What type of workers were there who built the pyramids in Egypt? [duplicate]

What type of workers were there who built the pyramids in Egypt? [duplicate]

What type of workers were there who participated in building the Pyramids. What were they called and what was their role? Also, what sort of treatment did they get?


Not slaves, or Jews come to think of it. This Discovery Link had some info from archaeology about who built the pyramids.

This pretty much sums it up "the pyramids were built by skilled workers and bureaucrats (who lived there all year long) and farmers (who provided seasonal labour during the inundation when they could not work on their farms)".

Intrestingly enough this pretty in depth BBC link is the first result for "pyramids paid in beer" (read: subsistence rations). It contains a summary of archaeological evidence about both the permanent and much larger temporary (seasonal) workforce.


There were many types of workers in Ancient Egypt who worked on pyramids. They were not slaves because the farmers got paid, got medical treatment when needed and got decent food and drinks. Probably the most important were the scribes who had to write down the orders and also they were in charge of the organization. Then there were the miners who mined from one of the three different quarries and supplied the pyramids with stone. After that were the mortar makers who made the mortar to stick the stone together on a pyramid. There are also carpenters who were in charge of the wood and logs in which mallets were made and the logs were used to make it easier to move the stone blocks which weighed about 2 tons average. The carpenters were also useful for making the right angle tool, which was used to make sure the blocks were perfectly right angled. The leaders were usually soldiers. The leaders' job was to plan out the pyramid and give orders to the workers. The most common type of worker out of three which were miners, stone carriers and the builders were the carriers. There was usually about ten people to pull the stones from the front and two more to push from behind. It was common for two more workers to spill water in front of the blocks to make the ground slippery in order to make the process go quicker and to waste less energy. When the blocks got to the pyramid, they were made into finer detail. Workers used the right angle tool to make perfect right angles and a level tool to make sure the blocks were correct heights.


Making a pyramid takes 35 work teams at a time, with 20 people on each team. Every two minutes a block would need to be delivered in order to proceed with a routine to make sure the pyramid is done on time. When needed to haul a giant statue of a pharaoh or any statue of some sort, it takes 172 workers. Workers: -Underground quarry man: A worker who's underground chipping stone for the pyramid. -Unskilled laborer: A worker that has to haul big blocks of stone out of the quarry. -Granite quarry man: workers have stone headed hammers, wooden mallets and copper chisels. Their job is to shape granite or chip it so other workers can haul it to where it needs to be. -Water carriers: Hauls drinking water or water for mud bricks -chisel sharpeners: This workers job is important; the chisels are made out of copper so it get dull very easily. -Bargemen: Bargemen are the workers whom take the granite from Aswan. -Mason: Considered the “skilled workers” they put on airs because they are full-time workers of the pharaohs, using wooden rods to lever blocks into place. -Scribe: Writes down everything that happens, they basically keep track of most things. -Carvers and painters: Goes inside the tomb and enlarges the designs that have been made until they made until they fill a wall. The carvings are most likely painted in traditional colors. -Doctors: These workers look after the tomb makers. -Bread makers: Are always woman, 10 loaves is the usual amount of bread eaten a day. -Beer makers: beer's made by woman, tons of beer is made a day. Workers are entitled to 2 jugs a day. In Egypt even children drink beer. -Astrologer/priests: They decide when the stars are right, before the pyramid is built for the new pharaoh. People pay priests to


The pyramids were generally very large square structures made of limestone and all of them face due North. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest structure in the world for almost 4,000 years and contains approximately 6 million tons of stone.

© Mariusz Kluzniak - The Great Pyramid at Giza

The great stones were held together by a mortar that, although the composition is known, modern science is unable to replicate. It is very fine and sturdy. Although the pyramids could be constructed using modern technology, modern science cannot duplicate the pyramids by using technology that was available at the time they were built.

Earlier pyramids have stair-stepped sides but those constructed later have smooth, flat sides. The Great Pyramid at Giza had polished sides made of highly-reflective Tura limestone. When sunlight reflected off it, the Giza pyramid looked like a great shining light. The Great Pyramid at Giza is the only one to have eight sides all the rest of the pyramids have four sides.

© Héctor de Pereda - Pyramid Blocks

The Great Sphinx of Egypt 'protects' the Egyptian pyramids. With the body of a lion and the head of a man, this structure was intended to keep the burial tombs safe from the effects of angry gods and thieving humans. The pyramid tombs were placed to the left of the Nile River because that was considered to be the land of the dead.

© Norman Walsh - The Great Sphinx guards the Pyramids


Who built the pyramids? And where did those builders live? Egyptologists used to suspect that Egypt's construction sites were supported by purpose-built villages, but there was no archaeological evidence for this until the end of the Victorian age.

. neat rows of mud-brick terraced houses provided a wealth of papyri, pottery, tools, clothing and children's toys.

Then in 1888 the theory was finally confirmed, when British archaeologist Flinders Petrie started his investigation into the Middle Kingdom pyramid complex of Senwosert II at Ilahun. Here an associated walled settlement, Kahun, yielded a complete town plan whose neat rows of mud-brick terraced houses provided a wealth of papyri, pottery, tools, clothing and children's toys - all the debris of day-to-day life that is usually missing from Egyptian sites.

. few early Egyptologists were prepared to 'waste time' looking for domestic architecture.

If we are to make sense of the Great Pyramid at Giza as a man-made monument, this is precisely the sort of evidence that we need to uncover. But with so many splendid tombs on offer, few early Egyptologists were prepared to 'waste time' looking for domestic architecture. It is only recently, thanks largely to the ongoing excavations of Egyptologists Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass, that excavation around the base of the Great Pyramid has started to reveal the stories of the pyramid-builders there.


Inside the Great Pyramid

The entrance to the Great Pyramid leads to a descending passage about 1 metre wide and 1.2 metres high. The passage is at a 26 degree angle and leads to the subterranean chamber. It is believed that the subterranean chamber was either a false burial chamber to fool tomb robbers or that the king changed his mind about his final resting place.

An ascending passage, with the same dimensions as the descending passage leads upwards to the Grand Gallery. Another horizontal passage leads to the Queen’s chamber. The Queen’s chamber was never finished, the floor is uneven and the walls undecorated. It is believed that this was initially to be the king’s chamber but that the passage was too low and narrow for the king’s sarcophagus and was abandoned.

The Grand Gallery which leads directly to the King’s chamber is 48 metres long and 8.5 metres high. The King’s Chamber is 5.2 metres x 10.8 metres and 5.8 metres high. The inside of the chamber is polished pink granite. A granite sarcophagus is inside the chamber and this would have been where the king’s mummified body would have been placed.

One of the Great Pyramid passages as it looks today

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Egypt in the ancient world. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to Ancient Egypt.


Ancient Egypt: Food

Egyptian food is surprisingly diverse considering the arid landscape from which it came. Although Ancient Egypt is a hot, desert country where the lack of water makes it difficult to grow crops and raise animals, the annual flooding of the river Nile (inundation) between the months of June and September made the Nile Valley one of the most fertile areas of the ancient world.

When the river flooded, mud and silt was deposited onto the surrounding area. This soil was rich and fertile and made good farming land. The main crops grown were wheat and barley.

Wheat was made into bread which was one of the main ancient Egyptian foods eaten by both rich and poor ancient Egyptians. The picture (right) shows the bread-making process.

First the grain was made into flour. It was then made into dough with water and yeast which was placed into a clay mould before being cooked in a stone oven.

Barley was used to make beer. The barley was combined with yeast and made into a dough which was part-baked in a stone oven. It was then crumbled into a large vat, mixed with water and allowed to ferment before being flavoured with dates or honey. Recent evidence suggests that barley malt may also have been used in the process.

Beer was drank by both rich and poor.

Wine made from grapes, pomegranates and plums was enjoyed by the rich.

The ancient Egyptian food of the rich included meat – (beef, goat, mutton), fish from the Nile (perch, catfish, mullet) or poultry (goose, pigeon, duck, heron, crane) on a daily basis. Poor Egyptians only ate meat on special occasions but ate fish and poultry more often.

The picture (above) shows ancient Egyptians hunting for fish and birds in the reeds that grew on the banks of the Nile.

Meat, fish and poultry was roasted or boiled. It was flavoured with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, sesame, dill and fennel.

Meat, fish and poultry that was not eaten quickly was preserved by salting or drying.

A variety of vegetables were grown and eaten by the ancient Egyptians including onions, leeks, garlic, beans, lettuce, lentils, cabbages, radishes and turnips.

Fruit including dates, figs, plums and melons were eaten for dessert.


Imhotep is thought to be the architect of the Step Pyramid built at the necropolis of Saqqarah in Memphis. The pyramid was intended as the burial place of King Djoser. Consisting of six steps and reaching a height of 200 feet, the pyramid is the oldest extant monument of hewn stone known to the world.

Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. The protective function of cats is indicated in the Book of the Dead, where a cat represents Ra and the benefits of the sun for life on Earth.


Other Famous Pyramids

Djoser's Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara was the first pyramid. It was originally a large mastaba, a square flat-topped mound. Five more mastabas, each smaller than the previous one, were built on top of the bottom layer. The result was the first step pyramid, and it was 204 feet high.

© John Solaro - Djoser's Step Pyramid

The Bent Pyramid

Snefru's first pyramid at Dahshur, the Bent Pyramid is the first true pyramid. At first, its walls had a 60 degree angle. When the pyramid reached the height of 131 feet, cracks developed in the interior corridors and the outer casing, possibly due to the steep angle of the walls.

Engineers placed a girdle around the lower levels and built the upper part of the pyramid at a 43 degree angle. Scholars found two burial chambers, although there could still be undiscovered chambers or passageways inside this pyramid.

© Phil - Snefru's Bent Pyramid

The Red Pyramid

Snefru also built the Red Pyramid at Dahshur, with a red limestone core. The interior structure, however, was much less complex than that of the Bent Pyramid.


Who Built the Pyramids?

Many movies, books and other works of historical fiction centering around life in ancient Egypt, particularly the oft reimagined biblical story of Moses, depict the pyramid builders as slaves. Although it has been documented that ancient Egyptians employed slaves or servants, modern archeological research shows that Egyptian workers actually constructed the pyramids. Villages and remains of pyramid workers have shed light not only on the ethnicity and sex of the workers, but also on the amenities available to workers. Workers' villages included not only craftsmen relating to the pyramid's construction but also cooks, bakers, priests and medicine men.


List of Provincial Pyramids

The pyramid of Elephantine

The pyramid of Elephantine has a particularity: It is made of granite, unlike the others, all limestone blocks. It measures 18m50 x 18m50, a square base, and initially rose to the height of 10m50. It was not particularly pointed, it was rather a flared pyramid. Its inclination was 77 °, like some other provincial pyramids. Nowadays it is only 5m10. She had 3 bleachers, like most others.

The pyramid of Edfou

Edfu is a city in southern Egypt, in what is called Middle Egypt. This pyramid does not stand out from other provincial pyramids, with a square base plan of 18m80 for an initial height of 12m50. Nowadays it measures only 5m50 high, it has been leveled by time and human activities. It was a step pyramid, she had 3.

The pyramid of Al-Koula

Located further south than the pyramid of Nagada and Sinki, the pyramid of Al-Koula is in Middle Egypt, far removed from the capital Memphis. Al-Koula is exactly six kilometers north of Hierakonpolis.

This is a square pyramid of 18m60 on the side for an original height of 12m, which gives a rather flared pyramid. Moreover, its inclination is less compared to other provincial pyramids: only 77 °, while the others are all 80 °. She had 3 degrees, like most others. Nowadays it is the highest of the provincial pyramids: 8m80, the others being much more collapsed than it.

The pyramid of Nagada

Nagada is a city located in Middle Egypt, relatively far south of the capital Memphis. This is where the pyramid was built. It was probably built by Houni (late 3rd Dynasty) or Snefrou (early 4th Dynasty). It has a modest size, its square plan is 18m40 for a height at the origin of 14m. But nowadays, it measures only 4m high. This pyramid was like other provincial step pyramids, it had 3.


1 Strange Heat Spots Observed

In 2015, a thermal scan of the pyramids revealed that the Great Pyramid has three areas along the bottom that generate some form of heat. [11] Speculation as to what could be the cause for these stunning anomalies began quickly. Some say there are small passageways beneath these heat points, which could lead to hidden chambers. Others believe that the heat is being generated by leftover ancient technology that has long been forgotten. There is sure to be more investigation of this discovery, as more heat spots have also been found along the upper half of the Great Pyramid.

Maybe the Great Pyramid of Giza is actually an ancient alien ship, preparing for takeoff after thousands of years at rest, absorbing the Sun&rsquos energy. The heat spots are the engines starting to activate. It&rsquos a possibility, right?