UNFINISHED OBELISK DISPLAYS THE INCREDIBLE ENGINEERING OF ANCIENT EGYPT 3500 YEARS AGO
An unfinished obelisk in Aswan, Egypt, lies like a sleeping giant on a bed of granite, offering a startling insight into the construction of these monolithic monuments. When completed, it will be approximately 42 meters (137 feet) tall and weigh approximately 1,200 tons. Pharaoh Hatshepsut is believed to have commissioned this work during the 18th Dynasty, over 3,500 years ago.
What is an obelisk? These four-sided tapering monuments of his were called Tequenu by the ancient Egyptians, but today they are known as obelisks, derived from the Greek word obelisk. It is usually placed at the entrance of a temple and is a hallmark of ancient Egyptian ingenuity and engineering. More than half of the ancient obelisks beloved by successive civilisations are actually outside of Egypt and were especially prized by the Romans. In fact, 13 are in Italy.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Unfinished Obelisk is that we can see how they would have freed the huge structure from the rock if it hadn't cracked. Sounds incredible, but the answer was wet wood. Workers carved small indentations in the stone, creating a line resembling a perforated sheet of paper.
The slots were filled with sun-dried wooden wedges. The wedges were then repeatedly soaked in water and believe it or not, the expansion of this tree would cause the carved stone to burst from its nest.