The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 22nd November 2014    On Monday morning I arrived at Steve's place and was relieved to find the plinth was exactly as we had left it Friday evening. The spirit level was still showing a slope of three-eighths of an inch out of level.    Over the weekend I had decided that packing this with metal shims after we had the Obelisk upright was the best solution to this problem, and would not be detrimental to the experiment.    Although I was keen to continue with the experiment both Steve and Ewen thought we should delay putting further weight on the plinth until the underpinning had been given more time to harden. Luckily circumstances prevented any argument and wiser heads prevailed, as today we had a workforce of only three myself included.    We decided that our time would be better spent constructing the first of the buttress frames we would need as soon as we reached our target of raising the obelisk 35 degrees from the horizontal. So Monday and Tuesday  we did just that, Wednesday Brian was able to join us and together we decided that we needed to strengthen the bottom barn door before we could go much further. We further decided that we had to abandon the use of wedges under the sides of the barn door as this was putting too much strain on the cross- members - one of which had broken already. Now the plan was to concentrate on performing a lift of just one inch at a time and packing under the door with timbers - each one inch thicker than the last - which would support the door all the way across it's width.    But before we could try this new plan we had to complete the rearranging of the packing, in order to allow us to insert the next layer of longitude timbers under the door and on top of the crib. The broken barn door made this doubly difficult, but the four of us were able to complete this early on Thursday morning.    As we were completing this task Joe was also able to join us, and now with four men lifting and myself packing things went much easier. By 11.30 am we had the next layer of timbers in place and also the strengthening timbers under the barn door.    On Friday, again with an almost full team of five men things began to click into place, the four men on the levers were suddenly working as a team, each man doing what was needed automatically. Lift and hold while I slid the packing into place, lower, remove the levers, raise the fulcrum, reset the levers. And repeat. Everything seemed so much easier, even the unwieldy makeshift levers suddenly seemed lighter somehow.    By 11am I could feel a sense of optimism emanating from the team. Although we were now making real progress, I called a halt for the day, my legs were becoming unsteady. At nearly seventy I have to rest my legs often and 2 hours of this sort of activity is about my limit.    As I sat on our supply of timber recovering I began to think that maybe we would actually succeed. The progress we had made from the starting position was clearly visible. As soon as I had recovered I walked over to the Obelisk with a tape measure, another four inches!    We were now 12 inches above the starting position - 1 foot done, 19 feet to go! We would need some scaffolding soon. <<previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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