The amazing unfinished 1000-ton Egyptian obelisk that its builders abandoned

Next time when you get cross or physically annoyed at a word document that you may have deleted by mistake, try to remember the poor Egyptians, who had to carve a thousand-ton block of granite, only to abandon it at the end.

Famously known as the Unfinished Obelisk, the largest known Egyptian obelisk can today be found at the same spot where it was once carved from solid granite bedrock.

Inside the trench of the large unfinished obelisk, aside from the lame diorite pounder, we see the depth and the width of the material that was removedThe people who carved the stone block intended it to be as tall as 120 feet.

Experts have estimated that a granite block as big as this would easily weigh the upwards of 1,000 tons, whereas some geologists suggest its weight to be as much as 1,200 tons.

Almost all the carving was done when, right at the end of the process, a massive crack appeared in the block which essentially rendered it useless, hence the name Unfinished Obelisk.

The stone was possibly carved during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut.

Apparently the stone block of this monumental scale could only be used for what it was intended for and stonemasons at the time could not find any other suitable use for the block and had to abandon it as unfinished.

It is dumbfounding to think that the main tools used to shape this excessively huge granite block were not chisels as most people would assume.

Experts are divided on whether the obelisk in question is, in fact, unfinished or whether it was left alone for some other reason – mainly superstitious beliefs.

This is due to the fact that in ancient times the amount of time invested in such endeavors had to be so big that simply abandoning it for a few cracks wouldn’t be a wise move.

In the pit of a smaller unfinished obelisk we can see the marks left by whatever tools were used to shape it. Diorite balls would be very ineffective at trying to achieve this, as they would tend to wear almost as fast as the granite surfaceChris Dun wrote a book titled Advanced Technology in Ancient Egypt, wherein he suggests that the crack associated with the obelisk is more likely a product of a later wear and tear on the block.

Another explanation that Dunn puts forward is to do with the highly superstitious beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians who associated supernatural powers to large monoliths.

He expounds that another possibility that might have contributed towards the abandonment of the obelisk could be that the stone was thought to have a supernatural aura that spared it from further cutting and deployment in a palace.

In the first phase of the carving, the quarry men would meticulously look for a large enough piece of slab without any significantly large cracks.

The workers would then dig small holes using copper tools in continuous intervals, much like hyphens in appearance, and wet wooden wedges were then inserted in the holes.

These wedges would expand over time, significantly decreasing the distance between the holes by cutting through the granite forming the edges of the block.

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