A New Look at the Pyramids

A new set of tombs have been found near the great pyramids of Egypt, belonging to the workers who built the pyramids 4,000 years ago. The discovery points away from the idea that the monuments were built by slaves. Instead, Egyptologists now believe they were paid professionals, according to Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
"These tombs were built beside the king's pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves," said Hawass in the statement. "If they were slaves, they would not have been able to build their tombs beside their king's."

Evidence from the site, Hawass said, indicates that the approximately 10,000 laborers working on the pyramids ate 21 cattle and 23 sheep sent to them daily from farms in northern and southern Egypt.

Link -via Geeks Are Sexy

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The idea that the pyramids were not built by slaves is not at all new to Egyptology... pretty sure I heard about this 10 years ago. Folks got food, beer, and housing to work on massive projects like this for 3-month periods. As far as labor goes it probably wasn't any harder than farming anyway.

That was how most levels of priesthood worked too; basically a sweet temporary government job.
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"21 cattle and 23 sheep fed 10,000 people? Are you F(*&*(& kidding me? Maybe that would be true if they also ate 2 thousand chickens along with that."

Meat was only a small part of their diet which was principally grain-based (i.e. bread & beer).
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I thought this was settled a long time ago when they found evidence of where the workers lived in large encampments, complete with all their garbage. I thought the consensus was that the pyramids were built by farmers as a way of paying taxes; you work on the pyramid for a couple of years, then you go back to your farm.
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