Thursday, February 6, 2014

NEW DISCOVERY, CAIRO: Ancient Egyptian ruins of a once bustling barracks next to the Pyramids

What was once believed to be a camp for the Pyramid builders in Giza may have actually been barracks for the Pharoah’s military troops.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of barracks close to an ancient port suggesting the settlement could have been home to soldiers or sailors. The findings call into question previous theories that thousands of workers would have set up camp in the region while building the pyramid of Giza.

Last year, they discovered a large collection of animal bones, evidence of an ancient slaughter house for animals and a cemetery, thought to have been full of the bodies of pyramid workers.

The site is popularly known as the Lost City of Pyramid Builders, or Heit el-Ghurab and is believed to date back to the reign of pharaoh Menkaure at around 2550BC.
Menkaure was the son of Khafra and the grandson of Khufu and commissioned the final pyramid in Giza to be built, known as the Pyramid of Menkaure or Netjer-er-Menkaur, which means ‘Menkaure is divine.’

However, more recent findings near this site, close to a monument dedicated to what is said to be Menkaure’s daughter Queen Khentkawes, suggest the area may have been a port.

Excavators discovered a large basin that may have formed part of a harbour or waterfront. This was bolstered by the fact the basin was found approximately half a mile away from channel of the River Nile.

AERA director Mark Lehenr and his team also found charcoal remains of trees that came from the Levant, a region in the eastern Mediterranean, along with pottery and jars for the same location.

AERA's director Michael Lerner told LiveScience he believes the builders slept on the ramps they are believed to have used to construct the vast landmarks. 
For centuries it's been thought that the ancient Egyptians built their huge pyramids by hauling heavy granite blocks up these specially crafted ramps.

Yet Newport engineer Peter James has branded this ‘impossible’, claiming the ramps would need to have been a quarter of a mile long or else they would have been too steep to carry the large blocks up. He believes, instead, that the Egyptians built an inner core of zigzagging ramps, using smaller, lighter blocks while the larger outer casing stones were placed on the outside using scaffolding. If this is true, this would cast doubt on Lehner's claims about where the workers slept - once again raising the question about where they stayed.  

Materials used to build the pyramids in the region could have been transported along the Nile to this port, and may have been distributed via the settlement harbor. Elsewhere, on the site of the Lost City, the archaeologists found evidence of long building called galleries that could have been used to house visitors to the port. It is thought that sailors may have travelled to and from the Levant, or troops used to guard the pharaoh and his family and friends.

In 2012, researchers found the hip of a hippo. A ritual in ancient Egypt among troops involved hunting and harpooning hippos, and the discovery of the hip adds weight to these claims troops occupied the area at some time. The total size of the site is said to cover almost ten football pitches. AERA believes the development of the urban complex would have been 'quite rapid', and happened in the 35 to 50 years that spanned the reigns of Khafre and Menkaure. 
Source: Daily Mail
Copyrights for pictures by AREA

More about Director/Egyptologist Mark Lehner:

Exclusive video interview to Heritage Key

Copyrights by Heritage Key Media

More pictures for the Great Pyramids of Giza & the Sphinx: 

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