Theories on Constructing Pyramids with Simple Mechanics

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posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:02 AM

Theories on Constructing Pyramids with Simple Mechanics

Presented in this topic are three theories based on simple mechanics of the inclined plane and lever, each with a basis in archeological discovery or ancient written accounts. I particularly like Andrzej Bochnacki’s theory. Bochnacki, a Polish engineer, depiction of one of the methods described by Herodotus. It’s simple, direct, and can be multiplied as many times as needed or tailored to fit the manpower available.

Of course, considering the length and breadth of the pyramid-building era, there was a multitude of building methods employed, starting with the simplest of means, the inclined plane or ramp. While ramps may have been sufficient with the smaller pyramids, their shortcomings became evident with the Great Pyramid of Giza. Evidence of ramps can be found at several pyramid sites.

See: Lifting Material to Build the Pyramids of Egypt Ramps and Other Lifting Devices (

The shortcomings with ramps lay in the tortuous means by which a crew dragging stones would have to navigate turns or ramp landings. Soil mechanics, specifically slope stability, determines how steep a slope can be based on the material used. Generally, the width of a slope made of sand or sandy clay needs to be 1.5x its height. For clay, the width of the slope can be 1x its height, or 45 degrees. For a spiral ramp to work as its often depicted, it can only be built of stone. Evidence of brick or rubble ramps are found at Amenemhat and Senwosret. Anything else would have left the ramp lying in a heap at the foot of the pyramid. For a look at the conventional ramp view:

See: Building an Egyptian Pyramid by Dows Dunham (1956) (

From Construction of the Great Pyramid: (

The ramps likely took the form of an inclined plane at the beginning of work, but the configuration in later stages has long been a matter of conjecture. Some Egyptologists propose a straight, gently sloping, linear ramp, some propose a steep staircase ramp, and others propose a ramp that spiraled up the four sides of the pyramid. In most ramp scenarios, the volume of the ramp exceeds the volume of the pyramid structure itself, raising the possibility that the stones of the upper reaches were placed using levers, or perhaps a modified ramp of some sort.

Such imposing ramps whether spiral, straight, or some of the other configurations proposed, would obscure the structure they were attempting to build, interfering with their sight-lines and ability to place the Tura-stone casing. Most ramp theories assume the Tura-stone casing were smoothed in a top-down model, leaving the rough protruding surface to give the ramp something to adhere to. Ramps undoubtedly had their uses when the pyramid was still relatively low, but became increasingly problematic as the structure rose. The Egyptians must have turned to other simple mechanics to overcome these obstacles and for that consider the alternative theories presented in this post.


A NEW SLANT ON THE PYRAMIDS by Andrzej Bochnacki (


"The pyramid was built in steps in the form of battlements or, according to others, in the form of altars. After putting the stones on the base, the remainders were lifted to their places by means of machines formed by short wood levers. The first machine lifted them from the soil up the top of the first step where there was another machine that received the stone and hoisted it to the second step, where the third machine lifted it again. Or they had as many machines as courses the pyramid or possibly they had one alone that, being of easy movement, was being transferred of course in course upon ascending the stone. Both versions were given and therefore I mention both." - Herodotus

A simple machine based on nothing more than an easily transported inclined plane and lever. At the lower course these machines could be spread out allowing more stone to reach the course under construction rather than clustering at the top of a ramp. Bochnacki gives his description on how the work teams would have managed moving stones with such a device.

Another area the stone needed to be moved was the landing ramp at the Nile, having been deposited there by barges or rafts. Here again, levering each stone forward using the weight of the stones lined up behind it would move them incrementally to the top of the ramp where they can then be dragged to the pyramid on a cedar sled.

Image: Credit for artwork belongs to Andrzej Bochnacki.

What Bochnacki’s depictions don’t address is the placement of the Tura-stones since his machines require access to the steps of the foundation blocks, nor do they provide a model for Herodotus’ alternative description of moving blocks up the pyramid’s flanks. (Illustrations of Herodotus’ other descriptions will be given further down this post.)


Paul Hai; Rampless Pyramid construction (

”These four Pyramids were constructed using a unique type of wooden pulley, hitherto unknown in the modern world. The Pharaonic pinion-pulley operates on Class 2 lever principle (Effort-Load-Pivot) with a Mechanical Advantage of 2.8 (MA=2.8), therefore technically qualifies as a MACHINE. This jargon means that a 2500 kg Pyramid block can be hoisted with a lifting effort equivalent to 900 kg.
The pulley makes Pyramid construction effective and very efficient and without any need for ramps simply because the four stepped sides of the Pyramid are used progressively throughout construction.”
– Paul Hai

Image: The ‘Petrie Rocker’

Hai’s theory postulates that the above assembly would be attached to each side of a block (lashing them to one another) so that it may be rolled up the side of the pyramid. How his theory works:

Images: Credit for artwork belongs to Paul Hai.

Several potential misgivings abound with this theory, primarily the “hoist” and “feed” ropes could be exceedingly long to reach the upper courses, would require greater tensile strength then what the Egyptians may have had available, and if any off-center forces became present, the whole contraption could fail. If the rope failed or slipped from the lobes, it would create a deadly missile and disrupt work. This theory also strays to close to the use of an actual pulley block, unknown to the Egyptians of the time.

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:02 AM
Franz Löhner: Building the Great Pyramid (

Löhner proposes that a “rope roll” and sledges on wooden tracks provided the means for lifting the blocks to the upper levels of the pyramids where the ramps became impractical.

According to Löhner; “A wooden track is constructed directly on the pyramid face and anchored on the casing. Two rope rolls are installed on both sides of the track and anchored on a special casing stone each. The two rope rolls constitute a rope roll station. A rope roll station is installed about every 30-37m height and an additional one on the edge to the pyramid plateau. On both sides of the track, a ladder-like rig is installed for the haulers to walk on. The stone block (weighting an average of 2.5 tons) is laid on a wooden sledge and tied down with ropes. The sledge is then installed on the tracks. Of course the tracks and the skids of the sledge are well lubricated with watered oil.”

Image: Rope roll station, tracks and haulers on pyramid flank (illustration R. Zuberbühler)

The theory is contingent on a number of these stations, built upon special Tura-stone protrusions. Similar protruding Tura-stone would have provided the anchoring points for the scaffolding and tracks. Even the transition to the level plateau is handled with special Tura-stones. By leaving the stone block permanently affixed to its sledge throughout its journey up the pyramid, it greatly facilitates its handling.

Images: courtesy Franz Löhner

Löhner’s Web site is packed with a detailed analysis of his theory, as well as force calculations and historical precedents for his theory as employed by the Egyptians. His theory also can be extrapolated to account for the larger granite blocks used in the interior. His site also offers one of the better rebuttals to the traditional “large ramp” theory at Theories of pyramid ramp systems refuted

The pyramidion:

Löhner’s theory would also seem to imply Egyptians has greater knowledge of the use of an axeled pulleys than currently accepted. He defends this by stating ”the concept of pulleys was well known to them in the old kingdom time as they showed pulleys made of ropes (a rope passes through a ring made of rope) used for raising boat sails. Can be observed in Merirouka tomb in Sakkara and where else a boat with sail was depicted. Another good evidence is what can be seen inside the king’s burial chamber in the north pyramid of Senefrue in Dahshur (the red pyramid), there you can see a tree trunk fixed horizontally across the room with very clear marks of ropes that used it like a pulley.”

The portcullis of the King’s Chamber also relied on pulleys of similar nature to those postulated by Löhner.


Regarding Herodotus; Machines as (potentially) described by Herodotus not depicted in the above theories:

This method would also be easy to use, although the base for such a fulcrum would need to be wide to assure the load doesn’t sway. The difficulty with such a lifting device comes when you are far enough up the face of the pyramid yet not near enough the plateau that your workers are pulling the ropes while in a position over the device, causing them to lose mechanical advantage. However, like the simple inclined plane and lever depicted by Bochnacki, a multitude of these lifts could be arranged around the pyramid allowing a number of teams to work independently.

From a paper submitted to the University of Pennsylvania; MOVING AND LIFTING THE CONSTRUCTION BLOCKS OF THE GREAT PYRAMID (Jason Baldridge, Winter 1996) ( This is another typical type of fulcrumed lifting device that many researchers contend was described by Herodotus.

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:23 AM
Nice thread! Always interested on how these pyramids were actually build. One mystery that yet has to be solved. I'm also very interested into how far the Annunaki have had their influences into these buildings, if they were really even there that is.. since there are alot of stone tablets referring to them?

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:31 AM
The Annunaki is a Sumerian reference, and has nothing to do with Egyptian pyramids.

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:41 AM
Good research, I'm aware with the 1st method only, never know the other methods. Thanks for saring

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 12:13 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer
Nicely put together! Star and Flag!

There is a lot of new info for me. It certainly looks like most of them are feasible.

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 12:19 PM
I don't understand how they could build the pyramids with such precision, with these methods.
If I remember correctly, the empire state building sunk about 6 inches from when being built. The pyramids only sunk 2 inches! I might be wrong - memory is not that good, but I do know that the pyramids were an architectural and engineering feat!

No matter how they were built, someone must have been a genius there in Cairo

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 01:10 PM
reply to post by TortoiseKweek

Some pyramids did fail for settling; from

The older pyramids of the third and early fourth dynasty were built on thick layers of marl and slate. These marl layers were easier to dig than limestone, so excavation of the large shafts that extended as much as 30 meters beneath the step pyramids was accomplished in a reasonable time. However, there was also a serious disadvantage, because the marl layers could not support their weight. The underlayer gave way, and the construction became unstable. This in fact happened with the South Pyramid at Dahshur, where cracks and serious damage appeared in the corridor system and in the chambers so that the pyramid had to be abandoned.

The GP at Giza has the advantage of being built atop living rock so settling is virtually nil.

The precision is indeed amazing considering the tools used;

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 02:32 PM
Why would aliens choose to use such "simple" mechanics?.

All joking aside, some of those engineering techniques, although delightfuly novel, are every bit as fanciful as shapeshifting alien lizard gods that feast on tasty gold treats. Its a shame we dont have the Great Library anymore, that more than likely stored a BUILDING A GIANT PYRAMID FOR DUMMIES, along with every other engineering treatise with every building technique ever employed in the ancient world and before.

One thing thats aswell odd though, there is no evidence of eqyptian engineering that could help explain how such an enormous civils project was acheived, which is odd. But then they were probably in the habbit of striping everything down and re using every piece of timber and ropes etc from a job such as this for something else.

As for the secret chambers, meh, you have to remember the people who constructed these pyraminds, were basicaly madder than a sack of owls. Who knows why secret hidey hole door 3 for the upper rear section of the magic pharoh mans sacred soul to be stored in, just before it exits shaft 2 on its way to chamber 5 just before it combines with the rest of his soul in accordance with the Mad High Priest of the Bird Cats precise instructions to ensure his galactic journey is succesful. They were completely insane. Just bear that in mind.

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 03:06 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer
Dammit! I just wrote a long reply with links and my elbow caught the mouse and killed it. It was probably too long anyway.

Great OP and fairly unique in the A&LC forum. It's the only thread I can remember reading that simply offers a rundown of plausible techniques for how the Egyptians built the pyramids. It's the kind of thread that deserves attention and should direct people to explanations other than 'aliens did it' or that ancient astronauts taught mankind how to use stone.

Thanks for taking the time to post a quality thread

posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 07:06 PM
Thanks Kandinsky, it's always a pleasure to hear your comments.

I think a lot of people's first exposure to ancient Egyptian culture is from the Great Pyramid of Giza, which can understandably overwhelm their sense of what early man could accomplish. What they don't recognize are the centuries of baby-steps that led up to it.

Take for instance Khasekhemwy's mortuary temple, a mud-brick mound dressed in Tura-stone bricks. It was a precursor to Djoser's step pyramid, as much as Djoser's pyramid was a precursor to Giza. The stone craft of ancient Egypt was honed by the vast scale of temple building, they were masters of the art in the 1st dynasty.

posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 01:26 AM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer
This is often the problem, it's like going to theme park and staying on the same ride all day. The Giza Pyramids represent so much magic to many, that they miss the chance to read further. All the stages that led up to their construction are just as interesting. There's an idea that's alll mystery, but that's only because they are still looking at the great pyramid and scratching their heads in wonder!


I don't know if you've heard these podcasts from last year? A History of the World in 100 Objects. There's one that applies here...Egyptian clay model of cattle.

This clay model of four cows was made in Egypt over 5000 years ago. It was placed in a grave, perhaps to provide its owner with food in the afterlife. Cows were revered in Egypt as a source of life in the harsh desert environment and whole cows were sometimes also buried with people. Later they were worshipped as the cow goddess Bat - the protector and mother of the pharaoh.

Seriously, very good thread.

posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 03:01 PM
I think you touched on the ultimate "precursor" step Kandinsky, not so much how the pyramids were built but why. It's all about catering to the soul, a belief that originated in earliest man and even among the other hominids. The Egyptians were catering to the souls of their dead in similar fashion as the Sumerians, who believed their dead would wander the streets as pale shades of their former selves in search of food and nourishment. They even imagined the dead, left ignored, would attack the living for their blood...!

This treatise gives a look at these beliefs and the very origin of the soul, one can see where the concept of funerary and mortuary temples, and eventually pyramids, could emerge over time as a natural progression of such beliefs; ANIMISM or THOUGHT CURRENTS OF PRIMITIVE PEOPLES (

Lots more info online on "how they did it" from the links below;


Ancient History. Fact or Fiction? (by Peter Thomson)

I especially like Thomson's site, which covers Egyptian topics to Ed Leedskalnin's "Coral Castle".

Image: Egyptian techniques depicted in the Rekmara tomb - courtesy Peter Thomson

Catchpenny Mysteries of Ancient Egypt - EXPLAINED & Other Sundry Stuff for Your Amusement and Edification

In depth look at many of the "unexplainable" mysteries of Egypt.

And from the Louvre;

When Kush ruled Egypt (as the 25th Dynasty) they too began pyramid building (these are found in modern Sudan). There's currently an exhibit at the Louvre on "Meroe, Empire on the Nile" (

posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 08:22 AM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer

Great OP, really enjoyed it

Nothing more to add.


posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 09:46 AM
Finally someone posted the obvious!! Hats off to Blackmarketeer for bringing this up! A very well documented presentation indeed (although there will be multitudes that will ask "but where were the spaceships parked?" or "where was the giant battery plugged in?" or whatever else). A well deserved S&F for you mate!


You beat me to posting that video, I will complement on it by posting the link to his site, this way there is as complete a covering as we can deliver

[edit on 18-8-2010 by Maegnas]

posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 09:21 PM
I still say the 3 Giza Pyramids were not built by the Pharaohs of Egypt. Those 3 are on a level far beyond the others in precision and tolerances. The lack of hieroglyphs also shows the Egyptians didn't build them. They only repaired them and may have modified them in some way. The Inventory Stele says Khufu repaired the Great Pyramid. I know Hans would disagree but he never showed a complete translation of the text. If anyone can, please do.

[edit on 22-8-2010 by Sargoth]

posted on Aug, 23 2010 @ 01:45 AM
I hear ya Sargoth. It is confusing to sort out based on much of the "alternative" theories being pushed, but in the end I think science and even the dreaded Hawass will prevail in this debate, and the Giza pyramids are dated correctly.

What hard evidence is there to support Khufu as the builder of the GP? Most of the evidence seems to fall into the category of "anecdotal" - for instance the funerary boat Khufu buried outside the pyramid. It doesn't indicate he built the GP since he could have done that with an older pyramid he "re-purposed" for his tomb. There is however, evidence that could be considered "hard" evidence, such as R.W.H. Vyse's discovery of the graffiti above the King's Chamber, where only the builder of the structure could have placed it. Was Vyse engaging in intellectual fraud? Vyse is an enigma since another of his discoveries (a bit of iron plating) is regarded as contrary to what is accepted as the "iron age" for Egypt (some 2,000 years later than the building of the GP). Were both discoveries legitimate? Were both fraudulent? Why is one held up as being impeccable, and the other as being suspect? Vyse hailed from an era before the advent of archeology as a science, and he may have been playing the "Gentleman adventurer" seeking to make a grand discovery but no reason to suspect him of fraud, since he did make several well-accepted discoveries.

However, the above examples are simplistic and indicative of a non-Egyptologist's view. There is actually quiet a bit of hard evidence to support Khufu as the builder, perhaps not within the walls of the pyramid itself (except of course for that bit of graffiti). There is the quarry from which Khufu extracted most of his stone that bears his mark;

Khufu used the granite quarry in Aswan, basalt from the oasis, and white fine limestone from Tura. The name of Khufu has been found written in the alabaster quarry at Hatnub. Two tablets bearing his name have been found in the Sinai. His name has also been found in Bubastis. It has also been inscribed on a temple at Byblos (Lebanon), which might imply that he sent an expedition there to bring back cedar wood that was used in the construction of his boats which were found in 1945 on the south side of his pyramid. Finally, his name was found written in the western desert to the north of Abu Simbel and northwest of Toshka, where they took the diorite to be used in the statues.

Much of the worker's villages were built during Khufu's time as well, another strong indicator that this is when the GP was built.

There are also hieroglyphic texts to consider as well, such as the Westcar Papyrus, the Pyramid Texts, and the Inventory Stela.

The Pyramid texts:

"The Pyramid Texts reflect not only an Egyptian vision of the afterlife but also the entire background of Old Kingdom religious and social structures, and they incorporate an ancient worldview much different from that of more familiar cultures."

I won't try to get into what the Pyramid Texts imply as far as Khufu goes, since I'm out of my league regarding that, but others have compared the structure and layout of Khufu's pyramid to the texts and found them compatible - even to the reasons for the existence of the doors in the shafts leading from the King's Chamber.

The Westcar Papyrus relates of tales told at Khufu's court. It's thought to have been written in the Middle Kingdom (around the 12th dynasty), some 500 years after Khufu. That should give you some indication how profound an impact Khufu had on Egypt, that unlike most Pharaohs, they were still telling tales of him hundreds of years past his death. Then again, Khufu was more than just a god-king, typical of the other Pharaohs. He declared himself the god, Re, in the living flesh. The Inventory Stela (664-524 BC) was written in the Late Period, nearly 2,000 years after his death, by the Cult dedicated to Khufu as a God. It may be written by the priests of the 26th Dynasty in accordance with what they believed of the 4th Dynasty - and not a factual record of the man's accomplishments. Is it possible they separated Khufu, the Pharaoh, from Re, the God? Think of how nutty Christianity gets around the subject of the "transfiguration", Khufu/Re may be a prelude of that line of convoluted thinking. It might help explain why his pyramid went a step above the others. But even so - his pyramid shared many traits found in those of the Old Kingdom as well - Sneferu's bent pyramid, the North Pyramid, and those of his son.

Scroll down a few paragraphs on this page for an excellent analysis of Khufu's pyramid complex within the 4th Dynasty, and how nicely it aligns with the religious descriptions of the Pyramid Texts and overall cultic practices of that time period; The Pyramid Texts of UNAS - The Royal Ritual of Rebirth & Illumination (

What is typical for these "Stellar" pyramids of Sneferu (Bent Pyramid as well as North Pyramid) and Khufu is the elevated position of the King's Chamber. In both, the funerary symbolism is clearly celestial. The expanse of the sky was the celestial Nile, with banks on the West and on the East. The Milky Way was called "the beaten path of stars" and paradise was invisioned as the Nile Valley at inundation : the Field of Reeds (Osiris) on the eastern edge (i.e. the culminating moment in the movement from dusk to dawn) and the Field of Offering (Re) further North.

The kings of the IVth Dynasty (ca. 2600 - 2487 BCE) emphasized the Solar component of divine kingship, the direct manifestation of the supreme deity on Earth.

I realize this response is a little disjointed, but I think when you begin looking at the (much) bigger picture of the 4th Dynasty and overall pyramid building, you start to see that the Great Pyramid really does belong to the 4th Dynasty and no other time period. To try and remove it from that period and place it, say, tens of thousands of years earlier, would cause far greater consternation in the established timeline of Egyptian development. It would be like taking one of Picasso's "Blue Period" paintings, and claiming it was painted by his grandfather. (or space aliens).

Other resources;

The Inventory Stela (
Khufu - Dr. Zahi Hawass (
Studies in Ancient Egyptian Religion & Philosophy (

Really consider reading this one:
The Pyramid Texts of UNAS

posted on Aug, 23 2010 @ 10:55 AM
LiveForever8, a good point about the Wallington video is the way he uses the 'Petrie rocker'. Lay them end to end as he did and you can see how easily he was able to roll a stone block along them; the pic gives the layout, but watch the video at :30.

Image: courtesy W.T. Wallington

Makes moving blocks easier and avoids the necessity of lashing the Patrie rockers directly to the stone (and having to make all that rope).

posted on Aug, 24 2010 @ 06:38 PM

Newbie here to ATS.

I couldn't help but find this thread. Actually I have seen a couple of threads now on ATS about the pyramids and various other sumerian texts and subjects.

No one so far that I have seen has mentioned the Annunaki Enki 14 tablets of the Annunaki's time on earth and the creation of mankind. It is all spelled out about all of it, including the pyramids, nephlim, creation, etc. From what I have seen on the internet 99% of the info is wrong.

Many videos on youtube are also filled with wrong info.

I would suggest people interested should go to Go down the left side of the page and you will come to the Annunaki/Sumerian section.

There are a ton of related videos there on the tablets.

[edit on 24-8-2010 by jake62]

posted on Aug, 25 2010 @ 08:46 AM

From what I have seen on the internet 99% of the info is wrong.

This applies to the link you provided too?

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