Re: Construction in stone

Elizabeth Childs (
Wed, 05 May 1999 15:47:39 -0700

> I don't think that with the technology we have now we can construct the massive pyramids, temples, and > stadiums the ancients built. They had no cranes, bulldozers, or CAD, but they were able to position > stones-transported from quarries, to heights one would think might have been impossible. We still don't know > who built Stonehenge or how they transported those massive stones. We still can't construct Crystal Skulls > without tool markings.

Nova did a four part series of modern archeologists attempting to use the methods they think may have been used to build Stonehenge, the roof of the Colosseum, Inca stone works, and the Egyptian obelisk:

They were successful with everything except the obelisk, which they are going to try again. They couldn't even use the wheel, and were able to transport blocks big enough for Stonehenge. Moral: moving around big blocks of stone is a huge pain, but it doesn't require a high level of technology, just a lot of people.

Favorite moment: in attempting to move giant stone blocks in the manner of the Incas, they hired a number of local villagers. They interviewed one of the villagers on camera, and he said "I knew we could do it. If our ancestors could do it, we could do it. Human labor can accomplish anything."

Here's a Peruvian villager who does physical labor, probably has minimal access to medical care or communication technology, yet has infinite optimism about what human beings can do. That guy is an Extropian and doesn't know it yet.