How Was Granite Cut in Ancient Times?

Granite is a popular natural stone that has been used in construction and decoration for thousands of years. But have you ever wondered how people in ancient times were able to cut and shape granite without modern tools and machinery? In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history of granite cutting in ancient times.

The History of Granite Cutting

Granite has been used in construction since ancient times. The Egyptians were among the first to use granite for large building projects, such as the pyramids and temples. They used simple tools like chisels, hammers, and saws to cut and shape the stone.


One of the most common methods of cutting granite was chiseling. Ancient workers used a chisel and hammer to carve out rough shapes from blocks of granite.

They would start by marking out the rough shape they wanted on the surface of the stone with a line or series of lines. Then they would use a flat chisel to make small indentations along these lines.

Once they had created these small indentations, they would use a pointed chisel to dig deeper into the stone along these same lines. This process was repeated over and over until the desired shape was achieved.


Another method that was commonly used was sawing. Ancient workers used saws made from copper, bronze, or iron to cut through blocks of granite. These saws were typically about 5 feet long and had serrated teeth along one edge.

To use a saw, workers would first mark out the shape they wanted on the surface of the stone. Then they would use water or oil as a lubricant while slowly moving the saw back and forth along these lines until they had cut through the entire block.

Abrasive Materials

In addition to chisels and saws, abrasive materials like sandstone, quartz, and corundum were also used to cut granite in ancient times. These materials were rubbed against the surface of the stone to remove material and shape it into the desired form.

The Tools Used for Granite Cutting Today

While ancient workers had to rely on hand tools and simple machinery, modern technology has made it much easier to cut and shape granite. Today, diamond-tipped saws and drills are commonly used, along with water jets that can cut through even the thickest blocks of granite.

Diamond-Tipped Saws

Diamond-tipped saws are among the most common tools used for cutting granite today. These saws have a blade made from diamonds that are embedded in a metal matrix. The diamonds provide a cutting edge that is much harder than any other material, allowing them to easily slice through even the toughest blocks of granite.

Water Jets

Water jets are another popular tool used for cutting granite today. These machines use high-pressure streams of water mixed with abrasive materials like garnet or aluminum oxide to cut through thick blocks of stone quickly and accurately.


Cutting and shaping granite was a difficult task in ancient times, but with persistence and ingenuity, ancient workers were able to create some truly remarkable structures using this beautiful natural stone. Today, modern technology has made it much easier to cut and shape granite, but the legacy of those ancient craftsmen lives on in the stunning buildings and monuments they created so many centuries ago.