The Mystery of Ancient Stone Fabrication

Ancient and Modern Stone Fabrication

When you compare the stone fabrication that is possible today with what was accomplished by ancient stone fabricators, there is not a great difference in the quality of the work. Yet, these ancient craftsmen were able to accomplish excellent work without the tools available to stone fabricators today. Today, stone fabrication is making great advances that will let you have just about any design you have in mind. Modern stone cutting technology, using computers, allows you to be innovative in your design and confident that the finished product will meet your exact specifications. How did the ancients accomplish the excellent quality of work without modern technology?

The Mohs Scale

In order to understand the significance of the differences between ancient and modern fabrication, we have to look at the Mohs Scale, a scale of measurement that classifies mineral hardness. There are ten minerals in the Mohs scale rated from one to ten, with ten being the hardest. They are: talc, gypsum, calcite, fluorite, apatite, feldspar, quartz, topaz, corundum and diamond. This scale is a measurement of scratch resistance. In other words, it determines which mineral is hard enough to cut softer materials. The hardest of these minerals is diamond.

Ancient Stone Cutting Tools

If you visit Egypt, Peru, or other places that have ancient sites with stone work, you will find that their structures, carvings, and stone implements are made with great precision and reveal that those who made them were very skilled craftsmen. The ancient fabricators did not have computers or sophisticated tools to help them cut stone with exactness. It is common knowledge that any tool used should have a greater hardness than the stone that is being cut and shaped. What tools were available to them? The tools that have been found would not have been capable of cutting and shaping the stone with such exactness and smoothness, yet the evidence of their work still stands today. The bottom line is that we just don't know what tools or technology the ancients used.

The Missing Link

This poses the question, “How did they do such quality work?” This is still a mystery that architects, archeologists, and stone cutting experts have to solve. Somehow, these ancient architects and craftsmen were able to achieve amazing results without our modern technology. If hand tools were used, there would have been patterns in the stone providing evidence of the features of the tool. When the stones are examined, they are smooth and show no tool patterns. What equipment did they use to accomplish comparable results? This is still a mystery. There are many theories, but they remain theories. The tools found, from the time of the construction of large structures and the fine craftsmanship of objects left behind were basic tools that would not be capable of producing the results of the work found. There has been no evidence found to date of more sophisticated equipment. Archeologists are still looking for the missing link.

Modern Stone Cutting

Today’s technology is very advanced, giving fabricators the capability to precisely cut stone to your specific needs. Any stone design you want, whether it be countertops, mantles, or special unique shapes, can be achieved. Maybe someday the mystery of how the ancients fabricated stone will be resolved. While researchers are still looking, you can rest assured that we have the most appropriate, high-tech equipment to meet your needs. Modern stone fabrication is no mystery to us!


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.