Chronicles of ancient Egyptian pyramid builders on display


Papyrus documents provide glimpses into working life during construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.


A 2013 find by a French-Egyptian team unearths papers telling of the daily lives of port workers who transported huge limestone blocks to Cairo during King Khufu's rule to build the Great Pyramid, intended to be his burial structure.
MOHAMED EL-RAAI / AFP / Getty Images

Ancient logbooks detailing the daily life of pyramid construction workers 4,500 years ago are behind glass for visitors to view at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The hieroglyphic-laden papyrus sheets, from the 4th dynasty of King Khufu (also known as Cheops) and the oldest ever found, were discovered in 2013 inside caves in the port Wadi al-Jarf, around 120 kilometres south of the city of Suez on the coast of the Red Sea.

The biggest of the three Giza pyramids, the Great Pyramid was built as Khufu's tomb.

At a press conference, museum head Tarek Tawfiq said the papyri depicted the daily routine of the workers. Some transported limestone blocks and other building materials from Wadi al-Jarf to Giza – a trip of around 200 kilometres.

Only six of the 30 papyri are on display. They describe how food was distributed to workers – and one even shows the number of sheep brought to eat.

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