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Did Ancient People Use Acid to Shape Stone?

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Nobu

Lye or caustic soda was not used this early. Lye is simply too handy of a chemical in cleaning  and a basic precursor for weapons for a society to use it on rocks and not figure out many other uses. 
 

The Greeks may have used caustic soda in their Greek fire but that would just be guesswork. (Soda with petroleum distillates can be fun)

Basically I am trying to lay out this (and failing)-  ancient people did NOT have advanced knowledge of chemistry for rocks simply because of the many other basic applications would become obvious like dying cotton. And these obvious applications would not have disappeared as time progressed.

 

but who knows? Ole crazy xentapxth the 47 year old ancient stone mason might have had a a secret concoction he didn’t share with others… and the reason for his missing fingertips. That concoction, while doing little to actually help stone carving, might have left enough of a signature just to screw us up.

Edited by Nobu

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Abramelin
6 hours ago, Abramelin said:

For those with 'link anxiety' :

Quote:

Abstract

 

Due to its impressive appearance, Inca masonry, which mostly consists of volcanic, silica containing rock material, has received much attention. A high level of understanding has consequently been reached of the diverse working steps and tools applied. An exception is the reddish mud, “llancac alpa” in the quechua language, and the “gold”, mentioned by early chroniclers as mortar which fitted the stones and later disappeared. Such techniques were related to folklore and not taken seriously. This study tries to understand them and the question was asked: did Inca builders have access to very acid mud? They did, and used the acid mud from their mines, which generated sulphuric acid through bacterial oxidation of pyrite (fools gold). It reaches an acidity of up to pH = 0.5, which is 104 times more acid than humic acid which is known to weather silica containing rocks via silica gel to the clay mineral kaolin. This acid mud allowed dissolving and softening the rock material superficially to a viscoelastic silica gel. The process could be further enhanced more than tenfold by addition of (oxalic acid containing) plant sap, a skill suggested from popular tradition. In special cases moderate heating of crushed pyrite in gaps between chiselled stones generated additional hot sulphuric acid. Where the stone to stone contact transmitted weight, pressure dissolution in the acidic environment removed material, and silica precipitation regenerated material in cracks and pores elsewhere. It is attempted to reconstruct how the Inca builders applied the silica gel technology for shaping stones, for polishing and fitting them. The appearance of shiny and glassy Inca stone junctions and interfaces is explained via solidification of in-situ generated or additionally added silica gel. Modern processes for conservation of stone monuments against environmental deterioration have independently developed similar silica gel based technology.

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Thanos5150
20 hours ago, Thanos5150 said:

I never understood why Archae, or whoever, did this, but the saw pictured at the top is a 17th century BC Cycladic bronze woodworking saw discovered on Thera. Seems a little dishonest to put this at the top of an article titled "Ancient Egyptian Copper Slabbing Saws". At any rate, all of the actual Egyptian depictions in the article are of hand saws cutting wood which caches of such wood working saws were found as far back as the 1st Dynasty. The DE obviously had saws, but these not the ones used to cut the stones. Far from it. According to John Romer, as evidenced by the saw marks themselves, some of the saws would have needed to be truss saws with blades at least 13ft long weighing upwards of 800lbs. This article, uncritically repeated, is highly misleading for those who don't actually read it. 

Roman Stone Cutting Machines

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Thanos5150
On 9/8/2021 at 10:09 PM, Thanos5150 said:

I never understood why Archae, or whoever, did this, but the saw pictured at the top is a 17th century BC Cycladic bronze woodworking saw discovered on Thera. Seems a little dishonest to put this at the top of an article titled "Ancient Egyptian Copper Slabbing Saws". At any rate, all of the actual Egyptian depictions in the article are of hand saws cutting wood which caches of such wood working saws were found as far back as the 1st Dynasty. The DE obviously had saws, but are these not the ones used to cut the stones. Far from it. According to John Romer, as evidenced by the saw marks themselves, some of the saws would have needed to be truss saws with blades at least 13ft long weighing upwards of 800lbs. This article, uncritically repeated, is highly misleading for those who don't actually read it. 

This should read: "The DE obviously had saws, but these are not the ones used to cut the stones." not ..."these not the ones used to used to cut the stones." Grrr. Thanos hungry. Need sleep. 

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Trelane

So it's "no" to acid use, laser beams, soft romantic music etc?

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Hanslune
1 hour ago, Trelane said:

So it's "no" to acid use, laser beams, soft romantic music etc?

We haven't yet done the deep-six on the stone shaping ability of; 

-a stern letter read to the stones to get into the proper shape - or else,

-praying for it to happen,

-paying the ancient equivalent of organized crime to threaten the stones 'bedrock' if they don't carve themselves,

-nor extreme cold,

-goat grease

-isolation to make them do what we want,

-saying bad things to the stones to humiliate them into reshaping themselves

-magic.

More research on all these is still needed but orthodoxy is dragging its feet!

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Harte
48 minutes ago, Hanslune said:

We haven't yet done the deep-six on the stone shaping ability of; 

-a stern letter read to the stones to get into the proper shape - or else,

-praying for it to happen,

-paying the ancient equivalent of organized crime to threaten the stones 'bedrock' if they don't carve themselves,

-nor extreme cold,

-goat grease

-isolation to make them do what we want,

-saying bad things to the stones to humiliate them into reshaping themselves

-magic.

More research on all these is still needed but orthodoxy is dragging its feet!

Not out of the realm of possibility.

After all, they say Davey Crockett once peeled the bark off a spot on a tree just by grinning at it for a few minutes.

Harte

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Kenemet
1 hour ago, Harte said:

Not out of the realm of possibility.

After all, they say Davey Crockett once peeled the bark off a spot on a tree just by grinning at it for a few minutes.

Harte

It's true!  I saw that spot!

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Hanslune
1 hour ago, Harte said:

Not out of the realm of possibility.

After all, they say Davey Crockett once peeled the bark off a spot on a tree just by grinning at it for a few minutes.

Harte

That counts as evidence....

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Gaden
4 hours ago, Harte said:

Not out of the realm of possibility.

After all, they say Davey Crockett once peeled the bark off a spot on a tree just by grinning at it for a few minutes.

Harte

Who "they"?

 

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Abramelin
4 hours ago, Kenemet said:

That doesn't pass the sniff test.   It bears the name (mostly) of a real academic journal.

Did you read it?

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Freez1

This is called lost technology they had the ability to work with metal not just stone. And to a machinist it’s just as baffling. They could harden metals in a way that we can’t.

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Trelane
31 minutes ago, Freez1 said:

This is called lost technology they had the ability to work with metal not just stone. And to a machinist it’s just as baffling. They could harden metals in a way that we can’t.

So they were masters at sweet talking metals into being super hard too? Now I'm intrigued.

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Swede
3 hours ago, Abramelin said:

Did you read it?

Did you?

.

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Swede
2 hours ago, Freez1 said:

This is called lost technology they had the ability to work with metal not just stone. And to a machinist it’s just as baffling. They could harden metals in a way that we can’t.

Reference?

.

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Abramelin
1 hour ago, Swede said:

Did you?

.

I did.

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Abramelin
8 hours ago, Kenemet said:

That doesn't pass the sniff test.   It bears the name (mostly) of a real academic journal.

Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences is a scientific journal covering high quality manuscripts which are both relevant and applicable to the broad field of knowledge that combines science and technology. This journal encompasses the study related to interactions of living systems with ecosystems and the earth.

https://www.gavinpublishers.com/journals/journals_details/journal-of-earth-and-environmental-sciences-issn-2577-0640

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Windowpane
10 hours ago, Kenemet said:

That doesn't pass the sniff test.   It bears the name (mostly) of a real academic journal.

 

I think (as pointed out in the preceding post) that this is a reputable academic journal.

There's no mention of Gavin Publishers here.

(Not really on topic, but there are plenty of scam publishers about, so it's always as well to check  ...  A related subject is discussed here.)

 

Edited by Windowpane
typo
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Abramelin

The guy is no idiot:

http://www.helmut-tributsch.it/publications/articles/

And the paper on the 'reddish, glittery mud' is no. 449 on the list.

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Abramelin

This "llancac alpa" is mentioned in Garcilaso de la Vega's "First Part of the Royal Commentaries of the Yncas, Volume 2" :

CHAPTER I. THE BUILDING AND DECORATION OP THE ROYAL PALACES.

(...) In the first place, the walls of their houses, temples, gardens, and baths were extremely regular as regards the placing of the wonderfully cut masonry. The stones were placed so exactly against each other, that there was no need of mortar. It is true, however, that they did use a red clay, called in their language llancac alpa, which is sticky, and when made into mud, shows no sign of its having been applied between the stones. Hence it is that the Spaniards asserted that they laid the stone without mortar, while some declared that they made lime. These are mistakes, for the Indians of Peru did not know the use of lime, nor of plaster, nor of bricks.

LINK

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Harte
9 hours ago, Gaden said:

Who "they"?

The same "they" that say there's a tradition among the indigenous of using the plants that birds use to soften stone.

It's a big, inclusive "they."

They's a lot of them.

Harte

Edited by Harte

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Harte
12 hours ago, Hanslune said:

That counts as evidence....

Absolutely, It's not as if frontiersmen would make something like that up.

They were a serious folk.

Harte

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