IMAGINE a very simple balance system.
Think about 2 thick and strong hardwooden elevator platforms (1.5 x 1.5 meter), tied on both ends of one rope (which was inevitably getting quite long
towards the building endfases), which rope is hanging over 2 big fat pulleys, fixed tight on 2 axels. Two axels, fixed above 1 wide, oblong formed
pyramid center-shaft, enough space between the axels so the 2 platforms do not touch.
Pulleys are made of 2 identical big hardwooden parts, halfmoon shaped, with 2 smaller halfmoon shaped centered sparings, forming a center hole when
bound together, which will fit around the axels.
The two pulley halfs are clamped over one of the 2 axel midpoints and tied together with 2 long, strong, wetted leather bands, which after drying,
will shrink, and tie the two halfs very tight together. Now you have an axel with a big pulley in the middle.
Repeat this for the other axel.
The pulleys axels, made from 2 massive hardwood tree trunks, cut as round as possible on both ends, both hang and lean on 2 rests, made of several
loose laid building blocks, on both sides of the Central Shaft opening ( 1,5 x 7 meter), with the pulley in the middle, and both axel ends are resting
on both sides of the shaft in a halfmoon formed mold hacked out in a specially made hard stone top block, which is constantly greased with warm
honeybee wax. One man is devoted only to this waxing.
The rope twining will have been one of the most important jobs on the pyramid construction site in this proposed scheme.
Lots of papyrusses, dressed leather bands, perhaps lianes from the southern jungles, bark cut in lints and first soaked in boiling basic water, and
who knows what more tough, natural products, were possibly involved (Do I hear rubber trees? Lots of trees around which do excreed quite interesting
stuff when their bark is wounded. Lots of jungle in the southern parts of ancient Egypt. Remember all those Nubian Pharaohs? Black as ebony. Did I say
I have a feeling that the full pyramid height will not have been served by a pulleys+ rope system, since the rope involved must have been just as long
as the pyramid's apex height plus 5 meter plus 2 x 1/2 the diameter (radius) of the pulleys and a bit more.
A staggering 146 meters.
And, they will have stopped using the elevator somewhere around level 200, since there was no place enough anymore for the total axels + its holding
system on higher levels.
They first filled up the delivery tunnel (that one ran from outskirt till the center), then the elevator shaft, and then went on with the completion
of the last 10 levels by means of jacking-up the last blocks along one side of the now nearly completed Great Pyramid
One problem you, the reader, already predicted?
The length of the elevator rope increases with every new level reached.
Well, no better solution as to produce 200 different length of ropes, one for each higher level reached.
This will have been a special job for an increasing amount of rope-twiners during pyramid construction. Could be done everywhere, but ofcourse better
near the best source of material for the ropes, then ropes were transported to the pyramid and quarry sites, to be used to drag sledges, blocks, etc.,
and as elevator platform ropes.
At the endperiod of pyramid construction, the real massive and long ropes had to be twined together from already used ropes from previous levels. They
had at least a decennium to get better and better with it, inevitable.
Some plunging of elevators in shafts may have been involved, but, who knows, after the first plunge, someone will have invented the multiple manual
emergency breaks, for sure.
Twining ropes was a well understood technique in ancient times, just as twining baskets, sun hats, papyrus boats etc.
(Study references and books about Thor Heyerdahls expeditions with huge twined papyrus boats (vice versa) over the Atlantic Ocean, if you doubt my
The last 9 levels will have been done by the levers+jack-up method, I presume. Level 200 was still big enough to hold the axels resting block
construction, stone benches and men. Any earlier level to begin with the levering jack-up method is just as good to me, if you don't want to cramm
people and materials on a too small space.
Possibly the first 10 or so lowests, first base levels were also build by the jack-up method, so a lot of time could be won, while ropes etc were
Let's see now, how the balance system worked in practice.
1 Block, 2600 kg, on a stirdy platform, comes up from groundlevel, because 40 people (block-pushers and shovers coming back from placing their last
block), step on the other, opposite above platform. They are weighting an average 70 kg, a total of 2800 kg, when the last man steps up, the platform
starts moving down its shaft, thus forcing the other platform with the 2600 kg block on it, to go all the way up in its shaft. You need about 200 kg
overweight, to overcome all the friction in the balanced system. And a damn good brake system on all the 4 ends of the axels. Simply a beam levered
under them will work already, just don't let the downward platform gain too much speed, that's the whole trick.
Also smaller beams stuck in holes at the end of the axels will be handy to get the ride started, since quite some friction have to be overcome before
a platform really starts moving.
Well, don't laugh, since all of you, and me too, can already imagine the repercussions of herding 40 people on a much too big and too heavy platform
in a too wide shaft.
So, we streamline the process, and only let the 4 members of a jacking-up and sliding gang, step on a much smaller (1.5 x 1.5 meter) downward
platform, and create the rest of the needed counterweight by placing two two-seater massive stone benches on the platform, weighting each 1260 kg,
making a total of 2520 kg worth of counterweight. That makes a full 2800 kg when four persons weighting 70 kg average, seat themselfs on those two
benches. And, eureka, down they go! Relaxing on the way down, as an added bonus. Extra stone weights can be utilized to be added to the platform by
the gang, to facilitate a smoother descend, overruling the friction of the system.
After reaching the bottom, they wait untill the sign is given from above, that the limestone block up in the other shaft has been slid off its
platform, then the 4 men step off their platform and also slide or roll the 2 benches (set nr 2) from their platform on to the shafts floor.
Now we have a balanced, empty platforms system in the shaft. Both platforms in the shaft are identical in form and weight.
Only the weight of the length of rope in the downward shaft disrupts a bit that balance, that's why the platform at the bottom stays there now
Then they slide or roll the already waiting next limestone block from the transportation sledge on the empty platform.
And walk back through the delivery tunnel to the road to the quarry to pick up a block. Or wait untill the other platform comes down again, and ascend
with that one again.
Above, in the other shaft, the other set of 2 stone benches (set nr 1) is then slid on that platform, the next gang of 4 men also steps on, and down
they go. Etcetera ad infitum.
No! After 3 times, both counterweights are at ground level, and you have to bring them all the way up again to be usefull.
That means jacking-up 2 x 2800 kg. No fun.
Ofcourse, the architect quickly becomes aware of the improvement of this method.
He doesn' place any people anymore on the platforms, just a limestone building block on one side, and one of 2 sets of counterweights on the other
side, to be placed by just 4 men stationary at the shaft's top, and 4 men stationary at the shaft's bottom.
Move 1 : block goes up platform 1, counterweight goes down platform 2. etc. 3 times, then again we end up with 2 counterweights both at groundlevel.
No fun to bring them back up.
This elevator method needs the least amount of people to operate the shafts, cut the blocks in the quarries, and transport the blocks to the pyramid.
No huge amount of people needed to build and maintain an increasingly massive ramp.