Rameses 1966 chemicals
Jul 15, 2011 • By

Moving the Temple of Abu Simbel

When the Great Temple of Abu Simbel needed to be moved in the 1960s, General Mills was there to help.

No, not with food.

Rather, with a Versamid-epoxy resin combination called Araldit-Epoxyhard.

Say what?

The resin that was used (Versamid 140) was developed by the Chemical Research Activity of General Mills’ Central Research Laboratories.

The removal and reconstruction of the temple from 1964 to 1968 was a historic event. It was in the path of the rising waters of Lake Nasser, during the construction of the Aswan Dam. The temple and statues were cut out of rock, lifted above the floodplain, and rebuilt 600 feet west of their original location.

Many of the larger blocks weighed 20 to 30 tons and required special handling – that’s where engineers made the decision to use the General Mills resin. It helped anchor steel lifting rods into the top of each block. The rods, set into a drilled hole and held in place only by the adhesive, supported 10 tons.

Thus, modern chemistry was able to span centuries and lend a helping hand in the successful effort to preserve for future generations some irreplaceable monuments of the past.

The archaeological rescue plan was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Ramses II built seven temples on the Nile River in Nubia some 3,200 years ago. The Great Temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to Ramses II as a way to reaffirm the fact that Nubia belonged to the Egyptian Empire.

To learn more about Abu Simbel and the effort to save the temple, watch this video:

You also can find more information about Ramses II on History.com.

Editor’s note: The photo is from “Progress thru Research,” Vol. 20, No. 3, 1966. It was published by the Central Research Laboratories of General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn.

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  • Venky Narayanaswamy

    Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.