Rope stretcher

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In ancient Egypt, a rope stretcher (or harpedonaptai) was a surveyor who measured real property demarcations and foundations using knotted cords, stretched so the rope did not sag. When performed by a king to begin building a temple[1] the stretching of the rope was probably a religious ceremony.[2] On artefacts as ancient as the Scorpion Macehead, Egyptians documented the royal surveyors' procedure for restoring the boundaries of fields after each flood.

History[edit]

The first surveyors to use ropes and plumbs may have been Egyptian.[3] Rope stretching technology spread to ancient Greece and India, where it stimulated the development of geometry and mathematics. Some think that it was India which influenced Greece.[4]

The Egyptian rope trick[edit]

Rope stretchers used 3-4-5 triangles and the plummet,[5] which are still in use by modern surveyors. The plummet can be used with a square ruled off into intervals on tongue and blade to get a unit rise and run or angle when taking an elevation to a distant point as with a modern sextant.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, op.cit., p.38
  2. ^ Breasted: From the Great Karnak Building Inscription (Year 24 of the reign of Thutmose III), op.cit. § 608
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, op.cit., p.828
  4. ^ Chattopadhyaya, op.cit., p.153
  5. ^ Petrie Museum website: plumbs
  • Alistair Macintosh Wilson, The Infinite in the Finite, Oxford University Press 1995
  • Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya, Environment, Evolution, and Values: Studies in Man, Society, and Science, South Asian Publishers 1982
  • The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica 1974
  • James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, Chicago 1906

Further reading[edit]

  • Joel F. PAULSON, "Surveying in Ancient Egypt,", FIG Working Week 2005 and GSDI-8, Cairo, Egypt April 16-21, 2005. [1]

External links[edit]