Understanding the news: Tombs of the Pyramid builders open to the public for the first time (Old Kingdom)

Understanding the news: Tombs of the Pyramid builders open to the public for the first time (Old Kingdom)
The Ministry of Antiquities has opened some of the tombs of the pyramid builders for the first time since their discovery in the 1990s.
While most people are aware of the pyramids on the Giza plateau it should be remembered that what we see today is a small fraction of the living infrastructure that was there in ancient times. Excavations have shown us there were towns, barracks, workshops, bakeries, funerary temples, causeways, canals, quarries and of course cemeteries all at this once busy site.
One of the rewards for a lifetime of loyal service working at Giza was the privilege of burial in an auspicious location: close to the royal burial place.
You will see these tombs described in the more excitable media as the 'Cursed Tombs' because some of them contain protective inscriptions against damage. It should be remembered that some parts of tomb architecture were meant to be accessible to family and respectful visitors to provide an interface between the Living and the Dead who were believed to have an ongoing relationship.
The Living could provide sustenance to the ka or spirit of the Dead, who in turn could influence the fortunes of the Living.
These 'curse' inscriptions served as a reminder to the Living from the Dead not to get up to mischief in the tomb, or they may find their fortunes seriously curtailed.
"The Inscription of Petety's Wife
As for any person, male or female, who shall do any evil thing against
this (tomb) and who shall enter therein this: A crocodile shall be
against him in the water; a snake shall be against him upon land; a
hippopotamus shall be against him in the water, and a scorpion shall
be against him upon land." [1]
These tombs provide us with valuable insights into the lives and fortunes of the people who built the pyramids: not slaves but skilled workers, administrators, artisans, families and farmers who worked on state projects during the inundation when their land was under the life giving annual Nile floods.

[1] Hawass Z (2004) The Tombs of the Pyramid Builders - The Tomb of the Artisan Petety and his Curse in Knoppers GN & Hirsch (Eds) "Egypt, Israel, and the Ancient Mediterranean World" Studies in Honor of Donald B. Redford


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