Science

The “Unfinished Obelisk” – Incredible 1000 Ton Egyptian Obelisk

The “Unfinished Obelisk” is the largest known Egyptian obelisk, which today can be found exactly where it was once semi-carved from the solid bedrock. This stone block was intended to be a 120ft tall obelisk. It is estimated that a block of granite this size would easily weigh more than a 1000 tons, some geologists have suggested a figure in the region of 1100 tons – 1150 tons.

Unfortunately this obelisk was never finished because during the process to remove the block of stone from its mother bedrock, a huge crack appeared that made the stone unusable. Apart from its intended use, the stone had no reusable value to the stonemasons of the day, and this resulted in the stone being totally abandoned (possibly in the reign of Queen Hapshepsut – 18th Dynasty).

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Sometimes we are to lazy to download a subtitles for a movie, or we feel like it is too much to wash the dishes today, but the big question is always this:

How did they do it?

There are diorite pounding stones placed all around the site to demonstrate the way in which they must have quarried the granite. Diorite is only slightly harder than granite. Several engineers, and Egyptologist Mark Lehner, tried pounding the granite with diorite balls to see how long it would take. Estimates went up to around 8 months to release the Obelisk from the bedrock.

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And inside the trench of the large unfinished obelisk, aside from the lame diorite pounder, we see the depth and the width of the material that was removed

Engineer Christopher Dunn calculated that it would have probably taken much longer to complete such a task, and almost impossible in the cramped conditions that the workers would have had to suffer. Then, of course, it has to be removed, erected, and transported to the final destination. There are many other Obelisks all over Egypt, and now in other countries, and their function and purpose is still a mystery, but at least we know where they came from.

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It is dumbfounding to think that the main tools used to shape this excessively huge granite block were not chisels as most people would assume. The early Egyptian stone masons used small hand sized balls of the mineral Dolerite to pound against the surfaces of the roughly hewn obelisks, until all the superfluous knobs and excrescences were flattened. Dolerite is one of the few substances on Planet Earth that is harder than granite, most other rocks would simply crumble if they were repeatedly banged against granite

This gigantic Obelisk is said to have been abandoned due to a crack that appeared on its surface. Chris Dunn raised the question as to why none of it was ever again quarried or used in future projects, as it is a very useful and perfectly ‘prepared’ chunk of megalithic rock.

Also, some time after it was originally abandoned, drill-holes were made in the top surface where perhaps a smaller obelisk was being marked out. This outline also went through the ‘crack’ which archaeologists say was the reason it was never originally completed. But then why would they start cutting out another smaller obelisk if there was a crack in it?

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Besides the unfinished obelisk, an unfinished partly worked obelisk base was discovered in 2005 at the quarries of Aswan. Also discovered were some rock carvings and remains that may correspond to the site where most of the famous obelisks were worked. All these quarries in Aswan and the unfinished objects are an open-air museum and are officially protected by the Egyptian government as an archaeological site.

The quarries of Aswan are located along the Nile in the city of Aswan. There are a number of well-known sites: Shellal, consisting of northern and southern quarries within an area of about 7.7 sq miles on the west bank, and the islands of Elephantine and Seheil. One of the known directors of the Aswan sites was Hori during the reign of Ramses III. In the present days, the quarry area is to become an open-air museum.

 

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