Nile Delta Artifacts & Construction Theory

Did the builders of the Great Pyramid construct the world's first railroad? After reading Dr. Parry's proposal that the ancient pyramid builders may have rolled the stone blocks (enclosed in wooden 1/4 circle "cradles") from the quarries along earthen ramps to the top of the pyramid, I hypothesized a bit further and came up with the following scenario, disposing with both the massive earthen ramps (though allowing for smaller rubble ramps at the base) and encircling spiral external masonry ramp, and replacing them with a ladder & drum system, where adjacent wooden ladder rails (from which the 1/4 circles were cut out) were interlinked. The pyramid builders were familiar with the potters wheel, the drum, the wheeled scaling ladder, (probably not the spoked chariot wheel), and were likely very resourceful with wood materials. Compare these ladders to the "rail.bmp" image further down.
Wheeled ladder at tomb of Kaemheset, 5th dynasty (note multiple reinforced parallel rails)
Per the images below, the ladder rail could interlink linearly or at an angle (1:4) to permit raising the stones (using peripheral pull with a simple wheel winch from above). This railroad could support the transport of heavy stone blocks over soft, wet and uneven ground (during the annual Nile flood, when farm workers left the sodden fields to work on the pyramid). The same setup could be converted to a raft, to transfer granite and limestone across the Nile and along canals to the Giza Harbor. Interestingly, Dr. Parry's book mentions the significance of the Scarab dung beetle, it's habit of rolling balls of dung, and how the Egyptians glorified this symbolically by having the mythical scarab Khepera, roll the sun across the sky. Possibly, a drawing of a scarab enclosed in a disk surrounded by a band represents a stone block encased in 4 quarter circle cradles banded together. Note figures 11, 17, 20 and 22 in David Talbotts paper at this link.

The "railroad" correlates well with the 1/4 circle cradles, however it would also make sledge transit more effective, somewhat like Nova's* depiction in the program "This Old Pyramid", and would work with pulling oxen (they had no yokes, they used rope around the throat of the ox, so I doubt they pulled stone up steep slopes), pulling teams of workmen, or more likely IMO, 1/4 cradle wheel winches pulling from above while on slopes, and pushing from behind while on level surface.
Note the photos of the transverse timber ties embedded into the ramp at this site:
Quite similar to railroad ties on an inclined slope. Note that "slipways" of the same style have been found in the bed of the Nile, used during low flow to move boats and freight across.

"This Old Pyramid":
*Narrarator: "(log) Rollers work good, but only on a smooth, hard surface. So, they're of no use on sandy site. At neighboring pyramid complexes, the remains of clay roadbeds have been found into which the ancient Egyptians imbedded wood, like railway ties. Perhaps a sled loaded with one of Roger's two-ton blocks will slide over this surface".
MARK LEHNER: We're going to try to...wet the ties and make it slippery, and see if it goes on the ties without a layer of slick clay. If just the ties, the wooden ties themselves - sleepers - will carry the sled.

  • Rolling Stones Railway - (Giza Pyramid rail-ramps-rafts-roads) -
[Images show beams narrower than actual, for better view]
Stone block drum rolling on Giza railramps, rolling on tracks & culverts over soft ground, rafting on reed rail-rafts.
Exterior stone blocks of the pyramids were carefully squared and carved to fit together, but interior blocks were much rougher, the rough cut odd shaped stones would have required wooden spacer shims to fit the cradles properly. Partly filled woven sand bags of palm or reed fibers, (commonly used in areas with flooding rivers such as the Nile), would allow even very rough blocks to fit snugly encased in the 1/4 circle cradle drums.

Hypothesized "Giza Rectilinear Railroad", by Dave "Diesel" Deden
  • An Egyptian obelisk was rolled to a British ship by encasing it in a cask-like container not dissimilar to this method, and then transited to London. Another was attempted, but the ship sank in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • King Herod's temple was built using stones which were rolled to the site. The huge base stones were cut into 200 ton cylinders and rolled to the specific spot, then chipped into rectangular blocks(1). Once the base outline of the temple was complete, only the temple priests were employed, following strict temple rules. The smaller wall stones were squared and finished at the quarries, then encased in wood drums and rolled to the temple to be assembled by the priest construction crew.
(1) Per the film "In the time of Jesus" by Readers Digest.

Here's information on England's Stonehenge, a possible roof, and how the huge stones were moved, quite similar to Dick Parry's
idea of how the Giza Pyramid stone blocks were moved in 1/4 circle wood cradles.

Relevant links: