The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has begun putting on display the country’s oldest papyri, which date back 4,500 years, detailing the daily life of the pyramid-builders.
The items are from the 4th Dynasty of King Khufu, also known as Cheops, for whom the Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a tomb.
Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany tells reporters that the papyri were discovered in 2013 by an Egyptian-French mission inside caves in the port of Wadi el-Jarf.
El-Anany says the items display are “the oldest” papyri in Egypt. Museum chief Tarek Tawfiq said the papyruses depict the daily routine of the workers, who also transferred building material
from the Red Sea port to Giza.
One of the papyri belonged to a senior employee named Marr who played a role in the building of the pyramid and it covered a period of three months of his job, providing information about his duties — including transporting rocks through the River Nile and its canals, says Hussein Abdel-Bassir, another ministry official.
A second ministry official, Sabah Abdel-Razek, tells the state-news agency MENA that other papyri showed the distribution of food portions for workers, including one showing in clear Egyptian hieroglyphs the number of sheep brought in.