First Fall 2018 ARCE Lecture, Lost City of Pyramids by Dr. Mark Lehner

Submitted by Selim S. Kuru on
Mark Lehner

As a part of the ARCE Lecture series, Dr. Mark Lehner presented a talk on October 2, 2018 about last year's AERA excavations for the Lost City of the Pyramids, next to Heit al-Ghurab, or Wall of Crow. In his well attended talk,  Dr. Lehner discussed work in the daily life of the ancient city of Khuf that was abandoned at the end of the 4th Dynasty (2575-2465 BC), the period of the Giza pyramid building. The talk informed the audience not only about the excavators' work on a series of galleries that are thought to have been the lodgings for the pyramid workers and a recently discovered large administration building, but also about the team work and educational enterprise AERA developed around the excavation site. Today, many members of the team are the students of the very successful Field School.

As explained on the AERA web-site, since 1988, the excavations of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project have focused on an ancient urban site about 400 meters (1312 feet) south of the Sphinx. The purpose of the excavation is to find evidence of the social and economic structures that supported the building and maintenance of the Giza pyramids. As Dr. Lehner stressed in his talk, "The purpose is not to find things, but to produce information" about the daily lives of people living in the urban settlements, some of the earliest cities in the world, and develop a better understanding of Ancient Egyptian city networks.

The so-called "Worker's Town" is dated to the reigns of Khafre and Menkaure, the builders of the second and third pyramids. This year's excavation focused on an older, different layout that lies beneath the Worker's Town that is hypothesized to be a much larger port city, the City of Khufu. To test this hypothesis, the excavation team analyzed what is know as Kromer's Dump finding deposited sealings, ceramic fractures, and various artifacts that had been used in daily chores. 

Dr. Lehner has been working in Egypt since 1974, when he went there to study at the American University in Cairo.

ARCE series will continue with the UW's Department of History Emeritus Professor Jere Bacharach's lecture on Islamic Cario from its beginnings until today on Wednesday 7, November 2018 at 7 PM in Smith Hall 211 at the University of Washington. NELC is proud to support ARCE lecture series.