Here’s another puzzling thing that archeologists never explain.
There are several civilizations that have tombs cut deep into the bedrock or laid out with access throuh corridors deep in the pyramid or whatever structure. Many of the corridors and of course the tombs themselves are decorated with glyphs and painted scenes.
So how did the artists/carvers get enough light to carve and paint these tombs since they are absolutely black inside them when the archeologists of our time explore them with electric lights?
The usual answer is torches—but the ceilings of the corridors, tombs and painted scenes show no traces of soot from torches. How’d they do that?
Good question. Tomb builders, plasterers and tomb painters were issued candles, which were carefully accounted for and recorded by scribes. From these records we know that the day was split into two four-hour shifts with a break between.
The candles were constructed of canvas twisted into 35 cm lengths and bound spirally with linen webbing. This wick was then smeared with fat mixed with salt - the salt considerably reduced the amount of smoke and soot produced. These candles could not be held in the hand; instead they were placed singly or in groups of three in tall jars placed on shelves or in special niches in the walls.
One record states that 32 candles were used in a tomb every day for 22 days; another says that between 52 and 58 candles were used daily in a royal tomb.
So the clever addition of salt to the candle-fat prevented smoke and soot blackening the tomb or leaving any traces today.