on 16 August 2010
This is another masterly, concise and highly technical book by this author in this subject. If anyone purchased this book expecting glossy tourist pictures and pharaonic tales, they got the wrong book. If you want facts, figures and examples on which to base your our decisions, this is the book for you. No where are you served dogma or demeaning explanations of how the pyramids and temples were built, instead using copious explanations both pro and anti in the true scientific method, Mr Dunn reveals the latest news and findings. And the truth being the truth is goes where it must, and those who want the truth will open their minds to accept it.
It is a heavy tome, large format paperback of some 339 pages, with additional notes, index and bibliography.
To give weight to his findings, Mr Dunn has testimonials as to his credentials, his character and his experience.
To initiate anyone new to this subject, it may have been easier if the explanations in Chapter 10 about the possibility of the use of machines had actually started the book, after which all the evidence and explanations then followed. Indeed, it is not until page 287 that Mr Dunn shows what the pyramid block cutting machine could look like; I had myself queried these pits, and was able to examine my own photos to gain further knowledge about them.
Whilst Mr Dunn details the machining marks on the black basalt pavement shown on page 263, no one seems to have noticed that this perfectly flat pavement is fitted over extremely uneven bedrock, as if it was asphalt!
All in all, it was an enjoyable and gripping read, and I consider the purchase price well worth the money and will happily wait for Mr Dunn's next book.
on 30 October 2011
I came across "Lost Technologies of Ancient Egypt" in a review of a history on Egypt I had recently read.
With a 21st Century Engineers eye for detail and through careful analysis of a number of Ancient Egyptian monuments (pyramids, temples, obelisks and statutes), Christopher Dunn asserts that sophisticated tools were used in their construction. Not the simple wood, stone and copper tools normally described in the history books. Basically nothing in the historical record explains the precision, finish and evidence of machining which are hallmarks of this ancient architecture.
An excellent book backed up by plenty of engineering research and analysis, which challenges traditional ideas on Ancient Egyptian construction. For me the only thing missing from this book would be the identification of the sophisticated tools which the author asserts were used!
on 12 January 2013
Following up on his popular book The Giza Power Plant: Technologies of Ancient Egypt released by the same publisher in 1998, Christopher Dunn continues to report his findings following more than two dozen trips to Egypt.
And, indeed, what he observes and measures with more and more accuracy are examples of stonework that he attributes to very advanced mechanised cutting methods.
Dunn reports on his meticulous measurements and subsequent computer graphic analysis of the Ramses statues and obelisks at the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, stone boxes at the Serapeum near Saqqara, contoured granite blocks and pyramids on the Giza Plateau, the Great Hypostyle Hall columns at the Temple of Denderah, the Unfinished Obelisk at Aswan, the more recently discovered sawed granite block at Abu Roash, and artefacts found by Sir William Flinders Petrie.
Because of his expertise as a machinist, Dunn is uniquely qualified to investigate both large and small artefacts with a mindset as to how they might have been fashioned. On repeated journeys to Egypt, he carries with him increasingly sophisticated measuring devices and camera equipment in his quest to uncover the technologies that may have produced many of the ancient Nile Valley monuments.
He begins with the huge and highly stylised stone statues of Ramses at the Temple of Amun-Mut-Khonsu at Luxor, a temple made famous in the inspiring books of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz. Dunn first notices the uniformity of the heads and compares them to the Ramses statue laying horizontally in the open-air museum in Memphis, near Saqqara, which he first visited in 1986. He is so intrigued with the uncanny symmetry of each of the faces that he begins his attempts to photograph and measure them in detail.
It soon becomes obvious to him that the crude, stone-cutting, hand instruments said by Egyptologists to have been used to create these artworks could not possibly have produced them with the preciseness he measures. Even the compound curvatures of the crowns are impossible with such primitive implements.
He sees no evidence of the kinds of grooves such tools would leave. In fact, the curvatures flow so smoothly that the radii must have been calculated and the curves laid out graphically prior to production just as we would do with computers today.
Dunn sees shape and symmetry that echo the geometry of Pythagoras, Fibonacci and da Vinci. It appears the facial expressions of tall statues were slightly skewed so as to give a certain impression when viewed by a human standing far below.
Even the few minor and almost unnoticeable inaccuracies he discovers in statues at both the Temples of Luxor and Karnak could only have been made by machine error, not human, handmade error.
Inside the subterranean vaults of the Serapeum, a temple northwest of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Dunn sees large granite boxes supposedly intended as the funerary sarcophagi for the carcasses of the sacred Apis Bull, even though the remains of no bulls were ever found there. He places his precision-ground parallel against the inside surface of one of the stone boxes and finds it "dead flat."
Astounded, he returns six years later with a solid precision square calibrated to be accurate to within 0.00005 inch and discovers the opposite inside surface is also flat and square with the underside of the box's lid.
He makes other measurements and concludes, "Such perfection is not an accident and cannot be produced with the tools found in the archaeological record."
At the Giza Plateau, Dunn finds that, "Even today, the precision that is found on the casing stones of the Great Pyramid is not required for construction of, for instance, a modern skyscraper."
Wandering further around the Plateau, he again finds such precision in the most unlikely places: the inside of the granite "coffin" box in Khafre's pyramid; the block walls and granite pillars of the Valley Temple; a contoured granite block outside the Valley Temple that was part of a wall or lintel cornice; and another large contoured granite block that Dunn nicknames a "stone couch." He says the accuracy of both the flat and curved surfaces could only have been machined.
At the Temple of the goddess Hathor at Denderah in Upper Egypt, Dunn carefully examines the 24 massive columns and ceiling of the Great Hypostyle Hall. Again, he concludes that the column capitals, each comprised of four identical heads of the goddess, were "originally crafted and assembled with all the precision and craftsmanship we might expect from a modern manufacturer who is blessed with advanced tools for cutting, measuring, and assembly."
He photographically measures these column heads and the cornices above them, explains to us what and how he did this, and further astounds us with the fact that, "The capitals are complex, three-dimensional, contoured combinations of geometric elements that have been elevated a distance of 50 feet... above the floor."
And, what is more: "Close-up photographs reveal that they were made out of more than one block and skilfully and exactly assembled with joints that are hardly detectable."
Dunn then goes on to examine Egypt's famed obelisks, many of which have been transported out of the country to other locations around the world. He analyses their surface relief carvings, and we marvel at their detail.
Back in Lower Egypt, Dunn examines the radial features of the enigmatic granite block near Giza at Abu Roash that Ed Malkowski calls "The New Rosetta Stone" artefact. (See my Amazon.com review of Malkowski's Ancient Egypt 39,000 BCE.)
Correlating those with the saw marks he observes on the basalt pavement blocks near the Great Pyramid, he makes a good case for the use by the ancient Egyptians of what he terms "megamachines" - something like the monster Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM's) used to dig the mammoth "Chunnel" between England and France. This, he says, explains the existence of trenches found around many of the sites in Egypt. Water in those pits would have been used to cool the "megasaws" for the mass cutting of huge stone blocks.
The book's final short chapter is entitled "Suspending Disbelief." I would go further: I believe Chris Dunn, with over 20 years of investigation, possessing unique technical skills, and showing a keen, perceptive eye for detail, has unlocked the door to knowledge that will eventually overturn established thinking about the civilisation we call "Ancient Egypt."
Dunn's final question is "Where Are the Machines?" His answer: "No machines have been found in the archaeological record to support these assertions [about the use of sophisticated technologies], but there is an abundance of circumstantial evidence that leads to such conclusions. Are the machines still intact and lying under the desert sand? Or were they removed completely from the areas? Or could it be that all evidence points to an earlier civilisation that suffered a cataclysm of such magnitude that much of what existed was destroyed...?"
Perhaps, if we dig further down in the sand, we will find the machines. Or, perhaps they've already been found and we're just not being told about them.
- This review first appeared in New Dawn magazine issue #124
on 8 September 2012
One cannot express one's admiration for Chris Dunn too highly. He is clear, concise, logical, with a professional attitude to the subject. He does not in any way pretend to be an expert (though he IS in his own field) and does not denigrate the conclusions of others, however flawed. He merely confines himself to the facts. And the facts speak for themselves. Is it not now becoming apparent even to the most stubborn supporter of orthodox Academic Assumption that much of the "ancient Egypt" that is visible to the average tourist has been dated merely by unscientific assumption? The same goes for relics in other parts of the world. Stone is undatable, period. Wander around Pompeii, and observe grafitti left by tourists (some of them very well executed)- would anyone therefore assume that these people were responsible in some way for the architecture? WAS the statue, or rather were the statues of Rameses REALLY of that Pharaoh, or were they merely abrogated at a later, much later, date? If not, can orthodox wisdom tell us HOW they were executed? No. The relics of a former civilisation are there to be seen, in South America, Egypt, Cambodia, Malta,Easter Island etc etc. Chris Dunn is the first person after Flinders Petrie to give us real pause for intelligent and meaningful appraisal of the true significance of these wonderful things, and he is to be congratulated. A fantastic book - and as a sculptor myself it has taught me a great deal.
on 5 January 2014
Once again the author brings his professional approach to the fore in trying to fathom the mysteries of Ancient Egypt. In my opinion he makes an excellent case for the use of precision machining by the builders of the Pyramids and other massive structures. Surely copper tools cannot be the explanation, especially on granite. Mr Dunn goes into depth and at all times remains as objective and analytical as possible. His book is well illustrated and not unduly hard reading. It`s an excellent companion to "Giza Power Plant", and unbelievable as it may seem, the ancient builders appear to have been in possession of advanced techniques on a par with the modern world. The next question must now be, who were these people? How did they suddenly progress from ploughing the fields around the Nile Delta to creating such fantastic structures? This is another mystery, another story. There are a number of modern authors who are breaking new ground in trying to find an answer. It`s a fascinating scenario, stimulating and sometimes controversial. The "orthodox" explanations are being made to look increasingly inadequate, and maybe there will be new discoveries around the corner - all very exciting - watch this space!
A complex book in which the author discusses in detail problems regarding the tools and techniques used by the Ancient Egyptians to create works in stone - not just statues but obelisks, sarcophagus and hieroglyphs - as presently understood by the archaeological community in general.
Mr Dunn's viewpoint is that the tools currently ascribed to the Egyptians by Egyptologists, copper chisels, hand axes etc, could not have been used (or at least not solely) to produce the level of accuracy that the artefacts show. Just to be clear, we are not talking `Chariots of the Gods' here: that is, not little green men from outer space or even folk from Atlantis so if you are looking at this book from that perspective then you'll be disappointed.
No, this is a book by a man who is a skilled materials engineer by trade putting forward his views and supporting them with facts and figures. There are lots of photo's and lines drawings to support the text (one of the beauties of using this book on an IPad is the ability to grow the line drawings so those of us with less than perfect sight can make out the small details).
Very well written, clear and concise and Mr Dunn goes to considerable length to explain the points he makes, there are lots of maths involved so if that isn't your strong point then you will have to take quite a bit on trust - as I did.
However, I was sad to see at the end of the book Mr Dunn 'drifts' into the pyramids etc on Giza must be 10's of thousands of years old camp, real pity that because that is what will be latched on to.
One thing I did find irritating about the book is the use of B.C.E and C.E instead of A.D. and B.C., think about it. Not only don't half the folk know what it means, but there use demonstrates a degree of arrogance that is disturbing.
I enjoyed the book, certainly made me think and I have to say that as someone who has been interested in Ancient Egyptian history for some 40 years now. I to find it difficult to understand how some of the items the ancients made were created with the tools they are credited with by Egyptologists, it's nice to know I'm not alone though I certainly don't subscribe to the 'new age' or pyramid nuts views. Recommended, though I'm sure I'll get all the purists giving 'this review was no help at all' markings, but then folks with closed minds...................