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Maybe your source was National Geographics. However, it completely fails at explaining where this theory comes from and which facts speak in its favor (it prefers to present it as a fact). This BBC article does only a marginally better job, it lists some evidence but one is bound to ask whether a different interpretation of the same evidence wouldn't have been possible as well. Harvard Magazine manages to do it better (the interesting stuff doesn't come before page 5). To sum up:

  • The way pyramids are built shows high skill. I wouldn't consider this evidence by itself - the existence of skilled workers doesn't mean that there were no unskilled slaves doing the hard work.
  • The animal bones found in the "workers camp" indicate that they got lots good meat. This is more convincing even though it isn't given that Egyptians treated their slaves badly - the Greeks and Romans usually treated slaves pretty well actually. After all, good food is important if the worker is to work well.
  • There appears to be evidence of worker force rotation which contradicts the assumption that slaves were sent to build the pyramids until they die.

Still, even after reading this long article one has to ask himself whether the presented interpretation is the only one possible. I don't think that we have much information about the social status of slaves in Ancient Egypt, at least not to reliably distinguish slaves and free people with a social obligation to serve the pharaoh. Even the Harvard Magazine article doesn't seem to fully dismiss the idea that slaves were working on the pyramids - it merely states that at least some workers weren't slaves. Which is what you get if archeology is your only source of information, there will always be much uncertainty.

Maybe your source was National Geographics. However, it completely fails at explaining where this theory comes from and which facts speak in its favor. This BBC article does only a marginally better job, it lists some evidence but one is bound to ask whether a different interpretation of the same evidence wouldn't have been possible as well. Harvard Magazine manages to do it better (the interesting stuff doesn't come before page 5). To sum up:

  • The way pyramids are built shows high skill. I wouldn't consider this evidence by itself - the existence of skilled workers doesn't mean that there were no unskilled slaves doing the hard work.
  • The animal bones found in the "workers camp" indicate that they got lots good meat. This is more convincing even though it isn't given that Egyptians treated their slaves badly - the Greeks and Romans usually treated slaves pretty well actually. After all, good food is important if the worker is to work well.
  • There appears to be evidence of worker force rotation which contradicts the assumption that slaves were sent to build the pyramids until they die.

Still, even after reading this long article one has to ask himself whether the presented interpretation is the only one possible. I don't think that we have much information about the social status of slaves in Ancient Egypt, at least not to reliably distinguish slaves and free people with a social obligation to serve the pharaoh. Even the Harvard Magazine article doesn't seem to fully dismiss the idea that slaves were working on the pyramids - it merely states that at least some workers weren't slaves. Which is what you get if archeology is your only source of information, there will always be much uncertainty.

Maybe your source was National Geographics. However, it completely fails at explaining where this theory comes from and which facts speak in its favor (it prefers to present it as a fact). This BBC article does only a marginally better job, it lists some evidence but one is bound to ask whether a different interpretation of the same evidence wouldn't have been possible as well. Harvard Magazine manages to do it better (the interesting stuff doesn't come before page 5). To sum up:

  • The way pyramids are built shows high skill. I wouldn't consider this evidence by itself - the existence of skilled workers doesn't mean that there were no unskilled slaves doing the hard work.
  • The animal bones found in the "workers camp" indicate that they got lots good meat. This is more convincing even though it isn't given that Egyptians treated their slaves badly - the Greeks and Romans usually treated slaves pretty well actually. After all, good food is important if the worker is to work well.
  • There appears to be evidence of worker force rotation which contradicts the assumption that slaves were sent to build the pyramids until they die.

Still, even after reading this long article one has to ask himself whether the presented interpretation is the only one possible. I don't think that we have much information about the social status of slaves in Ancient Egypt, at least not to reliably distinguish slaves and free people with a social obligation to serve the pharaoh. Even the Harvard Magazine article doesn't seem to fully dismiss the idea that slaves were working on the pyramids - it merely states that at least some workers weren't slaves. Which is what you get if archeology is your only source of information, there will always be much uncertainty.

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Maybe your source was National Geographics. However, it completely fails at explaining where this theory comes from and which facts speak in its favor. This BBC article does only a marginally better job, it lists some evidence but one is bound to ask whether a different interpretation of the same evidence wouldn't have been possible as well. Harvard Magazine manages to do it better (the interesting stuff doesn't come before page 5). To sum up:

  • The way pyramids are built shows high skill. I wouldn't consider this evidence by itself - the existence of skilled workers doesn't mean that there were no unskilled slaves doing the hard work.
  • The animal bones found in the "workers camp" indicate that they got lots good meat. This is more convincing even though it isn't given that Egyptians treated their slaves badly - the Greeks and Romans usually treated slaves pretty well actually. After all, good food is important if the worker is to work well.
  • There appears to be evidence of worker force rotation which contradicts the assumption that slaves were sent to build the pyramids until they die.

Still, even after reading this long article one has to ask himself whether the presented interpretation is the only one possible. I don't think that we have much information about the social status of slaves in Ancient Egypt, at least not to reliably distinguish slaves and free people with a social obligation to serve the pharaoh. Even the Harvard Magazine article doesn't seem to fully dismiss the idea that slaves were working on the pyramids - it merely states that at least some workers weren't slaves. Which is what you get if archeology is your only source of information, there will always be much uncertainty.