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Physics/Physics in pyramid construction



I was going through an article on pyramids in wikipedia page. There it was mentioned that there were almost 2.3 million blocks used each weighing some 25 to 80 tonnes. Moreover the largest opening in the joints is equal to 0.5 mm. How could the ancient Egyptians manage to do this? Can some physics be applicable here? Please give me an explanation.

Hah, you're essentially asking me to sum up an entire field of archaeological research in this forum.  People have speculated for centuries about the building techniques  Unfortunately, no records were kept.  

The building of the pyramids took decades of continuous work.  So a few things:  First, the gap of 0.5mm is the average gap in just the cover stones (the decorative casing) that remain, not the maximum in all the blocks the way your question implies.  Important difference.  Researchers do believe they have solved the mystery of moving the blocks to the pyramids from the quarries:

I have seen no fundamental research on how they lifted the blocks, either from the quarries or onto the pyramids.  However, if the pyramids were built in just a few decades then they would have had to assemble several blocks per hour, day and night.  With a massive slave labor pool and an enormous national effort, this is nor unbelievable.  After decades of practice, it's not unbelievable that the master craftsmen in charge of such a project developed their own techniques to keep those final stones (the cover stones) so tightly cut ad polished, really, I believe.  Simply getting the stones to the location seems to be the fundamental problem.  There's really nothing fundamental to know about physics, this is an engineering problem involving ropes, levers, ramps and an unbelievable amount of manual labor.  Further speculation on these techniques may be found here:  There's even a theory that the stones are not quarried, but concrete!  (not widely accepted)


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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