from GizaPower Website
In August, 1984, Analog magazine published my article "Advanced Machining in Ancient Egypt?"
It was a study of "Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh," written by Sir. William Flinders Petrie. Since the article’s publication, I have visited Egypt twice, and with each visit I leave with more respect for the ancient pyramid builders. While in Egypt in 1986, I visited the Cairo museum and gave a copy of my article, along with a business card, to the director of the museum.
He thanked me kindly, threw it in a drawer to join other sundry material, and turned away.
Another Egyptologist led me to the "tool room" to educate me in the methods of the ancient masons by showing me a few cases that housed primitive copper tools. I asked my host about the cutting of granite, for this was the focus of my article. He explained that the ancient Egyptians cut a slot in the granite, inserted wooden wedges, and then soaked them with water. The wood swelled creating pressure that split the rock.
Splitting rock is vastly different than machining it and he did not explain how copper implements were able to cut granite, but he was so enthusiastic with his dissertation that I did not interrupt.
To prove his argument, he walked me over
to a nearby travel agent encouraging me to buy airplane tickets to
Aswan, where, he said, the evidence is clear. I must, he insisted,
see the quarry marks there, as well as the unfinished obelisk.
After learning some of the Egyptian customs, I got the impression that this was not the first time that my Egyptologist friend had made that trip to the travel agent. The quarry marks I saw there did not satisfy me that the methods described were the only means by which the pyramid builders quarried their rock.
There is a large round hole drilled into the bedrock hillside, that measures approximately 12 inches in diameter and 3 feet deep that is located in the channel, which runs the length of the estimated 3,000 ton obelisk. The hole was drilled at an angle with the top intruding into the channel space.
The ancients may have used drills to remove material from the perimeter of the obelisk, knocked out the webs between the holes, and then removed the cusps.
South of the second pyramid I found an abundance of quarry marks of similar nature. The granite casing stones that had sheathed the second pyramid were stripped off and lying around the base in various stages of destruction. Some of the stones were still in place, though sections had been split away from them, and there I found the same quarry marks that I had seen earlier in the week at Aswan. This was puzzling to me.
Disregarding the impossibility of Egyptologists’ theories on the ancient pyramid builders’ quarrying methods, are they really valid even from a non-technical, logical viewpoint?
If these quarry marks distinctively identify the people who created the pyramids, why would they engage in such a tremendous amount of extremely difficult work only to destroy their work after having completed it?
It seems to me that the quarry marks found at Aswan and on the Giza Plateau were from a later period of time, and they were created by people who were interested only in obtaining granite without caring about the source from where it came.
The hammer was probably the first tool ever invented, and hammers have forged some elegant and beautiful artifacts. Ever since man first learned that he could effect profound changes in his environment by applying force with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the development of tools has been a continuous and fascinating aspect of human endeavor.
The Great Pyramid leads a long list of artifacts that have been misunderstood and misinterpreted by archaeologists, who have promoted theories and methods that are based on a collection of tools that they struggle with to replicate the most simple aspects of the work.
For the most part, primitive tools that are discovered are considered contemporaneous with the artifacts of the same period.
Yet during this period in Egyptian history, artifacts were produced in prolific number with no tools surviving to explain their creation. The ancient Egyptians created artifacts that cannot be explained in simple terms. These tools do not fully represent the "state of the art" that is evident in the artifacts.
There are some intriguing objects that survived after this civilization, and in spite of its most visible and impressive monuments, we have only a sketchy understanding of the full scope of its technology. The tools displayed by Egyptologists as instruments for the creation of many of these incredible artifacts are physically incapable of reproducing them.
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 bemused and frustrated.
He credited them with methods that,
So why do modern mainstream
Egyptologists insist that this work was accomplished with a few
primitive copper instruments?
When I look at an artifact to investigate how it was manufactured, I am not concerned about its history or chronology. Having spent most of my career working with the machinery that actually creates modern artifacts, such as jet-engine components, I am able to analyze and determine how an artifact was created. I have also had training and experience in some non-conventional manufacturing methods, such as laser processing and electrical discharge machining.
Having said that, I should state that contrary to some popular speculations, I have not seen evidence of laser for cutting on the Egyptian rocks. Still, there is evidence for other non-conventional machining methods, as well as more sophisticated, conventional type sawing, lathe and milling practices. Undoubtedly, some of the artifacts that Petrie was studying were produced using lathes.
There is also evidence of clearly defined lathe tool marks on some "sarcophagi" lids.
The Cairo Museum contains enough evidence that will prove that the ancient Egyptians used highly sophisticated manufacturing methods once its properly analyzed. For generations the focus has centered on the nature of the cutting tools used by the ancient Egyptians.
While in Egypt in February 1995, I discovered evidence that raises the question,
A variety of people have speculated that to erect a building as perfect as the Great Pyramid, the builders must have possessed supernatural powers.
Some even speculate that the builders used lasers to cut the masonry and then levitated the stones into place in the pyramid. While I cannot speak authoritatively regarding the builders’ powers of levitation, whether the implementation of those powers was through the use of the mind or through the use of technology, I can say with reasonable confidence that no lasers were used in cutting the materials which went into building the Great Pyramid.
Although the laser is a wonderful tool with many uses, its function as a cutting tool is limited to economically viable applications, such as cutting small holes in thin pieces of metal and refractory material.
As a general purpose cutting tool, it
cannot compete with the machining methods that were available before
While there are some interesting points
to be made concerning the limestone that encased the pyramid, and
they will be addressed later, these stones do not offer the same
information about the methods that were used to produce them as the
thousands of tons of granite. At the expense of considerable time
and effort by the original creators, the granite artifacts found in
the Great Pyramid and at other sites in Egypt offer the clues we are
These artifacts, scrutinized by William Flinders Petrie, are all fragments of extremely hard igneous rock.
These pieces of granite and diorite exhibit marks that are the same as those resulting from cutting hard igneous rock with modern machinery. It is surprising that Petrie’s studies of these fragments have not attracted greater attention, for there is unmistakable evidence of machine tooling methods.
It will probably surprise many people to know that evidence proving that the ancient Egyptians used tools such as straight saws, circular saws, and even lathes has been recognized for over a century.
The lathe is the father of all machine tools in existence, and Petrie submits evidence showing that not only were lathes used by the ancient Egyptians, but they performed tasks which would, by today’s standards, be considered impossible without highly developed specialized techniques, such as cutting concave and convex spherical radii without splintering the material.
Petrie's Samples of Machining
One can gather by reading Petrie’s work that he involved himself in some extensive research regarding the tools that were employed in cutting hard stone.
Even so, there is a persisting belief among some Egyptologists that the granite used in the Great Pyramid was cut using copper chisels.
In proposing more primitive methods of manufacture, it has been demonstrated that copper charged with quartz sand can also be used to wear away the granite.
Also, small balls made of dolorite, a
stone that is harder than granite, have been found in the granite
quarries which have led Egyptologists to suggest that granite
artifacts were created by bashing the material.
However, the manner in which the masons
used their tools can be discussed, and, perhaps if we compare
current methods of cutting granite with the finished product (i.e.
the granite coffers), there may be some basis on which to draw a
The wire is a continuous loop that is held by two wheels, one of the wheels being the driver. Between the wheels, which can vary in distance depending on the size of the machine, the granite is cut by being pushed against the wire or by being held firmly and allowing the wire to feed through it.
The wire does not cut the granite, but
is designed to effectively hold the silicon carbide grit that does
the actual cutting.
With my experience in machine shops and
the countless number of times I have had to use a saw (both handsaws
and power saws), there appears to be strong evidence that, in at
least some instances, the latter method was used.
The above was Petrie’s notes on the coffer inside the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid.
The following concerns the coffer inside the Second Pyramid:
Petrie estimated that a pressure of one to two tons on jeweled tipped bronze saws would have been necessary to cut through the extremely hard granite.
If we agree with these estimates as well
as with the methods proposed by Egyptologists regarding the
construction of the pyramids, then a severe inequity can be
discerned between the two.
The workmen were given a guideline with
which to work. The accuracy exhibited in the dimensions of the
coffers confirms this, plus the fact that guidelines of some sort
would have been necessary to alert the masons of their error.
While cutting steel with handsaws, an
object that has a long workface, and certainly one with such
dimensions as the coffers, would not be cut with great rapidity, and
the direction the saw may turn can be seen well in advance of a
serious mistake being made; the smaller the work-piece, naturally,
the faster the blade would cut through it.
To make a restart of this type it is
necessary that very little pressure is put on the blade. With these
considerations, it is doubtful that Petrie’s deductions of two to
three tons pressure being necessary to cut the granite can be
Also, the blade of the handsaw would be
moving quite slowly; a fact that would question further the
suggestion of a handsaw being used. At such a slow speed and with
very little pressure, accomplishment of such a feat would be almost,
if not completely, impossible.
The blade can be held in a fixed
position, with uniform pressure over the entire length of the blade,
and in the direction necessary to restart. This front and side
pressure can be accurately maintained until sufficient material has
been removed from the work-piece to allow a continuation of normal
At the same time he was studying the cutting mistakes in the granite, he was also noticing other features:
If the operators of the saw, in an attempt to correct a mistake, had tilted their blade in the manner described above, the saw lines would show a difference with the pre-error saw lines, because they would be at an angle.
The mistakes in the granite were found on the north side of the coffer, and Petrie observed that the saw lines on this side were horizontal.
Following Petrie’s footsteps in 1986, I was able to verify his observations of the coffer in the Great Pyramid. The saw lines on the side where the mistakes were made are all horizontal. Any argument proposing that the mistake was overcome by tilting the blade, which is probably the only method that would be successful using a hand-saw, is invalidated.
This evidence points to the distinct
probability that the pyramid builders possessed motorized machinery
when they cut the granite found inside the Great Pyramid and the
The distance between the grooves on the
coffer inside the King's Chamber is approximately .050 inch.
According to Petrie, these drill holes were made with tube-drills, which left a central core that had to be knocked away after the hole had been cut. After all the holes had been drilled, and all the cores removed, Petrie surmises that the coffer was then hand-worked to its desired dimension.
The machinists on this particular piece of granite once again let their tools get the better of them, and the resulting errors are still to be found on the inside of the coffer in the King's Chamber:
The errors noted by Petrie are not uncommon in modern machine shops, and I must confess to having made them myself on occasion.
Several factors could be involved in
creating this condition, although I cannot visualize any one of them
being a hand operation. Once again, while working their drill into
the granite, the machinists had made a mistake before they had time
to correct it.
It is inconceivable to me that such a depth could be achieved with a hand-operated drill without the frequent withdrawal of the drill to clean out the hole, or provisions being made for the removal of the waste while the drill was still cutting.
It is possible, therefore, that frequent withdrawals of the drill would expose their error, and that they would have noticed the direction their drill was taking before it had cut a 0.200 inch gouge into the side of the coffer, and before it had reached a depth of 8 or 9 inches.
Can’t we see the same situation with the
drill as with the saw? Here we have two high speed operations where
errors are made before the operators have time to correct them.
Two pieces of diorite in Petrie’s
collection he identified as being the result of true turning on a
The relics Petrie was looking at, however, in his words,
The object Petrie was studying would hardly be considered remarkable to the inexperienced eye. It was a simple rock bowl.
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.
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 distinct lathe turning marks. 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 observed 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 work-piece 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.
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 that left a spiral groove on a core taken out of a hole drilled into a piece of granite, he wrote,
After reading this, I had to agree with Petrie.
This was an incredible feed-rate (distance traveled per revolution of the drill) for drilling into any material, let alone granite. I was completely confounded as to how a drill could achieve this feed-rate. 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, as illustrated, make the artifacts extremely remarkable.
In conventional machining the reverse would be the case.
In 1983, Mr. Donald Rahn of Rahn Granite Surface Plate Co., Dayton, Ohio, told me that in drilling granite, diamond drills, rotating at 900 revolutions per minute, penetrate at the rate of 1 inch in 5 minutes.
In 1996, Eric Leither of Trustone Corp, told me that these parameters haven't changed since then. The feed-rate of modern drills, therefore, calculates to be 0.0002 inch per revolution, indicating that the ancient Egyptians were able to cut their granite with a feed rate that was 500 times greater or deeper per revolution of the drill than modern drills. The other characteristics also create a problem for modern drills. They cut a tapered hole with a spiral groove that was cut deeper through the harder constituent of the granite.
If conventional machining methods cannot
answer just one of these questions, how do we answer all three?
He stated that it was used,
In his documentary Obelisk I, Lehner
passionately states that he is convinced that hieroglyphs and
reliefs, the attributes of which Petrie marveled at because of their
fine cross sections, measuring a mere .100 inch, indicating that the
tool that created them had to have ploughed through the granite in a
single pass, were actually created by bashing the granite with
Even so, there is a persisting belief among some Egyptologists that the granite used in the Great Pyramid was cut using copper chisels.
I.E.S. Edwards, British Egyptologist and the world's foremost expert on pyramids, makes the following statement.
Hopefully, besides mainstream Egyptologists, such as Mark Lehner and IES Edwards, (RIP) other Egyptologists do not suggest that the copper chisels, that can now be found in the Cairo Museum, were representative of the tools used to build the pyramids.
If they were I would strongly suggest
that they make an effort to learn about the materials and processes
that they are proposing by actually creating one of these artifacts.
To identify copper as the metal used for cutting granite is like
saying that aluminum could be cut using a chisel fashioned out of
butter. What follows is a more feasible and logical method, and it
provides an answer to the question of techniques used by the ancient
Egyptians in drilling into granite.
The taper indicates an increase in the cutting surface area of the drill as it cut deeper, hence an increase in the resistance. A uniform feed under these conditions, using manpower, would be impossible. Petrie theorized that a ton or two of pressure was applied to a tubular drill consisting of bronze inset with jewels.
However, this doesn’t take into
consideration that under several thousand pounds pressure the jewels
would undoubtedly work their way into the softer substance, leaving
the granite relatively unscathed after the attack. Nor does this
method explain the groove being deeper through the quartz.
In "Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries," Lucas takes issue with Petrie's conclusion that the grooves were the result of fixed jewel points.
Lucas goes on to speculate that withdrawing the tube-drill in order to remove waste and insert fresh grit into the hole created the grooves.
There are problems with this theory. It is doubtful that a simple tool that is being turned by hand will remain turning while the artisans draw it out of the hole. Likewise, placing the tool back into a clean hole with fresh grit would not require that the tool rotate until it was at the workface.
There is also the question of the taper
on both the hole and the core. Both would effectively provide
clearance between the tool and the granite, thereby making
sufficient contact to create the grooves impossible under these
Ultrasonic machining is the oscillatory motion of a tool that chips away material, like a jackhammer chipping away at a piece of concrete pavement, except much faster and not as measurable in its reciprocation.
The ultrasonic tool-bit, vibrating at 19,000 to 25,000 cycles per second (Hertz) has found unique application in the precision machining of odd-shaped holes in hard, brittle material such as hardened steels, carbides, ceramics and semiconductors.
An abrasive slurry or paste is used to
accelerate the cutting action.
An ultrasonically vibrating tool-bit
would find numerous sympathetic partners while cutting through
granite, embedded right in the granite itself! Instead of resisting
the cutting action, the quartz would be induced to respond and
vibrate in sympathy with the high frequency waves and amplify the
abrasive action as the tool cut through it.
A buildup of abrasive on one side of the
tool may have cut the groove as the tool spiraled into the granite.
The outside diameter getting gradually smaller, creating clearance between the tool and the hole, and the inside diameter getting larger, creating clearance between the tool and the central core.
This would allow a free flow of abrasive
slurry to reach the cutting area.
As the tool became worn, the hole and the core would reflect this wear in the form of a taper.
It can also be screwed into the work-piece. The spiral groove can be explained if we consider one of the methods that is predominantly used to uniformly advance machine components. The rotational speed of the drill is not factor in this cutting method. The rotation of the drill is merely a means to advance the drill into the work-piece.
Using a screw and nut method the tube drill could be efficiently advanced into the work-piece by turning in a clockwise direction. The screw would gradually thread through the nut, forcing the oscillating drill into the granite. It would be the ultrasonically induced motion of the drill that would do the cutting and not the rotation. The latter would only be needed to sustain a cutting action at the workface.
By definition, the process is not a
drilling process, by conventional standards, but a grinding process
in which abrasives are caused to impact the material in such a way
that a controlled amount of material is removed.
Clyde Treadwell of Sonic Mill Inc., Albuquerque, NM, explained to me that when an off-centered drill rotated into the granite, it would gradually be forced into alignment with the rotational axis of the drilling machines axis.
The grooves, he claims, could be created
as the drill was rapidly withdrawn from the hole.
Methods may have been proposed that
might cover a singular aspect of the machine marks and not progress
to the method described here. It is when we search for a single
method that provides an answer for all data that we move away from
primitive, and even conventional machining, and are forced to
consider methods that are somewhat anomalous for that period in
It is doubtful that Egyptologists will
share my conclusions regarding the pyramid builders' drilling
methods, and it would be beneficial to perform these tests in order
to prove conclusively the true methods used by the pyramid builders
for cutting stone.
While there, I came across and measured some artifacts produced by the ancient pyramid builders, which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that highly advanced and sophisticated tools and methods were employed by this ancient civilization. Two of the artifacts in question are well known; another is not, but it is more accessible, since it is laying out in the open, partly buried in the sand of the Giza plateau.
For this trip to Egypt I had brought along some instruments with which I had planned to inspect features I had identified during my trip in 1986.
The instruments were:
I had brought along the contour gage to check the inside of the mouth of the southern shaft inside the King's Chamber, for reasons to be discussed in a forthcoming chapter.
Unfortunately, I found out after getting there that things had changed since my last visit.
In 1993, a German robotics engineer named Rudolph Gantenbrink installed a fan inside this opening and, therefore, it was inaccessible to me and I was unable to check it. I had taken along the parallel for quick checking the surface of granite artifacts to determine their precision.
The indicator was to be attached to the parallel for further inspection of suitable artifacts. Though the indicator didn’t survive the rigors of international travel, the instruments with which I was left were adequate for me to form a conclusion about the precision to which the ancient Egyptians were working. The first object I inspected was the sarcophagus inside the second (Khafra’s) pyramid on the Giza Plateau.
I climbed inside the box and, with a flashlight and the parallel, was astounded to find the surface on the inside of the box perfectly smooth and perfectly flat. Placing the edge of the parallel against the surface I shone my flashlight behind it. No light came through the interface.
No matter where I moved the parallel,
vertically, horizontally, sliding it along as one would a gage on a
precision surface plate I couldn’t detect any deviation from a
perfectly flat surface.
The tour guides were becoming quite
animated, too. I sensed that they probably didn’t think it was
appropriate for a live foreigner to be where they believed a dead
Egyptian should go, so I respectfully removed myself from the
sarcophagus and continued my examination outside.
The inside of a huge granite box
finished off to an accuracy that we reserve for precision surface
plates? How did they do this? And why did they do it? Why did they
find this piece so important that they would go to such trouble? It
would be impossible to do this kind of work on the inside of an
object by hand. Even with modern machinery it would be a very
difficult and complicated task!
He stated that the mean variation of the piece was 0.04 inch. Not knowing where the variation he measured was, I’m not going to make any strong assertions except to say that it’s possible to have an object with geometry that varies in length, width and height and still maintain perfectly flat surfaces.
Surface plates are ground and lapped to within 0.0001-0003 inch, depending on the grade of the specific surface plate; however the thickness may vary more than the .04 inch that Petrie noted on this sarcophagus. A surface plate, though, is a single surface and would represent only one outside surface of a box. Moreover, the equipment used to finish the inside of a box would be vastly different than that used to finish the outside.
The task would be much more problematic to grind and lap the inside of a box to the accuracy I had observed, which would result in a precise and flat surface to the point where the flat surface meets the corner radius. There are physical and technical problems associated with a task like this that are not easy to solve.
One could use drills to rough the inside
out, but when it came to finishing a box of this size with an inside
depth of 29.59 inches while maintaining a corner radius of less than
1/2 inch, there are some significant challenges to overcome.
I had followed Hancock and Bauval on their trip to this site for a filming on Feb. 24, 1995. We were in the stifling atmosphere of the tunnels, where the dust kicked up by tourists lay heavily in the still air. These tunnels contain 21 huge granite boxes. Each box weighs an estimated 65 tons, and, together with the huge lid that sits on top of them, the total weight of the assembly is around 100 tons.
Just inside the entrance of the tunnels
there is a lid that had not been finished and beyond this lid,
barely fitting within the confines of one of the tunnels, is a
granite box that had also been rough hewn.
With no room for the hundreds of slaves
pulling on ropes to position these boxes, how were they moved into
I looked for errors and couldn’t find any. I wished at that time that I had the proper equipment to scan the entire surface and ascertain the full scope of the work. Nonetheless, I was perfectly happy to use my flashlight and straight edge and stand in awe of this incredibly precise and incredibly huge artifact. Checking the lid and the surface on which it sat, I found them both to be perfectly flat. It occurred to me that this gave the manufacturers of this piece a perfect seal.
Two perfectly flat surfaces pressed together, with the weight of one pushing out the air between the two surfaces. The technical difficulties in finishing the inside of this piece made the sarcophagus in Khafra’s pyramid seem simple in comparison.
Canadian researcher Robert McKenty accompanied me at
this time. He saw the significance of the discovery and was filming
with his camera. At that moment I knew how Howard Carter
must have felt when he discovered Tutankhamen's tomb.
Surely it would have been better to finish the work in the open air?
I was so astonished by this find that it didn’t occur to me until later that the builders of these relics, for some esoteric reason, intended for them to be ultra precise. They had taken the trouble to bring into the tunnel the unfinished product and finish it underground for a good reason! It is the logical thing to do if you require a high degree of precision in the piece that you are working.
To finish it with such precision at a site that maintained a different atmosphere and a different temperature, such as in the open under the hot sun, would mean that when it was finally installed in the cool, cave-like temperatures of the tunnel, you would lose that precision. The granite would change its shape through thermal expansion and contraction.
The solution then as it is now, of
course, is to prepare precision surfaces in the location in which
they were going to be housed.
The Egyptians’ intentions with respect to precision are perfectly clear, but to what end?
I would suggest that further studies of these artifacts be made and, where applicable, should include thorough mapping and inspection with the following tools.
For an update on the precision of these
He responded as follows:
Eric went on to say that his company did
not have the equipment or capabilities to produce the boxes in this
manner. He said that his company would create the boxes in 5 pieces,
ship them to the customer and bolt them together on site.
I concluded, after doing a preliminary check of this piece, that the ancient pyramid builders had to have used a machine with three axes of movement (X-Y-Z) to guide the tool in three-dimensional space to create it. Outside of being incredibly precise, normal flat surfaces, being simple geometry, can justifiably be explained away by simple methods.
This piece, though, drives us beyond the question,
In addressing this question and being
comfortable with the answer, it is helpful to have a working
knowledge of contour machining.
We have developed machine tools to create the dies that produce the aesthetic contours on the cars that we drive, the radios we listen to and the appliances we use. To create the dies to produce these items, a cutting tool has to accurately follow a predetermined contoured path in three dimensions. In some applications it will move in three dimensions, simultaneously using three or more axes of movement.
The artifact that I was looking at required a minimum of three axes of motion to machine it. When the machine tool industry was relatively young, techniques were employed where the final shape was finished by hand, using templates as a guide. Today, with the use of precision computer numerical control machines, there is little call for handwork.
A little polishing to remove unwanted tool marks may be the only handwork required.
To know that an artifact has been
produced on such a machine, therefore, one would expect to see a
precise surface with indications of tool marks that show the path of
the tool. This is what I found on the Giza Plateau, laying out in
the open south of the Great Pyramid about 100 yards east of the
I found I needed every tool that I had brought with me to inspect it.
I was most interested in the accuracy of the contour and its symmetry.
The seat is a contour that blends into the walls of the arms and the back. I checked the contour using the profile gage along three axes of its length, starting at the blend radius near the back, and ending near the tangency point, which blended smoothly where the contour radius meets the front. The wire radius gage is not the best way to determine the accuracy of this piece.
When adjusting the wires at one position on the block and moving to another position, the gage could be re-seated on the contour, but questions could be raised as to whether the hand that positioned it compensated for some inaccuracy in the contour. However, placing the parallel at several points along and around the axes of the contour, I found the surface to be extremely precise.
At one point near a crack in the piece,
there was light showing through, but the rest of the piece allowed
very little to show.
It wasn’t long after I had pulled the tools out of my backpack that I had two willing helpers, Mohammed and Mustapha, who weren’t at all interested in compensation. At least that’s what they told me, but I can honestly say that I lost my shirt on that adventure. I had cleaned sand and dirt out of the corner of the larger block and washed it out with water.
I used a white T-shirt that I was carrying in my backpack to wipe the corner out so I could get an impression of it with forming wax. Mustapha talked me into giving him the shirt before I left. I was so inspired by what I had found I tossed it to him. Mohammed held the wire gage at different points along the contour while I took photographs of it.
I then took the forming wax and heated
it with a match, kindly provided by the Movenpick hotel, then
pressed it into the corner blend radius. I shaved off the splayed
part and positioned it at different points around. Mohammed held the
wax still while I took photographs. By this time there was an old
camel driver and a policeman on a horse looking on.
When I returned to the US, I measured the wax using a radius gage and found that it was a true radius measuring 7/16 inch.
The side (arm) blend radius has a design feature that is a common engineering practice today.
By cutting a relief at the corner, a mating part that is to match or butt up against the surface with the large blend radius may have a smaller radius.
Corner Radius with
This feature provides for a more efficient machining operation, because it allows a cutting tool with a large diameter, and, therefore, a large radius to be used.
With greater rigidity in the tool, more material can be removed when making a cut. I believe there is more, much more, that can be gleaned using these methods of study. I believe the Cairo Museum contains many artifacts that when properly analyzed, will lead to the same conclusion that I have drawn from this piece.
The use of high-speed motorized machinery, and what we might call modern techniques in non-conventional machining, in manufacturing the granite artifacts found at Giza and other locations in Egypt warrants serious study by qualified, open-minded people who could approach the subject without preconceived notions.
In terms of a more thorough understanding of the level of technology employed by the ancient pyramid builders, the implications of these discoveries are tremendous.
We are not only presented with hard
evidence that seems to have eluded us for decades, and which provide
further evidence proving the ancients to be advanced, we are also
provided with an opportunity to re-analyze everything from a
different perspective. Understanding how something is made opens up
a different dimension when trying to determine why it was made.
Revelation of new data invariably raises new questions. In this case it’s understandable to hear,
Machines are tools.
The question should be applied universally and can be asked of anyone who believes other methods may have been used. The truth is that no tools have been found to explain any theory on how the pyramids were built or granite boxes were cut! More than eighty pyramids have been discovered in Egypt, and the tools that built them have never been found.
Even if we accepted the notion that copper tools are capable of producing these incredible artifacts, the few copper implements that have been uncovered do not represent the number of such tools that would have been used if every stonemason who worked on the pyramids at just the Giza site owned one or two.
In the Great Pyramid alone, there are an
estimated 2,300,000 blocks of stone, both limestone and granite,
weighing between 2½ tons and 70 tons each. That is a mountain of
evidence, and there are no tools surviving to explain its creation.
With Egyptologists, there is one component of this principle that has been lacking. The simplest methods do not satisfy the evidence, and they have been reluctant to consider other less simple methods. There is little doubt that the capabilities of the ancient pyramid builders have been seriously underestimated.
The most distinct evidence that I can
relate is the precision and mastery of machining technologies that
have only been recognized in recent years.
For over a hundred years industry has progressed exponentially. Since Petrie first made his critical observations between 1880 and 1882, our civilization has leapt forward at breakneck speed to provide the consumer with goods, all created by artisans, and still, over a hundred years after Petrie, these artisans are utterly astounded by the achievements of the ancient pyramid builders.
They are astounded not so much by what
they perceive a society is capable of using primitive tools, but by
comparing these prehistoric artifacts with their own current level
of expertise and technological advancement.
Records of the technology developed by our modern civilization rest in media that is vulnerable and could conceivably cease to exist in the event of a worldwide catastrophe, such as a nuclear war or another ice age. Consequently, after several thousand years, an interpretation of an artisan’s methods may be more accurate than an interpretation of his language.
The language of science and technology
doesn’t have the same freedom as speech. So even though the tools
and machines have not survived the thousands of years since their
use, we have to assume, by objective analysis of the evidence, that
they did exist.
The American expressed a feeling that he had been to a funeral after hearing Petrie’s findings, which had evidently shattered some favorite pyramid theory of the time.
With such a convincing collection of artifacts that prove the existence of precision machinery in ancient Egypt, the idea that the Great Pyramid was built by an advanced civilization that inhabited the Earth thousands of years ago becomes more admissible.
I am not proposing that this
civilization was more advanced technologically than ours on all
levels, but it does appear that, as far as masonry work and
construction are concerned, they were exceeding current capabilities
and specifications. Making routine work of precision machining huge
pieces of extremely hard igneous rock is astonishingly impressive.
As of this writing, there is much research being conducted by many professionals throughout the world.
These people are determined to find answers to the many unsolved mysteries indicating that our planet Earth has supported other advanced societies in the distant past.
Perhaps when this new knowledge and insight is assimilated, the history books will be rewritten and, if mankind is able to learn from historical events, then perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn is now being formulated for the benefit of future generations.
New technology and advances in the sciences are enabling us to take a closer look at the foundations upon which world history has been built, and these foundations seem to be crumbling.
It would be illogical, therefore, to dogmatically adhere to any theoretical point concerning ancient civilizations.