Posts Tagged Stonework
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.
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.
The Secrets of the Sun Sects covers a large number of areas,
Here is a summary
THE SUN DEVICES OF ANTIQUITY
1. Burning Mirrors – an overview of what parabolic mirrors are able to do
2. Ancient Mirror Math – The simple math & geometric solution to Archimedes burning mirror problem
3. Dish Construction – How to make 10Mw/Sqm solar concentrators in antiquity or a garage
4. A New History of Mirrors – The implications for Greeks, Egyptians, Alchemy, Incans and more.
5. Star Wars – The use of burning mirrors on the ancient battlefields
The Sun Temples
6. The Sun Temples – A description of a solar chamber, energy and usage across the ancient world
7. Temple Mountains – The arrangement of sun chambers on step pyramids builds to ancient solar industries
8. Temple Distribution & Climate – The rationale for the solar chamber variances across the globe
9. Stone Circles – The solar premise applied to neolithic stone circles
10.Conclusion – The ancient world was powered by sunlight
THE SUN DEVICES
11. Solar Tools – A guide to making powerful sun dishes today
12. Food & Water – Using ancient techniques to fry, boil and cook at home or in the factory
13. Climate Control & Power – Using old technology to cool the home and produce power 24/7
14. Materials & Crop Processing – Solar Recycling, refining, materials synthesis & agricultural applications
15. Lost Techniques of the Solar Artist – Stone cutting, finishing, ceramics & gems
16. Miscellaneous Devices – How to make & use powerful Ancient Telescopes
17. Commercial Concerns – Benefits & reservations in the commercial environment
THE SUN SECTS
18. Revising the Past – Adding the Ancient Solar Sects to the record
19. The Inception of Civilization – Did civilization start with a hot black stone or fire?
20. European Sun Sects – The emergence of neolithic solar powered cultures
21. The Egyptian Sun Sects – The utility of sun gods & their temples/tools
22. Egyptian Priestly Orders – The skills hierarchy of the ancient solar orders
23. The Demise of the Sun Cults – The reasons for failure
Modern Solar Sects
24 The Transition Cultures – The switch from solar energy to sun worship
25. Eastern Religions – The Solar Cult legacies of the East
26. Western Religions – The Solar Cult legacies of the West
27. Miracles of Light – Biblical refs to solar devices
28. The Prophecies – 3 Ancient Prophecies reinterpreted
29. A Bright Future – Some very optimistic outlooks
A. Missing Greek Math – Tables of Hipparchus & Archimedes
B. The Power of Spherical Mirrors – The full math proof behind burning mirrors
C. Thermal Properties of the Sites – Detailed energy calculations for sun temples and stones
D. Projects – Completed and ongoing projects, High tech, low tech and historical