How were megaliths moved?

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In particular the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbeck, here is a pic of one of the largest stones:


http://z.about.com/d/atheism/1/0/n/y/2/BaalbekQuarryMegalith.jpg [Broken]



How did they move it? I ask this because someone else brought this up as "proof" that in ancient times we have "hi tech" (ie, UFO nonsense), unfortunately I don't know enough about this to debunk that crackpottery (and I myself am curious what actual techniques were used to move something like this). Anyone want to have a go at debunking this (and letting us know how it was actually done)?
 
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  • #2
turbo
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It's hard to fathom. In northern climes, it would be possible to move large monoliths on flattened paths that were iced over.
 
  • #3
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Yeah, but this one was in Lebanon.
 
  • #4
mgb_phys
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Runners, lots of people, some means of persuasion.

Coefficient of friction for wet wood-wood is only 0.2 so each person can drag 250kg, 100 people = 25Tons.
With fish to grease the runners 20 people can drag a viking long ship across country easily (well not easily but it's possible)
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
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How were megaliths moved? Obelix.
 
  • #6
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Runners, lots of people, some means of persuasion.

Coefficient of friction for wet wood-wood is only 0.2 so each person can drag 250kg, 100 people = 25Tons.
With fish to grease the runners 20 people can drag a viking long ship across country easily (well not easily but it's possible)

Hm, never thought of that. Thanks.
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking
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Is there any evidence that this is how it was done, or is this all just speculation? [fish as grease would make for a short trip, I would think].

That largest stone is estimated to weight about 1000 tons.
http://www.world-mysteries.com/mpl_5b1.htm

In some cases, such as with some pyramids, there has been speculation that the stones were poured as we do today with concrete.
 
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  • #8
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No one knows for sure. Several theories have been proposed. The scholar Jo Anne Van Tilburg suggested that the moai in Easter Island were moved using the so-calles canoe ladders, used in the Pacifiv islands to move heavy wooden logs.
The ladders consist of a pair of parallel wooden rails, joined by fixed wooden cross pieces, over which the log is dragged.
Jo Anne tested her theory enlisting modern Easter Islanders to build such a ladder, mounting a statue prone on a wooden sled, attaching ropes to the sled and hauling it over the ladder.
She found that 50 to 70 people, working five hours per day and dragging the sled five yards at each pull, could transport a 12-ton statue nine miles in a week.
Extrapolating, we can think of hundreds of people hauling heavier monoliths.
As was mentioned by mgb_phys, lubrication could ease the task.
 
  • #9
mgb_phys
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Is there any evidence that this is how it was done, or is this all just speculation? [fish as grease would make for a short trip, I would think].
In the case of viking ships there is evidence, the stinking rotten fish guts left an impression on the poets of the sagas!
For ancient stone monuments there is less evidence. Wet wooden runners on either a wooden roadway or wet clay is pretty good, and you wouldn't have to be a genius to discover that. Wooden log rollers are surprisingly bad - you need very stiff material for rollers to work.

In some cases, such as with some pyramids, there has been speculation that the stones were poured as we do today with concrete.
I think that was dismissed as crack-pottery. It was based on 'air bubbles' in the limestone which are erosion features common in natural rock.
In the case of carved monoliths and stylea (not sure of the plural!) there are lots of partially finished ones in quarries all over Egypt. They had the hieroglyphs carved on them while still attached to the rock and at ground level but then broke while being cut from the quarry.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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In the case of viking ships there is evidence, the stinking rotten fish guts left an impression on the poets of the sagas!

Are you telling me that there is a Viking Ode to Stinking Fish? :biggrin:
 
  • #11
mgb_phys
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Are you telling me that there is a Viking Ode to Stinking Fish? :biggrin:
I think it's more of a whinge.
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking
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I think it's more of a whinge.

From wince it came.
 
  • #13
Pythagorean
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I think if you have slavery for horsepower and some intuitive physics for efficiency, you can move just about anything anywhere.
 
  • #14
arildno
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Nor should we discount the powers of Merlin. He made stones from Cornwall fly through the air and assemble into a famous henge.
 
  • #15
Ivan Seeking
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Nor should we discount the powers of Merlin. He made stones from Cornwall fly through the air and assemble into a famous henge.

We're going to need a source for that. :tongue:
 
  • #16
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the stone in the picture is called the pregnant woman because.. well i think you can figure it out. This is the largest stone amongst the baalbek monument and i believe it is some miles away from the actually monument locating it at the quarry of baalbek. It is believed that this stone was just over the limit of what men could move back then thats why it still remains in the quarry not fully hewn.
 
  • #17
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For those of you who watch Stargate, it reminds me a little of the Asgard. So advanced that they've lost the ability to think 'primitive'. People back then have obviously moved the blocks, theres no doubt about that and yet we can't explain how they did it. Can it not be done today?
 
  • #18
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For those of you who watch Stargate, it reminds me a little of the Asgard. So advanced that they've lost the ability to think 'primitive'. People back then have obviously moved the blocks, theres no doubt about that and yet we can't explain how they did it. Can it not be done today?

Since nobody was there, we can only speculate as how it was done. And yes, we can do it now with technology available to those people. See my previous post for an example.
 
  • #19
RunSwimSurf
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This guy moves large stones by himself, maybe they did what he did but at a larger scale?

 
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  • #20
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I keep trying to figure out how it could be done. I keep thinking it would be easiest by cutting the stone into the shape of a cylinder and use levers to roll it. If you had grooves in the form of a square every couple feet, that you could fasten levers to so that you have a bunch of levers at once. Then you could have some elephants pulling on the levers, and reposition the levers every 1/4 turn or so. It seams though that if they did roll the stones using levers, there would be some evidence of it.
 
  • #21
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This guy moves large stones by himself, maybe they did what he did but at a larger scale?


ha! brilliant! Wallyhenge! :biggrin:
 
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  • #22
Evo
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  • #23
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The stone in the picture weighed 1200 tons. Currently it is much less, as large peices have been quaried off of it.

If you levered it around on a pivot it would break. Even with only 2 men per ton thats 2400 slaves your going to need, add up the weight of all the rope and your getting into some pretty complex problems.

Many of the myths around the moving of large megaliths involve "music" or "maya" or some kind of energy. What if the stone was vibrating somehow? If the vibrations were intense and in the verticle, the megalith would have greatly reduced friction. Just like a vibrating cell phone on your nightstand.

Not sure where the energy would come from though?
 
  • #24
CRGreathouse
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Many of the myths around the moving of large megaliths involve "music" or "maya" or some kind of energy. What if the stone was vibrating somehow? If the vibrations were intense and in the verticle, the megalith would have greatly reduced friction. Just like a vibrating cell phone on your nightstand.

I expect that if the vibrations were strong enough to reduce friction noticeably, they would be strong enough to shear the rock apart. Physics gurus?
 
  • #25
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Are there not numerous cases of abadoned fractured megaliths along the known routes of transport and in the quarries for these stones? I would hazard that the quality and type of stone used would play a significant role if this technique was applied.
 

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