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Physicists Find a Simple Answer on How the Egyptians Build the Pyramids


Image credit: jay8085. A new theory has been offered on how these mighty structures were built 5,000 years ago

When looking at the Great Pyramid of Giza, an unsolved puzzle often comes to our mind–how on Earth could the Egyptians create such amazing building?

While the other Seven Wonders of the Ancient World have demolished a long time, the Great Pyramid appears in good shape, although it was built two thousand years earlier than the other six wonders. What kind of knowledge the Egyptians got in building that the rest of the ancient world was short of?

Obviously its shape is one of the reasons for it, because a pyramid is regarded as a much more stable structure than a human statue. In addition, the location is also helpful to its long-standing existence.

However, one of the main explanations is attributed to its sheer scale of the blocks which formed the Great Pyramid that had lasted quite longer after the casing stones, from which the outer surface, had worn away.

In order to build the Great Pyramid, which id estimated to weigh 5.9 million tonne, nearly around 800 tonnes of stone were thought to be transported from quarries 2 km away each day. The problem of transportation in regard to such quantities looked so immense. Theories of how this could be completed   include dragging stones on sleds, probably making the ground wetted beforehand, or rolling them by kind of cradle, because other ancient monuments, like the Stonehenge, were believed to use such techniques, although on smaller magnitude in terms of the scale of building operation.

According to a new proposal put forward by Dr. Joseph West of Indiana State University, the builders might have strapped three round wooden beams to each side of the stone block so as to change the square prism into a dodecagon which could enable builders to move these blocks more easily by rolling rather than dragging.

It is found by the scientists from the experiments that if stone blocks of the small scale were converted to dodecagons, they could be moved across level open ground with a dynamic coefficient of friction of roughly 0.2, but that figure would be 0.3 when stones were dragged over wet sand, even if the ratio of sand to water was perfectly achieved.

If a force equal to 0.15 times the weight of the block was needed to roll the blocks, 50 fit men could keep a 2.5t block rolling at 0.5m/s (1.8kph) by pulling on ropes which was wrapped around the shape. Such effectiveness is partly attributed to the fact that the structure forms a sort of 2:1 pulley, the kind of technique with which the Egyptians were not familiar at the time. The workers pulling the ropes would be required to walk twice the distance the stone was moved, but it should be possibly a small price they had to pay for easier movements.

As previously proposed by Dick ParryWhile, this shape appeared more difficult to deal with than a cylinder created by the means of attaching wooden shapes to the stone’s side, but it did have the advantage of applying much less pressure to the ground. The application of wooden rockers would have required routine work for road maintenance, but it should keep away the need for prepared surfaces completely.

Source: io9