1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data Our class exercise in World Prehistory was to figure out the volume of the building we were in and answer the following: How many a) basketloads, b) mud bricks, c) stone blocks would it take to build structure? How many worker-hours would it take? How many days/months/years would it take, given varying levels sociopolitical organization and population size? Levels of sociopolitical organization and population size: A. Complex chiefdom: population size 1000. Each adult owes 10% of his or her labor to the chief. B. Neolithic town: population size 3500. Each adult owes 10% of his or her labor to the leader. C. State/civilization: population size 100,000. 20% of the population is slaves of the state. 20% of the population is royal or noble and does not work. The other 60% pays taxes to support the state, but owes no labor. Basketload: one cubic foot, requires 2/5 worker hour to collect, transport, and set. Mud brick: 10x14x6 inches, requires 1/3 worker hour to manufacture, transport, and set. Stone block: 1 cubit by 2 cubits, by 3 cubits, requires 4 worker hours to cut, transport, and set. Structure is solid inside, no airspace. Modern 8-hour work day, work estimate need not include, support workers, only actual builders. For all populations, assume 40% ofthe population is adults. 2. Relevant equations cubit = 1.5 feet 3. The attempt at a solution The volume of our building was approximately 400,000 cubic feet Volume of brick things: Mudbrick: .5 feet cubed; Stone block: 20.25 feet cubed
So how many bricks or stones does it take to build the building? Clue: It involves a division. Once you get that, we can work on the other parts of the problem.