The Middle Way – the Appliance of Science.
Science and technology moves forward slowly by incremental steps as better knowledge is uncovered or new techniques are developed. This is true for archaeology too. So, this website aims to apply that principle to selected areas of Ancient Egyptian Technology. Unfortunately, there seems to be many subjects that have not received this scientific scrutiny and have remained stuck in 1900’s theories because it is in written in books by venerable authors and no one seems to dare question them – but if you do, you are considered a “Nutter”.
I give lectures on Egyptian Technology on an almost monthly basis and after spending a few minutes proving scientifically and categorically that you cannot cut hard stones with copper alloy tools, I ask them to vote on what tool was used to carve the magnificent carving of Pharoah Khafre (2,550 BC) with bronze chisels or…………. ? I then show a picture of a “Little Green Man” from the planet Zod, holding his Super Sonic Laser Blaster! Which one do you chose? Cutting hard stones with tools made from copper alloy is scientifically impossible, but the Little Green Men theory cannot be discounted because their assumed skills and tools could offer a better fit to the evidence provided. So, the Little Green Man might be the better answer…. until you apply careful forensic science to the problem, when an even better answer is found.
I am forcing the point on my audience that you do not have to be a dogmatic supporter of unproven convention or a ‘Nutter’; both solutions might not be completely right, but can provide valuable avenues for futher research towards finding a new solution if you apply rigorous forensic scientific analysis to all the evidence; i.e. the Middle Way between these two extreme views.
In this website I will be focusing on the area of the cutting and carving technologies that must have been used on the hard (igneous) rocks that are used throughout Egypt for building the Pyramids, Temples and Funerary Statues, into such iconic masterpieces but at time when all the textbooks tell us that only copper alloy tools and lumps of stone were the tools used. I hope, with your help, we will find a Middle Way through this fascinating area of archaeology and you will help me to correct the textbooks on this incredible subject.
All my life I have been curious and questioning. My mother named me Peter – but without knowing it that means Petros – a Rock! And that is how I stand when rivers of human activity rush around me. I think things through to make decisions only from the evidence I see and can verify. I will not be moved by fashion, social pressures or religions. Unsurprisingly, I became a scientist with a degree in Engineering, not in a pure science, because I wanted to know about all the sciences and then apply that knowledge to making and creating things in our technological world. I carried out two years of research for a Ph.D. but my troubled relationship with my tutor (who turned out to be a Russian spy; but that is another story) prevented me from gaining my Ph.D. So, I went into a Research Laboratory for what was then the biggest aluminium company in the world to do forensic research into manufacturing technology problems, ending my business career as M.D. of a high-tech aerospace materials company.
Egyptian holiday stirs a passion
In retirement, apart from building boats and houses, I revived my long-term interests in industrial archaeology and geology and visited Egypt to see the great site of that fabulous dynastic culture. Unfortunately, when I asked my guides how they created such stupendous statuary and building in very hard stones like granite and basalt in such colossal numbers I was told they used copper chisels and diorite pounders. “Utter Rubbish”! flew from my lips. But the same unproven and unscientific nonsense was used as an explanation at every location. (Some guides admitted that many tourists in their groups, who were scientists or engineers had muttered the same disbelief, but they continued to slavishly repeat “what was in the books”).
On my return, I contacted the British Museum to question this nonsense and asked them, the experts, “How DID they really cut hard stones before iron was invented”?
After many escalation to even higher authorities, the official reply was, “We don’t really know; but if you find out, please tell us”. Now THAT was a challenge that would fire my enthusiasm! So, to fill my retirement I have now been researching this subject for the last 5 years, giving presentations almost monthly, appearing on Television (Ancient Impossible) in the U.S. and U.K. and writing magazine articles (Ancient Egypt Magazine).
Now I would like your help!
As I really do want to solve this problem before I am ‘put into my granite sarcophagus’ I would like to enlist your help in working together in constructive collaboration via this website to solve this very enigmatic problem.