Insights into Pyramid Building 

Scientists recently have discovered a way that immense pyramids could have been built in Egypt, and what’s more, there is ancient artwork that depicts this method.

Researchers posit that the enormous rocks, comprised mostly of limestone, were dragged on a sledge that moved over wet sand. Water was placed onto the sand before the moving sledge was dragged from quarry areas to the pyramid site, and up and around the ramps that surrounded the growing structure. Wet sand in front of the exceedingly heavy sledge reduced the pulling force needed by half, as research is showing.

The reason for this movement is stronger cohesion between sand grains induced by water molecules, creating a ground area twice as stiff as dry sand alone. This allows the sledge to be dragged without having to supply extra force to overcome the rising sand mound at the front.

Interestingly, the physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam that discovered this property of sand are looking to ease transport and processing of other granular materials (coal and asphalt are examples), which account for 10% of global energy consumption.

Returning to the pyramids, the artwork pours cold water on the idea the large stones were cast in-place with a lime, clay, water, and limestone mixture (research regarding this from 2007: 

Though rock quarries have been found, some researchers have remained stymied over the magnitude of force required to move these blocks whole over large distances. This research lends a hand to ease the movement contention of the massive limestone blocks. The pictured artwork is from a painting on the wall of the tomb of Djehutihotep (around 1900 BC), portraying one man perched on a sledge, throwing water in front of his ride while numerous others labor to pull the statue towards its final destination.


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Image Credit: Al-Ahram Weekly, 5-11 August 2004, issue 702