Want to increase productivity on the jobsite? Consider placing a catering order for some meat …and lots of it.
That’s what the workers who built the Egyptian pyramids ate, according to new research.
Researchers from the Ancient Egypt Research Associates say residents from the Nile Delta who worked on the pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure, the third pyramid on the Giza plateau, were fed about 4,000 pounds of meat—from cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs—each day.
The group based its findings on an analysis of 4,500-year-old animal bones, nutritional data, and other discoveries at the workers’ settlement site, called “the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders.” The site was reportedly occupied for about 30 years, according to various reports.
"People were taken care of, and they were well fed when they were down there working, so there would have been an attractiveness to that," Richard Redding, chief research officer at Ancient Egypt Research Associates, told LiveScience.
Supervisors got to eat the most beef—the “highest status meat”—while workers ate more goats and sheep, the researchers said.
The laborers' skeletons suggest not only a protein-rich diet, but also the availability of medical care; some skeletons showed healed bones.
Grazing Area the Size of L.A.
The expansive “catering-type operation” fed about 10,000 workers, according to the LiveScience report.
Sustaining such a large herd would have required 155 square miles of grazing land—an area about the size of modern-day Los Angeles, the report explained.