The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 30th April 2016    On Monday Steve was unavailable, but Sean, Ewan and myself carried on with the lifting and we again completed three more successful lifts. We had abandoned the rolling log idea for supporting the obelisk between the top step and the under surface of the obelisk in favour of wooden wedges which we were able to use more easily. These wedges I was able to drive forward as Sean and Ewan operated the levers as fast as the obelisk rose, thus keeping everything tight throughout each lift. However, our lifting plate had taken a bit of a battering during this time and the last lift proved difficult. This was a problem that needed urgent attention.    Tuesday Steve was again unavailable (due to an attack of gout), but we still had a team of three, Joe, Sean and myself, so we turned our attention to the battered lifting plate and by the end of the session things were looking more promising. The lifting plate now looked capable of performing its function. A quick test confirmed this.      Wednesday Steve had recovered and was again mobile and with Sean, Joe and myself on site we had a team of four. With the obelisk supported by the packing on the top step we were able to extend the fail-safe crib forward and dismantle a section that was preventing us from moving the top step forward. To increase further the room available and to fully test our improved lifting plate,  we completed another lift. Everything went well so we completed a second lift. Two excellent lifts and a rebuilt crib made for a good day.    Thursday saw three of us working, and with Steve and Sean doing most of the heavy work I had an easy time watching what was happening, as they rowed the top step forward until it was touching the obelisk. We repositioned the lifting plate and made everything ready for the next lift, then the heat and humidity hit us. It was impossible to continue, in fact I personally found it impossible to think. Perhaps it was because I come from a temperate part of the world and had no understanding of how heatstroke effects the brain. Although it was not yet ten a.m. we were working in the full glare of the sun, and according to the locals during the hottest summer many could remember. The photos below show the top step before and after the move:    Friday it was still hot and humid, but we did have the benefit of a cooling breeze. Joe joined us making a four man team. The first lift achieved very little other than compress the rebuilt crib. We packed under the obelisk and this kept the crib fully compressed. We completed two more lifts and gained more movement with each lift than we had ever gained before, the pace of the erection was accelerating. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the weight we are lifting is getting less with each lift as the centre of gravity moves towards the plinth, and secondly, as we move the lifting plate forward we are lifting from further down the obelisk thus gaining more movement at the tip.    That afternoon we met at Ken's bar, and over a few cold beers we discussed the events of the last few weeks and the lessons learnt. It was obvious to all of us that the lifting plate we were presently using was nearing the end of its useful life. A new design had been crystallising in my mind for some time. I had been unhappy with the present one, because I had built it using metal nails and bolts. The problem was the ancients had no metal!    Now I had a new design which would be held together using only simple carpentry joints and timber, no metal at all. We decided that the rest of the team would continue with the present lifting plate while I made a new one. This would be bigger, better, and stronger than the last one, and could be better described as a lifting frame or ramp.    Next week again promises to be interesting, if things go well it might be possible to finish this experiment sooner rather than later.    Regards to all.    Gordon. << previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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