“If we now turn to architecture, we find displayed before our eyes, wonders which baffle all description. Referring to the temples of Philae, Abu Simbel, Dendera, Edfu, and Karnak, Professor Carpenter remarks that “these stupendous and beautiful erections, these gigantic pyramids and temples” have a “vastness and beauty” which are “still impressive after the lapse of thousands of years.”
He is amazed at “the admirable character of the workmanship; the stones in most cases being fitted together with astonishing nicety, so that a knife could hardly be thrust between the joints.” He noticed in his amateur archeological pilgrimage, another of those “curious coincidences” which his Holiness, the Pope, may feel some interest in learning. He is speaking of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, sculptured on the old monuments, and the ancient belief in the immortality of the soul.”
“Now, it is most remarkable”, says the professor, “to see that not only this belief, but the language in which it was expressed in the ancient Egyptian times, anticipated that of the Christian Revelation. For in this Book of the Dead, there are used the very phrases we find in the New Testament, in connection with the day of judgment”; and he admits that this hierogram was “engraved, probably, 2,000 years before the time of Christ.”
According to Bunsen, who is considered to have made the most exact calculations, the mass of masonry in the Great Pyramid of Cheops measures 82,111,000 feet, and would weigh 6,316,000 tons. The immense numbers of squared stones show us the unparalleled skill of the Egyptian quarry-men.
Speaking of the great pyramid, Kenrick says: “The joints are scarcely perceptible, not wider than the thickness of silver paper, and the cement is so tenacious, that fragments of the casing stones still remain in their original position, notwithstanding the lapse of many centuries, and the violence by which they were detached.” Who, of our modern architects and chemists, will rediscover the indestructible cement of the oldest Egyptian buildings?
“The skill of the ancients in quarrying”, says Bunsen, “is displayed the most in the extracting of the huge blocks, out of which obelisks and colossal statues were hewn, obelisks ninety feet high, and statues forty feet high, made out of one stone!” There are many such.
They did not blast out the blocks for these monuments, but adopted the following scientific method: Instead of using huge iron wedges, which would have split the stone, they cut a small groove for the whole length of, perhaps, 100 feet, and inserted in it, close to each other, a great number of dry wooden wedges; after which they poured water into the groove, and the wedges swelling and bursting simultaneously, with a tremendous force, broke out the huge stone, as neatly as a diamond cuts a pane of glass.
Modern geographers and geologists have demonstrated that these monoliths were brought from a prodigious distance, and have been at a loss to conjecture how the transport was effected. Old manuscripts say that it was done by the help of portable rails. These rested upon inflated bags of hide, rendered indestructible by the same process as that used for preserving the mummies. These ingenious air-cushions prevented the rails from sinking in the deep sand. Manetho mentions them, and remarks that they were so well prepared that they would endure wear and tear for centuries.”
H. P. Blavatsky