Sarcophage de Hordjedef

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Experiments in Egyptian Archaeology: Stoneworking Technology in Ancient Egypt
A particularly important example of sawing in rose granite are two striated, slanted saw-slots, forming a chevron, on the unfinished Fourth Dynasty sarcophagus of Hordjedef in the Cairo Museum (JE54938). The sawyers were trying to cut a section off the bottom of the sarcophagus for a lid: the already hollowed sarcophagus was never properly completed after the craftworkers unfortunately broke the lid after sawing halfway through the stone. The slots are 5 mm wide at the bottom of them, but taper outward to a width of 2 cm at their tops; the bottom of each slot is not flat, but laterally curved. (The later Aswan sawing experiments showed that these two phenomena are a consequence of the sawing action.) After earlier chevron cuts in this lid met at an apex on the centre-line, the saw was used to cut nearly down to the outer edges of the two original saw-slots. New striations, caused by the last sawing operation, are superimposed upon the striations made by the chevron-shaped cuts. Each of the three cuts was shorter than the full width of the block, requiring considerably less effort than sawing the full width in a single operation. Earlier workers used a similar method to saw Sekhemkhet’s sarcophagus, which bears chevron-shaped marks on an exterior surface.16