Archaeologists have discovered two ancient homes near the Giza pyramids in Egypt. The structures may have housed officials responsible for overseeing the production of food for a paramilitary force more than 4,500 years ago.

The residences were found in an ancient port at Giza that flourished at a time when the Pyramid of Menkaure was being constructed at Giza. (Menkaure was a pharaoh who reigned from around 2490 B.C. to 2472 B.C.)

One of the structures may have housed an official who oversaw the containment and slaughtering of animals for food, while a priest who was part of an institution called the "wadaat" may have lived in the other home, archaeologists said.


The two residences are located near a series of structures called galleries, which may have housed a paramilitary force at Giza, Lehner said. These galleries may have held more than 1,000 people. Any food produced near the two residences was likely meant mainly for people living in the galleries, although some of the food could have reached people working at the Menkaure pyramid, Lehner said.

Just the food necessary to feed those living in the galleries would have been immense. The amount of emmer wheat required may have been 877.54 kilograms (1,934 lbs.) per day, calculated Claire Malleson, an archaeobotanist with Ancient Egypt Research Associates, in a paper published in the book "Exploring the Materiality of Food Stuffs" (Routledge, 2017).