As a young man, Denys Stocks was obsessed with the Egyptians. For the past 20 years, this ancient-tools specialist has been recreating tools the Egyptians might have used. He believes Egyptians were able to cut and carve granite by adding a dash of one of Egypt's most common materials: sand.

"We're going to put sand inside the groove and we're going to put the saw on top of the sand," Stocks says. "Then we're going to let the sand do the cutting."

It does. The weight of the copper saw rubs the sand crystals, which are as hard as granite, against the stone. A groove soon appears in the granite. It's clear that this technique works well and could have been used by the ancient Egyptians.

Previous   Next



How Big Were They? | Cutting Granite with Sand | NOVA Raises an Obelisk
Lever an Obelisk | Explore Ancient Egypt | Mysteries of the Nile | Resources | Transcript

Medieval Siege | Pharaoh's Obelisk | Easter Island | Roman Bath | China Bridge | Site Map

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site