Excerpts of the key insight:
Indeed, we’ve been able to notice that the northern side of the ceiling contains a longitudinal joint situated at about ten centimeters from its junction with the eastern wall. It appears clearly, therefore, that there is a 12th rafter (numbering from west to east) which is largely hidden by the masonry of the eastern wall (fig. 2).
From then on, the numbering of Petrie makes sense, with roofing slabs beginning at the west of the northern side and going eastward. But, contrary to the statement of the british egyptologist, the same applies for the southern side (fig. 2). Numbers are therefore at the right places, and the builders have carefully followed the indicated instructions.
The pyramid of Unas revealed some similar marks on the saddle vault of its burial chamber21. The fourth butting beam, beginning from east on the southern side, carries the number 4 with the sign . The middle block of the northern side carries the number 2 with the sign . As in the Khufu pyramid, it seems that one section of workers (known as « phyle »22) was responsible for laying one entire side of the vault. They were symbolized by one of these two hieroglyphs
The third observation is corroborated by Herman Junker's suggestion as to the five phyle markings he observed on blocks of G4000.
One can tentatively conclude that the numbers written next to "was" and "nfr" might make sense subject to confirming 18 and 23 with other examples.
In the case of Unas' pyramid, the numbers seem not to go with the slab position but with the phyle number, which therefore could be ordinal....e.g. the 8th Ankh Phyle Gang.
So this creates two plausible scenarios for ordinal numbers on the rafters:
1) The position of the slab in the laying sequence of the rafters, e.g. 8th, 21st, 23rd
2) The identifier of the gang within a phyle, e.g. "4th was" or "eighth nfr".
I think the discussion, as contentious as it has been, is yielding useful insights.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 15-Jun-18 14:17 by Manu.