The pyramids of Egypt have been marveled at since they were built, but in recent years experts have been puzzling over how exactly they were built. A study released back in May proposed that workers used water to help slide the giant stones across the desert. But a new study proposes that the most efficient method of building the pyramids involves not water, but wood.
Physicists at Indiana State University propose that the ideal way to build the pyramids would have been to tie 12 long wooden rods to the stone blocks, three on each of four sides, and then use the new shape (a dodecahedron) to actually roll the giant limestone blocks into place. It’s based on previous research that showed a possible method for moving blocks would have been to place half circles under the blocks and roll them along, which could work, but also would have severely damaged the roads at the time.
From the Physics arXiv blog:
They go on to calculate that a work crew of around 50 fit men would be required to move a block with a mass of 2.5 tonnes at the speed of 0.5 metres per second. “For full scale pyramid blocks, the wooden “rods” would need to be posts of order 30 cm in diameter, similar in size to those used as masts on ships in the Nile,” say West and co.
There's no evidence to show that the Ancient Egyptians used this method, and the researchers used scale models, not 2.5 ton limestone blocks to demonstrate their method. There’s also the question of whether there were enough appropriately sized logs (30 cm=11.8 inches) available in Egypt at that time to provide the raw materials for the method to be viable. But it is an interesting idea and provides potential new avenues of research for archaeologists.