Superintendent, Construction and Refractory Engineering
(All One World Egypt Tours Traveler - Jan 2008 & Nov 2010)
were not found in Egypt till around Djoser's time. In the 3-4 dynasties it
is believed that the Egyptians mined about 4 tons (8000 pounds) per year.
bits found ranged in size from .25 inches to 5 inches diameter. They
ranged in thickness up to 1/5 of an inch. Thus a 2” hole drill with 1/5”
wall thickness 4’ long would weigh over 6 pounds. So in the time period of
the 3-4 dynasties they could produce over 1300 of these bits per year. If
that was all they made with the copper, which we know it not accurate.
A common size
sarcophagus had a portion hollowed out 4’ wide 8’ long and 4’ deep.
Approximately removing 221,184 cubic inches of material. I would think a
2’ diameter drill would be the size of choice.
For me to drill
granite I would use water assisted electric core drill with a diamond
cutting head. [See this at
NEWS page, Jan
17th - video of drilling in the Red Pyramid]
On average we can cut 1’ in depth with 3000 revolutions of
the drill (with mild pressure applied to the bit) twenty 4’ deep holes is
a common life for a bit used in this fashion. A hand operated core drill
could be rotated at possibly 60 revolutions per min. The cutting ability
is affected by the cutting agent. Dune sand is a poor choice. Dune sand
had rounded edges caused by the way it is created. I would say it had less
than 20% of the cutting abilities of diamonds. Thus the 3000 revolutions
would increase to 15,000 revolutions per inch equaling 4+ hours per inch
of Egyptian style drilling. With a common size sarcophagus requiring over
55 thousand inches of drilling. With one crew drilling it would take 25
years at 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
the drill casing is wearing out due to the cutting agent rubbing between
the hole and the side of the drill. Modern core drills address this with
water. The water lubricates the bit and flushes out the material between
the casing and the side of the hole. My thoughts are that the copper
drills used would wear out at about a 15% ratio of the holes drilled.
Meaning you will need 8250 inches of drill to drill out 55,000 inches of
hole. This translates to 4,200 pounds of copper. A six month supply of all
Egypt’s copper to drill out one Sarcophagus.
For me to drill
out a sarcophagus I would use a four drill crew. This would take me 6
months. The correct way to remove the granite is to drill holes at the
corners and saw cut out the middle. This could be done in several weeks.
That is what I believe was really done. Saw marked are found in several
locations in Egypt, even on Khufu’s sarcophagi. These were noted by Sir
William Petrie over one hundred years ago.
All in all I do
not believe in ancient time precious materials and manpower would have
been so utilized for one minor project as holing out a piece of granite.
That or they were able to achieve this feat with a lot less effort than
the common beliefs of Egyptian stone working would dictate!
obtained from Advanced Machining in Ancient Egypt by Christopher P.
Send an email
and we will forward it to Tom. Facebook members can comment on the
Tom's Facebook page: