According to a recent press release, it would appear that the Great Pyramids at Giza were not constructed using slaves, as it was originally thought. Egypt's Chief Archaeologist said yesterday that, most likely, the amazing structures were built by free workers. Zahi Hawass said that the new conclusion was drawn after he and his team finished analyzing a series of tombs in the vicinity, which do not appear to have been built by slaves either, Reuters
In popular culture, all film references that depict an account of how the pyramids were built show numerous slaves working under the intense heat of the desert, only to have their lives taken away without mercy at the end of their efforts. However, the new investigation, which was conducted on tombs built right next to the Great Pyramids, seems to point to a different conclusion. “These tombs were built beside the king's pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves. If they were slaves, they would not have been able to build their tombs beside their king's,” Hawass says.
A number of tombs were discovered near the renowned structures in the 1990s, in what was hailed at the time as some of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th and 21st centuries. All of the mortuary chambers were destined for workers who helped construct the pyramids, most notably those of Khufu and Khafre. Additionally, the excavation team also found primitive graffiti on the walls of some of the tombs, in which the people buried inside claimed that they were “friends of Khufu”. This again falls out of line with the hypothesis that slave labor was employed in the construction process.
Further evidence seems to suggest that everyone involved in the Giza project, more than 4,500 years ago, knew that this was a national enterprise. The researchers found documents that showed farmers in the nearby region sent 21 buffalo and 23 sheep daily to the plateau, in a bid to help feed the estimated 10,000 workers that erected the pyramids. As a reward, the people who sent the food were exempted from paying taxes to the government, which further denotes that little to no coercion was used.