Egyptologists may have just come across a clue that can help unveil the mystery of how the Giza pyramids were actually built.
A team of archaeologists researching ancient inscriptions discovered by chance a ramp with stairways, as well as a series of what they think are postholes, suggesting that the way ancient Egyptian civilizations hauled into place the giant blocks of stone that were used to build the pyramids may have been an easier endeavor than previously thought, according to the Guardian.
The new structures found by the Anglo-French team of scientists dated from around the same period the magnificent monuments were built. And while the theory that ramps were used to move the blocks of stone isn’t new, the latest discovery is “significantly steeper than was previously supposed possible.”
The team of researchers now believe that having steps and postholes set in either side of a rampway meant the builders were able to pull the stones from both directions, as opposed to the previous idea that they would have to drag a block behind them. The new theory suggests that the builders below the block “would have used the posts to create a pulley system,” while those set above it would pull at the same time. And while this still points to the idea that a huge number of people were required to build such a monument like the Great Pyramid of Giza, it also means that the hazardous job was done much quicker than thought.
“The system we have discovered would allow more people to exert force at one time, so it means you would be able to exert more force and move the blocks more quickly,” said Dr. Roland Enmarch, a senior lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, and the co-director of the Hatnub Survey, the project that made the important findings.
The team now intends on publishing the results of their discovery in a peer-reviewed journal, which has not yet been possible because the find was made in late September. Dr. Enmarch also told the Guardian that the alabaster quarry where they found the new structures, and the inscriptions found inside, had actually been known to Egyptologists for a long time. They were first found by Howard Carter, the British archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The team’s focus was initially on the inscriptions, but they soon turned their attention to the ramp leading down into the quarry when they realized what it could reveal historically-wise.