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George Ford

How did Egyptians light inside of pyramids?

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Hi,

So I saw an episode of Ancient Aliens and the wacky dude on that said that the Egyptians had some sort of light bulbs to light the inside of the tunnels. I dont know if they did or not but I figured they proably used fire instead.

Would that mean that the little tunnel/holes that face the sky are just air vents to help cycle the air so the candles or fire torches did not go out and smoke did not build up?

I except that the little tunnel/holes may have had a dual purpose.

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

So I saw an episode of Ancient Aliens and the wacky dude on that said that the Egyptians had some sort of light bulbs to light the inside of the tunnels. I dont know if they did or not but I figured they proably used fire instead.

Would that mean that the little tunnel/holes that face the sky are just air vents to help cycle the air so the candles or fire torches did not go out and smoke did not build up?

I except that the little tunnel/holes may have had a dual purpose.

I think (I haven't seen the program) they meant this:

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=222638&st=45&p=4218629entry4218629

.

Edited by Abramelin

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Hi,

So I saw an episode of Ancient Aliens and the wacky dude on that said that the Egyptians had some sort of light bulbs to light the inside of the tunnels. I dont know if they did or not but I figured they proably used fire instead.

Would that mean that the little tunnel/holes that face the sky are just air vents to help cycle the air so the candles or fire torches did not go out and smoke did not build up?

I except that the little tunnel/holes may have had a dual purpose.

Which wacky dude? You'll have to narrow it down. I can't think of anyone on that program that ought to be taken seriously. But I suspect you mean this guy, who is indeed wackier than the average wack-job.

No, of course the ancient Egyptians didn't use light bulbs. They had no concept of electricity as we understand it. Abramelin's link to the Dendera "lightbulb" topic is what the wacky dude (Giorgio Tsoukalos) is drawing from. It is utter rubbish.

What we have ample evidence for from all periods of pharaonic history is oil lamps. Countless examples have been found in excavations from all over the Nile Valley in the past couple of hundred years. You can see actual examples of them in most any museum with a sizable Egyptian exhibit. It's unlikely the "air shafts" inside the Great Pyramid had anything to do with torches or lamps because these shafts are more or less unique to the Great Pyramid. It's more than possible they had nothing to do with air at all, and our appellation of "air shaft" is just a misnomer formed from anachronism. Just think of the royal tombs of the New Kingdom in the Valley of the Kings, many of which sink deep underground for hundreds of yards in networks of corridors and chambers. No shafts in those.

What the average fringe adherent like Giorgio Tsoukalos will typically say in response to oil lamps is something to the effect of: "Well, why aren't the insides of all those corridors and passages covered with soot, if torches or lamps were used?" It seems disingenuous when logic is applied, considering it required no great feat of science just to wipe off any soot as it accumulated. Wacky dudes like Tsoukalos will have you completely ignore ample evidence of existing technologies (oil lamps) and instead concentrate on one wall inside a temple which shows something that kinda-sorta looks like a light bulb. As long as you ignore the context of the image. And the hieroglyphic inscriptions explaining it. :rolleyes:

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think of the royal tombs of the New Kingdom in the Valley of the Kings, many of which sink deep underground for hundreds of yards in networks of corridors and chambers. No shafts in those.

i think that might be the key difference, the fact that the king's chamber is in an elevated situation in relation to it's entrance (unlike the tombs in the valley of the kings) that from a practical point of view it needed the air shafts to dispel 'bad air' (which generally rises) while work proceeded and then the funeral arrangements could take place, which may or may not have included the burning of oils and/or herbs (?)

their inclined angle up through the pyramid would be to draw the air upward like a chimney rather than a two way flow

and their north/south orientation perhaps serving a secondary ceremonial purpose either to the gods Nut (sky) or Shu (wind)

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According to Erich von Däniken its with electric light bulbs :/

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Everyone knows of the famous Baghdad battery. Making electric cells using (citric and other) acid isn't really very hard and has been used for thousands of years eg to plate jewellery. The fact that no smoke residue is present inside the Pyramids lead us to the question of how the inside was lit if not by torches or lamps.

Mirrors have been suggested but I personally do think lightbulbs aren't really that hard to make. We know the ancients had glass and metal working skills. The ancient Egyptians knew how to blow glass;

http://www.historyofglass.com/glass-invention/ancient-glass/

Making a "crude" light bulb is the next step. We have to remember that our ancestors had as much capacity for thought as we do, I think more so in some ways, because the current attitude relies on our discoveries to base theories upon. We are constantly discovering new ancient civilisations and constantly pushing the date back for both civilisation and modern man because of new discoveries. It's one thing to rely on evidence to make theories but it's another to rule out possibilities because of lack of evidence. Some evidence simply hasn't been discovered by us yet.

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They used geysers...isn't it obvious?

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They used geysers...isn't it obvious?

Glow-in-the-dark geysers?

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Perhaps they squashed a bunch of lightening bugs and made large lamps from them?!!

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i think that might be the key difference, the fact that the king's chamber is in an elevated situation in relation to it's entrance (unlike the tombs in the valley of the kings) that from a practical point of view it needed the air shafts to dispel 'bad air' (which generally rises) while work proceeded and then the funeral arrangements could take place, which may or may not have included the burning of oils and/or herbs (?)

their inclined angle up through the pyramid would be to draw the air upward like a chimney rather than a two way flow

and their north/south orientation perhaps serving a secondary ceremonial purpose either to the gods Nut (sky) or Shu (wind)

Since the "air passages" weren't open to the outside, I find this unlikely.

Also, "bad air" would be far more prevalent in underground tombs than in raised ones.

CO2, CO are both heavier than air. So is smoke.

Everyone knows of the famous Baghdad battery. Making electric cells using (citric and other) acid isn't really very hard and has been used for thousands of years eg to plate jewellery. The fact that no smoke residue is present inside the Pyramids lead us to the question of how the inside was lit if not by torches or lamps.

Mirrors have been suggested but I personally do think lightbulbs aren't really that hard to make. We know the ancients had glass and metal working skills. The ancient Egyptians knew how to blow glass;

http://www.historyofglass.com/glass-invention/ancient-glass/

From your own link:

Decorative glass was very difficult to produce and was quite rare. In ancient time glass was made from sand quartz and the ancients were using some very complex chemistry to both create and color the glass. They simply whetted beads, figures or bottles of any shape since they couldn't blow spherical forms.

Perhaps I can suggest you read your own sources?

Making a "crude" light bulb is the next step. We have to remember that our ancestors had as much capacity for thought as we do, I think more so in some ways, because the current attitude relies on our discoveries to base theories upon. We are constantly discovering new ancient civilisations and constantly pushing the date back for both civilisation and modern man because of new discoveries. It's one thing to rely on evidence to make theories but it's another to rule out possibilities because of lack of evidence. Some evidence simply hasn't been discovered by us yet.

It is certainly reasonable to not consider "possibilities" that we know aren't actually possible.

Of course, they used oil lamps to light their work. We have hundreds of examples from all over the time period covering Ancient Egypt.

If everyone used oil lamps, where are the light bulbs (which they couldn't make)?

Harte

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Hi,

So I saw an episode of Ancient Aliens and the wacky dude on that said that the Egyptians had some sort of light bulbs to light the inside of the tunnels. I dont know if they did or not but I figured they proably used fire instead.

Would that mean that the little tunnel/holes that face the sky are just air vents to help cycle the air so the candles or fire torches did not go out and smoke did not build up?

I except that the little tunnel/holes may have had a dual purpose.

The AE knew that a pinch of salt reduces the creation of suet. As for the "air shafts" in the GP, they are plugged, so no air could have been moved by them. Additionally, I think that people are misled into thinking that air and light were neede during construction, but this is rediculous, because as you are building, you are actually outside in the open. This, of course, only applies to pyramids, tunnels are a completely different matter, but the use of oil lamps is well documented, it is even known that they used them to time their shifts.

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Glow-in-the-dark geysers?

Of course. They obviously had some sort of knowledge of radioactivity, since the pyramids are giant nuclear reactors.

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Of course. They obviously had some sort of knowledge of radioactivity, since the pyramids are giant nuclear reactors.

Man, I thought the pyramids were gigantic water pumps. Or landing beacons for alien spacecraft. Which "theory" are we supposed to go with?

How about: the pyramids were gigantic pumps for generating radioactive water, which fueled alien spacecraft. :alien:

Is someone going to take me seriously? Should I not be writing this stuff, encouraging fringies?

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Man, I thought the pyramids were gigantic water pumps. Or landing beacons for alien spacecraft. Which "theory" are we supposed to go with?

How about: the pyramids were gigantic pumps for generating radioactive water, which fueled alien spacecraft. :alien:

Is someone going to take me seriously? Should I not be writing this stuff, encouraging fringies?

Thats simple: the pyramids are akin to a egg laying woolen milk giving pig. The answer to everything!:devil:

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Posted (edited)

my understanding is that only the 'queens chamber' shafts were plugged and also walled over

the 'king's chamber' shafts were completely open to the outside (though whether the casing stones sealed them off we may never know)

Edited by blackdogsun

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my understanding is that only the 'queens chamber' shafts were plugged and also walled over

the 'king's chamber' shafts were completely open to the outside (though whether the casing stones sealed them off we may never know)

I'd have to say you're correct. As I understand it, the shafts leading from the King's Chamber were not plugged. But it's a good point about the casing stones--we can't know if they covered the outlets of these shafts.

Just the same, whether or not the shafts leading from the King's Chamber reached the outside unimpeded, I would still caution against seeing them as "air" shafts. This is a modern appellation--nothing from ancient times demonstrates such a thing one way or another. All we have to go by is the context of the Great Pyramid in comparison to other tombs. And of all the royal tombs constructed over the span of 3,000 years in ancient Egypt, I can't think of any other with something similar to the shafts inside the Great Pyramid. That goes for private tombs, too, come to think of it.

Logic dictates that if these shafts were made for the ventilation of chambers, many if not most other tombs would have them, too. And yet they are absent in other tombs, so logic dictates they were not for the ventilation of chambers.

Whatever the case, claiming they were for ventilation still makes more sense than trying to claim the ancient Egyptians used light bulbs. :rolleyes:

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I'd have to say you're correct. As I understand it, the shafts leading from the King's Chamber were not plugged. But it's a good point about the casing stones--we can't know if they covered the outlets of these shafts.

Just the same, whether or not the shafts leading from the King's Chamber reached the outside unimpeded, I would still caution against seeing them as "air" shafts. This is a modern appellation--nothing from ancient times demonstrates such a thing one way or another. All we have to go by is the context of the Great Pyramid in comparison to other tombs. And of all the royal tombs constructed over the span of 3,000 years in ancient Egypt, I can't think of any other with something similar to the shafts inside the Great Pyramid. That goes for private tombs, too, come to think of it.

Logic dictates that if these shafts were made for the ventilation of chambers, many if not most other tombs would have them, too. And yet they are absent in other tombs, so logic dictates they were not for the ventilation of chambers.

Whatever the case, claiming they were for ventilation still makes more sense than trying to claim the ancient Egyptians used light bulbs. :rolleyes:

thanks kmt_sesh

you are in all likelihood correct

i hope i'm not getting too far off topic here but do you think it possible that the great pyramid may have had a duel role

that of both tomb and mausoleum - the 'queens chamber' being the tomb and the 'king's chamber a mausoleum used by the priests on occasions for ceremonies etc during auspicious times of the year

hence the possible need for air circulation and the reason why no other tombs have these shafts or the extraordinary internal architecture

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thanks kmt_sesh

you are in all likelihood correct

i hope i'm not getting too far off topic here but do you think it possible that the great pyramid may have had a duel role

that of both tomb and mausoleum - the 'queens chamber' being the tomb and the 'king's chamber a mausoleum used by the priests on occasions for ceremonies etc during auspicious times of the year

hence the possible need for air circulation and the reason why no other tombs have these shafts or the extraordinary internal architecture

Lots of people have speculated that one or more of the interior chambers were used subsequent to the interment of Khufu in the King's Chamber. No, I don't think it happened, for the simple reason that the Great Pyramid was sealed after Khufu's interment.

Although the form of royal mortuary cults changed quite a lot down through pharaonic history, the function rarely changed. The burial chamber of the tomb was for the interment of the body and was not meant to be disturbed; in Khufu's case the entire pyramid was more or less the burial chamber (with a burial chamber inside). The offering chapel of the tomb was accessible to priests and visitors and was where the cult of the deceased was maintained; in Khufu's case the mortuary temple was an offering chapel and was frequently visited and serviced by priests, who would've conducted any number of rituals and ceremonies in the name of Khufu. This was fairly typical for practically all pyramids from the Old Kingdom through the MIddle Kingdom.

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Lots of people have speculated that one or more of the interior chambers were used subsequent to the interment of Khufu in the King's Chamber. No, I don't think it happened, for the simple reason that the Great Pyramid was sealed after Khufu's interment.

Although the form of royal mortuary cults changed quite a lot down through pharaonic history, the function rarely changed. The burial chamber of the tomb was for the interment of the body and was not meant to be disturbed; in Khufu's case the entire pyramid was more or less the burial chamber (with a burial chamber inside). The offering chapel of the tomb was accessible to priests and visitors and was where the cult of the deceased was maintained; in Khufu's case the mortuary temple was an offering chapel and was frequently visited and serviced by priests, who would've conducted any number of rituals and ceremonies in the name of Khufu. This was fairly typical for practically all pyramids from the Old Kingdom through the MIddle Kingdom.

thanks again

i agree with all that you say

for me the mystery of the great pyramid is its unusual internal architecture

khafre's by comparison, while of almost the same dimensions, seems essentially a pile of building blocks over a simple ground level chamber .. so why was the GP built so very different from all the others? [rhetorical] :hmm:

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thanks again

i agree with all that you say

for me the mystery of the great pyramid is its unusual internal architecture

khafre's by comparison, while of almost the same dimensions, seems essentially a pile of building blocks over a simple ground level chamber .. so why was the GP built so very different from all the others? [rhetorical] :hmm:

It's good you wrote that word "rhetorical," blackdogsun. I can't count the number of times I've written about the Great Pyramid at UM and Egyptology's analyses of its architecture, but I'm always tempted to continue to do so.

You just saved everyone yet another one of my long, tedious, and relentless diatribes. :w00t:

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It's good you wrote that word "rhetorical," blackdogsun. I can't count the number of times I've written about the Great Pyramid at UM and Egyptology's analyses of its architecture, but I'm always tempted to continue to do so.

You just saved everyone yet another one of my long, tedious, and relentless diatribes. :w00t:

[chuckle] never tedious or relentless, but if i can't tempt you (lest we get too far off topic) i'll go browse through your webblog

of course another thought occurred to me is that the great pyramid is how it is because that's what khufu wanted, above what was traditionally done.

perhaps (and i'm just thinking out loud here) khufu intended to worshiped his gods in the 'king's chamber' for many years before he was entombed there and the pyramid finally sealed

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You just saved everyone yet another one of my long, tedious, and relentless diatribes. :w00t:

Darn it. I haven't been here in a while and I was really wishing I could read one of them.

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Trying to anwser such a question is quite hard thus why I shall only relate to one very famous quote from my good friend Mr Heisenberg.

"...it is uncertain..."

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Hi,

So I saw an episode of Ancient Aliens and the wacky dude on that said that the Egyptians had some sort of light bulbs to light the inside of the tunnels. I dont know if they did or not but I figured they proably used fire instead.

Would that mean that the little tunnel/holes that face the sky are just air vents to help cycle the air so the candles or fire torches did not go out and smoke did not build up?

I except that the little tunnel/holes may have had a dual purpose.

I used to think that the Egyptians used fire too. That was before my Egyptologist uncle explained that there isn't any smoke/soot residue on the ceilings inside the Great Pyramids--so no decent amount of flame was lit inside for any decent amount of time.

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