Debunking The Myth That Slaves Built The Pyramids

Egypt, a country in the northeastern part of Africa, will always be known as one of the first nations where civilization emerged. The pyramids, a notable structure that provides a glimpse into the nation’s rich and glorious past, were built when Egypt became one of the world’s richest and most powerful civilizations.

However, so much has been said about the pyramids of Egypt. Some believe the pyramids were built by the slaves, while others are of the contrary opinion.

In this article, we uncover the truth about ‘who’ built this pyramid and some other historical myths you should know about.

Photo by Steffen Gundermann

The Pyramids and Its Historical Myths

It is a well-known fact that Egypt houses one of the ancient and earliest pyramids in the world. It has been stated that there are at least 118 pyramids in Egypt.

Over the years, these pyramids have drawn every kind of admiration and interest from people worldwide. For centuries now, the pyramid, which remains the last of the world’s seven wonders, has been one of the tallest structures on the planet. The tallest of the great pyramids touches nearly 500 feet into the sky and spans over 13 acres.

How that massive and ancient masonry structures were built when civilization lacked machines like bulldozers, trucks, and forklifts remains a mystery to many. 

The pyramids were likely built for religious purposes because the Egyptians regarded the afterlife as part of their religion. They believed the Pharaoh needed some things to succeed in the afterlife.

Hence, the pyramids were built as monuments to the pharaohs. Not only that, it housed all the items and treasures they may need to survive in the afterlife.

Famous pyramids found in Egypt include the great pyramids of Gaza, the pyramids of Khafre, the pyramids of Menkaure, the pyramid of Djoser, the Bent pyramid, the pyramid of Meidium, the pyramid of Unas, among many others. However, the most famous Egyptian pyramids are found in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. 

The Pyramids In Giza

Giza features the world’s biggest and most well-known pyramid structures on the west bank of the Nile, just southwest of Cairo.

The Giza pyramid complex consists notably of three pyramids: the Great Pyramid, the pyramid of Khafre, and the Menkaure. The pyramid, built in the early 26th century B.C., is the only surviving structure out of the world’s seven wonders. 

The great pyramid was built for Pharaoh Khufu, who reigned for 23 years (2589-2566 BC). He was the second of the fourth dynasty’s eight rulers, and outside the splendor of his pyramid, little is known of his reign.

It is estimated that the sides of the pyramid are 755.75 feet (230 meters), while its height is measured to be 481.4 feet (147 meters), making it the world’s largest pyramid.

In addition, the great pyramid is surrounded by two other pyramids, one in the middle (the second tallest pyramid), which was built for Pharaoh Khafre (2558-2532 B.C.), and the southernmost pyramid (shortest of the three), which was built for Khafre’s son, Menkuare (2532 – 2503 B.C).

However, how these pyramids were built has remained a mystery that most people and archeologists have been unable to unravel for many years.

Despite the popular belief that slaves built the pyramid, history says otherwise, and that’s what we will look at next.

Who Built The Pyramids? The Truth Uncovered 

The subject of who constructed the pyramids has long generated discussion among researchers and experts. The Giza pyramids, built nearly 4,500 years ago, had a gigantic and colossal structure that baffled many.

There have been several claims and historical myths that slaves built the pyramids, but archeologists have proven that untrue. Skeletons excavated from the area by archeologists had shown that the buildings were native Egyptian laborers who worked on the pyramids during the year when the River Nile flooded much of the land nearby.

Not only that, but archaeologists have uncovered the remnants of a community designed specifically to house the thousands of people who built the pyramids.

Also, several years back, archeologists who worked on the site found bureaucratic evidence that suggested how the officials kept track of the enormous operation to house and feed the workers.

They found animal bones at the site showing that the workers were fed the best cuts of meat. In addition, bread jars in hundreds and thousands, enough to feed all the workers, were also found. With this evidence, it is unthinkable to believe that slaves would be treated this well.

In another revelation, precisely twelve years ago, Egypt unveiled newly discovered tombs more than 4,000 years old, with the tombs belonging to people who built the great pyramids of Giza.

These discoveries further support the evidence that slaves did not build the pyramids.

Furthermore, in 1990, a tourist found the grave of the builders, and Egypt’s chief archeologist, Zahi Hawass, said the findings showed the builders on the site were paid laborers rather than enslaved people.

In a similar reaction, Dieter Wildung, a former director of Berlin’s Museum, stated that it is “common knowledge” that the pyramid builders were never slaves.

He further claimed the myth that slaves built the pyramids is only the stuff of tabloids and Hollywood. Hawass confirmed that the builders came from low-income families from the north and south.

They took good care of them, respected them, and buried them in tombs near the Pharaoh’s pyramid.

Hawass further revealed that evidence indicates that the laborers, who were approximately 10,000 in number working on the site of the pyramids, ate several cattle and sheep sent to them daily from farms.

Though the workers lived a short life and suffered from bad health due to their hard work, it’s safe to say that the pyramid builders were never slaves; rather, they were free men and ordinary citizens.

Enslaved People Didn’t Build The Pyramids

The pyramids of Giza remain the only great wonder of the world still standing today, and it was built to endure forever. Many researchers and scientists have been in a dilemma about who was responsible for building this gigantic human-made structure.

However, despite numerous claims and beliefs, it’s untrue that slaves built the pyramids. In this article, we’ve been able to debunk this myth as several findings and discoveries from archeologists pointed out that the pyramids were built by native Egyptian agricultural laborers treated with utmost respect and honor.

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