The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 28th March 2015    On Monday we continued experimenting with different ways of loading weights onto the ends of the levers. Obviously we needed more levers set in closer proximity at the stern than we needed at the bow, and all the levers had to be able to pivot without interfering with the adjacent levers. In the end we settled on plastic bottles filled with water and strung from the levers at the stern, concrete blocks hung from the levers amidships and bags of rubble draped over the levers at the bow.    By the time we had all the levers arranged and loaded along each side, the obelisk had risen clear of the ground. In theory the gravitational force that had been pressing down on the obelisk holding it glued to the ground had been counterbalanced by the weights pressing down on the levers, and the obelisk was free to move.    In practice however, something was preventing the levers from pivoting, as we tried to push the stern forward with vertical levers. Was it lack of manpower, or was something jammed, or was it something else entirely. I have to admit I was baffled and had no clue what to do next. We decided to do the only thing we could do and that was unload all the levers, reset them, and try again. The only positive outcome of our shifts on Monday and Tuesday, was the discovery that we needed a lot fewer levers to lift the obelisk than I had envisaged. This was good, as we could now set the levers further apart, giving them more room to pivot.    Early on Wednesday we discovered what the problem had been the previous day. We had unloaded and removed all the levers on the Port side, except the last one, which we found was trapped between the timbers of the wooden roadway we had built over the rough ground where the obelisk had fallen. We had been careless, and allowed this single lever to slide too far under the obelisk and become trapped. It was a lesson learnt, one I should have learnt years before, as similar things have happened before when I have been using levers. I really must learn to be patient and take things slowly.    Now we knew what the problem had been, it didn't take us long to reset and reload the levers, although working on the starboard side was difficult, due to the overgrown terrain and unseen holes and rubbish underfoot. It was also probably infested with snakes which to me is not a comforting thought. But with the need for fewer levers, we were able to set them all further apart. This allowed us to dispense with the water filled bottles, and we also dispensed with the bags of rubble, because using the concrete blocks was so much easier and so much more precise. We also tied the ends of the levers on both the Port and Starboard sides with a length of rope, which allowed them to remain apart but which connected them together. It was about time to finish for the day, but before we did, we tried again to row the obelisk away from the plinth. See pic below.   The pic shows the obelisk after we had moved it forwards. It was a major triumph. Steve, Ewan and myself had picked up and moved a 10 ton block of concrete entirely by hand, using nothing that the ancient Egyptians didn't have. In fact the Egyptians had something we did not have, and that was manpower. We used concrete blocks instead of manpower, but the physics was the same 4,000 years ago as it is today. Gravity can be used to lift and move things, if you know how.   On Thursday we reset the levers, moved the obelisk a little more, and managed to repeat this operation again before we finished. It was a lot of work for very little gain, but we were making progress. The only thing we couldn't do, working with such a small team, was to steer the obelisk in the manner I had been able to during the Stonehenge experiments. And we were now heading directly into Steve's car-port.   On Friday while Steve and Ewan were making improvements to the method of loading the blocks, I set about setting up the levers, to enable us to swing the bow to port. This would entail setting levers at the stern, to free the stern from contact with the ground, and repeating this at the bow, to break the contact at that end also. I set up the levers at the stern, and having finished the improvements to the blocks, Ewan helped me load them. Before long, the stern was clear of the ground, only by a fraction of an inch, but contact had been broken.   We then moved to the bow, and were loading the last of the blocks when there was a loud crack. The fulcrum had cracked, I was still guilty of impatience! We decided to call it a day and replace the fulcrum on Monday, as my legs were becoming unsteady anyway, and Ewan was sweating heavily. Steve, who is rationing himself to one cigarette per hour, continued to move the original “dead men” from where they were stacked, which was in the direction we wanted to take. He refused to stop work, as it wasn't time for his next smoke. As we watched him work, I realised that the fulcrum had cracked but not broken, and could be made serviceable by packing underneath the crack. My legs by now were recovering somewhat, and I could not resist packing under the fulcrum, loading on a few move blocks and trying to swing the bow to port. As I pulled on the first lever there was almost no resistance, and the bow swung easily to port. I must have moved it over 6 inches or more, single handedly, and better still, the stern remained more or less where it was. Another triumph, we now knew we could change direction at will, move the obelisk in the direction we wanted, and when we had it in the precise location we desired, we could elevate it above the height of the plinth and move it back over the turning groove. We are still a long way from doing this of course, but now we know it's possible, and I find that I'm not astounded at all, in fact the power in a simple wooden lever no longer astounds me at all. The pic below shows the bow, after we had swung it to port   <<previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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