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George Ford

How did Egyptians light inside of pyramids?

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There are a number of vegetable-based oils that burn smoke-free or nearly so. The AE had access to several of them.

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There are a number of vegetable-based oils that burn smoke-free or nearly so. The AE had access to several of them.

In any case, there is no evidence that fire was used. No torches (or torch brackets; or whatever an ancient Egyptian equivalent might have been), and no evidence of soot, excess heat, or anything even remotely indicative of long-term exposure to flame (smoke-less or not). There is simply no tangible evidence that fire was used to light the interior of the Great Pyramids--unless you propose they had access to a sort of "heatless, smoke-less, contained light". Oh... in other words, a sort of light bulb?

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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.

I agree that is wacky.

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.

There is only one known "Battery" and only a handful of suspected electro-plated objects. That hardly leads to support of an electric infrastructure.

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.

Judging off how much the tunnels would have had to be used, even by robbers, not much smoke would be generated. Plus, the pyramids have been subject to renovations not just recently, but many times going back to the time of the Romans.

Mirrors have been suggested

I beleive mirrors are possible as a source of light.

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.

You know that a proper (lasting more then a few seconds) incandecent light bulb must have a resistive, tough filament in a vacuum, that glows when a current passes through it. It is so easy to build that it took many of the worlds smartest inventors and over one hundred year after the idea was discovered, for a good light bulb to be invented.

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.

http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_lights_fd1.htm

I took an ash tray, filled it with olive oil, formed a wick out of cotton wool, and soaked it with oil. Then I put the wick onto the side of the bowl so that it stuck out about 5 mm over the rim. I lit it - and it produced a steady, smokeless flame. Only an extremely long wick lead to an emission of soot.

I put a white dish over the flame, about 50 cm high, but I was unable to detect any trace of soot even after a long time. And it was nice to find out after some years that even experts like the famous material experts Clarke/Engelbach shared my opinion:

"Many visitors to the monuments express surprise that the painting could have been carried out in the darkness of the tombs and in the dim light of the temples. The Egyptian lamp was of the simplest type, merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes in the tombs, where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot which, in the smaller examples, can be grasped in the hand. In the pictures, there arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames, always curved over the top as if blown by a current of air. Stand lamps in limestone have been found in the pyramid of El-Lahun, and representations of them in stone in the 'Labrinth' at Hawara. In Egyptian houses, small dishes were also used as lamps. They usually have their rims pinched into a spout ...

The absence of smoke-blackening in the tombs of the kings is also no difficult explanation. If olive-oil is used, there is very little smoke, and a suitable covering over the lamp, for which various methods readily suggest themselves, would very easily prevent carbon being deposited on the ceiling."[ 4 ]

And even from the region where artificial light was most necessary we have notes from the Egyptians themselves: The many 100 m long tombs in the Valley of the Kings were definitively lighted with oil lamps and wicks, since we have protocols about wicks and lamps handed out to the workers each day from the Valley of the Kings - where it was carefully documented how many wicks of what length, and how much oil was given to each worker - there is no mystery at all how these tombs were illuminated. There is no place for pharaonic flash lights.[ 5 ]

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And even from the region where artificial light was most necessary we have notes from the Egyptians themselves: The many 100 m long tombs in the Valley of the Kings were definitively lighted with oil lamps and wicks, since we have protocols about wicks and lamps handed out to the workers each day from the Valley of the Kings - where it was carefully documented how many wicks of what length, and how much oil was given to each worker - there is no mystery at all how these tombs were illuminated. There is no place for pharaonic flash lights.[ 5 ]

Could you please provide citations of the aforementioned "notes from the Egyptians themselves", which you allege "definitively" shows protocols in regards to wicks and oil quantity? My uncle and I would be most intrigued to read them.

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Arbitran...you really need to be a little more open-minded in your approach.

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Posted (edited)

the way he is carriying out his arguments, falling back on his "Egyptologist" uncle for backup, makes me wonder this "Egyptologist" uncle is a make believe construct, just to provide some credibility to the absurd claims he is making.

Just my 2 cents.

Edited by The_Spartan

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Posted (edited)

In any case, there is no evidence that fire was used. No torches (or torch brackets; or whatever an ancient Egyptian equivalent might have been), and no evidence of soot, excess heat, or anything even remotely indicative of long-term exposure to flame (smoke-less or not). There is simply no tangible evidence that fire was used to light the interior of the Great Pyramids--unless you propose they had access to a sort of "heatless, smoke-less, contained light". Oh... in other words, a sort of light bulb?

The Ancient Egyptian Wick hieroglyph is Gardiner sign listed no. V28 for the wick of a lamp.

The wick hieroglyph is used in the Ancient Egyptian language hieroglyphs for the alphabetic consonant letter h

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wick_(hieroglyph)

And even now it is possible to make lamps that burn nearly smokeless, dependent on the oil and wick used.

++++++

EDIT:

"Many visitors to the monuments express surprise that the painting could have been carried out in the darkness of the tombs and in the dim light of the temples. The Egyptian lamp was of the simplest type, merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes in the tombs, where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot which, in the smaller examples, can be grasped in the hand. In the pictures, there arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames, always curved over the top as if blown by a current of air. Stand lamps in limestone have been found in the pyramid of El-Lahun, and representations of them in stone in the 'Labrinth' at Hawara. In Egyptian houses, small dishes were also used as lamps. They usually have their rims pinched into a spout ... The absence of smoke-blackening in the tombs of the kings is also no difficult explanation. If olive-oil is used, there is very little smoke, and a suitable covering over the lamp, for which various methods readily suggest themselves, would very easily prevent carbon being deposited on the ceiling."

Ancient Egyptian Masonry, Clarke, Somers & Engelbach, Reginald; London 1930, P. 201

.

Edited by Abramelin

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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.

Pyramids are open to the sky above while they are under construction, so why would they need torches again?

A few small oil lamps are all that's needed when interring the king.

Harte

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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.

Really !!!!

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In any case, there is no evidence that fire was used. No torches (or torch brackets; or whatever an ancient Egyptian equivalent might have been), and no evidence of soot, excess heat, or anything even remotely indicative of long-term exposure to flame (smoke-less or not). There is simply no tangible evidence that fire was used to light the interior of the Great Pyramids--unless you propose they had access to a sort of "heatless, smoke-less, contained light". Oh... in other words, a sort of light bulb?

There is simply no evidence for electricity and I would even discount torches, given the tight confines of the working space and the hazards torches would present to fellow workmen. I commented on this back in Post 3, but that was a couple of pages back so it bears repeating. From all periods of ancient Egypt archaeologists have recovered ample numbers of small clay oil lamps. These would admit sufficient light but little smoke, especially with the addition of a pinch of salt to the oil base. As for soot, some amount probably did accumulate. Obviously all the workmen had to do was wipe it off.

Could you please provide citations of the aforementioned "notes from the Egyptians themselves", which you allege "definitively" shows protocols in regards to wicks and oil quantity? My uncle and I would be most intrigued to read them.

DieChecker is correct. I'm at work and don't have access to my library for citations, but what DieChecker wrote about is widely known. The textual evidence specifically comes from Deir el Medina, the village south of the Valley of the Kings where the workmen who built the royal tombs were housed and equipped. It's a fairly well preserved site that was occupied for almost 500 years. Archaeologists have excavated a number of midden heaps and trash pits, and from these they have recovered an enormous amount of writing--on papyrus, on ostraca, and the like. This one site probably has more writing and records than any other pharaonic village ever excavated. The records include careful inventories of all tools and supplies, oil included (all of this was expensive stuff to maintain, and it was owned by the state and distributed to the workmen by state-employed scribes and foremen). The records are detailed to the point that we know workmen who worked deep inside the royal tombs were issued an oil lamp with one wick for the first part of the day: the wick would last approximately four hours, after which came a lunch break, and after that a new wick was issued that would last another four hours, after which the work day was done.

Deir el Medina is one of the most famous archaeological sites in all of Egypt. Its textual records alone make it very well known. Your uncle should be familiar with the site.

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From all periods of ancient Egypt archaeologists have recovered ample numbers of small clay oil lamps. These would admit sufficient light but little smoke, especially with the addition of a pinch of salt to the oil base.

Of course, the Egyptians couldn't have known about this added salt trick. They were too stupid.

The aliens must've told them!

Harte

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Could you please provide citations of the aforementioned "notes from the Egyptians themselves", which you allege "definitively" shows protocols in regards to wicks and oil quantity? My uncle and I would be most intrigued to read them.

You are saying that the Egyptians used electric light bulbs and you want me to proove to you that Egyptians used OIL LAMPS!!!

I believe what I quoted said... "And even from the region where artificial light was most necessary we have notes from the Egyptians themselves: The many 100 m long tombs in the Valley of the Kings were definitively lighted with oil lamps and wicks, since we have protocols about wicks and lamps handed out to the workers each day from the Valley of the Kings - where it was carefully documented how many wicks of what length, and how much oil was given to each worker - there is no mystery at all how these tombs were illuminated. There is no place for pharaonic flash lights.[ 5 ]"

Which is referenced (See the [5]?), as "Brunner-Traut, Emma; Alltag unter Pharaonen, Herder 1998, P. 245". It's in German so good luck. I'm not an Egyptologist, so I could not say what protocols are written about the Valley of the Kings and where they are written. Even if I could, you'd poo-poo them as being about carved tombs, not built up pyramids. I do know that many sites have lots of the beurecractic facts written right there on the stone wall of the tomb.

The fact is that there HAS been soot found in almost every Egyptian monument/tomb, and that they HAVE found thousands of oil lamps, and no electric glass lamps. If you don't see soot today, it is due to restoration work.

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You are saying that the Egyptians used electric light bulbs and you want me to proove to you that Egyptians used OIL LAMPS!!!

I believe what I quoted said... "And even from the region where artificial light was most necessary we have notes from the Egyptians themselves: The many 100 m long tombs in the Valley of the Kings were definitively lighted with oil lamps and wicks, since we have protocols about wicks and lamps handed out to the workers each day from the Valley of the Kings - where it was carefully documented how many wicks of what length, and how much oil was given to each worker - there is no mystery at all how these tombs were illuminated. There is no place for pharaonic flash lights.[ 5 ]"

Which is referenced (See the [5]?), as "Brunner-Traut, Emma; Alltag unter Pharaonen, Herder 1998, P. 245". It's in German so good luck. I'm not an Egyptologist, so I could not say what protocols are written about the Valley of the Kings and where they are written. Even if I could, you'd poo-poo them as being about carved tombs, not built up pyramids. I do know that many sites have lots of the beurecractic facts written right there on the stone wall of the tomb.

The fact is that there HAS been soot found in almost every Egyptian monument/tomb, and that they HAVE found thousands of oil lamps, and no electric glass lamps. If you don't see soot today, it is due to restoration work.

OK,I am one up on you... here is a picture of Egyptian oil lamps:

lamp-egyptian-4442a.jpg

Now, could somebody of the fringe please show me a picture of a Egyptian light bulb?

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OK,I am one up on you... here is a picture of Egyptian oil lamps:

lamp-egyptian-4442a.jpg

Now, could somebody of the fringe please show me a picture of a Egyptian light bulb?

Wait Questionmark!! Do you have a signed note from a 4th century BC pharoah guaranteeing where these came from and who used them and if they are actually oil lamps and not urinals. I don't see any smoke soot on them.... :wacko:

Teasing!!

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Here, this is a quote from my former post:

"The absence of smoke-blackening in the tombs of the kings is also no difficult explanation. If olive-oil is used, there is very little smoke, and a suitable covering over the lamp, for which various methods readily suggest themselves, would very easily prevent carbon being deposited on the ceiling."

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Maybe they had flashlight apps on their cell phones...

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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.historyof.../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.

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.

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In any case, there is no evidence that fire was used. No torches (or torch brackets; or whatever an ancient Egyptian equivalent might have been), and no evidence of soot, excess heat, or anything even remotely indicative of long-term exposure to flame (smoke-less or not). There is simply no tangible evidence that fire was used to light the interior of the Great Pyramids--unless you propose they had access to a sort of "heatless, smoke-less, contained light". Oh... in other words, a sort of light bulb?

Even less evidence of light bulbs. In fact ZERO. Heat from lamps would not leave any telling evidence after time goes by.

Heck, maybe they banned all forms of light and you could only enter in darkness.

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Even less evidence of light bulbs. In fact ZERO. Heat from lamps would not leave any telling evidence after time goes by.

Heck, maybe they banned all forms of light and you could only enter in darkness.

nah... they kept hitting between their eyes and saw with the flashes that generated :devil:

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Arbitran...you really need to be a little more open-minded in your approach.

Do I?

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There is simply no evidence for electricity and I would even discount torches, given the tight confines of the working space and the hazards torches would present to fellow workmen. I commented on this back in Post 3, but that was a couple of pages back so it bears repeating. From all periods of ancient Egypt archaeologists have recovered ample numbers of small clay oil lamps. These would admit sufficient light but little smoke, especially with the addition of a pinch of salt to the oil base. As for soot, some amount probably did accumulate. Obviously all the workmen had to do was wipe it off.

DieChecker is correct. I'm at work and don't have access to my library for citations, but what DieChecker wrote about is widely known. The textual evidence specifically comes from Deir el Medina, the village south of the Valley of the Kings where the workmen who built the royal tombs were housed and equipped. It's a fairly well preserved site that was occupied for almost 500 years. Archaeologists have excavated a number of midden heaps and trash pits, and from these they have recovered an enormous amount of writing--on papyrus, on ostraca, and the like. This one site probably has more writing and records than any other pharaonic village ever excavated. The records include careful inventories of all tools and supplies, oil included (all of this was expensive stuff to maintain, and it was owned by the state and distributed to the workmen by state-employed scribes and foremen). The records are detailed to the point that we know workmen who worked deep inside the royal tombs were issued an oil lamp with one wick for the first part of the day: the wick would last approximately four hours, after which came a lunch break, and after that a new wick was issued that would last another four hours, after which the work day was done.

Deir el Medina is one of the most famous archaeological sites in all of Egypt. Its textual records alone make it very well known. Your uncle should be familiar with the site.

Thank you. I never really said that oil lamps were used. I was simply referring to my uncle's (and partially my own) doubts. I think that oil lamps were most likely used--however I cannot discount alternatives, as my uncle has reiterated. You are more knowledgeable on ancient Egypt than I in most cases: I trust your judgment--and I will thank you for citing sources, they are very interesting.

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the way he is carriying out his arguments, falling back on his "Egyptologist" uncle for backup, makes me wonder this "Egyptologist" uncle is a make believe construct, just to provide some credibility to the absurd claims he is making.

Just my 2 cents.

You attempt to deny my Uncle Robert's very existence? I must say, I did not expect even you to sink so low.

The Ancient Egyptian Wick hieroglyph is Gardiner sign listed no. V28 for the wick of a lamp.

The wick hieroglyph is used in the Ancient Egyptian language hieroglyphs for the alphabetic consonant letter h

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wick_(hieroglyph)

And even now it is possible to make lamps that burn nearly smokeless, dependent on the oil and wick used.

++++++

EDIT:

"Many visitors to the monuments express surprise that the painting could have been carried out in the darkness of the tombs and in the dim light of the temples. The Egyptian lamp was of the simplest type, merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes in the tombs, where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot which, in the smaller examples, can be grasped in the hand. In the pictures, there arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames, always curved over the top as if blown by a current of air. Stand lamps in limestone have been found in the pyramid of El-Lahun, and representations of them in stone in the 'Labrinth' at Hawara. In Egyptian houses, small dishes were also used as lamps. They usually have their rims pinched into a spout ... The absence of smoke-blackening in the tombs of the kings is also no difficult explanation. If olive-oil is used, there is very little smoke, and a suitable covering over the lamp, for which various methods readily suggest themselves, would very easily prevent carbon being deposited on the ceiling."

Point taken.

Ancient Egyptian Masonry, Clarke, Somers & Engelbach, Reginald; London 1930, P. 201

.

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Of course, the Egyptians couldn't have known about this added salt trick. They were too stupid.

The aliens must've told them!

Harte

When did I suggest that the ancients were ignorant or "too stupid"? I merely choose to believe them when they say how they learned such things.

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You are saying that the Egyptians used electric light bulbs and you want me to proove to you that Egyptians used OIL LAMPS!!!

I believe what I quoted said... "And even from the region where artificial light was most necessary we have notes from the Egyptians themselves: The many 100 m long tombs in the Valley of the Kings were definitively lighted with oil lamps and wicks, since we have protocols about wicks and lamps handed out to the workers each day from the Valley of the Kings - where it was carefully documented how many wicks of what length, and how much oil was given to each worker - there is no mystery at all how these tombs were illuminated. There is no place for pharaonic flash lights.[ 5 ]"

Which is referenced (See the [5]?), as "Brunner-Traut, Emma; Alltag unter Pharaonen, Herder 1998, P. 245". It's in German so good luck. I'm not an Egyptologist, so I could not say what protocols are written about the Valley of the Kings and where they are written. Even if I could, you'd poo-poo them as being about carved tombs, not built up pyramids. I do know that many sites have lots of the beurecractic facts written right there on the stone wall of the tomb.

The fact is that there HAS been soot found in almost every Egyptian monument/tomb, and that they HAVE found thousands of oil lamps, and no electric glass lamps. If you don't see soot today, it is due to restoration work.

Thank you for citing these references. However, I must indeed note that this is pertinent to the Valley of the Kings--not the Great Pyramids which I was discussing.

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OK,I am one up on you... here is a picture of Egyptian oil lamps:

lamp-egyptian-4442a.jpg

Now, could somebody of the fringe please show me a picture of a Egyptian light bulb?

Point taken. My uncle has a collection of these in his living room. (I personally am not entirely sure why he is so skeptical of oil lamp use, and insists upon electric lighting... I'll have to ask him.)

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