The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
First website and experiments - movement of heavy stones Guest Writers: Gordon Pipes ________________________________________________________________________________ A NEW AND UNIQUE THEORY ON THE MOVEMENT OF HEAVY STONES by Gordon Pipes All Contents on this page are Copyright 2004 by Gordon Pipes. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with Permission ________________________________________________________________________________ Introduction    A pyramid can be constructed without the use of ramps, heavy stones can be moved without dragging them along and with 75% less manpower than is presently thought necessary. This article will show how. It has been compiled as a result of actual experiments conducted in my back yard with a 4 ton block of concrete made expressly for this purpose and hopefully will lead to properly conducted experiments that will prove this theory beyond doubt. How to elevate a 50 ton stone to the upper levels of a pyramid without the use of ramps, ropes or extensive manpower. How the ancient Britons could have transported the sarsen stones to Stonehenge without dragging them along. How to erect a 40ton stone without the use of ramps, ropes or ‘A’ frames and with less than 25 men. How to place the lintel stones on the uprights at Stonehenge with less than a dozen men. IS THIS REALLY HOW PRE-HISTORIC MAN BUILT STONEHENGE AND THE PYRAMIDS?    The picture shows a 40 ton stone being hauled down a slope of 1:20, note the apparent strain on the leg muscles of the men on the ropes, remember this is downhill. How long do you think the human frame can maintain this kind of effort?    Archaeologists would have us believe men can haul such loads uphill and down-dale all day long. If you believe them, try this little experiment. Take the car and park it on a gentle slope, release the handbrake and gravity will propel the car downhill. Now stop the car and see how far you can push it back up the slope before your leg muscles cry stop. Do not try this experiment unless you are fully fit.    Quote by Prof I E S Edwards, British Museum. “Only one method of lifting heavy weights was open to the Egyptians, namely by means of ramps composed of brick and earth which sloped upwards from the level of the ground to whatever height was desired”. This statement by Prof Edwards is just an opinion, not a fact.    Quote by Prof John Baines, Oxford university. “As the pyramid grew in height the length of the ramp and the width of its base were increased in order to maintain a constant gradient ( about 1 in 10 ) and to prevent the ramp from collapsing. Several ramps approaching the pyramid from different sides were probably used”. Again an opinion, not a fact.    HAVE THESE LEARNED GENTLEMEN EVER ACTUALLY TRIED DRAGGING SUCH STONES ABOUT?    EXPERTS ARE NEVER 100% RIGHT 100% OF THE TIME    In this case I believe the “Experts” are 100% wrong, in fact I know the experts are wrong. A pyramid can be constructed without the use of ramps, heavy stones can be moved without dragging them along and with 75% less manpower than is presently thought necessary.    FACT:    The Great Pyramid contains over 2 million cubic metres of stone.    FACT:    A ramp with a gradient of 1 in 10 capable of reaching the top of this pyramid would need to be 4800ft long and would contain 8 million cubic meters of building material.    QUESTION:    If the builders of the Great Pyramid had used a ramp to construct the pyramid, what did they do with the 8 million cubic meters of ramp when it was finished?    To answer this question Egyptologists have come up with a novel solution. Instead of constructing a mile long ramp up which to haul the stones, build a ramp that wrapped itself around the pyramid. Much less material would then be required, solving the problem of subsequent disposal. BRILLIANT!!! Eh, not quite.    FACT:    The Great Pyramid was constructed using dressed stone blocks each weighting from 2 to 12 tons on the outer skin, in-filled with random stone and rubble. A number of chambers and passages were created inside the pyramid as it was being built, the most amazing of which is the main burial chamber which was constructed in the upper levels of the pyramid, This chamber was then sealed with more than 40 massive slabs of granite each weighing as much as 50 tons.    QUESTION:    If a ramp which wrapped around the pyramid was used to move these massive slabs of granite, how did the builders negotiate the corners of the ramp? This operation would be difficult with even the smallest of the stones used in the building of the pyramid (2 tons), extremely difficult with larger stones ( up to 12 tons ) but would have been totally impossible with a stone weighting 50 tons. To haul such a stone up a ramp of 1 in 10 would require a team of at least 400 men pulling on ropes strung out far in front of the stone, when the leading members of this team rounded the first corner they would be unable to assist further, bringing the whole operation to a halt. Without a system of pulleys ( and pulleys at this time had not been invented ) this idea simply will not work.      POWER OF LEVERS    For more than 20 years I have been looking for an answer to the problems posed above. When the answer came it was all so simple. Instead of trying to find a way of dragging heavy stones 20 miles or more ( in the case of Stonehenge ) find a way to move the stones just a few feet, but in a way that takes so little effort it can be repeated time and again.    I knew that levers could be employed to lift extremely heavy objects with almost no effort at all. Suddenly I could see how to move the object at the same time equally effortlessly. ( In theory anyway, but would it work in practice)    A visit to see my friend ( a local builders merchant ) confirmed the theory. The two of us were able to move a pallet full of concrete curbstones quite easily.    I was sufficiently encouraged to contemplate a more ambitious experiment. Lack of available space, money and helpers put a limit on my ambitions however. In the end I decided that an experiment with a stone of 4 tons would be both meaningful and within my scope. I worked out the dimensions of a concrete block that would weight 4 tons, built a mould and filled it with concrete.    The experiment was set up as below.    With the stone in this configuration moving the stone along the track is easy and simple. STEP1. press down on the ends of the levers. (The stone will rise clear of the support logs). STEP 2. While holding the levers down move the ends of the levers forwards. (The stone will move back along the track). STEP 3. Release the levers. (The stone will settle in a new position on the track). STEP 4. Reposition the levers, this can be done simply by raising the end of the lever above head height until it is clear of the fulcrum log and walking back to a new starting position. The stone will now be in a new position on the track (about 2 feet along) and the lever will have automatically repositioned ready for the next lift. This operation can be repeated time and again all day long without causing undue tiredness in the lever operators. With practice it should be possible to move the stone up to 1 mile per day.    Below is a series of obvious questions you might like to ask about this experiment.    Question & Answers    Q: What were the levers made of and what size?    A: Freshly felled young larch tree trunks 20ft long and 6in in diameter at the base.      Q: Could the method be used on bigger stone, such as the sarsen stones at Stonehenge weighting up to 40tons?.    A: Yes. I estimate that as few as 24 levers of this size arranged 12 on each side, with two men on each lever would be more than sufficient to lift and move a stone of 40tons.    Q: Would there be a problem synchronizing that many levers?    A: No. a simple whistle or drum would be enough. Such a system worked well on the Roman slave galleys. In practise the weight of the stone helps.      Q: How does the weight of the stone help synchronization?    A: Until all the lever operators are working in unison the stone simply will not move.      Q: Is the position of the fulcrum log important?    A: Vitally. The nearer the fulcrum log to the stone, the easier it is to lift. However this results in less distance gained with each lift. More research needs to be done to find the optimum position.      Q: What is wrong with the old idea of moving the stones on timber rollers?    A: This idea has been tested by archaeologists and abandoned for a variety of reasons.    Below is an extract from a paper presented to the British Academy entitled Science and Stonehenge by archaeologist Julian Richards and engineer Mark Whitby.    “The orthodox method using rollers to move the stone was considered but rejected. Subsequent experiments in moving the 10 tonne lintel proved that it is a practical system, but has limitations. The direction of the stone is difficult to control on all but the most level ground and the method involves high risk as rollers have to be placed ahead of the moving object. As the load goes up, the system becomes prone to binding as the weight of the whole load will at times bear on only one or two of the rollers due to the unevenness either in the rollers or in the ground surface. The latter can be overcome by running the rollers on a flat, possibly timber track, and the former by selecting rollers of a uniform diameter. However, directional control remains an issue, as any roller placed out of true to the track will cause the load to veer off.”    Overcoming all the problems with this method is more difficult than is suggested in this extract. To find rollers of a uniform diameter would have been almost impossible for pre-historic man. I presume tree trunks would have been used for the rollers, tree trunks naturally taper in their length, and are therefore useless as rollers as a tapering roller will roll in circles. Hand crafting such a roller to a uniform diameter with stone tools would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible. Hand crafting sufficient of these rollers to exactly the same diameter? I offer no comment.    Q: OK. What about greased slipways?    A: This idea works well downhill, although the slipway must be smooth and level. On level ground it is much more difficult and on anything but the slightest of uphill gradients almost impossible.    Using a greased slipway as a method for transporting stones has one great drawback. While the idea makes good sense when travelling downhill (gravity will do most of the work), uphill, gravity becomes the enemy. With the friction between stone and ground reduced, the force of gravity on anything but the most gentle of gradients will send the stone back downhill. In the case of the Great Pyramid, with a stone of 50 tons on a slope of 1 in 10 this force will become irresistible when the pulling team begin to tire (as they surely must). When the team are unable to resist this pressure any longer, gravity will take over and the stone will begin, slowly at first, but with increasing speed and momentum, its journey back down the ramp.    Q: Will your method work uphill?    A: Yes    Having satisfied myself that the method worked on level ground, the next question was, will it work uphill. This was the big question, (I accept that heavy stones could have been hauled downhill, however I was skeptical how far Neolithic man could have hauled stones of the size that make up Stonehenge over level ground before exhaustion set in. Furthermore I was convinced that hauling such stones uphill would prove impossible, human leg muscles are not up to the task.) As I had no way of moving the stone to a suitable hill, I decided to jack up the track to an angle of 1:8.    Unbelievably it was no more difficult to move the stone up the ramp than it had been to move it on level ground, with one exception, after step one “pull down the levers” step two “push the levers forward” had to be initiated immediately, otherwise gravity took over and caused both the levers and the stone to slide down the ramp. This problem was overcome by having a “brakeman” behind the stone using a short lever as a brake, as long as the “brakeman” prevented the stone from gaining any initial momentum, (and this was not difficult) moving the stone to the top of the ramp was as easy as on level ground.    The method was now beginning to show massive advantages over orthodox theories, stones could now be moved up fairly steep hills, (I am confident that hills much steeper than 1 in 8 could be negotiated this way) without greatly increasing the workforce. Thus such stones could be transported in a direct line from there place of origin. Only a crude log track-way was needed, a small workforce (less than one man per ton of stone even uphill). Great economy of effort means the team can work all day. The advantages are such that I believe this idea deserves serious consideration by academics.    Continue reading click here return to top of this page

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