One day Steve was rummaging around in the shed down at the Earth Pyramid Quarry when he stumbled upon two magnificent ancient Egyptian styled busts tucked away at the back of the shed. One was a copy of the famous bust of Nefertiti and the other of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. Where did these come from???

After some investigating, Steve tracked down the sculptor, who turned out to be a local stonemason by the name of Simon Tyson.

Ancient Egyptian Sculptures

Ancient Egyptian Sculptures found in a shed at the Earth Pyramid quarry

When Simon heard about the Earth Pyramid project he agreed to carve a stone time capsule to go inside the Earth Pyramid.

Here are some words from Simon on stone work and the Earth Pyramid Time Capsules:

These times of technology and automation are of no help when it comes to carving stone – it can only be done using the same methods as those used in ancient times – a mallet and chisel. Looking at tools excavated from archaeological sites in Egypt and elsewhere, they really were very similar to the modern versions – essentially, a lightweight wooden mallet to strike a metal chisel and cut away the stone.

Simon with the stone time capsule he is carving

My name is Simon Tyson and my job is stone carver and sculptor. I have been asked to carve a stone time capsule for the Earth Pyramid project in Malaysia. On completion it is to remain sealed inside this new Pyramid for centuries to come.

The style of my work is chiefly derived from the vast and ever-growing collection of works left to us from the Ancient World. Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman art provides an inexhaustible catalogue of standards and examples.

Some of my previous work includes a series of stone cubes carved to suggest mechanical devices – fused machinery – the inspiration being the ancient and encrusted Antikythera Mechanism discovered in the sea off the island of that name. My Earth Pyramid time capsule design owes much to these works – carved as they were from the same stone, they suggest a complex and forgotten purpose – a mysterious and intriguing ancient machine. Stone is essentially inert, but I think it can have uses far beyond that of a mere building material. A carving should have a function – or at least an apparent function.

At my workshop in East Yorkshire I have set up a large block of Tadcaster limestone. This is the cube – a time capsule in the making. The finished cube will be 500mm on a side. It will have an internal compartment to accommodate the most important asset of any time capsule – the data.

Stone Time Capsule

The full sized Time Capsule in progress

The cube actually comprises two stones – the main body of the cube and the lid. The two locate together using a mortise and tenon. The main cube block has a raised rim surrounding the internal compartment, while the underside of the lid has a recess cut into it which is a precise inversion of the raised rim. So the stone lid sits down on the block and a 500mm cube is formed.

Simon in the workshop with the stone time capsule he is carving

A feature carried over from my earlier cubes is the segmented detail, where lines are cut into the surface to give the appearance of a stone being an assemblage of smaller modules.

Stone prototype of the time capsule

A smaller prototype of the Earth Pyramid Time Capsule

A key part of the design of the Earth Pyramid time capsule is the Earth itself, revealed in deep circular recesses on five surfaces. This 500mm diameter sphere with have the continents and oceans outlined using a sinusoidal projection.

And a few secrets and surprises, the prerogative of the stonemason, some of which will only become apparent to the eventual discoverers of the cube on some distant day.

That day I keep in mind. Because that’s the day when my work will be examined – for accuracy and skill – for the degree of care taken – for my intentions and ideas. Because however the world may change, there are one or two professions which will always thrive – one of which is the stonemason. And on that far off day there will be another mason with his square and rule, looking at my work and shaking his head.

– Simon Tyson.