Experiments in Egyptian Archaeology: Stoneworking Technology in Ancient Egypt

By Denys A. Stocks | Go to book overview

9

BY-PRODUCTS FROM A BYGONE AGE

Modern by-product materials

The technological success of modern society is dependent upon interaction between separate parts of industry. For example, one industry may produce a particular waste product, a consequence of its manufacturing process, which can be used in a totally different kind of industry. An instance of this practice is the manufacture of particle board from wood dust, a by-product of sawmills, which is mixed with adhesive and compressed to make a cheap, alternative material to timber. Another by-product is the fine ash produced by burning coal in power stations. This material is turned into building blocks, and is also used for motorway construction.

An enigma of ancient Egyptian craftworking is the origin of the materials used for faience cores and glazes. Ancient Egyptian workers used copper tubular drills, with sand abrasive, to hollow stone artifacts; 1 the waste powders, rich in quartz, also contained copper from the drills. Did ancient craftworkers use these powders for making faience cores, blue and green glazes and, perhaps, blue frits and pigment? 2 To explore this possibility, the characteristics of ancient faience are compared with the microstructure and composition of experimentally made ceramics.


Ancient faience: a brief description

Faience was employed to make amulets, beads, scarabs, inlay for jewellery, statuettes, shawabti figures, vessels and tiles. Two particularly good examples of faience statuettes are to be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: a Twelfth Dynasty blue glazed hippopotamus (MMA 17.9.1), from the tomb of Senbi at Meir, is decorated with open and closed lotus flowers, and an Eighteenth Dynasty glazed representation of Amenhotep III (MMA 1972.125), a deeper blue than the hippopotamus, is in the form of a sphinx. In Berlin is an Eighteenth Dynasty 9 cm-diameter blue faience bowl (Egyptian Museum, Berlin 4562), which is decorated with three fish depicted at 120°to one another. An equilateral triangle, at the bowl's centre, serves as the head for all three fish. 3 These superb

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Experiments in Egyptian Archaeology: Stoneworking Technology in Ancient Egypt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Tables xi
  • List of Figures xiii
  • Foreword xxi
  • Acknowledgements xxiii
  • Predynastic and Dynastic Chronology xxvii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Craftworking 7
  • 2 - The Cutting Edge 25
  • 3 - A Flint for All Seasons 74
  • 4 - The Abrasive Technologists 103
  • 5 - Making Stone Vessels 139
  • 6 - The Development of Stone Sarcophagus Manufacture 169
  • 7 - Master Masonry Fitters 179
  • Part III - Industrial Revolution in Ancient Egypt 201
  • 8 - Theban Mass-Production Tools 203
  • 9 - By-Products from a Bygone Age 225
  • 10 - Ancient Technical Interrelationships 234
  • Glossary of Technical Terms 240
  • Bibliography 249
  • Figure Sources 256
  • Index 258
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