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Greased metal on wet wood rails, making pyramids.

  1. Jan 4, 2012 #1
    Of the materials available to the ancient Egyptians for moving large stone blocks, wooden sleds equipped with flat greased metal runners which might ride on parallel wet greased wooden rails gives a low coefficient of friction? It may not be easy to use such materials to make an efficient working system?

    Are there other combinations of "common" materials which might have had a lower coefficient of friction?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2012 #2


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    Have you heard the theory about putting 4 semi-circular bits on each of the blocks and rolling them? I thought that was pretty clever though I have no idea if it's true or not. I heard about this on a documentary on TV. The people claimed to have found these wooden bits inside a pyramid.
  4. Jan 4, 2012 #3
    One of many possible problems, the human pushers or pullers would likely kick up any loose ramp material onto the wooden rails and increase friction and wear? Unavoidable?
  5. Jan 4, 2012 #4
    That is clever! Can't see the weakness of such a system right away.
  6. Jan 5, 2012 #5
    What is holding the wooden pieces on to the block? I bet taking a side off and rolling it onto the flat is a little scary!

    If I recall correctly one theory is they used water and fine silt to create a grease.
  7. Jan 6, 2012 #6


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    Possibly leather straps circling the wheel in a deep groove?
    The block could be supported on lengths of cordwood while the "wheels" and the dowels are removed, then the block rolled along on a series of cordwood logs serving as rollers.
  8. Jan 10, 2012 #7
    A possible solution, "pave" the ramp with woven plant material or use stone? Would workers have worn sandals or gone barefoot? Set the ramp in the shady north side of the partially completed pyramid for cooler workers and feet?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
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