MJT: My mistake, folks; I was using colloquial English. Definition of cement: Something that hardens to act as adhesive material. Perhaps I should have said mortar (tricky thing the English language).
SC: There’s no “perhaps” about it.
SC: If the Granite Leaf was intended to be immovable then it would have been inserted as a single granite slab and not one on top of the other.
MJT: This may be plausible to us, but we have no way of knowing how the Pyramid’s builders saw it.
SC: I agree. We have no way of knowing much of what the AEs did or why they did it. They left precious little in writing to tell us and so, if we are to get anywhere near the answer, we must study the architecture of the monuments they left behind to try and logically deduce why they did what they did based on the extant evidence - and a fair bit of imagination.
MJT: Equally, for all we know there wasn’t a suitable single block available at the time of the building.
SC: Given that the granite blocks for the KC came from Aswan (hundreds of miles away), it shows a great amount of detailed and logistical planning. I rather doubt they would have overlooked the granite portcullis slabs and granite leaf from the Aswan Granite Order Sheet.
MJT: And what are we to make of the whole of the north face of the Leaf between the faces of the wainscots being cut back about 1”, the grooves containing the Leaf differing in width by about 1”, and the thickness of the Leaf at the face of the west wainscot being about 1” greater than it is at the face of the east wainscot?
SC: I am sure there will have been a practical/functional consideration for this. I reckon possibly something to do with the balance of the leaf given that the top of the granite leaf is, as you have pointed out, quite uneven. Or perhaps it was an issue with the creation of the raised granite boss which was created by removing some of the surface area of the leaf and smoothing it out.
MJT: The Boss being about 1” deep (front to back), IMO, simply draws attention to this curious feature of the Leaf.
SC: What draws more attention to the boss is that it is slightly off-centre having been displaced a little to the west side of the leaf i.e. placed nearer to the heaviest side of the leaf (as a result of the uneven upper rim and the slightly thicker edge at its west side). This makes sense since the centre of gravity of the granite leaf will be to this side, ensuring that it is balanced when being raised.
MJT: IMO, the Leaf does not appear to have served any actual function, which has me thinking that we are looking at something other than a part of a portcullis device. Then there is still the uneven and out of level (W-E) top of the Leaf to consider.
SC: If the granite leaf served no “actual function” (I am thinking you mean ‘practical function’) then you are effectively stating that it served some ‘symbolic function’. If that is so, then I completely disagree. Placing a boss on the leaf strongly suggests a practical function (as leverage for raising the block). Ensuring that the boss was placed at the centre of gravity of the uneven block suggests this even more so.
MJT: If ropes were intended to go over the top of the Leaf, then surely a) the top would have been made level E-W to prevent the ropes shifting sideways and b) the top would have been made as smooth as possible to reduce friction between it and the ropes and thus reduce the risk of snagging.
SC: So long as the ropes were properly looped and tensioned around the leaf to take account of its irregular edge, this would not be a problem. It would have been more of a problem had the lower edge of the granite leaf been uneven. You need an even edge at the bottom edge when the granite leaf is descending as this bottom edge is where the force on the rope is directly applied, not on the uneven upper edge.
SC: The fact that the upper slab – the Granite Leaf – has a raised boss and rebates at each side is a strong indicator that the upper slab was intended to be levered upwards in a manner probably not too dissimilar to this:
This was, after all, the purpose of the boss, to provide an anchor point for ropes or levers, thus:
MJT: I see this Boss as completely inadequate for the purpose proposed by Scott.
SC: You see that only because it rather suits your ‘symbolic’ interpretation of this particular evidence. It wasn’t symbolic – it was practical as all boss’s were.
SC: Such mortar was used as a lubricant to assist in the reduction of friction of a moving (stone) object – you should know that.
MJT: See my correcting comment above re ‘cement’.
SC: Which rather neatly dodged the point. Mortar was used as a lubricant to assist in the reduction of friction of moving stone. The granite leaf once slid up and down with the ASSISTANCE of such mortar. That it now appears to have been rendered immovable by such does not mean the plaster was used to lock it into place. That is merely misinterpreting the evidence.
MJT: The level of the top of the Leaf from east end to west end varies by at least 7.75" – between the faces of the wainscots the difference is less at about 5.25”.
SC: So what.
MJT: As already mentioned, this is hardly efficient for ropes to run over the top of the Leaf.
SC: Nonsense. The force is applied to the rope (when the granite leaf is descending by gravity) at the LOWER even edge of the granite leaf, NOT the upper uneven edge.
MJT: The thickness of the Leaf (north-south) at its west end is 1” greater than at its east end.
SC: Hence why the boss is off-centre and placed at the leaf’s centre of gravity.
SC: So what – my sash windows have a slightly wider gap at one end than the other but it doesn’t stop them from being raised and lowered.
MJT: You don’t appear to be as well-acquainted as you should with the appearance and dimensions of the Leaf, Scott.
SC: Rather more than you seem to think.
MJT: The Boss on the north face of the Leaf's upper section projects only 0.94" to 1.1", and its edges slope slightly outward from front to back, and is, therefore, clearly inadequate as a point at which to place the upper end of a prop (note: Similar bosses exist in other parts of the Antechamber and inside the King’s Chamber).
SC: As stated above – boss’s were used as leverage and anchor points to move/raise stone.
MJT: As the Boss is on the upper section of the Leaf, then, yes, it could be that this section was to be raised whilst the lower section (which is sans Boss) stayed put.
MJT: However, I believe the 1” cut-back and 1” differences in widths and thicknesses is telling us something different.
SC: What you believe and what you can prove are two different things. You accept my view that the upper section of the leaf could have been raised – try running with that and see where it takes you.
SC: If anything this shows that the boss has become worn through extensive use.
MJT: A highly subjective viewpoint.
SC: I disagree. If the granite leaf was used as a counter-weight mechanism used to regularly raise and lower the portcullis slabs then it is highly likely that the boss on the granite leaf would suffer wear and tear. Simple logic.
MJT: There is only a 20" gap between the north wall of the Antechamber and the north face of the Leaf.
SC: Enough of a gap for a man to climb up and over the top whereupon the portcullis system would be fully at his mercy.
MJT: Indeed so. However, we are expected to believe that a jack of some kind was operated within this confined space.
SC: Why is that so difficult for you to imagine?
MJT: The builders’ lot would have been much improved by reducing the number of portcullis blocks from three to two and moving the Leaf some three feet to the south. So why didn’t they do this?
SC: Why didn’t they do a lot of things? We could speculate endlessly. They did what they did because they believed in whatever they were building, that was the best and most practical way of doing it in order to obtain maximum functionality from the mechanism.
MJ?T: I see this as evidence for the purpose of the Leaf being something other than a part of a portcullis system.
SC: Back to the symbolic function, are we? It’s always the same – when you cannot imagine a possible practical function that fits your view then it automatically becomes a symbolic function. How so typically unimaginative.
MJT: When fully raised the upper section of the Leaf would be free of its grooves and unstable - no explanation is offered as to how this would have been controlled adequately.
SC: A bit of ingenuity and the ability to manipulate with ease heavy blocks. The AEs were good at both. And releasing the Granite Leaf from its grooves would probably be required from time to time in order to remove the build up of the mortar lubricant that had dried. Easily done with a copper chisel.
MJT: Surely some of this ‘mortar lubricant’ would have remained in the grooves where the Leaf is, and this substance would have dried out – effectively ‘cementing’ the Leaf into place and making it immovable.
SC: Not if you remove the leaf before it dries. Then you have access to the grooves, clear out the residual plaster with a copper chisel, reload the granite leaf and you’re up and running again. In fact, the leaf doesn't even need to be fully removed from its grooves, just raised high enough and rested on a wooden prop whilst the grooves are cleared of residue plaster. Remove the prop and we're ready to run again.
Obviously when the work is completed and the portcullis system no longer required, the granite leaf is simply left in place (in its lowered position), thus bonded into its grooves with the dried mortar lubricant. And that is what we observe today.
MJT: The pilaster at the south face of the Leaf is nearly half the width of the other two pilasters (3” against 5.7”) – suggesting a matter of geometry not functionality.
SC: Functionality? In the Ante Chamber? Don't you mean 'symbolic' given that this is your view of the purpose of this chamber?
MJT: Are you saying that symbolism and geometry cannot go hand-in-hand here?
SC: Symbolism is often expressed using geometry – just not in the Ante Chamber. Its function was practical not symbolic.
MJT: There are no signs of plaster or cement in the three grooves for the portcullis blocks.
SC: It might not have been required (there being slightly more of a gap in the grooves) or it might have been removed as part of the modern ‘restoration’ of the chamber.
MJT: ‘… no signs of plaster or ‘cement’ (inverted commas added by MJ) in the three grooves’ is from accounts dated 1867 and 1883 - decades before the 'modern restoration'.
SC: Repeat – “…might not have been required (there being more of a gap in the grooves)…” Indeed, one might actually question WHY we do not find such mortar in these grooves to securely bond the portcullis slabs in place, rendering them immovable once lowered (presumably for the first and last time assuming a funerary function)? After all, it would have been easy enough for someone to access the area above the lowered portcullis blocks and pour a mortar bond into the gaps to secure these blocks. So why wasn't it done?
SC: But yes, it’s a puzzle why the builders simply did not place semi-hollows in the east wainscot as, on the surface, this would seem the simplest thing to have done. But they didn't and there has to be a practical/logical reason why they did not. However, having semi-hollows on both sides of the chamber might result in the beams rotating – even if tightly jammed in - and this might be what the builders were trying to avoid.
MJT: A perfectly reasonable explanation. However, Petrie's drawings of these hollows suggest that the logs would not have fitted into them properly.
SC: I am sure the AEs could have proven Petrie wrong.
SC: Unless, of course, you do not wish – for whatever reason – for a solution to be found.
MJT: If I didn’t want solutions, Scott, I would not be here asking questions.
As it is, I would dearly like to know the true purpose - be it functional or symbolic - of the Antechamber.
SC: Actually – be it a symbolic function or a practical function. I go with the latter. But you knew that. I do, however, find it somewhat ironic that you come here to "fantasy land" (your term) "asking questions" to find solutions. But then again, it is places such as here that you tend to find more imaginative folks than you would find in some of the other places and that truly has to be an enormous advantage when trying to speculate why this and why that. Don't you just love "fantasy land"!
SC: And having sealed the chamber (from air) in this manner, allowed easy access to it later which is consistent with the RVT but is entirely contradictory with the tomb theory.
MJT: Well, it’s certainly contradictory.
SC: Nice to agree.
MJT: The portcullis system as a means of sealing the KC as suggested by Borchardt (spelling?) and others always looks inadequate to me – but, then, I’m not an AE pyramid builder…
SC: You’re not alone – it’s completely inadequate. Point of fact there would be no need for the Ante Chamber at all. Simply have a series of long granite blocks rammed into a (longer) passage from the Grand Gallery to the King’s Chamber (stored on the Great Step). It is clear then that the Ante Chamber was required (because it’s there) and so must have served some function – you say symbolic I say practical.
MJT: Then there is the problem with the rectangular holes in the tops of the two GG ramps. Broadly, there are two lengths of hole - described usually as long and short - and they are all irregular in length and their ends are not all positioned diametrically opposite each other (see Piazzi Smyth 1867). The depths of these holes are also varied (this could be down to a natural accumulation of detritus over the millennia). Any beams placed across the Gallery would be skewed N-S by up to 2”, which would cause problems with the granite plugs that were supposedly stored in the Gallery.
SC: Agreed. But what exactly has this to do with the price of fish? In my opinion, and I know you agree, the granite plugs of the Ascending Passage were built in-situ.
MJT: It ties into the 'counterweight' hypothesis. Though I suspect that once again we are looking at something that was never intended to be put to an actual practical use.
SC: The granite blocks plugging the bottom end of the Ascending Passage have nothing to do with the counterweight system in the Ante Chamber. They are dead weights and completely immovable.
MJT: The groove in the east and west walls of the GG is very roughly cut and much broken away from along its edges. The groove is only about 1” deep and is close to the bottom edge of a corbel. It could not have been used to support a platform for people to walk along, as some folk have suggested.
SC: Some folk may have – I haven’t.
MJT: Fair enough. I was merely adding to my ‘something that was never intended to be put to an actual practical use’.
SC: You do not know what this groove was for. There could have been any number of practical functions. It doesn’t always have to boil down to a symbolic function simply because you struggle to imagine a practical function.
Post Edited (02-Jul-12 02:38)