The Unfinished Obelisk and the Granite Quarry


On Tuesday, after waking up way too early (5am) and flying to see Abu Simbel, we went to see Queen Hatschepsut's unifinished obelisk at the granite quarry in Aswan. Queen Hatschepsut was the only ruling Queen of Egypt. During her reign she wanted to have an enormous obelisk built to honor the Gods, and she wanted it to be completely perfect. THe unfinished obelisk is unfihinished because when the Queen came to inspect it, she found some cracks at the base. Since it wasn't perfect, she had them start again and left the unfinished one in Aswan. The completed obelisk is located at Karnak Temple, in Luxor.
The granite quarry was interesting to me, because it was the only place that the Ancient Egyptians could get the massive amounts of granite they needed for all their statues and monuments. Since granite is a very hard stone, it was used to cut all of the limestone bricks that the egyptians needed. The only thing available to them that was hard enough to cut granite, was the stone durite, and the only thing hard enough to cut durite is diamond.
The people working on the obelisk first cut a large chunk out of the ground, matching the size specifications of the Queen. The edges of the obelisk were still rough and even at this point, which was obvious by looking at the unfinished obelisk. So, after it was cut, they used durite tools to smooth the edges. Today, even with our 'modern' advancments' we still don't really understand how they were able to cut and smooth all of their creations so that they were perfectly exact.

Posted at 1:08 PM by Emily Pierce