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Whitby and model With the khamasin buffeting his model, Mark Whitby talks about the procedure he'll follow for raising the obelisk.
Ready to Go
by Peter Tyson
March 20, 1999

Update on obelisk-raising: The khamasin, a dry, hot wind that blows in from the Western Desert, struck this morning, curtailing all filming at Hamada Rashwan's quarry. Khamasin means "50" in Arabic, because the wind can blow for 50 days, but as I write it has already let up, and tomorrow we should be back at the quarry.

Despite the wind, which made Aswan a dust bowl today, work went on preparing the wooden framework that will hang off the butt end of the obelisk and that workers will use to pull the obelisk down onto its pedestal; the framework may be fitted onto the shaft tomorrow. All chiseling of the obelisk has finished, and the stonemasons have gone home. We're all but ready to begin the attempt.

This afternoon, Mark Whitby, whose firm designed the obelisk-raising procedure that we will follow starting Monday or Tuesday, demonstrated the procedure for the benefit of the team using a wooden model.

Ever since we arrived in Aswan a week ago, Denys Stocks, an expert in ancient Egyptian tools, has been hard at work cutting granite using copper saws and bow drills—equipment the ancients themselves likely used. Tomorrow, as work continues to prepare the obelisk for rotation, we'll take a look at his progress.

Peter Tyson is Online Producer of NOVA.

Obelisk Raised! (September 12)
In the Groove (September 1)
The Third Attempt (August 27)
Angle of Repose (March 25)
A Tale of Two Obelisks (March 24)
Rising Toward the Sun (March 23)
Into Position (March 22)
On an Anthill in Aswan (March 21)
Ready to Go (March 20)
Gifts of the River (March 19)
By Camel to a Lost Obelisk (March 18)
The Unfinished Obelisk (March 16)
Pulling Together (March 14)
Balloon Flight Over Ancient Thebes (March 12)
The Queen Who Would Be King (March 10)
Rock of Ages (March 8)
The Solar Barque (March 6)
Coughing Up an Obelisk (March 4)

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