- Fayoum -

During the period of rising of the Architecture and Construction in Ancient Egypt, the demand for building material for the Pyramids and Temples led to the development of a number of quarries, located along the Nile Valley. The most popular material was limestone, sandstone, granite, diorite and basalt. We do not exactly know what technology was used by the ancient Egyptian builders while quarrying works, as far as loading and transporting the quarried stones to the construction site. There are many hypotheses. In this chapter we shall focus on one single fact - the 11-kilometer Road, connecting Egypt's largest basalt quarry Widan-el-Farras with the Nile River through the Moeris Lake.

This quarry is worked out in the tholeiitic basalt plateau, formed by several lava flows, frozen at the height of 300 m above the sea level in the early Oligocene. It is believed that this very Road was used by the ancient builders for transporting basalt blocks to the places of construction of the basalt floors for the Pyramid Temples of Khufu, Sahura, Niuserra and Userkaf.


Below is the map of the Road location.

Source: "Per Storemyr Archaeology & Conservation".

The famous Fayoum "Basalt Road" is now strongly damaged by the time and nature. Nevertheless, one can see the survived artifacts, showing, that it was constantly repared in the ancient times. These artifacts are the petrified woods, the remnants of the sandstone and limestone "patches" of small size. But the basic material of the Road, which could be observed along its entire 11-kilometer length, is a gray cracked crystalline material, remindind some kind of ancient cement. Most likely, this material ever was a monolithic substance, used for attaching the pavement blocks. Perhaps it is the original composition of this ancient Road, which could withstand the transportation of the heaviest building material - basalt.

Below are photos of Roads and basalt quarry Widan-el-Faras.


Basalt Quarry Vidan-el-Faras.


As it seen from the pictures, all the space at the foot of the cliff of the basalt plateau is dotted with small fragments of basalt volcanic bombs. Of course, we did not miss a chance to practice the possibility of processing the basalt with modern hand tools. So we offered some pieces of basalt to our friend - sculptor. The result was outstanding! The next day our friend presented us his artwork. Two small statuettes, which an eye of the artist caught out from a frozen piece of ancient lava:

Artist and sculptor - Yagoob Abdel Hakim Awyan.

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