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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Mechanical and Technical Processes. Materials 151
rectangular. In the case of a Great Pyramid we cannot suppose
that when all was complete the whole was scaffolded before
the dressing was carried out. The absence of traces of 'putlogs'
in the masonry in places such as the top casing of the Second
Pyramid makes this almost certain. The only explanation for
the method of dressing large buildings is that it was done
while the embankment which, as we have seen, must have
covered the whole building, was being removed, to measured
lines or other indications left when the building was being
erected. From a close study of this point I believe that the top
outside edge of each course was dressed in to the eventual
surface—a kind of bevel, as it were.
If the above sketch is not sufficient to illustrate the vast
difference between Egyptian masonry and that with which we
are familiar I can cite one other. In some of the less carefully
constructed buildings, one course is not quite parallel with
those above and below it. This, and other considerations,
particularly the Egyptian habit, at times, of building with blocks
of irregular height, lead me to believe that the top of the course
was dressed after the blocks had been laid. Their only method
of levelling was by running a watercourse, the water being
banked up with Nile mud, along and about the surface to be
levelled, and then measuring down from the surface at many
points simultaneously, thus establishing datum points to which
the complete surface would be eventually reduced. One instance
can be cited to show the likelihood of some such method having
been adopted. The platform which runs partly under the Great
Pyramid was examined very carefully by the Survey of Egypt,
who found that, although the exposed parts lie on an almost
perfect plane, the whole slopes up about 6 inches from, the
north-east to the south-west corner. If, when the points were
being simultaneously checked, a north-east wind had been
blowing, such a result might occur; indeed no other explana-
tion seems possible.