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A team of archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 4,500 year old ramp at Hatnhub, the ancient quarry in the Eastern Desert.The ramp was found by the archaeologists from the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo and University of Liverpool in England.
At the Eastern Desert, they found two adjacent staircases with a steep slope between them, and post holes along the side, where the archaeologists presume the alabaster blocks would have been placed. There would be wooden poles fixed into the postholes, and the massive block would be tied to a rope and pulled by the workers.
“Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with the ropes to the wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on a very steep slope of 20 percent or more,” Yannis Gourdon, co-director of the mission reportedly said.
The evidence that it was Khufu’s pyramid comes from inscriptions on the ramp.
led us to the conclusion that this system dates back to Khufu’s reign, the builder of the Great Pyramid in Giza,” Gourdon said.
As previous studies have shown, it’s likely that the ancient Egyptians used large sleds and ropes to pull the pyramid’s 2.5-ton building blocks and statues across the desert.
It’s then likely that they poured a small amount of water across the sand to significantly reduces the sliding friction, a neat little trick that allowed the Egyptians to cut the number of workers needed by half.
As this system dates back at least to Khufu’s reign, that means that during the time of Khufu, ancient Egyptians knew how to move huge blocks of stone using very steep slopes.
Therefore, they could have used it for the construction [of] his pyramid,” Yannis Gourdon, co-director of the joint mission at Hatnub, told Live Science.
Main image from Mikhail Nekrasov/Shutterstock.