The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 21st March 2015    At the end of last weeks blog I stated that if we couldn't get the Obelisk back into the correct position for the erection to begin entirely by hand and with the manpower we have available, then we would hire a crane.    I also stated that if we could I would be astounded. Well I can now report that if we fail in this task I will be most disappointed.    We have made so much progress this week that I am now confident that what we are attempting is indeed possible, difficult maybe, but possible.    The first task was to undermine and excavate the broken timber and rubble at the top end of the Obelisk, in order to get a lifting beam and levers in place under this, the light end. We achieved this on Monday, and as we are now entering the hottest time of the year here in Thailand we were all sweating profusely by the time we decided it was beer time.    On Tuesday we began lifting the top end, and because working at ground level is so much easier than working on scaffolding and perhaps also because we all now know what we are doing, we achieved three or was it four good clean lifts. This raised the top end maybe 15 inches above ground level, and we were able to slide a crossbeam under the balance point of the Obelisk.    On Wednesday, with the crossbeam supporting the Obelisk, we were able to remove the packing under the top end. Next, Sean (the heaviest man in the team), climbed onto the Obelisk and simply walked towards the top end and as he passed the balance point the Obelisk tilted and the top end was back on the ground with the heavy end more than 2 inches clear of the ground. We were all jubilant, we had lifted the heavy end (about 6.6 tons) in minutes and without using levers or counterweights, and were able to insert two short timbers under the heavy end to consolidate what we had gained. We then levered up the top end as before, and when it was high enough we were able to raise the crossbeam under the balance point, and again Sean did his party trick.    On Thursday we were able to build a support structure using the crib design we had used earlier, and fasten this to the Obelisk under the heavy end with Spanish windlasses. We then levered up the top end until the underside of the Obelisk was level with the ground, and built a support crib under that end also. We were now almost ready to begin moving the Obelisk back into the correct position for the erection experiment to begin again.    As we will be using my “Stone-rowing” technique, I am now going to use some boating terminology to describe the process. For those of you unfamiliar with these terms, the pointy end of the Obelisk will now be called the Bow and the heavy end will be called the Stern. When facing the bow, the left-hand side is called the Port-side, and the right-hand side is called the Starboard-side.    The plan now is to row the Obelisk away from the plinth, steering gradually to port, and when we are far enough away we will reverse the Obelisk back towards the plinth, now steering the stern to port. It will be a bit like reversing into a tight packing space in your car.    As I said earlier, moving this 10 ton Obelisk back into position will not be easy, especially as we are planning to achieve this with such a small workforce. Although I have successfully demonstrated this method with a Stonehenge replica weighing 12 tons, I was using a team of 28 men and a rectangular shaped stone with an even weight distribution. With the Obelisk, I may have possibly as few as two men, and a tapering stone with a most uneven weight distribution, nonetheless I think it may be possible so we will give it a go.    On Friday Sean was unavailable as he had to have a medical before returning to sea. Ewan has been away on business all week, Joe is about to return to England and Mick has also been unavailable, which just left Steve and myself to prepare the Obelisk for the stone-rowing experiment.    Again we had a good day. After arranging a short section of fulcrum, we were able to set some levers and begin experimenting how to load these levers, while at the same time making sure that each lever was working independently, which will allow us to operate without anyone on the levers. The levers all have to work independently of each other, otherwise they will not pivot on the fulcrum when we try to move the stone.    Next week promises to be very interesting, and I will report on our progress next weekend. Sorry we again have no pics to illustrate this week's blog, but we are working on a series of pics that we will use to make a sort of time-lapse animation of the whole experiment, we will mix with actual video footage to make a short film, which we will put on the website and also on Youtube.   <<previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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