Daily Haiku / Senryu : Expect

Floating Suez stone
up Nile for Giza workers
Drunkards of Menkaure

senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere

Yay! the pingback on Daily Prompts is working for me again!  I expect you know how happy I am.

I was going to write a senryu on expect but this caught my eye so off I am on a tangent of pyramids, papyrus and graffiti done a millenium ago. Image at the Sun: Giza Clue

They found the oldest known papyrus including one by Merer, an overseer back in the time of making of the Giza pyramid revealing new information of how tons of stone arrived there.   And guess what?  It wasn’t aliens.  Darn it! Dad wouldn’t be happy about that but I think it’s pretty cool to find the diary of a foreman managing his working class crew back in the day.

The sarcophagus of the cat of the Crown Prince Thutmose, the eldest son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. He was designated as pharaoh Amenhotep III’s successor but predeceased his father. His younger brother, Akhenaten, assumed the throne instead. (Displayed at the visiting “Pharaon, Homme, Roi, Dieu” exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts of Valenciennes, France in November 2007)

Photo By Larazoni  [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

A century later in 1954, two amateur French archaelogists used his notes to find it again, taking pictures and making drawings of the area.  Unfortunately for them, the Suez Crisis hit just then and they were forced out of the country.  They didn’t publish their notes until 2008.  Archaelogist Pierre Tallet used their notes to start a joint French-Egyptian excavation there in 2011.  Google Earth Satellite imaging also assisted in identifying the area. He found the caves dating back to 2600 BC.

Turned out they found an old Egyptian harbor, “the most ancient maritime harbor known to date. (History Channel)” Some of the chambers were used to store large urns stamped with ship’s names to use for food and water on trips.  In 2013, they also found the oldest papyrus to date, about 40 fragments including the diary of Merer.

Merer journaled about his trips to Turah limestone quarry to for the stone to be ferried to the Giza pyramids by his crew. Built with planks and rope, the boats over the years brought 170,000 tons of limestone to Giza. These papyri fragments are on public display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Meanwhile another dig at the pyramids have found there were waterways actually under the pyramids.  That’s also another tale.  George Reisner was running a dig at the pyramids.  He noted a wall that probably had a “pyramid city” beyond but was distracted in 1925 when his staff photographer working for George Reisner punched a hole in the desert sand with his camera tripod.  Thus the tomb of Queen Hetepheres was discovered with furniture disassembled but intact.  Reisner reassembled her golden bed and chair.  He really didn’t have time for a wall.

Chair of Queen Hetepheres (reproduction), Egypt, Giza, tomb G 7000 X, Dynasty 4, reign of Khufu, 2551-2528 BC, cedar, faience, gold foil, copper, cord, Harvard Semitic Museum, Cambridge, MA
Photo By Daderot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Archaelogist Mark Lehner excavating there found that excavating for 2-3 months while teaching the rest of the year wasn’t working for him so he quit to excavate fulltime in 1999 with funding from some philanthropists. His international team of 30 archaelogists found two towns, one of which Lehner speculated was the workers’ town.  However instead of finding houses, he found barracks flanked by bakeries and bones.  They found a lot of cattle bones.  The cattle was likely brought in ready to be cooked as there were no ranches nearby.  Kind of like nowadays as we truck meat into urban centers although the cattle were probably mooing as without refrigeration, they were brought in live.

worker graffiti in the Great Pyramid The workers would compete against each other in teams.  They found graffiti inside the pyramids.  “Friends of Khufu” and the “Drunkards of Menkuare” loved to sign their work.  Menkuare was the smallest pyramid of the three Giza pyramids, named after the Pharaoh … you guessed it .. Menkuare.  Khufu pyamid is bit bigger.  Wonder why.

They also found 600 skeletons.  A nearby graveyard for workmen wasn’t disturbed by graverobbers who were more interested in the gold of the nobility. Many of the workers were buried with a jar of beer. Forensics showed these were Egyptian workmen, age 30-35. Some were injured on the job. One man had a stone fall on his leg but he lived for 14 years after they cut his leg in surgery.  So it looks like they had emergency treatments for their workers.  Given the consistency in age, Lehner speculated working on the pyramid was like the draft.  You have to go and do it for a few years and then you went back home to your village.

One project at the Great Pyramid is using 3d lasers to map the inside of the pyramid without disturbing the build — a good thing because in the past dynamite and destructive methods were used to get at the goods.  There is evidence there may be more hidden rooms.

So I expect we’ll be finding out more about ancient Egyptian society.

 

References:

GIZA CLUE: Archaeologists uncover proof of how Ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid in 2600BC: Discovery of an ancient papyrus scroll, a ceremonial boat and system of waterworks show how they transported 170,000 tons of limestone by George Sandeman, The Sun, September 24, 2017

The real boats of King Khufu: The world’s oldest port has been discovered near the Red Sea town of Zaafarana and, as Nevine El-Aref shows, it reveals that contrary to common belief the ancient Egyptians were accomplished sailors, Al-Ahram Weekly, April 16, 2003

The Ultimate Logistics Problem: Building the Great Pyramid of Giza by David Cassel, Newstack, October 8, 2017

Egypt’s Oldest Papyri Detail Great Pyramid Construction by Christopher Klein, History Channel, July 19, 2016

Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence, Channel 4, documentary 47:31 minutes (Note: I wasn’t able to watch it as it wouldn’t play on my machine)

Who Built Ancient Egypt’s Great Pyramid? Hidden Text Holds Clues to Thousand-Year-Old Mystery by Callum Paton, Newsweek, September 25, 2017

Papyrus Reveals From Where The Rocks Used To Build The Great Pyramid Came From by David Bressan, Forbes, September 28, 2017

Who Built the Pyramids? Not slaves. Archaeologist Mark Lehner, digging deeper, discovers a city of privileged workers by Jonathan Shaw, Harvard Magazine, July-August 2003

Who Built the Pyramids, Nova, PBS, February 4, 1997

The Pyramid Builders by Virginia Morell, National Geographic, November 2001

The Private Lives of the Pyramid-builders by Dr Joyce Tyldesley, BBC, February 17, 2011

Two Boat photo for featured image By Saqqara_BW_11.jpg: Berthold Werner derivative work: JMCC1 (Saqqara_BW_11.jpg) [CC BY 3.0  or GFDL ], via Wikimedia Commons

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