Week 4: Architecture/Building Techniques and the Pre-burial Process

This week I found the building techniques by far the most interesting thing to read about. The ancient Egyptians built these extraordinary pyramids, temples, and buildings with very simple tools and techniques and they were built with precision. The manpower needed to achieve these structures is an amazing and impressive feat all by itself.  They knew about the wheel and still went along and used ramps and workmen to drag the blocks of stone to where they needed to be, using the wheel could have saved them time and would have required less manpower for the actual movement of the stone blocks; I wonder why they never implemented the wheel in their construction techniques or did they use it in other aspects of construction and there is just no evidence left today for us to find? Or was moving the blocks with workmen a guarantee that the blocks were safely moved with very little damage? The in depth description of the complex in Lehner’s article was interesting because it showed the exact layout of the complex and all the excavated building’s assumed functions. It showed that their settlement/complex schematic is similar to how we design cities today and it gives you a picture into the day-to-day lives of those who lived there.

I also found the building techniques for boats and furniture interesting. For their boats they did not use any type of nails, joints, or some type of rivet to keep the materials together, but instead used rope in grooved slots that were carved into the wood to keep it together. I find this fascinating because given this description I’m not positive as to how these boats stayed water tight, but they must have been given the evidence of the preserved materials of a boat that were found. The furniture that was built for the chambers in the tombs was of simple architecture and design, but you can see that they were made with precision and care for someone important. The restored furniture makes me what the furniture of everyday people looked and how it was constructed.

The embalming or pre-burial process mentioned in Chapter 6 is fascinating to read about as well. They removed the organs and preserved them separately because they believed that the deceased would be reunited with them in the afterlife, but they did not preserve the brain (as far as I know), was this just because they did not it purpose or was there another reason. I wonder if they did this type of preservation instead of true mummification because it was more cost effective in their society, to do it for everyday or semi-important people and to only do the expensive true mummification procedure for royal or powerful people. What was it about the natron solution used in true mummification that made it so expensive? Were the materials needed not native to the region or did it take too much time to prepare and implement?

One thought on “Week 4: Architecture/Building Techniques and the Pre-burial Process

  1. I agree that the building techniques of the ancient Egyptians were very interesting and sometimes do not make sense. Perhaps they did use the wheel and no archaeological evidence exists for people to know and analyze. It would make a lot of sense, however, for the builders to just move blocks themselves to ensure their safety and precision. I think the second idea makes more sense because it was probably more personal and respectful to the dead if the work is done only by hand. Since Egyptians care so much about death and the journey through the afterlife, they would want to be more careful in constructing the structures.

    The pre-burial process mentioned seems very strange to me. It does not make sense to me as to why they would remove a person’s organs in their burial when they are just supposedly going to be reunited with them in the afterlife. Why would they not just leave them in the body so they are already with them in the afterlife? I would assume it has a religious purpose that I do not know or understand. My idea for why the brain was not preserved separately is that maybe the body needed the brain to travel to and through the afterlife. Unlike the other organs, the brain is needed to think and do actions. These techniques were probably used for the lesser status people because is cheaper and less important. True mummification was probably used for the elites because it was a procedure that would last longer and thus signify the person’s importance.

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