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New evidence shows pyramids not built by slaves

world Updated: Jan 11, 2010 12:53 IST
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Egyptian archaeologists have found a set of tombs belonging to the workers who built the pyramids of the Pharaohs, throwing light about the life of the labourers who were popularly believed to be slaves.

"These tombs were built beside the king's pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves," Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement.

"If they were slaves, they would not have been able to build their tombs beside their king's."

The cone-shaped tombs made of mud bricks and covered with white plaster dates back to more than 4,000 years.

The site discovered in 1990s is the burial ground of the workers who built the great pyramids between 2575 BC to 2467 BC, considered as the golden era in ancient Egypt's history.

The latest finding shows around 10,000 labourers worked on the pyramids in Giza near Cairo, against 100,000 estimated by Greek historian Herodotus.

The builders consumed meat of 21 buffaloes and 23 sheep daily supplied by the farms in northern and southern Egypt, according to the evidence found on the site.

The workers were believed to be rotated every three months. They were buried near their workplace if they died during the construction of pyramids.

The most important of the newly discovered tombs is a rectangular structure plastered outside the mud brick casing, said to be that of a man named Idu.