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Stone moving machine

Over engineered?

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pgk pgk04/07/2021 10:18:04
2599 forum posts
293 photos


It’s an interesting speculation, whether true or not. However, it strikes me that the essential aspects could be simplified just with a few people on top using their own weight to affect balance - so no need to swing the thing around and the two teams of pushers alternating which arm is shoved forwards (from the side rather than from the end)
Even if practical on the flat it's going to be a mare on undulating ground.


Oldiron04/07/2021 11:03:23
995 forum posts
40 photos

I read that article a few minutes ago. It is a very intersting hypothesis. We have all moved heavy items using a rocking motion so it would work. Not sure if I would want to move 50 odd ton rocks with it. As pgk said it would be pretty unstable over undulating or very soft ground.



Edited By Oldiron on 04/07/2021 11:03:54

pgk pgk04/07/2021 11:10:22
2599 forum posts
293 photos

That and if going to invent the lazy susan ball race ya might as well shove the balls under the thing and use a wooden track..?

Zan04/07/2021 11:18:51
313 forum posts
20 photos

Interesting concept but would  be better just using balance without the turntable

I suppose the druids would just pop down to the local timber merchant fir the very very thick planks needed to support the weight, feet thick? then get them to send a forklift to get the stone onto the top…


Edited By Zan on 04/07/2021 11:19:12

Farmboy04/07/2021 11:41:47
170 forum posts
2 photos

There's scope for a lot of serious time-wasting, trying to work out how (and, indeed, why) ancient people shifted so much masonry over great distances. Not to mention how they managed to erect somewhat irregular sized massive stone pillars so that the tops were almost perfectly aligned, then fit stone lintels on top with mortice and tenon joints!

Once you've worked all that out you can move on to Baalbek and work out how they quarried and moved stone blocks weighing 800 tons or more.

Believe me, I've tried . . . most avenues of research end up with giants, aliens or magic disgust

Ady104/07/2021 12:33:13
5164 forum posts
738 photos

"Have it moved over there by teatime or you'll be crucified tonight." does tend to motivate


Edited By Ady1 on 04/07/2021 12:35:00

pgk pgk04/07/2021 12:52:46
2599 forum posts
293 photos

I'm no historian, so I’ve been looking up dates.
Stonehenge would be Bronze Age, but also around the time the great pyramid at Giza was completed.
The wheel was invented before Stonehenge albeit in places like Mesopotamia.
We fail to credit how much international trade did go on and how many ideas would have trickled around from the lost and displaced and the wanderers. Egyptians were seafaring and trading around that time and while they might not be brave enough to go through the pillars of Hercules it's not unreasonable to suggest crossing the Med and overland exploration for trade.
Crude planking, rope making, sawing with rope and grit, knives and chisels were all available theoretically if not actually proven for Stonehenge builders.

The fact that folk lacked knowledge doesn't mean they were stupid, and these monuments weren't knocked up over a bank holiday weekend - often many centuries.

Baalbek is later - Roman and they were pretty nifty when it came to civil engineering projects.


ChrisB04/07/2021 19:18:32
671 forum posts
212 photos

In Malta we have quite a few similar temples to Stonehenge. Could be older as they are Neolithic, lots of theories on how the massive megaliths were cut, transported and erected, but no one really knows. Some say the megaliths were moved over spherical stones which were found around the temples, for sure it involved a lot of sweat, time and effort.

duncan webster04/07/2021 20:27:22
4108 forum posts
66 photos

Is there a prize for the most boring video? I gave up after about 5 minutes, still hadn't got to the interesting bit. Lots of USA you tubers seem to want to drag it out as well.

mark costello 104/07/2021 21:09:10
724 forum posts
12 photos

Look up Merer, an Egyptian pilot to see the short story of Egyptian trade. Quite busy.

Nigel Graham 204/07/2021 23:09:30
2273 forum posts
33 photos

Two points:

Whether the Druids ever used Stonehenge, they did not build it.

More seriously, the stone actually used may have been hauled from no more than a few miles away. If I knew the reference I would give it but a geologist who has studied this recently pointed out that although the source was Wales, the rocks used in the building were "erratics"; moved far from home on an ice sheet that crept across Ireland and Wales to about as far as Wiltshire. More of the same rock is still there, where it was deposited by the melting ice.

(During the Last Glacial Maximum, Southern England was exposed Arctic Tundra, and ice-sheets rather than glaciers was the main ice cover extending down to about the Severn - Thames line.)

Would seem a classic example of three sets of experts - here professional archaelogists, geologists and engineers - not talking to each other then journalists reporting the first not knowing the rest exist!


What all the speculations on how ancient people moved umpteen-ton blocks fail to spot is the nature of the ground. The usual assumption in those "reconstruction" paintings, is tree-trunk rollers, which is probably correct; but that alone would be insufficient on almost all ground because the logs would partially sink. I suggest that they may have laid more tree-trunks longitudinally, as a sort of road-way.

As for raising them upright, one theory holds they would have levered and packed, levered and packed... I wonder if they used some form of rough derrick, or lashed an upright at least as long as the slab to its foot end, and applied the pull over that.

(I have used similar, with a scaffold-pole and rope, to recover a milling-machine that fell over into a bramble bush when we were trying to load it onto a trailer, and the ramp collapsed.)

Bill Pudney05/07/2021 01:32:55
616 forum posts
24 photos

Since this thread seems to mention Stonehenge fairly regularly here goes.

Back in the 70s we lived in Radstock near Bath and my Mum and Dad lived in Chandlers Ford, near Southampton. So our logical route took us past Stonehenge. One homebound trip late at night, may even have been early morning, the bike blew a taillight bulb. Being a conscientious motor cyclist I had a spare so we stopped to change it. It was a beautiful starkly clear moonlit night, you could see almost as well as daytime. Stonehenge was about 1/2 a mile away and very clearly visible. I was busy changing the light bulb and was aware of The Boss feeling a bit stressed. She said something like "... please hurry up, I don't like this" When I finished changing the bulb, only a couple of minutes, I stood up and lit a cigarette as one did in those far off days. Looking around Stonehenge was no longer visible!! It seemed to be engulfed in mist, very localised. Never has a cigarette been smoked so quickly. Back on the bike and off we went. It was Spring or Summer there must be a sensible reason for the mist, but I can't think of one.



pgk pgk05/07/2021 04:35:50
2599 forum posts
293 photos

I'd speculate that mist at Stonehenge could be explained by local cooling from the stone mass.

The henge is far from random, so it's construction must have involved diagrams and models and rudimentary surveying, even if as simple as scratches in the ground under an HQ hut. Likely something more permanent, but not able to last millennia. It wasn't an overnight endeavour.

The problem is speculation without archaeological finds or documents to support that. English heritage has a picture of the henge builders using an A frame to set the stones - presumably some evidence to support?

The internet tells me that the build date was a warmer period which ruins a theory I mulled about using ice to skate the stones. If glaciers were still melting then it gives support to Nigel’s suggestion that the stones were partly shifted by nature.

Archaeologists always ascribe such artefacts as religious but perhaps just a Bronze Age community centre, ancient Bezos fulfilment centre or an astronomers folly..

Mick B105/07/2021 11:38:49
2222 forum posts
125 photos
Posted by Farmboy on 04/07/2021 11:41:47:


Believe me, I've tried . . . most avenues of research end up with giants, aliens or magic disgust

I notice the header drawing still uses a giant at the lift end, with Merlin in overwatch... wink

Nigel Graham 211/07/2021 18:51:34
2273 forum posts
33 photos

It's as well when we try to guess how ancient societies built things, to remind ourselves that even erecting something as modern as the Iron Bridge over the Severn in Shropshire baffled industrial archaeologists for years because there are no written accounts of the technique. The only paperwork surviving is the accounts.

It was a chance sighting of a contemporary painting by a Swedish artist of the bridge at a very early stage, that gave the game away; proven by experiments with replica castings and accumulated knowledge of what was available at the time. And that was in the 18C, not some millennia pre-Roman.


Pgk Pgk -

The warm period is the one we inhabit now, starting around 11 000 years ago, but these are slow processes (in human terms) and the stones could have been dropped some thousands of years previously. If the hypothesis is right that they are erratics, and that is more credible than the idea of purely human action, it was an ice-sheet flow that transported them. Not glaciers. A glacier is very local and Southern England was not glaciated.

The henge's builders would have known the local Chalk was of little use but they could have used the relatively soft oolitic limestone from not too far away, the Greensand (a sandstone) if that outcrops from beneath the Chalk anywhere nearby, or perhaps the tough Carboniferous limestone from the Mendip Hills. Even maybe the Dolomitic Conglomerate (strictly, a breccia) that mantles Mendip, which looks good but it is horrible stuff to work so an unlikely choice. There is also a lot of sandstone around Bristol they could have used, but that is getting a long way for tree-trunk haulage.

I find it very unlikely they would have rollered huge boulders some 200 miles by modern road distance, including rafting them across the very dangerous Severn Estuary, up hill and down dale, from West Wales; when other rocks were available much closer to the site. The received wisdom that they did is simple, unquestioned correlation; but the ice-sheet hypothesis needed research and knowledge long post-dating the historians' idea.

Many old buildings in Exeter use very similar breccia for their bulk infill, and an easily-worked volcanic lava for the detail masonry; the structures date from as recently as late-Mediaeval; and both rocks are local.

SillyOldDuffer11/07/2021 19:19:22
8870 forum posts
1997 photos
Posted by Ady1 on 04/07/2021 12:33:13:

"Have it moved over there by teatime or you'll be crucified tonight." does tend to motivate


Edited By Ady1 on 04/07/2021 12:35:00

Maybe the ancients couldn't move objects of this size. Is it a coincidence the world's three largest monoliths are abandoned together in the same quarry? Possibly they were found to be too heavy to move...


Nigel Graham 216/07/2021 00:00:46
2273 forum posts
33 photos

What are those smaller scars on it? Has someone been drilling holes in it?

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