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

Scarab beetle infestation

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Scarab3When I wrote my article Signatures on the Stones for Ancient Egypt Magazine it forced me re-examine my photograph collection of the hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Thutmose I to show the magnificent carving of the Apis Bull (the symbol for the God Ptah) on the serekh at the very top of the 30 metre high column that had remained untouched for nearly 4,500 years.

Lower down on the north, east and south faces are three cartouches with the coronation name of “Aakheperkare” which contains the symbol of a scarab beetle (the kheper part of the name).

Close examination of these three beautiful carvings left me staggered at the complexity of the detail and how anyone could possibly think that these were created by unsophisticated hands using copper alloy chisels – that is simply impossible. But a bigger surprise was yet to come. I simply copied all the three images into one Word document page and resized them to the same dimensions and then “slid” one over the other to compare the carving details….. they were virtually identical!

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Think about this – each one must have been carved at a different time and probably by a different craftsman standing in a different position, using probably different tools. But they are nearly identical, not just in 2-D layout, but also in 3-D depth as well, with the same fine details scratched onto the carapace. This is not possible to achieve by any hand-crafting methods know to modern-day stonemasons. Shattering evidence that some form of rigid mechanism or template must have been used, and, because of the fine detail, they must have used a very fine gemstone abrasive cutting technology. This will need considerable further research and a chapter in the new textbook will have to be written.

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But there is still a further, even more exciting, shock in this story. There are more obelisks still standing in various parts of the world today that fortunately have the Thutmose cartouche on them. Hatshepsut (daughter of Thutmose I) glorified her father’s name on her obelisk, that stands alongside Thutmose I obelisk at Karnak, and Thutmose III had several made that obviously still have the cartouche with “Thutmose” and therefore the scarab beetle hieroglyph.

One obelisk is in Istanbul and the other is in Rome, but bear in mind the important fact that these three extra obelisks were carved about 40 year later (Hatshepsut) and 70 years later (Thutmose III).

I searched for high resolution photos of these new obelisks and carried out the same photographic comparison. They ALL mached. How could this be possible? Did they keep the same template at the obelisk factory for 70 years, expecting that later pharaohs wmight be called Thutmose and might need an obelisk? Did one very talented “Michael Angelo” of the ancient Egyptian world live for 100 year to do the work, from memory? Remember, that once the first obelisk was up, there was no climbing up to the top of the obelisk to make a tracing of the original hieroglyph. Please help to explain this mystery and seek solutions by joining the Crowd Research Group on “Scarab Beetles”.

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