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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What was the black rock used in building by the Men of Numenor? (Page 1)
Author Topic: What was the black rock used in building by the Men of Numenor?
White Gold Wielder
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There might not be much in the way of evidence for this one, but...

What was the black building material used by the Men of Numenor?

The outer wall of Minas Tirith, the Stone of Erech, and Orthanc were all seemingly made from the same stuff. What could it have possibly been?

The Elves used materials that we may never understand, but the Numenoreans were only Men after all. Anything they were capable of should be possible for us in our Age.

So what was it? Volcanic glass? Teflon? Was it even stone at all? The clues we have are that it was black, exceedingly strong, and impervious to Ents. It also wasn't so plentiful that it could be used everywhere, so we can say that it was semi-rare or precious. Any ideas?

Also, what else could have been made of the mystery material that I missed?


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Miturian
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What about the palantiri?
I know it wasn't a building, but still, it was dark and very hard.

------------------
If you haven't been at the buttom,
and climbed all the way op,
then you don't know what you're standing on.


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gram
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Here is a bit of speculation. Maybe they found where an extremely large asteroid hit that was made up of some exotic metallic type material and used that to build things. A really big asteroid.

------------------
""Oh, it's the meek! Blessed are the meek! Oh, that's nice, isn't it?
I'm glad they're getting something, 'cause they have a hell of a time."


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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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Kinda like Eol's meteorite ore?
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Warg
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you mean galvorn?

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Hwæt we Gar-Dena in gear-dagum
peod-cyninga prym gefrunon,
hu oa æpelingas ellen fremedon.


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Roll of Honor Nenya
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Isn't it possible that the got the material from the Elves?

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gram
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Is galvorn from a meteorite? It is a metal that Eöl came up with while staying with the Dwarves.
Anyway, I was thinking more of some sort of exotic metal/stone compound mined from an asteroid impact area. A big asteroid.

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Mithrandir
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hmmm, does anyone recall the black stone in The Paths of The Dead? or is that different, cuz that might be the same stuff...and maybe its refined mithril? i dunno, possibly something from the dwarves....
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Roll of Honor Nenya
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Isn't it said that Isildur brought that stone from Numenor?
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Mithrandir
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theres a LOAD of it, everywhere...so one person couldnt have brought it.
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Roll of Honor Nenya
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No, I admit that he probably didn't do it by him self.
But he was'nt the only survivor from Numenor...

This message has been edited by Nenya on 03-06-2001 at


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Mithrandir
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ya, but still...maybe someone can shed some light on this one, because i don't think so far we have any solid proof, just pure speculation

This message has been edited by Mithrandir on 03-06-2001 at


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White Gold Wielder
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Galvorn wasn't meteorite. It was just Eöl's custom metal.

Eöl did however create a pair of swords with meteoric iron. These were given to Elwë for permission to dwell in Nan Elmoth. One of these was Anglachel (later reforged and renamed as Gurthang by Túrin).

One thing is certain - they couldn't have carried enough on the 9 ships during the downfall, whatever it was. If it came from Numenor, it must have been brought little by little over the years of growing occupation of Middle Earth by Numenor.

There is no mention of any Elf giving such a gift to Man or even using a similar material (in my opinion), so I believe it was created or invented by Men.

But what could it be? I don't think it could be metal, since they would have made everything out of it if it was so impervious to damage. That leaves us with stone or some other mystery classification. Ceramics? Crystal?

Orthanc is a big clue. I don't believe the tower was constructed with bricks of the stuff, which is one of the reasons the Ents found it so hard to deal with. Therefore, it must have been poured like concrete or had bricks fused together seamlessly with some matching black-rock mortar. Even sheets of the stuff two-stories high would have some seams where the sheets went together. How else then could something be as big as Orthanc and have such a smooth surface? It's tempting to think it must have been a liquid and been poured in.

I'm not sure myself yet though. Personally, I like to think it was volcanic glass since Numenor was basically a volcanic island like Hawaii. That would account for its color, rarity, perhaps even the problems that Ents had in breaking it. It's not a perfect theory, but I like it.

Gotta search for more evidence...


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Mithrandir
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concering Orthanc, Gandalf mentioned that the stone of Orthanc was made before Saruman and probably beyond his power. The Ents couldn't even get a grip on it....hmmm, interesting

also, do you recall the Stone on the Paths of the Dead, was it not blackish, possibly the same stuff....im thinkin its magically enhanced...

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gram
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If the stuff in the Paths of the Dead is the same stuff as Orthanc then it could be of volcanic origin. The Paths might be an acient tube of extremely tough volcanic glass. Some of those tubes in Hawaii that the lava flows leave behind are quite large in diameter and length. Orthanc could be the remnants of an ancient volcano in which the central vertical tube was filled with lava and where the outer stuff has eroded away. Any place on the Earth with old volcano fields has such structures. The Tower could have then been made using that vertical structure that was left behind. It would have been tough cutting that stuff, but it could have been done. Think of the structures that the Stone Age people were able to make just using stone tools.
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Mithrandir
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no, not the actual paths of the dead, the rock they came to after a while. out in the forest.
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Carnefin
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The description of Isengard in LotR says;
"Partly it was shaped in the makings of the mountains, but mighty works the Men of Westernese had wrought there of old; and Saruman had not been idle."
So it was probably some form of igneous matter; obsidian? Which through the skill, and perhaps use of magic had been bonded so as to appear seamless. So could a similar technique have been used in the building of the walls of Minas Tirith?

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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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It was quite probably Mormorion(or cairngorm) a form of Black quartz found in Cairngorm Scotland9from which it got its other name). Quatz would stisfy the parameters of the unbreakable stone of orthanac since it has a hardness rating of 7, now that is pretty high (diamond, the hardess substance known to man is a 10) not many things are that hard.
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Mithrandir
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well...that hardness scale is how easily it scratches, not breaks under pressure, for if you take a diamond and smash it with a hammer, it shatters. and if it was simple a form of quartz, why isn't there more of it? enchantment on it? most certainly, it hints at that twice, but still, i should think we would see more, unless this quartz is somehow rare...

(not trying to be demeaning, just the negative side on this is sooo easy)


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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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I know what the mohs scale is and I meant hard when I said hard(stregth is beside the point since it can be uptained though the employment of spells and since there is really no unbreakable black mineral). The stones of Orthanac were said to be cut by some unknown art, now the hard scale doesn't only measure the resistence to being scratched but also to being cut, and I believe that that mant that you couldn't cut trhough them by ordinary means(like diamond since you need diamond to cut diamond).

And so that is how it fulfills the parameters of the unbreakable(there is no unbrekable black mineral really so this aspect doesn't matter)/uncutable(the mineral would have to be very hard) stone of orthanac.

This message has been edited by Fingolfin of the Noldor on 03-27-2001 at


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Mithrandir
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well, do you remember when Treebeard rammed himself against the walls to no avail??
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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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Yes, like I said fracture doesn't matter because probably there is a spell or some type of magic holding the stone together. When I say hardness I mean resistance toward cutting not resistance toward fracturing.
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Mithrandir
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well...if they put a spell on the rock, then why wasn't everything under a spell to not break?
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Roll of Honor Fingolfin of the Noldor
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How else han you explain the great strength of the tower? There is no such thing as a black unbreakable mineral.
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Mithrandir
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see, thats what the whole question is....what IS THIS unbreakable black material
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Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What was the black rock used in building by the Men of Numenor? (Page 1)
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