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Egypt's pyramid construction secret: Just add water

Egypt's Pyramid Construction Secret: Just Add Water

For centuries, people have been trying to figure out how the ancient Egyptians moved the huge stone blocks needed to build the pyramids: sleds, ramps, wheels, logs ... aliens. Now, Dutch researchers say they've found a much simpler technique to make the job easier: just add water.

Yep, how the builders transported stones weighing several tons from quarries all over the country has been an enduring mystery.

"There is still a great deal of disagreement among Egyptologists about how the pyramids were actually constructed," according to History Channel.

But if the researchers are right, the answer has been staring those Egyptologists in the face for centuries. Check out this picture from Wikimedia Commons of an Egyptian sled. What's that guy pouring?

It could just be plain old water. One of the most popular theories on how the Egyptians transported the stones is that they were hauled on sleds. Pulling a sled through sand is hard work, but it becomes much easier if the sand is wet.

In the study, published in Physical Review Letters, the Dutch researchers carried out their own experiment and found if the sand is just wet enough, the sled can be pulled with half as much effort.

The study says that's because water gets between grains of sand and forms what they call "liquid bridges" which "act like glue, keeping the grains in place. This is great for sand castle building, and also, it turns out, for sand transportation," according to American Physical Society.

Basically, the water prevents the sled from digging into the sand and creating more friction. It's not exactly rocket science.

It's also not a new idea. This BBC documentary has its actors pouring water in front of the sled. But now we know how that made the job easier, and we're sure the guys holding the ropes appreciated the help.

Join the discussion

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granmaslincoln May 03 2014 at 7:43 PM

I guess these "Alleged" scientist will say anything for attention?

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ALVHUN May 03 2014 at 6:02 AM

While this is an interesting theory that may have been employed to aid in the construction of the pyramids, I would suggest people pay close attention to Edward Leedskalnin, who built Coral Castle in Florida. Stones weighed many tonnes which he moved without a single person helping him. He even relocated the castle loading and unloading trucks, by himself perfectly reassembling the castle.

Edward claimed he knew how the pyramids were built. He is the only human being, other than the builders of the pyramids (stone henge) who actually built something very big in modern time. I think his method is the only proven one with unequivocal proof (Coral Castle) that his claim to knowing how the pyramids were built is true.


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lakasatganda May 02 2014 at 4:22 PM

It is possible that Egyptians might have used water to temporarily harden the sand, adding up ease in moving the sled sliding on it, especially when the sled is made up of wood with smooth surfaces. However, I think this watering method if used for moving huge stone blocks will only make the works a lot harder because the wet sand tend to stick with the stone, letting the wet sand acting like anchor.

I noticed that most archaeologists and Egyptologists frequently ignore the power of geometry. I strongly believe that ancient people normally used the power of geometry when it comes to moving huge stone structures.

Possibly, stone blocks were moved by utilizing 2 sets of 4 pcs of small stones all of which were shaped like a D that can be attached temporarily at the ends of the stone block and secured all D-stones with metal straps like those being used for making the wheels of the chariots. Now, if all Ds were properly installed, then the whole thing will look like a huge dumbbell.

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John batey May 02 2014 at 4:13 PM

i want what ever you guys are smoking

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jamesnnancy May 02 2014 at 3:50 PM

still doesn't explain how the bolcks were cut to fit so precisely with ancient technology, yet no tool marks were left on them.

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flabeachbach May 02 2014 at 4:31 PM

they only worked during the rainy season..lol

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jkingsire May 02 2014 at 4:53 PM

Oh and I forgot to add they could have placed flat timbers in the sand installed up my hill theory..
Thank you one and all... Move on to something new... Like eliminating the math theory that any # x 0 =0...

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jkingsire May 02 2014 at 4:49 PM

For years I've been stating they used the sand to form hills up the pyramids to pull and slide the large stones up the sides then dispersed the sand upon completion..Adding water to these hills could have helped stabilize the sand.... No one yet I've read has had a better answer yet no one listens.. With thousands of laborers this could be easily accomplished... The water report is BS because it does not explain how they got these large and heavy stones up the pyramids possibly only from point A to point B on the ground.. One explanation I've read had them being installed climbing like a step which is ridiculous.. No way to jump these stones up steps.. My way and no other..

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1 reply
charlstern jkingsire May 02 2014 at 5:10 PM

jkingsire: When you mention "thousands of laborers," you mean "thousands of slaves."

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demecelao May 02 2014 at 4:57 PM

Primitive Egyptians were not that stupid ! They knew water and oil ( palm oil )do not mix; so they used proportionally the addmixture of 2:1.25 to prevent the rapid absorption of water on the hot desertic sand creating thusly an slough compound that allowed the heavy stones to slide easily on ramps that their engiineers ( ingenious ) maintained at a consntant slope of 1:1.25 surrounding the perimeter of the pyramid upto the cuspis. (Not a member of the American Physical Societty )

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ANTON May 02 2014 at 4:57 PM

The pyramids in Egypt or the ones constructed by the Mayans and Aztecs, some like Machu pichu 8,000 ft up in the mountains that have 50 ton boulders. I think back to where I was born, Miami Fl. and the famous coral castle, it is more modern day than 4,000 years ago. A man built it all by hand, in the 1920's the state wanted the land so he moved the whole place. He told the truck drivers to park and leave the trucks, when they came back the giant rocks were loaded on the trucks. They tried to figure out how one man could cut out huge slabs of coral from the ground, lift them out and stand some on end so precisely that by using one finger you could turn a 40 ton rock to go in or out. Even today with all the cranes, diamond tip saws, bull dozers, etc it would be a massive undertaking. A 120 lb man did this with no real tools, one theory he like the Egyptians had some kind of gravity control device that would change the gravity so that a 100 ton rock would be as light as feather until set

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