A machinist has a look at the "stones" of ancient egyptian art and architecture:
The Great Pyramid leads a long list of artifacts that have been incredibly misunderstood and misinterpreted by Egyptologists. They have postulated
theories and methods based on a collection of tools that are, at best, questionable. For the most part, primitive tools that have been uncovered would
be considered contemporaneous with the artifacts of the same period. This period in Egyptian history, however, resulted in artifacts being produced in
prolific number with no tools surviving to explain their creation. The ancient Egyptians left artifacts behind that are unexplainable in simple terms.
The tools that have been uncovered do not fully represent the "state-of-the-art" that is physically evident in these artifacts. There are some
intriguing objects surviving this civilization which, despite its most visible and impressive monuments, has left us with only a sketchy understanding
of its full experience on planet Earth.''
We would be hard pressed to produce many of these artifacts today, even using our advanced methods of manufacturing. The tools displayed as
instruments for the creation of these incredible artifacts are physically incapable of reproducing many of the artifacts in question. Along with the
enormous task of quarrying, cutting and erecting the Great Pyramid and its neighbors, thousands of tons of hard igneous rock, such as granite and
diorite, were carved with extreme proficiency and accuracy. After standing in awe before these engineering marvels and then being shown a paltry
collection of copper implements in the tool case at the Cairo Museum, one comes away with a sense of frustration, futility and wonder.
The first British Egyptologist, Sir. William Flinders Petrie, recognized that these tools were insufficient. He admitted it in his book "Pyramids and
Temples of Gizeh", and expressed amazement regarding the methods the ancient Egyptians were using to cut hard igneous rocks, crediting them with
methods that "......we are only now coming to understand." So why do modern Egyptologists identify this work with a few primitive copper
Undoubtedly, some of the artifacts that Petrie was studying were produced using lathes. There is evidence, too, in the Cairo Museum of clearly defined
lathe tool marks on some "sarcophagi" lids. The Cairo Museum contains enough evidence that, when properly analyzed, will prove beyond all shadow of
doubt that the ancient Egyptians used highly sophisticated manufacturing methods. For generations the focus has centered on the nature of the cutting
tools that the ancient Egyptians used. While in Egypt in February 1995, I uncovered evidence that clearly moves us beyond that question to ask "what
guided the cutting tool?"
Although the ancient Egyptians are not given credit for having a simple wheel, the evidence proves they had a more sophisticated use for the wheel.
The evidence of lathe work is markedly distinct on some artifacts that are housed in the Cairo Museum and also those that were studied by Petrie. Two
pieces of diorite in Petrie’s collection were identified by him to be the result of true turning on a lathe.
It is true that intricate objects can be created without the aid of machinery, simply by rubbing the material with an abrasive, such as sand, using a
piece of bone or wood to apply pressure. The relics Petrie was looking at, however, in his words "could not be produced by any grinding or rubbing
process which pressed on the surface."
To the inexperienced eye, the object Petrie was studying would hardly be considered remarkable. It was a simple bowl, made out of simple rock.
Studying the bowl closely, however, Petrie found that the spherical concave radius, forming the dish, had an unusual feel to it. Closer examination
revealed a sharp cusp where two radii intersected. This indicates that the radii were cut on two separate axes of rotation.
Having worked on lathes, I have witnessed the same condition when a component has been removed from the lathe and then worked on again without being
On examining other pieces from Giza, Petrie found another bowl shard which had the marks of true lathe-turning. This time, though, instead of shifting
the workpiece’s axis of rotation, a second radius was cut by shifting the pivot point of the tool. With this radius they machined just short of the
perimeter of the dish, leaving a small lip. Again, a sharp cusp defined the intersection of the two radii.
While browsing through the Cairo Museum, I found evidence of lathe turning on a large scale. A sarcophagus lid had distinctive marks of lathe
The radius of the lid terminated with a blend radius at shoulders on both ends. The tool marks near these corner radii are the same as those I have
witnessed when turning an object with an intermittent cut. The tool is deflected under pressure from the cut. It then relaxes when the section of cut
is finished. When the workpiece comes round again to the tool, the initial pressure causes the tool to dig in. As the cut progresses, the amount of
"dig in" is diminished.
On the sarcophagus lid in the Cairo Museum, tool marks indicating these conditions are exactly where one would expect to find them!
Petrie also studied the sawing methods of the pyramid builders. He concluded that their saws must have been at least 9 feet long. Again, there are
indications of modern methods of sawing on the artifacts Petrie was studying. The sarcophagus in the King’s Chamber inside the Great Pyramid has saw
marks on the north end that are identical to saw marks I have seen on granite surface plates.
Today, these saw marks would reflect either the differences in the aggregate dimensions of a wire band-saw with the abrasive the wire entraps to do
the cutting, or the side-to-side movement of the wire or the wheels that drive the wire. The result of either of these conditions is a series of
slight grooves. The distance between the grooves is determined by the feed-rate and either the distance between the variation in diameter of the saw,
or the diameter of the wheels. The distance between the grooves on the coffer inside the King’s Chamber is approximately .050 inch.
Egyptian artifacts representing tubular drilling are the most clearly astounding and conclusive evidence yet presented to identify the knowledge and
technology existing in pre-history. The ancient pyramid builders used a technique for drilling holes that is commonly known as "trepanning." This
technique leaves a central core and is an efficient means of hole making. For holes that didn’t go all the way through the material, they reached a
desired depth and then broke the core out of the hole. It was not only evident in the holes that Petrie was studying, but on the cores cast aside by
the masons who had done the trepanning. Regarding tool marks which left a spiral groove on a core taken out of a hole drilled into a piece of granite,
"The spiral of the cut sinks .100 inch in the circumference of 6 inches, or 1 in 60, a rate of ploughing out of the quartz and feldspar which is
After reading this, I had to agree with Petrie. This was an incredible feed-rate for drilling into any material, let alone granite. I was completely
confounded as to how a drill could achieve this feedrate. Petrie was so astounded by these artifacts that he attempted to explain them at three
different points in one chapter. To an engineer in the 1880’s, what Petrie was looking at was an anomaly. The characteristics of the holes, the
cores that came out of them, and the tool marks indicated an impossibility. Three distinct characteristics of the hole and core make the artifacts
extremely remarkable. They are...
[edit on 26-9-2006 by undo]