Petrie's Infamous Core #7

Chris Dunn
posted 10-04-1999 20:54

My original assertions regarding ultrasonic machining were based on what I considered to be a very detailed and accurate description of the Valley Core artifact by Sir William Flinders Petrie. Petrie was known for his meticulous work, was the father of modern Egyptology, and his description of the artifact was so detailed and thorough, I assumed that it was correct.

In Giza: The Truth, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herold claim that Petrie was mistaken and point out that physical and photographic detailed examination of the artifact in question by two other researchers, Reid and Brownlee, show that the spiral groove, the principle characteristic of the piece that leads me to suggest that ultrasonics was used, was not spiral but circular.

Until I have the opportunity to perform a detailed inspection of the piece, which requires more than mere visual scrutiny, I am forced to defer to the observations of Reid and Brownlee. Nevertheless, even in so doing, I have questions about their observations if they are basing them on the photograph in Lawton/Herold's book. What we have is a photograph that shows the frustrum of a cone (the Valley Core) with grooves cut into it. As you know, Eddie, as well as any other machinist and engineer who work in the aircraft industry, visual observations of features on a cone are dependent on your angle of view, as well as the attitude of the cone.

If the cone is lying down along the length of its diameter, the surface you are looking at is tilted at the combined angle of the cone, and, depending on your angle of observation, a concentric groove cut into the diameter could appear to be an ellipse. Then if the cone is tilted to the left or the right, any feature you may be observing on its surface will be tilted also.

The photograph in Lawton/Herold's book shows the Valley Core in black and white and it is tilted on an angle. The grooves cut into the diameter of the cone have the appearance of being horizontal, which would give a casual observer the impression that they were not spiral. I took the JPG of this photograph, kindly sent to me by Nick Annies, and brought it into my graphics program. I then constructed a frame around the core and rotated it until it was squarely positioned within the frame.

The grooves observed under these conditions appear to definitely be spiral.

This is why I have only "suspended" any assertions on ultrasonic machining. I need to do a personal on-site measurement of the groove to satisfy myself as to who is correct - Petrie, or Reid and Brownlee.

Do I recommend the book? Certainly! I found, for the most part, that it was well written, and the authors had gone to great pains to bring forward esoteric information from early researchers. After reading Giza: The Truth, my first instinct was to write a rebuttal. My publisher asked that I do not respond to their treatment of my work. Nevertheless, I promised Chris Ogilvie-Herold a response, and this is as good a time and place as any to fulfill that promise.

In this book the authors have gone to great length and worked very hard to support the orthodox view of Egyptology. In the process, they seem to have adopted the attitude and style of some of the contributors to the sci.archaeology newsgroup on DejaNews. (I'm saying that from personal experience.) I don't totally blame them for the presumptuous title, for the most part publishers have control over those things, and I'm sure that they believe what they have written is true to the best of their knowledge.

In their treatment of The Giza Power Plant, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herold resort to name calling, and claim that I am suffering from "millenium fever." Notwithstanding the fact that I started my book in 1977 - and they in 1997? The truth is that I had started writing about the Giza Power Plant theory before I had read Petrie's work. Much of my original research on the power plant theory was drafted before I wrote anything about advanced machining. My original ideas came from Tompkin's book, and it was while working through his bibliography that I came across the gold-mine of information contained in Petrie's Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. So I have been suffering from "millenium madness" for over 20 years.

What offends me is that, in typical orthodox style, following the ad hominem statement in this book, the reader is treated to a simplistic dismissal of a very detailed and complex engineering subject. My analysis of the Great Pyramid, they say, fails to consider "context" and is summarily dismissed without any alternative explanation for the innumerable mysteries of the Great Pyramid for which my book proposes legitimate and realistic answers.

What is the context they are speaking of? It is cultural context. The context of a culture that is obsessed with death and the afterlife. I have failed to uphold theirs and Egyptologist's requirements that researchers consider the body of knowledge that has been painstakingly assembled about this subject. In the context of a tomb, though, there is no answer for the many features and anomalies of the Great Pyramid. Only when considered in the context of a scientifically engineered device - a machine - do we begin to understand its complex design. It is my opinion that in terms of explaining the pyramids, the engineering context has more legitimacy than a cultural context. The litter we may find around the Hoover Dam describes a particular cultural context, but not necessarily the whole picture. When interpreted within an engineering context, the Hoover Dam broadens the view of the entire culture.

As I stated in my book. Any theory that purports to explain the Great Pyramid has to answer ALL the previously unanswered questions. Every detail must be explained. Every design feature. And the explanation must make sense. The elements must fit together. We must not lose sight of the truth because of ego. If I am wrong, I will willingly admit it. But it must be proven to me by more than a simplistic argument such as what is offered in Giza: The Truth. The context within which any society lives is the context of survival and work. An obsession with death grows out of this principle context. It is not the main event. Within the context of work we see the results of the application of tools. When scholars seek an understanding of the tools used to build the pyramids, why do they look to Egyptologists? Were they involved in the original work? Are they involved in such work today?

 

Chris Dunn
posted 10-04-1999 20:54

Ian Lawton
posted 10-19-1999 00:06

Chris Dunn
posted 10-23-1999 17:06

Ian Lawton
posted 10-25-1999 07:21

Chris Dunn
posted 10-25-1999 20:24

Ian Lawton By email to Chris Dunn 12/6/99

Chris Dunn Response12/9/99

Chris Dunn Visit to Petrie Museum Part One - Posted 12/12/1999

Chris Dunn Visit to Petrie Museum Part Two - Posted 12/12/1999

Chris Dunn Visit to Petrie Museum Part Three - Posted 12/12/1999

Text and Photographs Copyright 1999 Christopher Dunn
Drill core #7 (UC 16036) Copyright 1999 The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
University College London.

With Kind Thanks to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.