> In regards to your repeated question:
> I wonder whether Flinders Petrie would satisfy
> you? I am sure you have read this before , but
> likely from his book direct? (rather than this
> source requoting it)
Source of quoteQuote
> Egyptologist Petrie expressed his astonishment of
> this feat by writing: - 'Merely to place such
> stones in exact contact would be careful work, but
> to do so with cement in the joint seems almost
> impossible; it is to be compared to the finest
> opticians' work on the scale of acres"
Petrie didn’t write this. Not exactly.
The nearest I can find to the first sentence in quotation marks is In The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh (1883: 44):
Several measures were taken of the thickness of the joints of the casing stones. The eastern joint of the northern casing stones is on the top .020, .002, .045 wide; and on the face .012, .022, 013, and .040 wide. The next joint is on the face .011 and .014 wide. Hence the mean thickness of the joints there is .020 ; and, therefore, the mean variation of the cutting of the stone from a straight line and from a true square, is but .01 on length of 75 inches up the face, an amount of accuracy equal to most modem opticians' straight-edges of such a length. These joints, with an area of some 35 square feet each, were not only worked as finely as this, but cemented throughout. Though the stones were brought as close as 1/500 inch, or, in fact, into contact, and the mean opening of the joint was but 1/50 inch, yet the builders managed to fill the joint with cement, despite the great area of it, and the weight of the stone to be moved — some 16 tons. To merely place such stones in exact contact at the sides would be careful work; but to do so with cement in the joint seems almost impossible
The casing is remarkably well levelled …
Again, the nearest I can find to the wording which follows is in Petrie’s A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the XVIth Dynasty (1897: 40):
The training and skill which they would acquire by such work would be a
great benefit to the national character.
The workmanship greatly varies in different parts.
The entrance passage and the casing are perhaps the
finest ; the flatness and squareness of the joints being
extraordinary, equal to opticians' work of the present
day, but on a scale of acres instead of feet or yards of
material. The squareness and level of the base is
brilliantly true, the average error being less than a
ten-thousandth of the side in equality, in squareness,
and in level. The Queen's chamber is also very finely
fitted, the joints being scarcely perceptible. Above
that the work is rougher ; the grand gallery has not
this superlative fineness, and the construction of the
King's chamber is flagrantly out of level, though its
granite courses are fairly well wrought. A change of
design is also shown by the shaft which has been cut
through the masonry from the grand gallery to the
subterranean parts ; and also by the unfinished rough
core masonry left for the floor of the Queen's chamber.
Apparently the architect who designed and insisted
all the fine work, died during its progress, and far
less able heads were left to finish it.
(Again, my italics).
Romer, John (2007), The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited quotes both of these originals separately.
The earliest example of the quote as it appears at the Ancient Wisdom site is in John Anthony West (1985), The Traveler’s Key to Ancient Egypt: 90 (as cited in Hancock, Fingerprints [1995: 281-2]).
A look at what Petrie really wrote, in its original context, shows that he had a more balanced view of the quality of the work than is implied by the mistaken quote from (presumably) J.A. West.