It's a question that has perplexed and befuddled the greatest minds in Egyptology and beyond for centuries - how the ancient Egyptians managed to
raise millions of 2.5 ton limestone blocks and many 70 ton granite blocks to construct their pyramids. Suffice to say that there have been many
proposals - some straightforward such as the 'ramp theory' and others a bit more bizarre such as UFOs and sonic levitation devices and suchlike.
Of course, accepting that the ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom period did indeed build these magnificent structures, then they could only have
done so - in my opinion - through a means that was at their disposal. Such a means that was
at their disposal (if they had only realised it)
was the application of hot air in some form of 'envelope' or balloon. In short - might the ancient Egyptians have used (tethered) hot air balloons to
lift the heavy pyramid blocks?
Fanciful? Perhaps – but before we dismiss the idea out of hand, let us consider some potential evidence that could lend support to this possibility.
First of all the Montgolfier balloon - the first ever manned flight - was made of linen and paper; two materials that were easily available to the
ancient Egyptians, as were ropes and sails.
The average weight of a limestone block in the Great Pyramid is often quoted as being around 2.5 tons. A hot air balloon (at sea level) with a
diameter of around 125 feet can lift 6.39 tons, less the weight of the materials. A linen balloon of 125 foot diameter would weigh somewhere between
750 and 1,000 lbs. Lifting at night or in the winter months when it is much cooler would ensure better lift than during the day when the ambient
temperature would only be slightly less cooler than the air in the balloon.
Thus we can see that the AEs certainly had the means and the materials to build hot air balloons and we can calculate that such a balloon of around
125 foot diameter, including the weight of the balloon itself and ropes etc, could feasibly lift two average GP limestone blocks.
But did the AEs in fact discover such a lifting technique? There are some tantalising clues hinting that they just might have done so.
Is this really a mirror being depicted in AE art? Why then does a 'mirror' have wings? Why does a 'mirror' carry two people in a barque? Is it
plausible that we are actually being presented with something else here other than a 'mirror'?
And then there is this (in)famous image from the Temple of Hathor at Dendera:
In some interpretations of this relief, the goddess sitting on the stone block to the far right of the image (upper left) is the AE Goddess, Amaunet -
the Goddess of Air. This goddess is also depicted as a snake (or serpent) which we also see within the centre of the various 'balloons'(?).
Notice how the balloon shape in the upper left image lies on its side and is similar to a hot air balloon being laid out and filled with hot air.
Notice also how the other images from Dendera depict the balloon shapes in a vertical alignment (again with the snakes of the air goddess Amaunet
depicted within the balloon shape) as though the balloons are now flying. What is also interesting about this particular relief is that the text
alongside it makes mention of the "sky carriers".
Are we perhaps witnessing in these images a linen balloon being filled with hot air for the lifting of heavy stone blocks? Or does the conventional
explanation (theory) of this image that it is Horus being born inside a lotus bulb make more sense?
One of the other benefits of utilising hot air ballons is that they could be made relatively quickly (compared to a massive ramp) and could be scaled
up to meet the demands of the project schedule. For instance, the GP is quoted as being around 754 feet on each side. This seems ample room for at
least two 125ft diameter balloons per side to operate. This could mean sixteen 2.5 ton blocks being raised and positioned at once, and even allowing
time for reloading etc., this seems far faster than any ramp theory. Furthermore, by clustering a number of balloons together, even the most heaviest
of blocks within the Great Pyramid could be raised by this means
Some food for thought.
edit on 27/9/2010 by Scott Creighton because: Typo.