Re: Pyramidiocy (was Re: Strange Maths)

Whittet (
17 Aug 1995 00:41:11 GMT

In article <40tjnl$>, says...
>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.

There has been some speculation that the limestone dust from the cut stone
mixed with sand, water and some chips of limestone as aggregate would give
a good raw comcrete perfect for such roads.

Seven miles is just about exactly the right distance. Vitruvious claimed
a road of eight miles was built in the example he gave.
>The article mentioned that the last part of the road was uphill,
>hypothesized that "that's why they had to pave it", and elaborated.

By mentioning that the method required a flat plane I did not mean to
suggest a gentle slope could not be accomadated, just that bumps were

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

I think the degree of road building engaged in at quarries and mines
was probably substantial, but these were local roads and did not connect
cities or extend much farther than the nearest docks.