Scientists Discovered Egyptian Secret To Moving Huge Pyramid Stones

Scientists Discovered the Egyptian Secret to Moving Huge Pyramid Stones

The question of just how an ancient civilisation — without the help of modern technology — moved the two-tonne stones that made up their famed pyramids has long plagued Egyptologists and mechanical engineers alike. But now, a team from the University of Amsterdam believes they have figured it out, even though the solution was staring them in the face all along.

It all comes down to friction. See, the ancient Egyptians would transport their rocky cargo across the desert sands, from quarry to monument site with large sleds. Pretty basic sleds, basically just large slabs with upturned edges. Now, when you try to pull a large slab with upturned edges carrying a two-tonne load, it tends to dig into the sand ahead of it, building up a sand berm that must then be regularly cleared before it can become an even bigger obstacle.

Wet sand, however, doesn't do this. In sand with just the right amount of dampness, capillary bridges — essentially microdroplets of water that bind grains of sand to one another through capillary action — form across the grains, which doubles the material's relative stiffness. This prevents the sand from berming in front of the sled and cuts the force required to drag the sled in half. In half.

As a UvA press release explains,

The physicists placed a laboratory version of the Egyptian sledge in a tray of sand. They determined both the required pulling force and the stiffness of the sand as a function of the quantity of water in the sand. To determine the stiffness they used a rheometer, which shows how much force is needed to deform a certain volume of sand.

Experiments revealed that the required pulling force decreased proportional to the stiffness of the sand...A sledge glides far more easily over firm desert sand simply because the sand does not pile up in front of the sledge as it does in the case of dry sand.

These experiments served to confirm what the Egyptians clearly already knew, and what we probably already should have. Artwork within the tomb of Djehutihotep, which was discovered in the Victorian Era, depicts a scene of slaves hauling a colossal statue of the Middle Kingdom ruler and in it, a guy at the front of the sled is shown pouring liquid into the sand. You can see it in the image above, just to the right of the statue's foot.

We can now finally put this scientific snipe hunt to rest and focus on how the hell Stonehenge got that way. [Gizmodo en Español]

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    Which begs the question... how did they transport the amount of water needed to drag "all" of those blocks to their destination...? :)


      I think when it comes to ancient Egypt the answer to most problems was "more slaves"

        Yeah, I was just being facetious, however, from what I've seen, heard, watched and read, the general consensus is that they were mostly paid workers and craftsmen.. ;)

          Shhhh. Your "logic" and "facts" and "generally accepted theories" have no place on the internet! :p

          its not that i dont believe you, im just interested, how did they work out they were paid workers?
          were they all paid workers or did they still use slaves for some of the mass labour?

            Have a read of these:


            Plenty of articles around the net, the Bible popularised the theory of slaves building the Pyramids, but as per usual it isn't factual.

              Have you read the Bible? Where does the Bible say anything about slaves building the pyramids? Interesting how people want to deny the truths of the Bible yet are more than willing to accept as truth anything found on the internet.

                Ok, if you want to get technical you are right, the Bible doesn't mention the Pyramids specifically,

                But the Bible does say the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians (which is false) around the time when the Pyramids were built so most surmise that the Bible indicates the Jewish slaves built the Pyramids.

                  Lol a conquest by ramses I I father, rameses is known to have gone as far north as antioch.... The Jews were for a fact enslaved by the egyptians, as they were feared in the ancient world because of their lust for slavery. Not to mention hieroglyphics in the valley of kings indicate soldiers looting jewish artifacts as does the arc of titus in rome, whom by the way razed the temple of solomon.. Every great kingdom/empire enslaved jews it happened all the time. Please go to school, stop trusting the internet.

          But, that's not what I learnt from Rugrats?

          Who fact checked the Bible? Seems like that thing is full of factual errors.

        They were not slaves, they were members of the cult who believed pharoh was god. Idiots like that will build pyramids in the desert...just because 'god' wants them to.

          False, the cultists led construction as did priests but slaves did the heavy work, in hieroglyphics within certain pyramids it indicates hundreds of slaves dying of various ailments, in particular dehydration as too many slaves were being used to properly upkeep them. Being an atheist is fine but only if you aren't a based moron. Go to school.

        No, they didn't have slaves as workers. There's no historical basis for that. Just a made up story in some religious texts which don't correspond to factual history.

        During the inundation most of the adult male population, who were farmers. Had their lands covered in water from the Nile and so didn't have much to do. So they were paid as workers for such things. We have a surprising amount of documentation about this. How they were paid, how they were organised. Letters from workers, the villages they worked in ect.

        Key to this is, during the inundation. Which is when the Nile flooded. All the great temples are build along the Nile. Those today which are not on it, like the great pyramids of Giza, or a lot of the Temples around the Theban necropolis, all had water coming right up to them in the past.

        They did also on top of this build canals ect.

    This is a load of bollocks, there's no way that in perfect lab conditions you can replicate exactly how they did it and say "yes, that's how it must have been done" without testing it in full. The hunt has only just begun on this "Theory", can't say case closed, and there are so many questions left begging, like how did they cut the stones as perfectly as they did, how did they get them from the quarry to the sleds, how did they get that perfect angle to place a shadow on the sides during the equinox, so many questions. As well as the biggest question ... WHY WERE THEY BUILT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      One theory is the blocks are made of some sort of early concrete. They have used microscopes on the blocks and found it to be a mixture of aggregates and a bonding agent. If it is true it would solve the close tolerances and how the blocks got there delema.

        It's an interesting theory but I've always had one giant problem with it. There are quarries right next to the pyramids.

          You would still need quarries to get the aggregate.

    I thought the Egyptian workers were paid. Not slaves.
    "Contrary to earlier conjectures—and some modern guidebooks—the pyramids were not built by slaves or foreigners"

    This is OLD news. A few decades ago an archaeologist visiting Sicily watched three 60+ yr old men move a 1 tonne block up a hill with MUD. Water+SAND makes slippery surface. Kinda obvious then too!

    Still doesn't explain how they hoisted them up the to top!

      They dragged them, they build the base first and make your way up (with ramps). You under estimate the power of thousands of devoted workers and engineers.

      Just because it is hard for you to think how it happened doesn't mean it's impossible. I like this theory..

        Are you nuts? Many of the things you're talking about can't even be reproduced today. Not to mention the precision placement of the stones. Get real. It's not that simple.

          Don't be so silly, you have obviously watched to many docos titles "Pyramid Mysteries, etc etc". We could build them much better with modern tech and in a fraction of time but no one is going to foot the cost.

          There is nothing mystical about the Pyramids, they are just very, very cool engineering projects that show the will of our species.

      There was no hoisting, the pyramids used to have a sleek surface.

    Every time I see or hear anything about the pyramids, I think of the explanation shown in the Dilbert animated series...

    Last edited 01/05/14 7:47 pm

    First soils: Some desert soils, esp. those clay soils high in sodium are strong, self-flattening
    and slick as snot when wet. They are made up of tiny plates that slip easily over each other.

    Second organization: You can see that the top right panel is men that cleared the way.
    In Napoleon's army they were called pioneers and carried shovels, axes, etc.

    You have 4 groups of about 28 men, the pulling crew.
    Notice that the crews were color coordinated.
    You have one man applying water and one man clapping, keeping time on the statue.
    You have 3 men carrying water for various purposes and 3 men carrying solids.
    I suspect these were actually cooks bringing food. These pulling crews were burning calories
    in a big way.
    You have 3 men with sticks acting as enforcers at the lower left.
    And You have 12 men of larger size, probably overseers.

    That leaves one man in the center with the plans and drawings for the project.

    The pulling crews were on dry, hard ground and were able to get traction, while the
    load slid across wet, slick ground.

    Egyptians figured this out around 2650 BC. it then took us 4000 years to work out how they did it.

    Not even so much cult, it was the religion of the day, but above all people needed work during the off season from farming. The society also needed something for people to do.

    It is funny when people go into the , 'but how could they do that.'

    It's like they think, 'if I had an afternoon and had to do this, I wouldn't know how, there for the ancients couldn't have.'

    When so much of it is so simple.

    'How do you get a vertical straight line?

    Tie a weight to string and let it dangle, amazing!

    How do you get a straight horizontal line?

    Make a tench and fill it with water, magic!

      I thought a tench was a fish?

    Everyone carried a couple of buckets. And don't forget bladders.

    When the password to the Egyptian people's (not the current inhabitants who are not true Egyptians) primitive computer (hieroglyphics) is discovered, only then will the truth emerge.
    Guesswork and gadgets is a waste of time.

    Last edited 02/05/14 10:58 pm

    I thought they explained it quite well in this documentary.
    Ancient Aliens Debunked - (full movie) HD:

    How did thy get the statue on to the sled? It must be upwards of 30ft high and if its so easy lets see the scientists do it.

    This, so called experts explanation is too laughable to deserve a comment.

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