The unfinished obelisk

by Marios Mavromichalis
The unfinished ovelisk
The unfinished ovelisk

Larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected.

Its creation was ordered by Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC), possibly to complement what would later be known as the Lateran Obelisk (which was originally at Karnak, and was later brought to the Lateran Palace in Rome). The unfinished obelisk is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. If finished it would have measured around 42m and would have weighed nearly 1200 tons, a weight equal to about 200 African elephants.

The obelisk's creators began to carve it directly out of bedrock, but cracks appeared in the granite and the project was abandoned. The bottom side of the obelisk is still attached to the bedrock.

The unfinished obelisk offers unusual insights into ancient Egyptian stone-working techniques, with marks from workers' tools still clearly visible as well as ochre-colored lines marking where they were working.

Besides the unfinished obelisk, an unfinished, partly worked obelisk base was discovered in 2005 at the quarries of Aswan. Also discovered were some rock carvings and remains that may correspond to the site where most of the famous obelisks were worked. All these quarries in Aswan and the unfinished objects are an open-air museum and are officially protected by the Egyptian government as an archeological site.

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