However, recent archaeological excavations and modern science have proven that long-held belief wrong. The pyramids, the largest structure in the world until the 20th century, were not built by slaves. The three pyramids of Giza, built in the third millennium BC, represent the best of ancient Egypt’s pyramid-building skills.
The identification of who built them has been called “one of the most important archaeological finds of the last 100 years”. During an excavation around the pyramids of Giza, an excavator hit a large block, which was the wall of a building. Archaeologists went to great lengths to explore and found large structures – a village, dating back to 2,000 years BC. The village spans more than half a square mile.
It was determined that these were the houses where the pyramid builders lived and worked. Large intact bakeries are also found in the village. They are filled with hundreds of large clay pots in which bread is baked, weighing up to 25 kilograms. Large clay pots were the first indications of the production of bread needed to feed a large labor force.
The chief archaeologist of the Giza Plateau, Dr Zahi Hawass, explained how the second clue appeared when a woman was riding and the horse’s leg fell into a crack that revealed a brick wall and mud. These are the walls of the tombs of the pyramid builders and their custodians. 600 of them have been discovered divided into two levels. The lower level tombs are very simple and contain only the bones, pots and tools of the workers.
The “upper” tombs were more elaborately built and that was where the custodians and architects were buried. The graves are completely intact as thieves don’t care about them, as they are believed to contain no treasures. The walls of some tombs have been inscribed with inscriptions. The inscriptions explain the pyramid building process as well as the cooking, planning and directing that were carried out as part of the whole operation.
The bones in the graves were then transferred to Cairo Medical University, where more groundbreaking discoveries were made. Of all the skeletons, 50% are male, 50% female and 23.6% belong to children (even as young as one year old). That said, the whole family of construction workers lived around the pyramids. DNA analysis confirmed that theory. The discovery of family life broke with the theory that slaves were the pyramid builders, and subsequent discovery has once again debunked that fact.
After further analysis of the bone fragments, the scientists discovered how some fractures and subsequently healed. The researchers compared the healed bones of workers with similarly healed bones of nobles and found that the victims received the same medical care. Healing broken bones in ancient Egypt required a lot of skill and time not reserved for slaves. But the pyramid workers received that special treatment.
When a person has a broken bone, he or she will be laid down and examined for the wound. The doctor then pulls the broken arm or leg and his assistant holds the healthy limb. That would reduce fractures and the wound would then be treated with an unknown mineral, honey, and wrapped in linen. Honey is used daily until the wound heals. Doctors in ancient Egypt were so skilled that they even successfully performed amputations.
But advanced medical treatment is not the only thing the pyramid builders enjoy. Their diet is also on the high side. Since the predominant Egyptian diet was bread, the discovery of fish and cattle bones suggests that workers consumed large quantities of meat. This also reflects a well-fed, well-fed workforce.
Although the pyramid builders were treated well, their lives were not easy. They lived 10 years shorter than those of the aristocracy, and their bones were bent showing signs of high stress.
However, it is not that people employ 100,000 people and it took 30 years to build the pyramids. Especially when 100,000 people equals 10% of the population of ancient Egypt. In fact, ancient Egypt used only 20,000 people and took 20 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, consisting of 2.3 million stone blocks with each block weighing up to 10 tons. Out of those 20,000 workers, 15,000 of them worked 12 hours a day for three months and then returned to their villages. New workers will replace them. The remaining 5,000 people are main workers and permanent technicians.
By conducting a large experiment, American construction expert Craig Smith, the builder of airports and subways, confirmed those numbers. And so, the theory of using slaves and in numbers to build the pyramid has been proven to be completely wrong.