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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/30/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Provided housing for laborers and priests while the pyramids were built

A basin that may have been part of a thriving harbor and a "silo building complex" has been discovered at the Giza pyramids by archaeologists. A basin uncovered there may have been part of a thriving harbor and a "silo building complex," suggesting royal cult priests occupied the complex. 

Numerous bones from the forelimbs of cattle, offerings in ancient Egypt, suggesting royal cult priests resided at the complex.

Numerous bones from the forelimbs of cattle, offerings in ancient Egypt, suggesting royal cult priests resided at the complex.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/30/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers say that the remains of the bustling port and barracks for sailors or military troops were used while the pyramids were being built about 4,500 years ago.

Numerous bones from the forelimbs of cattle, offerings in ancient Egypt, suggesting royal cult priests resided at the complex.

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The archaeologists have been excavating a city near the Giza Pyramids that dates mainly to the reign of the pharaoh Menkaure, who built the last pyramid at Giza.

Several discoveries at the city and Khentkawes town suggest Giza was a thriving port.

This basin may be "an extension of a harbor or waterfront," archaeologist Mark Lehner, the director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates says. Lehner's team discovered a basin beside the Khentkawes town less than a mile from the nearest Nile River channel.

Lehner, at a recent symposium held by the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities says that his team also found the charcoal remains of cedar, juniper, pine and oak, all trees that grew in a part of the eastern Mediterranean called the Levant. More than 50 examples of combed ware jars, a style of pottery from that region were also uncovered. Large amounts of granite from Aswan, located on ancient Egypt's southern border, have long been known to be at Giza, and these could have been brought down the Nile River to Giza's port.

"Giza was the central port then for three generations, Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure," Lehner noted in his presentation, referring to the three pharaohs who built pyramids at Giza.

As the instance with any city with a port, there are sailors. At the city the archaeologists found evidence that a series of long buildings called "galleries" held troops who could have participated in voyages to the Levant and possibly guarded VIPs while at Giza. These galleries were about 23 feet high and each set was at least 113 feet long, north to south.

Lehner's team found charcoal remains from wood, particularly cedar, which was originally from the Levant.

"What was all this cedar from the Levant doing in a common workers barracks?" Lehner asked.

"You have representations of these gangs, these troops, repeated over and over again," he said, adding that the word for them can be translated as "escort" or "the following." Each individual gallery could hold about 40 people comfortably, which is a unit these troops could be organized into, Lehner said.

"I wonder if we are basically seeing barracks not of the workers, but of elite crews of ships," Lehner said.

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