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Who Needs Slaves? - Walter's Walk
October 2nd, 2010
09:37 am


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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.


(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
That is an interesting paragraph. One that describes that modern attempt quite descriptively. Also tells about the 2 guys who built it. But I think you're right. The forklift would make things easier.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Nice. Also, the Great Pyramid has about 15,000 times the volume of their little sample, and it has a capstone that's about 24x higher.
[User Picture]
Date:October 3rd, 2010 07:28 am (UTC)
How is that a "short-cut" compared to the antigravity lifter the ancient Egyptians borrowed from their alien benefactors?
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