An excerpted interview with Mark Lehner
NOVA: Tell us about your current excavation at Giza. Does it stem from a desire to define who built the pyramids and how they were built?
LEHNER: I started asking new questions. Not who built the Sphinx, and how were the pyramids built, but where are all the people? It seemed to me that 200 years of Egyptology had focused on pyramids, tombs and temples, and hieroglyphic inscriptions, and understandably so. Once you could read those things, my God, they were speaking to you in every tomb and temple wall. But if in fact as Herodotus said, there were 100,000 people—Herodotus the Greek, who wrote about 450 B.C.—if it took 100,000 people to build the great pyramid, I started thinking, having started to do some reading in anthropology, my God, that would be a super city in the third millennium B.C. Where is the city? How were they fed? How were they housed? Now Egyptologists have more sober estimates of some 20,000, 30,000, but even that would be a colossal city. So I started saying, well, we must be missing a whole component of the Giza Plateau, namely the people who built it, the evidence of their infrastructure. But it was the geology or the geomorphology, the shape of the landscape, that gave me the clues. Continue reading The Dig On Pyramids