Ancient Egypt and Archaeology Web Site

aswan 6

One of the red granite quarries that provided stone for Ancient Egyptian temples and statues still holds a giant and unfinished obelisk. 

The obelisk is roughly dressed and was in the process of being 'cut free' of the surrounding rock. A flaw in the stone developed, which is still very visible, and the work was abandoned. It is thought that this was the pair of the Lateran Obelisk, which is now in Rome, which originally stood before Karnak Temple and was commissioned for Tuthmosis III. 

From the chisel marks and the ancient tools found in the area, some of the ancient quarry techniques have been determined.  These include soaking wooden blocks to encourage the rock to crack and also using quartz sand slurry as an abrasive.  The huge effort required to free this Obelisk is staggering, especially considering the basic tools and lack of any non-manual techniques.  If the piece was freed an equally monumental effort would have been needed to move it 220 Km from the Quarry to the Nile, and then to Karnak.


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