Egyptian Symbols: Hand Drill Hieroglyph

The hand drill has been an important tool in Egypt even before prehistoric times. Proof of its importance is the specific hieroglyph made in honor of this instrument. As a hieroglyph, it became closely associated with the profession of pottery specifically jar and vase-making using fine-grained and kaleidoscopic rare stones. The hand drill’s sizes were proportional to the jars and vases they make. These jars were often used in ceremonial offerings and can be found mostly in tombs were grave goods are excavated.

In appearance, it is seen a vertical boring bar that is weighted and counterbalanced. The counterbalanced used were stones of temple relief. The artisan would simply provide the rotational motion to which the hole must be bored and stone counterweights would do the boring itself.

Despite its importance, there is a scarcity of evidence of how the Egyptian drill looked like. However, its hieroglyph counterpart is present in certain relics found symbolic of the importance of the tool. It is especially seen in glyphs of artisans and in buildings of massive structures where the tool is useful.