Lost Cities of the Pyramid Builders explores the lives of the people who built the pyramids of Ancient Egypt for decades, their lives have been shrouded and myths and mysteries. New evidence is rewriting the history of the pyramids. Burials have been discovered and these burials are of the people who built the pyramids. How were these pyramids built? Were the pyramids built by slaves? Or was this a community construction project for their Pharoah? The Run time is 49:22.
The Great Pyramid was the largest pyramid built and then two more pyramids were built, each getting smaller and smaller. This feat would never be accomplished again. What is documented about the pyramids is found in the temples of dead nobles. The people who built them were lost to history. Ancient Hearsay tells us that the pyramids were built by slaves. Ancient Greek historians said so on visits to Egypt. Hollywood reinforced the myth.
However, a blockbuster discovery shattered that myth. In 1990 a digger hit a large block buried in the sand. Archeologists moved onto the site and discovered a wall of a large building. They kept digging and started finding evidence of a large settlement. What was this settlement? Why was it so large? Could this be where the people who built the pyramids lived?
The first thing discovered on the site was a bakery and the jars that were used to bake bread. Food was being produced on a vast scale. A few months later, another blockbuster discovery was made at a site higher on the site. A horse’s leg went through a hole and discovered a wall. It was the wall of a tomb. These tombs were the tombs of the people who built the pyramids. The people in them were bones and had a few simple objects in them.
There was no doubt about these tombs: these were the tombs of the pyramid builders. There were tombs for bakers, builders, and overseers. Additional to the tombs, the archeologists found remains of the food they ate. There were fish bones and meat bones in enormous numbers. Cattle bones were found on the site and this was a high-cost item to be found on the site. This seems to hint that the people who worked on the pyramid were not slaves. They were a group of people well-fed.
More than 600 skeletons have been found in the tombs. There were an equal number of men and women on the site. There were bones of children found on the site as well. The bodies were DNA tested and it was discovered that the pyramid workers were families. This would smash the myth that the pyramid builders were slaves. More surprises were to come. Another thing that was revealed about the bones is that the Pyramid Builders had medical care on-site. There was evidence of broken bones being healed and there was evidence of amputation on the site.
The growing body of evidence shows that the pyramid builders were a well-fed and privileged group of people. The work was grueling and so the pyramid builders had access to doctors who treated them on site. They had the highest standard of medical care available for their age, they would need this care because pyramid building took a toll on the body. Unfortunately, the pyramid builders had a shorter lifespan.
How did the pyramid builders do it? The Greek historians were told that the pyramids were built by hauling rocks using leavers and that a hundred thousand slaves worked on the site. However, the numbers do not add out. In fact, there is a theory that 5,000 people stayed on the site permanently while other people came and left the site. An American builder ran the numbers to test the Greek Theory. So how did this American builder figure out how many people were needed to build the pyramid? Tune into this episode to find out more.
As I reviewed this episode I realized that this was originally shown on PBS as a Secrets of the Dead episode. At the time I remembered this would be an excellent documentary to show in a class and watching this documentary again so many years later reinforces that believe. This documentary is highly recommended for classroom viewing, especially in a middle school history class.
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