Thisarticle aims to describe specific geomorphic and environmental problems thatdistressed the inhabitants of Giza and empirical reasoning for the relocationof administration of the fifth Dynasty. The purpose of this geo-archaeological investigation was toexamine Giza’s unique environmental history along with following human andarchitectural consequences.
TheGiza Plateau Mapping Project facilitated a synoptic overview and mappingof the levels and structures for a 6 ha area that became accessible for theauthors. With a program of drillcoring guided by a GPS unit, the authors extracted samples and analyzed them inlaboratories to draw conclusions about the site. Laboratory analysis ofsoils and sediments along with GPMP dating concluded the site was poorly chosen being vulnerable to ahigh-amplitude precipitation anomaly of 120 years, during which mudbrickmeltdown, catastrophic flash floods, and mass-movements destroyed the royalcomplex of mudbrick galleries, workshops and bread-making kilns. Thelaboratory phase of our project included visual study of the drill-coresamples, dry-sieving of 164 sets of eight sieves each, and 186 MagneticSusceptibility samples.
Laboratory analysis of soils and sediments along withcarbon dating by the team concluded “Galleries” had been built over Wadideposits, but were repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt with changing methods inthe wake of stream erosion, mudbrick meltdown, and mass movements during thelife of Giza under the reign of Menkaure. Geoarchaeology can also providecritical context, practical clues, and greater meaning for archaeologicalsurveys and excavations. This analytical review illustrates the underlyingrationale of a subfield archaeology that has great potential forinterdisciplinary understanding as the stratigraphic profile created by theauthors consequently allow archaeologists to better locate ancient cities and artifacts and estimate by thequality of soil how “prehistoric” they are.