Re: Strange Maths (was Re: Why not 13 months?)

Whittet (
19 Jul 1995 23:31:36 GMT

In article <>, says...
>In article <>, (Reggie) writes:
>>Mike ( wrote:
>>: Even allowing for wide variations in body part sizes, as the number of
>>: instances of use multiply (as with a structure the size of a pyramid) the
>>: mean will come to appear as a "standard". This is the nature of statistics
>>I agree with your main argument, but your reference to the pyramids
>>suggests that the eygptians didn't have a standardised measure. This
>>I find hard to believe. To create a geometric object the size of the
>>pyramids would end up as a total balls up if each craftsman was using
>>their own measure.
>One can have a measure that has been standardized for a specific project,
>without having a standardized measure that's used country wide. It is easy to
>imagine the foremen of the Egyptian stone cutters being issued a set of
>measuring rods and being told "each block has to be the lenght of the longest
>rod, the width of the middle one and the height of the shortest one", or
>something to this effect. This way the project has "standard" measures but
>they don't have to have anything to do with the measures used by the builders
>of the previous pyramid, or the ones used by the Pharaoh tax collectors when
>measuring acreage of fields.
>Situations of this sort abound even today. Think for example about the
>"railway gauge" or (experimental physicists should appreciate this one) the
>standard "single module width" for a NIM bin or a CAMAC crate.

The thing which requires standards of measure is international trade. When you
order your cedars from Lebanon it would be nice if they come cut to the length
you expect, The same applies to those blocks of granite you have ordered from
Nubia. The Egyptians traded all over the world.

The other thing about measures is that the Egyptians literally worshiped them
in the form of the goddess Maat.Accuracy in measures was part of doing what
was right and proper. The Egyptians were obsessively concerned with this as is
evidenced by the allignment of the Hieroglyphics in their inscriptions.
>Mati Meron