Ancient Egyptians used waterways to transport pyramid stones from quarriesNovember 14th, 2007 - 2:49 am ICT by admin
The discovery of canals at the Giza pyramids and the Luxor Temple, and ancient artwork showing Egyptians using boats or barges to move large monuments like obelisks and statues, has given further credence to this theory.
But the newfound canal, which has since been filled in, is the first proof that waterways facilitated the transportation of all obelisks, including those at the Luxor and Karnak Temples, originally hewn in the Aswan area.
“What you have is a very strong evidence that they may have loaded these stones in at the quarry … and as a result not dragging and hauling them over land. It eliminates that land connection,” said Richard R. Parizek, a professor of geology at Penn State University who led the scientific tests confirming the canal’s existence.
Larger obelisks can weigh more than 50 tons, and a particularly well-known unfinished obelisk at the quarry is thought to weigh more than 1,100 tons. It was the largest such monument ever attempted but was abandoned after latent cracks emerged, revealing a rare glimpse of ancient construction practices.
Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University of Cairo said, that archaeologists had for long suspected the existence of a canal linking the Nile to the quarry site.
“It very nice to find this real confirmation. If they had just been using rollers and dragging things each time, everything would have been much more time-consuming and far slower,” said Ikram.
Archaeologists now believe that workers dragged the large stone monuments onto rafts at a point below the floodwater level, allowing the artefacts to float when the water level rose.
The canal likely filled in with water during the one of the Nile’s annual floods, they said.
They said the canal was probably a natural split in the quarry granite, exploited and shaped by workers to make it more functional.
Incidentally, geologists have also found tooling marks along the canal similar to those where obelisks were removed.
The findings were announced at the Second International Conference on Geology of the Tethyr at Cairo University in March and will be published in advance of the next meeting in January, reports National Geographic. (ANI)
- Attempt to steal pharaoh's statue foiled in Egypt - Feb 25, 2011
- Swiss museum to return 4,000-year-old relic to Egypt - May 13, 2011
- Pyramid builders were labourers, not slaves, reveal newly found Egyptian tombs - Jan 11, 2010
- Ancient shipwrecks unearthed in China - May 29, 2012
- How Egyptians erected their giant pyramids - Sep 26, 2010
- Discovery in Saudi Arabia suggests Egyptian empire extended further than thought - Nov 12, 2010
- Egyptian Tomb's Door To Afterlife Unearthed - Apr 03, 2010
- Sphinx-lined road unearthed in Egypt - Nov 16, 2010
- Colourful ancient tombs unearthed in Egypt - Jul 08, 2010
- Egypt close down Great Pyramid - Nov 12, 2011
- Archaeologists discover huge 2,500-year-old tomb near Cairo - Jan 05, 2010
- Headless Egypt king statue could give clues to Cleopatra's tomb - Nov 19, 2010
- US embassy staff return to Cairo - Apr 30, 2011
- Egypt voted best destination by travel writers - Aug 19, 2010
- Artefacts stolen from Egypt's national museum - Feb 13, 2011
Tags: american university of cairo, ancient artwork, ancient construction, ancient egyptians, archaeologists, artefacts, aswan area, existence, giza pyramids, luxor temple, massive blocks, nile, obelisks, penn state university, quarry, salima ikram, stone monuments, unfinished obelisk, university of cairo, waterways