The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 5th December 2015    On Monday Steve and myself were joined by Joe, and with the luxury of a three man team we continued from were we had left off the previous Friday. The rolling fulcrum was working superbly and we continued to make rapid progress. I was still transferring bags from one lever to another when I heard a strange noise and felt the scaffold move beneath my feet. After a split second the noise had gone and the scaffold was still. “What was that?” shouted Steve. “Don't know, but I didn't like it, the scaffold seemed to move beneath my feet.” I replied. “Well everything looks OK from down here, I've got all the packings in, so everything is safe. Let's call it a day, it's past finishing time anyway.” Steve shouted back. “I'll just gently test things with another bag, if I feel or hear anything I'll quickly remove it. It should be safe enough if you've got it packed.” I shouted back. I gently removed another bag from one lever and very gingerly looped the handle over the same lever that had given me the fright previously. Ever so slowly I allowed the lever to take some of the weight of the bag, suddenly the noise and the trembling was back, I quickly removed the bag and again, all was still and quiet. I climbed down from the scaffold and turning to Steve and Joe said, “I'm not going back up there till I know for definite what's happening.”    The next morning I awoke still with the feeling of acute unease and foreboding, something was most definitely wrong. By the time I arrived at Steve's place I had a strong suspicion what the problem was and if my suspicions were confirmed, had a plan of action in mind. Steve too, was equally reluctant to continue blindly on. We examined the scaffold thoroughly. Although we had the different sections of scaffold tightly bound together, the section I had been standing on had moved back more than half an inch, the ropes must have stretched. “Steve,” I said, “the only way to make this scaffold rock solid is to make it out of rock. In other words we have to abandon the scaffold and make a concrete staircase under the obelisk.” “I agree.” Steve replied immediately.    We agreed the plan of action and Steve started building another fail-safe, just short of the balance point of the obelisk, while I set about dismantling the scaffold. Joe arrived shortly after and helped me with the dismantling. By the time Steve had finished and packed the new fail-safe, Joe and I were ready to dismantle the timbers supporting the fulcrum sections. This we did and with the obelisk supported in three separate places. We finished for the day.    Next day, Wednesday, Steve and myself were joined by Ewan. We continued dismantling the scaffold. The plan was to leave the obelisk supported by the new fail-safe Steve completed and packed yesterday, and with the packing under the top end, then we would remove the middle support and the scaffold it was standing on. Again I was uneasy when I went to remove the first of the wedges on the middle tower, they were so tight I knew they were supporting a lot of weight. I climbed down and discussed my fears with the rest of the team. The obelisk was now standing at an angle of thirty-seven degrees, and at this angle the force trying to push the support towers backwards was almost as great as the force holding them the to the ground. It was going to be a delicate operation removing the middle crib, which will create enough space for us to cast the first step of our new stone (concrete) staircase.    In the end we decided to rebuild a section of scaffold under the exposed tip of the obelisk. Then build a crib up to the underside of the top end. Once this was packed tight we could strengthen the scaffold with vertical pit- props, and resist the backward pressure with shoring. Only then would I be prepared to start dismantling the middle crib. We started rebuilding the scaffold which we had dismantled the previous day. Next Monday we will probably have this job completed. We will not be working Thursday or Friday, as Steve is taking a four day break. << previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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