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The Ground Plan as a Tool for The Identification and Study of Houses in an Old Kingdom Special-Purpose Settlement at Heit el-Ghurab, Giza


The ground plan is an essential goal of the settlement archaeologist. For the archaeologist who would attempt to glean evidence of settlements of the Old Kingdom (c. 2543 - 2120 BCE), the ground plan is most often the ultimate goal, for although the seemingly eternal stone funerary monuments of Giza dominate the Old Kingdom landscape (both literally and figuratively), the Pyramid Age has not left standing the mudbrick walls of the houses within which people lived--the preponderance of Old-Kingdom wall remnants comprising mere centimeters. Without an accurate ground plan, material culture and faunal and botanical evidence have no context. This study presents a detailed, concrete analysis and comparison of the ground plans of two structures that can be interpreted as houses from the Old Kingdom, 4th-dynasty (2543 – 2436 BCE) settlement site of Heit el-Ghurab at Giza. The houses whose ground plans are presented here are representative of a corpus of unpublished probable dwellings from this site, which excavation suggests was a “special-purpose” settlement that housed and provisioned the personnel engaged in the monumental constructions on the Giza plateau.

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