Byblos: shopped for wood, a valued Phoenician commodity
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was sent to purchase much-valued timber from Byblos for the Pharaoh
of Egypt. Wood was a valuable commodity which the Phoenicians
Wenamun had a pretty
bad trip to Phoenicia
Acting on behalf
of the Pharaoh Smendes, Wenamun was sent with linen, oils, and
other goods valued in gold and silver (equivalent to five deben
of gold and
31 deben of silver, a sum greater than an average Egyptian made
in a lifetime) to purchase much-valued
timber from Byblos for the Egyptian king. The sum he was
willing to pay could have purchased many
thousands of cords of wood. He arrived in this outpost of the
former Egyptian empire only to be robbed,
and even imprisoned. In a well-known document referred to as
The Report of Wenamun (written ca. 1570-1070 B.C.), a distressed
to the pharaoh about his misfortune and asked for more money.
sent to Byblos to buy wood for the sacred barque for Amon. He
carried along a portable idol of Amon-of-the road. He landed
in Dor and had his money stolen by a member of his crew.
Wenamon blamed the local government. The King of Byblos, Zakar-Baals
refused to see him for twenty-nine days and finally one of the
men had a frenzy of
prophesying and demanded that they listen to Wenamon and his
of Wenamun, since its discovery in 1891, has been heralded as
a literary masterpiece
of the Late Period of the New Kingdom and
also as an illustration of the decay of Egypt's prestige abroad
time period. As the Egyptian empire crumbled, something once
as simple as trading for wood became quite difficult and Wenamun
had almost to plead with the King of Byblos to sell him the
is his story by Herihor with the permission
of Smendes I, prince of Tanis.
Year 5, fourth month of
summer, day 16, the day of departure of Wenamun, the Elder of the Portal
of the Temple of Amun, Lord of Thrones-of-the-Two-Lands, to fetch timber
for the great noble bark of Amen-Re, King of Gods, which is upon the river
and [is called] Amen-user-he.
day of my arrival at Tanis, the place where Smendes and Tentamun
are, I gave them the dispatches
of Amen-Re, King of Gods. They had read them out before them and
they said: "I
will do, I will do as Amen-Re, King of Gods, our lord has said".
I stayed until the fourth
month of summer in Tanis. Then Smendes and Tentamun sent me off with the
ship's captain Mengebet, and I went down upon the great sea of Phoenicia in the
first month summer, day 1. I arrived at Dor, a Tjeker town; and Beder, its
prince, had fifty loaves, one jug of wine, and one ox-haunch brought to me.
Then a man of my ship fled after stealing one vessel of gold worth 5 deben,
four jars of silver worth 20 deben, and a bag with 11 deben of silver; [total
of what he stole]: gold 5 deben, silver 31 deben.
when I had risen, I went to where the prince was and said to
him: "I have been
robbed in your harbor. Now you are the prince of this land, you are
the one who controls it. Search for my money! Indeed the money
belongs to Amen-Re,
King of Gods, the lord of the lands. It belongs to Smendes; it belongs
to Herihor, my lord, and [to] the other magnates of Egypt.
It belongs to you;
it belongs to Weret; it belongs to Mekmer; it belongs to Tjekerbaal,
the prince of Byblos!" He said to me: "Are you serious? Are you joking?
Indeed I do not understand the demand you make to me. If it had been a thief
belonging to my land who had gone down to your ship and had stolen your money,
I would replace it for you from my storehouse, until your thief, whatever
his name, had been found. But the thief who robbed you, he is yours, he belongs
to your ship. Spend a few days here with me; I will search for him".
nine days moored in his harbor. Then I went to him and said
to him: "Look, you have
not found my money. [Let me depart] with the ship captains, with those who
go to sea".
next eight lines are broken. Apparently the prince advises
Wenamun to wait some more, but
Wenamun departs. He passes Tyre and approaches Byblos. Then
he seizes thirty deben of silver from a ship he has encountered
which belongs to the Tjeker, an obvious act of piracy.
He tells the owners that he will keep the money until his money
has been found. Through this action he incurs the enmity
of the Tjeker].
and I celebrated [in] a tent on the shore of the sea in the
harbor. of Byblos. And [I made
a hiding place for] Amun-of-the-Road and placed possessions in it.
Then the prince of Byblos sent to me saying: "[Leave my]
harbor.!" I sent
to him, saying: "Where shall [I go]? ----------. If [you have a ship
to carry me], let me be taken back to Egypt". I spent twenty-nine
days in his harbor., and he spent time sending to me daily to say: "Leave
he was offering to his gods, the god took hold of a young man
[of] his young men and put
him in a trance. He said to him: "Bring [the] god up! Bring the envoy
who is carrying him! It is Amun who sent him. It is he who made him come!" Now
it was while the entranced one was entranced that night that I had found
a ship headed for Egypt. I had loaded all my belongings into it and was watching
for the darkness, saying: "When it descends I will load the god so that
no other eye shall see him".
harbor. master came to me, saying: "Wait until morning, says the prince!" I said
to him: "Was it not you who daily took time to come to me, saying:
'Leave my harbor.? Do you now say: 'Wait this night', in order to
let the ship
that I found depart, and then you will come to to say: 'Go away'?" He
went and told it to the prince. Then the prince sent to the captain of the
ship, saying: "Wait until morning, says the prince".
came, he sent and brought me up, while the god rested in the
tent where he was on the shore
of the sea. I found him seated in his upper chamber with his back
against a window, and the waves of the great sea of Phoenicia broke
behind his head.
I said to him: "Blessings of Amun!" He said to me: "How long
is it to this day since you came from the place where Amun is?" I said
to him: "Five whole months till now". He said to me: "If you
are right, where is the dispatch of Amun that was in your hand? Where is
the letter of the High Priest of Amun that was in your hand?" I said
to him: "I gave them to Smendes and Tentamun". Then he became very
angry and said to me: "Now then, dispatches, letters you have none.
Where is the ship of pinewood that Smendes gave you? Where is its Phoenician
crew? Did he not entrust you to this foreign ship's captain in order to have
him kill you and have them throw you into the sea? From whom would one then
seek the god? And you, from whom would one seek you?" So he
said to me.
to him: "Is
it not an Egyptian ship? Those who sail under Smendes are Egyptian crews.
He has no Phoenician crews". He said to me: "Are there
not twenty ships here in my harbor. that do business with Smendes?
for Sidon, that other
[place] you passed, are there not another fifty ships there that
do business with Werekter and haul to this house?"
I was silent
in this great moment. Then he spoke to me, saying: "On what business have you come?" I
said to him: "I have come in quest of timber for the great noble bark
of Amen-Re, King of Gods. What your father did, what the father of your father
did, you too will do it". So I said to him. He said to me: "True,
they did it. If you pay me for doing it, I will do it. My relations
carried out this business after Pharaoh had sent six ships laden
with the goods of
Egypt, and they had been unloaded into their storehouses. You, what
have you brought for me?"
the daybook of his forefathers brought and had it read before
me. They found entered in his
book a thousand deben of silver and all sorts of things. He said
to me: "If
the ruler of Egypt were the lord of what is mine and I were his servant,
he would not have sent silver and gold to say: 'Carry out the business
of Amun'. It was not a royal gift that they gave to my father!
I too, I am not
your servant, nor am I the servant of him who sent you! If I shout
aloud to the Lebanon, the sky opens and the logs lie here on
the shore of the sea!
Give me the sails you brought to move your ships, loaded with logs
for [Egypt]! Give me the ropes you brought [to lash the pines]
that I am to fell in order
to make them for you ----, -------------- that I am to make for you
for the sails of your ships; or the yards may be too heavy
and break, and you may
die [in] the midst of the sea. For Amun makes thunder in the sky
ever since he placed Seth beside him! Indeed, Amun has founded
all the lands. He founded
them after having first founded the land of Egypt from which you
have come. Thus craftsmanship came from it in order to reach
the place where I am! Thus
learning came from it in order to reach the place where I am! What
are these foolish travels they made you do?"
to him: "Wrong!
These are not foolish travels that I am doing. There is no ship on
the river that does not belong to Amun. His is the sea and
his the Lebanon of which
you say, 'It is mine'. It is a growing ground for Amen-user-he, the
lord of every ship. Truly, it was Amen-Re, King of Gods, who
said to Herihor,
my master: 'Send me!' And he made me come with this great god. But
look, you have let this great god spend these twenty-nine days
moored in your harbor.
Did you not know that he was here? Is he not he who he was? You are
prepared to haggle over the Lebanon with Amun, its lord? As
to your saying, the former
kings sent silver and gold: If they had owned life and health, they
would not have sent these things. It was in place of life and
health that they
sent these things to your fathers! But Amen-Re, King of Gods, he
is the lord of life and health, and he was the lord of your
fathers! They passed their
lifetimes offering to Amun. You too, you are the servant of Amun!
will say 'I will do' to Amun, and will carry out his business,
you will live, you will prosper,
you will be healthy; you will be beneficent to your whole land and
your people. Do not desire what belongs to Amun-Re, King of
Gods! Indeed, a lion loves
his possessions! Have your scribe brought to me that I may send him
to Smendes and Tentamun, the pillars Amun has set up for the
north of his land; and
they will send all that is needed. I will send him to them, saying
'Have it brought until I return to the south; then I shall
refund you all your
expenses'". So I said to him.
my letter in the hand of his messenger; and he loaded the keel,
the prow-piece, and the
stern-piece, together with four other hewn logs, seven in all, and
sent them to Egypt. His messenger who had gone to Egypt returned
to me in Phoenicia in
the first month of winter, Smendes and Tentamun having sent: four
jars and one kakmen-vessel of gold; five jars of silver; ten
garments of royal linen;
ten hrd-garments of fine linen; five hundred smooth linen maats;
five hundred ox-hides; five hundred ropes; twenty sacks of
lentils; and thirty baskets
of fish. And she sent to me: five garments of fine linen; five hrd-garments
of fine linen; one sack of lentils; and five baskets of fish.
rejoiced. He assigned three hundred men and three hundred oxen,
and he set supervisors
over them to have them fell the timbers. They were felled and they
lay there during the winter. In the third month of summer they
dragged them to the
shore of the sea. The prince came out and stood by them, and he sent
to me saying: "Come!" Now when I had been brought into his presence,
the shadow of his sunshade fell on me. Then Penamun, a butler of his, intervened,
saying "The shadow of Pharaoh, your lord, has
fallen upon you".
And he was angry with him and said: "Leave him alone".
As I stood
before him, he addressed me, saying: "Look, the business my fathers did in the past,
I have done it, although you did not do for me what your fathers did for
mine. Look, the last of your timber has arrived and is ready. Do as I wish,
and come to load it. For has it not been given to you? Do not come to look
at the terror of the sea. For if you look at the terror of the sea, you will
see my own! Indeed, I have not done to you what was done to the envoys of
Khaemwese, after they had spent seventeen years in this land. They died on
the spot". And he said to his butler: "Take him to see the tomb
where they lie".
to him: "Do
not make me see it. As for Khaemwese, the envoys he sent you were
men and he himself was a man. You have not here one of his
envoys, though you say:
'Go and see your companions'. Should you not rejoice and have a Stella
[made] for yourself, and say on it: 'Amen-Re, King of Gods
sent me Amun-of-the-Road,
his envoy, together with Wenamun, his human envoy, in quest of timber
for the great noble bark of Amen-Re, King of Gods. I felled
it; I loaded it;
I supplied my ships and my crews. I let them reach Egypt so as to
beg for me from Amun fifty years of life over and above my
allotted fate'. And if
it comes to pass that in another day an envoy comes from the land
of Egypt who knows writing and he reads out your name on the
Stella, you will receive
water of the west like the gods who are there".
to me: "A
great speech of admonition is what you have said to me". I said to him: "As
to the many [things] you have said to me: if I reach the place where the
High Priest of Amun is and he sees your accomplishment, it is your accomplishment
that will draw profit to you".
off to the shore of the sea, to where the logs were lying.
And I saw eleven ships that had
come in from the sea and belonged to the Tjeker [who were] saying: "Arrest
him! Let no ship of his leave for the land of Egypt!" Then I sat down
and wept. And the secretary of the prince came out to me and said to me: "What
is it?" I said to him: "Do you not see the migrant birds
going down to Egypt a second time? Look at them traveling to the
cool water! Until
when shall I be left here? For do you not see those who have come
to arrest me?"
and told it to the prince. And the prince began to weep on
account of the words said to
him, for they were painful. He sent his secretary out to me, bringing
two jugs of wine and a sheep. And he sent me Tentne, an Egyptian
song stress who
was with him, saying: "Sing for him! Do not let his heart be anxious".
And he sent to me, saying: "Eat, drink; do not let your heart be anxious.
You shall hear what I will say tomorrow".
came, he had his assembly summoned. He stood in their midst
and said to the Tjeker: "What
have you come for?" They said to him: "We have come after the blasted
ships that you are sending to Egypt with our enemy". He said to them: "I
cannot arrest the envoy of Amun in my country. Let me send him off, and you
go after him to arrest him".
me board and sent off from the harbor. of the sea. And the
wind drove me to the land of Alasiya.
Then the town's people came out against me to kill me. But I forced
my way through them to where Hatiba, the princess of the town
was. I met her coming
from one of her houses to enter another. I saluted her and said to
the people who stood around her: "Is there not one among you who understands Egyptian?" And
one among them said: "I understand it". I said to him: "Tell
my lady that I have heard it said as far away as Thebes, the place
where Amun is: 'If wrong is done in every town, in the land of Alasiya
done'. Now is wrong done here too every day?"
She said: "What
is it you have said?" I said to her: "If the sea
rages and the wind drives me to the land where you are, will
you let me be received so as to
kill me, though I am the envoy of Amun? Look, as for me, they would
search for me till the end of time. As for this crew of the
prince of Byblos, whom
they seek to kill, will not their lord find ten crews of yours and
kill them also?" She had the people summoned and they
were reprimanded. She said to me: "Spend the night --------------------(the
story is broken here)
Though the story
is broken, we
can be sure that Wenamon reached Egypt or the story would not have
This story would
be contemporary with the lives of Deborah or Gideon. It shows that
the city of Dor, which was situated on the coast just south of
Mount Carmel, was in the possession of a tribe kindred to the Philistines,
who soon afterward appear in Biblical history. We also learn from
it that Egyptian authority in Phoenicia, which was
at the time of the El-Amarna letters so rapidly decaying, had entirely
disappeared. Zakar-Baal stoutly asserts his independence, while
the king of the Thekel is evidently quite independent of Egypt.
The way in which these city-states dealt with one another is
quite after the manner of the international relations reflected
in the book of Judges.
Adaptation and compilation by Salim George Khalaf
Bibliography (on wood)
Please note: many important philological words in this text require the use
of an 'S' with a hacek, a figure so far not universally translatable in HTML.
Each time this character is required, it is written immediately after the word
Wood. Forests were
exploited from the very beginnings of Near Eastern civilization. Enough hints
exist from such Aceramic Neolithic
sites as Jericho in Israel and Çayönü, Asikli Höyük,
Nevali Çori, and Hallan Çemi in Turkey to indicate that extensive
forest use has a history in this region of at least ten thousand years. These
sites provide ample burned evidence for architectural timbers used as building
foundations, headers and stretchers in walls, roof posts, roofs themselves,
ladders, and furniture. Although the evidence is sometimes to be assessed only
by counting empty beam holes, enough burned beams survive at Middle Bronze
Age palatial sites such as Kültepe (Kanes) [s-hacek] or Acemhöyük
in Turkey so that a reasonable estimate for wood use is in excess of 2,000
trees per 150-room building. The archaeological evidence includes cedar, pine,
fir, juniper, oak, spruce, cypress, box, chestnut, walnut, maple, and ash.
Forests. The Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, Amanus, Taurus, Anti-Taurus,
Pontus, and Zagros Mountains probably provided the bulk of quality timber for
construction and fine furniture, especially after local wood supplies were
exhausted. There is reason to believe, however, that some local supplies--for
example, from the Anatolian plateau--were sufficient for most needs, at least
until Hellenistic times. At all times lesser-quality woods--poplar, willow,
plane, tamarisk, sycamore, elm, beech, and acacia--or wood for specialized
uses, such as terebinth, and assorted fruit and nut trees--must also have been
exploited for ordinary carpentry, fuel, and pottery production. Wood products
such as resins were used in treating illness, in mummification, and for caulking
Wood Production. The surviving architecture at many sites
shows considerable use of wood in a wide range of quantities and quality. Much
of the wood was probably local, especially for sites on the Anatolian plateau,
along the Levantine coast, and in the forested areas mentioned above, where
it could be dragged to a site by ox cart. At Gordion in Turkey, cuttings exist
in the logs that form the tomb chamber of the Midas Mound Tumulus that reflect
precisely this form of timber transport. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, however,
good wood had to be imported by water. As far back as Old Kingdom Egypt, timber
was transported from Lebanon to Egypt in multiple shiploads. At all times,
timber must have been floated down the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to Mesopotamian
cities. The occupations or crafts of woodcutter, timber transporter, timber
merchant, and carpenter must have been established from the very beginnings
of civilization. Cuneiform texts indicate that royal authorities were concerned
about regulating timber cutting, setting timber prices, and imposing taxes
Timber Trade. The
oldest surviving written evidence for an international timber trade is the
Palermo stone, in which Snefru, the first
pharaoh of the fourth dynasty, tells of importing cedar from Lebanon: "Bringing
forty ships filled [with] cedar logs. Shipbuilding [of] cedar wood, one...ship,
100 cubits [long] [=45.73 m], and of meru wood, two ships, 100
cubits [long]. Making the doors of the royal palace [of] cedar wood." The text does
not specify a place of origin, but Byblos is likely. It is worth noting that
the actual word translated here as cedar is ash wood or [symbol: apostrophe
s- hacek] wood in the texts; there is less than total agreement among Egyptologists
that the word does indeed mean "cedar." Meru may mean cypress or juniper.
One school of thought proposes that the Egyptians did not make a distinction
between cedar and juniper, and that ash refers to better-quality conifers
and meru refers to some kind of second-quality timber. At any rate
both ash and meru, whatever they may mean, are foreign (imported),
usually sold in long lengths, and thus readily distinguished from the local
acacia or sycamore. This wood was put to refined uses: shipbuilding and making
palace doors. Philologists may argue about the meaning of the words ash and meru,
but archaeologists do have large quantities of identifiable cedar and some
juniper in the Egyptian collections of the world's museums.
In dockyard accounts from the time of Thutmosis III (c. 1450 BC), a fragmentary
papyrus in the British Museum records the issuing of timbers to the workers.
The parts of the ship for which the timbers were intended (which ought to help
identify them) are also given; however, the meaning of all the maritime terms
is not known. Four times as many ash timbers as meru timbers
are required, suggesting that whatever ash really is, it is straight,
pliable, and free of knots--and thus suitable for shipbuilding. The longest
timber specified was of ash, 30 cubits long (13.72m), and intended
for the mast. Ash is required for masts in other documents, and again
the lengths are quite long; 40 cubits (18.29m) and 42 cubits (19.21 m).
No doubt the import and export of high-quality wood goes back even further
than these Old and New Kingdom references. That international timber production
and marketing were not occasional adventures is attested by the much later
report of Wenamun. That the king of Byblos in Wenamun's tale could produce
three hundred woodcutters upon demand, as well as sufficient animals and drivers
to drag the timbers down to the port, suggests that both he and his woodsmen
were accustomed to the practical requirements of the timber business and to
fulfilling large foreign orders. A tour through any Egyptian gallery in a Western
museum corroborates the texts, revealing a mixture of both local and imported
wood on the more elegant of their sarcophagi, furniture likely to be cedar,
and domestic objects likely to be riverine wood, such as sycamore, tamarisk,
The earliest Mesopotamian reference to cedar is from Sargon of Akkad (c. twenty-third
century BC), who claims that the god Dagan gave him the Upper Country (i.e.,
Mari), Iarmuti, and Ebla as far as the Cedar Forest and the Silver Mountain.
One of his successors, Naram-Sin, has the god Nergal give him Arman and Ebla,
and also the Amanus, the Cedar Mountain, and the Upper Sea.
In a military campaign into Phoenicia and Cilicia Shalmaneser III (ninth century
BC) demands as tribute from one prince one talent of silver, two talents of
purple wool, and two hundred cedar logs. Another prince in the Amanus, somewhat
poorer, must send metal, cattle, two hundred cedar logs, and two measures of
cedar resin at once, and annually thereafter one hundred cedar logs and one
measure of cedar resin. A third prince has to include three hundred cedar logs
annually. Sargon II (late eighth century BC) not only uses the timber for taxes,
but also places an embargo on sale of it to the Egyptians and other inhabitants
of the Levant. Depictions on Assyrian royal reliefs confirm the textual account,
with men hauling and floating large logs down from the mountains to Assur [s-hacek,
Ashurnasirpal (883-859) has left the most detailed records of the logging
activities of the Assyrian kings. His men cut four kinds of trees: erenu,
surmenu [s-hacek], and dapranu in the Lebanon and Amanus, and burasu [s-hacek]
in the Amanus only. The information regarding Assyrian names for wood is not
much better than for Egyptian names. It is believed that erenu is Cedrus
libani, although the arguments are complicated; dapranu is a
kind of juniper, as is burasu, although the latter has also been identified
as cypress; and surmenu is probably cypress (see essay by Postgate
in Postgate and Powell, eds., 1992). It is known that the words refer to wood
because they are preceded by a Sumerian logogram, GIS [s-hacek], meaning "wood." GIS.ERIN.MES
[s-hacek, s-hacek] (=cedar) seems more certain than the others, however, particularly
because of the Wadi Brisa inscription of Nebuchadrezzar: in it he claims to
have built a road and a canal to carry "mighty cedars, high and strong, of
precious beauty and of excellent dark quality (?), the abundant yield of the
Lebanon, as [if they be] reed stalks [carried by] the river" (Wadi Brisa inscription
of Nebuchadrezzar in Brown, 1969, p.199).
On the other hand, if it were not for the immediate proximity of Wadi Brisa
to the cedar forest, the text could refer to Juniperus excelsa, which
also has red or "dark" wood, as well as to cedar. The Assyrian inscription
in Wadi Brisa is of additional interest because only 50m away, on the wall
of the wadi, a Roman inscription (one of about two hundred that encircle the
remaining cedar forest but now about 1.5km downhill from the forest edge) from
near the end of the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian, (c. AD 134) delimits
the forest boundary. Hadrian's procurators had marked this off as a very special
forest, and the public was officially informed that four genera were not to
be cut. Whether these are the same four genera mentioned in the Assyrian text
only 50m away is not known. At any rate, the cedar forest boundary did not
change significantly, at least in Wadi Brisa, for more than seven hundred years.
The present deforestation is a post-Roman phenomenon. A scrap of evidence from
the western edge of the Near Eastern world, and from a much later time, is
that the cedar for the treasury doors at Eleusis (in central Greece) was supplied,
at vast expense (seventy days' wages for a 2" x 4" x 12' board), by an emporos, an
overseas trader and merchant from Knidos, in Caria.
Wood Use. Although evidence for constructional timbers of
all classes is the most commonly found demonstration of the use of wood in
antiquity, furniture is an obvious but less-common use. Fine furniture, indeed,
is rare, except for the remarkably well- preserved inlaid wooden furniture
at Gordion. Stone furniture, such as funeral beds, can be presumed to be copies
of wooden furniture. Enough furniture inlay exists elsewhere--of ivory or bone
or metal--at Assur [s-hacek, s-hacek], for example, to show that elaborately
carved and decorated furniture was more common than the archaeological record
might otherwise suggest. Almost every Urartian site has produced elaborate
metal furniture fittings--bronze animal feet and terminals, silver or gold
medallions, plaques, and other attachments both practical or ornamental--and
the lists of booty taken by the Assyrian kings include furniture of boxwood
and ebony embellished with gold, silver, and ivory. Painted furniture representations
on Greek pottery are another important indirect source of information.
Shipbuilding as an activity speaks for itself (see above). Every ship lost
at sea, whether accidentally or in a naval engagement and then replaced, must
have represented a drain on forest resources. Cedar timbers with up to four
hundred annual rings from a twelfth-dynasty Egyptian ship, the so-called Dahshur
boat now in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of five funerary
vessels found near the pyramid of Senwosret III, and therefore presumed to
belong to the time of Senwosret (c. 1860 BC) at Dahshur, are clearly cut from
enormous trees--some centuries old and probably the size of standing trees
found today in the Lebanon and the Taurus ranges. In what was an extremely
wasteful woodcutting practice, the timbers were carved or sculpted to shape,
not bent, as can be seen on a representation of boat builders at work on a
relief in the tomb of Ti (fifth dynasty) at Saqqara, Egypt. At least half the
wood was thereby lost.
Carpentry. Almost every tool--from the crude to the sophisticated--known
to modern carpenters was used by the ancients: axes, adzes, hammers, mallets,
wedges, chisels, drills, lathes, right- angles (or T-squares), plumb bobs,
compasses, planes, rasps, and polishing agents of various kinds. Evidence exists
for the use of almost every modern technique as well: mortising, tenoning,
treenailing, beveling, gluing, and intricate joining and inlaying. A glance
at the more elegant pieces of the Gordion furniture (eighth century BC) should
remove any doubt about the skill and sophistication of the ancient carpenter,
not only in the craftsmanship thereby demonstrated, but also in the selection
of a half-dozen species of wood for their contrasting colors and textures and
the assemblage of thousands of such fragments into an agreeable whole.
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