Pharaonic rock carving of obelisks found in Gebel el Silsila quarry
General view of Gebel el Silsila quarry Photo courtesy of The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project facebook page

CAIRO: A rock inscription portraying the rare transfer of two obelisks from a quarry has been unearthed at Gebel el Silsila, Egypt’s largest sandstone quarries located to the north of Aswan, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty announced Monday.

The discovery is the result of the Gebel el Silsila Survey Project, an epigraphic survey mission of Lund University, Sweden that has been active in the site since early 2014, according to the statement.

Scenes depicting the phases and the technique of detaching blocks, loading them in sailing boats before sending them to their destinations through the River Nile, have been also discovered in the site.

“The work technique shows a notable cooperation among the workers and the workshops at the quarry. The scenes of the rocks, which were precisely cut, confirm the advanced skills of ancient Egyptian labor,” Director General of Aswan Antiquities Department Nasr Salama said.

Stables, several rock-cut shelters along with a sphinx, similar to those aligned at the Sphinx avenue connecting between Luxor and Karnak temples, have been discovered in the site, according to Dr. Maria Nilsson, director of the Gebel el Silsila Survey Project.

“The project basically aims to document Gebel el Silsila’s epigraphic material in order to develop a database, catalogue and a topographic map for the site to have a better understanding of the area, its ancient visitors and what function and meaning the quarry marks had. The project also focuses on quarry marks and textual inscriptions carved upon the sandstone quarry faces,” said Nilsson.

Gebel Silsila is a rocky gorge between Kom Ombo and Edfu villages where the Nile narrows and high sandstone cliffs come down to the edge of the river. Several shrines were cut in the area by the New Kingdom Pharaohs Tuthmose I, Hatshepsut, Thutmosis III and Horemheb, archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Tuesday.

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  1. Deb
    January 7, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Lovely photo captured of this area. I’ve been to Kom Ombo & Edfu numerous times but didn’t know this was here.

  2. Pat Patterson
    January 9, 2015 at 2:46 am

    I was there 5 years ago. Very interesting and many graffito.

  3. Howard West
    January 11, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    “The Pyramid was twenty years in the building and the Machines to lift the stone were made of wood.1”
    (Not of reeds)

    Twenty years to stack 2.3 million blocks, which had an average weight five thousand pounds average thickness four feet, stacked to a height of more than four hundred and fifty feet, The Machines to stack the stones were “Made of Wood?” Machines are translated from the Greek word Machana, Which can mean:
    Wooden, Stone Barges

    However, if you go to any common Greek Lexicon, it will say that “machana” is defined as a machine. But surprisingly, if you look at similarly spelled words you will find they are defined as ship captains and seamen. Furthermore, if boats are not machines; what are they? crocodiles? Strangely, yes, those machanas were sometimes shown as crocodiles in Egyptian sculptures. Both Osiris and his son’s feet were on crocodile. Horus: in the specific form of Heru-sa-Aset, or Heru-pa-Khered is depiction where young Horus is standing on the back of a crocodile, (also known as stone barges). Heru-pa-Khered is defined from ancient Coptic Greek as Heru”: the Coptic form of the Greek word: “HER” and is defined as “the tool of strengths.” This root word is used in the Greek man/god named Hercules; Pa, the narrows (of the Nile); Khered meant, earth or stone moving.

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