GIZEH (Egypte):Paupers and the pyramids - 400 poor burials unearthed


Paupers and the pyramids: 400 “poor” burials unearthed near Giza

Owen Jarus

Source :

The "Wall of the Crow" is depicted in this 1837
illustration by Richard Vyse.

At a scholarly conference in Atlanta archaeologists announced that the burials of 400 people – dating between 2,700 and 2,000 years ago – have been excavated on the Giza plateau in Egypt.

The discovery was made by researchers with AERA (Ancient Egypt Research Associates), a group led by Mark Lehner that conducts work at Giza.

Research shows that these individuals were malnourished and lacked grave goods. The pyramids at Giza were built about 4,500 years ago, so these people would have been buried long after it was constructed.

The burials were found beside a 200 meter long ancient wall called the “Wall of the Crow.” The wall was first constructed in the time of the pyramids and is located just south of the Sphinx.

Analysis indicates that these 400 individuals were not well off.  “These graves are generally poor, with little or no grave goods, and belong to people on the lower end of the socio-economic scale,” writes archaeologist Jessica Kaiser in a paper she presented at the conference. “There is a high incidence of haematological disorders present in the [bone] material, suggesting a sub-standard diet for this population.”

Haematology means blood disorders.

Curiously the men appear to be in worse shape than the women. “Traumatic injuries (fractures and dislocations) are almost exclusively occurring in the males, suggesting a definite difference in lifestyle between the sexes,” writes Kaiser.

An Egypt ruled by foreigners

The Egypt these people lived in was a very different place than the one that existed at the time Giza’s pyramids were built. Between 2,700 and 2,000 years ago the country was under the sway of a large number of foreign rulers.

Starting in the 8th century BC the country was ruled by Nubian kings who had come from the south in modern day Sudan. Then in 671 BC the Assyrians drove them off, took control of the country, and decided to allow a series of native born rulers (also called the Saite Dynasty) to reign starting with Necho I.

These native rulers did not last. In 525 BC Egypt was conquered again, this time by the Persians. Then In 332 BC Alexander the Great came into Egypt inaugurating a line of Greek rulers. Finally in 30 BC the Roman Emperor Octavian took over after the suicide of Cleopatra – turning Egypt into a Roman province.

The Wall of the Crow

“The Wall of the Crow” is the local name for a 200 meter long wall found just south of the Sphinx. AERA’s work suggests that construction of the wall started at the same time that the pyramids were being built 4,500 years ago.

The area beside the wall has been used as a burial ground for millennia, indicating that the structure had religious importance. The AERA team writes on their website that “the Late Period (747-525 BC) residents of nearby towns must have considered the area around the Wall of the Crow as sacred ground.”

Giza is not the only Egyptian pyramid complex to be used as a burial ground long after it was constructed. Archaeological work at Seila, a pyramid slightly older than the ones at Giza, indicates that there are nearly one million mummies buried in its vicinity.

“It seems very reasonable to suppose that the pyramid designated that as a sacred place,” Seila Pyramid excavator Kerry Muhlestein said. “Once that place is a sacred place it typically will remain a sacred place.”