Friday, October 29, 2010

Breast Pots of Early civilization

      Do you know, what is breast pot?   Though it is mystery it is really interesting to know. Continue to know more about it. Breast pots are the vessels used by prehistoric people. This is nothing but a ceremonial vessel used by the people in that ancient time. The nurturing sign of the breasts is connected with the life giving power of water. From northern Asia from China to Siberia the breast tripods were the ceremonial chalice. The breast pots are nothing but a vessel in the shape of a breast. They were engraved with spirals, dots and lines and some were painted with curling flame like patterns. A clay tripod from Aginskoye of TransBaikal Siberia bears narrow incision of parallel lines on the breast. Whereas breast pots of Yangshao period of China were painted with spirals and lines and they were of Bronze Age Li tripods. During the Shang dynasty a wide variety of unadorned breast tripods made up of clay was abundantly produced.  In Mongolia the tripods were beautifully painted in orange with curling flame like patterns.  

             Even the breast pots were found in Mexican plateau of American Colombia. Colombian breast pots were decorated with pecked dots and lines ending with tiny spirals they also have a thin dot impressed band as that of Chinese. The breast tripods found in Guatemala was glazed and stands on more than three breasts.  The breast pots available in Central America were of wide varieties. The lower Mississippi regions were of rounded breasts standing on foot and some were of narrow necks for pouring easily.  The breast pots found in Romania were of three thousand years old. They are remarkably similar in shape and of tender modeling of breasts. The pots from Ukraine have four large sized breasts incise with spirals curved towards the nipples. The pots from Peru are of rounded breasts cover the entire surface of the pot.

         Interestingly the African breast pots were created of unique styles. Some vessels stands on multiple breasts connected to the Tjet symbol (Tjet symbol is scared to Isis). The Matakam of Cameroon created pots with two round breast bulbs with clay studs. The ritual breast pot of Yoruba is of a adult human suckling the breast represents the goddess of the Ogun river.


 The ancient breast pots symbolize the scared meaning of the breast signs as a broad metaphor for life giving energy. Applying words to these archeological remains contextualize them and giving them shape meaning and history. Isn’t it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.VII

       What happened to the city? There are several theories. Its final destruction was probably caused by the catastrophic flood in the area in about 575. But it seems that a huge fire may have already played a major part in its collapse- archaeologists have found ash during excavations. 
      Geologists have speculated that the fire may have been started by an earthquake, because the city is near the edge of a tectonic plate that carriers the Indian subcontinent. But the ashes may have been left by invaders. For more than a century, the Guptas and their neighbors were threatened by a tribe from central Asia – the Hepthalites, or White Huns, who invaded northern India during the reign of Skanda Gupta. A retaliatory attack on the invaders in the early 6th century brought devastation to Pataliputra when the Huns sacked the city –perhaps they put it to the torch. By the middle of the 6th century, the Huns controlled most of the Gupta’s territory.
     Their mere presence north of the city would have greatly disrupted the flow of trade on which the empire’s wealth was based. The resulting loss of financial power may have ignited social and political tensions among the empire’s rulers, perhaps leading to fierce internal disputes among the different factions.
    After the death of Skanda Gupta, several different lines of succession developed, which suggests that the royal family fell out over who should take power. If so, this magnificent city may have received its death wound in the chaos of a civil war. Pataliputra may, in fact, have died by its own hand, leaving only shattered pottery and a few scorched stones in the dust to mark its passing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.VI

       The last Mauryan emperor, Brihadratha, proved to be weak and ineffective, and fell from power in 185 BC- a victim of internal unrest. The Shunga dynasty took power, and ruled for about 100 years, adding their own monuments to the growing collection at Sanchi.  The city’s fate over the next 400 years is unclear but in about 320 AD, another family emerged to restore Pataliputra to its former glory – The Guptas- who for a time, ruled most of India’s east coast almost as far south as Madras, as well as the traditional territory of Magadha. It was to be Pataliputra’s last flowering when the Guptas fell, so did the city.
          By the end of the 4th century, Pataliputra was grand enough to impress a traveler from the sophisticated culture of China. The writer Fa Xian visited the city during the reign of Chandra Gupta II, and was lost in admiration. He wrote:  “the royal palace and the halls in the midst of the city, the wall and the gates with their inlaid sculpture work, seem to be the work of superhuman spirits”. A Buddhist festival took place during Fa Xian’s visit. ‘On that day,’ he relates,’ the monks and laity within the borders all come together. They have singers and skilful musicians; they pay their devotions with flowers and incense… All through the night they keep lamps burning, have skilful music, and present offerings.’      

        But when Xuan Zang, another Chinese traveler, visited the city in 637, he found heaps of rubble where its monasteries, temples, and shrines once stood. ‘Once upon a time,’ he wrote, ‘these buildings could be counted in their hundreds. Now, only two or three of them are still standing. All that is left, to the north of where the palace was and near the Ganges, is a small town consisting of about 1000 houses.’ Sometime between the 5th and 7th centuries, Pataliputra had been destroyed

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.V

A series of pavilions scattered through the formal gardens contained the private rooms used by the royal family. The interiors were light and airy, and the rooms were sumptuously furnished with cane and wooden furniture, rich fabric hangings and animal skins. The royal residents could look out over gardens stocked with ornamental trees of every variety. Peacocks and tame gazelles wandered about between flowers fountains, and fish ponds.
 Among the buildings in the gardens was one which did not have much of a view. This was the harem where the royal princesses and concubines lived, ruled by the reigning queens. Outsides its walls, armed women, often dressed as men, stood guard. The princesses and concubines spent much of their time indoors, and most wore very few clothes when inside the harem- often only bracelets on their wrists and ankles and a jewel studded belt. Occasionally they strolled through their own gardens, or accompanied one another on excursions into the city or to the river, escorted by their female guards. On rare occasions, the entire court would parade through the city streets to attend a religious festival, or to watch the animal fights staged for the amusement of the people in arenas outside the city walls.
                                                                   Pataliputra was a city that could afford luxury and extravagance on an almost unimaginable scale. Its wealth depended on trade, and it controlled the Ganges- the main freight route across the north of India. Along the city’s northern walls, the fingers of dozens of wharves stretched into the great river. Boats shuttled between landing places and warehouses, unloading produce. Food was a common freight- the population of Pataliputra was too large to feed itself from the produce of its own lands alone. But cotton, stone, timber, and luxury goods also passed through the docks in enormous quantities. The population of the city grew as people were drawn in by its wealth, and new satellite towns sprang up nearby to house the excess.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.IV

To cater for the populations spiritual needs, great temples stood beside the public squares. Devotees of all the major religions of India had freedom of worship- Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains.  Even the Greek soldiers were given the same freedom of worship.
The imperial palaces and their outbuildings sprawled across a huge walled compound at the heart of Pataliputra. Armed guards checked the identity of every visitor. Inside the main gate were the royal storehouses, where soldiers and officials collected their pay. Next came the almshouses, where, on fixed days of the year, the king would hand out gifts of food to the sick and the poor. Nearby, horses and elephants bedded down in the royal stables, close to tack rooks full of harnesses, saddles, carriages, glided ceremonial coaches, and fearsome war chariots spread with tiger and lion skins.
On the edge of the palaces were public rooms: echoing halls supported by hundreds of carved and gilded pillars, decorated with silver birds and golden vines. The halls were used for royal audiences and banquets. Traces of one pillared hall survive in the form of 84 heaps of stone, lying in rows. Alongside, in a richly decorated gallery, the city’s painters and sculptors celebrated the achievements of their royal master.
Beyond the halls lay private apartments to which only senior nobles and officials had access. Inside the apartments, a royal arsenal held stores of bows and arrows, lances, swords, daggers, and shields, ready for times of war. The treasury, beside the king’s personal rooks, housed a hoard of precious stones, incense, and bars of gold, silver, and iron, guards patrolled it night and day, and from its contents, a team of jewelers created works of art.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.III

Alexander was ready to risk an invasion. But his war weary, homesick men refused to go on, and he was obliged to turn back towards the west without giving battle.  After he died in 323 BC, his far flung empire broke apart as his general set themselves up as rival rulers in different provinces.
In India, meanwhile, the Mauryan emperor, Chandragupta, had exploited the power vacuum left by Alexander’s conquests and had seized control of the lands of the North West, up to the Indus. By about 300 BC, the territories beyond the river were controlled by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander’s generals who now ruled an empire stretching from the Indus all the way back to the Mediterranean. Seleucus raise fresh troops in a bid to expand his realms into the Ganges valley, but the war elephants of Magadha trampled bloody paths through his formations, and hordes of infantry overwhelmed the weary remainder. Seleucus’s offensive turned into a humiliating retreat.
The Greeks never again threatened Magadha. But many of the hostages and envoys Seleucus had sent to the court at Pataliputra settled there, including artists, craftsmen, musicians, and soldiers. It was also Seleucus who sent Megasthenes as his ambassador to Pataliputra.
Pataliputra was t its zenith under the Mauryans. Four main gates led through its high toothed battlements on the north, east, west, And south sides. Wide avenues led from the gates to the city centre, their central gutters carrying waste water beyond the city walls.
The city was carved into 16 commercial sectors, each assigned to a different guild of craftsmen. The wealthy and the elite lived in brick mansions along the main avenues, near the palaces. Second rank nobles and merchants lived behind the elite, and so on in bands. The poor lived just inside the city walls, in baked earth hovels. People washed clothes and watered livestock in the canals which crisscrossed the city.
 There were inns, hospitals, and art galleries. Ashoka even provided veterinary centers. As a convert to Buddhism, he respected the sanity of all living things. He is also thought to have ordered the first Buddhist monuments to he built at Sanchi, including the Great Stupa, or shrine-carved with pictures which show how life was lived at Pataliputra.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.II

According to these authors, Megasthenes described Pataliputra as 80 stadia long and 15 stadia wide – about 15 Km by 2.7 Km.  The whole city, he added, was encircled by a deep moat more than 180 m wide and a huge fortified wall more than 40 Km long, studded with 64 gates and 570 towers. The wall was built of timber erected in a double palisade, with earth packed in between. In the 1870s and 1920s, archaeologists found some of these timbers, preserved by water logging because of the high water table.

Other sources from which scholars have built up a picture of life in Pataliputra include stone carvings on religious monuments at the shrines of Sanchi and Bharhut in Madhya Pradesh state in central India; letters and essays left by Chinese travelers; and native Indian literature – particularly the Arthasastra, probably written by Kautilya, the Machiavellian advisor to first Mauryan emperor, Chandragupta, who reigned from around 321 to 297 BC.
Pataliputra had its origins in a village, pataligrama that existed on the site in the late 6th century BC. Its strategic location was appreciated in the 5th century BC by King Ajathashatru of Magadha a ruler notorious for the murder of his father, King Bimbisara- and he built a fort there. His grandson, Udayin , made Pataliputra his capital. Later rulers strengthened Pataliputra’s fortifications.

In 326 BC the troops of Alexander the Great were nibbling at the fringes of the subcontinent, subduing the fragmented kingdoms along the valley of the Indus river n present day Pakistan. Alexander’s spies had told him of the empire of Magadha that lay beyond. They brought figures for its fighting forces that spoke for themselves: 200000 men under arms, 20000 cavalry, 2000 chariots and 3000 war elephants. This was a gigantic force, and only an enormously wealthy and well organized state could have offered it.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pataliputra The Largest Jewel in India’s Crown Part.I

When Alexander the Great’s army erupted out of Greece in the 4th century BC, the prospects of fighting the mighty forces of Pataliputra stopped in its tracks. Today, little remains of the city’s imperial majesty except a few eyewitness accounts.

Bihar today is one of the developing states in India. It lies 800 Km south east of New Delhi, the Indian capital, and is prone both to catastrophic droughts which turn its plains into choking dust bowls, and to monsoon floods which sweep down the Ganges valley, drowning crops and demolishing villages . Its capital, the town of Patna, famed for its rice, is described by modern Indian writers as the subcontinent’s grubbiest town. Yet it is build on the site of a nonce glittering city- the capital of the kingdom of Magadha, home of the Mauryan and later the Gupta dynasties, which controlled the Ganges valley and much of India from about 320 BC until 550 AD. At its height the capital, Pataliputra, was one of the largest cities in the world.

 The only remains of Pataliputra today are a few postholes, fragments of wood, stone, and pottery, and chipped earthenware statuettes. If archaeology were the only source of information, much of the city’s story would remain obscure, but scholars have used other sources to piece together how it looked.

 The most comprehensive source is a book, Indika, by a Greek author, Megasthenes, who spent many years as an ambassador to the court at Pataliputra. The original text of Indika has also been lost, so the information, by other Greek authors who had read his work, is second hand and sometimes conflicting. Nonetheless, the Greek authors’ information is united in portraying a city of great prosperity.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Legend of William Tell

Some legends are so intertwined with a Nation’s sense of pride that regardless of their veracity, they graft on to a place’s identity like a tenacious vine. For example, in Switzerland a lime tree once marked the spot where legend says William Tell’s son stood bravely as his father shot the apple from his head. Now the site is marked by a fountain, and camera laden tourists flock to pose in front of this “birth place of Swiss independence.”
 The story now known around the world was popularized by the dramatis Friedrich von Schiller in his 1804 dram Wilhelm Tell, one of the classics of the German stage. The time of the legend is the late 13th century, and its setting is the forest cantons of Uri. Schwyz and Unterwalden. For centuries the cantons had been ruled from Vienna by the monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire, whose representatives alienated the populace with autocratic, heavy handed governance. The Uri governor Hermann Gessler, was one such tyrant. He required that every last citizen salute a hat placed on a flagpole in the market place. This hat represented his authority whenever he was absent from town.
William Tell, so the legend goes, was one of the peasants who toiled in the nearby valleys- and who scorned Gessler’s rule. One day, while walking by the pole with his young son, he refused to give the mandatory salute and was quickly confronted by soldiers. The governor was alerted and brought to the market place where a crowd had formed. Tell’s young son unaware of the danger, bragged to the crowd of his father’s skill as an archer, and Gessler, seizing on an opportunity to humiliate the insubordinate, asked  Tell to demonstrate his prowess by shooting an apple off his son’s head.
Tell pleaded for another task, to no avail. Grabbing hi bow and loading it with two arrows, he warned Gessler, “if my first arrow had my dear child struck, the second arrow I had aimed at you. And assured, I should not then have missed.” Tell managed to hit the apple, but was promptly take into custody. He soon after escaped, then ultimately ambushed and killed the governor. His act was said to be the first shot of Swill independence.
Doubts began to arise over the story’s truthfulness as early as the 16th century, when the Swiss historians suggested it was probably invented in order to stir the hatred of neighboring Austrians. Historians no traced the story back to the late 15th century and say it was probably based on earlier oral traditions. The first print reference to tell occurs in four stanzas of a 1477 ballad, Song of the Origin of the Confederation; mentions are made f archery but not of Gessler, the hat, or the pole. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Legend of Lady Godiva

To the north the citizens of Coventry, in the central England, were for centuries treated to a solemn reenactment of Lady Godiva’s ride through the town. Today tourists visit this site more out of respect for the myth than for historical accuracy, rarely asking whether this event happened at all
And who is Lady Godiva? According to the story, she was the matriarch of Coventry who rode naked through the town to save it from paying taxes. There are indeed records of a Godiva who married Leofric, the 11th century erl of Mercia. Leofric was required by King Edward the Confessor to raise the large tax from his populace in Coventry, and the distraught citizenry turned to the earl’s wife for help. Godiva begged her husband to lower the levies, and he responded by saying that he would do so after she rode through the town naked on a horse –probably a medieval version of “fat chance”.
Yet so dedicated was Godiva to the towns people that she took up her husband’s challenge, mounting  a horse and riding through town unclothed, her body cloaked by her flowing hair and the townsfolk staying respectfully indoors. Leofirc had little choice by to keep his word.

It is a moving legend, combining civic virtue with the slightest hint of prurient fascination. And it may very well be true. The story is first referred to in the chronicles of  13th century historian, Roger of Wendover, who relied on documentation since vanished. But there are plenty of historical records of a Godiva, who throughout their life showed an impressive dedication to the people of Coventry. She founded a Benedictine monastery in the city in 1043, which through her generosity became one of the richest in the land. Up until the 17th century, Coventry also boasted a number of tax exemptions, which some claim to have derived from Leofric’s concession.
This is not to say that the legend has not evolved through time. In the early 18th century, the tale included a tailor named Tom, who peeked through the shutters of his home at the naked Godiva and was struck blind – the origin of the phrase “peeping Tom”.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Mystery of Stigmatization Part II

According to Brother Elias, the minister general of the young order, the stigmata took the form of nail punctures son both hands and feet. Thomas of Celano, the author of the first official biography of St Francis, spoke of nails running right through his body, formed by extensions of the flesh. The Franciscans have long emphasized the uniqueness of St. Francis’s stigmata, and the Catholic Church has responded cautiously.
Nevertheless, there have been other incidents of stigmatization since St. Francis. To date, 320 have been noted, most of them women. In the middle ages, the most celebrated cases were Elisabeth of Spallbeck, who died in 1274; a Dominican monk named Gauthier of Strasbourg and Catherine of Siena who wrote down her visions and ecstasies in the so called Dialogo, The Book of Divine Providence. In the modern times, the most famous cases have been those of Therese Neumann from Germany’s Rhineland region, and an Italian Franciscan monk by the name of Father Pio (1887-1968).

Virtually all cases of stigmatization share certain features. Wounds appear at regular intervals on specific days, mainly Fridays, and above all on Good Friday. The wounds do not become infected, but remain open and do not respond to medical treatment. Scientists and experts have advanced a number of explanations for stigmatization. Some see it as a fraud, while others regard it as the effect of hysterical neuroses. In spite of its reservations, the Catholic Church admits that God might make use of an individual predisposition towards stigmatization.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Mystery of Stigmatization Part I

In one of the most bizarre phenomena ever recorded, hundreds of devout Christians have reported that the wounds suffered by Christ have spontaneously appeared on their bodies. It is still unclear whether these wounds, or stigmata, are self inflicted, or if they really come from god.
When we say that a person bears the stigma of guilt or failure, we really mean that the person has been marked by a particular experience. In the purely physical sense, a stigma is mark or brand that is cut or burned onto the skin. There are many cultures that use stigmatization, or scarring to decorate the body, to signify membership in a tribe or social group or to designate slaves or criminals. In the Christian religion, stigmatization has a specific meaning: if refers to bleeding wounds that regularly appear in the same places- the head and feet, sides and forehead and the shoulders and back. The origin of these signs is connected to an ecstatic experience of the passion of Christ, and the wounds correspond to those suffered by Jesus Christ when he has beaten and nailed to the cross.
 In his letter to the Galatians, contained in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote that he bore the stigmata of Christ on his body. He was referring to the wounds that he had suffered in his mission to spread the word of Christ.
The first proven case of spontaneous stigmatization was that of St Francis of Assisi founder of the Franciscan order of monks. In mid September, 1224, the saint went into solitude at Mount Laverna near Arezzo in Tuscany to fast and pray. In a vision, he saw a crucified angel. Deeply moved, he began to meditate on Passion of Christ, and noticed how the marks of the crucifixion appeared on his skin. For the rest of his life, he tried to hide the wounds from his brothers, but many were able to observe them at the moment of his death, as he lay naked on the ground.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Is Print Dead? or Just Dying? Part II.

The rise of computers does have its detractors. The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard argues that the internet may, by its excess of information, do little to solve the problem of information glut. “Computer science only indicates the retrospective omnipotence of our technologies.” Baudrillard says.  “In other words, it has an infinite capacity to process data and in no sense a new vision. With that science, we are entering an era of exhaustivity, which is also an era of exhaustion.”
Those who make the argument that the digital medium will never trump the written word also point out the inherent unreliability of electronic hookups, faulty computer equipment and information that is scattered across several servers. Pen on paper is more concrete, solid, trust worthy. “To err is human,” said a participant in a BBC radio program in 1982, “but to really foul things up requires a computer.”
Still, many people argue for the great advantages of the digital medium over the printed work: the ability to follow links quickly in a fashion that more closely resembles the associative nature of the human brain; the power to share information in the fields of medicine and science and the capacity to pinpoint information in several minutes that might have taken days or weeks in the stacks of a library.
 For those feeling a little nostalgic about the days when you could curl up by the fire with book in hand will be with e book in hand. It is hard to tell whether a class room in the year 2100 will consist of students who need only come to class with stylus and e book in hand. It is also likely that people will still read books on paper in another 100 years for the sense of authenticity that only a book with dog eared pages and a history of individual readers can confer. Then again,   some point out that the printed book is the text’s container, not its essence. Moreover, e books will cost little, never go out of print, and always be at the ready online.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is Print Dead? or Just Dying? Part I.

As our society moves further and further into the digital age, will it mean the end of the printed word? Future antiquarians sorting the effects of the 20th and 21st centuries, trying to determine how the printed word of ink and paper came to be largely replaced by pixilated letters  on glowing screens, might stumble with interest upon an article by Vannevar Bush in the  July 1945 edition of The Atlantic Monthly magazine. the article titled “As we may think, “ spoke of the increasing difficulty for anyone who attempted to fain information in a way  Bush insisted that humans needed a new way to thread through the abundance of information available a method that would not use a paper and ink.
He proposed a machine called a’ memex,’ which could create links of associations that the used could follow as his or her interests see fit. “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear; ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them ..,”
Here, almost 30 years before its launch, lies the idea behind the World Wide Web, which now includes almost 100 million people around the globe in its virtual community. People not only can conduct research online but send mail to each other, chat with instant messaging services, and create web communities that are no longer bound by physical geography.
Will the names of Vannevar and Licklider (“who wrote a 1968 paper  proposing an “ intergalactic computer network”) be as revered in the 24th or 25th century as Johannes Gutenberg- the German inventor who opened the way for the democratization of knowledge with the 1436 creation of the moveable type printing press is to us today?  Will computer networks, with their speed and their vast resources of information and video, make pen and ink, books and paper obsolete?

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Mysteries does Pyramid Conceal? Part.IV

 And who made up this massive labor force? The Greek historian Herodotus put the number of workers at 100000 men, replaced every three months for a period of 20 years, though this is probably an exaggeration. An ancient barracks found nearby housed around 4000 men, and there were most likely several barracks in the area. The workers were not slaves and the work was not coerced, casting doubt on the biblical stories of cruel taskmasters brandishing whips. An inscription on the tomb of one pharaoh boasts that he never struck a worker hard enough to knock him down.
In fact, prisoners of war performed much of the heavy work, while peasants did much of the skilled labor. Paid in food, the peasants worked during the flood season, when farming was impossible. The pyramids can be said to have granted these workers certain immortality just as they have the pharaohs buried within.
In recent times, scientific research has shown that the orientation of the three pyramids on the Giza plateau- Cheops, Chefren and Mykerinos corresponds exactly to the stars in the constellation known as Orion’s Belt. In ancient Egypt, Orion’s Belt symbolized the god Osiris, the most important of the Egyptian gods.
In recent years, a German engineer, Rudolf Gantenbrink, probed the secrets of some of the narrowest passages as yet unreachable by human explorers with the help of a remote controlled robot camera. Gantenbrink discovered an enormous door at the end of a shaft. But he was never able to find out what lies hidden behind the door.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What Mysteries does Pyramid Conceal? Part.III

In the 20th century, one widely held theory held that the pyramids were carried to earth by aliens, and dropped into their current positions by UFOs. And yet the real story behind their creation which took place over a period of about 30 years is no less impressive, if less fantastic. 
The building process began with the hewing of the rocks, which were removed from quarries some as far as 600 miles away in Aswan. Most historians think the rocks were probably floated on rafts down the Nile in flood season, even though there is no archeological evidence of rafts large enough to float rocks of such enormous size. At the site of the pyramid, workers would first establish a level building surface by flooding the area with water, cutting a system of channels, and then digging until the water was level. A perimeter was then established and cut to the appropriate level, with the occasional large chunk of rock preserved.
A massive stone causeway was built on the banks of the Nile, facilitation the unloading process. The stones were dragged on wooden sledges resting on rollers for the half mile to the building site. Here, a team of masons and stonecutters worked at the rocks, smoothing them and preparing them for use.
Once ready, the huge stones were rolled into position, a process complicated by the fact that the wheel did not arrive in Egypt for another 800 years. Some scholars have suggested that the Egyptians built enormous tamps, lengthened as the building progressed, but with a constant slope; others have suggested a spiral tamp that snaked its way up the pyramid. The stone would be pushed to the tip of the ramp, and then placed on a bed of liquids mortars. It was then left to set. The ramps would be dismantled when the workers reached the top of the pyramid, as masons worked their way downward and smoothed the stones.