Archaeologists have discovered a pair of ancient structures near the Pyramids of Giza that are believed to have served as residences for government officials.
Each of the residences was built 4,500 years ago at an ancient port believed to be the national port of Egypt at the time.
Researchers fielded by the Ancient Egyptian Research Associates say the houses were occupied by officials who likely saw the production of wheat and meat to be served as food for a paramilitary force housed nearby.
Ancient Egyptian Port
The remains of each house were situated at the ancient national port, where traders from other parts of Egypt as well as the Mediterranean were believed to have landed to trade goods.
In 2014, researchers dug up an ancient basin just a little more than a mile from the nearest channel of the Nile River, prompting them to believe that Giza was the central harbor during the reigns of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, the three pharaohs who built the pyramids.
Other residences were found at the port, including a house with 21 rooms believed to have been occupied by government scribes.
Houses For Government Officials
Each of the two structures contained facilities for the preparation of large amounts of food. AERA researchers believe the food was made to feed the 1,000 people who were members of an Egyptian paramilitary force.
The first house is believed to have been occupied by an official who oversaw the slaughter of animals. The house is situated next to an area that appears to have been a confinement for animals. In the courtyard, the researchers found the remains of a large vat, two measuring bowls, and a shallow lamp.
The second house served as a residence for a priest who also served as a government official. Seals unearthed near the house reveal the priest was part of a wadaat, an ancient Egyptian religious institution whose members could also be government officials, says Mark Lehner, AERA director.
The second house had a smaller structure believed to have been used for malting. This suggests the residents of the second house may have been responsible for making bread and beer.
Food Production For Paramilitary
Located close to the two residences are structures called galleries, which could have served as barracks for the 1,000 or so members of the Egyptian paramilitary.
Researchers believe food prepared in the newly discovered houses were likely meant for them.
Another explanation is it could have been made to feed the thousands of people working at the construction site of the Pyramid of Menkaure.
Photo: Christopher Michel | Flickr