Ancient Stonework

My journey begins with a love of ancient stonework.  I see examples of this work in many places around the Earth.  Very famous examples are in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, India, and Peru.  Stonehenge in England is an example, as is the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the great stonework of Baalbek in Lebanon.


The hallmarks of this special stonework are the unusual skill in working and finishing the stone, the unusual ability to move the stone, and an unusually high standard of work.  A building will often be built to be earthquake resistant and may display a grace of architecture and proportion that is striking to this day.  The entire structure may be aligned to north, to a special star, or to the equinox.  A water system will often be still functional after a thousand years.  Any statues will be carved to an extraordinary and evocative likeness.

We do not build to this standard today.  We are surprised when plumbing lasts 30 years.  We can put 50 year old buildings on the historical register.

All of this work happened before Galileo gave us the telescope in the 1500s and before Leibniz and Newton gave us calculus in the 1600s.  Some of the work is so old that it predates iron tools.  The iron age began around 1300 BCE.  Before that, there was only copper, bronze, and soft metals.  These are barely suitable for stonework. 

Questions and "answers"

Have you wondered how such places came be? 

Have you wondered how they moved such stones? 

Have you wondered why they chose to cut them square and finish them flat? 

I wondered all of the same things.

Since the advent of iron is only roughly known and the use of copper and bronze chisels was possible, we may argue that somehow they used soft metals and other stones for their magnificent stone carving.  We may imagine clever ways that they could have accomplished this with rudimentary tools.  But do you really feel this has explained why this work was done this way?

Do you take the word of others that these more technologically primitive people had the skill and motivation to do such work?  What do you think of the other answers you are usually given to these questions?  Is it enough to be told that they did it for religious purposes? 

Do you accept that astronomical alignments of structures to the equinoxes are calculated to find out when to plant crops?  We are told to believe that they put sticks in the ground, plotted the sun, and then built buildings to accurately determine those two days in the spring and fall.  That is a lot of work to pinpoint two otherwise very ordinary days when the weather may or may not be good. 

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