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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Mechanical and Technical Processes. Materials    121
processes employed by the ancient Egyptians is very consider-
able indeed, but suffers much from being diffused over a multi-
tude of works in English, French, and German, most of which
are quite inaccessible to the general public, and even more from
serious mis-statements of facts and wild assertions which
archaeologists have made in the past without consulting
experts in any particular trade. Even worse are the statements
and theories printed by engineers, architects, and other tech-
nicians, after a brief visit to the monuments of Egypt, which
would never have appeared had they consulted the archaeo-
logist. The public, ever ready to believe something startling
or quaint, is from time to time informed that the Egyptians
knew the incommensurable value of TT, that chariot wheels
were tyred with rubber, that iron weapons were used by the
Egyptian troops in the Eighteenth Dynasty, that the pyramid
blocks were tested for rectangularity with a mason's square
before being laid, and that stone was drilled by tubular drills of
copper set with jewels; and having no means of checking such
theories, believes them.
Petrie's Arts and Crafts in Ancient Egypt, published in 1909,
did much to stimulate general interest in the various mechanical
and technical processes, but it is too brief and very much out
of date, and often does not take into account observed facts.
His Tools and Weapons (1917) is also a very valuable record of
the fine collection in University College, London. In 1930 the
late Mr. Somers Clarke and the present writer endeavoured to
give an outline of the mechanical methods of the ancient
Egyptians in a work entitled Ancient Egyptian Masonry (Oxford
University Press), in which the whole subject is examined, with
the object of passing on to future workers the information
gathered from our unrivalled opportunities for studying the
monuments. In 1934 Mr. Alfred Lucas, late Director of the
Chemical Department in Egypt, and now honorary chemical
adviser to the Antiquities Department, brought out a work