A new study tries to explain the way in which the Egyptians managed to carry the massive blocks of stone out of which the pyramids were made. Scientists at Amsterdam University believe that the Egyptians could have moved the massive blocks of stone from the desert by damping the sand situated in front of a device designed for carrying heavy objects.
Investigators analysed the forces necessary for pulling extremely heavy objects on the sand on a huge “sled” and they discovered that if the sand in front of the device was wet, friction on the “sled” was reduced and the later could glide easier.
In order to come to this conclusion, the investigators used hints given by the Egyptians themselves. Hieroglyphs discovered in the tomb of Djehutihotep dating back from 1900 B.C. shows almost 200 people pulling a huge statue using ropes attached to a “sled” and in the drawing an individual pouring water in front of the sled was visible.
In the process of carrying heavy objects it is important if one is using dry sand (in which case carrying will be extremely difficult) and also if one is using sand that is too wet (in this case too the process will not be easy or it will not work at all). These findings are the result of many experiments. And the conclusion was that a specific quantity of water should be added, depending on the type of the sand and generally it is about 2, 3, 4, or 5 percent of the mass of sand. By wetting the sand, the reasearchers found, only half of the people are needed in comparison with the situation of not wetting at all.
The study was published last month and it is not only an insight into the way the pyramids were constructed by the ancient Egyptians, but it can also be beneficial for today technology offering explanations for the behavior of materials similar to sand.