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This is an alternative view of the construction of Cheops from The Great Pyramid Rainmaker. It is based on knowledge of how Cheops worked and its purpose as opposed to the third person account related by Herodotus. No researcher has been able to make sense of the currently accepted time frame for good reason, it is wrong.
‘Cheops was built in twenty years’ is repeated so often that it is rarely questioned. It had to have been constructed in a single lifetime in order to fit the tomb view. Scholars try to explain the pyramid with this in mind and invariably fail. This summary highlights the various working stages of the build and the value to the builders. It implies that the structure was probably constructed over many generations.
Several engineers and archaeologists have found evidence of water in and around the Great Pyramid. Here the implications for the building program and the functions are covered briefly. There are five phases outlined, though the pyramid could have received more than one refurbishment between any of the key stages. Each is deduced from the mechanic of the pyramid itself and data that is often overlooked in order to maintain the tomb view.
The five functional phases of Cheops
- A reservoir that allowed the site to be settled
- A mastaba/valve that increased the amount of water stored
- A geyser chamber that sent water to the summit of a flat top pyramid
- A higher chamber and pyramid that processed water & produced rain
- A cenotaph built over a failed machine
Each stage is summarized below. The evidence lies housed within the structure. It is a matter of showing how each phase worked under simple principles. The working machines were all neatly buried beneath tons of geometric rocks in the final phase. Despite the discovery of moving parts, water and a common scheme, Cheops is a tomb to the scholars. No matter what is found, there will always be an academic willing to find some new esoteric reason for it. There will no doubt also be a mystic and alternative writer to do the same.
Here the focus is on how to get the various parts working and what they meant for the builders. Importantly the science of each stage is known and was known to the ancient Egyptians. The various phases were break points where the utility could be exploited for decades before embarking on the next. There is a brief account of each step below. Hopefully it is enough to convince the open minded that Cheops was built over centuries and performed vital functions for long intervals. For a more detailed description read The Great Pyramid Rainmaker.
The plateau was inhabited long before the pyramids were even conceived. It made a fine refuge from the flooding of the Nile, because of its height and the free flowing ground water. A cold water geyser system functioned where Cheops was eventually to be built. Its sediment raised the natural mound that is still at the core of Cheops.
At this early stage there were no plans for a pyramid, just a need to capture the ground water and store it. The reservoir would allow large numbers of people to permanently settle the site instead of retreating as the water table dropped. To store the water the first settler-constructors built a retaining wall around the natural geyser. This is common to many ancient sites; great reservoirs are always an important facet of settlement.
The permanent settlers could thrive and build drainage channels and canals from the reservoir to convenient transport and irrigation networks. They also received a boost to their income each year as the flood migrants arrived. Ultimately Giza became a central hub of the ancient water network with locks and canals flowing to and from the plateau. This is a common function integrated into many pyramid complexes.
As each canal was dug, there was the natural byproduct of stone. This was used to create the first buildings on the plateau. Again this is a common feature in any pyramid building culture. It did not matter if the canal was dug into dirt or stone, the material was used to form the mass of the pyramids. On the plateau the extracted stone was immediately useful. The canals also provided routes for special stone to be brought in.
The wall is still on the plateau, though no doubt it has had many improvements since the first one was built. It likely started off as relatively small structure and grew to its final stature with time. The current one still has evidence of the overflow conduits. The main problem was that as the water table dropped, the water would back fill the caves beneath the plateau partly emptying the reservoir. A simple solution was needed, which leads to stage two.
In order to raise the level of water that could be stored a one way valve had to be constructed. It took the form of a simple platform or mastaba. Water flowed to the summit of the mastaba and then into the reservoir around it.
The mound was built up to a raised platform and the structure took the form of a mastaba or stepped pyramid. This is controversial. The affinity for the perfect four sided triangular pyramid is strong in the academic community. It is what makes Cheops such an enigma. However, most pyramids were built over time by adding increasingly larger steps. This is not viable under the tomb time frame, which might explain why it has been rejected. As will be shown, the evidence both physical and textual points to a staged build.
The raised platform/pyramid acted as a simple valve. When water flowed to the summit, it could be stored and any excess poured down into the original reservoir. When the water table dropped with the seasons, the reservoir did not flow back into the ground beneath because of the raised inlet. This allowed much more water to be stored and used.
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The final working phase of Cheops involved making the structure larger, adding the King’s chamber and raising the water even further. The means was much the same as the QC phase, though several improvements were added. All of these support the scheme in practical ways. These give reason to the portcullis, the Grand Gallery and the various parts of the KC.
In this phase the QC was blocked off from the water flow. The King’s Chamber became the new geyser cavity with exit pipes running to the 101st course.
The mechanism employed was almost identical to the QC phase. Ground water pressure took the water to the King’s Chamber via the Grand Gallery and portcullis. The height was ascertained during the running of the QC. Degassing occurred in the King’s chamber (See the QC diagram above) and in the Grand Gallery which exerted its force via the Davison passage. A combination of the two pushed the water down the KC and out through the shafts that ran to the top of the pyramid.
The water was brought out on the 101st course, where there were the same structures found on other flat top pyramids. There was a water reservoir, a weir and an overflow system. This sent the water down the side of the structure adding an extra 120 feet to its path. This extra distance increased the warming and turbulence, which helped process the water and added to the vapor that it created. This is a very short summary of the mechanic, for more detail see The Rainmaker.
The elements of the geyser are still there. The King’s chamber and low set exit pipes form the basics. There were several fine advances made in the design that added value and confirm the nature of the machine. One of the more intriguing is the automated Portcullis system. As the water rose and fell with the geyser cycle, this system could open and close automatically due to buoyancy. The exit pipes (air shafts) are at exactly the right height to allow the system to operate. A summary of the operation can be found here. The Portcullis System
The gains for this phase were much the same as the QC stage (see above) except for the byproduct of Rain. To make rain even on a local level requires huge amounts of energy. Fortunately the energy involved in this endeavor was of the order of 500MW a day. That is enough to seed a lot of clouds. This would also make Cheops the largest machine ever built before the 20th century.
The system is not just theoretical; small versions can be built and tested by anyone. There are models described in the Rainmaker that allow anyone to demonstrate rain making in this manner. The method and means to recreate the system will be placed here if there is enough interest. This includes the control mechanisms, detailed benefits and designs for working models. This will help clear up a lot of evidence from Giza that is currently confusing. At the moment it is detailed within the book, the focus here is primarily the stages of construction.
This brings us to the final construction phase of Cheops, which involves its failure. Any geyser is sensitive to the level of the water supply. Most geysers stop working because the water no longer fills the cavity. Cheops was no different. The water level rose and fell with the aquifer beneath. This happened and still happens throughout the year. Today it does not even get to the ground level making Giza a dry and dusty place.
A smallish drop in the water pressure would stop the portcullis stones from rising and falling. When the water tabled dropped, the King’s Chamber ceased to pump. This was the greatest machine failure in human history. The salt deposits found in the core of Cheops attest to the water standing idle for long periods. There was probably the hope that they would rise again, but it did not to happen.
As the water level fell, the site became a dry necropolis. Bodies were buried around the largest machine ever built. While the bodies were piling up, the Pharaoh’s had this massive white elephant mocking them from on high. At some point, likely during Khufu’s reign, it was decided to cover up this embarrassment to royal power. This is the saddest part of the Giza story.
Many of the stones from the faces had been reused for other buildings, just as they always are. A grand project was started to place stones on the structure and complete the peak. At the same time there was a conscious effort to remove any record of the building’s true function. It seems this was successful. A further outer skin of stones was added. The peak was finished to the apex. The white casing stones were added along with a lick of paint.
The only record of construction comes from this final stage. It was a smaller though no less difficult task. Less than an eighth of the mass had to be raised, but this was still an impressive project. Without a ready supply of water at height, the project had to be carried out the hard way. The accounts that passed through the ages about the construction of Cheops relate to this cover-up.
After a few generations the memory faded. Without the records, Cheops’ use fell behind the mists of time. The cover up was so complete that even the record that is left leaves few in any doubt as to the mere symbolism that the pyramid inspires. A modern industry has grown up around the tomb view.
A once grand and useful building has been turned into a tomb marker for the graves of those buried around it. It is a cenotaph to a dead vision. It was a monumental mound to regal embarrassment. The true function may discomfit the scholars who proffer the idea that the structure was a tomb, but no tomb was ever intended at the start. Cheops was originally a great machine powered by free flowing water and the sun, the fruits of Osiris and Ra respectively.
It is the sad fate for the king of all machines. It is consigned the status of a tomb stone. Maybe when the current civilizations fail and the future archaeologists look back they will think it was a fun park. The modern penchant for themed rides combined with the evidence of ticket booths and bus parks may force no other conclusion.
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The Great Pyramid Rainmaker
This phase of Cheops has evidence from the structure itself. The parts and mechanism make this abundantly clear. The use of the cold geyser technique to lift water to ever greater heights began here. The Queen’s Chamber is in effect the evidence with its pipes that no longer reach the outer layer. This part of the project also provides a clue as to the origins of the idea for the most ambitious next working stage.
The Queen’s Chamber was built on the summit of the original platform and a stepped pyramid was built up to the 58th course. With outlet pipes in two directions, the chamber formed a man made geyser cavity. The immense amount of stone was needed to withstand the water pressure and support the summit chambers.
The mechanic of this phase was simple. Carbonated ground water was forced in to the QC by the natural water pressure. When it filled the QC, dissolved gas in the water was released by turbulence and the slight increase in temperature between the cool ground and the chamber. This gas forced the water down the QC and out of the ‘air shafts’. When the gas level reached the exit pipes, it vented in the classic geyser style. This is identical in principle to a soda siphon.
At this point most of the water had been pushed to the summit and the chamber was nearly empty. The pressure had also been decreased due to venting. The ground water pressure was now higher than the chamber’s, this sent water into the chamber and the cycle repeated. This is identical to Kunkel’s method for a single chamber. However, instead of steam being produced by heat, gas trapped in the water was released to provide the force. See Diagram (Blue is indicated by the water, Yellow is the gas).
The remnants in the structure all add to improving this dynamic. The chamber design, the ‘air shafts’ to a previous summit, the solid sealed granite roof slabs and the mass of the structure all have distinct functions. They all contribute to the system.
The water pumping concept is common to other functional models of Cheops. Kunkel uses much the same pattern of support. However, his and all the other models introduce extra parts for the system. Excepting Cadman’s RAM pump, none of them work. Here, nothing needs to be added, except the natural fizzy water and the system will operate. Of course great chunks of the pyramid are removed for this phase, which is just as controversial.
This step pyramid was used in the same way as the other step pyramids. Some are known to have had water reservoirs on their summits and/or reservoirs surrounding them. Akapana and Angkor Wat are both recognized as having water reservoirs on the top level. This short Cheops was no different. It supported sanctuaries built in much the same style as the other step pyramids of Egypt.
Only one sanctuary is shown above, but there were likely the usual arrangement of five sanctuaries on the summit. The function and operation of the sanctuaries is described HERE, they were of great use to the builders. This type of pyramid structure in Egypt is mentioned by writers such as Herodotus, though not in the context of Cheops.
Gravimetric analysis of the structure shows steps up each side. The texts mention ‘battlements’, which implies ledges around the building. There are also references in the Pyramid Texts to a summit where the pharaoh’s body was cremated. None of these features are consistent with a smooth sided peaked pyramid. They are however in line with the more common tiered pyramids found in Egypt and the rest of the world.
The gains at this stage include an increase in the volume of water that could be processed and energy independence with the solar aspects. The water was further degassed and warmed as it flowed down the side of the sun heated pyramid. Water and energy are always important factors in any settlement. This water was put to good use on the plateau for a number of industries that emerged. The transport network also grew to maturity at this stage.
This phase also led to the origins of the penultimate Grand Design. There were two factors that evolved from the QC phase. The first and foremost was useful information. Most argue that Cheops was built all in one go, from the ground to the peak. This can not be the case if the structure was a machine because there was no way to know how high the natural water pressure would reach without a phased build. As the structure was built, the maximum water level became clear.
Secondly, a side effect of this stage was the impact of all the falling water. Likewise this could not have been known before the build and operation. No one could even guess at the effect since nothing so large had ever been built before. Water vapor had been seen in the solar chambers, but it was slight and short lived. The vapor was more of an irritant than a goal.
The massive flow of warm water down the side of Cheops led to an amazing insight that was applied with intent in the final working phase. The effect they noted was the mist that formed from the weir on the summit. At any hot geyser or large waterfall this same mist can be seen. It leads to unique weather patterns. The vapor from a geyser/waterfall laces the air with moisture. This causes fog and cloud which in turn makes localized rain. The mist and cloud likely inspired the builders on to the final working stage, where these properties were taken to a higher level.
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THE AUTOMATIC PORTCULLIS SYSTEM OF CHEOPS
The Portcullis system in the heart of Cheops is an enigma. It sits between the King’s Chamber and the Grand Gallery. The Antechamber and the portcullis stones are shown in the center of the reconstruction below.
The three stones provide no more security for the pharaoh’s unfound treasure than one. As a result, there have been all manner of ideas associated with these stones. Some have suggested their weight provides some resonant properties. They have been included in ultra advanced systems to produce microwaves. There are many more proposals. Most of the ideas are subjective or impossible to test or prove.
The following short summary is part of the full mechanic of Cheops detailed in the upcoming book ‘Sailing to Atlantis’. The automated mechanism relies on one of the oldest and simplest known principles – buoyancy. It simply shows how the stones in the antechamber will open and close automatically if water is added.
The actual mechanic can have several variants. Without knowing the exact arrangement of the ropes between the portcullis stones it is not easy to decide which was used. The following is just one possible working example. This version integrates into the full mechanic of Cheops
When the first two stones are roped to the third over the pulleys like the diagram below, the first two stones lift the third one up.
The balance can be changed by simply adding water. When the water level rises to the top of the lower two stones, the buoyancy of the water effectively reduces the weight of the first two stones. At this point the third stone has enough force to pull the two stones up slightly. This opens up a gap beneath the stones (See diagram below).
If the water level keeps on rising, the third stone becomes submerged in water too. This reduces its downward force and the balance of the system shifts again. The first and second stone fall back down to the original levels though now the chamber is flooded with water.
By simply raising and lowering the water in the antechamber, the stones open and close the entrance to the King’s Chamber automatically. The change in water level is linked to the function of the Great Pyramid, which is described in the upcoming book.
‘Sailing to Atlantis’ is an extension of the Ancient Solar Premise (ASP). The Grand ASP deals with the ancient need for water and its uses. Once water is added to ancient structures the functions become clear. Mostly it is as simple as the Portcullis system above. Once the evidence of great water systems is revealed the nature of the prehistory is changed dramatically. For copies see The Great Pyramid Rainmaker.
There seems to be an ever-growing list of new ideas on the ancient world and the types of technology employed. Most of these emerge from the alternative writers and describe wonderful attributes of buildings and artifacts. Ideas vary from global energy systems and landing pads to advanced communication devices and precision tools. Whilst many of these are intricate and involved, there does not seem to be a standard for evaluating the competing ideas.
The following questions should help readers to evaluate ideas on ancient technologies. They have been developed from a set of the criteria for appraising scientific theories. If a theory scores well in one area, it may fall down in another. This does not necessarily mean it is wrong or right, but efforts should be made to shore up the lacking side. If it is not possible to ‘fill in the blanks’ then it is probably a poor idea. Good theories should show well in all sections.
These questions are aimed at proposals that involve tangible artifacts from antiquity. It does not help in delivering the truth behind historical causal events. It is an aid for deciding which technological ideas are viable and which are not. Questions like; ”What were pyramids or stone circles used for?”, ”Which tools delivered which artifacts?”, ”How was a particular artifact was used?”, ”What technological level was in place?” etc can be evaluated by reviewing the elements.
The following criteria apply only to ideas based on discovered artifacts. Ideas built around items not found in the archaeological record create major issues. Without the actual artifacts, absolutely anything can be considered viable, which opens up schemes closer to sci-fi than science fact. Aliens or gods can be invoked to explain the pyramids, without need for any evidence. Any modern tool from precision lathes to CERN lasers can be included since the need for evidence has been removed.
The first few criteria deal with the elements that make up good theories and apply equally to scientific ideas. The last few deal with the specific issues of evaluating ideas in the historical context. This is a much greyer area, since some might think symbolism is all-important; others might seek only tangible benefits. Each criterion has an example or two to illustrate the point.
- How much does the theory explain?
- What are the Assumptions?
- What is the evidence?
- Is the idea based on known science?
- Is the technique or tool used today?
- Can the theory be proved or disproved?
- Is the theory subjective?
- Is the device cogent with contemporary technology?
- Was it useful to the ancients?
- How does the new idea fit with others?
1. How much does the theory explain?
A key criterion for evaluating theories is based on the premise that it attempts to explain reality through simplification. This means the idea should be concise and cover as much as possible. Theories vary wildly in their scope, some deal with a single structure others tend to explain great groups of buildings or artifacts. With device theories, some ideas pertain only to a single small device or rock. Possibly the weakest ideas are those that relate to a single abstract work of art, making all manner of assumptions and predictions.
The scope can give potency to a theory. The ”more for less” principle allows the funerary or ceremonial to gain precedence over others because long lists of sites fall within the domain. It seems to be where these mainstream ideas score highest. Without explicitly proving the case, buildings and artifacts can be categorized under these terms because either previous artifacts have been or no other use can be conceived.
Good theories should state what they account for and what does not fall within the scope. How far can the idea be extended to unknown sites? In the event a dig disturbs a new building or artifact, what will place it within the theory and what places it outside?
Examples; Wide theories, such as ceremonial, star maps or funerary types deal with large groups of buildings or artifacts. Many alternative ideas often fall short by only dealing with a single famous site such as Stonehenge or Cheops.
2. What are the Assumptions?
Evidence is one thing, but some things have to be assumed. A good theory should have as few assumptions as possible. Those that are made should be validated with data from the archaeological record or science. If exceptional assumptions are required, extensive data and/or rationale would be necessary to justify their use. When fewer assumptions are used, there will be less debate over the idea.
Example: Gravity was lower in the past, can explain all manner of data. However, there should be real qualitative evidence to support the idea. Some ideas assume the ancients derived information from travel to other star systems. This may be qualified with further data support or counter argued with simple telescopes.
3. What is the evidence?
Often this is the most expansive area of a theory on antiquity. All manner of intriguing items have been uncovered and brought to light by the researchers. This includes odd devices, inexplicable tool marks, amazing benefits, out of place objects, peculiar texts and a myriad of other abstract media. However, just because an idea apparently encompasses plenty of evidence, it does not necessarily mean it is a good or useful concept.
If a particular device had a major role in the ancient world, there should be multiple instances of it, despite the ravages of time. Archaeologists are used to establishing these sorts of record from the slightest of evidence. The texts and art should be considered support for the actual objects. If ancient media is compared to the modern, it is obvious why. The imaginative world of Hollywood often has little bearing on the real world.
Examples: The use of chisels or hammer stones in stonework is established based on the marks on the stones and the tools themselves. On the other hand, potent lasers are eliminated because there is no evidence of the crystals, power supplies, fuel sources, electrical components etc.
Inexplicable curios such as huge blocks moved to unlikely places; tend to lead to outrageous claims. These range from aliens to magic. It is best to ask what is possible with the materials on hand. There are many groups that have answered these issues quietly, without recourse to magic. Many of these ideas score well on all evidential counts.
One of the biggest themes involves moderns interpreting ancient glyphs and texts under today’s technology. This is a very common feature among the wildest claims. The requirement for actual artifacts is the primary means to deal with these. If there are no actual spacecraft parts in the archaeological record, then in all likelihood there are no spacecraft, no matter how compelling some ancient glyphs look.
4. Is the idea based on known science?
Some alternative hypotheses are based on unknown science. This does not necessarily mean they are wrong. Indeed scientists look for this type of evidence for hints of new ideas. Equally, it does not mean they are correct. Any idea that breaks the laws of physics in obvious ways is almost bound to be incorrect.
If the premise works within the bounds of know science, it passes this test. If it does not, then it will be subjected to the rigorous tests that science uses to adopt new theories. Working prototypes are considered a good proof of a mechanic. If a copy is made of an artifact that works using unknown science, it is deemed a reasonable idea. It may of course be working under known science in unusual ways. Valid prototypes should be made from materials and parts known to be contemporary with the device/s under study. There is little truth in hanging a Kray computer off a simple device and claiming it is an ancient method.
Examples: Copper chisels have been claimed to be used to work hard stones. The experiments show how poorly real copper chisels perform. The Antikythera device is claimed to be a kind of stellar computer, the copies show a great deal of promise. If a new energy is being posited within a theory, it should be shown how to test it, reproduce it, measure it etc.
5. Is the technique or tool used today?
There are millions of devices in use today in a variety of environments from the complex to the simple. It is unlikely that the ancients used technology that is unknown today. It should be a relatively easy task to find comparative devices. Sometimes modern tools make ancient devices redundant, but the tech should be obvious before the newer machines were devised. This applies to both tools and techniques, though clearly techniques vary greatly with needs.
If the machine is used today, it should be practical in times when technology was simpler. This is a relatively easy task if the development of the tool is followed to its modern origins. Materials, fuels, consumables etc. should also be considered under this reverse engineering. Some metals, compounds and fuels are not found in antiquity, so should be avoided. This does not preclude advanced technology in the ancient world, but claims of this ilk should be backed up with real evidence.
Examples: Heavy weights are commonly moved by boat now. This may have also been the case in the old world. However, steel hulls need to be replaced with wooden, metal motorized cranes would need replacing with practical ancient alternatives. The Baghdad batteries are an excellent example of the same principles of a AAA battery, but with ancient parts & consumables. Some ideas propose the use of nuclear mechanism in the past, however there is a huge infrastructure and technology behind this sort of technology. The evidence gathering would require the mining & refining of fuels, practical alternatives to the complex electronic controls etc.
6. Can the theory be proved or disproved?
Ancient history can never be proved or disproved absolutely. It is not possible to go back in time and check the facts as they really happened. Even if a museum device or ancient building does operate under the terms of a historical premise, it still requires more evidence. Skeptics can always state ”the ancients never used the device in that way”. This is hard to counter when there may be no abstract evidence such as texts or graphics to support the idea.
Tools can be recreated, buildings can be built to scale and techniques can be tested. Experimental archaeologists are showing the way in this regard. They take objects that are found in the digs and attempt to recreate lost methods. To their credit, these researchers have had a great deal of success though receive much less publicity than the more outlandish untested and unproven ideas of the alternative sector.
It is very unlikely that grand schemes such as worldwide networks did not have utility at smaller scales. It would be the equivalent of saying electricity only works when a national grid is built. Huge structures are usually based on smaller ones that work under the same principles. Prototyping allows for claims to be proved or disproved.
Examples: The possibility of moving megalithic stones with primitive materials, such as ropes, levers and stone bearings has been shown. Global systems or massive structures such as Cheops are very difficult to test if they only work at these scales. This is often an obstacle to disproving an idea. However, both of these cases should be testable on a reduced scale.
7. Is the theory subjective?
Some ideas are based on subjective experience; these types of theories cannot be proved to everyone. A person walks into a structure and senses an incredible array of unknown mystical experiences. The personal experience whilst heartfelt can lead to all manner of conclusions that no one else can experience or prove.
Good ideas should be non-subjective and provable through reason or tests. This is the best way to build consensus and agreement across the majority. Whilst some ideas are accepted by the minority, they cannot be agreed upon by all because of the subjectivity. On the other hand, some ideas are agreed by the majority, even though they do not fulfill all of the criteria for good theory.
Example: Some people get an incredible sense of well-being when sitting within certain ancient structures. They conclude that there is some inherent magical property that promotes this experience. This may be the case, but it can also be a psychological reaction based on slight physical effects and the way the person has built up the meaning of an ancient building. Similarly, some people today faint at the sight of a pop icon, others simply see someone that sings. Some people walk into a modern Cathedral and have an emotional reaction, whilst others just see an exquisite building.
8. Is the device cogent with contemporary technology?
This aspect allows for internal consistency within the framework of the idea. It is ridiculous to have people living in caves, using stone clubs and a supersonic jet parked outside. Most examples are more subtle than this, but it underlies the point.
The ideas must be scaled down to their origins to make any sort of sense at all. The theory should be supported with other devices of the time. Ideally, it should be able to perform the task with materials common to the era. There is no truth in introducing nano-fibers into antiquity to make a machine work. In the perfect case the origins and development of the tool, material, technique or structure should also be visible.
Difficulties arise from the introduction of technology form some other external source. This is as common today as it was in antiquity. Laos introduced multi-megawatt dams without the usual progress, because of foreign expertise. Likewise, in the past, seafarers may bring all manner of wonderful and novel ideas.
There are concepts that seem relatively simple in principle, but are overwhelmingly complex in reality. To use electric power on a wide scale requires more than just a few wires. Distribution grids, transformers, power stations, fuel transport, mines or oil wells make these systems unlikely in antiquity.
Examples: To have microwave communication without evidence of radio comms first is a leap of faith. To claim lasers in antiquity requires a whole host of other technologies first. Geometric blocks develop from simpler methods of working stone. In some cases, local cultures appear to have gone straight to the cubic forms without the intermediate steps. This is presumably due to a traveling stonemason of sorts.
9. Was it useful to the ancients?
What were the real gains to the builder or maker of the artifact? This is an area often overlooked by the mainstream and dwelt on by sections of the alternative lobby. Symbolism falls squarely under this category; some may argue it deserves a section of its own. A large number of mainstream and alternative researchers see symbolism as the end game in a vast array of artifacts. It is a matter of opinion, but if all ideas of this ilk were to be believed, the ancient world seems to have done little else but symbolize.
In the mainstream, virtually any odd object or building discovered is almost immediately assigned a ritual or funerary function, which seems a strange catchall. Some members of the alternative community take a better position in insisting the relics had some tangible function. The use and gains should be commensurate with the investment of time and resources. Is there an easier way to achieve the same gain? Is an excellent question.
Uses and gains are not always easy to establish in the artifact world. Some items may have been useful at some point and then were copied in some symbolic form later. This would mean thousands of ornaments could look like originally functional objects, yet are unable to do the same tasks.
Example: Many ascribe real uses for the Coptic cross. It has however taken on a life of its own in the symbolic world of religions. Likewise, pyramids are built today, but they do not appear to have any potential tangible functions of the past, at least if Vegas is considered. It is suggested that pyramids were built to hold a dead body and the gain is symbolic to the builders. Thousands of ancients felt better about their world because of this endeavor. Now this may have been the case, but it is equally likely that moderns have been imposing their own rationale retrospectively for building Cathedrals, churches, mausoleums etc. It is hard to be objective when looking back.
10. How does the new idea fit with others?
It is unlikely that a new idea will completely replace other ideas. The creators are taking a rather arrogant stance if they think that the current models are without any merit at all. Some new ideas fit within older ones, others encompass previous, whilst in unusual cases the new idea completely displaces previous paradigms. It is wise for the authors to at the very least deal with these types of interconnection.
Example: The funerary theory can still hold amongst previously functional buildings, if the new model allows them to be used in this manner when defunct. Grand plans such as star maps or symbolism can hold alongside function in the same way as recent churches have been laid out to some form. Later peoples may easily have used previously functional buildings in some ceremonial manner.
This series of videos show just what is possible with intense beams of sunlight. They do not all use sun dishes, but the physics is near identical in form. The inference from these modern solar technologists is that an ancient with a dish could pretty much deliver the same techniques (excepting the computer controls). Materials transforms and cutting are all practical without recourse to anything more exotic than a parabolic concetrator.
How to Build an Ark and Perform the Miracles of the Exodus
Solar sinter project
AMAZING this guy is making glass from sand by pointing a beam at it. He even makes pots with just a guided beam
Big Ass Fresenl lens These guys were just having fun and show how quick a beam will cut thru rocks.
Fresnel melts metals easily
5000 Suns this guy is getting famous for showing the potency of the mosaic method of concentrating sunlight
The guys at Green energy are doing a great job showing a vast array of possibilities. This link shows one, it links to plent yof others at the end. Just point and click.
”Solar Death Ray” more fun with great marketing
2700 degs F
Stirling Engine Solar
Glass cutting with a dish
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Evidence of Vitrified Stonework in the Inca Vestiges of Peru
Vitrified stones are simply stones that have been melted to a point where they form a glass or glaze. There is much debate in archaeological circles over the ancient examples under study for two reasons. Firstly, few cases are known to have been tested and even if they have been, there are many questions over how they were made.
Glassy rocks form naturally under conditions of high temperature and pressures found in and around volcanoes. Glass or glazes are traditionally created using a furnace. Furnace or kiln examples are found on everyday objects such as glassware and ceramics. Ceramic glazes are created by pasting certain finely crushed stones, sometimes with tinctures, onto fired pots and plates. The whole is then fired to temperatures usually in excess of 1000 degrees centigrade. Many of the ancient vitrified examples are found on objects so large that they cannot be placed in a furnace.
Previous analysis concluded that the temperatures needed to produce the vitrification were up to 1,100°C. There are confirmed cases from Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany.
These are mostly forts and buildings with vitrified ramparts. This fusion is often uneven throughout the various forts and even on a single wall. Some stones are only partially melted, whilst in others their adjoining edges are fused firmly together. In many instances, pieces of rock are enveloped in a glassy enamel-like coating, which binds them into a whole. At times, the entire length of the wall presents one solid mass of vitreous substance.
There are many more examples from Malta, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, South East Asia and others that are speculated to fall into the grouping. However, these have not all been subjected to scientific testing like the European cases. They simply appear to be glazed finishes on equally large objects or on walls that are impossible to fire conventionally.
There has been much discussion about the Inca vestiges in the Peruvian Andes. It mostly revolves around whether the stones are vitrified or not. This article focuses on these Peruvian cases where there are indications of heat treatment.
THE PERUVIAN CASE STUDY
The vitrified examples under study come from famous Peruvian sites, in South America. Without testing, the debate is open to claims of unusual polishing techniques, natural degradation, lava flows and many other odd explanations. The analysis below eliminates some of these ideas.
The vitrified stones of Peru were first brought to popular attention by Erich von Daniken in the 1970s. He noted the vitrification at Sacsayhuaman in his book Chariots of the Gods. Peruvian Alfredo Gamarra had identified this vitrification earlier. The identification and cataloging of these intriguing stones has been carried on by Alfredo’s son Jesus Gamara, and Jan Peter de Jong.
In Sacsayhuaman, there are many other indications of the use of heat. Strange marks on the stones like the one pictured can be found; shiny, completely smooth and with another color to the rest of the rock:
Vitrification appears on different kinds of stones and structures, as the photos show. It is found on the perfectly fitted walls with irregular blocks. It is also observed on walls made with regular oblong blocks. It has been spotted on mountainsides, caves and rocks in situ. The location arrangements vary as well. Some sites are surrounded or overbuilt by walls whilst others have single exposed isolated stones. There seems to have been some very adaptable ancient technology at work.
A list of vestiges where stonework seems to have been treated with this technology include; In Cusco, the walls of Koricancha, Loreto Street, Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Tetecaca, Templo de la Luna (or Amaru Machay), Zona X, Tambo Machay, Puca Pucara, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Machu Picchu, Raqchi and in Bolivia in Tiahuanaco.
Archaeologists assume that the perfect fitting stones are the most developed style of the Incas. Regardless, there is no explanation of the shiny surfaces that can be observed. These often appear on the borders where the stones join perfectly. It is normally assumed that these parts were simply polished by the Incas.
During many visits to the vestiges mentioned, Jesus Gamarra and Jan Peter de Jong have examined these stones with highly reflective surfaces. They have captured many of them on video. Through personal observations and analysis of the video material, they have concluded that something other than polishing has occurred.
Identifying Vitrified Stones.
Many cases display some or all of the qualities mentioned below. The vitrified spots show discoloration and smoothness around the particular areas. They clearly look like the stone has been melted just in those spots. A simple flashlight test was developed, to help identify the layers of glaze or glass.
Filming was carried out at night with a flashlight beam passing through the glaze. This shows the reflection and diffraction of the light as it passes through the surface. Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Loreto Street were all filmed at night using a flashlight or the nocturnal illumination to capture the effect.
The following traits help to identify vitrified stones:
- The melted effect is obvious
- Reflection is high
- The layer refracts, diffracts and diffuses light
- A separate vitrified layer is present on the surface
- Damaged layers show a ´film´ on the stone
- The glazed layer is independent of rock type
- The surface is smooth to the touch even if the surface is irregular
- There is often associated heat discoloration surrounding the glaze
The diffraction effect can be seen in the video of ‘the Inca Throne’ at Sacsayhuaman. The rainbow effect is clearly captured by the camera. This is directly linked to the light passing through the glass layer and splitting into its constituent parts. After noticing this effect, it was also detected on videos of other vitrified stones. This can be viewed on this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae_8ri2fiwI, and on the DVD that will be available shortly.
The DVD ”The Cosmogony of the 3 Worlds” shows an overview of this phenomenon in the chapter on Vitrified Stones.
VITRIFIED STONE SAMPLE ANALYSIS
A small sample from the Peruvian site called Tetecaca was collected and then analyzed by the University of Utrecht, Holland.
The sample is from a rock outcrop above Cuzco. Inside the cave there is an altar formed from rectangular shapes made of the rock. Several lines in the rock have a shiny surface, as if they were branded into the rock. They are on right lines on the wall of the cave. The walls are cut out with curved and rectangular forms in them. These are man made structures, which rules out natural phenomena. The photos show the site.
Pictures from inside of the cave, walls with long, straight reflecting lines and an altar structure:
Below is a picture of the spot where the sample was found. The white line indicates where the thin section was made. The smooth layer on the picture is about 2 cm wide and 1.3 cm deep. The sample was carefully cut into two parts and a thin section was taken for analysis.
RESULTS & CONCLUSION
The microscope photograph of the sample shows two distinct regions, the surface layer and the body stone. There is a less distinct intermediate area between the two that seems to transition from stone body to surface layer. Samples from all three regions were subjected to detailed analysis.
Photo 1: The Vitrified Surface of the Stone
(The line at bottom is 21 micrometer)
Composition of the Surface Layer
Note: The full set of photos, spectra, tables and text can be found in the full article
The body of the stone is limestone, which is not surprising. However, The Vitrified Surface of the stone shows a different spectrum of elements. (See spectra above) The glaring difference is that Silicon is present with much higher concentrations. The trace elements of Aluminum and Magnesium are also significantly higher than the body. Oxygen is also present in double the quantities. The Calcium and Carbon are much lower than the body sample.
The intermediate regions show a gradation between the surface and body of the stone. This implies either the surface layer was somehow ground and mixed with the stone body. The body limestone somehow merged/melted with the surface layer. Alternatively, the limestone constituents could have been a part of the added surface layer.
The surface shows some similarity to Wollastonite, which forms when impure limestone is subjected to high temperatures and pressures. However, the impurities in the surface are not present in the stone body. This indicates that the compounds in the surface layer were added. It appears they were applied and then treated with heat. This option does have some merits, but it is moving towards the techniques of the ceramist.
Whilst the spectra do not show explicitly that the surface is vitrified, the layer does have the composition, sheen, hardness and glassy texture of a glaze. It is very likely that the glaze was made from a ceramic paste applied to the limestone surface. This is reinforced with a comparison to ancient glazed ceramic pottery shards. If an antique ceramic is compared to the spectra of the glaze above there is little to separate the two. In the Paper X-Ray Techniques Applied to Surface Paintings of Ceramic Pottery Pieces From Aguada Culture (Catamarca, Argentina) there are several comparable results. Ignoring the gold leaf and colorants, the key constituents Silicon, Aluminum, Magnesium, Carbon and Oxygen are present in the same ratios.
The glazed results strongly indicate that heat was used to produce the finish. This raises several questions. Even if a layer of a ceramic paste was applied, how was it heated to the requisite temperatures without cracking the limestone? How was the heat produced to treat these structures? Whilst this sample is from a cave, there are similar structures that are outside with the same kind of glaze. The same conclusion may not necessarily be applied to these other cases.
Analysis is needed, but the similarities with the investigated sample and other photographed cases, are clear. It is likely that these other cases are also vitrified. The amount of heat needed to fire the huge stones on which these glazes are found is enormous. In furnaces, the whole body has to be raised to the temperature of the surface glaze.
The stones pictured above provoke much debate. Explanations on how they were produced vary from the use of advanced machines, simple metal/stone tools, molded stonework, concentrated sunlight and fire methods. Whilst the analysis above says little about the way the shapes were made, it does eliminate some ideas on the means of producing these exquisite finishes.
Heat is used to form glazes. How the heat was applied is not clear. To create ceramics on this scale, the heat production would have been greater than the normal ceramic methods.
Protzen has looked at these effects and suggested it could be achieved with polishing. To date, only Andesite has been attempted with very limited success. After the analysis of the surface layer above, it is clear that polishing alone will not produce the heat needed to produce a ceramic glaze. This eliminates polishing as a means of creation.
Peruvian Alfredo Gamarra has identified vitrification on many stones and has argued that the ancients had a technology to treat stone with heat and that the stone was soft at the moment of construction. The comparison at the spectrum level with clay and ceramic pastes is interesting. Ceramic pastes and clay are soft prior to being treated with heat.
Conventional geological understanding is not compatible with this idea. However, the impression from the vitrified stonework is that the stone was once soft. In many of the stones, there are places where it looks as if objects or molds were pressed into the stone. The perfect fitting stones in the walls of Cusco and the other Inca vestiges could have been obtained more easily this way.
Another option is the use of sun dishes and concentrated sunlight by the ancients. This is discussed by Prof. Watkins in his 1990 paper on fine Inca stonework. In this seminal paper, his chief concern was the methods of cutting the stone. Since he was proposing intense heat to cut the stones, it was not a great step to consider the stones melted. His conclusions have been much maligned since there had been no analyses performed.
The analysis does support this, but the location of the sample was on a wall in a cave. The ceramic paste had to be heated whilst on the stone vestige. This means light would have to be reflected deep into the cave. Whilst it is possible that the ancients were capable of producing flat mirrors for the task, it does seem complicated. This method could work for stones on the surface, but is clearly limited in this case.
If the stones were fired in a kiln, the glaze could be a result of the extremely high temperatures. The knowledge of ceramics in ancient Peru suggests this is a distinct possibility. This prospect however, only arises with the stones that can be placed in a kiln or stonework that is part of a kiln. The examples laid onto the sides of huge natural rocks cannot have been produced by standard fire techniques. As European studies of vitrified forts and experimental work have shown.
There is the possibility is that the cave itself was a kiln. Pots or vases may have been fired in the cave and the ceramic pastes may have been applied to protect the stone structure. There is much discoloration within the cave and innumerable glazed areas. The comparison to vitrified vestiges in the open air or in places without a smoke escape, leaves many questions.
On balance, it has to be admitted that a method is difficult to define. Further analysis of samples from the other sites needs to be undertaken to confirm the use of heat in all of the sites. However, the sample tested shows that the similarity to ceramic pastes is near certain. It is easy to conclude that heat was used. The treatment method may have been similar to the technology used for ceramic pastes, but on a much larger scale.
-Jesús Gamarra Farfan especially, for showing, explaining and filming these stones.
The following persons we want to thank for their cooperation and feedback:
-Prof. Schuiling, Tilly Bouten and Anita van Leeuwen, Geology department University of Utrecht.
-prof. Kars, Institute for Geo and Bioarchaeology, IGBA, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
-David Campbell, http://www.anarchaeology.com
-Paul D. Burley, http://www.pauldburley.com
-Gamarra Farfán, J.B., Parawayso. April 2008.
-de Jong, Jan Peter, www.ancient-mysteries-explained.com
-Morris, M., The great pyramid secret, Scribal arts 2010.
-Protzen, J.-P. l986. Inca stonemasonry. Scientific Amer. 254: 94-105.
-Prof. Watkins, I. 1990. How Did the Incas Create Such Beautiful Stonemasonry?” in “Rocks and Minerals” Vol. 65 Nov/Dec 1990.
-Thurlings, B, Wie hielp de mens? Uitgeverij Aspekt. 2008.
-X – Ray spectra of minerals and materials: http://www.cannonmicroprobe.com/XRay_%20Spectra.htm.
-Silvano R. Bertolino, Victor Galván Josa, Alejo C. Carreras, Andrés Laguens, Guillermo de la Fuente and José A. Riveros in Wiley Interscience Online, Dec. 2008. X-Ray Techniques Applied to Surface Paintings of Ceramic Pottery Pieces From Aguada Culture (Catamarca, Argentina).
Jan Peter de Jong
website Ancient Mysteries Explained
Website Secrets of the Sun Sects
This page has been compiled to address the Solar Cooking Storage issue with simple, inexpensive and effective methods of heat storage. It is based on some very old methods using stones and large sealed chambers that are outlined in The Ancient Solar Premise
The first method just has a black sheet of metal wrapped tightly around a solid fired house brick; this is aligned with three others and placed in an insulating box. See diagram. The energy throughput can be increased by increasing the number of metal casings and reducing the size of the bricks. This is a slight improvement on just placing black stones in the base of a box cooker.
Storage with High Energy Throughput
The second arrangement increases the throughput of energy, both in and out, by increasing the metal contact area. The same metal sheaf is used as above, but there are pipes welded to the interior. The pipes fit tightly into the holes in hollow fired house bricks. The pipes are cut along one edge to allow for expansion without cracking the bricks.
Both arrays are used in the same way. Prior to cooking the brick arrays are left in the base of the solar cooker. As the sun heats the metal surface, the energy is transferred to the bricks. This allows the bricks to heat up and store the sun’s energy. If the array is exposed to the air, an insulating lid needs to be put on the metal surface when the sun disappears. This is also beneficial within enclosed box style cookers as an extra insulation measure.
Cooking can be carried out in the normal fashion by placing a pot or tray of food onto the surface whilst exposed to the sun. The heat within the stones allows the cooking to continue even if the sun is obscured.
Alternatively, cooking can be carried out purely with the heat stored in the bricks. At sunset, the food is placed in the box cooker and the lid is closed. This allows the food to slow cook with the heat from the bricks.
With this second approach, there is a clear relation between the amount of food that can be cooked and the mass of the bricks. The bricks should weigh more than the food and be heated to as high a temperature as possible. This is achieved with large reflector panels.
In both cases, the speed of cooking is improved because the heat is being directed at the base of the food. Convection currents take it upwards guaranteeing the whole is at temperature. The colors of the foods are also incidental in this approach since it is the stones and the metal conductor that deliver the heat.
Steel sheets were used in tests for the first arrangement and proved good enough conductors. Clearly copper would be a much better conductor of heat though significantly more expensive. Iron may be a good compromise.
Bricks were used in all of the tests. The principle is based on storing the sun’s energy in a variety of dark stones such as granite, basalt and obsidian. A variety of materials can be used in the arrangements. Natural stones are the most durable, store energy very well and do not even require the metal sheaf if they are black. However, because of the expense in some regions, fired house bricks prove a reasonable substitute. They can be used with paints, but the throughput is limited by the contact area. The designs above double or triple the surfaces through which the heat can be transferred.
There are composite bricks designed specifically for storing heat used in electric storage heaters. These may prove the best material for the task.
There are several issues with this style of solar heat storage.
The primary one is that the stones have to be preheated before cooking occurs. This means there are initiation times proportionate to the mass of stone and the temperature required. However, this is also the source of the utility, since the cooking can continue at night or whilst there is no sun. This removes the primary temporal restriction on solar cooking,
The brick heat capacities vary greatly from place to place. This is because of the different clays used and the variety of firing temperatures. This is also true of the natural stones, which form with different compositions and conditions. Each region requires the stones to be tested in practice to realize assured guidelines.
The insulator used in tests was a standard polystyrene icebox with layers of aluminum foil and cardboard protection. This proved an excellent insulator. It retained the heat within the stones overnight. The problem was the degradation of the polystyrene over time because of the heat. This reduces both the storage capacity and the time it can be stored. The exact figures for this area are a constantly moving target.
Fracturing stones with an intense beam of light is easy. In the first tests carried out with sun dishes, most stones shattered almost instantly. It was only after controlling the way the heat was delivered that stones ceased to split on contact with the beam. This allowed a number of more subtle effects to be realized.
Amongst these techniques, there is gem annealing, stone glazing, ceramic creation, food cooking, metal vaporizing, metal welding, metal cutting and many more. These procedures were developed originally over centuries of dish use. As a scientist with clues from the archaeological record and modern texts, they were all developed over the course of a year or two.
These techniques clearly point up the ladder of sun dish skills. Possibly at the top is the ability to cut and write in stone with light. Whilst simple roman numerals have already been written in stone and stones have been fractured, there are finer methods that use control systems.
These controls are nothing more sophisticated than paints or charcoal to protect or help heat particular areas. Light guards to guarantee the direction of the beam. Finally, there are templates that allow patterns to be made without error.
These are currently being developed and tested as time permits. The inspiration comes from the ancient Talmudic texts. They describe both stone cutting and writing in gems with the Shamir. The extract below from The Ancient Solar Premise relates the content from the various sources.
The techniques currently being tested follow two streams. Firstly, gemstones are being coated with a mask of charcoal, paint or ink and the responses of various gems are being tested. Whilst ceramic paints have already been melted onto stone and pottery, this is an alternative way to write in stone. The body of the gem or stone will react differently in places where it is painted.
Gems have already been changed completely or partially with a beam of light. New fundamentals being established are as follows. Will the paint protect the gem color and allow the rest to change. This will lead to an original color under the paint and a faded color around the paint. Alternatively, will the reverse happen? Will the dark paint absorb more light and heat up the gem beneath the paint causing it to change color?
Testing requires the correct paint, ink, charcoal, light intensity, dish size, stone selection, time of exposure, ambient weather and patience.
The second technique involves using light guards to protect areas of the stone and expose other parts. When water is poured onto the heated section of stone, small chunks can presumably be fractured away quite quickly. This is a more sophisticated version of the fracturing already established. It also allows some degree of control over the beam. In principle, very small dishes can be used to deliver very fine work.
There is no doubt the stones will fracture, but there are additional things to discover. New fundamentals being established are as follows. How fast is the process with dishes, how small can the sun dish be, how accurate can the cuts be made, exposure times, water-cooling and which metals will be used?
In the past gold plates seem to have been used. Budgets preclude this option, but modern shiny metals should suffice. The reflective properties prevent too much light being absorbed and the metal will not melt. This process is already being used in laser systems that etch onto stones. Small movable metal plates move whilst the laser remains fixed. As they move, the tip of the beam is directed to a different spot. It is a very successful technique.
Testing requires the right ambient weather, exposure times, rock selection, light guard spacing, template alignment, template distances and of course patience.
Both techniques are outlined in the Talmudic texts summarized below. The techniques are only minor extensions to work already carried out with tools actually found in the archaeological record. This places a device in the hands of the ancient stonemason that:
- Requires no energy or effort apart from the sun
- Requires little if any maintenance
- Works noiselessly as mentioned below
- Cuts through virtually any stone hard or soft
- Delivers the requisite accuracy to inscribe in small gems
- Produces the fine stonework identified in antiquity
- Delivers the huge cuts noted in ancient rocks with large dishes
They also leave the tell tale marks of heat; vitrified surfaces, color changes induced by heat and many more. This page will be updated as the tests are completed.
Extract from The Ancient Solar Premise
Cutting stone might be thought of as rather an extreme application of solar techniques. There would surely be some text support for such an amazing method. Apart from the references from Peru, there are others that have a more surreal quality. The Shamir is a fabled device that is related from both Arab legend and Jewish texts. Its provenance can be traced back to the Exilic Jews, but there is much between it and fact. This is dealt with more fully in the book A Brief History of the Sun Sects. However, a brief summary is instructive.
There are two accounts of the Shamir being used in ways that have a certain resonance with the techniques in this text. Outside of the ideas expressed and tested here, no others even come close to matching this myth with real tools. The Shamir was used to write in stone by Moses during the exilic years and to build the Temple of Solomon.
In the oldest part of the myth, the Shamir was used in preparing stones for the ritual garb of the Tabernacle. In Exodus, it says that the precious stones for the Urim and Tummim were to be engraved with the names of the twelve tribes “like the engravings of a signet”. No ordinary tool was to be used in this sacred work making the cuts in the stones. Scripture required that the stones remain “in their fullness.”
Bezalel and his workers first wrote the names in ink on each of the gemstones (ruby, topaz, smaragd, garnet, sapphire, emerald, zircon, agate, amethyst, beryl, jasper, onyx). Then the shamir performed its work. This etched the names with such skill that not one atom of stone was lost. In some interpretations, the inked stones were shown the Shamir or exposed to its action.
In the more recent part of the tale, the Shamir neatly solves some problems caused by constraints put on the temple building process. The brief mention comes from Kings and notes that David was attempting to build the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. The main limit was that no metal tools were to be used: “For the house, while it was in the building, was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was being built.”
The biblical injunction read: “….if you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones; for if you lift up your tool upon it, you have polluted it.” Iron tools were linked to the sword, which was a weapon of war and death. In contrast, the altar and temple were the symbols of peace and life. Solomon wanted the altar and all the stonework in the temple to be made ready at the quarry without using any metal tool or instrument.
This might be a big constraint, but there also seems to have been neighbor trouble. They were complaining about the noise of the temple construction. This seems unlikely since a ruler would not have to listen to the locals. Whether true or not, the Shamir provided an answer that betrayed another of its properties. At the end of the Arab version, the king summons the Jinns from the Samur Mountains to his aid. They seem to have had many Shamir stones (samurs), which could shape and polish the stone blocks ‘noiselessly’.
These actions have a certain parallel to the sun dish techniques noted. The gemstone changes of colors are related along with results where only parts of the stone were etched. Seven of the gems mentioned were tested and changed quite easily with a small dish. Likewise, the use of paints, inks or charcoal to change parts of stones is outlined. It also strikes a chord with the ink and template methods used to cut granites and other stones. Most of all it is the ability to cut stones silently. What other method of stone cutting is there that can cut stone without noise? This is definitely not the chisel, sander, boulder, power saw or any other tool but light.
Whilst the actions of the tool have a bearing, the physical properties also add some clues. The tool was said to be a worm, about the size of a barley grain and able to cut through anything.
The ‘worm’ description seems to derive from the fact that the tool is not a mineral but living. This defies even the best minds, unless it is simply the point of light at the tip being described. This intense spot of light is not living or dead, but a dynamic tube of intense power. How else would they have described it?
This point of light can be made the size of a barley grain and it will shatter anything, even hard, durable stones. The rocks were said to split of their own accord at the markings, as a fig opens. Indeed stones do split on there own when exposed to the beam as tests have shown. It is suspected that the barley connection arises from the storage box details.
From the Greek works on Solomon, the Shamir is described as a green stone. A dish made of brass or bronze or any non-gold alloy would green with age. The color is seen on many metal museum pieces. Whether this is correct or not, it is the best of a poor set of answers. There are no green stones able to cut through granites and other hard rocks.
Lastly, there is the storage of this fabled object to deal with. The tool was looked after by the Hoopoe-bird. He kept it in a lead box, wrapped in a cloth amongst some barley grains. Only lead could resist the action of the device. This would be a surprise if it were active because lead is easily melted with a dish. The contradiction in being the size of barley grain, but wrapped in a cloth amongst others is clear. For a start, it could get lost in with all the others if it fell out of the cloth. It would also be strange to wrap up something the size of a grain of barley.
If it were a dish, it would be wise to keep it within a sealed box. This prevents the dish becoming dangerous in the presence of the sun. Barley is a quite effective at keeping moisture at bay within a sealed box. This would be wise if the device was made of an alloy since it would degrade quite quickly. The cloth would protect a dish from being bent out of shape in the event the box was dropped.
On balance, it is hard to separate fact from myth as with most history. Some have taken these notions and made radioactive theories, the priests have invoked the powers of gods. As far as the author is aware, the solar tools here are the only ones able to deliver all of the facilities afforded to this device. There is much more of this type of reasoning in A Brief History of the Sun Sects. The tool is put into context alongside the Tabernacle and the needs of the people of Moses. For the moment, this tale is just a sidebar on an eminently useful device that still has a few more things to deliver.