Builder's wedge - ROM2018_16322_28


Builder's wedge

Geography: Excavated at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
5.9 × 5 × 16.7 cm
Object number: 907.18.51
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

The wedge is one of the six classical simple machines. This ancient Egyptian buuilder's wedge has the classic triangular shape of an inclined plane.  Wooden wedges were used to help in splitting wood and to split stone blocks, though for the latter, the Egyptians preferred bronze or iron wedges if they were available. However, a wooden wedge, driven into a crack in a large block and then saturated with water so that it would swell, was quite capable of cracking granite. 

An interesting thought experiment is to imagine how many uses there would be for a wedge such as this one in the building of a great Egyptian temple.

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