Wall Carving At Dendera Courtesy: Christopher Dunn
- Note - You can hear Chris Dunn's 1-1-99
remarkable interview with Jeff in our RealAudio Archives.
- Egypt. Land of the Pyramids and a vast
collection of evidence that, like a taciturn teenager, is begging for understanding.
Contrary to conventional thought, for decades there has been an undercurrent
of speculation that the pyramid builders were more advanced. The speculation
is well placed. When attempts have been made to build pyramids using the
theorized methods of the ancient Egyptians, they have fallen considerably
short. The great pyramid is 483 feet high and houses 70 ton pieces of granite
lifted to a level of 175 feet. Theorists have struggled with stones weighing
up to 2 tons to a height of a few feet. One wonders if these were attempts
to prove that primitive methods are capable of building the Egyptian pyramids
or the opposite? Executing this theory to practice has not revealed the
theory to be correct. Do we need to revise the theory, or will we continue
to educate our young with erroneous data?
- In August, 1984, I had an article published
in Analog magazine entitled "Advanced Machining in Ancient Egypt?"
It was a study of "Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh," the work of
Sir. William Flinders Petrie. Since the article's publication, I have been
fortunate to visit Egypt twice. With each visit I leave with more respect
for the industry of the ancient pyramid builders. An industry, by the way,
that does not exist today.
- 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 how they cut
a slot in the granite and inserted wooden wedges which they soaked with
water. The wood swelled creating pressure that split the rock. Splitting
rock is vastly different than machining it and this did not explain how
copper implements were able to cut granite, but he was so enthusiastic
with his dissertation, I did not wish to 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 said, see the quarry
marks there and the unfinished obelisk. Dutifully, I bought the tickets
and arrived at Aswan the next day. (After learning some of the Egyptian
customs, I got the impression that my Egyptologist friend had made that
trip to the travel agent many times.)
- The Aswan quarries were educational.
The obelisk weighs approximately 3,000 tons.
- Drill hole at the Aswan Quarries
- However, the quarry marks I saw there
did not satisfy me as being the only means by which the pyramid builders
quarried their rock. Located in the channel, which runs the length of the
obelisk, is a large round hole drilled into the bedrock hillside, measuring
approximately 12 inches in diameter and 3 feet deep. 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.
- While strolling around the Giza Plateau
later in the week, I started to question the quarry marks at Aswan even
more. (I also questioned why the Egyptologist had deemed it necessary to
buy an airplane ticket to look at them.) I was to the South of the second
pyramid when I found an abundance of quarry marks of similar nature. The
granite casing stones which had sheathed the second pyramid were stripped
off and lying around the base in various stages of destruction. Typical
to all of the granite stones worked on were the same quarry marks that
I had seen at Aswan earlier in the week.
- This was puzzling to me. Disregarding
the impossibility of Egyptologists' theories on the ancient pyramid builders'
quarrying methods, are they really valid 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 these kinds of quarry marks were from a later period
of time and were created by people who were interested only in obtaining
granite, without caring from where they got it.
- Quarry marks at Aswan
- Archeology is largely the study of history's
toolmakers. It is with tools and artifacts created with tools, that we
come to understand a society's level of advancement. The hammer is probably
the first tool ever invented, and by hammer working metals, relatively
unsophisticated tools have forged some elegant and most 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
- Quarry marks on the Giza Plateau
- 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 contempor-aneous 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
- 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
- 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 instruments?
- I am not an Egyptologist. I am a technologist.
I do not have much interest in who died when and whom they may have taken
with them, where they went to or when they may be coming back. No lack
of respect for the mountain of work and the millions of hours of study
conducted on this subject by highly intelligent scholars (professional
and amateur), but my interest, therefore my focus, is elsewhere. When I
look at an artifact with the view of how it was manufactured, I am unencumbered
with a predisposition to filter out possibilities because of historical
or chronological inequity. Having spent most of my career involved with
the machinery that actually creates artifacts of the modern kind, such
as jet-engine components, I am fairly well equipped to analyze and determine
the methods necessary for recreating an artifact under study. I have been
fortunate, also, to have training and experience in some non-conventional
methods of manufacturing, such as laser processing and electrical discharge
machining. That said, I should state that contrary to some popular speculations,
I have not seen the work of laser cutting on the Egyptian rocks. Still,
there is evidence of other non-conventional machining methods, along with
more sophisticated, conventional type sawing, lathe and milling practices.
- 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.
- Creating Petrie's bowl shards.
- 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
- 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 recentered properly.
- 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 turning.
- Sarcophagus Lid in the Cairo Museum
- 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, he wrote:
- "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 astonishing."
- 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...
- 1. A taper on both the hole and the core.
- 2. A symmetrical helical groove following
these tapers which showed that the drill advanced into the granite at a
feed rate of .100 inch per revolution of the drill.
- 3. The confounding fact that the spiral
groove cut deeper through the quartz than through the softer feldspar.
In conventional machining the reverse would be the case.
- Mr. Donald Rahn of Rahn Granite Surface
Plate Co., Dayton, Ohio, told me, in 1983, that in drilling granite, diamond
drills, rotating at 900 revolutions per minute, penetrate at the rate of
1 inch in 5 minutes. This works out to be .0002 inch per revolution, meaning
that the ancient Egyptians were able to cut their granite with a feed rate
that was 500 times greater.
- The other characteristics create a problem.
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 problems, where do we look to answer all
three? I was just as puzzled as Petrie was when faced with this evidence.
When I finally found a solution to the problem, I could not wait to share
it. So I challenged some toolmakers I was working with who had used machine
tools and drills day in and day out for decades. All of them but one gave
up on the problem saying it could not be done. Each day I would ask this
one toolmaker if he had come up with a solution. Each day he said he was
still working on it. I offered, but he would not even take a hint! It was
a couple of weeks later before he came back to me and said, "You know
I think I have the answer to this problem. But it creates another problem....
They didn't have machinery like that back then!"
- He had independently analyzed the characteristics
of what Petrie was puzzling over and had come up with the same conclusion
as I had. We had both set out to find a method of manufacturing that would
explain all the characteristics found on these artifacts.
- I have discussed descriptions of several
artifacts having tool marks and characteristics that identified conventional
methods of machining. A sophisticated use of the lathe is clearly evident
on artifacts described by William Flinder Petrie in 1883, where radii were
being cut in diorite. A large sarcophagi lid in the Cairo Museum has distinct
tool marks which are common when turning objects with intermittent cuts
on a lathe. The question in my mind is out of what kind of materials were
their tools made?' In conventional machining the tool would need to be
hard enough to cut one of the hardest materials there is, yet tough enough
not to break under pressure. Their ability to make these cuts without the
rock splintering is astounding! (Note: For those who are locked into the
"official" chronology of the development of metals - copper doesn't
cut it. It is like saying that aluminum could be cut with butter.)
- What follows is a more feasible and logical
method and provides an answer to the question of techniques used by the
ancient Egyptians in all aspects of their work.
- The fact that the spiral is symmetrical
is quite remarkable considering the proposed method of cutting. 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. I disagree. 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
- The method I am about to propose, and
hope some of the readers have already figured out, explains how the holes
and cores found at Giza could have been cut. It is capable of creating
all the details that Petrie, myself and my colleague puzzled over. Unfortunately
for Petrie, the method was not known at the time he made his studies, so
it is not surprising that he could not find any satisfactory answers.
- The application of ultrasonic machining
is the only method that completely satisfies logic from a technical viewpoint,
and it explains all noted phenomena. 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.
- The most significant detail of the drilled
hole is the groove that is cut deeper through the quartz than the feldspar.
Quartz crystals are employed in the production of ultrasonic sound and,
conversely, are responsive to the influence of vibration in the ultrasonic
ranges and can be induced to vibrate at high frequency. In machining granite
using ultrasonics, the harder material (quartz) would not necessarily offer
more resistance, as it would during conventional machining practices. An
ultrasonically vibrating tool-bit would find numerous sympathetic partners
while cutting through granite, embedded 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.
- The fact that there is a groove may be
explained several ways. An uneven flow of energy may have caused the tool
to oscillate more on one side than the other. The tool may have been improperly
mounted. A buildup of abrasive on one side of the tool may have cut the
groove as the tool spiraled into the granite.
- That the hole and the core have tapered
sides is perfectly normal if we consider the basic requirements for all
types of cutting tools. This requirement is that clearance be provided
between the tool's non-machining surfaces and the workpiece. Instead of
having a straight tube, therefore, we would have a tube with a wall thickness
that gradually became thinner along its length. The outside diameter would
gradually get smaller, creating clearance between the tool and the hole,
and the inside diameter would get larger, creating clearance between the
tool and the central core. This would allow a free flow of abrasive slurry
to reach the cutting area. It would also explain the tapering of the sides
of the hole and the core. Since the tube-drill was a softer material than
the abrasive, the cutting edge would gradually wear away. The dimensions
of the hole would correspond to the dimensions of the tool at the cutting
edge. As the tool became worn, the hole and the core would reflect this
wear in the form of a taper.
- Mechanism For Ultrasonic Drilling.
- 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 a
major factor in this cutting method. The rotation of the drill is merely
a means to advance the drill into the workpiece. Using a screw and nut
method the tube drill could be efficiently advanced into the workpiece
by turning the handles (A) in a clockwise direction. The screw (B) would
gradually thread through the nut (C), 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, therefore,
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.
- The theory of ultrasonic machining resolves
all the unanswered questions where other theories have fallen short. Methods
may be 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 the 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 history.
- On February 22, 1995 at 9 A.M. I had
my first experience of being on camera. It was interesting, and not at
all what I expected. I was standing in the central "King's Chamber"
of the only remaining wonder of the world, the Great Pyramid. Graham Hancock
and Robert Bauvall breezed patiently through the script with me, like old
pros, while I fumbled with instructions barked at me by Roel Oostra, the
producer from Netherlands Television. In a few sound bites, I had to convey
to an audience that there was something more to the sarcophagus, a large
red granite box which resides inside the chamber, than is evident to the
lay-person or casual observer.
- I was invited there by Robert Bauvall
(The Orion Mystery) and Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods) to participate
in a documentary which has been broadcast on several channels since then.
While there, I came across and was able to measure 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 on my previous trip in 1986. The instruments were:
- 1. A "parallel": A flat ground
piece of steel about 6 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. The edges are ground
flat within .0002 inch.
- 2. An Interapid indicator. (Known as
a clock gauge by my British compatriots.)
- 3. A wire contour gage. A device used
by die sinkers to form around shapes.
- 4. Hard forming wax.
- I had brought along the contour gage
to check the inside of the mouth of the southern shaft inside the King's
Chamber. Unfortunately, I found out after getting there that things had
changed since I was there in 1986. In 1993, a German robotics engineer
named Rudolph Gantenbrink had installed a fan inside this mouth; 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. The indicator, didn't survive the rigors of international
travel, though, but the instruments I was left with were adequate for me
to form a conclusion about the precision to which the ancient Egyptians
- 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. A group of Spanish tourists found it extremely
interesting, too, and gathered around me as I, quite animated, exclaimed
into my tape recorder, "Space-age precision!"
- The tour guides, at this point, were
becoming quite animated too. I sensed that they probably didn't think it
was appropriate for a live foreigner to be where they believe a dead Egyptian
should go, so, I respectfully removed myself from the sarcophagus and continued
my examination on the outside. There were more features of this artifact
that I wanted to inspect, of course, but didn't have the freedom to do
so. The corner radii on the inside appeared to be uniform all around with
no variation of precision of the surface to the tangency point. I was tempted
to take a wax impression, but the hovering guides with their baksheesh
expectancies inhibited this activity. (I was on a very tight budget.)
- My mind was racing as I lowered myself
into the narrow confines of the entrance shaft and climbed to the outside.
The inside of a huge granite box finished off to a precision 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!
- Petrie gave the dimensions of this coffer,
in inches, as - outside, length 103.68, width 41.97, height 38.12; inside,
length 84.73, width 26.69, depth 29.59. He stated that the mean variation
of the piece was .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 .0001-0003 inch depending on the grade of surface
plate you buy. The thickness of them, though, 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. Not only
that, 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. I was constructing in my mind the equipment I would need
to grind and lap the inside of a box to the accuracy I had witnessed and
produce 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, and maintain a corner radius of less
than 1/2 inch. There are some significant challenges to overcome.
- While being extremely impressed with
this artifact, I was even more impressed with other artifacts found at
another site in the rock tunnels at the temple of Serapeum at Saqqarra,
the site of the step pyramid and Zoser's tomb.
- I had followed Graham and Robert on their
trip to this site for a filming on Feb. 24, 1995. We were in the stifling
atmosphere of the tunnels, where dust kicked up from 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.
- The granite boxes are 13 ft. long, 7
1/2 ft. wide and 11 ft. high. They are installed in "crypts"
that were hewn out of the limestone bedrock at staggered intervals along
the tunnels. The floors of the crypts were about 4 ft. below the tunnel
floor, and the boxes were set into a recess in the center. Robert Bauvall
was addressing the engineering aspects of installing such huge boxes within
a confined space where the last crypt was located near the end of the tunnel;
a dead end with no room for the hundreds of slaves pulling on ropes, according
to theories proposed by those who believe that the ancient pyramid builders
were a primitive society.
- While Graham and Robert were filming,
I jumped down into a crypt and placed my parallel against the outside surface
of the box. It was perfectly flat. I shone the flashlight and found no
deviation from a perfectly flat surface. I clambered through a broken out
edge into the inside of another giant box and again, I was astonished to
find it astoundedly flat. 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 like
a walk in the park.
- I was accompanied by Canadian researcher
Robert McKenty 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 Tutenkahmen's tomb. I yelled for Graham and
Robert to share the discovery, but was denied their presence by Roel Oostra,
who was working to a tight schedule and had to complete his filming.
- The dust filled atmosphere in the tunnels
was extremely unhealthy. I could only imagine what it would be like if
I was finishing off a piece of granite, regardless of what method I used,
how unhealthy it would be. 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, or creep.
The solution, of course, was to prepare the precision surfaces in the location
in which they were going to be housed.
- This discovery, and the realization of
its critical importance to the artisans that built it, went beyond my wildest
dreams of discoveries to be made in Egypt. For a man of my inclination,
this was better than King Tut's tomb.
- The Egyptians' intentions with respect
to precision is perfectly clear. But for what purpose? In America today,
the cost of just the quarried granite would be $115,000.00. That's without
shipping costs and manufacturing costs, assuming there was equipment available
to machine it. I have contacted four precision granite manufacturers in
the US and haven't been able to find one who can do this kind of work.
- These artifacts need to be thoroughly
mapped and inspected with the following tools.
- 1. A laser interferometer with surface
flatness checking capabilities 2. An ultrasonic thickness gage to check
the thickness of the walls to determine their consistency to uniform thickness.
3. An optical flat with monochromatic light source. Are the surfaces really
finished to optical precision?
- With Eric Leither of Tru-Stone Corp,
I discussed in a letter the technical feasibility of creating several Egyptian
artifacts, including the giant granite boxes found in the bedrock tunnels
the temple of Serapeum at Saqqarra. He responded as follows.
- "Dear Christopher,
- First I would like to thank you for providing
me with all the fascinating information. Most people never get the opportunity
to take part in something like this.
- You mentioned to me that the box was
derived from one solid block of granite. A piece of granite of that size
is estimated to weigh 200,000 pounds if it was Sierra White granite which
weighs approximately 175 lb. per cubic foot. If a piece of that size was
available, the cost would be enormous. Just the raw piece of rock would
cost somewhere in the area of $115,000.00. This price does not include
cutting the block to size or any freight charges.
- The next obvious problem would be the
transportation. There would be many special permits issued by the D.O.T.
and would cost thousands of dollars. From the information that I gathered
from your fax, the Egyptians moved this piece of granite nearly 500 miles.
That is an incredible achievement for a society that existed hundreds of
- 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.
- The final artifact I inspected was a
piece of granite I quite literally stumbled across while strolling around
the Giza Plateau later that day. I concluded, after doing a preliminary
check of this piece, that the ancient pyramid builders had to have used
a three-axes machine to guide the tool that created 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 normally pondered - "what tools were used to cut it?"
- to a more far reaching question.. - "what guided the cutting tool?"
- In answering this question, and being
comfortable with the answer, it is helpful to have a working knowledge
of contour machining.
- Many of the artifacts that modern civilization
produces would be impossible to produce using simple hand work. We are
surrounded by artifacts that are the result of men and women employing
their minds to create tools which overcome their physical limitations.
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
- To create the dies to produce these items,
a cutting tool has to accurately and consistently 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 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 hand work. A little polishing to remove
unwanted tool marks may be the only hand work required. To know that a
piece 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 second pyramid.
- There are so many rocks of all shapes
and sizes lying around this area to the untrained eye, this one could easily
be overlooked. To a trained eye, it may attract some cursory attention
and a brief muse. I was fortunate that it both caught my attention, and
that I had the tools with which to inspect it.
- There were two pieces laying close together,
one larger than the other. They had originally been one piece and had been
broken. With the exception of my broken indicator gage, I found I needed
every tool that I had brought with me to inspect it. In inspecting this
piece, I was interested in the accuracy of the contour and its symmetry.
- Contoured Block of Granite - Giza
- What we have is an object that, three
dimensionally as one piece, could be likened to a small sofa. The seat
is a contour that blends into the walls of the arms and the back. The contour
was checked 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.
- During this time, I had attracted quite
a crowd. It's difficult to traverse the Giza Plateau at the best of times
without getting attention from the camel drivers, the donkey riders and
the purveyors of trinkets. It wasn't long after I had pulled the tools
out of my back-pack 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 back-pack
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 then 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.
- Location where the wax impression was
- Verifying the radius at another location
- What I discovered with the wax was a
uniform radius, tangential with the contour and the back and side walls.
Returning to the US, I measured the wax and found, using a radius gage,
that it was a true radius and measured 7/16 inch.
- The side arm blend radius has a design
feature that is 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. This feature provides
for a more efficient 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 taking a cut.
- I believe there is more, much more, that
can be gleaned using these methods of study. The Cairo Museum contains
many artifacts that will reveal much the same conclusion that I'm presenting
in this paper. 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 provides further evidence
proving the ancients to be advanced, we are also provided with an opportunity
to re-analyze everything with a different perspective, from a different
angle. Understanding how something is made opens up a different dimension
when trying to determine why it was made.
- The precision in these artifacts is irrefutable.
Even if we ignore the question of how they were produced, we are still
faced with the question of why such precision was needed. The implications
of this question are just as profound.
- Revelation of new data, invariably spawns
new questions. In this case it's understandable to hear, "where are
- Machines are tools. The question should
be applied universally and can be asked of anyone who believes other methods
may have been used. The fact of the matter is that tools have not been
found to explain any theory! More than eighty pyramids have been discovered
in Egypt, and the tools that built them have never been found. Even if
we mis-guidedly accept 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. In the Great Pyramid alone, there are an estimated 2,300,000 blocks
of stone, both limestone and granite, weighing between 2* tons and 70 tons
each. That is a mountain of evidence with no tools surviving to explain
- The principle of "Occam's Razor",
where the simplest means of manufacturing hold force until proven inadequate,
has held force over the pyramid builders methods, except there is one component
of this principle that has been lacking. If the simplest methods do not
satisfy the evidence, other less simple methods are considered, and so
on and so forth. 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 are only now beginning to be re-invented. Some technologies the Egyptians
possessed still astound modern artisans and engineers primarily for this
- The development of machine tools has
been intrinsically linked with the availability of consumer goods and the
desire to find a customer. One reference point for judging a civilization
to be advanced has been our current state of manufacturing evolution. Manufacturing
is the manifestation of all scientific and engineering effort. For over
a hundred years this epoch has progressed exponentially. Since Petrie first
made his critical observations between 1880 and 1882, our civilization
has leapt forward at breathtaking 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 comparing their own
accomplishments with what they perceive a primitive society is capable
of, but by comparing these prehistoric artifacts with their own current
level of expertise and technological advancement.
- The interpretation and understanding
of a civilizations' level of technology cannot and should not hinge on
the preservation of a written record for every technique that they had
developed. The "nuts and bolts" of our society do not always
make good copy, and a stone mural will more than likely be cut to convey
an ideological message rather than the technique used to inscribe it. 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 world
wide 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.
- Crooke's Tube.
- Notwithstanding the previous argument,
the ancient Egyptians did cut a mural that, while it could be interpreted
as presenting a symbolic message, also describes a technology that was
being used by the contemporaries of the masons that carved it. Inscribed
into the wall in the lower crypt at the temple of Hathor at Dendera is
the representation of a machine.
Wall Carving At Dendera Courtesy: Christopher Dunn
- Go to Dendera to view a representation
of a Crooke's Tube! (Cathode Ray Tube.) It's not something you would use
to cut granite, but viewed within the context of modern scientific discovery,
the Crooke's tube is known as the device that triggered the discovery of
x-rays. The sketch seems to symbolize the medical profession. Put the two
snakes together and Caduceus comes to life, with representations of medicine
and the proffering of the scalpel. (Symbolizing the subjugation of exploratory
surgery to the power of new technology, the x-ray?) Machines did exist.
Of the kind that are in existence today, and even those we have yet to
- There is much to be learned from our
distant ancestors, but before that lesson will come to us, we need to open
our minds and accept that there have existed on the earth, civilizations
with technology that, while different from our own, and in some areas possibly
not as advanced, had developed some manufacturing techniques that are as
great or even greater. As we assimilate new data and new views of old data,
it is wise to heed the advice Petrie gave to an American who had visited
him during his research at Giza. 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 at that time. Petrie says, "By
all means let the old theories have a decent burial; though we should take
care that in our haste none of the wounded ones are buried alive."
- Chris Dunn can be contacted by email