The unfinished obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk

The unfinished obelisk At a granite quarry south of Aswan, a vast New Kingdom obelisk was left undone. It would have stood 134 feet tall and weighed 1,197 kg (1.8 million pounds) if it had been finished. Before a fault was found, three sides of the shaft had to be dug out. The obelisk was only partially separated from the rock it was made from between the 8th and 12th centuries.

A crack in the granite made it impossible to finish this Egyptian obelisk. It is hidden about two kilometers south of Syene in a vast pink granite quarry. Even though it is in bad shape, it is still attached to the rock mass (Aswan). Since ancient times, granite, schist, and alabaster have been taken out of the ground for building materials, and the blocks were moved north by the Nile River.

Obelisks in Rome, New York, Istanbul, Paris, and London were made from Aswan granite, only found in this part of Egypt. The valuable pink granite for the obelisks came from the same quarry as the stone blocks for the pyramids, sculptures, and regal colossuses. This quarry is only a few kilometers south of Aswan.

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The Story of the Unfinished Obelisk

The obelisks began in the New Kingdom. Even though they were built before, but were small. The exact time of its construction is unknown. Still, it is believed that the Unfinished Obelisk was constructed during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut (wife of King Tuthmosis II) of the 18th dynasty, who ruled Egypt from 1490 to 1468 BC. C.

Unfinished Obelisk was built to partner with the later Obelisk of the Temple of Karnak (30 m high and 350 tons), which was moved to the Lateran Palace in Rome. Separating the Obelisk from the quarry bedrock caused cracks in the rock, which is why it was abandoned without finishing its construction. The gap in the stone is also believed to postdate its abandonment for some religious reason.

Cutting Tools and How to Use Them?

Pictures of some of the tools that were used by the ancient Egyptians

This giant obelisk shows how the granite mountain was cut to make these monuments. Workers probably didn’t take the rock out because it was broken somehow. The vast grooves on the sides aren’t finished, which shows that the stone was hit with percussion (maybe with hammers or dolerite balls) instead of notches and water-swollen wooden or metal wedges, as was typical in Roman times.

First, a smooth, even granite piece without cracks was chosen. Then, the surface was evened out with hot bricks quickly cooled in a bucket of water. The granite was then pounded very hard with dolerite balls. Many of these balls were naturally formed in the valleys east and west of the river. Most of the time, these balls are 15 to 30 cm in diameter and weigh 5 kg.

Using a method similar to a “lady” or “goose,” these stone tools were carefully pounding them vertically over and over, then quickly lifting them and letting go. The result is significant, circular grooves that look like they were “nibbled” with an unusual tool.

The Museum of the Unfinished Obelisk is located here.

Unfinished Obelisk

The area around the unfinished obelisk in Aswan is now a museum anyone can visit. In the 25th year of his rule, Thutmosis III ordered two obelisks for the Temple of Karnak, one now in Rome and the other still at the temple.

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