Promoting research, discussion, and debate about technologies used in Ancient Egypt

Carving hard stones with copper chisels is impossible


Look at this magnificent statue of the Pharoah Khafre that is in the Cairo Museum. It is life-sized and carved with the most intricate detail in a very hard stone called anorthosite gneiss. The museum guides, and the written text that the museum provides, say that the statue was made by hitting it with diorite (a slightly harder stone) and copper chisels; copper because it was the only metal available 1,500 years before iron was discovered. This is simply scientifically impossible as this simple test will show.


Here is a piece of the same stone with both a copper and a modern-day steel chisels beside it. Both chisels are sharpened to a fine edge and then given a dozen blows onto the stone surface. The copper flattens instantly and the hardened steel is blunted too. Examination of the stone surface shows that the stone has suffered not one jot of damage; but it has actually removed steel from the chisel, not the other way round.

One might accept the possibility that there could have been an ancient Egyptian equivalent of Michelangelo who had magnificent skills to create this statue however there was not just one, but 23, made to go into the Valley Temple of Khafre.

Therefore the ancient Egyptian craftsmen must have had technology available to them that made this job very easy to do that we simply do not know about yet and our Egyptology books do not tell us. It is now time to use modern day forensic science to solve this mystery and I hope that this website will awaken interest and promote scientific debate to begin to solve this intriguing puzzle.

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