Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Historical insights & thoughts about the world we live in - and the social conditioning exerted upon us by past and current propaganda.
Flabbergasted
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:10 am

3 - The remnants of technologically advanced megalithic constructions display unmistakable signs of machining, such as huge circular saw marks, mirror-perfect cuts at right angles and high-speed tube drill holes. Some of these feats would be difficult to replicate with today’s stone-cutting technology.
Many objects in the Cairo Museum show clear signs of machining. Very revealing is the unfinished stone box below. Needless to say at this point, the dynastic Egyptians did not have the technology required to carve a box like that out of a single granite block. As I said in the first post of the thread, the lids of stone boxes were cut from the same block as the respective box (apparently from the bottom). In this case, a very large and powerful saw must have been used, but the blade veered off, the lid broke and the box ended up on the rubbish heap.

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Flabbergasted
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:32 pm

One gets used to speaking of "the Great Pyramid", but let's not forget there are three gigantic pyramids right next to each other on the Giza plateau (another argument against the volcanic core hypothesis). The building material comes from different quarries. The "softer" limestone blocks may have come from relatively nearby, but the granite blocks used for the internal "noble sections" came from the quarry in Aswan 800 km away. The blocks weigh between 2 and 80 tons each (some claim there are a few blocks weighing up to 150 tons, but I would have to check that). In comparison, a Cadillac Fleetwood weighs less than 2 tons. The casing stones are a chapter apart.
It is estimated that 2.3 million blocks were used to make the Great Pyramid. If it was in fact erected by Khufu around 2,550 BC and construction lasted 10-20 years (neither of which I believe), then we can do a little time-motion study: 20 years equals 10,512,000 minutes. That would allow 4.5 minutes to place each stone block in its final position (the structure is 146 m high) provided the blocks could be quarried, transported over long distances, and precision-cut and polished in perfect lockstep with the deployment. The calculation is based on a scenario of perfectly uninterrupted work, night and day (no electric light), 7 days a week, 12 months a year, for 20 years. And remember: the blocks are all of different size and shape. That´s 2,583,283 cubic meters of stone, corresponding to a weight of approximately 7 million tons.

According to the Wiki...
Many of the casing-stones and inner chamber blocks of the Great Pyramid fit together with extremely high precision. Based on measurements taken on the north-eastern casing stones, the mean opening of the joints is only 0.5 mm wide.
That's half a frigging millimeter!

Unfortunately, nearly all the casing stones of the Giza plateau pyramids have been lost. But it´s still possible to see how casing stones were fitted together by looking at other sites. Can you say "machined"?

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The destruction of this pyramid was not caused by weathering. It looks more like it was hit by one of Judy Wood´s directed energy weapons :D

Flabbergasted
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:25 pm

Allow me to add: The Great Pyramid features at least 4 square "air shafts", two of which connect the "King's chamber" to the outside wall. The two shafts rising from the "Queen's chamber" are blocked by limestone doors with metal clamps (or handles) about 6 m short of the outside wall. Different robots have been designed to explore these shafts, but the quality of the images (when they are not 3D animations) is strangely poor.
Anyway, what interests me here is the construction technology. Let's stop for a moment and picture the task: the builders want 4 square "air shafts" measuring 20 x 21 cm to rise in a straight line at 38 degrees within a structure composed of solid stone blocks. How to go about this? Would all the blocks along the trajectory of the shafts have to be cut or perforated at exactly 38 degrees, each one in a unique fashion, before they were lifted into place? It is a staggeringly complex task. The internal structures must have been part of the design from the beginning, not patched in at later date.

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Flabbergasted
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:20 pm

It is not uncommon for building materials of very ancient origin to be recycled in the construction of temples and public buildings, even if they have to be transported long distances. For example, Hagia Sophia, the jaw-dropping church (now mosque) built in Constantinople in 537 AD, incorporates 140 monolithic columns from different places in the "classical world".

So what does that have to do with advanced megalithic building technology? Well, despite the stunning beauty and size of Greek and Roman constructions, at that time builders did not have the technical means to make monolithic columns in materials like granite, but built columns by stacking sections. Of course, this also made transportation easier and allowed to adjust the height and add esthetically gratifying details like entasis and fluting.

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Left, Hagia Sophia: perfectly straight and circular monolithic porphyry column, very likely brought from Baalbek (Lebanon). The original quarry was probably in Egypt.
Right: With the loss of the ancient stone-cutting technology, columns in classical times had to be made by stacking sections, or by recycling ancient materials.

Baalbek is famous for the unfinished colossal block I posted a picture of on the previous page. Other blocks weighing around 800 tons are installed at an ancient site about a mile from the quarry taken over by the Romans.

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There are many other bits and pieces lying about in this location which show signs of machining.

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The first and last picture could be failed attempts at cutting up polished granite columns. There is even what looks like a rust mark on one of the cuts.

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:59 pm

Hattusa is a megalithic site in Turkey. It was occupied by several different peoples over time (clay tablets written in a multitude of languages have been found), but the location is formally identified as "the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age" (c. 1600-1178 BC). The ruins it is most famous for are the Lion gate, the Sphinx gate, with their poorly engineered walls, and the Yerkapi rampart.

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Nice, but nothing advanced or megalithic here. Compatible with the period.

But Hattusa appears to have been built around a much older megalithic core. In fact, three or more of the criteria on our list of advanced building technology are found there. It is difficult to see at first because the site is extremely dilapidated.

Large stone tub cut from a single block of andesite (some say it´s a very hard type of limestone). Hardness on the Mohs scale: 6. The tub has a drilled entry hole and a wider exit hole. Check.
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Left:The site is littered with tube drill holes, the purpose of which is anyone's guess. In places where the rock has been split, the circular tool mark at the bottom is visible. Check.
Right: Large and irregular but highly polished stone block in the center. Origin unknown. Check?
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Stone blocks weighing several tons fit together tightly without mortar. In rare instances, the original surface is visible: completely flat and polished. Check.
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Mansur
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Mansur » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:46 pm

Flabbergasted » September 23rd, 2019, 1:32 pm wrote:It is estimated that 2.3 million blocks were used to make the Great Pyramid. If it was in fact erected by Khufu around 2,550 BC and construction lasted 10-20 years (neither of which I believe), then we can do a little time-motion study: 20 years equals 10,512,000 minutes. That would allow 4.5 minutes to place each stone block in its final position (the structure is 146 m high) provided the blocks could be quarried, transported over long distances, and precision-cut and polished in perfect lockstep with the deployment. The calculation is based on a scenario of perfectly uninterrupted work, night and day (no electric light), 7 days a week, 12 months a year, for 20 years. And remember: the blocks are all of different size and shape. That´s 2,583,283 cubic meters of stone, corresponding to a weight of approximately 7 million tons.
Flabbergasted, - Herodotos, if I remember correctly, mentions 20 years and --- 200,000 people who worked during that time, and that doesn't seem to support the predynastic theory. At least it does not seem to rule out any possibility (both pro and contra of course), as seems to do the figure of "4.5 minutes per stone". (And in general, in these megalithic matters, there are tons of special pleading.)
Unfortunately, nearly all the casing stones of the Giza plateau pyramids have been lost. But it´s still possible to see how casing stones were fitted together by looking at other sites. Can you say "machined"?

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The destruction of this pyramid was not caused by weathering. It looks more like it was hit by one of Judy Wood´s directed energy weapons :D
Pyramids have been serving as a quarry for Arabs for centuries, and perhaps even earlier, which is often denied and acknowledged by the same authors (or YouTubers).

“Solar plasma flare activity”, it seems, is a theory based on NASA measurements (Malkowski). At least from the astronomical side. (So it seems right to mention Judy Wood. :-) Or is geological research on this subject also funded by NASA? Is there any geological, non-archaeological, research at all that somehow confirms the assumption?

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:57 pm

Mansur wrote:Herodotos, if I remember correctly, mentions 20 years and --- 200,000 people who worked during that time, and that doesn't seem to support the predynastic theory. At least it does not seem to rule out any possibility (both pro and contra of course), as seems to do the figure of "4.5 minutes per stone". (And in general, in these megalithic matters, there are tons of special pleading.)
Herodotus visited Egypt 2,000 years after Khufu's reign. He was told stories by locals who had as small a chance as we do now of explaining how the three pyramids were built, or whether their attribution to Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure was a fact or a legend. None of the pyramids has a single authentic inscription and nothing was ever found inside them to support a dynastic origin.
As for the "tons of special pleading", you are absolutely right. My approach to the subject is to simply observe the stones, consult the stone mason´s manual, use my common sense and avoid as much of the speculation as possible, whether it be solar plasma flares, extraterrestrials or temples for human sacrifice.
Mansur wrote:Pyramids have been serving as a quarry for Arabs for centuries, and perhaps even earlier, which is often denied and acknowledged by the same authors (or YouTubers).
Good reminder. So one of the ways the blocks could have been smashed and scattered is by re-quarrying. On the other hand, there are recently discovered and excavated sites in Egypt (Tanis, for example) which also show signs of massive destruction (both breakage and scorching).

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:45 am

In Peru, many archeological sites attributed to the Incas have a non-Inca megalithic core, but you may have to walk around a bit to find it. For example, Machu Picchu consists of a small set of ancient megalithic granite structures, with some attempts at repair ("the ancient mountain"), and a very large typical Inca town ("the young mountain"), abandoned around 1535. The place was first discovered by outsiders in the mid-1860s, but rose to fame in 1912 when Hiram Bingham III publicized it with the support of Yale and the National Geographic Society. Bingham was apparently the model for Indiana Jones.

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Picture from the time of discovery (1912) showing Pre-Incan granite structures.

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The difference in building technique and material couldn´t be more obvious.

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The fact that the megalithic structures show signs of destruction by violent earthquakes (from east to west), and that the weak, clay-mortared Inca structures do not, tells us that the two are not from the same time period. Now there is actually a third time layer at Machu Picchu: twentieth-century reconstruction work, some of which displays power tool marks. According to some, the reconstruction is not half as good as the Inca work, which in turn is very crude compared to the megalithic core.
Ancient and well-preserved archeological sites, such as in Peru and Egypt, show a perfectly consistent pattern, not of ‘evolution’, but of loss of technological skill by degrees. Sites which have been occupied on and off by different cultures over the millennia invariably have the most sophisticated structures at the lowest/earliest level.
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My guess is that the three-dimensional puzzle was designed to withstand earthquakes, but I can´t help seeing a sort of sense of humor in those crazy shapes. Seen from afar, the lines are quite straight and symmetrical.

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What on earth is that? A Salvador Daliesque prank?

nokidding
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by nokidding » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:01 am

The evidence of machine cuts is something new and astonishing to me, thank you for posting this. I was in Petra 30 years ago (it was almost completely deserted) and supposed it to be hand working of soft stone, preserved by the climate.

The pre-Inca stone masonry seems to be a combination of linear cuts and hand finishing. There are no sharp cornered joints. It is like they shaped blocks at will within a style and fitted the next to it, rather than following an engineering drawing. The difficulties and accuracy required are obvious, could it be done today? Or do we need to suppose some technology that does not today exist?

Perhaps the pre-Inca builders were themselves devolved practitioners of a lost technology; in possession of tools that were superior to their own stage of development. This seems improbable as machines need maintenance and parts and manufacturing and drawings and machines to make them etc.

How to avoid getting sucked into Von Daniken tales? We would expect to find some remains of machines and workshops and support systems that produced this work. Has nothing turned up?

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:55 pm

In reality, after a long hiatus, most ancient sites were taken over by other peoples and races who sometimes venerated the ancestral builders and tried to imitate their style or added crude inscriptions to perfectly polished surfaces. It´s a very interesting phenomenon and much care is needed to distinguish the original pieces from the later imitations.
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Machined stone box in the Sarapeum (Saqqara) and inscriptions "scratched" into the polished surface at a much later date. Crappy workmanship.

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Machined basalt pyramidion (pyramid capstone) in the Cairo Museum. The precision of the angles and surfaces is beyond what can be achieved by hand, considering the hardness (and brittleness?) of basalt.

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The inscriptions on the pyramidion are nice, but incompatible with the technology used to hew and polish the piece. They must have been added at a much later date, perhaps in order to attribute the piece to a contemporary ruler.

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Here is a tricky one. The carving of the wings on this pyramidion looks machined and is much superior to most of the other components of the inscription. Maybe the two sections were made by different cultures, or maybe the dynastic Egyptians were much better at carving basalt than I will usually grant, or maybe the predynastic builders did use inscriptions after all.

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:12 pm

Megalithic stone blocks sometimes have mysterious knobs on them. They are very common in Peruvian sites but may be seen in other parts of the world as well. Nobody knows their purpose, but there are at least four popular hypotheses:

1) They were used to sling ropes around when lifting the blocks. This makes little sense because many knobs are too small and rounded to tie anything around, because most huge blocks in high positions lack them, while many blocks at floor level have them, and because the builders would have removed them once their usefulness had come to an end. They are not exactly handsome.

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2) They were used as a solar calendar. Some claim the knobs become connected by shadows cast on specific days of the year, such as solstices and equinoxes. While a sun dial like that could easily be made, the abundance and random patterns of knobs at some sites make this a weak hypothesis.

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I don´t buy this druid clock on the wall.

3) They were used by astronomers to indicate the position of celestial bodies. This is very hard to demonstrate or refute, but I would expect astronomers to create planetariums in observatories, not in corridors and odd corners.

4) They were thermal devices used to control the energy flow in the walls. Since there is no mortar or space whatsoever between the blocks, even tiny seismic or thermal energy fluctuations pose a risk of breakage. This hypothesis seems more reasonable to me and it could possibly be tested with a computer model.
5 - Stone surfaces show signs of having been “softened”...
How were the knobs made? They look extraneous to the blocks. Were they added after the blocks were in place? Or were they "pinched" from the block itself? The one on the right looks like it could have been "softened" chemically or thermally or welded on in some way.

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nokidding
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by nokidding » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:11 am

It looks like a functional wall and the completion schedule was the priority. Is this igneous rock? Perhaps the knobs are the remains of a foundry process. They should have been fettled but there was no time and it didn’t matter that much.

The blocks were cast with the face side up. The sides in contact with other blocks are flat. The face side is rounded, like the top of a bread loaf.

The knob is the last of the pour, solidifying before it fully settled. If liquid enough there would be no sign of it.

Pure speculation but casting rock is not as crazy as it sounds. The temperature of magma is 700 to 1300 degrees C.

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:21 pm

nokidding wrote:The pre-Inca stone masonry seems to be a combination of linear cuts and hand finishing. There are no sharp cornered joints.
On the outside, shapes are rounded and unpolished, but the internal joints are apparently more angular, as you can see in the first picture of my first post.
(I just saw your second post about this question).
nokidding wrote:We would expect to find some remains of machines and workshops and support systems that produced this work. Has nothing turned up?
You ask pertinent questions and I wish I had answers to them. One thing that comes to mind is what I'd call the "preservation bias". Why are we looking at stone blocks? Because it is the only human artifact other than precious metals that doesn't rot or rust. Let´s assume for the sake of argument that a technologically accomplished civilization existed some 15,000 years ago, spanning more than one continent. Nobody lives in cold, hard stone chambers, much less in dark humid caves. Homes and everyday apparel and utensils would have been very well crafted, even elegant. But not made of imperishable materials. OK, I know, this is not a satisfactory answer.
nokidding wrote:I was in Petra 30 years ago (it was almost completely deserted) and supposed it to be hand working of soft stone, preserved by the climate.
Petra is far bigger than the "treasury" section tourists generally go to. The site is a confusing mix of crude and grandiose structures. Some of the large 'acoustic' rooms there have definitely been carved out of the mountain with something other than hand tools. Whatever it was, it left continuous parallel lines on the walls and high up on the ceiling.

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It´s also interesting to see the curious pattern of destruction in the picture below, affecting the lower part of the structure (as in certain sites in Egypt). The natural rockface also has some discolored patches (not shown). There is still so much about Petra I can´t figure out.

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patrix
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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by patrix » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:43 pm

Many thanks for a most interesting thread. I've actually been inside one of the Giza pyramids many years ago but I have no idea on who built them or their purpose but I do find the official historical version very implausible.

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Re: Advanced Building Technology in Remote Antiquity?

Unread post by Flabbergasted » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:21 pm

nokidding » September 28th, 2019, 4:11 am wrote:It looks like a functional wall and the completion schedule was the priority. Is this igneous rock? Perhaps the knobs are the remains of a foundry process. They should have been fettled but there was no time and it didn’t matter that much.

The blocks were cast with the face side up. The sides in contact with other blocks are flat. The face side is rounded, like the top of a bread loaf.

The knob is the last of the pour, solidifying before it fully settled. If liquid enough there would be no sign of it.
That´s a very nice fifth explanation of the existence of the knobs. Moreover, if the cast blocks were not completely hardened when placed in position, they would fill any remaining space between them without merging, creating the perfect-fit look.

Some recovered pieces actually look more cast than cut. That goes for the details on top of the wall on the lower right too.
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But what are the difficulties with the cast block hypothesis?

- No block has the same size and shape. Our hypothetical 3-D puzzle mold would have to be reconfigured for every single block. Sounds like a nightmare to me.
- On some blocks, the hypothetical "face side up" is semi-circular or used as a corner (see the first knob post above and the Chulpa tower below).
- The variety of knob shapes and sizes makes it hard to picture them as "the last of the pour" (though I like the idea)

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Found this on pinterest.

- As mentioned before, I believe the grain of the stone would be radically altered by melting, making a cast block easily distinguishable from the bedrock in the quarry. But I don't know to what extent this aspect has been analyzed.
- I agree the walls were functional, but the playfulness of the shapes (see below) and the preference for such an elaborate and potentially time-consuming building method (rather than using standardized blocks) do not strengthen the hypothesis that "there was no time and it didn’t matter that much".

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Right: A puma paw and a snake (not shown) were incorporated into this wall at Sachsayhuaman.

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