Excavated mainly by teams from Egypt, Germany, Italy, and the United States during the first half of this century, thousands of artifacts and excavation records from the tombs at Giza are still in the process of complete publication and study. It is from the archaeological excavation of burials and the detailed study of their contents that egyptologists have assembled many details about life in ancient egypt. Several thousand people were buried at giza, beginning in at least the 4th dynasty and perhaps earlier. The tombs of relatives of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, as well as their court officials and priests have been found. The earliest burials were in the deep shafts (some of which are 100+ ft. deep), in the clusters of shaft tombs around them, and in tombs cut into the rock. After the reign of khufu, the orderly development of the necropolis with streets and avenues, gave way to intrusive burials and overcrowding. There is some debate amongst egyptologists about the original layout and development of the necropolis un-der khufu. It is not known for certain whether the earli-est mastabas were already in existence, were “prefabricated” and then assigned to specific individuals, or were built only on contractual arrangement by specific individuals.

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