Prater’s Theory displays a daring and unequalled rope invention, offering a new insight into how builders in ancient Egypt may have managed to haul stone, fast.
The following pages show how the great pyramid could be constructed quickly, and easily, utilising the equipment created.
Unique Equipment to Build the Pyramids
- Unique Equipment to Build the Pyramids
- Hauling stone for the pyramids
- Rollers with a difference
- The A-frame
Hauling stone for the pyramids
The old idea of using rollers as a method to move stone blocks to build the pyramids, has been ruled out by most engineers. This is because the sledge or blocks moving over the rollers have a tendency to go offline.
To prevent heavy blocks from moving sideways would require rollers of equal proportion, rotating over a smooth surface and men watching the blocks. The procedure also requires the builders to continually bend down, whilst picking up rollers from the rear of the sledge. Not very good for a 25-year project.
Imagine, men, trying to put logs in front of a moving sledge, on a slope. Would there be any workers left at the end of the job?
Is it why they built a pyramid-shaped structure, requiring more builders to construct the base and less approaching the summit? I doubt it.
Any project suffers if people constantly complain about working in harsh conditions, even if the complaint is silent.
The system devised would need to consider the builder’s health and well-being. Giving the utmost thought to the workers would improve production over the lengthy duration of the project. I would say this would be certainly necessary, and in my opinion, there is no way of completing the pyramids in such a short time frame unless work harmony existed. The colossal feat of moving what you see on the Giza plateau is astonishing. Today’s hauling contractors, trucking and tipping spoil would not keep pace with the Egyptian builders. And this is working with other contractors. The tonnage moved and elevated is staggering.
With all the thousands of blocks involved in building the great pyramid, a semi-permanent site system, would be a vital requirement. So, I had to come up with something that would freely move and capable of moving blocks, one after, the other, after, the other, after, the other.
Rollers with a difference
After months of trying, I came up with tying string to both ends of a piece of dowel, forming the roller. The strings allow the roller to return to its starting position, ready for the next block, whilst keeping the rollers in line and preventing the block’s from going off-line.
Naming these Guide Rollers, the rope/string holds the roller in place, ready for the next block. The efficiency of this system only requires the men for maintenance after making them. This frees up the builder’s time to concentrate on hauling blocks or getting ahead, building the ramps.
Even though it looks simple, it wasn’t that easy to get the rollers to return ready for the next block. Putting one rope on each side wouldn’t work. This is because by rotating the roller, the rope would cross over itself in the winding process. To eliminate this from happening, I used four ropes. In this case, bits of string. Before doing this, I used timber surfaces to slide the blocks on, but I knew I had to do a better job with the weight of some of the blocks and the sheer volume of stone in the pyramids.
This type of rollers, which I have named Gradient Rollers, sit on the sides of the ramp which support each roller. The gradient of the roller support is less than the actual ramp slope. The axle of the roller resting on the support moves forward at a lesser rate compared to the sledge sitting on the roller’s larger outer section.
I designed these, hoping the rollers would defy the actual weight on the ramp by travailing on a lesser slope. But there was very little difference in performance between this type of roller and the guide rollers. The gradient roller is marginally better on steeper gradients.
The great pyramid walls have a slope of around 52 degrees. For this steep gradient, it would be easier to hang guide rollers on the side of the pyramid, much like a rope ladder. Two main ropes fixed to the blockwork would attach the ropes from the ends of the guide roller. Many sets of ladder rollers could be used, moving 2.5-tonne blocks fast.
To give some idea, constructing too the floor level of the king’s chamber, 80 sets of guide roller ladders would fit on one side of the pyramid, spaced at 2-metres apart. The floor level is at a height of around 43 metres from ground level.
That would be 80 blocks travailing 54-meters up the side, every ten minutes, 480 blocks an hour, or 1,200 tonnes. Working a ten-hour day, but allowing 1 hour of downtime for moving the equipment around and maintaining it, is 9 hours a day operating the rigs, equaling 4,320 blocks, 10,800-tonnes.
Let’s say there are 243 none flood days. That would be 1,049,760 blocks per year and 26,244,000 million blocks in 25-years, equaling 65.6 million tonnes. This is based on the pyramid remaining at this height and using one side of the pyramid. At this stage the pyramid is not finished, and space for the rollers gets less, going further up.
(Refer to 52-degree ramps for a visual example of roller ladders and blocks/tonnage per hour at the pyramid’s 72-metre mark).
Utilising roller ladders would speed the project up, but getting the blocks to the pyramids would be the first challenge.
One of the first roller systems designed was what I named Gravity Rollers. Gravity rollers, are configured to be used horizontally, and designed so a block can move, under its own weight. Well, that was what I was hoping.
The idea came after thinking about how the Egyptians may have moved the stone over large distances. It works by the rear end of the block being at a higher elevation than the front. The roller at the rear, beneath the block, always moves further than the roller at the front. The block on a constant tilt causes forward movement, helping acceleration.
In the test, the block glided over the rollers. But they still required pulling I did spend quite some time trying to perfect the rollers, but realised there is so much more involved. When I have time, I will revisit where I left off, adjusting and alternating the heights of the roller supports or could I be wasting more time?
As you can see, I put a lot of thought and work into finding a method to make it easier for the men to build the pyramids. I knew that if I were to do that, I would not be far from completing my brief.
A-frames are configured for moving and elevating stone blocks up various inclines.
The image shows that, the A-frame could overhang the pyramid walls by more than three-quarters of its base size and is handy for drawing blocks up-to the outer edge.
The weight of the block on the ramp, and the men or cows pulling the rope from the opposite side, is taken on the A-frames spools, pressing it to the floor, helping to keep the rig in place. However, both spools still move freely up and down the frame. The rotation of the spools on the frame assists with releasing some of the pressure applied. And this intern moves the load towards the frame.
The frame provides clearance for the blocks to pass underneath the spools, and continue in a straight line. Blocks can also travel 90 degrees from the A-frame and the previous ramp. Men could move the blocks along terraces to a location of their choice.
Another good thing about the A-frame, the spools counterbalance each other, when one goes up, the other goes down. Because of this, it doesn’t take much physical effort to return the spools, back to their starting positions, making the A-frame a handy bit of kit for constructing the pyramids.
A development from the A-frame was the Lattice Rig, used for life-sized tests, continued on the next page.
For other primary equipment, see Gearing the Pyramids, Butting Blocks Up-tight, and Pyramid Ramps Tests in the menu.