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 WanderingRain
Joined: 3/9/2008
Msg: 284
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megalithic constructionPage 16 of 17    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
We "forget" knowledge at an astounding rate.
You don't even have to go back as far as ancient Egypt.
Today, the US cannot build a battleship like the Missouri locally without having to request manufacturing from other countries.
The knowledge isn't there anymore.
I believe the ancients had some knowledge that we currently don't possess. The world is full of lost knowledge. Europe "discovered" the planets in the 14th century, but there is evidence other cultures knew about it way earlier... and even knew facts like the Earth revolving around the sun...
 Ravenstar66
Joined: 8/27/2007
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Posted: 2/10/2012 9:01:10 AM
It probably doesn't help that the Library at Alexandria was destroyed either... good pointS!
 Ravenstar66
Joined: 8/27/2007
Msg: 286
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Posted: 2/10/2012 12:56:10 PM
Fred.. there are some issues with the physics that haven't been explained by engineers or physicists in a lot of the cases.

That's what the original question was... trying to answer some of these questions. Saying "aliens did it' or some such is as bad as saying 'goddidit' for abiogenesis - in my opinion, although keeping an open mind is always a good idea.

I'm a curious cat and am baffled by some of these feats, as in some cases they are beyond our abilities even today with modern machinery, computers, etc... much less with copper or stone tools and muscle power.

I find it interesting that by asking these questions some people seem to assume that a far out hypothesis (such as aliens) is the first thing on the table. I'm not that easily satisfied. I'd actually like to see an explanation that involves actual science.

:)

Peace
 Ravenstar66
Joined: 8/27/2007
Msg: 287
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Posted: 2/10/2012 1:51:41 PM
Read the thread.. I've posted various instances

Like moving a 50 ton block.. with natural fiber rope? we can only just barely move a 100 tons with a specially made crane and steel cables

Moving multi-ton stones UP A MOUNTAIN side.. without wheels, pulleys or other modern equipment (South America - Mayan/Aztec)

Cutting jigsaw-like pieces of stone to fit perfectly... with stone tools

Building the pyramids in 20 years.. something like a stone every 6 seconds
 Page 2u
Joined: 1/30/2008
Msg: 288
megalithic construction
Posted: 2/11/2012 7:36:24 AM
Baalbek

1,500 tons.
68’ x 14 x 14’

Each man is responsible for 300 lbs.

Each has a rope 1in. thick..

It doesn’t ad up—you do the math..

Not enough space to attach the ropes..
Even if each person was pulling 2,000 lbs.

I don’t know—maybe some way of doubling up on the ropes—but then there would be huge problems with space and manpower.
You’d need thousands of people around one stone.

It doesn’t ad up ??
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 289
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Posted: 2/11/2012 8:51:22 AM
You under-estimate the power of hundreds of thousands of slaves worked to death.


Just for the record, that is a myth that has been proven false by modern archaeology. The Pyramids were built by paid, dedicated, trained workers. Not lashed slaves, as flashily mis-portrayed in movies.

In fact, very little has ever been accomplished in the world by the use of slave labor. Only willing people build complicated, highly engineered things.
 Page 2u
Joined: 1/30/2008
Msg: 290
megalithic construction
Posted: 2/11/2012 7:49:21 PM

but they did it.sophisticated glass in the windows and incredible energy-capturing roofing materials and light-zappa toilets...


lol--good point--however, the assumption is - they just did some clever stuff with stones -
are the same people who--crept off into the woods for a shit.

I don't know ! I still think here's a gap or perhaps a restart in technology.
Not so hard to imagine, England sank back after the Romans left.
World floods would do the deed.
 Kohmelo
Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 291
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Posted: 2/11/2012 8:10:39 PM


are the same people who--crept off into the woods for a shit.

I don't know ! I still think here's a gap


Consider the possibility that the gap is in your thinking.
Their priority might not have been where they poop.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 292
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Posted: 2/12/2012 6:03:38 AM
Excellent thinking there, fredforties.

And kudos to the guy who pointed out "Consider the possibility that the gap is in your thinking. Their priority might not have been where they poop." That is one fundamental observation that should be required teaching in all school childrens' lives (and perhaps chiseled into the walls of congresses as well.

Different peoples have different needs and interests and priorities. Different creatures do, as well.

Now, I do still want to find out how the South Americans managed to build those huge, so carefully aligned mountainside structures. Some large amount of brilliant an patient people were involved there!
 Page 2u
Joined: 1/30/2008
Msg: 293
megalithic construction
Posted: 2/12/2012 8:19:04 AM
Ok let me get this right—Some one built magnificent structures, with precision geographical / astronomical alignment. Massive stones carried and placed with precision unmatched even with today’s technology.

Then they would take a break and go for a dump in the woods..
Lol—ya .. right. Sorry it doesn’t ad up.

Lost knowledge,, forgotten civilizations – it’s all possible, it happens today it happened in the past and it will happen again.

You don’t need outside help, it was US, just not within the biblical time frame of 10,000 years. It’s incredible how today’s science bashes biblical dating, all the while clinging to the notion of civilization being within 10,000 yrs..

The answer is simple—and the evidence is clear. Today’s history is premised on the notion derived from religious indoctrination ‘encompassing science’ that has yet to completely break the yoke of a fable that-- describes history within 10,000 yrs.

Deal with it !! we’re older than that, probably much older.
And when we built these structures, we most likely had a very comfortable throne to sit on..

Too much fun!!
 Thorondor
Joined: 8/13/2005
Msg: 294
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Posted: 2/12/2012 6:58:52 PM
Sorry for the ivory tower elitism that I'm about to profess: I haven't weighed in on this thread yet because it is endless headdesk, and I still don't have much interest in refuting most things. And I am an archaeologist, and I study the Andes, but what I study is quite a bit earlier than the Inca (pet peeve: the Andes DO NOT equal the Inca! The Inca were one ethnic group that coalesced in the Cusco region around maybe A.D. 1000-1200, and around A.D. 1450 began to conquer the entire central Andean highlands and built a huge empire that only lasted for 80 years before the Spanish showed up. There are many, many much older cultures in the Andes, including other empires. It’s a diverse region with a complex history and we’re still figuring out the basics and the Inca were able to draw from 4500 years experience building massive structures (many of which included elaborate stone carving and other art) and 2000 years of urbanization.

Also, please stop using Machu Picchu as an example for Inca architecture. Machu Picchu was a hunting lodge and rural palace (one of many) that would have housed the emperor and around 700 people in his entourage for a couple months in the winter, when Cusco (which is not far away, but much higher in altitude) was not a terribly pleasant place to be. All of the architecture at Machu Picchu is, by Inca standards, pretty basic and they did not have to go far to get stone, seeing as how the site IS on a mountain. Basically, Machu Picchu is a boring Inca site (it is in a beautiful setting, though). If you want remarkable architecture look to the Coricancha in Cusco (the most important Inca temple, demonstrating impeccable masonry) and to Sacsayhuaman, which was a hilltop fortress/temple above Cusco where the main wall built using stone blocks that are about the size of a two-story house (again, the quarry is right there and you can see stone that was being cut when work stopped at the site). And anyway, while Inca stonework is amazing, it is just a continuation of a long history of stonework in the highlands (though it is better quality than anything that came before it, likely because the Imperial Inca could muster the best masons from across the massive empire and so concentrated talent like never before.

What is amazing about the Inca is that they conquered a massive area (it was the largest empire in the world at the time) in 80 years and built a huge volume of architecture, but their system of taxation through labour meant that they could draw together a massive workforce and that's how they got so much done: people, lots of people, some very skilled and talented, all working together. That's all that it takes to build these "baffling" structures: a lot of skilled and well-organized people. And anyway, while Inca stonework is amazing, the largest, most interesting, and most incredible structures in the Andes were built by much smaller groups thousands of years before the Inca (the earliest monumental structures—that we know of—were started around 3000 B.C.) So the take-away message: face it, people are amazing and we are capable of doing incredible things when we want to. And not to get too deconstructionist and anti-colonial, but most of the ideas that ancient people (especially in the Americas) were not capable of building these things are based on racist assumptions that have been made over and over again since the late 19th century, but that’s another discussion.

Anyway, that’s my rude introduction, and maybe my only post here. But I wanted to reply to fredforties: your dates are mostly close enough (not quite so old for most of the Americas, but we’re still really figuring that out. They probably hopped along the Pacific coast and most of those sites are under water/destroyed when the sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age, so evidence is hard to find). As for the 10,000 year old framework: you have to wonder, do we stick to that timeline because we are influenced by the Bible, or did the Bible “begin” in 4004 B.C. because it was based on written and oral histories that placed modern civilization beginning around then (which it did, in the Mesopotamian region)? I’d argue the latter; there are a few outlier major structures that are older than 10,000 B.C. (Jericho, probably that Gobleki Tepi place), but the vast majority of major structures and urbanization began around 5000-7000 years ago in the places where it did begin. This is because agriculture is only about 10,000 years old, and agriculture brings with it population growth, the ability to concentrate people within smaller areas, the ability for some people to specialize in things that are not directly related to food production, and, most importantly, the ability for certain people to concentrate food and therefore pay people to work for them instead of working in their own fields, thus leading to hierarchies. And almost all of these massive structures could not be built without some form of centralized administration (we use the presence of such structures as evidence that someone was overseeing the whole project, probably a chief or king and his/her administrators). So agriculture is key, and it only began (in 7 separate places in the world, with only a couple thousand years separating the first from the last) after the end of the last ice age, around 10,000 B.C. We aren’t entirely sure why people developed agriculture, but it probably had something to do with climate change at the end of the ice age, which is the first time that anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens experienced the modern climate (and yes, they left Africa sometime between 70 and 100 thousand years ago and quickly replaced/interbred with archaic Homo sapiens (think Cro Magnon man) and Neanderthaals. And then modern humans the world over were hunter-gatherers for 60-90 thousand years).

Well this ballooned into something far longer than I had anticipated. But I’m prone to doing that, so forgive me.
 aremeself
Joined: 12/31/2008
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Posted: 2/12/2012 7:07:08 PM
awesome!

so, rope and pulleys?

find any remnants of tools for moving the large stones?

how large were the stones?
 veevee
Joined: 2/14/2006
Msg: 296
megalithic construction
Posted: 2/12/2012 7:17:25 PM
We aren’t entirely sure why people developed agriculture, but it probably had something to do with climate change at the end of the ice age, which is the first time that anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens experienced the modern climate (and yes, they left Africa sometime between 70 and 100 thousand years ago and quickly replaced/interbred with archaic Homo sapiens (think Cro Magnon man) and Neanderthaals.

Tying this into the dissertation on pooping.
The evidence points to humans eating something with a seed, pooping it out then returning to the spot and pointing at it.
Transcript:
Do you see that Mmphh - my poop has grown!
:8O
:8)

We were pretty dirty back then - how do we know that they didn't figure out about agriculture because a seed stuck to excrement and grew on one of their furs covering them (stomach sleeper) or because they put a tomato in a satchel then the female smelled it rotting and the male put it outside forgetting about his satchel which eventually sprouted because inside it he had all his magic dirt that he ate to keep away sabertooths.
 Thorondor
Joined: 8/13/2005
Msg: 297
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Posted: 2/12/2012 7:21:58 PM
Honestly, not too many archaeologists focus on the mechanics of how these things were built (probably part of the reason why confusion remains). The site I work on was built entirely out of adobes (unbaked mud bricks), so there is nothing remarkable about how the mounds there were built (apart from the sheer labour force that was required to make these standardized bricks). In the highland Andes, where most of the monumental stone was used, preservation is not great so anything that could be conclusively tied to moving large stone (and it would be difficult to prove that something was used for moving stone vs. other uses) would have decomposed. They certainly had strong rope (made out of maguey fibre) and they probably used log rollers or slicked clay floors to push the blocks from where they were quarried to wherever they were put in place. As far as I know, the largest stones used in the Andes were at Sacsayhuaman, and the largest of those are the size of a house, and could have been pushed into place on the flat plateau of the site (there are two natural rocky prominences at the site that provided the stone, separated by a flat plaza).

Also, I should note that as anthropological archaeologists, we are interested in how these things were built, sure, but we are primarily interested in why these things were built and what they say about the people who built them. Much more interesting than how these things were built, for me, is the organization fo labour required to build them and what that says about, in Sacsayhuaman's case, the Inca.
 Thorondor
Joined: 8/13/2005
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Posted: 2/12/2012 7:29:19 PM
We have a fair idea of how plants and animals were domesticated (cultural selection. It's like natural selection, but we are "nature"). Probably people learned about seed cultivation in much the way you describe: people and animals would poo out undigested seeds, probably in the trash heap where all the other food scraps were, and they discovered that the plants that grew in trash heaps would grow bigger and faster than ones in the forest or meadow or wherever. So they began to experiment with controlling the seeds, and for a long time people would have had a good idea of how plants grow and would have cultivated things, but that still isn't agriculture. The interesting question is why agriculture proper began, when people were theoretically capable of it for 80,000 years but didn't do it, and then suddenly within a span of 2000 years or so people in separate regions (deserts, jungles, and savannah, but only in tropical regions) around the world started to domesticate all sorts of plants and animals and start truly farming. We know that it wasn't because of increasing populations (populations grew after farming began), but we're still not sure just why.
 Ravenstar66
Joined: 8/27/2007
Msg: 299
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Posted: 2/13/2012 6:06:13 AM
Thorondor

So nice to hear from someone in the field.. thank you. Your posts are informative and enlightening.

I would like to see archaeology look into the engineering aspects of megalithic construction a little deeper and understand there are so many facets to study along with the fact that putting the pieces together on just what remains is a challenge in itself. But I am as fascinated by many aspects of ancient cultures as well. I am aware that the South Americans were highly sophisticated at a very early time, even without the wheel - the Spanish made quick work of wiping that out - but the clues are there. Their mathematics alone are a testament to their cleverness. It's too bad most of their writing was destroyed.

Domestication of certain foods is also a fascinating topic - wheat is one in particular... as are bananas and maize.

l still am interested in the physics of these accomplishments and hope to see more investigation into it.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 300
megalithic construction
Posted: 2/13/2012 7:35:16 AM
Did anyone besides me see footage (and I saw it years ago) solving the mystery of the moving rocks? I can't remember if it were a very shallow lake bed or just a low lying, flat area, but BIG rocks would be moved over night--and in consideration of their size, for considerable distances. Finally, someone put up time lapse cams that could film in the dark. Either the water of the lake bed would freeze (or water collected on the hard ground) but the ice was not thick enough to make the rocks immobile. I think the bottoms of the rock had iced, too but independently of the earth/water surface. When the wine blew, the boulders skated across the ice.

I am going to look for this online.

Nope, I am not saying that the ancients froze the paths down which they pushed their megalithic rocks, but it shows that a simple explanation surpassed the magical explanations.

Edit: Never mind--I found some information and no mention was made of the video that I saw years ago. I must have dreamed it. (Grin.)

http://geologyfreak.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/the-sliding-rocks-of-racetrack-playa/
 Ravenstar66
Joined: 8/27/2007
Msg: 301
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Posted: 2/13/2012 10:07:49 AM
Gwen,
Not dreaming..(unless you and I have the same dreams!) I saw a program on that, either Discovery or PBS.. might have been a Nature episode

It was really really cool... I think it was a salt flat... it might even have been on Mythbusters, I don't remember.

Fred.. will check out Diamond, Thanks!
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 302
megalithic construction
Posted: 2/13/2012 6:46:58 PM

Gwen,
Not dreaming..(unless you and I have the same dreams!) I saw a program on that, either Discovery or PBS.. might have been a Nature episode


Whew. I thought that I had experienced a senior moment!
 Thorondor
Joined: 8/13/2005
Msg: 303
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Posted: 2/13/2012 9:40:14 PM

I would like to see archaeology look into the engineering aspects of megalithic construction a little deeper and understand there are so many facets to study along with the fact that putting the pieces together on just what remains is a challenge in itself. But I am as fascinated by many aspects of ancient cultures as well. I am aware that the South Americans were highly sophisticated at a very early time, even without the wheel - the Spanish made quick work of wiping that out - but the clues are there. Their mathematics alone are a testament to their cleverness. It's too bad most of their writing was destroyed.


I guess another problem is that most archaeologists have little or no engineering background. Archaeology is the great borrowing discipline, though (we borrow absolutely everything from theories through methods. We are studying EVERYTHING that past people did, after all), so we need to get more engineers on board who can help figure these things out. Until we do, we will have a tough time figuring out the specifics.

And the Spanish didn't wipe out native Andean cultures quite so fast as you might think. Quechua (the main language of the Inca) is very much a living language spoken by 10 million people today, and in many parts of the Andes people still practice a hybrid of Spanish and Prehispanic culture (which is common for culture contact the world over. Even many of our own major cultural practices, including much of our Christmas rituals, have their roots in things that have nothing to do with Christianity, even though Christianity was brought to the British Isles well over a millennium ago). The Spanish certainly disrupted a lot, but it took centuries, especially in the highlands.

And wheel shmeel. No one in the Americas ever invented wheels, but there's a real danger (that we succumb to constantly) that technology is a story of endless progress, of efficiency and constant superiority, and that if a culture never invented a certain technology they were somehow less "advanced" or more "primitive" (the scare quotes are necessary). This is another thing that comes out of our 19th century ideas that Western civilization is THE civilization and everyone else is somehow less-human than Europeans. People use technology to adapt to their natural, cultural, and social environment, and there are diverse ways of solving the same problems. Wheels never would have made much sense in the Andes, especially when pack trains of llamas could carry goods throughout the diverse and extremely rugged coast (desert), mountains, and jungle (and there was no shortage of very long-distance trade). And there was never any writing in the Prehispanic Andes to be destroyed. There are a few things that can sort of be considered proto-writing (some of which went out of use long before the Inca even), but no writing. The Andes stands out in that regard, as all other major civilizations had writing. But again, that doesn't mean that they were somehow less advanced, just they had other ways of recording tax and tribute and such.

It's also worth saying that archaeologists are really bad at talking to the public. And when we do, we do things like I am doing right now, touching on social science theories and other things that most people aren't familiar with (i.e. archaeologists mostly talk to other archaeologists, and we tend to shun those who try to bring things to a popular audience). So when I hear Jared Diamond, I shudder a little, because a lot of what he says must be taken with a grain of salt. But still, he is one of the few people who really try to write things that people can read without studying for four years to understand the jargon. So please take a look at him. Just remember that his is one interpretation, not always something that most archaeologists would agree with (but sometimes it is). National Geographic and T.V. documentaries are unfortunately much the same (they sensationalize things like crazy, too). I've always found anything that Nova and Nature do to be outstanding and I don't yell at the t.v. when I watch them, so I would recommend that anyone who is interested go see what their library has! (this isn't so say that there aren't other quality things out there. There surely are, but there's also a lot that is not so quality, so just take a critical approach.)

And again, I ramble. A sure sign that I should go to bed.
 aremeself
Joined: 12/31/2008
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Posted: 3/4/2012 11:03:11 AM
some of you mean this?

http://geology.com/articles/racetrack-playa-sliding-rocks.shtml
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
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Posted: 3/4/2012 9:20:46 PM
Rathling; you seem to be portraying some of the most common logical errors, and misreadings of others statements, which drive many of the modern myths to be built up.

You seem to complain that Thorondor failed to explain the hows of megalithic construction, despite his statement:

"most archaeologists have little or no engineering background. Archaeology is the great borrowing discipline, though (we borrow absolutely everything from theories through methods. We are studying EVERYTHING that past people did, after all), so we need to get more engineers on board who can help figure these things out. Until we do, we will have a tough time figuring out the specifics."


and:

I should note that as anthropological archaeologists, we are interested in how these things were built, sure, but we are primarily interested in why these things were built and what they say about the people who built them.


Further, you say several things which imply that you are under the impression that Archaeologists are a unified group, operating under a single authority, such that if one archaeologist says something you dislike about a situation that you are interested in, that therefore "They dont mean a thing to archaeologists who refuse to accept that the people who constructed them had exceptionally advanced astronomical knowledge."

The fact that a given Archaeologist who studied this or that culture which created something that you find intriguing, failed themselves to be able to explain mechanical details to you (which had no bearing on the aspects of the culture that they were there to study), does not warrant your accusing them of "refusing to accept" anything. Further, that a given Archaeologist does not know how something was mechanically carried through by a group of people, and accurately reports that he or she doesn't know, that can not rationally be turned into a general statement that "Science cannot say how this was accomplished."

If you actually want to learn anything real about the past (or most any subject) then yourbeing specific, and rigorously and consistently logical is required.
 Thorondor
Joined: 8/13/2005
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Posted: 3/12/2012 6:30:58 PM
Thanks for responding to those comments for me!

It's also worth pointing out something, too (and I am going for a generalized statement here, as I'm not familiar with the specifics of any one site). The sites that have these megalithic stones and other major construction projects are monumental for a reason: they are temples or palaces or meeting places for rituals and administrative tasks, etc. They were built to impress and to be impressive. They are exactly the kind of places where you wouldn't expect to find the construction tools and debris from building these things, because all that would have been cleaned up in preparation for the first ceremony at the site. Sure, hypothetically there might be a pile of that stuff somewhere, but we will never find everything and if it is a very general tool assemblage and we find it in a site's main garbage heap, how would we ever know whether it was used for building the temple or just daily use? (plus tools made out of wood and other plant materials, such as wedges, log rollers, and ropes, would decompose).

We will obviously never be able to see these things directly (unless physics really steps up its game and invents the flux capacitor) and even when written records exist they are problematic (if they would even mention something like construction), so archaeology is really forced to determine what was happening by analogy, same as any historical science (we see how things are/can be done in the present, and assume that things worked the same in the past). Experimental archaeology, where someone just tries to recreate an archaeological object/construction and then uses that to suggest how things were done in the past, is really one of our key analogies, and I've seen enough experiments showing that these things can be built with fewer tools and less human effort than would seem logical to conclude that, given enough willpower and people, these things could be built without any special lost technologies/allegorical peoples/benevolent invading space creatures, etc.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
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Posted: 3/12/2012 8:13:45 PM
There is a modern problem we in the technology world have to deal with regularly, which bears on this.

That is, lots of even our current technology as used in our every day lives, is now out of date. For lots of it, the original schematics and service manuals have all been turned into mulch somewhere. Every day, someone stumbles across an older tool or bit of electronics, that literally has been lost to time. When we are called upon to repair some of these things, we find that we actually have to entirely re-invent tools and processes that our own society knew well, just a generation back.

But because what we used to do was so common, and so obvious, we never bothered to write detailed descriptions of how to do it anywhere.

Extend that to the distant past, and you have the makings of this kind of modern mystery. We might look upon these grand constructions and wonder how in the world the engineers and designers could possibly have refrained from bragging in bold print somewhere about how they managed it, but quite possibly to them at the time, it was really no big deal. Perhaps to them, it was akin to asking someone today, to pay the tremendous cost, to chisel into a monument, how to cook an egg, sunny side up.
 shadow939
Joined: 12/1/2009
Msg: 308
megalithic construction
Posted: 3/26/2012 5:44:14 AM
In 2012 it is difficult for us to understand our capabilities, especially physically due to no more than 5% of the population never having too. I know hand tools, and crane/pulley systems dont fit in most worlds due to just about everything is done electrically today.

Simple fusion welding, and blacksmith developed very good tools. With Ferrous Elements(Contains Iron), in 1200+ degree fire pits, and the accelorant being oxygen, such as steel. And the Non Ferrous Elements( No Iron) being made anywear from about 400 degrees, such as Bronze. I dont know more than 2 people myself having the mental, and physical capablities, to forge such tools by hand.

As for the crane /pulley systems, between makinds ability to understand weights, and messures they utilized large animals such as Elephants, to work there systems. The things people seem to be looking for, from the unknown is actually in them, but its in theory to most and not application.
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