The Hidden History Of Egypt: Khemitology
Egypt is currently in the news, and not for the most pleasant of reasons. Political disturbances are being felt in isolated pockets of the country, yet are clearly overblown by western media, and some foreign governments. But this land, and especially the fertile areas that border the Nile River has been a vital part of human history for thousands of years. From the rise of Islam in the 7 th century AD, and back through the Coptic Christians, Jews, Romans, Greeks, Persians and finally the so called dynastic Egyptians, each successive dominant culture has left their mark.
The clearest evidence of this is in the stone constructions they left behind. And it is through the study of these works that we can see the level of technology each culture had, through what tools they used. Limestone is and has been in great abundance in the country, especially near Cairo, due to the laying down of sedimentary deposits millions of years ago. In fact, the famous Giza plateau is more or less a massive outcrop of limestone.
Both the Romans and Greeks had the use of steel, and thus could shape limestone with ease, as well as marble. However, the archaeological record shows us that the dynastic Egyptians worked with mainly bronze tools, such as chisels, as well as stone hammers. These would have been fine for the shaping of limestone, as in the columns and flat surfaces which make up many of the palaces and temples that we think of as dynastic achievements.
Limestone averages 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale, which is an indication of the ability of harder minerals and materials to scratch softer ones. And bronze has a similar hardness, depending on what has been added to the copper base. The first bronze in any appreciable quantities was in use in Egypt starting in the 4 th dynasty (2613 to 2494 B.C.) and this coincided, as most Egyptologists would have it, with the building of the three pyramids at Giza.
The stone often used for hammers and other tools was usually diorite, which has a hardness of 7, on average, on the Mohs scale. It was mainly in the form of ball shaped pounders which were used to strike the limestone as a way of removing material. And, flat stones could be employed, along with silica sand slurry to act as an early sanding process.
It is commonly believed that iron, let alone steel did not appear in appreciable quantities until at least the 8 th century BC in Egypt, brought in by traders from lands farther to the east. So how was the harder stone shaped?
In order to shape stone, or wood, or practically any solid material, there is one simple principle; the tool material has to be as hard or harder than the material being worked. Also, a power tool, that which is energized by electricity, water or some other force tends to remove material faster and more efficiently than a tool operated solely by hand. As well, powered instruments tend to be more accurate in their execution than those which are solely human operated and energized.
This then leads to a true conundrum when we look, for example, at some of the shaped surfaces on the Giza plateau, because here, and many engineers can attest to this, we find evidence of the use of machine powered saws in deep antiquity. In order to get into any real depth about this, I will refer to the research of two great contemporary men, Stephen Mehler and Christopher Dunn, both of whom I traveled with in Egypt in April 2013.
Stephen Mehler is an oral tradition specialist and author of ancient Egyptian knowledge; much of his tutelage came from his relationship with Abd’El Hakim Awyan. The latter was an Egyptian tour guide and indigenous wisdom keeper. Christopher Dunn is a master machinist, born and raised in England who moved to the United States and worked in high technology establishments which make, for example, specialized parts for jet engines.
Conventional Egyptology has a tendency to either ignore, or insufficiently try to explain the machined saw marks I witnessed, as well as obvious examples of high speed core drills having been at work at such sites as Abu Sir, Abu Ghurob, and the Giza plateau. The important point is that the saw marks and drill holes that I and others have seen, in profusion in these and other areas were not so much in soft limestone, but in far harder rock like basalt, granite and diorite.