The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 17th October 2015    I arrived at Steve's place Monday morning to find the obelisk just as we left it a month ago, still lying at an angle of about twenty-two degrees. In fact it has been lying at much the same angle for some months now, we seemed to have got it about as high as we can using the first-class levers. We have tried many different methods of lifting it higher but to date nothing has succeeded.    After Steve had left for England, I was in Ken's bar mulling over the problem when Sean walked in. We exchanged the usual pleasantries before I showed Sean a rough drawing I had been working on. “If we reassemble the support tower we were using before and fix it on top of the cantilever box we could then lead the ropes from the end of the obelisk to the top of the tower and on to the A-frame. This will give us a better angle of pull. What do you think?” “Well it will give us more leverage from the A-frame that's for sure.” Sean replied.    Next day he walked in with some computer generated drawings which made things much easier to visualise. We discussed the technical details and were in agreement. Sean is the only man on the team with any background in engineering so I value his input. He then told me that he had received an email from his company and would be flying to Sri-Lanka that weekend to crew a ship bound for Australia, he would be away for several weeks returning some time after Steve got back from England.    During the next few weeks I had plenty of time to ponder about the task ahead, I began to realise that the cantilever system I had been hoping would make the difference would never be able to stand the weight that was needed to make it in any way efficient. I had used a van-load of three by threes for very little gain. I decided to strip the cantilever box and use the timbers I was using to strengthen the floor of the box to build the box higher. Thus increasing the height of the tower when it was placed on top. I reasoned this would give us even better pulling power and would make the best use of the timber we had. As I continued to ponder on this it occurred to me that if I could build the tower as high as the obelisk was long (twenty feet) this would give us an angle of pull of forty-five degrees. Add this to the twenty-two degrees we have already gained and we are almost there. I have seen many experiments where an obelisk was pulled to upright from seventy degrees. Although we don't have the manpower, sand is cheap enough. In fact the ancient Egyptians may well have made use of sandbags as a form of cheap labour, they certainly had plenty of sand. Even an unskilled labourer must be fed and clothed while sand costs nothing. Filled with renewed enthusiasm I outlined the new plan to Steve. He replied saying it was worth a try. We would need some scaffolding, so I said I would order some as I passed the scaffold hire place.    Tuesday Steve was unavailable so we made a start Wednesday. It would be just the two of us plus Ewan when he's free for the time being, as Joe left for England about the same time Steve returned and Sean is still at sea.    Wednesday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the sun early morning about twenty-five/thirty degrees C, we quickly emptied and dismantled the cantilever box. We had now gained a great deal of timber which we had used previously to bear the weight of the cantilever, this timber we will now use to build a high tower which will sit on top of the obelisk at the base. Looking at the stack of timber we have reclaimed, I now estimate that that we can build a lifting tower perhaps twenty-five/thirty feet above the turning groove on the plinth, although we will build it higher if we have any timber spare.    Thursday we tidied up the site and started building the lifting tower, we had got about as far as we could reach when the scaffolding arrived.                   As we were assembling the first level of the scaffolding next day Steve reminded me of a quote by Edison as he was struggling with his incandescent light bulb. “I have not failed, I now know a thousand ways it cannot be done.” “Rather apt for this project don't you think Gordon?”, said Steve. “Yes, quite so, but we have an advantage over Edison, we are reinventing something that was probably common knowledge four thousand years ago. And history has given us a massive clue in the form of the turning groove on the plinth. The presence of the turning groove suggests to me that the obelisks were not lowered onto the plinth from above has as been suggested, but either levered or pulled upright from a very low angle. We have succeeded in getting it above twenty degrees just using levers and when we have built this tower we can try pulling with ropes as well.”    I estimate it will take us two or three weeks to build the tower and string the many ropes we will need to give us a chance of pulling it upright. Next week I will include some photographs of the progress. Remember we are using just timber, ropes and sandbags. No metals of any kind. No pulleys or modern lifting devices. No nails, screws or bolts. The whole thing is held together with just friction and the weight of the obelisk. The only metal on the site is the scaffolding and that is being used for health and safety reasons, because we have no-one on the team capable of building wooden scaffolding.     Gordon Pipes.  << previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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