Da, recunosc, titlul e un pic înșelător. Arheologul din poveste nu a lucrat de capul lui, ci în cadrul unei echipe internaționale de cercetători britanici și francezi. Dar descoperirea lor rămâne remarcabilă.
Pe scurt: rampe și scripeți. Cu vreo 2000 de ani înainte de precedentele atestări ale scripeților din Grecia Antică.
What began as an expedition to record the inscriptions of ancient Egyptian quarry workers produced a remarkable discovery about the Great Pyramid at Giza. My colleagues and I in the Anglo-French joint archaeological mission to the ancient quarry site of Hatnub recently revealed the existence of a well-preserved haulage ramp dating to the time of the Great Pyramid, roughly 4,500 years ago.
We think this could significantly change the theories about how the workers who built the monument were able to transport such large blocks of stone to great heights. It could even provide evidence that pulleys were invented hundreds of years earlier than previously documented.
The rock-cut ramp is flanked by two flights of rock-cut stairs, into which are cut post holes that would originally have held wooden posts, now long perished. The pattern of post holes is well enough preserved that we can begin to reconstruct a pulley system that would have been used to lift large blocks of alabaster out of the open-cast quarry.
These discoveries have emerged from the work of the University of Liverpool’s joint expedition with the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo to Hatnub, which is some 20km from the Nile in the eastern desert of Middle Egypt. This quarry was the most prestigious ancient source of Egyptian alabaster, the milky white banded translucent stone that was used by the Egyptians to make vessels, statues, and architectural items.
Our original aim was purely to record the surviving inscriptions left by quarrymen 4,500 to 4,000 years ago. I began my career studying Egyptian poetry, but it turns out quarrymen could on occasion get quite poetic when writing their graffiti in the quarry. And so I now study these texts, written in a cursive version of the Egyptian script known as hieratic.
We have so far identified more than 100 previously unrecorded texts, offering a wealth of information about the organisation and logistics of the expeditions that came to the quarry to extract alabaster.
Our ultimate goal is to study all aspects of stone extraction and transport at Hatnub, integrating the rich textual and archaeological evidence to provide a more holistic understanding of quarrying in ancient Egypt. Few sites offer the range and diversity of evidence that survives at Hatnub. We have many years of work ahead of us; the potential for further exciting discoveries is huge.
Sursa: Great Pyramid: how my research on ancient Egyptian poetry led to an amazing discovery | The Conversation
Foto: Roland Enmarch, Universitatea din Liverpool