Monday, August 29, 2022

Grain silo in ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians measured wealth in grain. They built silos and filled them with wheat and barley. The administrative building and silos were at the heart of the ancient community. Because grain was a form of currency, the silos functioned as a bank and a food source. The silos' size indicates the community was apparently a prosperous urban center.

Early people likely used the silo to fight against famine. They predominantly stored barley and wheat, and the silos had raised platforms and slight slopes for drainage and moisture protection. The early silos have been discovered in South Egypt that were large enough to support an entire urban community.

The ancient Egyptians made a practice of preserving grain in years of plenty against years of scarcity, and probably Joseph only carried out on a large scale a habitual practice. The climate of Egypt being very dry, grain could be stored in pits for a long time without sensible loss of quality.

Grain silos date back to the Third dynasty (2686-2613) and were utilized extensively in the Djoser Complex designed by Imhotep. In fact, the Step Pyramid seems to have been built on top of a shaft that could originally have been used to store grain. The complex seems to be a grain storage and distribution center.

In Tell Edfu, a 3500-year-old city of Egypt, Egyptians built the large, mud-brick buildings in a city courtyard. They were easy for people to get to. The storage facilities are used as grain depots. The grain bins are in a large silo courtyard of the 17th Dynasty (1630-1520 B.C.) and consist of at least seven round, mud-brick silos. Each silo measures 5.5-6.5 meters across.

Predating the silos was a mud-brick building with 16 wooden columns, dated by pottery and seal impressions found in the hall to the early 13th Dynasty (1773-1650 BC).
Grain silo in ancient Egypt