Re: Pyramidiocy (was Re: Strange Maths)

Ray Depew (
16 Aug 1995 20:16:53 GMT

Whittet ( wrote:

: >>Not quite. While Vitruvius in the "Ten Books on Architecure" tells us that
: >>the Greek Chersiphron did use the method of turning a stone into its own
: >>axle to move heavy stone columns for the temple of Diana at Ephesus, and
: >>was successful in enclosing the columns with 4" timbers and check pieces
: >>at the ends with ringed pivots so the stone could be drawn by oxen and
: >>rolled on its own axis, an attempt by Paconius to make another machine of
: >>a different sort, although on the same principle was unsuccessful and
: >>resulted in his financial embarassment and insolvency.
: >>
: >>It also would not work except on a flat plane and for a relatively
: >>short distance.
: >
: >why?

: Because any irregularities in the path created point loads
: and crushed the frame, it was probably necessary to build paved
: roads, which would have been quite a lot of work to construct
: to transport a single stone any appreciable distance.

Check out the August 1995 issue of DISCOVER magazine for an article on
a seven-mile-long paved road from a basalt quarry in Egypt to an ancient
quay. The quarry dated from about 3500 B.C. The quarried basalt has been
found in structures way, way down in (handwave handwave) other parts
of Egypt.

The article mentioned that the last part of the road was uphill,
hypothesized that "that's why they had to pave it", and elaborated.

I read the article during my lunch hour. Sorry I can't give more details.

Ray Depew
"We're not an isolated city-state that's going to be wiped out by a
climate change or regional pestilence, to be crudely reconstructed
from potsherds and foundation stones after two thousand years of
absence from human knowledge. Or so I hope." -- Joe Chew