How the Stones Were Raised

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The lower twenty courses of the total two hundred
and four recorded for Khufu’s pyramid

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Hidden within the sea of stones, tourists
seek shelter from the searing summer heat (see left lower corner of photo
above).

For several
millennia, humankind has wondered how the ancient Egyptians constructed the
enormous Giza pyramid monuments on the west side of the Nile River. The
theories proposed are numerous and most diversified, yet no viable method has
actually been presented. There are many various and logical means for raising
stones above ground level, but the first and most important issue to be
considered is…TIME!

From
calculations, it is estimated that Khufu’s pyramid (Great Pyramid) contains a
minimum of five million stones, and the number of stones required to build the
remaining pyramids on this site are almost equal. Therefore, we must imagine a
total of ten million stones raised above ground level, trimmed for fitting, set
into place, and leveled to support the next layer above. Ten million stones…not
a small task to perform…in fact, it is a massive task just to consider!

If presented with this project
today, it would require little time for us to calculate the volume of stone
necessary. Once known, we could simply build the structures (Giza site) next to
the supply of stone (quarry)…and so they did! The majority of material used to
build the pyramids was quarried from the very hillside that the pyramids are
built on.

The next step would be to
calculate the total number of hours required to process one stone from the
quarry then transport and set into its final resting place. Multiply this time
by ten million and we now know the total hours required to complete the
project. The only mathematical “problem” to this scenario is calculating the
labor required for one average size stone and this would have been simple for
them to determine. What we fail to understand is these people being accustomed
to cutting and moving stones from quarries by hand…they knew how to use
manpower and levers in the most efficient manner. It is without doubt; that the
time allotted to complete the Giza site was fully realized by all involved with
the project…**before construction commenced!**

It is
folly for any individual to state the total number of years required to
complete the Giza site…we simply do not know the answer. From the Greek
historian Herodotus, we learn of it requiring approximately 20-30 years upward
to 100 years or more. Other ancient visitors to the site have also quoted the
total years required, but who are we to believe and is it actually important?
Past historians have also noted the number of laborers involved in the Giza
project at one time; it ranges from 100,000-200,000 men. These workers
apparently labored during the annual flooding of the Nile River, lasting for
nearly three months of the year…and now we finally have some basic numbers to
work with!

If we use
the lowest number of laborers (100,000), then each laborer was responsible for
10,000,000 (stones) divided by 100,000 (men), or 10 stones per labourer. The
average size stone used within the Great Pyramid measures 1.3 cubic RC (Royal
cubits) (approximately 27” cubed, or 0.68 meters cubed). Therefore, the average
individual had to quarry and move 10 stones over a period of 20 (years minimum)
x 3 (months of flooding), or a total of 10 stones in 60 months. The final
numbers reduce to 2 stones per individual in one full year, for a 5-year
period. What we should actually be asking is**…What did they do in their spare
time?**

The
numbers certainly look impressive; the work required per laborer is minimal,
however, there is one “slight” issue being overlooked, and it directs us back
to the initial problem…TIME!

The new
problem to resolve is the time allotted to raise each stone.

Ten
million stones are to be placed into position over a twenty-year period, at
three months per year, this equates to 5,500 stones per day. Working an average
of 10 hours each day then…**a stone must be placed and fitted into position
every ten minutes approximately.**

If this
number of stones was actually produced and placed into position each day then
the concept of the spiral ramp theory (ziggurat) must be rejected; likewise is
the theoretical concept of the long extended ramp. Adding further to these
“impractical” ramp theories; the material used for constructing the ramps must
be handled twice; first to construct the ramp and second to dismantle it.

It is here
where we must begin to design/engineer a most practical, and efficient means to
move stones with the greatest of accuracy and speed…we must begin to think the
“easy” way…their way!

A ramp system was definitely
required to raise the stones and the builders used the most basic leverage
known…human muscle!

Below is a series of
illustrations demonstrating how the builders may have processed the stones;
beginning with the quarrying of the limestone blocks, transporting, then
raising the stones by incorporating the finished “side” of the pyramid as a
ramp.

Stones were quarried in a systematic manner by digging
cross-sectional trenches down and below the point of “cracking” the stones. Once
complete, small notches were chiseled along the lower edge indicating where the
stone was to split (a small sector at the northwest base of Khafre’s pyramid
has remnants of rectangular segments similar to the illustration above).

Although only a theoretical concept, the
workers would then place a series of two wooden blocks in the trench with the
inner block supporting a metal wedge. A tapered wooden block is positioned
between the two outer blocks then, by striking the wooden wedge, the force is
transferred to the metal wedge causing the stone to split along the notched
line.

Using simple
leverage, the stones were raised and loaded onto a sled for transporting.
First, the workers tilted the stone forward, allowing a wooden block to be
placed at the center base of the stone.

Systematically,
the stone was raised until three cross-layers of logs could be placed beneath
the stone. The upper and lower logs would be carved flat, while the center log
remained round. Once positioned, the stone was rolled with ease onto the awaiting
sled and secured.

We may have invented the train, but the
ancient Egyptians invented the track! Using an “inverted” track system, the
sled was pulled along a continuous line of rolling logs. The elderly, weak, and
children on site would oversee the positioning of the logs, ensuring a constant
flow of loaded sleds.

The easiest
method to solve a problem is to tackle it directly. By building small ramps at
the base of the structures, it allowed the workers to pull the sled directly up
the side of the structure. There would be angular stones at each level; these
stones would be grooved, allowing the sled runners to fit within. In effect**…the
pyramid side was the ramp!**

The
pyramids were constructed one layer at a time. The photograph above shows the
outer “casing” stones interlocking with the inner stones. This provides
sufficient evidence to disqualify the Ziggurat (spiral) and straight ramp
theory for construction.

When confronted
with the larger stones, used within the King’s chamber, then every ramp theory
has its downfall. There is only one efficient means to raise these stones to
such heights, and that is to pull them directly up the side of the structure.
The illustration shows two sets of ramps being used to raise the stone sideways
up the pyramid face. This also provided greater stability and control during
the operation.

What
goes up must come down!

Workers had to
be fed, relieved from their post, sleds returned, and ruble disposed of. It
meant a constant flow of human beings climbing the pyramids, only to return to
the pyramid base. Both stones and workers were to move in the most efficient
manner. The “climbers” returned on the sleds, using their weight as a
counter-balance for another loaded sled on the opposite side of the structure.

Raised
to the working layer of the pyramid, the sled could be directed to any location
using cross-sectional tracks.

The only question remaining
is…did the ancient pyramid builders use these simple transporting techniques?

To contact Clive
Ross please e-mail: amitron2001@yahoo.com