exempted from paying taxes. We believe that the temporary workmen were changed every three months. The workmen rose with the dawn and slept with the sunset. They worked in ten-day weeks, with one day off, plus holidays. They worked hard, and their bones show the evidence of physical stress. But they were also cared for, with emergency medical attention available. One man even lived for fourteen years after his leg was amputated.The Pyramids were built by Egyptians. These men and women must have been proud to be part of their national project, building eternal monuments to their god-kings".

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