Happy New Year with firework in the ancient quarries! Photo: Per Storemyr
It’s New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year to you all! What could be better than to end this little series on Ancient Egyptian quarries with firework! It was Reginald Engelbach that first suggested the use of fire for stone quarrying in Ancient Egypt, when he excavated the Unfinished Obelisk at Aswan almost a hundred years ago. Over the last decade much more evidence has been found in Aswan and elsewhere – and Adel Kelany and his team of archaeologists has even made experiments trying to figure out how firesetting works. Take a look at the following pictures to see how it looks like when old Egyptian stone has been subjected to fire!
Firesetting experiment at Aswan by Adel Kelany and his team in the Department for Ancient Quarries and Mines, Ministry of State for Antiquities. The subsequent removal of the softened granite by hammerstones was much easier than without fire. And the fire can be controlled in such a way that the rock intended for further working is not damaged. Photo: Adel Kelany
Old cracks in the granite at the Unfinished Obelisk quarry at Aswan. Such cracks were very probably induced by fire in the New Kingdom to ease the extraction of granite. Photo: Per Storemyr
Fire shattered rock surfaces at the silicified sandstone quarries by Gharb Aswan (West Aswan). Most likely a sign of an important stone extraction method in the New Kingdom. Photo: Per Storemyr
Shattered stone surfaces at Chephren’s quarry, Old Kingdom. Firesetting used to peel the block making it suitable for further work with hammerstones to create a sculpture. Photo: Per Storemyr
Thanks to all that have followed the little Ancient Egyptian quarry series on my blog – and to those who shared the stories on Facebook!
Here’s a summary of the series, with links to all the stories: Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: Series summary