The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 24th October 2015    After having had the weekend to think things through, I realised that that the latest plan had a flaw. Although the new tower would give us a more efficient lifting angle, it would not give us any mechanical advantage. We would still need the mechanical advantage of the class one levers to drive the class two levers in the right direction. Without which, we might as well give up now,  something I'm not yet prepared to do.    On Monday, Steve and myself set up three class one levers underneath the class two levers and slowly loaded on six sandbags, Steve was watching for any kind of movement as I was loading the bags on the end of the class one levers. As I loaded on the last bag, the whole set up moved back towards me and the bags landed on the ground halting any further movement. We had failed again!    We were discussing our options when Sean arrived back from his latest stint of seafaring. We showed him the marks in the dust where the whole setup had moved back, now there were three of us all equally baffled. We discussed various options, none of which seemed practical, so we continued with the work on the towers. That evening in my mind I went over the events of the day, the lifting bar hadn't moved or tilted, and the new round fulcrum behaved perfectly. The whole setup had moved back uniformly, the second class levers, the first class levers, the fulcrum and the lifting bar had all moved back at exactly the same rate. We were on the point of lifting when gravity intervened and took the easy way, which was to slide back. Simple solution? Drive stakes into the ground behind the frame-work so nothing could move back. The solution was so obvious, none of us could see it.    Tuesday I told Steve about the stakes. It would not be easy as we had to get through about three inches of concrete before we could start driving the stakes in, and all we had to do this with was a bolster chisel and lump hammer. Fortunately for me Steve, volunteered for the job while I continued building the new tower. Talk about blood sweat and tears. We were both sweating profusely working in the blazing sun, Steve's left hand was covered in blood were he had scraped his knuckles against the rough concrete and I may be in tears if these stakes don't work.    On Wednesday as Steve was completing the work on the stakes, Sean and I set up the levers for another test lift. After Steve had driven in the second stake we began to load on the bags of sand. As we loaded on the third bag, the bottom of the lifting tower swung to one side and started to fall to pieces. We had no choice other than take the tower completely to pieces and rebuild it stronger. As we were undoing the countless knots and lashings Sean said something that later made me think. “If these obelisks were erected in pairs as the entrance to a temple, perhaps they were erected while the temple was being built. In that case perhaps we should imagine we are working on a building site, a building site were the building materials are nothing but big blocks of stone like the blocks in a pyramid. So we can simply borrow one of these large blocks and use it to stop everything moving forward as we lift the obelisk.”    That afternoon I was thinking about what Sean had said about the Egyptians having had access to very large building blocks. It was true, a few centuries before they had built the pyramids, they were built using very little else. Whether the obelisks were erected before, during, or after the building of the temple, the builders had access to large and very heavy blocks of stone and knew how to transport and manhandle them with precision. (See film clip about stone-rowing on the home page). My train of thought continued. If they used these large blocks of stone to support the obelisk from the start of the erection process, position the obelisk horizontally on the plinth in the right position at the turning groove (which we did at the start of this experiment) and support the top end on one of these temporary blocks, then use the block as a support also for the fulcrum. With the fulcrum now on a firm foundation, continue levering up the top end until another stone block can be put in place. Continue with this process until the obelisk is vertical, see drawing below:    That evening I emailed Steve and Sean requesting that we cancelled the work session next day and instead have a meeting at Ken's bar. Both replied in the affirmative. One line of the emails included the words “I think we've been ****ing into the wind long enough.”     Next day I outlined my thinking. I could see that from the tone of my email Steve was a little dismayed and had wrongly assumed that I wanted to cancel the project, in fact nothing was further from my mind. Steve was obviously as keen as I to see this project through. Sean also had a surprise in store, at the end of the meeting I asked him if he could reproduce the sketch I had taken to the meeting “Already done it Gordon”, he said. “What you've already produced a drawing like this?” Was my astonished reply. “Yes, more or less the same, I would have brought it with me but my printer is out of ink”. I was still astonished, Seemed like we were all keen to see this obelisk upright. And Sean was thinking along the same lines as myself as to the method of erection. Earlier in the meeting I had suggested that we hire a local bricklayer to replicate these stone blocks using modern concrete building blocks laid in the normal way with sand and cement. Local labour is relatively cheap, likewise the building blocks. “Why don't we replicate the blocks using the steel scaffold we have already hired?” said Steve.  “I don't know if they'll be strong enough or stable enough, and anyway they are expensive to hire”. I replied. “Don't worry about the money, you paid for the last lot I'll pay for the next lot”. Was Steve's immediate reply. “Well we can use the existing scaffold to test the idea if you like, we can perhaps re-enforce the structure with some of the three by threes, but I still think the building blocks and a local builder would be best”.    On the Friday Steve would be at a wedding, so we scheduled the next session for Monday when we will try the scaffolding for strength and stability. Once we have something stable and strong, we will build something like in the drawing and try lifting the obelisk higher perhaps all the way to 70 degrees when we be able to pull it upright with ropes.    I'll continue this blog as soon as we have something to report, perhaps next week, perhaps later.    Gordon Pipes.   << previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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