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In 2019, Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) re-excavated the western third of the Menkaure Valley Temple (MVT), which was first excavated by George A. Reisner in 1908–1910. Thick, dark layers that contained material culture, including large samples of faunal remains, were found during the excavations. These dark layers were deposited by Reisner, as fill, in the western third of the MVT-W. The material culture in these dark redeposited layers, including the bone fragments, came from rooms and silos in the central courtyard of the MVT and represent the consumption remains from inhabitants of the MVT courtyard. We test the hypothesis that inhabitants in the MVT courtyard are dependents of the temple receiving their provisions as part of their rights established by royal decree.
The majority of the bones came from cattle, with only three fish bones, and fifty-seven bird bones being identified; clearly cattle were the most significant food source. Most of the cattle were greater than 3.5 years of age. Forelimb fragments are over-represented and biased toward the right side. The sample of cattle probably represents the consumption of offerings. The diet of the inhabitants of the MVT courtyard differs from the diets of those inhabiting other parts of the Giza area.