Re: Information & Power /Alexandria library

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 06 May 1999 10:02:20 -0400

Dwayne wrote:

> Billy Brown wrote:
> > Ishmael Abd-er-Rahman wrote:
> > > I don't think that with the technology we have now we can
> > > construct the massive pyramids, temples, and stadiums the
> > > ancients built.
> >
> > Why on Earth not? We can build as big a pile of rock as you want - you just
> > have to be prepared to pay for it. By modern standards there is nothing
> > especially challenging about any of these 'great wonders'. Stone
> > construction is a somewhat neglected art (because it isn't cost effective),
> > but there is nothing magical about it.
> The lower courses of the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbeck are, according to the
> quotes I have seen, too massive to be moved using currently available
> technology. Now, these may be quotes from engineers who have vested interests,
> or they might be correct.

With the horsepower of large bulldozers like a D-9, and since archaeologists have already demonstrated elevating and capping the trilons at Stonehenge with only a few hundred people and simple stone age leverage devices, we could easily build the pyramids over again. As I recall, one gentleman in California or Oregon built a copy of the pyramid, I think at 1/2 scale, in only a few months with a crane. It used stone blocks which were more rough cut than those in Egypt, but that was a cost saving measure, so he did not fit them to the same tolerance. Precision stone cutting is very expensive these days.

> I'd be interested in some comments from some actual engineers, because otherwise
> we'll have yet another round of opinion-waving.
> I have also seen footage of engineers saying that it is technically impossible
> to align a site as large as the Great Pyramid at Giza with the accuracy the
> pyramid displays. There's more to it than just moving rocks about.

That's crap. The Great Pyramid was aligned to the tolerance of the method they used for calculating true north. The the surveying techniques we use today are virtually unchanged from those developed in those ancient times (with the exception of modern optics and lasers). In place of optics, peephole sights were used, which are so accurate that many snipers prefer peepholes to the modern optical scopes. Using a large scale (10' diameter) sundial, some knowledge of astronomy (of which the egyptians were without equal in that day and age), and a peephole sight mounted on a tripod, you could estimate true north with the same accuracy.

> > Actually, we know exactly how most of the famous cases were built.
> > Archaeologists have duplicated in great detail the methods used by Egyptians
> > to build the pyramids and temples. They've also done a good job on the
> > methods used in Greece, England and on Easter Island. In every case there
> > is no magic or advanced technology involved - just old-fashioned
> > craftsmanship and a massive amount of human labor.
> The vitrified forts in ireland?

You mean the mounds? Pure human drudgery moving earth.

Stone construction is not done today simply because it is too expensive to cut and fit stone to the tolerances needed, and stonework is far too intolerant of seismicand other ground shifting disturbances. Note that the Roman Republic was so adamant about the tolerances of their stone cutting that contractors only got paid 50% of a project cost until the project was still standing 40 years later. Modern developers could not operate with such financial restrictions, nor do we want them to, since the average lifespan of a modern building is around 35 years. They typically either get torn down or destroyed in a disaster or war by then.

Proof of the inadequacy of stone construction: The National Cathedral, the last stone construction building in the US, has taken over 70 years to complete.

Mike Lorrey