NOVA – DECODING THE GREAT PYRAMID
Airs Tuesday, February 26th at 7PM
How did the ancient Egyptians build the pyramids of Giza with only copper hand tools and none of today’s construction and surveying equipment? Who were the thousands of laborers who raised the stones? Were they slaves or volunteers, and how were they housed, fed, and organized? Decoding the Pyramids presents the latest evidence from the groundbreaking research of archaeologists Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass, who over more than two decades have transformed our understanding of the ancient world’s most ambitious engineering project. Now, their teams return to Giza to for a first-time dig into the remains of the barracks housing the laborers who toiled on the Great Pyramid-an investigation likely to yield crucial clues to their identity, diet, and status. Reporting on an even more exciting discovery, the show meets French archaeologist Pierre Tallet, whose team found the world’s oldest writing on papyrus. Amazingly, this 4, 500-year-old record proved to be the logbook of a labor team leader who was in charge of delivering limestone blocks to build the Great Pyramid. His logbook mentions the barracks and port facilities identified by Lehner’s fieldwork at Giza, as well as naming the man who was in charge of the Great Pyramid building operation. Could a new papyrus discovery disclose more stunning clues to Giza’s long-buried secrets?