Ruins Near Pyramids Reveal Leopard Teeth, Calf Bones: Page 2

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Clues to a priestly complex

This discovery may help the archaeologists identify offering places and dwellings of ancient priests. Since the elite house is full of hind limbs (the remains of offerings), Redding suspects that bone deposits that contain mainly forelimbs would be located in places where the offerings were being made. [Photos: The Lost City of the Pyramid Builders]

In 2011 Redding and his colleagues discovered what might be just such a place. Archaeologists call it the "silo building complex," and it is located near a monument dedicated to Queen Khentkawes, possibly a daughter of the pharaoh Menkaure.

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"My analysis of the bones from the small excavations at (the building complex) in 2012, showed a strong bias towards forelimb elements — as to be expected in priestly garbage," Redding wrote in an email to LiveScience. "We will get larger samples this February, but right now my operating hypothesis is that the (complex) was occupied by royal cult priests."

Located near a basin that may be part of a larger harbor, this building complex "is flanked by long bakeries and contains a set of grain silos," Lehner said in his email. It "probably administered provisions and produced bread and other offerings."

The complex dates to a bit after the Giza Pyramids were built and may have been constructed at the site of an earlier town where people involved in the building of the Pyramid of Khafre (the second largest pyramid at Giza) lived.

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