The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 13th December 2014    After beginning to fully understand the forces that were ranged against us and perhaps how to overcome them, on Monday we set about making the alterations to the barn doors using a length of 6 inches by 2 cut from the broken lever. Although using modern bolts to hold everything together may seem to some to compromise the experiment, my excuse is that to use rope lashings and bindings to achieve to same ends one needs experts in the use of such materials in order to do it safely, and we have none, although Steve seems to have become proficient at binding as the extensions to our levers prove.    On Tuesday we continued with this task, although I actually overestimated the amount of slope we would have to have on the wedges and ended up with the lifting surface out of level in the opposite direction. At the time I thought that this wouldn't matter but soon realised that the underside of the contact point must be horizontal. In fact by overcompensating we had made things worse rather than better and on Wednesday we set about putting things right. I didn't want to dismantle the work we had done the last couple of days so decided to loosen the bolts and drive wedges in from the opposite direction in order to bring the underside level. We couldn't do the obvious and just withdraw the wedges a little as we had drilled through both the barn doors and the wedges, so the wedges were now held in a fixed position by the bolts.    After about an hour on Wednesday we had levelled lifting bar as much as we could and I reasoned that if we could raise the Obelisk just by as little as half an inch at a time, with each lift the lifting surface would slowly be bought to level as we progressed and each lift would be better than the last.    We set the levers in place and I then fully understood the importance of having the lifting point level. After loading on the dead men we had run out of travel (the ends of the levers had come down as far as the crib) without the Obelisk moving a fraction.    We had however taken a lot of the weight off the packings and we able to use wedges to gain perhaps half an inch.    On Thursday we continued in the same manner and gained perhaps another inch, but still we were being hampered by the original design of the barn doors. In fact the whole set up was now looking very “Heath Robinson” and to some in the team even dangerous although I was confident that this was not so. However we all agreed that the lifting point on the barn doors was totally unsatisfactory so we decided once again to alter the barn doors so that the pressure from the levers was transferred directly to the Obelisk.    By Friday lunch we had completed this task and now hope to make some real progress next week. In fact everyone on the team (which has comprised of Steve, Brian and myself for the most part this week) is now completely happy with the way things are looking and all are now agreed that using dead men for the lifting is actually more efficient and safer than using live men. We have also redesigned the levers to make them lighter and easier to set, this became necessary as I had commandeered some of the timber from one of the levers for the alterations to the barn door.    Another advantage of using dead men is the fact that we can now carry on lifting with as few as two men on site. In fact it could be done by one man working alone.    Below are a couple of photos of the new set-up. <<previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

Megalith Movers - Building Stonehenge:

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Raising an Obelisk video 1:

Hapshetsut Obelisk -
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