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Sounds like a restoration project just waiting to happen.



Yeah, that would be amazing. It would make them last a lot longer too.


Are they at risk of disintegrating?


Considering that they are 4500 years old, not anytime soon. Even without maintenance, they would last some more millenia. But if you look at the difference between how they look now and how they used to look, they have suffered quite a bit. Only because they are the most robust structure ever built by man, doesn't mean we should just watch slowly decay. Especially while most of their structure is still close to original, it would be a good time to restore them.

Imagine, if for example the acropolis in Athens would have been kept in original state vs. mostly having decayed. All those wonders of the past we decided to keep, we should preserve, while it is still possible.


To be clear, the Acropolis did not “decay”. It was blown up by the Venetians when they fired on the Parthenon, which at the time was used to store gunpowder.


Thanks, I didn't know that. But the world is full of ruins of great old places, which we try to preserve today, but had not been kept in shape when they were still close to their origininal state. I think old churches are one of the few exceptions.


"Beeldenstorm in Dutch (roughly "statue storm"), and Bildersturm in German ("image/statue storm") are terms used for outbreaks of destruction of religious images that occurred in Europe in the 16th century, known in English as the Great Iconoclasm or Iconoclastic Fury. During these spates of iconoclasm, Catholic art and many forms of church fittings and decoration were destroyed in unofficial or mob actions by Calvinist Protestant crowds as part of the Protestant Reformation. Most of the destruction was of art in churches and public places."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm?wprov=sfla1


Sure, a lot of churches also got destroyed. Yet, a lot of churches are in a remarkably good state of preservation. They are not the only preserved buildings, but the most obvious ones. There are also a few roman aquaeducts preserved, like the one in Nimes, France. And if I am not mistaken, some of the water delivery to todays Rome still uses partially roman aquaeducts. Also, the Pantheon in Rome is in a remarkably great state.


The sad thing about the Parthenon (and the Acropolis in general) was that it had been well preserved until then, albeit with changes. It had successively been a church and a mosque. Unfortunately, the Acropolis was also the most defensible position in Athens, so it was (since its inception) a strategic outpost as well. :-(


Is pollution accelerating the decay at all?


Acid rain can't be good for limestone. At the size of the pyramids, though, I'm not sure if the effects would be noticeable at all. It also doesn't rain much in the desert.


Yes indeed. If using the original technology, it really should be restored to its original state.


...by original technology do you mean thousands of slaves, or?


First of all, the pyramids were not built by slaves but ancient egyptians believed it to be their duty to help with the building of the pyramids. Second, I was referring to using original materials and processing. E.g. grinding and polishing slabs of limestone. This can of course be done by using modern machinerny.

It only matters that the original materials and processing of the materials are maintained, but not that it is done with modern machinery. One would of course also use modern cranes and scaffolding.


> First of all, the pyramids were not built by slaves but ancient egyptians believed it to be their duty to help with the building of the pyramids.

I’m sorry, I honestly can’t tell—are you joking? If not, you really ought to provide a source for this.


No, I am not joking - thats what I learned at school. But just look at wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_pyramid_construction_...

You have to consider that the pharao wasn't just the "king" but also the link to the gods.


> You have to consider that the pharao wasn't just the "king" but also the link to the gods.

Sure, but is it really volunteering when the alternative is capital punishment? Or societal ostracization? Heck, if that was the case, I would "volunteer" as well.

I see nothing in the Wikipedia article that convincingly argues who built them, other than the theories of two archaeologists.

We weren't there, and AFAIK, there are no first-account written records documenting the construction of the Great Pyramid. So until something like that shows up, we won't know definitively who built them.

It might have been built by slaves. Or not. We don't know.


It is just that all sources seem to point in the direction that it wasn't outright slavery. That many workers were forced by economical needs or their believes to contribute, is another thing, but that applies to many ventures.


Well, I think that’s where I might object. There are no reliable sources—just theories. Until we find a direct written account of the Pyramid’s construction, we’re just storytelling.


So on what base do you assume slavery?


I’m not…where did I say that? Like I said above, there’s no way to know who built them.


Then why are you discussing? As far as I know from my history studies, the old egyptian society didn't practice slavery. So there is no reason for the assumption, that the "pyramids were built by slavery". Does that rule out, that some of the workers were forced to participate, be it by economic needs or other forms of pressure, e.g. forced labors of prisoners? Of course not.


> Then why are you discussing?

I replied because you stated an assertion as truth which has no evidence substantiating it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

> As far as I know from my history studies, the old egyptian society didn't practice slavery.

Since you've already linked to Wikipedia above, here's an entire article specifically focused on slavery in Ancient Egypt. Unlike the topic which we've been discussing, there is written documentation of actual slave labor being extensively used.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Egypt


Well, this article refers a time frame about 1000 years after the pyramids have been built. It also mixes slavery, where people are "owned" by other people, with forced and mandatory labor, where people have to provide a certain amount of labor to the state, but are not owned.

In other posts to this discussion, people have provided further links documenting, that the pyramid were not being built by "slaves". That is the current state of historic science in old egypt.


> Well, this article refers a time frame about 1000 years after the pyramids have been built. It also mixes slavery, where people are "owned" by other people, with forced and mandatory labor, where people have to provide a certain amount of labor to the state, but are not owned.

I don't understand what you're getting at. You said there was no slavery in old Egypt. I provided a link showing otherwise. I'm not here to debate the details of it. If you even just peruse the article, there are tons of written records showing that there were people who were "bound for life". It was a thing!

> In other posts to this discussion, people have provided further links documenting, that the pyramid were not being built by "slaves". That is the current state of historic science in old egypt.

It seems like I'm not going to convince you of anything, but I looked, and despite what you've said, I couldn't find a single comment providing definitive evidence of who built the pyramids. Again, lots of theories, but no evidence!

In one comment, there's a theory that the workers were were well-fed because there were cattle remains in the proximity of their graves. That's not evidence of anything. Maybe it was a trash dump. Maybe they were beasts of burden that helped move the stones. So many other explanations, but I suppose for some it's rock-solid proof of whatever it is they want to believe.

Thing is, history isn't the study of belief. It's the study of written records. Making up stories is fun, but it's not history.


We know who built them

The workers were paid for their labour and consisted mainly of farmers who were idle during the off season.

There are even records of the workers striking and that their demands for better food and work conditions were met.

This does not sound like slavery to me.


> The workers were paid for their labour and consisted mainly of farmers who were idle during the off season.

Have we learned nothing? Please link to the original sources that support this.


I will try an find a source, but I think it might have been: A History of Egypt by Nicholas Grimal.

However for a while I read widely on the topic so I can't be sure.


You may call them "slaves" using a more modern lens, sure, but of course different times and places require a relativistic shift in order to understand things as a local living in the time would have understood them. You are right that we can't ask someone living in that time/place if they thought themselves a slave, or whether they thought it was good or bad to be one. However, we do know enough about ancient Egypt to at least fill in some context that minimally casts doubt on the notion that they saw themselves as unwilling slave laborers.

A good thought exercise is to consider: What are some things you are compelled to do today by your own government or economic limitations? How many of those things could you imagine a different and presumably more wealthy/capable future society would consider abhorrent enough to think you a "slave" or something like one?


If they were slaves, they were treated very well.

"There were slaves in Egypt, says Lehner, but the discovery that pyramid workers were fed like royalty buttresses other evidence that they were not slaves at all, at least in the modern sense of the word. Harvard's George Reisner found workers' graffiti early in the twentieth century that revealed that the pyramid builders were organized into labor units with names like "Friends of Khufu" or "Drunkards of Menkaure." Within these units were five divisions (their roles still unknown)—the same groupings, according to papyrus scrolls of a later period, that served in the pyramid temples. We do know, Lehner says, that service in these temples was rendered by a special class of people on a rotating basis determined by those five divisions. Many Egyptologists therefore subscribe to the hypothesis that the pyramids were also built by a rotating labor force in a modular, team-based kind of organization.

"If not slaves, then who were these workers? Lehner's friend Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who has been excavating a "workers' cemetery" just above Lehner's city on the plateau, sees forensic evidence in the remains of those buried there that pyramid building was hazardous business. Why would anyone choose to perform such hard labor? The answer, says Lehner, lies in understanding obligatory labor in the premodern world. "People were not atomized, separate, individuals with the political and economic freedom that we take for granted. Obligatory labor ranges from slavery all the way to, say, the Amish, where you have elders and a strong sense of community obligations, and a barn raising is a religious event and a feasting event. If you are a young man in a traditional setting like that, you may not have a choice." Plug that into the pyramid context, says Lehner, "and you have to say, 'This is a hell of a barn!'""

https://harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/who-built-the-pyramids-h...

Weirdly, we do have first-hand written records from the construction of Khufu's pyramid.

"Though the diary does not specify where the stones were to be used or for what purpose, given the diary may date to what is widely considered the very end of Khufu's reign, Tallet believes they were most likely for cladding the outside of the Great Pyramid. About every ten days, two or three round trips were done, shipping perhaps 30 blocks of 2-3 tonnes each, amounting to 200 blocks per month. About 40 boatmen worked under him."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diary_of_Merer


I read that first excerpt twice, and couldn’t find anything that supports the idea that they were well treated. Help?

Awesome sources! That diary looks fascinating.


Massive wall of text and I missed the important bit. They were fed very well.

"The surprises were just beginning. Faunal analyst Richard Redding, of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, identified tremendous quantities of cattle, sheep, and goat bone, "enough to feed several thousand people, even if they ate meat every day," Lehner adds. Redding, who has worked at archaeological sites all over the Middle East, "was astounded by the amount of cattle bone he was finding," says Lehner. He could identify much of it as "young, under two years of age, and it tended to be male." Here was evidence of many people—presumably not slaves or common laborers, but skilled workers—feasting on prime beef, the best meat available."


No slaves were used...




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