Talk:Ancient Egyptian technology

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What the Egyptians invented, devised and improved[edit]

Great page. Also:

  • furniture: (one of the) first evidence for stools, beds and tables comes from the ancient Egyptian tombs like Tut-ench-Amuns.
  • pillar: first pillars when the ends of walls were separated from the west
  • first monumental stone building (in Sakkhara)
  • (one of the, if not the) first decimal system

There is actually quite a lot the Egyptians devised. It is only because these things are basic that today not everyone knows. Fine, that you keep attention on provinding sources. Keep up the good work. Gun Powder Ma 20:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

makes me proud to be egyptian!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Imi2012 (talkcontribs) 04:27, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Expert needed/factual tags[edit]

I tagged this article because it really needs some expert attention with respect to factual accuracy. It's not enough just to find a single source on this kind of material, because the evidence is often unclear and can be interpreted in several ways, for instance whether or not the Egyptians invented glass and when it happened. If I get time I can work on this article. Don't rely too seriously on the content until it gets cleaned up and verified. Jeff Dahl 01:47, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Please list the specific items below. Otherwise the tags will be removed after a period of time, a week or two. J. D. Redding 01:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

OK, let's plunge in... Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 03:23, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

points of factual accuracy[edit]

Please list specific items in bullet list. J. D. Redding 01:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • All those places that say "Citation needed" or "Attribution needed" etc. User:Jeff Dahl
Of course ... J. D. Redding 04:05, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
No more of these exists ... as of now ... will mark some of the line below in the article ... J. D. Redding 12:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Anything sourced to Budge is 100+ years out of date, yet his books are widely reprinted because they are out of copyright. Budge is fine for hieroglyphic reproductions and source texts (just don't trust his translations), but a more modern source should be consulted for anything else he writes. User:Jeff Dahl
IYO ... alternative / supplementary sources would be good ... But not necessary. J. D. Redding 04:07, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "Egyptian astrology provided star charts that have been found in Egypt that date as early as 4,200 B.C"
Where is this coming from? I know of no star charts that old.User:Jeff Dahl
Found some references ... "Magickal Astrology" (book) ... also another at Ove von Spaeth: Egyptology and Astronomy (2000) 5. Ancient Egyptians As Skilled Calculators (website). Will put them in till a more suitable one can be found ... J. D. Redding 04:05, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
If it's the image at the top of the web site just cited, I had a private tour by the Spanish archaeologists now working on the site (which is hopefully going to be closed to tourists with a reconstruction of the cenotaph provided, as the ceiling and walls were getting damaged). See [1] but it dates to around 1500 BC. This date is wrong, maybe a confusion over an early idea about the Egyptian calendar. Anyway, it's wrong, so deleting.Doug Weller (talk) 14:13, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
  • "Egypt was one of the most important places in the development of astrology, although astrology first originated in Babylon."
Citation please. I question its factual accuracy.User:Jeff Dahl
Do you know anything about Babylon? Ever heard of the Magi? Know about the Zoroastrians?
This should be pretty easy to reference, but I'll look into it. J. D. Redding 04:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
This article is not about Babylon, the Magi, or the Zoroastrians, it is about the ancient Egyptians. Saying Egypt was "one of the most important places" sounds like a weasel word, no? Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:18, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Egypt did inherit some of it's technology from Babylon, the Magi, or the Zoroastrians.
I'll find a quotation ref for "one of the most important places".
IMO, it's not weaselly .... it was an important place in history. J. D. Redding 23:30, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The point about emery; even the cited source says "so far no emery, either indigenous or Naxian, has been found in Egypt" and the article makes it seem like Dr. Patrick Hunt was the first and only proponent of this theory, when in fact the theory was considered and rejected by Lucas back in 1962 who saw no reason to suspect they used it. ARCE is actually a good source, but the claim is little more than speculation. User:Jeff Dahl
Please put in counter-references. J. D. Redding 04:33, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
No counter ref is needed, the reference given for the Hunt claim says that there is no evidence that the ancient Egyptians used emery. The ref for Lucas' book is given in the next section; this was a library book so I no longer have it handy. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:18, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes they are needed. Here is one link lucas.
A division of Hunt's view and Lucas' view should be explicitly made. J. D. Redding 23:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "How the Egyptians worked the solid granite is still a matter of debate."
Uh, no. Granite working is well understood; this argument is often advanced by those asserting that the ancients must have had anachronistic technology or alien help. They worked granite using copper and stone drills, copper chisels (and bronze ones from the new kingdom), diorite pounding stones, copper saws, sand to polish etc. There is abundant physical evidence for these processes, though it often won't make it into a museum exhibit because they're not as pretty as a finished sculpture. User:Jeff Dahl
If you have the sources put them in.
A mention of "anachronistic technology" would be nice for completeness ... though, mentioning "alien help" would not JIMO. J. D. Redding 04:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "...caused by curvature of the surface of the sail. When the sail is oriented into the wind, this curvature induces lift, much like the wing of an airplane."
This is indeed true of many modern sails, but ancient Egyptian sails do not work in this way. Ancient Egyptian boats had no keel, and this type of sail will not work on an ancient Egyptian style boat.User:Jeff Dahl
There are researcher that have stated they may have used kites.
Please provide a reference about how the sail will not work on an ancient Egyptian style boat.
Regardless, the point of understanding the power of "lift" is referenced. You may have missed the show on the history channel that covered this ... but it is not really "fringe". This is from Caltech researchers. J. D. Redding 04:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "Some have suggested that the Egyptians had some form of understanding of meteorites and the electric phenomena..."
The citations for this claim date to 1908 and 1888 respectively, and it is unclear whether the cited sources would support the claim. User:Jeff Dahl
Again IYO. The items are referenced. Provide counter-reference please. J. D. Redding 04:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Cited sources have to actually support the claim. In the case of electricity, the reference only asserts that the ancient Egyptians worshipped the animal now known as the "electric fish". In no way can this be interpreted as an assertion that the ancient Egyptians knew anything about electricity. Again, the meteorite assertion does not assert the ancient Egyptians "understood" meteorites. From the translation one could infer that they had seen meteorites, hardly an anachronistic phenomenon, but the cited source does not even actually assert that fact.User:Jeff Dahl
1st, please stop yelling.
You believe that the reference only asserts that the ancient Egyptians worshiped this.
There are cited sources that that that they had some form of understanding. May not be what modern people hold ... but that is not what the article sates (eg., the "some" is important~) ...
You are also confused ... the things from heaven were lightning strikes, not meteorites. Try to take the reference as a whole and not discombobulate it ... thanks. J. D. Redding 05:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC) (PS., reading up on lightning rods ... may help you out...)
If you really read the reference it may also help you ... right after they mention this, they mention Ben Franklin ... now what is he famous for? Hmmm .... J. D. Redding 05:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "...which were believed to have magical quiconess powers."
What does quiconess mean? citation please. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:22, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
This looks like a misspelling to me ... J. D. Redding 05:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "The Egyptians also played an important role in developing Mediterranean maritime technology including ships and lighthouses."
The ancient Egyptians were really not very good sailors; it is not clear what role they played in the development of any technology. Sure they built the lighthouse, but was that a new development or just using existing technology? Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "the Egyptians developed one of the—if not the—first decimal system."
Citation please. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Put in a few. J. D. Redding
  • "Egyptian hieroglyphs, a phonetic writing system, served as the basis for the Phoenician alphabet from which later alphabets were derived."
Citation please. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
"Some have supposed that the hieratic alphabet gave rise to the Phoenician, and have endeavored to trace the Phoenician alphabet from hieratic source" Chambers's Encyclopædia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1870. pg 865
"an important part in the development of the Phoenician alphabet from the Egyptian hieroglyphs". FR Blakem The Development of Symbols for the Vowels in the Alphabets Derived from the Phoenician. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1940
This is no known for certain though. (Some have refuted this also, see: John P. Peters, Notes on Recent Theories of the Origin of the Alphabet. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 22, 1901 (1901), pp. 177-198 doi:10.2307/592428)
J. D. Redding 23:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "...during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten, was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sun disk."
Citation please. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
A citation would be nice ... will look around for one ...
This is an odd critique, though ... as it is on the wikipage of obelisks' itself ... should it be tagged there too? Hmm ... J. D. Redding 23:57, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
J. D. Redding 23:57, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Please point out more ... then the points can be addressed. If not the taggs can be removed after the poionts are addressed. J. D. Redding 04:05, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

weasel words[edit]

Please list specific items in bullet list. J. D. Redding 01:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

These claims have been made ... may need a source, but this is not a weasel word. J. D. Redding 04:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "Some buildings in the Karnak temple complex, for instance, reportedly were..."User:Jeff Dahl
removing "reportedly" ... may need a reference later. J. D. Redding 04:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Not a weasel word. There are question to the sophistication. J. D. Redding 04:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Removed. Primarily to tighten the paragraph ... not because it's "weaselly". J. D. Redding 23:24, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Not a weasel word. Pointing out "who" may suffice though if there is a problem. J. D. Redding 04:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "Those exploring alternative theores of ancient technology have suggested..."User:Jeff Dahl
Not a weasel word. Points out "who". J. D. Redding 04:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
"Etc" isn't helpful. Please list them. Thanks. J. D. Redding 04:08, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Appropriate Sources[edit]

Some sources are good to use, others not. From WP:RS:

  • "Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Sources should be appropriate to the claims made."
  • "The material has been thoroughly vetted by the scholarly community. This means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals."

I'm concerned that home-brew websites, out of date publications, etc. are not appropriate and reliable, when reliable sources can easily be found at the local library. I provide a starter list below. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 05:35, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I try to avoid "home-brew websites". Websites with scholarly and commercially published site are preferred. Publication that state the information which are old are not necessarily useless (especially in historical subjects). "Out of date", by your usage it seems connotes erroneous material. This is not the case. Many are produced by historical scholars and experts. Other reliable sources can be found at the local library. J. D. Redding 23:24, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Good sources to use on this topic[edit]

Below are some of the sources I used for a paper on ancient Egyptian mining and minerals I did a few years ago, and should prove useful for this topic. Especially useful is Shaw's book. Jeff Dahl (Talkcontribs) 03:39, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • David, Rosalie A., H.G.M. Edwards and D.W. Farwell. Raman Spectroscopic Analysis of Ancient Egyptian Pigments. Archaeometry 43, 4 (2001) 461-473
  • Davis, Virginia. “Mines and Quarries of Ancient Egypt, an Introduction” Online article
  • Earl, Bryan. Tin Smelting at the Oriental Institute. The Oriental Institute News and Notes No. 146. Summer 1995.
  • Gourdin, W.H. and W.D. Kingery. 1975. the Beginnings of Pyrotechnology: Neolithic and Egyptian Lime Plaster. Journal of Field Archaeology.
  • Institutt for Arkeologi, Kunsthistorie og Konservering website, in English at [2]
  • Lucas, Alfred. 1962. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 4th Edition. London: Edward Arnold Publishers.
  • Meyer, Carol. Bir Umm Fawakhir: Insights into Ancient Egyptian Mining. JOM 49 (3) (1997) 64-68.
  • Nicholson, Paul T. and Ian Shaw, eds. 2000. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology. University Press, Cambridge.
  • Pulak, C. A: The Uluburun Shipwreck: An Overview. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 27 (1998) 188-224.
  • Scheel, Bernd. 1989. Egyptian Metalworking and Tools. Haverfordwest, Great Britain: Shire Publications Ltd.
  • Shaw, Ian. Editor. 2000. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Shortland, A.J. Evaporites of the Wadi Natrun: Seasonal and Annual Variation and its Implication for Ancient Exploitation. Archaeometry 46, 4 (2004) 497-516.

levers[edit]

I linked to lever. Please can we remove the explanation of how a lever works ? It is not well written: eg

Any rigid object that is used with an appropriate fulcrum or pivot point to multiply the mechanical force that can be applied to another object.

"Any rigid object." doesn't work as a sentence for me ! It seems to lack a verb and object. --195.137.93.171 (talk) 14:48, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Astrology is not technology...[edit]

...and so does not belong in this article. If there must be "bullshit" in this article, I would prefer insane technology speculations because that is more relevant to the topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ehasl (talkcontribs) 18:15, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

True, it should stick to astronomy, and I wish someone would help with that!Doug Weller (talk) 18:40, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Astrology in the ancient world has nothing to do with the bullshit horoscopes you find in the newspapers' comic pages today. It was a very real science back in the ancient world, requiring a solid understanding of mathematics, complex computations and experimentations, and centuries of accurate astronomical observations. There was simply no distinction made between astrology and astronomy back then. Saying "astronomy is ok but astrology is bullshit" in an article about the ancient world science and technology makes as much sense as saying "engineering is ok but applied science is bullshit" in an article on modern-day science and technology. -- 65.39.12.130 (talk) 13:47, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Construction techniques[edit]

The Egyptians gradually developed a technology for building in wood and stone.Their technology included systematic standardized measures used in measured drawings,measuring devices such as rulers, rods and knotted cords, mathematics for making calculations, models, simple engines and machines such as levers, inclined planes, tools and devices such as the shaduf, noria, cranes, masts and booms, pulleys, wedges, hammers, saws, drills, chisels, planes, surveying devices such as the mekhert and bey, various cements, adhesives, abrasives, caulkings, coatings, paints, brushes, inscription grids, and schools to train scribes in reading, writing, calculation and project management as architects and engineers, cost estimators, accountants, draftsmen, overseers of the work, foremen, supervisors, and skilled laborers. 142.0.102.170 (talk) 12:32, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Wheel and Chariot[edit]

I'm hoping to rectify the dubious note on the discovery of the wheel and introduction of the chariot.

On the question of the use of the wheel, there are numerous sources that attest to the use of the potter's wheel as early as the 4th Dynasty - for example,[1] so it's certainly not true to say the wheel wasn't known in any form until the Hyksos invasion.

I'm yet to find a source that concretely proves the Hyksos invasion was the first introduction of the chariot to Egypt, but it seems to be widely accepted[2], as they certainly weren't given any military significance until the second intermediate period and New Kingdom.

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  1. ^ http://orca.cf.ac.uk/45612/
  2. ^ http://historymatters.appstate.edu/sites/historymatters.appstate.edu/files/egyptchariots_000.pdf