Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Quarry Excavations Volume 56 Number 5, September/October 2003
by Jarrett A. Lobell

Egyptian archaeologists have recently removed dust and debris from the famous granite quarry in Aswan in an effort to learn more about the massive obelisks of ancient Egypt. Their excavations have uncovered not only many obelisk-shaped pits where the monuments were cut from stone, but also the remains of a harbor at the quarry site, more evidence that the Nile was used to transport the enormous obelisks. Other discoveries include an inscription from the reign of the pharaoh Tuthmosis III that records his order for two obelisks to be delivered from the quarry to the temple of Karnak; thousands of dolerite (a stone harder than granite) balls thought to have been used by workmen to pound obelisks out of the bedrock; and several deep shafts used to examine the quality of the rock. The site is being turned into a visitors' center to open in January.

© 2003 by the Archaeological Institute of America