Re: Pyramidiocy (was Re: Strange Maths)

Carl J Lydick (carl@SOL1.GPS.CALTECH.EDU)
27 Jul 1995 15:19:29 GMT

In article <3v6u7d$>, (Nathaniel Tagg) writes:
=Kevin D. Quitt ( wrote:
=: Moving the blocks that make up the pyramids is no big deal.
=: Imagine a pair of wooden wheels on a short, thick axle. The
=: axle is the carved (or partially carved) block, and the wheels
=: are circles with a large square cut out of the middle. With
=: such a device, a single person could move the block several miles
=: in a single day (on a hrad, flat road). By wrapping ropes around
=: the block, attached to points on the wheels, you can drag the whole
=: thing on sand, uphill, etc. Make the wheels fat for soft ground
=: and narrower for hard ground.
=: Mystery solved. Now go home.
= Actually, the case is much harder than this. Those blocks wiegh
=several tonnes each; wood axles can snap under the load. More
=important is lifting these stones several stories up without the aid of a
=modern crane.

You misunderstood him: The axle is wood. The block of stone is where the axle
would normally be. Think of it this way: Take a circular block of wood whose
diameter is equal to the length of the diagonal of one of your stone blocks.
Circumscribe a square in it. Now cut out the square. You're left with four
pieces of wood. Strap them on to the block. You've now got a wheel with the
block in the center. Now haul that block. One way to do so would be to roll
it over the end of a rope. Once you've rolled it far enough, throw the end of
the rope over the top of it, and haul on that end of the rope. This technique,
among other things, gives you a two-to-one mechanical advantage as you're
hauling the block. Oddly enough, the remains of blocks of wood the right size
and shape to do exactly this have been found in the vicinty of the pyramids.

= I saw a PBS show a couple of years ago where they attempted to
=build a small (10' high) pyramid with similar technology. They managed
=to do it. Firstly, you use a clay and timber ramp system. The ramp has
=railroad ties along it, crosways, and the 'brick' is on a wooden sled.
=With a little water applied to the wood and clay, there is little
=friction and you can haul them up the ramp with a dozen people or so.
=Also, you can lever up a brick (one side lifted by lever, shove in a
=wedge, lift the other side, shove it a wedge, etc) to lift it vertically.
= They had to invent some pretty interesting techniques to do it;
=it wasn't simple.

What leads you to believe the ancient Egyptians were? :-)

Disclaimer: Hey, I understand VAXen and VMS. That's what I get paid for. My
understanding of astronomy is purely at the amateur level (or below). So
unless what I'm saying is directly related to VAX/VMS, don't hold me or my
organization responsible for it. If it IS related to VAX/VMS, you can try to
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