Who Needs Slaves?|
Colleen was studying ancient Egypt this week, and while reading her book, I was surprised not to see anything about mass quantities of slave labor wrt pyramid construction. She said her teacher said that the modern belief was that it wasn't slave labor, so I started bumbling around Wikipedia. That may be correct. It's a very interesting mystery: trying to use modern science to uncover the ancient techniques.
One paragraph that made me laugh:
In 1997 Mark Lehner and Roger Hopkins, a stonemason from Sudbury, Massachusetts, teamed up
to conduct a pyramid building experiment for a NOVA television episode. They built a pyramid
6 meters high by 9 meters square. A total of 162 cubic meters or about 405 tons. It was made
out of 186 stones weighing an average of 2.2 tons each. They had a total of just over 3 weeks
to build it due to their filming schedule. 12 quarrymen carved 186 stones in 22 days. They
were able to erect it using 44 men. They used iron hammers, chisels and levers (this is a
modern short-cut, the ancient Egyptians were limited to using copper and wood). But they did
experiments with copper tools, noting that they were adequate for the job in hand, only
provided that additional manpower was available to constantly re-sharpen the ancient tools.
They estimated they would have needed around 20 extra men for this maintenance. Another
short-cut taken was the use of a front end loader or fork lift truck. I'm sure that didn't affect the "building experiment" any.