Since I was a child there have been those who claim that proof of off planet visitors are the only explanation for the stone carving in Ancient Egypt, or the Mayans. The Egyptians of that time worked with sandstone, limestone and alabaster. Alabaster was used for the floors, limestone and sandstone or the walls, and the outside facings were alabaster as well.
These people look at the pyramids and say that the stones are made too precise, too smooth and the seams between them too tight to be made by the people of that time. No visitors or fantastic technology required. The detail and definition of the statues too good for ancient craftsman or the tools they had. This is all fake news.
The craftsmanship is amazing, but far from impossible for people of that time. Later time periods didn't have any better technology.
Perhaps they should ask someone who works in a quarry.
The David by Michelangelo is two stories tall, made of marble, and the definition of the piece (muscle tone and veins in the arms and body) is amazing, so much so it feels like it might move at any moment. It was carved from a single block of stone from a quarry ~200 miles away to the north of Rome. Brought to Rome, then carved and moved to where it stands now.
Marble is generally harder than limestone. Marble is a metamorphic rock formed from the recrystallization of limestone under high pressure and temperature. The process of recrystallization in marble results in a more compact and dense structure, making it harder and more durable compared to limestone.
One piece granite monolithic statues can be found in India. There are five monolithic statues of Bahubali the shortest measuring more than 6 m (~20 feet) in height in Karnataka:
- 17.4 m (57 feet) at Shravanabelagola in Hassan District in 981 CE
- 12.8 m (42 feet) at Karkala in Udupi District in 1430
- 11.9 m (39 feet) at Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada District in 1973
- 10.7 m (35 feet) at Venur in Dakshina Kannada District in 1604
- 6 m (20 feet) at Gommatagiri in Mysore District in 12th century CE
Other examples of these feats come from Ancient Rome.
Statue of Emperor Constantine the Great - This colossal statue once stood in the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum. It measured approximately 30 feet (9 meters) in height, though only fragments remain today.
Statue of Emperor Commodus as Hercules - Located in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, this statue portrays Emperor Commodus as the mythical hero Hercules. It stands around 19 feet (5.8 meters) tall.
Statue of Emperor Hadrian - This colossal statue of Emperor Hadrian once stood in the Temple of Venus and Roma in Rome. While its exact height is uncertain, it is estimated to have been around 20 feet (6 meters) tall.
Statue of Antinous - This statue depicted Antinous, a youth and lover of Emperor Hadrian. It stood in the Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy, and measured approximately 20 feet (6 meters) in height.
Statue of Augustus of Prima Porta - The Augustus of Prima Porta statue, now housed in the Vatican Museums, portrays Emperor Augustus. It is around 6.8 feet (2.08 meters) tall but is mounted on a pedestal, making the overall height closer to 20 feet (6 meters).
From Ancient Greece:
Statue of Zeus at Olympia - Created by the renowned Greek sculptor Phidias, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a colossal seated figure of the Greek god Zeus. It was located in the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece, and stood approximately 43 feet (13 meters) tall, including its base.
Statue of Athena Parthenos - Another masterpiece by Phidias, the Statue of Athena Parthenos was housed in the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. It measured around 38 feet (11.5 meters) in height, including its pedestal.
Colossus of Rhodes - One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes was a massive statue of the Greek sun god Helios. Although there is debate about its exact size, it is believed to have stood approximately 98 feet (30 meters) tall.
Statue of Apollo at Delphi - This statue of the Greek god Apollo was situated in the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. While its exact dimensions are unknown, it is estimated to have been around 20 feet (6 meters) tall.
Statue of Poseidon at Cape Sounion - Located at Cape Sounion in Greece, the remains of the Temple of Poseidon include a large statue of the sea god Poseidon. While the complete statue is no longer intact, it is estimated to have stood around 20 feet (6 meters) tall.
Rome of the Christian era
Statue of Saint Bartholomew - Located in the Milan Cathedral in Italy, this statue stands at approximately 21 feet (6.35 meters) tall.
Statue of Saint Christopher - Found in the Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Beauvais, France, this statue measures about 20 feet (6 meters) in height.
Statue of Saint Mark - Located in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, Italy, this marble statue is around 20 feet (6 meters) tall.
Statue of Saint Peter - Situated in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, this statue measures about 19.7 feet (6 meters) in height.
Statue of Saint John the Baptist - Found in the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) in Italy, this statue stands at approximately 21 feet (6.4 meters) tall.
The whole secret you are looking for is called acid. Acid and water 'melt' limestone. Quite effectively. Acid and wire wool would have been very effective methods of carving all the stone questions you have. It would take very little effort to smooth and face the stones before they were placed so that they came together in a perfect seam.
The ancient Egyptians used a variety of tools to carve rose granite statues. While the specific tools may have varied over time, here are some of the commonly used tools in ancient Egypt for carving granite:
Copper Chisels: Copper chisels were commonly used for carving granite. The copper chisel's hardened edge allowed artisans to chip away at the stone.
** It should be noted that iron tools were available to the Ancient Egyptians, though uncommon and highly prized. Only the best carvers would have had access to them. They were rare because they were difficult to make.
Diabase Pounders: Diabase pounders, made of a hard and durable stone, were used to strike the copper chisels and help break the granite surface. Balls of diabase were used by the ancient Egyptians as pounding tools for working softer (but still hard) stones.
Flint and Bronze Saws: Flint saws and later, bronze saws, were utilized for cutting and shaping the granite. The abrasive nature of the flint or the harder bronze edge allowed them to create precise cuts.
Wooden Mallets: Wooden mallets were used to strike the chisels and provide the necessary force for carving granite.
Abrasives: The Egyptians also made use of abrasive materials like sand, quartz, and emery to aid in the carving process. These abrasives were used to smooth and refine the granite surface.
Drills: Bow drills or strap drills were used to create holes and indentations in the granite. The drills consisted of a rotating shaft and a drill bit made of harder materials like copper or bronze.
Polishing Stones: Various types of polishing stones were used to smooth and polish the finished granite statues, achieving a glossy appearance.
During the Middle Ages, the process of carving rose granite was a labor-intensive task that required the use of specialized tools and techniques. Here is an overview of how rose granite was carved during that era:
Quarrying: The first step in carving rose granite was quarrying the stone. Large blocks of granite were extracted from quarries using tools such as wedges, hammers, and chisels. The blocks were then transported to the carving site.
Rough Shaping: Once the granite blocks were brought to the carving site, rough shaping began. This involved removing excess stone from the block using chisels and hammers. The stone would be chipped away to create a rough outline of the intended sculpture.
Chiseling and Sculpting: Skilled stone carvers would use chisels and hammers to refine the shape of the sculpture. They would gradually remove stone in layers, working from coarse chisels to finer ones to achieve greater detail. The carvers would follow a design or template and carefully chip away at the stone, creating contours and adding depth.
Pointing and Tracing: To transfer detailed designs or patterns onto the granite surface, stone carvers would use a technique called pointing and tracing. This involved creating small holes along the design lines and then using charcoal or ink to transfer the pattern onto the stone surface.
Finishing and Polishing: Once the main sculpting work was completed, the surface of the rose granite sculpture would be refined and smoothed using abrasives. This could involve grinding, sanding, and polishing with various grades of abrasive stones or sand.
Fine Detailing: For intricate details and delicate work, stone carvers might use smaller chisels, drills, and other specialized tools to achieve precise features and textures.
Surface Treatment: Depending on the desired finish, additional surface treatments could be applied. This might include texturing, etching, or the application of pigments or stains to enhance the visual appeal of the sculpture.
Throughout the process, stone carvers would require physical strength, skill, and patience to work with the hard and dense rose granite. The tools used during the Middle Ages were similar to those used in ancient times, such as chisels, hammers, drills, and abrasives.
Again, the missing element is water....