Maybe you’ve heard by this point that the Egyptian pyramids were not built by slaves after all. If you did, it was probably on Leno on Tuesday night: according to Jay, it seems even way back then the authorities found a way to finance the workers’ wages through some pyramid scheme.
Hyuk-hyuk. If you’re still interested, though, all of that other than the “pyramid scheme” part is true. Rasmus Dam Nielsen* of the Danish newspaper Politiken gives us the details.
The Egyptian government has always had a problem with the workers who built the pyramids being characterized as slaves, since in their view that opinion gives short shrift to the considerable construction talents that such personnel must have possessed. Just look at the results: it’s apparently difficult even to slip a knife into the cracks between the building-blocks. It was actually an Egyptian research time which recently made the key discovery of graves situated alongside the pyramids, 4,500 years old and containing the remains of workers who died while in the service of their construction. This has to mean they were not slaves: slaves would never have been allowed to be buried so close to the pharaohs’ tomb, which of course were the pyramids themselves.
The Egyptian researchers further calculate that around 10,000 workers were involved in constructing the pyramids in all (i.e. not all at the same time); they were involved in the work in shifts of three months at a time; and they consumed daily 21 cattle and 23 sheep, provided by outside ranchers who thereby discharged their tax burden to the prehistoric Egyptian state.
And how about this, also from Politiken: El Dorado did exist, namely somewhere in the Amazon jungle, and contemporary researchers believe they have found the site using Google Earth! But I’m moving on from this stuff . . . if you really want to know more, either learn yourself some Danish or e-mail me a request.
* He reminds me of one of my main complaints about the Danish press: there are too many Dam Nielsens!