Wooden Wedges

Wedges in Prehistory and the Bronze Age

Conventional history has it that wedges as we know them came into use as a common sense application of technology sometime in prehistory to split things open. A tapered object, sharp at one end and broad at the other, used to to propagate a crack is a logical development from flints, stone axes and the use of animal bones or antlers in everyday tasks.

By the time of the bronze age in Egypt, wooden wedges and copper chisels were in regular use to free stones for their bed in quarries. Such as massive lintels and Obelisks weighting a 100 tons or more in a single piece. The classic explanation being that, by wetting wooden wedges in chiselled groove or carved trench behind the stone, they would expand exerting a force which would then split the stone in the desired place away from the solid piece. Lo-tech, but very effective at the time.

This is an approach to making objects out of hard, brittle material which would continued way into the future more or less to the present time, although freeing large stones from the quarry face was dramatically speed up with the application of gun powder, and ever better, saws, depending on the stone.

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