Massive Catering Operation to Feed Pyramid Builders Uncovered

Massive Catering Operation to Feed Pyramid Builders Uncovered

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Archaeologists in Giza have discovered the remains of what is believed to be a massive catering operation for some 10,000 workers building the pyramid for pharaoh Menkaure, the third and last pyramid in Giza.

Located south of the Sphinx in the remains of a village called ‘the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders’, the team of archaeologists discovered an area large enough to hold about 55 cattle with feeding pens, possible slaughter areas on the edge of the town and huge piles of animal bones - approximately 25,000 sheep and goats, 8,000 cattle and 1,000 pig bones have been uncovered.

Based on an analysis of the bones and other discoveries in the workers’ village, researchers estimate that more than 4,000lbs of cattle, sheep and goat meat were slaughtered every day (approximately 11 cattle and 37 sheep or goats) to feed the pyramid builders. In order to provide this quantity, researchers suggest that the ancient Egyptians would have needed a herd of 21,900 cattle and 54,750 sheep and goats to maintain regular delivery to the workers.

In addition to the meat, workers would also have been supplied with fish, grain, beer and other products. From analyses carried out on skeletons of workers found in a nearby cemetery, demonstrating healed bones, it appears that the workers were well looked after with medical care and a good supply of food.

    Who Built the Pyramids?

    Egyptologists and historians have long debated the question of who built the Pyramids, and how. Standing at the base of the Pyramids at Giza it is hard to believe that any of these enormous monuments could have been built in one pharaoh's lifetime. Yet scholars think they were built over mere decades for three pharaohs who were father, son, and grandson (Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure).

    Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass agree wholeheartedly: Egyptians built the Pyramids. But who were they exactly? © Ugurhan Betin/iStockphoto

    Egyptologists Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass have been trying to solve the puzzle of where the 20,000 or 30,000 laborers who are thought to have built the Pyramids lived. Ultimately, they hope to learn more about the workforce, their daily lives, and perhaps where they came from. In the meantime, Lehner has been excavating the bakeries that presumably fed this army of workers, while Hawass has been unearthing the cemetery for this grand labor force.

    Tombs of the pyramid builders discovered in Giza, Egypt

    An archaeological team led by Dr. Zahi Hawass has discovered several new tombs that belong to the workers who built the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre. “This is the first time to uncover tombs like the ones that were found during the 1990s, which belong to the late 4th and 5th Dynasties (2649-2374 BC),” said Dr. Hawass.

    When we think of Giza we tend to think of the Giza Pyramids. However, while the pyramids were under construction, there was an extensive city to the south that supported the workers. It included houses, bakeries, magazines and a hypostyle hall.

    This system of support for the workers also included burials for those who died at Giza. “These tombs were built beside the king’s pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves. If they were slaves, they would not have been able to build their tombs beside their king’s,” said Dr. Hawass.

    The idea of the Giza Pyramids being built by slaves is a myth – it has never had any basis in archaeological fact.

    One of tombs uncovered belongs to a man named Idu. The release says that it is a rectangular structure with a mud brick outside casing that is covered with plaster. It has several burial shafts, each cased with white limestone – there are niches in front of each shaft.

    Adel Okasha, the supervisor of the excavation, explains that the upper part of the tomb had a “vaulted shape”, which symbolizes “the eternal hill from which the human creation began, according to the Memphis religious tradition.” This is seen as strong evidence that the tomb dates to the early 4th dynasty. This shape is also similar to those of tombs located beside Snefru’s pyramid in Dahshur.

    More tombs, containing coffins, were found to the west of Idu’s resting place. Another tomb has been found to the south that is built of mud brick and has several burial shafts – each of which contains a skeleton and pottery sherds.

    One of the most intruiging announcements from the research team was the discovery of evidence that revealed that the families in the Delta and Upper Egypt sent 21 buffalo and 23 sheep to the plateau every day to feed the workers.

    It is obviously no surprise that people would send food on a regular basis. It's also no surprise that the food would be rich in protein - since that's something that you need if you’re going to be doing heavy manual labour.

    The diet of the workers would be important for a project like this. After all, you can’t build the pyramids with a severely malnourished workforce.

    But what do we know exactly about what they ate? Have there been written records found that provide such precise detail? Do we also have detailed info on the rations for grain and vegetables? If so can we tell if this diet ever changed?

    Hawass pointed out that the families who sent these were not paying their taxes to the Egyptian government, but rather they were sharing in one of Egypt’s national projects.

    The Secret History of Hunky Male Beefcakes

    Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux, courtesy of BigKugels Photographic.

    This post contains nudity.

    In the same way that porn magazines are often hidden under pillows or locked away on the top shelves of closets, the history of “beefcake” photography has been highly secretive. The photographers and models who created the hunky, hypermasculine work beginning in the 1940s right up to the pre-disco age did it on the sly, often dodging strict obscenity laws that landed some of them in prison, forced them to endure harassment and attacks, and kept almost all of them hiding deep in the closet.

    For Petra Mason, the editor of 100% Rare All Natural Beefcake, published by Rizzoli, trying to track down the images and, more significantly, the holders of the copyrights, turned out to be a bit like falling down a rabbit hole.

    “It was an amazing journey in terms of many months of research to try to find the right people,” Mason said. “A lot of this was a secret history, tucked away in shoeboxes or under beds. The photographers were all fascinating characters of varying shapes and sizes who were brave enough to risk for their art by breaking the law. The models were doing it for a couple of bucks and they were either spotted at the gym or pulled from the streets so there isn’t much documentation about them.”

    In the end, roughly 50 photographers were included in the book, some of whom are well-known, including Bob Mizer, and a number of photographers who worked under pseudonyms tied to their locations: Bruce of Los Angeles, Douglas of Detroit, and Lon of New York.

    Left: Lon of New York. Right: Bruce of Los Angeles.

    Walter Kundzicz’s Champion Studios, New York, 1963-64

    While doing research, Mason encountered some serious collectors who owned a significant amount of work and also had tracked down many of the models’ and photographers’ names.

    “Beefcake collectors take collecting beefcake more seriously than cheesecake collectors,” Mason said. “Men in general take collecting more seriously it seems, a bizarre but true fact. I was seriously surprised to get to chat to one of the original photographers who is still going strong, Chuck Renslow whose KRIS Studio shots I think are really hot. Chuck’s a legend and his collection is now in the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago which I would never have heard otherwise, an amazing source of material for a very secret history.”

    The book divides the images into various categories including “Duals in the Sun,” “Figure Studies,” “Neptune’s Boys,” and the somewhat cringe-worthy “Cowboys and Indians.” While a lot of beefcake is often associated with having a gay sensibility, as a heterosexual woman, Mason said she felt the work has a universal appeal.

    “I think one of the many things we’re constantly reminded by the media and elsewhere is what we don’t have in common, we actually do. There is a shared appreciation to the overall hotness of the material that is hard to resist for anyone.”

    Lady Bunny, a legend in the drag world who wrote the foreword to the book, agrees about the universal appeal.

    Walter Kundzicz’s Champion Studios, New York, 1963

    “I am from the South, so it was not uncommon to meet married women who had never had an orgasm,” Bunny wrote via email. “Women weren’t supposed to enjoy sex too much, so I always rejoiced when I met women who thought about sex the way gay men did, i.e., they wanted lots of it and were concerned with penis size. I think one of the reasons Sex and the City was so popular is that it was one of the first portrayals of women objectifying men for a change. Perhaps Petra was ahead of her time and had been objectifying men for ages! Or, perhaps she’s just a slut who has found a way to mix business with pleasure and call smut art! It works for me!”

    Mason added that while there is certainly a humorous aspect to the images, especially seen from a modern-day perspective, there is also a profoundly sad aspect tied to the history of the photographs.

    “Our intention is to strike a balance, to give meaningful historical information among all of the gorgeous eye candy.”

    Who Built the Pyramids?

    Not slaves. Archaeologist Mark Lehner, digging deeper, discovers a city of privileged workers.

    Lehner’s front photogrammetric elevation of the Great Sphinx. Below: As seen in a north elevation, weathered limestone and bedrock form the Sphinx’s head and upper body. Photogrammetric elevations by Mark Lehner

    Lehner’s front photogrammetric elevation of the Great Sphinx. Below: As seen in a north elevation, weathered limestone and bedrock form the Sphinx’s head and upper body. Photogrammetric elevations by Mark Lehner

    On the lower portions, restoration masonry predominates. Photogrammetric elevations by Mark Lehner

    On the lower portions, restoration masonry predominates. Photogrammetric elevations by Mark Lehner

    Lehner's conjectural 1985 drawing of the Giza plateau as it might have appeared near the end of Khufu's reign (the two later pyramids and the Sphinx, at center, are ghosted). Though later digs changed his views about certain specifics, this vision of Egyptian organization across the landscape remains remarkably accurate. Map by Mark Lehner

    Lehner's conjectural 1985 drawing of the Giza plateau as it might have appeared near the end of Khufu's reign (the two later pyramids and the Sphinx, at center, are ghosted). Though later digs changed his views about certain specifics, this vision of Egyptian organization across the landscape remains remarkably accurate. Map by Mark Lehner

    The pyramids and the Great Sphinx rise inexplicably from the desert at Giza, relics of a vanished culture. They dwarf the approaching sprawl of modern Cairo, a city of 16 million. The largest pyramid, built for the Pharaoh Khufu around 2530 B.C. and intended to last an eternity, was until early in the twentieth century the biggest building on the planet. To raise it, laborers moved into position six and a half million tons of stone—some in blocks as large as nine tons—with nothing but wood and rope. During the last 4,500 years, the pyramids have drawn every kind of admiration and interest, ranging in ancient times from religious worship to grave robbery, and, in the modern era, from New-Age claims for healing "pyramid power" to pseudoscientific searches by "fantastic archaeologists" seeking hidden chambers or signs of alien visitations to Earth. As feats of engineering or testaments to the decades-long labor of tens of thousands, they have awed even the most sober observers.

    The question of who labored to build them, and why, has long been part of their fascination. Rooted firmly in the popular imagination is the idea that the pyramids were built by slaves serving a merciless pharaoh. This notion of a vast slave class in Egypt originated in Judeo-Christian tradition and has been popularized by Hollywood productions like Cecil B. De Mille's The Ten Commandments, in which a captive people labor in the scorching sun beneath the whips of pharaoh's overseers. But graffiti from inside the Giza monuments themselves have long suggested something very different.

    Until recently, however, the fabulous art and gold treasures of pharaohs like Tutankhamen have overshadowed the efforts of scientific archaeologists to understand how human forces—perhaps all levels of Egyptian society—were mobilized to enable the construction of the pyramids. Now, drawing on diverse strands of evidence, from geological history to analysis of living arrangements, bread-making technology, and animal remains, Egyptologist Mark Lehner, an associate of Harvard's Semitic Museum, is beginning to fashion an answer. He has found the city of the pyramid builders. They were not slaves.

    "I first went to Egypt as a year-abroad student in 1973," he says, ". and ended up staying for 13 years." His way was paid by a foundation that believed a hall of records would be found beneath the paws of the Sphinx. Young Lehner, a minister's son from North Dakota, hoped to discover if that was true. But the more time he spent actually studying the Sphinx, the more he became convinced that the quest was misguided, and he exchanged its fantasies for a life grounded in archaeological study of the Giza plateau and its monuments.

    Lehner works fast to document features briefly exposed by modern construction projects. Photographs by John Broughton

    Actually, he became, in the words of one employer, an "archaeological bum" who soon found work all over Egypt with German, French, Egyptian, British, and American expeditions. "At the end of these digs, there were lots of maps and drawings left to be done," he adds—steady work once the short dig season was over. Lehner discovered he had a knack for drafting, and got his first lessons in mapping and technical drawing from a German expert. "I fell in love with it," he confesses.

    His first big break came in 1977, when the Stanford Research Institute conducted a remote sensing project at the Sphinx and the pyramids— a search for cavities using non-invasive technologies. The Sphinx is carved directly from the sedimentary rock at Giza, and sits below the surface of the surrounding plateau. Lehner was put in charge of a group of men cleaning out the U-shaped, cut-rock ditch that surrounds the monument, so that the sensing equipment could be brought in. In order to plot the locations of any anomalies, the largest existing surface maps of the Sphinx—about the length of an index finger—were enlarged and found to be extremely inaccurate.

    By then a seasoned mapper, Lehner asked the director of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE, a consortium of institutions including museums and universities such as Harvard) if they would sponsor his effort to map the Sphinx. But Lehner, despite his experience in the field, didn't have a Ph.D. Running his own "dig" appeared to be out of the question until ARCE assistant director James Allen, an Egyptologist from the University of Chicago, essentially adopted Lehner professionally, took him under the wing of his own Ph.D., and designed a mapping project. The German Archaeological Institute loaned photogrammetric equipment, the sort used by highway departments for taking highly accurate stereoscopic photographs from the air, and Lehner soon produced the first scale drawings of the Sphinx, which are now on display at the Semitic Museum.

    During the mapping, Lehner's close scrutiny of the Sphinx's worn and patched surface led him to wonder what archaeological secrets it might divulge. "There are layers of restoration masonry going back all the way to pharaonic times," he says, indicating that even then, "the Sphinx was severely weathered." What Lehner saw, in essence, was an archaeological site, in plain view, that had never been described.

    A workman pulls an intact breadpot, or bedja, from an ancient compartment built into a wall. Bedja came in three standard sizes this is an example of the largest. Photographs by Mark Lehner

    To better understand the differential weathering in the natural layers of rock from which the Sphinx is cut, Lehner initially consulted a geologist with expertise in stone conservation. Then his interest in the geological forces that created the Giza plateau brought him into contact with a young geologist, Thomas Aigner, of the University of Tübingen, who was studying the local cycles of sedimentation. The layers in the lower slope of the plateau, where the Sphinx lies, tend to alternate between soft and hard rock. The softer layers of rock were deposited during geological eras when the area was a backwater lagoon protected by a coastal reef they are highly vulnerable to erosion. Aigner pointed out to Lehner that the "hard-soft" sequence of layers in this part of the plateau would have made it easy for ancient stonecutters to extract blocks of stone for building. His analysis revealed that the stones used to build the temples in front of the Sphinx had been quarried from the ditch that surrounds it on three sides. Many of these huge blocks, some of them weighing in at hundreds of tons, are so big that they have two or three different geological layers running through them, and they are loaded with forminifera. Detailed logs of the fossils—gastropods, bivalves, sponges, and corals—in each block and layer allowed Lehner and Aigner to actually trace the stones back to the quarry. "We began to unbuild these temples in our minds," Lehner explains, "and realized that the same could be done for the pyramids themselves and for the whole Giza plateau."

    A bedja from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres is part of Harvard’s Peabody Museum collections and is now on display at Harvard’s Semitic Museum. Photographs by Mark Lehner

    Lehner had often imagined what Khufu's architect must have envisioned when he looked down from the Maadi formation knoll high above the southeast slope of the plateau and planned the very first pyramid: quarries, a port for bringing in exotic materials like granite and gypsum mortar, a place for the workers to live, provisions for their food, a delivery route from the port to the construction sites. The ancient Egyptians, having already quarried materials for other pyramids for generations, "probably were good geologists in their own right," says Lehner. They knew how to line up all three of the massive examples at Giza precisely on the strike of the plateau's slope (if you can walk around a hill without going either up or down the slope, you are on the strike). In consequence, all the pyramids—which align on their southeast corners—begin at nearly the same elevation. Most modern scholars think they were built with ramps: the crumbling stone chips from the Mokattam formation quarries were close by and may well have provided the secondary material for the ramps. "This was one of the many insights given us by the geologists," Lehner says. Yet almost nothing of the infrastructure needed to build a pyramid, with the exception of the quarries, had ever been located. Lehner went back to the ARCE. Why not map the whole plateau, he asked, to see what the land itself could tell about how ancient Egyptian society organized itself around the task of large-scale pyramid building?

    Studying the geology of an archaeological site is standard practice today, but it had barely been done for Giza, Lehner says, because "Egyptology grew up in the study of inscriptions." When Jean-François Champollion deciphered hieroglyphics in 1822, "suddenly huge temple façades and tombs everywhere started 'talking' to explorers." Then came the overwhelming abundance of "fabulous art objects—fabulous in their own right," he says, "but less useful out of context than they would have been if properly documented. Egyptology grew up largely as a philological and art historical discipline. Archaeology as a standard practice was late to come to Egypt."

    Archaeologist Fiona Baker provides a sense of scale at a royal storehouse—filled with circular grain bins—still in the process of being excavated. Photograph by Mark Lehner

    Over several seasons, Lehner surveyed the plateau to an accuracy of within a millimeter, and began to see with greater certainty how the pyramid builders had arranged themselves across the landscape. An ancient wadi—a desert streambed that flows with water only during the occasional downpour—would have made a perfect harbor, he surmised. The locations of the stone quarries, down the slope from the pyramids themselves, were known, and he thought he knew where a city of pyramid builders might fit into this pattern.

    What began to interest Lehner more than the question of how the Egyptians built the pyramids was, he says, "how the pyramids built Egypt." Construction of the immense Giza monuments, thought to have been built for three successive pharaohs in a kind of experimental gigantism, must have required a lot of "free-wheeling" on the existing social apparatus. Influenced by Cambridge University's Barry Kemp, who wrote Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization, Lehner came to believe that the colossal marshaling of resources required to build the three pyramids at Giza—which dwarf all other pyramids before or since—must have shaped the civilization itself.

    By now, Lehner was in his early thirties and realized that continuing his career hinged on getting a Ph.D. From 1986 to 1990, he suspended fieldwork to study at Yale under William Kelly Simpson. In his final year, with an offer of funding for what, he says, "had been jelling in my mind" for some time, he designed his "dream project": to find and excavate the settlement of workers who had built the pyramids. His studies had given him an idea of what he should be looking for—a city of about 20,000 people, on a scale with the earliest major urban centers of Mesopotamia, such as Ur and Uruk. In other words, he was looking for one of the most important cities of the third millennium B.C.

    Lehner let the geology of the plateau guide his search. Guessing at the location of the harbor, he surmised where the delivery route to the pyramids must have run. Logically, the settlement for workers should be to the south-southeast, he thought, and in fact, at precisely that location, at the mouth of the wadi that divides the plateau, a towering stone wall, called in Arabic "the wall of the crow," loomed above the sand. In Lehner's home state of North Dakota, he says, the ancient masonry would have drawn attention and eventually been designated a national monument. But in Egypt, with its hieroglyphics, "gold bowls, and mummies," the wall was virtually ignored.

    But not completely. Harvard professor of Egyptology George Reisner, an early promoter of stratigraphic digging in Egypt, had noted the massive stone blocks in this wall almost in passing in the early twentieth century he even stated that there was probably a "pyramid city" beyond it. But Lehner thinks that even the methodical Reisner, who unearthed much of the extraordinary Egyptian collection at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, was burdened by the magnitude of material coming out of the excavations he had undertaken. The manner of the discovery of the tomb of Queen Hetepheres is a perfect illustration. Reisner was actually in the United States when his photographer, setting up the legs of his tripod, inadvertently punched through the desert sand into a buried shaft leading to a hidden chamber filled with grave goods. The contents of the chamber had been disassembled in antiquity, and Reisner painstakingly reconstructed them: a golden chair, a golden bed with a headrest—furniture from the boudoir of the queen.

    Figures from the Fifth Dynasty tomb (found at Saqqara) of an official named Ty illustrate scenes in a bakery. First the dough is mixed in vats. Then the lids are stacked over an open hearth. The dough is placed in the pots, covered with the lids, and baked in hot coals. After cooling, the bread is removed. Lehner and his team used the scenes to create a working, modern reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian bakery complex. Drawings Courtesy of the Koch-Ludwig Expedition and the Harvard Semitic Museum

    Lehner found himself facing a different kind of obstacle altogether. Now that he had his Ph.D., his nascent career as a scholar began to limit his time for fieldwork. He had accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, just when a massive modern sewage project for Greater Cairo had begun to expose the very area where Lehner planned to search for his ancient city.

    For several seasons, Lehner worked as most professor/archaeologists do, digging for two or three months and teaching the rest of the year. The rapid pace of encroaching development kept him and his crew "working like firemen," he says, but led to some important discoveries, including the oldest bakery ever found in Egypt—right in the area where the workers' city should be. A backhoe narrowly missed one of two large mixing vats along the bakery's back wall. Inside, Lehner and his team found a cache of bread pots, easily recognizable from tomb scenes that document the bread-making process. Analysis of the plant remains at the site by paleobotanist Wilma Wetterstrom, an associate in botany in the Harvard University Herbaria, showed that Egyptian bakers used barley and emmer wheat for their bread. (Emmer has very little of the gluten that makes modern bread "spongy and gives it a nice crust," says Lehner, so it is grown today only in experimental agricultural stations.)

    For the most part, the bakeries duplicate, many times over, the same process by which bread was made in any Egyptian household of the time. Egyptologists might be mistaken, says Lehner, to think of pyramid building as analogous to a 1930s WPA project. "You don't just cross this threshold around 3000 B.C." and have state projects with economies of scale, he argues. That would take another 1,500 years to develop. Instead, he says, the bakeries—and by extension, probably these "first skyscrapers"—"were built by replicating a household mode of production." But some evidence found at the bakery site did suggest that a cultural evolution might have begun: the pots, or bedja, would have made a conical loaf more than a foot long. Lehner says the Egyptians appear to have been reaching, even at this early phase in the process of state formation, for some economies of scale.

    An adjacent chamber turned out to be a hypostyle, or pillared hall, the oldest ever discovered in Egypt, filled with low benches. Speculation about how it was used suggested a dining hall, but its likely purpose remained a mystery for several years.

    Lehner, in the meantime, gave up his professorship at Chicago to dedicate himself to the excavation of the pyramid city. In October 1999, with funding from philanthropists Ann Lurie, Peter Norton, David Koch, and others, he launched a "millennium project" to uncover the pyramid city through a consolidated effort of excavating eight months a year for each of the subsequent three years. Lehner believes the city was intentionally razed and erosion then swept away the rubble before the sand blew in. Today, all across the site, the ruins stand only ankle to waist high.

    Lehner brought in trucks and front-end loaders to remove the overburden of sand that had preserved the site. "We now have an exposure of about five hectares, and have mapped the city over the whole area," he says. His international team of 30 archaeologists has excavated 10 percent—or 5,000 square meters—intensively, a huge undertaking when using modern stratigraphic standards. With more than 100 workers in total, they have amassed the largest collection of material culture from any dig anywhere in Egypt.

    Looking northwest across the site of Lehner’s “Millennium Project,” outlines of the eastern town’s walls are visible in the foreground. This settlement appears to have grown organically over time, and Lehner speculates that it housed permanent workers. Beyond the tents lie the galleries believed to have housed a rotating labor force of several thousand. In the distance are the “wall of the crow,” still partly buried by sand (left), and beyond, the causeways leading to the pyramids of Khufu (right) and Khafre. Photograph by Mark Lehner

    They have found not one town, but two, side by side. The first is laid out in an organic fashion, as though it grew slowly over time. Lehner speculates that this was the settlement for permanent workers. The other town, laid out in blocks of long galleries separated by streets, on a formal, grid-like system, is bounded to the northwest by the great wall that both Lehner, and Reisner before him, had noted. This "wall of the crow" turned out to be massive indeed, 30 feet high, with a gateway soaring to 21 feet, one of the largest in the ancient world. The main street leading through the complex is hard-packed limestone, paved with mud, with a gravel-lined drain running down the center—engineered, says Lehner, "almost like a modern street." His team has partially excavated a royal building filled with hundreds of seals dating from the time of Khufu's son, Khafre, and his grandson, Menkaure. And they have found a royal storehouse with circular grain bins just like those depicted in De Mille's The Ten Commandments.

    But there was something missing. There were not enough houses for all the people. Generations of scholars have painstakingly calculated how many laborers would have been needed to quarry, transport, and position the stones of the great pyramids. Estimates have ranged widely—from the 100,000 cited by Herodotus to just the few thousand posited by recent assessments that allow for decades of construction time. Yet Lehner and his team were not finding enough houses to accommodate even the low-end estimates. "Where are all the people?" he wondered. His graduate studies had taught him how other scholars of Middle Eastern settlement patterns had analyzed sites in order to come up with estimates of population size. Lehner was approaching the problem from the opposite perspective. He had a sense of how many people were needed to build a pyramid, and so could infer the size of the city he would find. But there were too few dwellings. The city seemed a ghost town.

    Everywhere, Lehner and his team turned up institutional-looking buildings. One was used for working copper—the hardest metal known to the ancient Egyptians, and critical for quarrying and dressing stones. On the floor of another, the excavators found what at first looked like ears of wheat, suggesting another bakery. But these turned out to be fish gills. The site was littered with them, and with fish fins and cranial parts it turned out to be a place for processing or consuming fish. For a city with few residents, someone seemed to be eating a lot of loaves and fishes.

    Because there were just 40 galleries in four large blocks in the entire area, Lehner was sufficiently disturbed that he called in his friend Barry Kemp, the world's foremost authority on ancient Egyptian urbanism, to have a look. "Looks alien," teased Kemp, when Lehner asked him what he made of the large, sprawling galleries. In fact, Kemp believed and Lehner agreed that each gallery included the elements of a typical Egyptian house—a pillared, more public area, a domicile, and a rear cooking area—stretched out and replicated on a massive scale.

    The surprises were just beginning. Faunal analyst Richard Redding, of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, identified tremendous quantities of cattle, sheep, and goat bone, "enough to feed several thousand people, even if they ate meat every day," Lehner adds. Redding, who has worked at archaeological sites all over the Middle East, "was astounded by the amount of cattle bone he was finding," says Lehner. He could identify much of it as "young, under two years of age, and it tended to be male." Here was evidence of many people—presumably not slaves or common laborers, but skilled workers—feasting on prime beef, the best meat available.

    Redding and Wilma Wetterstrom had worked at another site in Egypt where cattle appeared to have been raised on a kind of estate. Wetterstrom had found tremendous quantities of clover plant remains that had been eaten by cattle, yet Redding "had found very little cattle bone," Lehner notes. "We know from historical sources that the Egyptians were trying to colonize their hinterland during this very period," and Redding had hypothesized that cattle were raised at the estate and shipped to somewhere near the capital or near the pyramids at Giza. At Giza, the amount of cattle bone that Redding found suggested that the city site uncovered by Lehner and his team was "downtown Egypt," and that farms and ranches along the frontier could have been feeding the pyramid builders at the society's core.

    Redding's faunal evidence dealt a serious blow to the Hollywood version of pyramid building, with Charlton Heston as Moses intoning, "Pharaoh, let my people go!" There were slaves in Egypt, says Lehner, but the discovery that pyramid workers were fed like royalty buttresses other evidence that they were not slaves at all, at least in the modern sense of the word. Harvard's George Reisner found workers' graffiti early in the twentieth century that revealed that the pyramid builders were organized into labor units with names like "Friends of Khufu" or "Drunkards of Menkaure." Within these units were five divisions (their roles still unknown)—the same groupings, according to papyrus scrolls of a later period, that served in the pyramid temples. We do know, Lehner says, that service in these temples was rendered by a special class of people on a rotating basis determined by those five divisions. Many Egyptologists therefore subscribe to the hypothesis that the pyramids were also built by a rotating labor force in a modular, team-based kind of organization.

    Lehner and Dr. Zahi Hawass (left) have worked together since 1974. Below: Ashraf Abd al-Aziz, sitting where an overseer might have lived, excavated this gallery, where workers and team members demonstrate that more than 50 people could have slept on this once-pillared porch. Photograph by Ronald Dunlap

    If not slaves, then who were these workers? Lehner's friend Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who has been excavating a "workers' cemetery" just above Lehner's city on the plateau, sees forensic evidence in the remains of those buried there that pyramid building was hazardous business. Why would anyone choose to perform such hard labor? The answer, says Lehner, lies in understanding obligatory labor in the premodern world. "People were not atomized, separate, individuals with the political and economic freedom that we take for granted. Obligatory labor ranges from slavery all the way to, say, the Amish, where you have elders and a strong sense of community obligations, and a barn raising is a religious event and a feasting event. If you are a young man in a traditional setting like that, you may not have a choice." Plug that into the pyramid context, says Lehner, "and you have to say, 'This is a hell of a barn!'"

    Lehner currently thinks Egyptian society was organized somewhat like a feudal system, in which almost everyone owed service to a lord. The Egyptians called this "bak." Everybody owed bak of some kind to people above them in the social hierarchy. "But it doesn't really work as a word for slavery," he says. "Even the highest officials owed bak."

    Ashraf Abd al-Aziz, sitting where an overseer might have lived, excavated this gallery, where workers and team members demonstrate that more than 50 people could have slept on this once-pillared porch. Photograph by Mark Lehner

    Slaves or not, as the last season of his dig began, Lehner still did not know where all the workers slept. With his household model in mind, he had been looking for large "manor houses" where lords could board their laborers for the pharoah. Instead, he had found whole blocks, 170 meters long, of "precocious, sleek, modern-looking nondomestic galleries, albeit with elements of a typical Egyptian home." Gradually, his team has developed a hypothesis for how these facilities were used. "We now see the enigmatic rows of long galleries. " wrote Lehner at the end of the 2002 season, "as barracks housing for a rotating labor force, perhaps as large as 1,600 to 2,000 workers." This is why there are scores of bakeries flanking the galleries, as well as an abundance of bone.

    If the next few years of documentation, publication, and peer review bear him out, Lehner's findings will suggest that the ancient Egyptians were even more advanced in their social organization at this period than previously supposed. Perhaps the Old Kingdom's pharaohs did indeed preside over something more like a nation than a fiefdom. What was arguably humanity's first great civilization may have been even greater, at an earlier date, than we have ever supposed.

    The latest article by author Jonathan Shaw '89, explains how new plant technologies could simultaneously feed the planet at peak population and save the environment in a new Green Revolution.


    When Dallas’ newest City Council members were sworn in Monday, Mayor Eric Johnson gave a speech about getting back to the basics of city governance: things like building permits, trash pickup, public safety, economic development. On Wednesday, City Council member Cara Mendelsohn recalled that commitment as the new council was briefed on a plan to improve Dallas’ old and busted sidewalk system. Fundamentally, the city has an obligation to make sure people can move about safely. A sidewalk is about as basic as it gets.

    As most people who have done any serious walking in Dallas can attest, the city doesn’t always get the basics right. We’ve written before about the city’s estimate that Dallas is missing roughly 2,000 miles of sidewalk. If you’re lucky enough to have a sidewalk, odds are good it’s uncomfortably narrow, or pitted and cracked, or for some reason studded with straight-down-the-center decorative light poles that force you to run an obstacle course every time you go for a stroll. Now imagine getting around on that kind of sidewalk if you’re in a wheelchair, or pushing a stroller.

    Robert Perez, director of the city’s public works department, told council members that it would take a little under $2 billion to totally fix this: $1 billion to fill in the 2,000 miles of missing sidewalk, and about $976 million to fund 40 years of maintenance on the sidewalk we already have. This year, the city put about $10 million toward sidewalks. Perez says his department will ask for about $8 million a year for sidewalks to come from the city budget, with plans to get another $12 million a year from a bond package that should come up a few years down the road.

    That’s $20 million a year for sidewalks. Meaning it would take about 100 years to “fix” Dallas’ sidewalk system. If they’re not riding around in flying electric cars—or hiding out from cannibals in a post-apocalyptic wasteland—your great-grandchildren will be able to follow the sidewalk all over Dallas.

    Egypt breakthrough: How Great Pyramid scan exposed Khufu's secret ‘hiding in plain sight'

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    Egypt: Great Pyramid accuracy is ‘jaw-dropping’ says expert

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    The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three ancient monuments in the Giza Plateau and is believed to have been constructed for the Pharaoh Khufu over a 20-year period, though his body has never been recovered. It is the only Seven Wonder of the World still largely intact and is estimated to weigh approximately six million tonnes, from the 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite used, some weighing as much as 80 tonnes. For years, many have argued over how this colossus monument could have been built with the tools and equipment available more than 4,500 years ago during the Fourth Dynasty.


    But it was revealed during the Science Channel's &ldquoEgypt&rsquos Unexplained Files&rdquo how archaeologist Glen Dash uncovered the secret &ldquohiding in plain sight&rdquo while scanning the pyramid.

    Mr Dash said in 2019: &ldquoThe purpose of a pyramid was to provide for the resurrection of the king, fundamentally a pyramid is a resurrection machine.

    &ldquoWe have marvellous instruments today called total stations, they combine a telescope with a laser beam, they&rsquore fantastically precise instruments.

    &ldquo[We found that] the south is longer than the north by about three inches, the west is longer than east by about two inches.

    An incredible find was made at the base of the pyramid (Image: GETTY/SCIENCE CHANNEL)

    Archaeologists scanned the pyramid (Image: SCIENCE CHANNEL)

    &ldquoThe accuracy of the ancients was remarkable, it&rsquos jaw-dropping.

    &ldquoKeep in mind that they built it all with wood, rope, copper and stone, they had nothing else, but the Great Pyramid is built to construction standards today.&rdquo

    But, the narrator of the series revealed how a bombshell discovery was made during the research project at the base of the pyramid.

    He said: &ldquoThe Great Pyramid was constructed with a margin of error of just 0.03 percent, so how exactly did they do it?

    &ldquoContinuing his survey, Glen discovers the Great Pyramid holds more hidden secrets.

    Archaeologist Glen Dash scanning the area (Image: SCIENCE CHANNEL)

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    &ldquoBeneath their feet the team finds something very strange.

    &ldquoHiding in plain sight are the remains of a system of holes, Glen thinks these were cut into the ground by the builders.

    &ldquoGlen believes the ancient builders slotted posts in these holes at one significant time of the year &ndash on the day of the autumn equinox &ndash the posts would cast a precisely oriented shadow on the ground, which could then be used as directional reference points to help build the pyramid.&rdquo

    Mr Dash went on to reveal how this simple tactic was used to achieve incredible accuracy.

    Post holes were found around the site (Image: SCIENCE CHANNEL)

    The Great Pyramid holds many secrets (Image: GETTY)

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    He added: &ldquoMost people, including archaeologists, when they walk up to the Great Pyramid they look up, we decided to look down.

    &ldquoIn the bedrock around the Great Pyramid are all these cuttings, we mapped 3,000 of them.

    &ldquoThere are these large holes that run parallel to the side of the pyramid, we called them post halls.

    &ldquoIt turns out to be the simplest possible method &ndash they stuck a stick in the ground and watched the shadow.&rdquo

    Archaeology discovery: 1,000 structures older than Stonehenge could 'rewrite' history

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    Saudi Arabia: KAEC issue update in 2020 on megacity development

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    Named after the Arabic word for rectangle, mustatils were first discovered in northwest Saudi Arabia in the Seventies but received little attention at the time. Now a team of researchers from the University of Western Australia has found that these monuments are far more complex than previously thought. Using helicopters to fly over the region and following up with ground excavations, archaeologists found more than 1,000 mustatils across 200,000km &ndash more than twice than were previously thought.

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    Project leader Dr Hugh Thomas said: &ldquoYou don&rsquot get a full understanding of the scale of the structures until you&rsquore there.&rdquo

    The team published their findings last month, where they reported what is believed to be among the earliest stone monuments constructed by humans in the world.

    Made from piled-up blocks of sandstone, the mustatils ranged from 10 metres to 500 metres in length and some of which weighed more than 500kg &ndash but their walls stood only 1.2 metres high.

    Dr Thomas explained: &ldquoIt&rsquos not designed to keep anything in, but to demarcate the space that is clearly an area that needs to be isolated.&rdquo

    1,000 ancient structures have been identified (Image: GETTY/UNI WESTERN AUS)

    Mustatils were first discovered in northwest Saudi Arabia in the Seventies (Image: UNI OF WESTERN AUS)

    Excavations at one mustatil uncovered a chamber within which contained fragments of cattle horns and skulls.

    Experts say these may have been presented as offerings, suggesting mustatils may have been used for rituals.

    Radiocarbon dating of the skulls shows that they date to between 5300BC and 5000BC, indicating that this was when this particular mustatil was built.

    Researchers are now theorising that there may have been a relation between the construction of mustatils and the environment &ndash if so it would be the earliest example of its kind.

    Dr Melissa Kennedy, who was part of the team of researchers, said: &ldquoThis could completely rewrite our understanding of cults in this area at this time.&rdquo

    The structures may have been used by an ancient cult (Image: UNI OF WESTERN AUS)


    They were built during the Holocene Humid Phase &ndash a period between 8000BC and 4000BC during which the areas which are now deserts were grasslands.

    But droughts were still common, and Dr Kennedy said that the offerings may have been made as religious sacrifices.

    The mustatils were typically clustered in groups of two to 19, suggesting that gatherings may have been broken up into smaller social groups.

    Gary Rollefson, from Whitman College in Washington, added: &ldquoThe mustatils themselves are probably associated with an annual or generational coming-together of people who would normally be out with their herds and cattle.

    &ldquoBut there&rsquos no indication that these guys spent a lot of time around the mustatils.&rdquo

    Ancient remains have also been uncovered (Image: UNI OF WESTERN AUS)

    Remains were radiocarbon-dated by experts (Image: UNI OF WESTERN AUS)

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    The research was completed as part of a programme by the Royal Commission of AlUla&rsquos (RCU) Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia AlUla project (AAKSAU).

    No human remains or domestic remains were discovered in the excavation process, but further digging will take place.

    The new findings differ from similar rock structures in the area known as &ldquokites,&rdquo which are constructions resembling polygons, funnels and triangles and date back to about the same time as the mustatils.

    Researchers believe they were used as traps for herding animals, while other theorists say they could have been used as burial grounds or tombs.

    Personality [ edit | edit source ]

    Motiere has an intense, creative personality that's hyper-focused on stitching and clothesmaking. He considers creating fashion to be an art and takes it with utter seriousness though it might not come off that way. He admits that he is quite eccentric and possibly not entirely sane due to the incident with the cauldron but doesn't hold any grudges (except for when people choose styles that don't suit them). He is very confident and declares himself the best tailor, which appears to be true since he is catering to royalty.

    He has an eye for measuring a person by sight alone - literally - but seems to prefer accuracy when it comes to recording measurements.

    Motiere seems to treat the Listener like any other customer regardless of their royal status. He is quick and efficient but not necessarily professional since he'll go off on tangents to the point that the Listener asks if he's all right.

    1 Prehistoric Living Was Clean

    As it turns out that prehistoric man needed a little escapism, too&mdashby getting high.

    Traces of the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus dating to around 10,000 years ago have been found in caves in the Andes Mountains of Northern Peru, and documented evidence of the use of magic mushrooms is even more plentiful.

    There is also evidence of opium use and humans chewing coca leaves at least 8,000 years ago, beginning in the area around the Mediterranean and spreading to the rest of Europe.

    And alcohol, the favorite modern drug, dates back to at least 7000 BC in the form of a fermented rice, honey, and fruit beverage discovered on pottery shards from the Henan Province.

    Watch the video: Ταΰγετος και Δημήτρης Λιαντίνης. Μοναχική. Μάης 2016.