Aswan- The granit ball, when three different civilizations are witnessing !January 9, 2017
Saqqara – The Mystery of the SerapeumJanuary 9, 2017
Elephantine Island is the biggest island in Aswan archipelago. We have been charmed by its Nubian villages and its ruined temples abandoned by tourism. However, the temples there remain are quite the accomplishment regarding granite work. Are they evidence of an ancient advanced technology which has since disappeared? We have been there and we will take you there on each tour we organize to Egypt.
Temple of Khnum
The Temple Khnum was built by Queen Hatshepsut during the 18th Dynasty then restored during the 19th dynasty. At least, this is what it is supposed to have happened. A “naos” can be found there, which can be qualified as a royal seat that belonged to Nectanebo II, from the 30th Dynasty, the last one for native Egyptians. Texts in Khnum Temple are dated from the 3rd Dynasty and had been made famous by Djoser and its step pyramid of Saqqara, 2600 BC.
The Naos of Nectanebo II: one block of pink granite
The naos is arguably one of the main focus of our trips in Egypt. Speaking of this, it is very curious and sad that only few Egypt tours include a stop by Elephantine Island.
Why is the Naos so special? Whatever its real utilization was, its precision and level of realization are simply unthinkable for the time, and almost impossible to reproduce today! Same thing goes for the one in Edfu Temple.
Use of machines in Ancient Egypt ?
Temple of Khnum’s Nectanebo II Naos as cut in one block of pink granite. Nowadays, we cannot think about working a granite block that massive, dig it and polish it so it remains intact for thousands of years to come. Granite can be cut with machines, but it is way more difficult if “digging it” is the following step. So, a very elaborated machine is necessary to reach such a level. Egyptologists talk about manual polishing of granite with water and sand… We strongly question their knowledge in geology and engineering. Sand is a quartzite type detrital stone. It is the product of accumulation of fragments of erosion of old stones. The hardest sands have a 7 of hardness on Mohs scale, just like granite. With sand and granite having the same hardness, only advanced machines are capable of generate big pression in order to polish the granite. Machines way more powerful than a man’s hand. This strange theory is based on the fact that Egyptologists and archeologists claim that there was nothing before Egyptians and dynastic Egypt. Ancient Egyptians would have use desert sand to polish granite. But, as already said in our datation of Sphinx article, these realizations can be dated from a time when the Sahara desert didn’t exist yet. So, polishing using water and sand is not a valid theory. Furthermore, it is quite insulting to think that Egyptians, had all the time in the world and could very well spend months to polish things manually!
Machines and timelessness?
The polish found on Nectanebo II naos is also called « mirror polish ». It is smooth and shiny. You get blinded if your sight crosses the sunlight reflecting on it. This totally invalidates the theory of the utilization of granite polish by sand and demonstrates the likely usage of modern and advanced technologies.
Moreover, today it is possible to polish marble and granite (thanks to powerful machines using 7 grains diamond). However, this polish crumbles and loses its quality through the years. Hundreds years later, polish loses its splendour and its ability to reflect light. On Elephantine Island, the polish of Nectanebo II Naos is intact and stayed like this for thousands and thousands of years! Amazing!
Cutting granite at Elephantine Island’s Temple of Khnum
Cutting granite is a hard task requiring machines with diamond saws. The granite found all over Elephatine Island and in Khnum Temple is perfectly cut. Zero default, a real masterpiece.
Lengths of sides, angles, parallelisms, everything follows perfect geometric criterias. Holes can even be found in this granite, which is not necessarily logical with the supposed usage of the object, which should have been a royal chair… A majestuous royal chair made by dynastic Egypt. Yes, but digging holes in this granite naos ? Why ? Doors? Sure...But still...How ?!
For travelers who come to visit Khnum Temple and admire Nectanebo II Naos, these extraordinary structures could not have been made by hand in their entirety. Cutting it, polishing it and all technical requirements it would need, would only be done with machines today.