The Dendera Light Bulb is a microdroplets fog made of sprayed water produced to achieve evaporative cooling inside the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. It was designed to cool down chemical reactions for sodium carbonate manufacturing, the purest mineral form of natron, the salt used for the mummification of the pharaohs.
Ancient Egyptians didn't have the technology that would give them electricity, they were doing chemistry and evaporating adiabatic cooling for an ammonia Solvay-like process that was only invented in the 1800s in Europe. The cold was stored inside the Queen's chamber, where the temperature could probably have been as low as 5°C (41°F) and transferred to the natron production unit by the 2 shafts.
On the Dendera Light reliefs, the theoretical part of the basic principle is carved on the left side of the relief : the character is offering the fog (the cold) ; and the practical application is on the right of the relief with the use of the cold for the counterflow chemical reaction tower (the Djed Pillar), through the 2 shafts of the Queen's chamber (the arms of the relief).
The double outline of the 2 characters holding and offering the Dendera Light Bulb, is the proof that the bulb was producing cold. They were cold themselves and they were represented having the goose bumps.
My theory is based on 2 key elements : the first one is the cold production inside the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid ; and the second one is the production of sodium carbonate (pure natron), as suggested by the Red Pyramid. You will find more details about the Red Pyramid and the natron production at the end of this post.
The ammonia still present inside the Red Pyramid, indicates that they were using a sodium carbonate process identical or very close to the ammonia-soda process known as the Solvay process, developed into its modern form in the 1860s in Europe.
In the Solvay process, the ammonia only has a minor role ; but inside the Red Pyramid, my guess is that they didn't control the temperature of the different chemical reactions inside the Solvay towers. They couldn't cool down the towers.
That is the reason why they engineered the visible part of the Great Pyramid : to produce cold inside the horizontal passage, store it inside the Queen's chamber, and transfer it to the sodium carbonate production towers, passing through the Queen's chamber shafts.
And everything I've just said, is carved into the famous stone reliefs in the Hathor temple at Dendera, showing the Dendera Light Bulbs.
The Dendera Light explains how was operated the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza and what was its goal : the cold production inside the Queen's chamber, the only chamber that is located on the central axis of the pyramid.
For more details about how was operated the Great Pyramid, and in particular the crucial role of the 14 girdle stones perfectly described by the Edgar brothers but completely "forgotten" because they didn't fit to their theory, please click here.
The real secret of ancient Egyptians was chemistry manufacturing and it was perceived as a magical proof that they were having the legitimacy to reign from the gods
At the time of the pharaohs, they didn't use the modern term "sodium carbonate" : it was called natron and it was the mummification salt.
Pharaoh's Sneferu, Khufu's father, built 3 pyramids to master the production of this pure mineral form of the salt he was gonna use to access to immortality. If my theory is correct, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, at Giza, would be the achievement of his father's quest for immortality.
Chemistry was the real secret of the ancient Egyptians, probably for many generations before Sneferu ; and the technical mastery of this craft would have been a important piece of the political balance between the people and their kings.
People would probably only see magic in chemistry. For the people, it was the proof that their rulers had the legitimacy to reign, directly from the gods.
Chemistry was coming from the gods.
Sneferu was probably the most revolutionary pharaoh of all times, and he decided to deploy chemistry technology like never before. He didn't hesitate to build 3 pyramids and who knows how many smaller structures, to achieve the production of the pure natron.
The Great Pyramid at Giza should be seen, so to speak, as the fourth pyramid of Sneferu, the culmination of many years of hard work.
The pure natron produced inside the pyramids by Snefuru, had many advantages: they didn't have to rely on quarrying and purifying rocks, but I think the most important reason to do it, is that chemistry was probably seen at that time as close to magic as it could be.
Pharaoh's showing off their ability to master the chemistry crafts, was probably the cornerstone of their legitimacy to rule their kingdom. It was certainly assumed that the gods were giving that magical chemistry art directly to the pharaoh.
It is absolutely exhilarating to imagine what could have been that ancient Egyptian society, where most probably nobody had the right to even try to do any kind of chemistry, because it would have been perceived as an attempt to mimic the pharaoh's power and privileges.
Still, humans being what they are, some would have tried, and they would have been extremely severely punished for that.
The sacred and magic chemistry craft was the real secret and the real treasure of Ancient Egypt.
The horizontal evaporative cooling passage of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza
The horizontal passageway inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza was an evaporating cooling unit for the sodium carbonate (natron) Na2CO3 production by a soda-ash ammonia Solvay process. The key element of the passage was a multi-needle fog nozzle, very similar to modern firefighter nozzles. The nozzle transformed the pressurized water coming from the inclined well into a fog of liquid microdroplets that would evaporate in the passage and cool down the air between 5°C and 10°C.
Elevation data of the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid (inches) : "The pyramids and temples of Gizeh", by Petrie, W. M. Flinders (William Matthew Flinders), Sir, 1853-1942. Page 66, "Passage to Queen's Chamber".
Dendera Light / The academic point of view
The scholar explanation of the famous stone reliefs in the Hathor temple at Dendera in Egypt, depict the Dendera Light "as God Harsomtus, in the form of a snake, emerging from a lotus flower in an oval container called hn, which might represent the womb of Nut. Sometimes a djed pillar supports the snake or the container." (Source : Wikipedia).
The reality is that the Dendera Light reliefs refer to the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza
1/ The venom spray of a spitting snake : the microdroplets fog
In my theory, the ascending passage of the Great Pyramid, is flooded and the fall of an impactor (wooden cradle float + granite block), pressurizes the ascending passage (the inclined well) and so generates high-pressurized water that is sprayed inside the horizontal passage into a microdroplets fog, that instantly vaporizes itself and by doing so, cool down the air temperature. This is an adiabatic cooling process, that can cool down the air very effectively, with a 15 to 20°C drop.
That microdroplets fog, is the Dendera Light.
Dendera Light relief drawing on the left : please notice that what seems to be important here isn't the snake, but the spat venom of the snake. Also, you can see that the characters holding the snake are showing a double outline, the same way that the character holding (or offering) the Dendera Light does, on the right part of the drawing. The Dendera Light is produced by the snake, or as explained : by the venom of the snake. This particular relief is describing how was produced the microdroplets fog of sprayed water.
That drawing of one of the Dendera Light reliefs, is absolutely outstanding, because it is organized the same way we do today in every single science book : the theoretical part on one side and the practical part on the other side.
On the left side of the drawing, we can see that the key element is the spat venom of the snake and not the snake by itself : that represents the sprayed water ; and on the right side we can see the practical application of the concept inside the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid : from the inclined well (the ascending passage), is the water pipe going to the fog nozzle and resulting in the microdroplets fog.
Please note that 1/ the angle of the Dendera Light Bulb is very similar to the angle of the typical venom spray of a spitting snake ; and 2/ the shape of the Light Bulb is very similar to the shape of the horizontal passage.
On these Dendera Light Bulbs reliefs, it is worth noting that the entire shape of the micro-droplets cooling fog entirely fits in a space that has the exact height of the passage where the process starts on the drawing it is on.
On the left drawing, 1 and 1' have the same height. On the right drawing, 2 and 2' have the same height as well. And same thing on the drawing above, with the venom coming out of the snake : the height of the starting passage equals the maximum height of the fog.
The fog of microdroplets was limited by the height of the passage.
It is still unclear to me if that means that 1 and 2, strictly represent the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid, where the cooling fog was created, or if it also includes the inclined well (the ascending passage) from where the pressurized water was coming from.
Dendera Light Bulb relief details, inside the Hathor temple in Egypt, showing this unique and outstanding double outline of the character offering the bulb : he was offering cold and he was cold himself.
2/ The "double outline" of the character producing and offering the Dendera Light fog
This "double outline" isn't discussed at all by anybody, though it is the most important element of the Dendera reliefs. The fog is made of microdroplets of liquid water and it would evaporate itself, taking the necessary energy from the air. The result is the cooling down of the air. The character is offering cold, and he is cold himself.
The "double outline" of the offering fog character of the Dendera Light reliefs, shows the goose bumps. He was cold himself.
Actually, everything depends on the capacity of the air to absorb humidity. The example shown on the Carrier Diagram below, tells us that it was probably very easy to cool down the air next to 10°C, if the air started at a 10% humidity rate, and got to 90% at the end of the process.
But, I think they could cool down the air a lot more than that. Because at the entry of the pyramid, was certainly installed a liquid dehumidifier, working with a salt brine solution. The air at the beginning of the cooling process was probably close to 5% humidity or lower ; and the air inside the horizontal passage probably closer to 100%.
In my opinion, in regards to the extensive efforts to minimize the thermal stress on the first part of the horizontal passage, and the first part only, particularly the sand added behind the blocks and the large expansion joints, I wouldn't be surprised they got close to 5°C in the Queen's chamber (41°F).
In most of the Dendera Light reliefs, also appear arms and Djed pillars. They are not mythological symbols. On that picture, we can see what is the real secret of the ancient Egyptians : chemistry. We can also see that the Djed pillars and the temples were both part of it. The magical part of the temples came from the chemistry craft.
3/ The arms represent the Queen's chamber shafts
Once the cold is produced inside the horizontal passage of the great pyramid, and stored inside the Queen's chamber, the sodium carbonate Solvay towers had to be cooled down. In my theory, the pyramid wasn't finished when operating : it had a flat roof at the Lady Arbuthnot level. The natron production site was situated at that level, and the towers probably cooled down by pumping water or directly a saline solution into the Queen's chamber where the copper serpentine cold exchanger was set.
The arms of the Dendera reliefs are the Queen's chamber shafts, and the Solvay towers are the Djed pillars.
The Dendera Light Bulbs were producing cold and the adiabatic Carrier diagram can help us to evaluate how effective and efficient the cooling process was.
4/ The character with the 2 knives
The Carrier diagram above, shows us that they probably didn't have any trouble getting to a 10°C inside the Queen's chamber (50°F) ; but like I said I wouldn't be surprised they could get to 5°C (41°F).
That minimum temperature is actually very important, because it could tell us precisely what process was used to make the sodium carbonate. It could have been the Solvay process, or the Hou process, which is a variant more effective.
For what I know, but I'm not a chemist, the cold could have been used for 2 major reasons : cool down the ammoniated tower where the brine (around 50% salt solution) was saturated with the ammonia NH3 and the carbonation tower where the ammoniated brine got saturated with CO2 coming from the kiln.
The character with 2 knives and a frog face, could maybe point to the good direction, because in the Hou process, a 10°C temperature is enough to cool down the carbonation tower and the ammonium chloride precipitate into the sodium chloride solution (the brine).
The precipitation of the ammonium chloride from the sodium chloride solution, results in a separation of the 2 components. And in my opinion, the separation of these 2 components is exactly what the 2 knives mean.
The knives are not here to protect anybody or anything, they don't even really mean cut.
The knives mean separate. There are 2 knives because 2 components needed to be separated.
5/ The frog face of the character with the 2 knives
This is maybe a little far-fetched, but this frog face could also perfectly fit in the theory. Because, the precipitation of the ammonium chloride in the brine, is the separation of a solid component from a liquid phase.
And that is precisely what a frog do when passing from a tadpole living in the water, to an adult frog living in the air.
The frog face means separate from a liquid phase.
The Nefertem emblems at the Louvre Museum : the water supplying pipe and the lotus flower fog nozzle
I really didn't expect to find any archeological find representing the fog nozzle and the pipe that was connecting it to the inclined well, but I think this is exactly what we have here, on the above and below photographs of Nefertem copper alloy emblem artifacts visible in the Louvre Museum. I presume the part getting upwards from the lotus flower is another representation of the fog of microdroplets.
I still don't know though what are representing the 2 pieces on the sides. They could be related to water, but they might be designed for dry air supply. This part of the global process will be the most difficult to decipher because contrary to pressurized water, air is so easy to move it doesn't require much equipment and leave very small amount of traces.
Center : Nefertum figure 10.175.131 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York.
The Key-Hole shaped element of the Dendera Light reliefs
One of the above pictures of the Dendera reliefs, is showing something getting out of a key-hole shape element and then directed towards the little opening on the corner. On another picture, this same key-hole shape element, is shown supplying 4 structures. It could be liquid, or gas maybe.
It took me a long time to figure out the meaning of all this, and then it struck me : this shape is also found on the Nefertem figures, so it had to be about the cold. What is depicted here, is the exact same thing that ancient Egyptians did on the Dendera Light Bulbs double explanation : first a theoretical explanation and then a practical description, like in every single science book.
What is getting out the key hole shape is cold air. We know it is cold air, because once out, it goes down, like cold air does. The shape itself of the air, is pretty similar to the Dendera Light Bulb ; the difference is that the Dendera Light Bulb shape is constrained by the horizontal passage, while here this is all about theory : cold air goes down.
The 2 Queen's chamber shaft openings and the cold supplying of the counterflow chemical reaction units
The practical representation of how the cold was transferred is depicted on the other relief, but this time there is no more theory and it is not cold air anymore : we clearly see that it is water, or water solution, that is supplying the 4 structures.
And we have seen in previous posts, that these elements were the counterflow chemical reaction units used for the Na2CO3 (the purest mineral form of Natron) manufacturing using an ammonia Solvay-like process.
4 units are depicted, but they could have been more than four on the flat roof of the pyramid. Most probably, chemical reaction units could have been stacked (like Djed Pillars are suggesting it), but maybe they were just lined up. 4 is also the number of units depicted on the representations of Djed Pillars and I suspect that this number 4, in these circonstances, might be figurative.
What was the function of the key-hole shaped element ?
I'm glad I had figure this part out, but there is still something I can't point out, and that is the key-hole shape itself Its function is still a complete mystery to me : it clearly was related to the cold, but I have no idea if it was on the fog nozzle or somewhere else. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if they were actually set into the Queen's chamber and connected, or related, to the 2 shafts.
And in my opinion, the shaft opening into the Queen's chamber is precisely what is represented in the first picture. Cold was going to the shafts.
Right picture : sand filter in Sneferu's Bent Pyramid with the first blocking stone that was supplying the filter with water ; western entrance.
The "necklace" represented under the 4 Solvay units (right to Nefertum figure 10.175.131, above), is a sand filter
The separation of the 2 components needed 2 different steps : the first one was to cool down the counterflow chemical reaction towers, but a second process had to be done, and this one was the filtration. When you look at the modern Solvay process schematic, filtration is everywhere to separate solute from the solution and ancient Egyptians did exactly the same.
The first filter I identified, was a bio-sand filter that I believe was supplying drinkable water for the working crew that was operating the beetle in the grand gallery. That filter was the sarcophagus of the Great Pyramid and it was set inside what is nowadays the little service room, in between the antechamber and the top platform of the grand gallery.
The second filter was set inside the Bent Pyramid, as we can see on the photograph above, with its portcullis and the filtration sand still in place. I don't think this particular sand filter was designed to produce drinkable water, but for chemical filtration.
I also think that these sand filtration units were depicted in numerous representations, like the ones with God Heh and Goddess Hauhet, and sometimes winged Maat.
Please have a special look to the first photograph* : most of the time we see characters kneeled down onto the element, but here it is clear that this is not a kind of comfy sofa. The character is standing on it.
It is also pretty clear that some kind of material is represented in the sand filter of the second picture (Sarcophagus of Ramses III, Le Louvre Museum, Paris), and that some liquid drops are dripping from it. On the third picture, horizontal layers are also clearly represented. These layers look very much like the different layers of a typical sand filter design.
We can see on the first picture that the sand filter is associated with Djed Pillars. They were working together. The third picture is also showing a complete sarcophagus shape, with all sides, including the floor one.
* What I am describing as a sand filter is presented by scholars as a symbol for gold, depicted with a golden collar with the ends hanging off the sides and spines dangling from the middle. Apparently nobody tried to explain why the collar was so big, or why some characters would have to stand or kneel on it. In my opinion it was pointing out that some pressure would be necessary for an effective filtration. I don't know if that would imply that some weight had to be added or if it just needed the atmospheric pressure to work.
The Bent Pyramid : the chemical sand filter and the last trials before the Great Pyramid
The Sarcophagus : a bio-sand filter for the production of drinking water
Left : Nefertem emblem from the Louvre Museum : inventory number ME299 © Musée du Louvre. Center : Figure of Isis-Serget as Scorpion, ca. 663-346 BCE (Late Period) from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
This artifact from the Walters Art Museum is one of the most important of all, because it is the best representation that I know of the cooling process that took place inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
The 8-legged scorpion with 2 pedipalps is another representation of the wooden beetle of the grand gallery
In previous posts, we've seen that the scarab amulets were representations of the wooden gantry that was operated inside the grand gallery by 8 crewmembers (+ 2 flying men who stayed behind its progression). The scarab was chosen because of the way the gantry was operated : the crewmembers were going backwards towards the bottom of the gallery. It is a good analogy, but the scarabs don't have 8 legs, they have 6.
The scorpions though, not only have 8 legs ; but they also have 2 pedipalps, and this is perfect to represent the 2 flying men. The scorpion also have a long tail with a telson at the end, (the back ; but projected towards to front of the animal), and I guess it is also perfect to echoes the backwards progression of the beetle scarab.
The missing crown of horns representing the pounding of the inclined well by the impactor
Originally the bust of the goddess Isis-Serget wore a crown of cow horns, similar to the ram horns of the Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures.
From the Walters Art Museum : "The top of a scepter in the form of a papyrus column, surmounted by a pedestal supporting the figure of a scorpion with the bust of a woman, representing the goddess Isis-Serget. Originally she wore a crown of cow horns and sun-disk. The inscription on the shaft is badly damaged. The phrase: "Isis may give life" has been preserved."
The Khepesh Scimitars of the Nefertem amulets were spanner wrenches for copper fittings
According to scholars, ancient Egyptian God Nefertem (also Nefertum, or Nefertemu) was the god of the lotus blossom who emerged from the primeval waters at the beginning of time. That would explains the huge lotus blossom that Nefertem amulets displayed on their heads.
But most of the time, Nefertem is also having a Khepesh-Scimitar on the right hand, that is described as a warfare blade with sharpened edges, even if many examples have dull edges that apparently were never intended to be sharp.
According to scholars, again, "it may therefore be possible that some Khepeshes found in high-status graves were ceremonial variants". But in my opinion, the idea that the reason why some Khepeshes weren't sharp at all, would be because they would have been for ceremonial use, couldn't be more wrong. Even today, the ceremonial Japanese katanas are maybe the most sharp of all katanas precisely because they are for ceremonial use. They are the best and the most expansive ones. The only katanas or any other kind of sword, that would be with dull edges, are the ones for kids to play, and they would be in plastic or wood.
Top left photograph above : a modern spanner wrench designed to connect or disconnect metal fittings. The tooth at the end of the curved part of the tool is designed to engage onto the protuberances of the fitting. Other pictures are ancient Egyptians Khepesh Scimitars (exact dating is unknown to me).
Ancient Egyptians were using spanner wrenches (and screw fittings ?)
My interpretation of the Khepesh hold by Nefertem is radically different. I keep saying that pressurized water was directed towards the fog nozzle of the horizontal cooling passage of the Great Pyramid, and for that to be possible, pressure resistant pipes were needed, and that is exactly what is depicted in the Nefertem emblem.
But there is more, because to connect the pipe to the fog nozzle, or pipe pieces to each other, they would certainly have to use fittings. And as a former winemaker, I know one thing for sure about pipes and fittings : when you want to connect or disconnect these elements, you cannot do anything without a spanner wrench (maybe not in the US or in Canada where screw fittings are very rare, but in France, at least).
The Khepesh that Nefertem is holding isn't for warfare, it is a spanner wrench.
On certain representations of Nefertem, like E 10665 from the Louvre Museum (photograph above), we can also see on top of the Khepesh, a circular form in direct contact with the tool (though apparently not to scale). Could that round form be the copper fittings ?
The higher position of the tooth could indicate that the hook system was different from modern screw fittings
We can see on the ancient Egyptian Khepeshes that the tooth is placed higher in relation to the handle axis than on the modern spanner wrenches and it could mean that the hook system was different : on the modern tool, the tooth is designed to hook to an external piece of the screw fitting, but it is possible that on the ancient Khepeshes, there were sockets carved inside the fittings instead or that it wasn't at all screw fittings.
What is remarkable with these Khepeshes, is that they can probably indicate what was the pipe diameter they were designed for, and we can find out if different diameters were used or not. We also know they were probably using screw-type fittings.
Nefertem is the personification of the horizontal passage fog nozzle of the Great Pyramid.
To be convinced of this, please note that on these pictures above of 2 different Khepeshes, one is engraved with the lotus flower, while a snake appears on the other one, showing the 6 teeth / needles.
Both elements, the circular shape of the snake and the lotus flower, are representing the same thing : the fog nozzle.
The snake and the fog nozzle of the horizontal passage
In previous posts, I have suggested 2 possibilities for the nature of the fog nozzle that ancient Egyptians could have chosen to produce the microdroplets fog into the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid, using the inclined well pressurized water : a spiral nozzle and an external needle. But I think they used another option.
We have already seen that the snake was the symbol of the microdroplets fog production, because of the way that the snake is projecting its venom when protecting itself.
So, if they would have wanted to depict that fog nozzle, it would have been associated with the snake.
And that is precisely what they did.
On these pictures of the Eye of Horus and scarab, are highlighted the fog nozzle under the snake's head, with the perfect circle shape, the blue color, and the segmented water pipe leading to it.
The fog nozzle of the Great Pyramid of Khufu had numerous teeth or sharper needles
On most snake representations, particularly when associated with the Eye of Horus, we can find a perfect circular shape just under its head, nearly every time painted in vivid blue, obviously the color of water. On many of these representations we can see that this circle is implemented with 6 needles pointing towards the center of the circle and most of the time there is an additional set of curved needles in the center of the circular shape (picture above, on the right).
Most of the time, the needles aren't very sharp, but occasionally (like on the left photograph, below), they really are ; and that tells us that these needles were functional and not pure artistic decoration.
That element is the fog nozzle of the Great Pyramid and the lotus flower of the Dendera Light Bulb reliefs.
There is just the head of the snake
If you look attentively, you can see that the "snake" isn't really actually one : it is just a pipe that ends with a perfect non-biological circular shape ; and on top of this, is added the head of a snake. But only this head look alive. There is nothing "biological" with the rest. That "snake look-alike" element is an illusion.
It is a perfect example of the sophistication of ancient Egyptian culture and a perfect example of our modern lack of examination of their work. We see a snake because we want to. In reality, there is just its head, and we forgot to really look at the rest.
Take the head of the snake out of the picture, and nobody will ever see a snake anymore.
The crying / tears reference (1) : The Eye of Horus
Please note that the tail of the snake in this representation of the Eye of Horus is connected to the corner of the eye, where tears are coming from. Those tears are supplying the fog nozzle of the snake.
The crying / tears reference (2) : Nefertem
Nefertem is also often associated with the idea of crying and tears. I just couldn't find yet a "solid" reference to the explanation of this particular point, from a scholar point of view, but tears (water) would be obviously right in the context of supplying the fog nozzle with liquid water.
On the Dendera Light Bulb reliefs, the fog nozzle of the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, is represented by the lotus flower, because of the appearance of its many and pointy petals that looked like the fog nozzle teeth or needles. Modern firefighter fog nozzle, thanks to Shah Bhogilala Jethalal & Bros, India.
The modern firefighter type fog nozzle of the Great Pyramid
It looks like that the fog nozzle of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, was amazingly very similar to modern firefighter fog nozzles. These nozzles are designed to deal with a great amount of water : they are high capacity nozzles. It is hard to evaluate the amount of water that was injected in a matter of seconds into the horizontal passage of the Great Pyramid, but it could be around 500 liters, maybe every 15 to 20 minutes without ever stopping, for days, weeks, maybe even months.
It is also hard to say if the very sharp shape of the needles we can see in some paintings or reliefs of the fog nozzle depicted by ancient Egyptians, has to be taken literally or not.
The modern firefighter fog nozzle teeth aren't that sharp, but they don't have to produce microdroplets either. Their fog is not designed to immediately evaporate and create cold. So, maybe the needles of the pyramid's fog nozzle were really that sharp and pointy.
Image from the LACMA : Cultic Aegis and Menat with a Goddess Head. Egypt, 19th and 20th Dynasties (1315 - 1081 BCE). Bronze, 4 1/4 × 4 1/2 × 5 5/8 in. (10.8 × 11.43 × 14.29 cm). The Phil Berg Collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Image on the right is a modern high pressure firefighter fog nozzle.
The fog nozzle at the LACMA, Los Angeles
Maybe the artifact shown on the above photograph from the LACMA at Los Angeles, is the closest we can get to the real design of the fog nozzle of the cooling passage. It is worth noting the presence of the little vertical notch in the middle of the nozzle that would have been used, most probably, by the Khepesh spanner wrench to screw or unscrew it to its support bracket.
The teeth of the nozzle are obviously not on the inside of the artifact, but we have to keep in mind that ancient Egyptians acted like they wanted to show everything of their technical feats, but at the same time, like they wanted to hide everything.
If I am right, they did exactly that on this artifact : everything is here, but it is misplaced : the top part of the nozzle (with the teeth) shouldn't be on top of the artifact, but inside it (inside the base). Besides, it looks like both parts aren't fixed together by any metal part (but I may be wrong on this point), but instead they kind of look they got fixed due to alteration over time (the grayish material).
The 3D representation of the fog nozzle
Another amazing artifact from the MET, is this golden ram's head that is another wonderful representation of the making of the fog of microdroplets. The ram's head horns echoes the pressurization of the inclined well (the ascending passage) by the fall of the impactor, and the snake echoes the use of its pressurized water. Instead of representing the fog nozzle as usual, with the circular shape and the 6 teeth or needles, which is nothing else than a 2 dimensions cross section of the nozzle, this time they represented the whole thing in 3D, in the exact same dome shape that we have on the previous artifact from the LACMA (if we place the crown with its teeth, back into its base).
Could the Sun Discs represent the fog nozzle ?
When I first saw this LACMA artifact, it was the front view photograph, and I thought that there was another Sun Disc on top of the head of the snake. Obviously it is not, but I'm wondering if it could be the explanation for the Sun Discs. What if they don't represent a disc at all, but a 3D representation of a golden fog nozzle ?
The suspension loop of the ram's-head amulet
Another remark has to be made, and it concerns the loop at the back of the artifact:
From the MET : "This amulet was probably made for a necklace worn by one of the Kushite kings. Representations show these pharaohs wearing a ram's-head amulet tied around the neck on a thick cord, the ends of which fall forward over the shoulders. Sometimes a smaller ram's head is attached to each end".
In my opinion, the loop of this particular amulet is way too massive to be nothing else than just a suspension loop for an amulet. I think it represents the attachment loop that was installed onto the real wooden cradle float and that would be connected to the main central rope of the gallery.
The Queen's chamber copper cold exchanger
Photographs above : we have what could be representations of the cold exchanger that were installed inside the Queen's chamber. I first thought it would take a modern copper serpentine appearance, but it was probably not, and maybe it looked exactly like on these photographs. If that is the case, probably dozens of these elements would have been connected in series inside the chamber.
Dendera Light Bulb photographs, taken in 2007 by Frank Dörnenburg (Germany).
The blue color of the liquid water on the Dendera Light Bulbs reliefs
On these amazing photographs, we can see that the reliefs were painted with vivid colors. Like for the fog nozzle under the snake's head, the color that pops-up right away, is a vivid blue. The color of water.
Interestingly, the most visible parts painted in blue are : the passage to which the water pipe is connected, the pipe itself, the character holding the bulb, the counterflow chemical segments of the Djed Pillar and the frog. All these elements are associated with liquid water.
The bulbs are not, because they are not made of liquid anymore : the horizontal passage was an evaporative cooling unit. Immediately after being created by the fog nozzle, the liquid microdroplets were transformed into vapor : a gas.
The Dendera Light Bulbs were made of cold air, most probably very cold air, between 5°C and 10°C (41°F to 50°F) : they weren't made of liquid water anymore and so, they didn't get the blue color.
Left : Ptah-Sokar-Osiris Figure, 306–30 B.C. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue. Photographs on the right : figure of Imhotep EA40666 from the British Museum.
The Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figure bases are representations of the wooden cradle float that was operated in the Great Pyramid
What is interesting in these photographs is not the hollow that have been made to insert the figurine base, but the rectangular shape empty of any marking, drawn around it and materialized by a thin black line : that was the real cavity where the granite block would have been inserted in.
Please note that the big rectangular area delimited by the thin black line and empty of any decoration, is not made for the foot of the mummy : it is way bigger. The mummy had clearly let a imprint inside the rectangular shape, it appears in a different yellowish color around the hole.
The representation of the granite block weight alone : the seated figures of Imhotep
Imhotep was a scientist, an architect and an engineer, so we shouldn't be surprised about the way he is depicted in his seated figurines : he holds the knowledge in his hands, seated with his feet in contact with what represented the most important piece of the Great Pyramid operating, the granite block that was inside the wooden cradle float.
We could argue that the "Imhotep's stone" is not the granite block that was inserted inside the wooden cradle float, and that it was just representing the fact that Imhotep was the first architect to use stone blocks instead of bricks.
But I don't think it is : on the Metropolitan Museum figurine of Imhotep donated by Padisu (first photograph above), this block quite doesn't show at all, and it is pretty much absorbed by the base, which I believe is the cradle, but here it doesn't really matter.
If the intent was to show a block because Imhotep used blocks, they wouldn't have quite completely hide it.
Imhotep's "Refreshment of the Gods" Pyramid : the solution was here from the very beginning
Imhotep biggest influence was not in the medicine field, but in architecture. He is the one who built the first true pyramid in ancient Egypt, made of stone blocks and not dried mud bricks : the Djoser's Step Pyramid. Interestingly, this unprecedented step pyramid was called "The Refreshment of the Gods" ; and that obviously echoes the evaporative cooling process used in the Great Pyramid.
My conviction is that the term "refreshment" is not fully accurate: Imhotep's first pyramid was certainly not the "refreshment pyramid", but "the Pyramid of the cold".
Ancient Egyptians didn't master an ammonia Solvay-like process overnight : it had to be a long experimental journey, over many generations (the Disc of Sabu is dated from the First Dynasty, 3100 BCE to 3000 BCE ; and the Djed Pillars from even before that). Most probably, their biggest challenge from the beginning was cooling down the reaction chambers.
It is certainly not by accident that Imhotep not only was the first one to build structures out of limestone blocks, but also the first one to add columns to their design. Columns echoes to the Solvay towers but also to modern cooling towers (read the post about Sneferu's Red and Bent Pyramids for more on the subject).
Hypothetical influence of Imhotep on pharaohs Djoser (Dynasty 3) and Sneferu (Dynasty 4) that could explain the fact he was represented with the wooden cradle float and/or the granite block weight.
Was Imhotep the real mastermind behind Sneferu's and Khufu's pyramids?
From Wikipedia : "Very little is known of Imhotep as an historical figure, but in the 3,000 years following his death, he was gradually glorified and deified. It appears that this libation to Imhotep was done regularly, as they are attested on papyri associated with statues of Imhotep until the Late Period (c. 664–332 BCE). Wildung (1977) explains the origin of this cult as a slow evolution of intellectuals' memory of Imhotep, from his death onward".
When Djoser died, Imhotep is thought to have gone on to serve his successors, Sekhemkhet (c. 2650 BCE), Khaba (c. 2640 BCE), and Huni, possibly Sneferu's father (c. 2630-2613 BCE). Scholars disagree on whether Imhotep served all four kings of the Third Dynasty but evidence suggests he lived a long life and was much sought after for his talents.
Maybe his ideas have been burrowed by his successor during the Fourth Dynasty, but most probably, in my opinion, he might as well also served Sneferu himself.
The 25 sarcophagi of the Serapeum of Saqqara were sealed containers designed for the storage of the sodium carbonate Natron manufactured inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
The 25 sarcophagi of the Serapeum of Saqqara and the 25 progression steps of the Grand Gallery
We've seen that the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza was the culmination of a wonderful technological research program for sodium carbonate manufacturing, the purest mineral form of natron, the salt used by ancient Egyptians for the mummification process.
We've seen that what we see today of the Great Pyramid, but the subterranean chamber still totally unclear, was designed to produce cold inside the Queen's chamber and use it to cool down Solvay or Solvay-like towers, where discs of Sabu would have been set. The temperature inside the chamber would have been between 5°C and 10°C (41°F to 50°F).
The question now is, how long did the pyramid was in operation.
I've written in the Disc of Sabu and the Dendera posts, that it could have been "for days, weeks, maybe even months without ever stopping" but I was probably wrong : the Great Pyramid could have been operating maybe for a couple of years, or so. It would explain the presence of the ventilated antechamber that indicates that the pyramid had to be shut down for a while, probably many times and in respond to I presume, periods of drought ; and the so huge effect the pyramid had on ancient Egyptian culture (please read the post about the scarab amulets for more information about it).
Another way of addressing the question is trying to guess how much sodium carbonate did they manufactured. And we may be able to answer this question, because the entire production of the sodium carbonate had to be stored somewhere.
And I also think we know exactly where it was, because they absolutely needed to store the product away from humidity. The most obvious chemical property of the sodium carbonate, the reason why it was manufactured in the first place, is that it is a marvelous dehumidifier. If you want to store it over a long period of time, you need to do so in perfectly dry conditions. You need to store it in perfectly sealed containers.
I think the 25 sarcophagi of the Serapeum of Saqqara, were these containers.
The Great Pyramid and the Serapeum are only separated by 14 kilometers
On site, there are 24 sarcophagi, but there is another one which is now at the Agricultural Museum in Cairo. That is a total of 25 sarcophagi. Is there a connection to the 25 progression steps that were used inside the grand gallery ? I would say, probably yes.
Those Saqqara sarcophagi would have been perfect ancient sealed containers. The most important of their features would have been the extremely well finished surfaces where the sarcophagi would have been in contact with their lids. This surface is both very large and contrary to the rest of the boxes, not mirror like finished : it would avoid any significant passage of air from the outside of a sarcophagus to the inside.
The dating of the Sarcophagi of the Serapeum
Scholar's position is that "The most ancient burials found at this site date back to the reign of Amenhotep III, the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty during the 1350s BCE." (from Wikipedia). But many people think the site is much more older, and that Amenhotep III rediscovered it and then reused it for his own purposes. To be more precise, it looks like the part where are the 24 sarcophagi left (25 at the origin), predates the rest of the complex.
My theory about the Great Pyramid, absolutely need these sarcophagi and I would really like to hear one day that the dating of the oldest part of the Serapeum of Saqqara had been corrected to the fourth Dynasty.
So what really was the natron for ?
If the 25 sarcophagi were really sealed containers for the sodium carbonate manufactured in the Great Pyramid, we are talking about tons of natron. Why did they want so much?
Were they experimenting with the liquid dehumidification mummification process with a natron solution instead of a conventional solid process?
Were the sarcophagi filled with powder natron or with a highly concentrated solution?
Was it only for mummification or did they use the sodium carbonate for other purposes. This mineral is nowadays produced in vast amounts and for many different purposes.
I've already submitted the hypothesis that pharaohs were using chemistry to prove to their people they were legitimate to reign, because gods were given to them the magical power. Was this natron used in temple ceremonies for demonstrations of this power?
It could be in particular in relation to the annual Djed pillar raising ceremony during the Sed festival.
The Djed pillar isn't just mythological : it was a real structure, used for chemical production and set in temples most of the time, like on this picture showing the second pylon of the Isis temple at Philae. The mastering of the chemistry was probably viewed as a magical proof that the gods were actually giving their confidence in the pharaoh. I chose not to illustrate this part with the more famous first pylon of the temple, because this first pylon is often represented with flags, with their poles positioned inside the high recesses. On this second pylon, it is pretty obvious that these recesses weren't designed for flags poles.
The Red Pyramid and the production of sodium carbonate Na2CO3, the pure mineral form of natron
As you can see on these photographs of the Red Pyramid at Dashur, I'm convinced that what is called today the "burial chamber" of the Red Pyramid, was a limestone kiln and that high temperature steam was circulating inside the descending passage. This steam is responsible for the red and yellow deposits that we can see essentially on the ceiling of this passage. Where this ceiling is damaged, we can see the natural grayish color of the stone.
When you add up these elements to the huge ammonia smell, you end up pretty quickly to the ammonia soda-ash Solvay process that makes today the sodium carbonate Na2CO3, the pure mineral form of the natron.
On the left : the "burial chamber" of the Red Pyramid at Dashur, before cement has been poured on the blocks, I presume, in order to reduce the ammonia gas emissions. That chamber was actually a limestone kiln. It explains why there is no floor, why the remaining blocks are burnt and laid out in concentric circles, why they are forming a cone shaped hole and why there is a little passage, supposedly digged by robbers. Please note, on that photograph, the burnt block on the foreground left corner. If you look attentively, you can find such burnt blocks all over the pit.
Image on the right : ancient limestone kiln at Betws yn Rhos, Abergele (Wales, United-Kingdom).
Nobody took out the missing blocks, and no robbers ever digged out the short duct. This duct was a poking hole for the kiln. The CO2 coming out of the kiln was injected into the adjacent chamber.
The second chamber inside the Red Pyramid, showing that hot gases were injected into the chamber, through 2 opposing holes, resulting in black ascending traces. Those traces were unfortunately deliberately cleaned off the wall recently.
Left and right : the Meidum Pyramid, built by pharaoh Sneferu. Center : the Red Pyramid at Dashur, by the same king. What is remarkable in the Meidum pyramid is that it shows a perfect split of the Red Pyramid layout in 2 completely independent parts. The red layout indicates the energy circuit, from the limestone kiln to the exit of the pyramid. The green layout shows the 2 chemical reacting chambers and the start of the descending passage, where the natron was separated from the steam getting out of the pyramid.
It seems that the Meidum Pyramid was a test mockup of the Red Pyramid, where each part could have been tested separately before putting everything together and building a fully functional Red Pyramid.
Actually, the global layout of the Red Pyramid is surprisingly nearly identical to a European sodium carbonate plant in the early 1800s and based on the late 1700s work by the French chemist Nicolas Leblanc. Sodium carbonate is the modern term for natron, the mummification salt used by ancient Egyptians.
For more details about the copy-paste similarities between the Red Pyramid and the 1800s sodium carbonate European plants, please visit : http://www.verre-histoire.org/colloques/innovations/pages/p302_01_chopinet.html
In this article, drawings from Figuier are very interesting, because they show the similar layout of the Red pyramid and the 1800s European plants for natron production : 3 adjoining and successive chambers, connected by low ceiling corridors and ended by an exhaust conduct. But the author also points out that in Europe, the industrial chemistry started with the glass industry.
And the ones who mastered the glass manufacturing process, in the first place, were the Egyptians, 5000 years ago. That is 500 years before Sneferu's reign and the Great Pyramid.
The red and yellow deposits, resulting in chemical reactions of the Solvay process don't appear in the lower part of the descending passage. In this particular location, was certainly installed a filter that was able to separate the sodium carbonate (natron) from the steam. This particular location was already set in the Meidum Pyramid, where the "chemical layout", in green on my draw, ends up with a truncated lower part of the descending passage.
The Solvay towers and the role of the diaphragm disc of Sabu
Another very interesting thing is that, if the sodium carbonate process used in the Red Pyramid was more or less identical to what we had in Europe in the 1800s, with 3 adjoining and successive chambers, separated by 2 low ceiling corridors and ended by an exhaust conduct, the Bent Pyramid, just next to the Red one, already starts to show tower imprints like we have nowadays with the Solvay process that was created in Belgium in 1861.
The disc of Sabu was a counterflow chemical reaction perforated and dome shaped plate. To understand the function of the disc of Sabu, you first need to put it upside down : it was a diaphragm inside a chemical tower, most probably a Solvay tower designed to produce the pure mineral form of the natron used for the mummification process : the sodium carbonate, Na2CO3.
Nowadays, the soda-ash Solvay towers present a particular tower, the carbonating tower, that is made of identical elements stacked on each others, and every one of them is cooled down by water pipes and contains a dome-shaped diaphragm which allows a maximum interacting surface between the descending ammoniated brine and the ascending CO2 from the limestone kiln.
The disc of Sabu is most probably, one of these diaphragms.
For more details about the disc of Sabu, please visit its dedicate page of the blog :
The Disc of Sabu : a counterflow chemical reaction perforated plate used in Solvay towers
There are plenty locations in Egypt where we can see the imprint of towers on buildings, like in temples or pyramids. Here on the temple of Isis at Philae and on the south wall of the low distribution, inside the bent pyramid.
The stone basins at Abu Gorab, from the Solar Temple of Nyuserre, were parts of a chemistry production site. In some of these basins was most probably set a disc of Sabu.
The segmentation of the Solvay towers in identical units and the stone basins of the Abu Gorab "Solar Temple"
The stone basins on the left, with a single hole, look like they were filled with liquid and the ones on the right, with 3 holes, where probably cooled down by a pipe passing through the 2 lateral holes. Most of these basins show horizontal fractures passing through these 2 lateral holes, most probably resulting of the thermal stress induced by the cooling process. Please note that the central hole is nearly everytime free of any fracture, like the one we see here.
The wooden base of the Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures (English) : the moving caisson / impactor of the grand gallery
The Nefertem amulets (English) : the fog nozzle of the horizontal cooling passage
All the posts about Ancient Egypt & Updates on the Theory : please click here
The Dendera Light Bulbs : the complete description of the cold production and its use in Solvay towers
The Disc of Sabu : a counterflow chemical reaction perforated plate used in Solvay towers
The Scarab Amulets : the complete description of the grand gallery's operating cycle
The Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza
The sarcophagus : a bio-sand filter for the production of drinking water
The horizontal passage : an evaporative cooling unit
The grand gallery : the heart of the operating cycle of the pyramid, with the wooden scarab
The shut-down of the pyramid : the grotto and the draining of the inclined well
The pyramids of Sneferu
Sneferu : the revolutionary quest for immortality
The Bent Pyramid : the chemical sand filter and the last trials before the Great Pyramid
Abstract (English) : "The Khufu's Great Pyramid Air Processing Unit"
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