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Canadian Inventor: Pyramids Were Rocked Into Place 117

Posted by timothy
from the slurms-mckenzie-was-on-hand dept.
seafortn writes "A Canadian man is claiming he has solved the mystery of the construction of the pyramids - the ancient Egyptians attached curved boards to the building blocks and rolled them into place."
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Canadian Inventor: Pyramids Were Rocked Into Place

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  • Let me be the first of many to say: Jesus God, would you get a spelling checker?
  • by mcdrewski42 (623680) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:09PM (#6554569)
    Guy can move rocks from A to B by rocking and/or rolling.

    Guy doesn't really know how the rocks were lifted 60ft into the air, but suggests 'shimmying' may have been part of it.

    Next week - Guy explains that he can fly to the moon using only pogo sticks. "See, how bouncy they are," he says, "now just bounce a little higher and I'm there."

    What a pointless, informationless article that was.
    • Yeah, a diagram would've been been nice for the lazy,but no, a mugshot of the old geezer is all there was.
      • by plover (150551)
        For a diagram, see a back issue of OMNI magazine from 1980.

        That's when an "inventor" announced this last time I heard it.

        I recall it was an interesting article. He developed the technique to remove blocks from his quarry and thought "this is so easy someone else must have invented it first." So he did some research, then did some more research, and finally found wooden rockers just like the ones he built were discovered in the pyramid (they were labeled "cradles".)

        He then duplicated these wooden roc

    • I think the point everyone here is forgetting that it takes massive, massive whips to motivate people to try to move the massive stones used to build the pyramids over logs or friction-reducing sand-clay ramps or whatever.

      For the record, I know they were officially recorded in the work site records (which are likely better than some cheap-ass contractors around here) as "volunteers" and even allowed to strike when their chewing gum made of gum-arabic, beeswax and honey was not delivered on time.

      Ok, so you
  • ...where the term "rock'n'roll" was coined....it was attributed to the sound the rocks made as they were rolled into place!

    -psy
  • Talk about reinventing the wheel!
  • by oni (41625) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:25PM (#6554663) Homepage
    The reason this is such a mystery is that the great pyramid is made of over two million blocks, each weighing two and a half tons. Our best estimates for construction time are that it took around 20 years to build. Assuming a 10 to 12 hour work day and no holidays (365 days a year) that means the ancient Egyptians placed a block every 20 to 30 seconds.

    Today, even with modern equipment, we could not make that happen. Maybe we could place a block every 5 minutes or every 10 minutes, but I can't imagine we could do it under a minute continuously. It's just an amazing feet. You can see why people are so impressed.

    There are so many examples of humans achieving such greatness, and accomplishing such feats, that later generations do not comprehend. I suppose our generation has the Apollo moon landings, and maybe a couple of other things. It really stands as a testament to our potential. So, when we start murdering each other wholesale I like to think about these achievements because it gives me hope that we can rise above our destructive nature.
    • There are so many examples of humans achieving such greatness, and accomplishing such feats, that later generations do not comprehend. I suppose our generation has the Apollo moon landings, and maybe a couple of other things. It really stands as a testament to our potential. So, when we start murdering each other wholesale I like to think about these achievements because it gives me hope that we can rise above our destructive nature.

      Until you look under the rocks and find out that there is a human corpse
      • by geoswan (316494) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:06PM (#6555795) Journal
        Until you look under the rocks and find out that there is a human corpse under each and every one of them... They pyramids were just a fancified death machine. :)

        Yes, that is what we were taught in school -- that the pyramids were built with slave labour, with brutal working conditions. But there have been a number of documentaries about archeological investigations into the dormitories where the workers lived. IIRC the archeological evidence points to the workers not being slaves. IIRC the archeological evidence points to the workers working and living under reasonable circumstances.

        • ...archeological evidence points to the workers working and living under reasonable circumstances.

          that and they were in the service of thier gods.
        • Always consider the source and agenda of such claims. It's been my experience that some "experts" latch on to one or two details of a many-faceted civilization and extrapolate it to make the case for a liberal, enlightened, politically-correct utopia.

          As they say, the good old days weren't always good. That goes triply so for ancient cultures.
          • > Always consider the source and agenda of such claims. It's been my experience that some "experts" latch on to one or two details of a many-faceted civilization and extrapolate it to make the case for a liberal, enlightened, politically-correct utopia.

            Also, a pharoah who wasn't a total fuckwit might have been able to figure out that they'd get the job done in a more timely manner if they actually had enough to eat and a spot for a decent night's sleep instead of starvation, daily beatings, and tortur

        • Yes, that is what we were taught in school -- that the pyramids were built with slave labour, with brutal working conditions.

          Often it seems the implication is that the Hebrews freed by Moses were the pyramid builders. But the Great Pyramid at Giza was completed around 2680 B.C., whereas Moses lived in the 13th century B.C.
        • To follow up, it has been pointed out that when the Nile floods (pre Aswan), much of the farmland remains under water for several months before it can be planted. This creats a large pool of available labor to do the work.
    • by rco3 (198978) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:13PM (#6555043) Homepage
      365 days per year times 20 years is 7300 days. No holidays, of course. 12 hours of work every day gives us a total of 87,600 hours.

      This is all approximate, of course. However...

      2 million blocks divided by 87,600 is about 23. That's 23 blocks per hour, or about 2.7 minutes per block.

      That's a factor of five different from your estimate, although still impressive. Did you mean 20 to 30 blocks per minute?
      • Or 20 to 30 blocks per hour, even? [duh - long day]
      • And the majority of the blocks would be on the bottom. So assuming you've built a pyramid or two before, you could really rock and roll for a bit.
      • Your maths is correct, but it's unlikely that they worked 365 days per year.

        People who've done the economic calculations claim it's unlikely that ancient Egypt could have supported enough 'slaves' to build the pyramids. However, if they were 'free men' paying their 'taxes' by working a few months per year, you can make the figures add up.

        Of course, if that's how they did it, you'd have to factor in a few months break per year break while the workers attended to their planting, harvest, etc.
    • Ah, statistics.

      1) Your calculations are off. 20 years * 365 d/y * 12 hours/day * 60 min/hr /2 million stones = 2.6 blocks/minutes. That's significantly longer than 20-30 seconds.

      2) If you use slightly different numbers: 2.3 million blocks [pbs.org], and assume they worked for 40 years [pbs.org] at 12 hours per day (or 20 years at 24 hrs/day), then you get that they put up a block every 4.6 minutes. Pretty close to what you think that we could do.

      • 1) Your calculations are off. 20 years * 365 d/y * 12 hours/day * 60 min/hr /2 million stones = 2.6 blocks/minutes. That's significantly longer than 20-30 seconds.

        Think you'll find that 2.6 blocks/minute is about 23 seconds per block, which is what he said.

        What you calculated was 2.6 minutes/block.

        Although, given this is a stats thread, I am sure that I too will be proved wrong. Kinda like posting a speling Nazi post!
    • That the 'cradles'
      ( term used in the TV program, or wherever-it-was that I years-ago got told this )
      were placed-on each of the four long-sides of a block, and then rope wrapped 'round the sticks/rods holding the end-pieces of the cradles
      ( the quarter-rounds that were at each end of the block )
      together, and the entire block rolled
      ( requiring only 5 people, rather than 60-150, which is what using small logs beneath a block would have required ),
      was figured-out YEARS ago, and broadcast.

      Perhaps the titl

    • Well, have you ever seen one of those huge ocean container ships being unloaded? They can unload several thousand containers in 24 hours, easily matching or besting the numbers you claim.

      Using modern boom equipment, it would be no problem to place blocks at this rate.
    • I agree this is a very impressive feat - but remember the pyrimids are really big - it's not like they are placing all those block one on top of another. They likely pulled them up onto the working level of the pyrimid from several directions at once.

      Anyhow, as I understood the article, the man seems to be claiming that he understands how they transported the blocks to the site. He is quoted as saying, "I've reduced moving rocks to the pyramid to a mom-and-pop operation." (emphasis mine). Look, I don't
    • I should see this place myself, I should drop by to his place and see how he supported his theory through simple illustrations. He should be like 5 minutes away from me, Anyone want to come with me? When I was in grade school, I was amazed how my math teacher demonstrates solutions to problems by using shapes and figures. And now, here comes one man who spends his time to give light/theory about the Pyramids. Great! At least, we should be happy that someone takes the time to solve it the traditional way,
    • There are so many examples of humans achieving such greatness, and accomplishing such feats, that later generations do not comprehend. I suppose our generation has the Apollo moon landings, and maybe a couple of other things.

      The people who did Apollo are all dying off. If we ever had to go back to the moon or even head toward Mars, a lot of re-learning is going to have to take place.

      I heard NASA had trouble finding the blueprints for the Apollo capsule design as they were looking at cheaper personnel-m
    • Another Mystery (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @03:47AM (#6557219) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, I've always found it more satisfying to believe that the pyramids were put up by human ingenuity, rather than by the whimsy of some God from Space [mus.pa.us].

      But here's another disturbing thought. John Anthony West [jawest.com] argues that water erosion on the Sphynx indicates that the thing was built before Egypt was an arid country. That's about 10,000 years ago. Of course this runs totally against accepted archaeological thought -- but you still have to wonder if Egyptian civilization isn't a tad older than currently accepted.

      • West is all wet (sorry, couldn't resist), but there are other goofy if interesting and somewhat possible explanations for the pyramids, including that they were the giant water pumps that enabled Egypt to be the breadbasket of the ancient world, as we know to be historically true. As usual for wierdo sites, any good stuff here may be cheek-to-jowl with outright trash: http://www.thepump.org/ [thepump.org]

        It's an interesting and creative explanation, anyway, and explains better than anything else I've seen the more un
      • > But here's another disturbing thought. John Anthony West argues that water erosion on the Sphynx indicates that the thing was built before Egypt was an arid country. That's about 10,000 years ago. Of course this runs totally against accepted archaeological thought -- but you still have to wonder if Egyptian civilization isn't a tad older than currently accepted.

        It has been a year or two since I read anything about that, but IIRC the guy is demonstrably a kook on the basis of other claims he has push

        • What I find most interesting about it is that the head seems to be way too small for the body, and some have speculated that it originally actually had a lion's head in correct proportion to the size of the body,

          I seem to recall reading somewhere that the head's been recarved several times. I like to think it was originally the face of a cat. Which have always been sacred thereabouts, and which goes with the overall shape. Besides, I like cats.

          West is demonstrably an asshole (just read his web site) but

    • you goofed on the math. 2E6 blocks over 20 years = 1E5 blocks per year over 365 days = 274 blocks per day over 12 hours = 23 blocks per hour = one every three minutes or so it would also be wrong to assume only one block is being placed at any one time.
    • Assuming a 10 to 12 hour work day and no holidays (365 days a year) that means the ancient Egyptians placed a block every 20 to 30 seconds.

      Today, even with modern equipment, we could not make that happen.

      Isn't the directly observable number of blocks a much more compelling piece of evidence than anything else? If you ask me, the maximum theoretical rate and the number of blocks should trump any other estimate of how long it would take to build the pyramids. I haven't seen any of the "other" evidence,

    • The 20-30 second/block figure sounds impressive until you consider the potential for parallelization of the construction process. For much of the construction process, the stones could be rolled up a ramp and then distributed to multiple locations on the surface of the developing pyramid. Although each stone would be placed slowly and carefully, multiple teams could set multiple stones.

      Perhaps the Egyptians should be credited with Amdahl's Law?
    • Today, even with modern equipment, we could not make that happen. Maybe we could place a block every 5 minutes or every 10 minutes, but I can't imagine we could do it under a minute continuously.
      Well, with 20 times as much equipment, we could place a block every 15-30 seconds. Who says they placed one block at a time?
    • Assuming your value of 2 million blocks is correct. How do you figure it would take 20 years at 30 seconds a block?

      2 million * 30 seconds = 60000000 seconds

      That is only 1.9 years. You are out by a factor of 10, it would be about 300 seconds per block, which is still very quick.
    • The notion of 10-12 hour work day seems to me almost impossible to believe. I suspect that comes from a western perspective of workload for laborers, but having lived overseas in developing countries I can assure you that on major, labor-intense construction projects _individual_ guys work 12-16 hour days, and sites operate all day and all night. I'm not an egyptologist, but I would guess they had the workers (slaves?) operating on a 16 hours on, 8 off schedule with 3 starting times for shifts.

  • "canadiasn" ... close to "orgasn" .... neither, in the end, are really what we want it to be.

  • by gnovos (447128) <.ten.deppihc. .ta. .sovong.> on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554723) Homepage Journal
    Sheesh, one after another, trying to solve how th epyramids were built... Geesh, when will these people figure it out that these theories are all bogus, that the pyramids were built completely by natural erosion?
  • Those damn Canadiasns....
  • Every theory for decades concerning the building of the pyramids assumes that there was enough wood available at the time to build structures, ramps, cranes (of sorts), and - now, rocking devices - to support/move/position/sculpt massive-ton rocks.

    Why not apply Ockham's razor to the problem? Why couldn't the Egyptians just have created the world's first "concrete mix"?

    How hard would it have been? Pound a few rocks to get powder, shlep the powder in simple baskets/bowls to the site, add water, and - viol
  • by SnappingTurtle (688331) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:34PM (#6556251) Homepage
    The dude certainly has some neat ideas. His theory sounds plausible to the casual observer (i.e. me).

    Unforunately, he's confusing hypothesis with evidence. He's given some good anecdotal evidence that it could have been done that way, but no evidence that it was done that way. Produce some tangible evidence and he may be on to something.

  • Hello? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RevDigger (4288)
    Gee,

    This is retarded. What is worse, that a geek blog picked up something this dumb, or a "real" news site? This idea is old, and long discredited.

    The greeks started using the technique described, but not for many years after the Pyramids were built.

    It is worth noting that there are pictures surviving from the period that show large teams of men, pulling big stone bocks or statues, on sledges. Maybe you can dream up some other way to do it, but if there's real evidence that they did it differently, yo
  • Moving the rocks, to build a pyramid, with very precise mathematical calculations of trapped energy, angles of sunshine(where the sun shines in to the big pyramid through a trap door once a year), with the very complex tunnels in the pyramid that with all the exploration technology we have in this millennium cannot discover.. and he thinks he is a pharaoh cause he can move a rock.... go get your self a life.
  • by little1973 (467075) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @04:04AM (#6557279)
    That is the title of a book written by a hungarian writer. It raises quite a few question about the great pyramid and tries to give some answers. Interestingly, I have not read the same conclusions in other books.

    Ever wonder about the chamber with the 'well' under the pyramid? I think the official theory is that it was supposed to be where the pharaoh would be buried originally. However, a more plausible theory is that it was used to test whether the ground above could support the weight of the pyramid. A pendulum was used to test this, one end was attached to the ceiling and the other was lowered into the well.

    Another mystery is the great gallery. In this book the writer assumes it was used as some kind of elevator. There are some interesting markings on either side of the gallery along the walls which a cogwheel can hang on to. Considering the Egyptians did not know the wheel it is quite a bold assumption.

    Do not forget that there are some blocks in the pyramid which weigh 70 tons or so. And there is the king's sarcophagus in the king's chamber. It carved from one block of gratine, one of the hardest material on Earth.

    Also, there is absolutly no evidence about that a pharaoh was ever buried in the pyramid. Considering all the mysteries, is it really surprising I am more inclined to believe the pyramid was not build by Egyptians?
    • "Considering the Egyptians did not know the wheel it is quite a bold assumption."
      Considering that a major component of the Egyptian army was 'chariots' - that is quite a bold statement.
      • by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @11:30AM (#6559555) Homepage
        "Considering the Egyptians did not know the wheel it is quite a bold assumption."

        Considering that a major component of the Egyptian army was 'chariots' - that is quite a bold statement.

        Heh. He must have been thinking of the Incas. The Incas, though, DID know the wheel (Inca children's toys found with wheels)-- they just didn't have much use for it in the Andes.

        What's really funny about his "Egyptians did not know the wheel" comment is that they used a wheel to measure out the planned base of the pyramids, i.e. their pyramid is 100 units high and the base is 100 rotations of a 1-unit-in-diameter wheel in length. This is the source of all the rabid mis-theories about the pyramids having pi encoded into their dimensions even though the ancient Egyptians didn't use mathematics complex enough to calculate pi. It's not mystical crap-- they just used a wheel to measure! Wheels have pi built in!

    • You're right. It was quite a feat of engineering.

      Everything you wrote was pretty good up until the last scentence. Who do you think built it then?

      The people back then weren't stupid. In fact, they were as smart as we. Just because we can't figure out exactly how something was made, doesn't mean it couldn't be made.

      Don't underestimate a firm comittment to do something, coupled with tens of thousands of people to do the hard work.

  • by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @04:06AM (#6557284)
    When I first read the headline, I thought it said Canadian Inventor: Pyramids Were Rocketted Into Place. I had an image of an eccentric old man attaching explosive devices to 10 ton bricks, and flying them onto the top of a pyramid structure. What a let down.
  • by RFC959 (121594) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @09:55AM (#6558576) Journal
    There are already about a million theories of how the pyramids were put together, and most of them don't seem to be grounded on anything but pure speculation. I have a degree in anthropology, and took courses in archaeology and prehistoric technology, and my prehistoric technology professor [bu.edu] was a respected archaeologist and he used to just rip into all these new theories.

    Understand, it's not that things couldn't be done this way, it's just that there isn't any need to invoke curved planks, floats, anti-gravity devices, etc., and there's no evidence of any of these. Building megalithic structures is not as hard as people think it is. Yes, it takes a lot of muscle power, but if you have that (and ancient people did), it's not that big a deal. This is not idle theorizing, either; there are people who actually go out there and try out their theories by building dolmens, giant statues, and the like (something Mr. Raina does not seem to have done). Everybody seems to have this desire to put one over on the establishment, but it's a lot easier to assume that the archaeological establishment is just a big bunch of meanies who put down your theory because it makes them look bad than it is to actually do the research yourself. And somehow these amazing new theories always seem to involve "lost knowledge", which conveniently overlooks the fact that the Egyptians wrote down and otherwise documented a ton of stuff - recipes, spells, contracts - so to assume that a major construction method was completely overlooked seems disingenuous.

  • Mystery (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FluffyG (692458)
    The only mystery i see is how many people did they have working on these pyramids? I have read up and people have calculated that a rock needed to be placed every 2 or so minutes. While this might seem impossible but maybe there were say 10 groups of people moving an individual rock into place at the same time. so say it took 20 minutes to move the rock into place, if you have 10 groups doing that at the same pace then it could seem doable. Also since the pyramids were so huge perhaps they had 100 groups of
  • C'mon, we all know the Pyramids were built by aliens.
  • I think i saw a television program on the discovery channel or something a while back where some scientist postulated the same theory. I don't think this guy is on to anything new...
  • The way the pyramids were built was by pouring the stones. Yes, they mixed something like our concrete and poured it on site. Amazing, huh? They had rock-making technology!

    editor's note: Moderators! Is this guy out of his mind?
  • I heard somewhere that the pieces were moulded on the spot. Maybe it was hype, who knows.

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