When it comes to the Giza Pyramids, our first thoughts tend to relate to the sheer size of these massive structures, further complemented by their preciseness in alignments. But this time around, archaeologists have come across the more ‘humane’ side of affairs linked to the scope of these monumental specimens. To that end, researchers from the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) were able to identify two 4,500-year old houses near the Giza Pyramids – corresponding to the time when the Pyramid of Menkaure (the smallest of the three pyramids) was under construction.
According to the archaeologists, their hypothesis pertains to how both of these structures, located in the ancient port at Giza, were built for officials who looked after the supplies needed in the area. For example, one of the residences housed an official who was responsible for supervising the slaughtering and rationing of animals as food. The other dwelling possibly had its chief resident in the form of a high-ranking priest who came from the ‘wadaat’ institution – usually associated with the royal ancient Egyptian government.
The remains of seals found near the (possible) house of the priest allude to how they wielded authority under the royal patronage. Interestingly enough, a segment of this residence was found to be attached to a structure used for malting. Essentially, the priest (or his fellow colleague) also had the responsibility of overseeing the brewing and baking activities in the area. Pertaining to these discoveries, the houses were built near a series of quarters known as the galleries. These galleries housed a government-sanctioned paramilitary force at Giza, possibly comprising over 1,000 men.
In other words, the officials were probably posted at Giza to look after the logistical requirements of these troops and by extension that of the workers involved in the construction of the Pyramid of Menkaure. Suffice it to say, their jobs were anything but easy. According to an estimate made by Claire Malleson, an archaeobotanist with Ancient Egypt Research Associates, over 870 kgs (1,900 lbs) of emmer wheat was needed on a daily basis to sustain the force stationed at the galleries. We also know from ancient logbooks that around 4 liters of beer (in its gruel-like form) were assigned daily to individual laborers working on the Great Pyramid (that preceded the Pyramid of Menkaure by less than a century).
Judging by these numbers, we can comprehend that beyond just the physical scale of the Giza Pyramids, the structures also carry forth the legacy of the superb organizational skills of the ancient Egyptians. The latter scope was probably also aided by the commercial importance of Giza as a massive river port. To that end, archaeologists have also discovered other ancient residential complexes in and around Giza, including a 21-room building made for the scribes.
Source: LiveScience / Image Credit: Copyright of Ancient Egypt Research Associates