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Archaeology & History

How did the Egyptians move large stones ?

By T.K. Randall
May 2, 2014 · Comment icon 739 comments

Did wet sand help the Egyptians build the pyramids ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Kallerna
Without the availability of modern machinery the ancient builders of the pyramids had to improvise.
The exact way in which the Egyptian workers moved the huge stone blocks that made up the pyramids and other structures several thousand years ago has remained a matter of some debate.

Theories include everything from ramps and rollers to extraterrestrial intervention, but now scientists from the University of Amsterdam and the Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) have discovered a new method that would have made things significantly easier.
The solution is surprisingly simple - by moistening the sand in front of a sled carrying the stone block being moved, the workers would have been able to pull it across the ground with ease. This idea works because dry sand tends to pile up in front of the object being dragged along while the ground remains smooth when the sand is wet.

It is believed that the ancient Egyptian builders would have been more than capable of utilizing this method to make moving the pyramid's large stone blocks in to position a reality.

Source: Phys.org | Comments (739)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #730 Posted by Swede 10 years ago
Yes, the simplest solution is the one to look for...first, until other reasons are found. It is claimed by many that the rocks were quarried, but from where is debatable. Depending on what one thinks the builders were capable of. So most will look for quarries close by. The stones could easily have been moved from 500 miles away if necessary. The clue to finding the quarry is the direction of flight the stones would naturally go which is from the West exactly 275 degrees. Possibly not as much as you perceive: http://www.eeescienc...tedOverview.pdf Not to mention the Giza Plateau proper. .
Comment icon #731 Posted by back to earth 10 years ago
Me too ... I cant read all the pages previously and come in late ... so apologies for repeats. The bits I did read on this page; yes, you can polish limestone (cladding). Has anyone 'floated' the idea of a roadway, causeway, 'ramp' etc . and the stones 'flipping' because the 'sledges' were attached to each side of a block making a wheel with the block as the axle and windlass for ropes which pulled the assembly causing it to roll at the same time?
Comment icon #732 Posted by questionmark 10 years ago
Me too ... I cant read all the pages previously and come in late ... so apologies for repeats. The bits I did read on this page; yes, you can polish limestone (cladding). Has anyone 'floated' the idea of a roadway, causeway, 'ramp' etc . and the stones 'flipping' because the 'sledges' were attached to each side of a block making a wheel with the block as the axle and windlass for ropes which pulled the assembly causing it to roll at the same time? probably, but given that all depictions we have are of people pulling sledges over wet or oiled sand not very likely....
Comment icon #733 Posted by back to earth 10 years ago
Have you seen the vid of the 'walking' Easter Island statues ? Thats pretty cool. But one cant really argue with this I suppose :
Comment icon #734 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 10 years ago
That is one of those images that the proponents of "alternative" ideas about the pyramids hate, because it shows that they did indeed use good old fashoined manpower to move the stones. Another one is the idea that the stones in the pyramids are incredibly precise and uniform. It turns out that is not quite the case: Or the one about the stones being quarried far away from the pyramids. Not really the case either: But I guess the websites that promotes alternative views simply "forgets" to show pictures like these.
Comment icon #735 Posted by kmt_sesh 10 years ago
Yes, the simplest solution is the one to look for...first, until other reasons are found. It is claimed by many that the rocks were quarried, but from where is debatable. Depending on what one thinks the builders were capable of. So most will look for quarries close by. The stones could easily have been moved from 500 miles away if necessary. The clue to finding the quarry is the direction of flight the stones would naturally go which is from the West exactly 275 degrees. The site of the quarries is not a mystery because they're still there, right on the Plateau. There are massive ancient quar... [More]
Comment icon #736 Posted by Starhunter 10 years ago
Possibly not as much as you perceive: http://www.eeescienc...tedOverview.pdf Not to mention the Giza Plateau proper. . Great articles, thanks. As I expected large steps and steep drops from cutting into a mountain, very similar to Aztec and Mayan.
Comment icon #737 Posted by Starhunter 10 years ago
The site of the quarries is not a mystery because they're still there, right on the Plateau. There are massive ancient quarries adjacent to the pyramids with abundant evidence of stone cutting and removal, and people from later dynastic times even cut their own tombs into the quarry walls. The finer-quality limestone used for casing stones came from the nearby quarries at Turah (Turah limestone), and limestone is still quarried at Turah. Basalt was quarried not far from Giza and transported to the site. One sees it as large paving stones in the ruins of the adjacent temples. The only stones qu... [More]
Comment icon #738 Posted by questionmark 10 years ago
Great articles, thanks. As I expected large steps and steep drops from cutting into a mountain, very similar to Aztec and Mayan. Given the same means people will solve problems in a similar way no matter where they are. Just take the houses in Machu Pichu... any Irish could identify them as old Irish cottages.
Comment icon #739 Posted by Macroramphosis 10 years ago
MACHU PICHU CONSTRUCTION PUZZLE SOLVED !! It was something to do with what they put in the Guinness. Obviously.


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