Monday, March 29, 2010

Egypt 2: The Sphinx temple

We left off with our group working its way to the Sphinx on the Giza plateau.  In order to get inside the enclosure surrounding the Sphinx, one must walk through a wonderful little temple.  The temple feels supremely ancient to me.  It's made out of huge limestone blocks faced with red granite.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the small enclosure where one enters the temple.  This is a shot through the first doorway.

Here you can see Mike from our group walking through the doorway above.  I took this shot to show how the old limestone blocks have been faced with red granite from Aswan, 600 miles or so to the south.  If this is the left side of the little alcove where one enters the temple, then...

This shot would be the right side.  I included it so that you can see how the builders shaped the granite facing stones around the oddly shaped limestone blocks behind.  Some have suggested that the red granite came after the limestone blocks.  Long after.

This from inside the doorway Mike just walked through, looking out.

In this shot I have turned around 180 degrees.  Notice how the door into the next chamber is offset, almost as though they were attempting to create a series of blockages to keep the outside world out.

Notice also the blocks in the wall in this image and the one above, and how the builders went to an enormous amount of effort to create irregular shapes.  Also notice the corner block on the left in the image above.  Notice how it has been carved into a perfect L shape so that it can be in both walls.  Whoever built this place did not seem to be concerned with the amount of effort necessary to put it together.

Close up of the joints shown in the image before last.  The joints in this red granite are so good that it is impossible to slide even a thin sheet of paper between them.

Here is John Anthony West pointing out the details of a corner joint and how the blocks from each wall actually go around the corner.

As you can probably tell, I was really taken with this little temple and the way it was constructed.  The energy in this place was sublime.  Notice in all of these images how perfectly flat the granite is and how perfectly the joints match.

The prevailing theory concerning the development of civilization back 4000 years ago, when it is believed this place was constructed, is that the only tools they had were made out of bronze.  The tools had to be bronze it is theorized, because steel hadn't yet been invented.

Problem is, this red granite is really hard.  It has a Rockwell hardness scale between 8 and 9.  Diamonds are the hardest in the scale at 10.  Common sense tells me that whoever built this place had some form of advanced technology other than crude bronze tools, as bronze is much, much softer.  There is no way a bronze chisel would even scratch stone this hard.

More of this wonderful little temple in the next post.

Continue on to Post 3: Sphinx Temple II by clicking here.


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