Port discovered in Giza

Ruins of ancient port and barracks found near Giza pyramids

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Archaeologists have made some incredible new discoveries in Egypt including the remains of a bustling port, as well as barracks for sailors or military troops near the Giza pyramids. The findings shed new light on what life was like in the region thousands of years ago.

Archaeologist Mark Lehner, director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates, has said that the discoveries suggest Giza was a thriving port, at least 4,500 years ago.  Lehner's team discovered a basin, which may be an extension of a harbour, near the Khentkawes town just 1 kilometre from the nearest Nile River channel.

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

Archaeologists also discovered a series of long buildings, called ‘galleries’, which they believe were used as barracks, either for sailors or for soldiers.  The buildings were about 7 metres high and 35 metres long and could have held about 40 troops in each one. These troops may have been participating in voyages from the port to the Levant, or soldiers who may have been used for guarding kings and queens while at Giza.

It was once assumed that galleries like these held pyramid workers. However, a series of discoveries have drawn this view into question. For example, Lehner's team found charcoal remains from wood, particularly cedar, which was originally from the Levant, in the galleries. It is unlikely that this would have been used in common workers barracks.  There are also many representations of troops found in the tombs of highly placed officials and in pyramid temples.

"I wonder if we are basically seeing barracks not of the workers, but of elite crews of ships," Lehner said.  For example, a pharaoh named Sahure had images in his valley temple of troops near the king's ship.

However, if the buildings are in fact barracks and were not used as housing for pyramid builders, this raises an important question – where were the pyramid builders, that is, if the conventional perspective that the pyramids were built using hard labour by thousands of workers is true?

Lehner has suggested that the workers may have stayed on huge ramps on the unfinished pyramid as it rose, adding that they could also have been living in the quarries in simple dwellings.

By April Holloway


really like your work

Hi April, the link to the source article was broken, here it is


Great article by the way, thank you.


ancient-origins's picture

Thank you Maya! We have fixed the link.


Justbod's picture

There are so many mysteries still to be solved relating to the Ancient Egyptian civilisation, it's great when new information comes to light.

Sculptures, carvings & artwork inspired by a love of history & nature: www.justbod.co.uk



angieblackmon's picture

perhaps they lived in temporary dwellings that were taken down upon completion of the project...although its hard to imagine not being able to find any signs that they were there...

love, light and blessings


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