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BigBoy1
09-15-2008, 07:33 AM
Below is pictured one of two identical columns that really are a work of art. It is about 20 cm in diameter and about 2.5 meters tall and made from marble. The spiral thread cut on the surface is an eight lead thread! I still am astounded by the workmanship that went into making these columns. How does one make such complicated cuts on a material the can easily break? I’m sure some form of a steady rest had to be used.

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t308/i422twains/HelixBottom.jpg
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t308/i422twains/HelixTop.jpg

This trip showed me that there is nothing new in the world. Things that we think we have “invented” have really been around for thousands of years.

Bill

J Tiers
09-15-2008, 07:56 AM
There is a pretty good chance that the square holes etc were actually intended to hold the column pieces on top of one another, or to key the columns into the rest of the structure. Whether they were also used to support the piece for carving I can't say, although I actually doubt it.

Despite appearances, many of the columns that look "turned" were actually carved, with templates, etc for uniformity. The "eight lead screw" is an example. It would take a fairly complex gearing to produce that, but hardly any tooling to carve it, just wrap strings and mark the surface.

G.A. Ewen
09-15-2008, 08:08 AM
Whether or not they were turned or carved they are an amazing engineering feat. It is strange the the museum folks didn't know more about it.

Bill, if you like interesting bits of history I recommend the book "One Good Turn - a Natural History of the Screw".

Bill Pace
09-15-2008, 09:55 AM
From my extensive education (History channel, Discovery, Learning channel, etc;)) These are described as 'keys" and as mentioned are used to align -- 'key' --them together. I've never heard it mentioned in the commentaries that a lathe mechanism was used, but carving is often talked about.

Mind-blowing work however it was done!!

rotate
09-15-2008, 11:28 AM
Frankly, I don't see anything that civilizations of the past has accomplished which is not keeping with the technology of the time (kind of an obvious statement). I think the amazement comes because we hold a bias that people of the past were some how stupid or less ingenious.

jkilroy
09-15-2008, 12:03 PM
Rotate,

I think the exact opposite is true, people of today have so much done for them that they are a LOT less capable that people of the past. Also, modern medicine has brought long life to millions that would have otherwise died an early death. Survival of the fittest has no place in modern language.

lazlo
09-15-2008, 12:12 PM
Da Vinci designed and built a leadscrew cutting machine circa 1500AD -- it used a pair of leadscrews in differential form, and had change gears to select the pitch (the wheels drawn under the lathe bed):

http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=60539&rendTypeId=4

The Da Vinci museum in Florence built a 1/3 sized model, and it works great:

http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/pr/809477521/Science_&_Society_10415991.jpg

mark61
09-15-2008, 12:27 PM
Could those holes have been drive hole for turning 3 or more stone columns all rubbing together to smooth each other out? Use a slurry with say granite or perhaps even sand and just keep truning them till they smooth off? I am inclined to agree there was some kind of machining done. Another one of those incidents where the victor changed/ rewrote history to demean the vanquished?

mark61

rotate
09-15-2008, 12:33 PM
Leonardo's invention makes my point, which is that there's nothing marvelous about ancient technology. If anything, it points out how agonizingly slow the progress has been until the era of scientific revolution in the 17th century. Archimedes knew about the properties of screw both in it's ability to displace matter and to amplify the force and that was several hundred years in BC. The fact that Leonardo makes a nifty mechanism using screws over a thousand years later is a testament not to the ingenuity of mankind but his stupidity. Too busy fighting with each other and worshiping and fearing a god that doesn't exist.

lazlo
09-15-2008, 12:44 PM
Leonardo's invention .. points out how agonizingly slow the progress has been until the era of scientific revolution in the 17th century. Archimedes knew about the properties of screw both in it's ability to displace matter and to amplify the force and that was several hundred years in BC.

Remember that between the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476, there was 600 years of the Dark Ages, when a lot of Greek/Roman technology was lost forever, that the Renaissance architects, scientists, and engineers (including Da Vinci) had to rediscover.

That's an important lesson in Human history -- another global catastrophe (a World War over oil supplies, as an example), could easily set us back 1,000 years...

rotate
09-15-2008, 12:48 PM
Also, modern medicine has brought long life to millions that would have otherwise died an early death. Survival of the fittest has no place in modern language.

This is another one of those myths that everyone keeps perpetuating. Modern medicine contributes very little to how long we live on the average. Good nutrition and sanitary living conditions is primarily why we live so long. Medicine with all it's fancy equipment should not get the credit. It's been calculated that if we could cured all forms of cancer, the average human life expectancy would increase only by about 2-3 years.

Duffy
09-15-2008, 12:59 PM
I looked at all the photos and offer these comments:- Evan is probably correct; the square holes held keys which were most probably bronze for both durability and non-staining properties. They were as small as possible due to cost and they are now gone for the same reaswon. One of the columns was obviously pink granite. Even today it would be slowly turned on a very large vertical machine and the cutter would probably be a great big diamond grinder or just maybe a torch of the type used for drilling granite at the quarries. Neither of these existed 2000 years ago. Most important, you did not see the scrap pile where these columns were produced at the quarry--it would have been TRULY impressive. The work was certainly done by hand. Cleopatra's needle was quarried using diorite balls and brooms! There were no planers to make it straight and smooth, and if I am not mistaken, they actually built two of them. Hammers, chisels, and quartz sand are the most likely tools. Duffy

lazlo
09-15-2008, 01:04 PM
Evan is probably correct; the square holes held keys which were most probably bronze for both durability and non-staining properties.

Evan hasn't posted in this thread :)

On the Nova episode about the restoration of the Parthenon, they showed how the pieces of the column used a tapered square key, which was pinned with a piece of wood. The seams on the column piece were fitted so tightly that many of the wooden key pieces are still intact when the disassemble they column for inspection.

LES A W HARRIS
09-15-2008, 02:57 PM
Evan hasn't posted in this thread :)


Lazlo, This thread is in four parts, Evan posted as stated in part one. So technically he has?


My two cents of opinion, the columns were carved round, fluted, spiraled, or whatever, the square sockets were for keys, (tenons).



Cheers Les.

lazlo
09-15-2008, 03:16 PM
Lazlo, This thread is in four parts, Evan posted as stated in part one. So technically he has?

Yeah, I've never seen someone do that before: break-up a post into 4 seperate threads :)


y two cents of opinion, the columns were carved round, fluted, spiraled, or whatever, the square sockets were for keys, (tenons).

You are correct on both accounts -- like I posted on the other thread :) the Nova episode about the restoration of the Parthenon showed them disassembling the columns for the first time since they were built, and the square pieces were keys for a tapered square Cedar peg.

They also showed how they made form guides to guarantee uniformity of the column patterns as they were hand-cut by hundreds of stone masons.

kf2qd
09-15-2008, 06:06 PM
The farther we are from Eden the dumber we seem to be. We are impressed by our ability to make things on a micro level and to push data around at amazing rates, but when it comes to making grand beautiful enduring objects we have absolutely no clue as to how it can be done. In this "modern" age, if it can't be produced in 10 minutes our less it must have no value. So we see none of these amazing things like these columns because it must not have much value because it takes so long. But we will kill over a cell phone or an ipod... We hold a piece of plastic in awe, but things that will endure for centuries we discard as being of little value.

macona
09-15-2008, 06:15 PM
For the greeks labor was cheap. Can we say slaves...

Can you imagine how much it would cost now to do something like this and throw the labor pool needed at the job... At union rates? ;)

Buildings like this could be made today, there is just no desire for this kind of architecture.

lazlo
09-15-2008, 07:54 PM
The farther we are from Eden the dumber we seem to be. We are impressed by our ability to make things on a micro level and to push data around at amazing rates, but when it comes to making grand beautiful enduring objects we have absolutely no clue as to how it can be done.

In the Nova episode, they said the Parthenon was built in 16 years. The modern Greeks have spent 30 years and €45M restoring it, and they say it's going to take at least another 20 years to finish the restoration.

Keep in mind though that they're going through extraordinary efforts to salvage even the most minor original piece, so a lot of their work is hand-cutting 3D jigsaw puzzle pieces to fit the broken marble on-site.

Aside from using modern cranes to move the marble pieces around, all the masonry work is being done with authentic period techniques, including lapping the column segments with sand.

It was also very cool to watch them use the equivalent of machinist's blue to mark a replacement piece, spot it against the broken piece of marble they're repairing, chipping away at the high spots, and repeating many, many times.

Evan
09-15-2008, 07:54 PM
Buildings like this could be made today, there is just no desire for this kind of architecture.

I don't think we could build such structures today. We don't have the equipment. The Temple of Jupiter contains three stones called the Trilithon that weigh between 800 and 1000 tonnes. They are about 400 cubic meters of stone each.

Who would you call to have something like this 1000 tonne block moved several miles up a hill?

http://vts.bc.ca/pics5/1000ton.jpg

lazlo
09-15-2008, 08:00 PM
By the way, I just noticed that Nova is now posting their episodes online -- very cool!

Secrets of the Parthenon (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/parthenon/program.html)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs/ht/img/3502-thumb01.jpg
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs/ht/tm/3502.html?site=12&pl=wmp&rate=hi&ch=1

J Tiers
09-15-2008, 08:01 PM
The farther we are from Eden the dumber we seem to be. We are impressed by our ability to make things on a micro level and to push data around at amazing rates, but when it comes to making grand beautiful enduring objects we have absolutely no clue as to how it can be done. In this "modern" age, if it can't be produced in 10 minutes our less it must have no value. So we see none of these amazing things like these columns because it must not have much value because it takes so long. But we will kill over a cell phone or an ipod... We hold a piece of plastic in awe, but things that will endure for centuries we discard as being of little value.

Sounds profound, but actually is substantially false.

There has NEVER been an abundance of skilled people. And as for appreciation, good sense etc, well......

In all of Greece, there might have been 3 or 4 people who could do columns right. They and their helpers got a lot of business. The helpers did the hard work, and the skilled people did the checking and laying out.

A skilled worker would be known in several countries, and sought after for his skills. He would travel and often was responsible for great works in many places.

People forget that the general population was totally ignorant about nearly everything that they didn't actually do themselves. And THAT they knew "how" to do, but did not know "why" to do.

Discarding things as of little value is hardly new...... The marble carvings from the Parthenon (one of the most famous buildings on earth) were being systematically hacked into convenient pieces and burned by the locals to get lime when they were "torn away from their ancient place by an arrogant English Lord who shamelessly stole the patrimony of the Greek people"......

lazlo
09-15-2008, 08:12 PM
The marble carvings from the Parthenon (one of the most famous buildings on earth) were being systematically hacked into convenient pieces and burned by the locals to get lime when they were "torn away from their ancient place by an arrogant English Lord who shamelessly stole the patrimony of the Greek people"......

The Parthenon actually survived 2500 years of occupation by the Spartans, the Romans, and the Turks. Unfortunately, most of the damage happened in 1687, when the Ottoman Turks were using the Parthenon to store gunpowder. :rolleyes:

The Venetians fired a cannon into the building, and the Parthenon literally exploded. The shell crumbled most of the roof, knocked down several columns, and destroyed most of the remaining statues surrounding the Parthenon.

Before the Greeks started the restoration, the Parthenon apparently looked pretty much the same since the explosion.

Ed Tipton
09-15-2008, 08:17 PM
Technical skills are both mastered and lost every day. Give a modern kid a pencil and a piece of paper and you will likely get a perplexed look in return. I doubt that any of the modern generation could work out a math problem longhand with pencil and paper. But... give them a calculator, computer, or game boy and they'll leave my older generaton in the dirt every time. I enjoy working with the old tools and the old technology. I belong to a group of blacksmiths who are all very dedicated to recovering the old techniques and skills. But...I'd hate to think of what would happen if I was suddenly thrust back into the 16th or 17th century. I could re-define the term...dumb! People of earlier times were not dumb or stupid. In fact, anyone who has ever taken a good and serious look at old tools and devices will quickly be amazed at the level of ingenuity and cleverness that were brought into play. They did almost everything we do today, but they did it all without the benefit of modern metheods. Many of the old skills and techniques are lost...probably forever...and I for one don't think we're any the better for it!:o

J Tiers
09-15-2008, 08:19 PM
The Parthenon actually survived 2500 years of occupation by the Spartans, the Romans, and the Turks. Unfortunately, most of the damage happened in 1687, when the Ottoman Turks were using the Parthenon to store gunpowder.

Old news.........

However the lime burning is true.

Evan
09-15-2008, 08:26 PM
The farther we are from Eden the dumber we seem to be. We are impressed by our ability to make things on a micro level and to push data around at amazing rates, but when it comes to making grand beautiful enduring objects we have absolutely no clue as to how it can be done. In this "modern" age, if it can't be produced in 10 minutes our less it must have no value. So we see none of these amazing things like these columns because it must not have much value because it takes so long. But we will kill over a cell phone or an ipod... We hold a piece of plastic in awe, but things that will endure for centuries we discard as being of little value

I would disagree with that. So would the people that funded and built this Parthenon in Nashville.
http://vts.bc.ca/pics5/parthenon2.jpg

lazlo
09-15-2008, 08:32 PM
Technical skills are both mastered and lost every day. Give a modern kid a pencil and a piece of paper and you will likely get a perplexed look in return. I doubt that any of the modern generation could work out a math problem longhand with pencil and paper.

I started my Engineering Fundamentals class (Freshman Engineering) in 1984, which was the last year Virginia Tech taught manual drafting. It was also the first year that any engineering school required the freshman engineers to buy a PC -- an authentic IBM-brand "Charlie Chaplin" 8086.

So the Engineering Class of '88 was one of the few that was taught both manual drafting and CAD. When you think back to the mid '80's, that was a pretty major inflection point in technology...

I hated drafting: "Start at the Top Left, and draw to the Bottom Right..."

Peter S
09-15-2008, 08:37 PM
I like the pillars of Bernini's canopy at St. Peters in Rome. Cast in bronze, nevetheless the lower helical part is of interest to gearheads... even if trying to figure out how to straighten them...:) According to the second link below, they are about 20 metres high and it was a major problem finding enough bronze for the project.

http://www.pbase.com/nelsonc/image/65916447

http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Altars/PapalAltar/PapalAltar.htm

Getting back to stone pillars, I have a photo showing the machining of straight flutes in large pillars being done around 100 years ago. Done on-site, sort of a knocked-up machine tool.

wierdscience
09-15-2008, 08:55 PM
This is another one of those myths that everyone keeps perpetuating. Modern medicine contributes very little to how long we live on the average. Good nutrition and sanitary living conditions is primarily why we live so long. Medicine with all it's fancy equipment should not get the credit. It's been calculated that if we could cured all forms of cancer, the average human life expectancy would increase only by about 2-3 years.

Don't dismiss Polio,small pox,measles and several other key vaccines along with modern antibiotics.

You need only walk in to a old cemetary to realize that many more people died young not that long ago than do now.

rotate
09-15-2008, 08:55 PM
I don't think we could build such structures today. We don't have the equipment. The Temple of Jupiter contains three stones called the Trilithon that weigh between 800 and 1000 tonnes. They are about 400 cubic meters of stone each.

Who would you call to have something like this 1000 tonne block moved several miles up a hill?


They are indeed very impressive.

http://vejprty.com/balwshrp.jpg



Wouldn't few of these do the job?

http://www.vincelewis.net/crane.html

Evan
09-15-2008, 09:49 PM
Impressive crane that is. Still, moving such blocks would be at the limit of our technology. Once lifted it needs to be transported and then placed in a location that doesn't have room for that crane, never mind several of them. That of course begs the question of how the ancient Greeks did it.

andy_b
09-15-2008, 10:44 PM
Who would you call to have something like this 1000 tonne block moved several miles up a hill?

http://vts.bc.ca/pics5/1000ton.jpg

the Chinese????

andy b.

wierdscience
09-15-2008, 11:03 PM
Impressive crane that is. Still, moving such blocks would be at the limit of our technology. Once lifted it needs to be transported and then placed in a location that doesn't have room for that crane, never mind several of them. That of course begs the question of how the ancient Greeks did it.

Even more impressive to me is the fact that there are more Egyptian obelisks in Rome than in Egypt.

It's one thing to move 1100 tons up a hill,but a whole nother deal to move 230 tons of long narrow brittle stone all the way from Egypt to Rome.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/wierdscience/Obelisk-Lateran.jpg


Tallest obelisk in Rome, and the largest standing ancient Egyptian obelisk in the world, weighing over 230 tons. Originally from the temple of Amun in Karnak. Brought to Alexandria with another obelisk by Constantius II, and brought on its own from there to Rome in 357 to decorate the spina of the Circus Maximus. Found in three pieces in 1587, restored approximately 4 m shorter by Pope Sixtus V, and erected near the Lateran Palace and basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano in 1588 in the place of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which was moved to the Capitoline Hill.

Bguns
09-16-2008, 03:13 AM
We have had the capability to drive heavy objects around since 1966 :)

The obelisks could even be moved standing up...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/behindscenes/crawlers.html

J Tiers
09-16-2008, 07:46 AM
Of course we could move that sort of object now, or set it up anywhere.

The main question is not if we could, but whether we could get enough people to work at it.... or if the EPA etc would allow it......

A.K. Boomer
09-16-2008, 08:30 AM
People forget that the general population was totally ignorant about nearly everything that they didn't actually do themselves. And THAT they knew "how" to do, but did not know "why" to do.

.





Uhhmmmm --- so what your saying is nothings changed right?

Rustybolt
09-16-2008, 08:31 AM
Of course we could move something that big today. In the 70s Procon moved and erected an isomax cracking unit from St Johns to the Come by Chance refineery site. At the time it was North Americas largest dead weight lift at something like 900 tons.

lazlo
09-16-2008, 09:48 AM
Of course we could move that sort of object now, or set it up anywhere.

There's a great documentary (can't remember the title) showing construction of an Aegis-class destroyer. They build the warship in big sections, hoist each section into place, and then weld it together.

Rustybolt
09-16-2008, 10:11 AM
Not ancient, but it's still turning stone on a lathe.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3983/is_200703/ai_n19431157

Evan
09-16-2008, 10:21 AM
Of course we could move something that big today. In the 70s Procon moved and erected an isomax cracking unit from St Johns to the Come by Chance refineery site. At the time it was North Americas largest dead weight lift at something like 900 tons.


Still is at the limits of our technology. Was it at the limits of the Greek technology?


They build the warship in big sections, hoist each section into place, and then weld it together.
Ships are mostly air.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/shipsink.jpg

lazlo
09-16-2008, 11:05 AM
Ships are mostly air.

LOL Evan! Anything will float if it displaces enough.

I just looked up the weight of an Aegis-class Destroyer: 8,3500 tons unloaded.

The 8 segments they rigged together were almost completely wired and outfitted, but figure 80% of the unloaded, completed ship weight, so as an educated guess, each segment they rigged at the shipyard would be around 800 tons.

That ship construction technique is not unique to the US Navy -- I would imagine there are bigger, heavier sections that are rigged the same way. The gigantic diesel engines on the Super freighters are shipped assembled and rigged into place...

And by the way, there's a huge difference between pushing around a 1,000 ton block, and lifting and precision rigging it :)

Evan
09-16-2008, 11:25 AM
Sure. I still think that you would just get laughed at if you said you wanted to move that big block in the picture above. It would be an engineering project of a major scale to say the least. And, it still begs the question of how it was done.

Ries
09-16-2008, 11:53 AM
I am pretty sure these columns were carved, not lathe turned.
Even today, very little stone is lathe turned- usually only really soft stuff. On the island of Malta, which is one big soft rock, they do a lot of lathe turning of stone railing balustrades and newell posts, but the stone is so soft you can carve it with a penknife.
And I am quite sure that there are still carvers today, on virtually every continent, who could carve similar, nice round, or twisting spiral, columns for you.
I know a metal artist whose husband does this kind of work in Ohio- and columns are childs play for him.
http://www.fairplaystonecarvers.com/info.html

As for moving heavy things- just because its hard, doesnt mean we couldnt do it- but nowadays, we have easier ways to break up large parts, so we can move them in pieces.

I have yet to hear of any real "lost art"- that is, something that was done in the past that cannot be done today.
In fact, in most categories, craftsmen today are actually BETTER than historical ones- we certainly have much more knowledge and education, and I find modern craftsmen have amazing materials knowledge, historical background, and so on, that historical craftspeople could never have.

When I hear how Damascus, say, is "lost"- I shake my head, as I, personally, know a few guys who have forgotten more about forge welding, alloying, heat treating, layered mixed metals, and so on, than any Indian in the tenth century could ever learn.

Now its true, that truly difficult and amazing craftsmanship costs a lot of money these days- but, honestly, when Faberge Eggs were made, they werent exactly cheap.

There are smart people around the world today who can do ANY manual craft as well as its ever been done historically, and, in most cases, better.

mwechtal
09-16-2008, 12:25 PM
They moved the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in one piece, and vertical. It's 208 feet tall, but I couldn't find a weight. Must be a couple of tons.;)

Rustybolt
09-16-2008, 12:53 PM
Sure. I still think that you would just get laughed at if you said you wanted to move that big block in the picture above. It would be an engineering project of a major scale to say the least. And, it still begs the question of how it was done.


Well. Yeah. Because the first question is, why.

But they probably moved the larger ones the same way they moved the small ones only with more levers ropes pulleys and people.

I think the largest machine I ever moved by myself, from one end of the shop to the other, was a centerless grinder. Something like six or seven thousand pounds. I did it the same way they did it.

stuntrunt
09-16-2008, 01:08 PM
I have yet to hear of any real "lost art"- that is, something that was done in the past that cannot be done today.
In fact, in most categories, craftsmen today are actually BETTER than historical ones- we certainly have much more knowledge and education, and I find modern craftsmen have amazing materials knowledge, historical background, and so on, that historical craftspeople could never have.

There are smart people around the world today who can do ANY manual craft as well as its ever been done historically, and, in most cases, better.

Being a silversmith, I can tell you that it's harder today than it used to be.
There used to be someone to polish solver, one for gold, someone to engrave drawings, someone for text, for every kind of stone there used to be a different setter. Someone used to roughly hammer things into shape, anothers had to perfect them and someone else did nothing else but planish,...

Nowdays if you need to make a coffeepot,cutlery or a silver lighter, you have to be very good at everything. Specialising in something and becoming extremely good at one thing is just not possible anymore. Let alone economically viable

It is very fulfilling though, when you actually succeed in making something from start to finish, all by yourself.

Runt

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p84/stuntrund/lighter.jpg

thistle
09-16-2008, 01:17 PM
The ancient secret to moving and making things was flagelation .

apllied often, in liberal quantities anything could be made or moved.

Evan
09-16-2008, 01:45 PM
I did it the same way they did it.

Not at all. Scaling laws aren't linear.

The problem with very heavy objects is that they become heavier much faster than they become bigger. If you double all the dimensions of a stone block the weight increases by eight times. So, if you have a block that is 10x10x10 feet and you make it 40 x 40 x 40 feet then it weighs 64 times more. That makes it a totally different proposition to move. You don't have as much perimeter that you can apply levers against per ton of weight. The loading per sq foot is much higher than for a small block as it increases by the square of the area.

That 10 x 10 x 10 block might sit nicely on 10 1 ft diameter log rollers. The 40 x 40 x 40 ft block will only fit 40 of the same rollers under it but the load will be 16 times higher per roller.

macona
09-16-2008, 03:20 PM
Still is at the limits of our technology. Was it at the limits of the Greek technology?


Ships are mostly air.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/shipsink.jpg

Well, duh.. The Greeks didnt do it.... It was those little Aliens that did it. I thought everyone knew that...

Rustybolt
09-16-2008, 05:51 PM
Who said they used log rollers?



Perhaps it's at the limit of our capacity because there is no need to lift anything heavier. The sections of the reactor were rolled at a shipyard in Ireland and then shipped to Memphis to be welded together and then LIFTED on a barge.


To my mind the most difficult part of moving a block that big would be in preparing the roadbed.

Doc Nickel
09-16-2008, 07:47 PM
The ancient secret to moving and making things was flagelation.
apllied often, in liberal quantities anything could be made or moved.

-Yep, and this is the part most people forget. Massive numbers of expendable slave labor.

You want something moved? Gather together 100,000 healthy men and tell them that, if it isn't moved by harvest, then you'll execute each and every one of them. And maybe their families as well.

Hire a couple dozen big burly guys with whips and who won't take "no" for an answer, and by golly, you'll see some stuff moved. :D

The other part that's often forgotten is the time scale. It took over a hundred thousand men something like 25 years to build one of the Egyptian pyramids, but it took a couple thousand men only two years to build the Sears Tower.

Yeah, you want it moved tomorrow? That's tricky. You want it moved sometime within the next ten years? That's not so tough.

Doc.

Evan
09-16-2008, 08:21 PM
That sounds good Doc but that isn't how it would work. You would just end up with a bunch of dead people. Moving something like a 1000 tonne block takes special techniques and methods. You can't skid it no matter how many people you have. It has to be moved by some other method. The most likely way is to raise it inch by inch. You dig out the supporting earth on one side until it tips slightly into the depression you made. Then you dig out under the opposite side to a point not quite to the center of balance and build a stone wall right up to the bottom.

Then you brace that side with wood cribbing on top of a stone wall near the edge and pile tonnes of rock on top on the same side to change the point of balance. When the weight is on the cribbing you burn them out and the block tips over the center wall raising the original fulcrum line by perhaps an inch. You keep doing this back and forth until the block is raised enough on two parallel stone walls near the center of balance. Then you dig a much deeper pit on the side you want it to move. You fill that side with sand and rebalance the block until it is resting on the sand.

Then you either start digging out the sand or if possible you wash it out with water and roll the block over 90 degrees to rest on what used to be one of the sides but is now the bottom. In this way the block is both lifted and advanced toward it's final destination. The only limit on the weight that can be moved this way is the load bearing nature of the soil under the block. Since you were able to quarry a stone that size it's a good bet that the soil is bedrock and once you have it lifted for the first rollover your only real job is building low walls, filling and removing sand and placing, moving and replacing weight in the form of small boulders on the top side of the block to change the balance.

Doc Nickel
09-16-2008, 09:09 PM
Um, I know, Evan, trust me. I've seen the same YouTube videos, m'kay? :D

The point is that we think, today, in cranes and trailers and three really skilled operators, to get a job done in hours.

Back then, they thought in terms of ropes, shaved logs, a couple of shovels, ten thousand expendable slaves, and a year to get the job done.

And yes, of course many of them died. There's huge cemeteries associated with each of the Great Pyramids, and it wasn't uncommon for an individual to have spent his entire life simply helping build a single pyramid.

Labor in those days was exceptionally cheap. Even as late as 100 years ago- I'm sure you've seen the videos of the turn-of-the-century Netherton Iron Works (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLIbObCltfQ) where they're forging chains by hand, link-by-link, and hand-forging whole anchors (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_LA_R4ifYk). It was cheaper to pay twenty men to swing a sledgehammer than it was to build a steam hammer.

Doc.

Evan
09-16-2008, 09:17 PM
What U tube videos? I don't watch those. My connection isn't fast enough.

lazlo
09-16-2008, 09:46 PM
Back then, they thought in terms of ropes, shaved logs, a couple of shovels, ten thousand expendable slaves, and a year to get the job done.

And yes, of course many of them died. There's huge cemeteries associated with each of the Great Pyramids, and it wasn't uncommon for an individual to have spent his entire life simply helping build a single pyramid.

The modern theory is that there were between 20,000 to 30,000 "workers" who built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years. Like Doc says, there was a city built there for the workers, so it's relatively straight-forward for archeologists to tell the size and population of the city.

The reason I used quotes around "workers" is that there's a hot debate as to whether they were slaves, or conscripts. The difference is largely semantics -- the conscription theory states that the Pharaoh required each family to contribute a male worker for life to the project.

rotate
09-16-2008, 10:24 PM
The modern theory is that there were between 20,000 to 30,000 "workers" who built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years.

Actually the figure is much lower and it's been getting lower as we understand how they may have done it with less effort. I believe the latest estimate is no more than 20 years. Tour guides keeps touting figures like 100 years and 100,000 men, just because it sounds more impressive. I never trust what tour guides tell me, especially if it's a government appointed guide. :rolleyes:

lazlo
09-16-2008, 10:28 PM
Actually the figure is much lower and it's been getting lower as we understand how they may have done it with less effort.

I was quoting the number on the National Geographic's "Egypt: Secrets of the Ancients" series. Excellent series by the way, their reenactments were well-done -- historical reenactments usually turn out cheezy, but these were done with Egyptian nationals, on-site at Giza, with some low-key CGI.

Who Built the Pyramids?
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/pyramids.html

Contrary to some popular depictions, the pyramid builders were not slaves or foreigners. Excavated skeletons show that they were Egyptians who lived in villages developed and overseen by the pharaoh's supervisors.

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 workers built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years. Much of the work probably happened while the River Nile was flooded.

Evan
09-16-2008, 10:47 PM
One interpretation is that the majority of workers weren't slaves or conscripts but merely employees of the government. The pyramids were enormous make work projects to keep the population occupied and the money flowing. Evidence in the form of ancient accounting records that were found show that workers were assigned to teams that competed against each other with prizes / bonuses for those that moved the most tonnage or whatever they were competing at.

dp
09-16-2008, 11:17 PM
Google Wallace T. Wallington. He changed the rules.

wierdscience
09-17-2008, 12:19 AM
One interpretation is that the majority of workers weren't slaves or conscripts but merely employees of the government. The pyramids were enormous make work projects to keep the population occupied and the money flowing. Evidence in the form of ancient accounting records that were found show that workers were assigned to teams that competed against each other with prizes / bonuses for those that moved the most tonnage or whatever they were competing at.

Close,you need to understand the pyramids were different than any other structure in Egypt.

The Pharaoh was God incarnate,the people who built the pyramids were volunteers working in the service of their God.It was their duty to see that he had an easy journey into the after life upon death.The size and grandeur of the pyramid was also a representation of the Pharaoh's popularity among the people.

It has also been theorized that even then the Pyramids were tourist attractions.Like most tourist traps I'll bet there was a gift shop:D