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Asunto: Una misión arqueológica de EEUU descubre el más anti guo edificio administrativo de Egipto
Fecha:Viernes, 9 de Agosto, 2002  11:04:25 (+0200)
Autor:José Luis Santos - Coordinador general <joseluis>

Egipto.- Una misión arqueológica de EEUU descubre el más antiguo edificio administrativo de Egipto


Una misión arqueológica de Estados Unidos ha descubierto el más antiguo edificio administrativo dedicado a quienes edificaron las pirámides de Chefrén y Mykerinos, a unos 500 metros al sur de la Esfinge, según anunció hoy el Consejo Superior de las Antigüedades Egipcias (CSAE).

La misión, dirigida por Mark Lener, encontró los restos del edificio real edificado hace unos 4.500 años al este de la necrópolis de los obreros en la planicie de las pirámides de Guizeh, al suroeste de El Cairo, indicó el CSAE.

Los arqueólogos norteamericanos desenterraron gran parte del edificio, constituido por un muro de piedra de 48 metros, antes de detener sus trabajos, ya que el resto de la edificación se encuentra bajo los locales de un club deportivo construido en 1984, añadió el consejo.

En el edificio faraónico descubrieron una panadería donde se hallaron instrumentos utilizados para fabricar y cocer el pan. Los arqueólogos también encontraron un lote de 250 sellos grabados con los nombres de los faraones Chefrén y Mykerinos. La misión desenterró también talleres para producir utensilios en cobre y vestiduras de lino, fabricadas en especial para los obreros de las pirámides. Hallaron también una escuela en la que se enseñaba la técnica de fabricar sellos de barro, estatuas y recipientes en alabastro. "Este descubrimiento muestra que se trata del más antiguo edificio administrativo dirigido por el Estado y permite comprender la precisión con que estaba administrada la institución", declaró el secretario general del CSAE, Zahi Hawwas.

Hawwas opina que "el responsable administrativo encargado de construir la pirámide debió haber demolido otros edificios similares de la epóca del rey Cheops, lo que explicaría la ausencia de sellos con su nombre a pesar de que encargó construir la mayor pirámide que aún se como la de Cheops".

An army of pyramid builders

A large royal storehouse and administrative building unearthed last season to the south-east of the Great Sphinx at Giza has once again focused attention on the Age of the Pyramid Builders. Nevine El-Aref visits the site and learns details of the remarkable discovery

Routine excavations on the Giza Plateau by the Chicago Harvard University Giza Mapping Project have unearthed a vast royal complex dating from the reigns of Khafre and Menkaure, builders of the second and third pyramids.

It has proved to be the oldest administrative settlement ever found and was clearly used for supervising a vast army of part-time workers recruited to build the pyramid of Khafre.

"It is an incredible discovery," Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni said. "It completes our vision of the life of the construction workers during the Fourth Dynasty, 4,500 years ago."

"The site is 450 metres south of the Sphinx, below the worker's cemetery discovered by Zahi Hawass," said mission director Mark Lehner, who went on to explain that the royal administrative building was an important central feature of the layout of the Giza Plateau which includes the Wall of the Crow, the Gallery System, the bakeries, and the Eastern Town. "So far the team has excavated about 1,125 square metres," Lehner said. "The royal building itself measures 48 metres east to west, and although only 25 metres of the back of the building have been exposed it is clear that this was the royal structure for storage and administration, part of a vast complex that included dormitories where itinerant labourers might have slept, bakeries and meat processing facilities for feeding them, and a great grain storehouse that supplied the bakeries."

The building has yielded evidence of the activities that were carried out there in the form of seals, copper and stone (alabaster) work, and weaving; the latter in the form of pottery loom shuttles and loom weights of mud. Long colonnaded galleries may have been dormitories that could accommodate between 40 and 50 people. "Possibly these were teams that were supervised by an overseer who lived in a large house on the banks of the Nile at the southern end of the galleries," Lehner said.

"Altogether the dormitories could shelter up to 2,000 workers, while an estimated 20,000 labourers could have worked in shifts at Giza following the Egyptian pattern whereby noblemen sent teams from their provinces all over the country, including Upper Egypt and the Delta, to share in the great national project of pyramid building," said Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). "The dormitories would probably have been used by the itinerant, rotating labour force."

The gallery or dormitory system is flanked to the east, west and south by bakeries, and the evidence of meat processing and salt fish production attest to a healthy diet. Also found were small mud "tokens" that probably represent the special kind of bread eaten by the Egyptians, similar to pita, which appear to have been used for accounting and administrative purposes.

The focus of the royal administrative building is a storehouse with large mud brick silos arranged around a rectangular court. These are 1.80 metres below ground level and probably contained grain to supply the numerous bakeries surrounding the dormitory complex. "The rest of storehouses, still unexcavated, mostly lie buried beneath the modern soccer field of the Sphinx Sports Club football field built in 1948," Lehner said.

"This Old Kingdom administrative building is a clear indication of the strict system imposed by the ancient Egyptians to control construction of the grand pyramid complexes at Giza," Hawass added.

Hawass said a collection of 250 seals carrying the names of the kings Khafre and Menkaure have been unearthed. "The absence of seals bearing the names of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, may be because the overseer of the administration building of Khafre's pyramid removed all constructions that dated back to his father's reign to the Western side of the Sphinx," he said.

The American team has excavated what is believed to be Egypt's oldest known hypostyle hall, the function of which may have been to serve as a communal dining facility. "We found fish bones near low troughs and benches that run the length of the floor of the hall, which appear to be droppings from meals," Lehner said. "Fragments of pottery bowls, lids and stands for vessels point to food consumption rather than preparation."

This extremely complex, historically important, and revealing site flanks part of the town of the Pyramid Age extending further east of the excavation site and continuing under the modern town of Nazlet Al-Simman. Even though the latter is less planned than the dormitory system, it may have housed the more permanent work force -- perhaps the skilled craftsmen, artisans, experienced stone masons, quarrymen, overseer and officials employed on various aspects of pyramid construction.

"Like today's cities, the town was crowded," Hawass said. "There are traces of streets and alleyways between the houses, and household granaries, bins, and grinding stones for processing grain into flour."

Scores of these small granaries and baking areas were found all over the town, and last year the team came upon a centralised storage facility -- a huge storehouse in the royal administrative building. This indicates that there were domestic granaries around the town for permanent residents, and an extensive central storage facility for the mass of itinerant workers.


Fuente: EUROPA PRESS / AL-AHRAM , 09-08-02

José Luis Santos Fernández -

Coordinador General de Terrae Antiqvae