REVIEWS - ARTICLES - LETTERS
Read what Martin Isler has to say about ramp theories
Martin Isler Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 22, (1985), pp. 129-142 Published by: American Research Center in Egypt
The Courier Mail
PAUL Hai is "99.9 per cent sure" as to how
The secret of the Pyramids, according to Hai, is a rudimentary pinion-pulley system operating on the same basic principle as a three-wheeled step trolley or a motor car's rack and pinion steering. In Hai's theory, the rack is the Pyramid itself and the layers of stone behave like teeth. There were many "pinions" that engaged the Pyramids "teeth" and revolved towards their apex. These were the 2.3 million 2.5 tonne stone blocks that made up the Pyramids themselves.
Each block was skilfully fitted with a wooden lobed scaffold, almost like petals surrounding a flower. It was in the cavities between the wooden lobes that these makeshift pinions engaged the Pyramid's stone layers. The pulley effect occurred through a series of Lebanese cedar "A-frame" levers.
Taking his inspiration from Herodotus, Hai pushes his calculations even further and reckons that with 40 pulleys and 40 cranes working each day, the Pyramids would have taken 20 years to build.
Apart from some obvious publication constraints, Hai's simple instructive writing style holds firm. Among the formidable research, mathematics and engineering data, Hai submits a lucid and broadly engaging argument to a topic that has tormented scholars for more than 4500 years.
The North West Star
8 October 2007
The writer is Bernie Riley of Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia.
MOUNT Isa can claim an outstanding achievement on the world stage by a citizen, Paul Hai, whose racks & pinions pyramid construction theory presented in his book Raising Stone I, now on sale at Mount Isa book outlets.
Although it must yet withstand world wide challenges to gain official recognition, it advances published thinking on those ancient construction achievements dramatically beyond the point reached by the past collective efforts of all Egyptology explorers and researchers, strongly indicating that win, lose or draw in the academic stakes, the Paul Hai theory will ensure that old Egypt can never again be considered in the same condescending way following what must have been their industrial revolution.
Paul Hai has never visited Egypt, but when required to write an essay on pyramid construction for his university history course, he opted to reread the largely ignored c. 450 BCE Giza records by Herodotus of Halicarnassus, rather than to follow the "sand ramps" theory trail fostered by university libraries, requiring massive sand ramps to deliver and elevate stone blocks to pyramid sites.
The resulting new construction theory is presented in an easily read and understood book that will have any age group reader fully informed by both the well written text and diagrammatic colour plates clearly depicting each progressive block handling step at Giza.
Few will doubt Paul's racks & pinions construction theory, because the evidence shows that civilisations predating the Egyptian Fourth Dynasty period used well known and understood simple mechanical lifting devices (eg shaduf/crane) that would surely have been used to draw irrigation water from the Nile, renders the possibility that Egyptian engineering knowledge and practice suddenly took a backwards step by building massive sand ramps rather than evolving their existing technology, is ludicrous.
The clues that prompted innovative thought resulting in the new recognition may have been - must we accept the modern line that ancient Egypt, with its massive stone temples, monuments, public works etc came without the evolving benefits of mechanical advantage apparatus, simply because engineering thought played little or no part in telling the story of Egypt's greatest buildings? Something that wouldn't rest easily with Mr Hai's mechanical background.
Paul's new theory will, correctly, undergo academic scrutiny sure to question, as will any reader, for example, whether cedar timber could withstand the rigours of pulley quadrant life.
But the type of timber is immaterial and a people able to import Lebaneses cedar, or indeed Ethiopian fancy pyramid building stone, could manifestly source any fence post length, tough timber of choice.
However, if the professors do consign it to oblivion, it will be simply to preserve well established calf-trails.
Paul Hai shows that mechanical, construction and tool principles employed in those ancient works are clear forerunners to the evolved technologies and modern advanced tools that in many cases must reflect original conceptional recognition and credit to those ancient Egyptian technologists.
Raising Stone I is essential reading for everyone - families, schools, the trades and universities.
Book Review by Ruth Parnell
Mechanical tradesman Paul Hai, inspired by the reports of the Greek scholar Herodotus from his visit to
Taking the historian's cue that the Giza Pyramids were "built in steps, battlement-wise" and that after laying the stones for the base the constructors "raised the remaining stones to their places by means of machines formed of short wooden planks", Hai had a brainwave that a pinion-pulley system with wooden "rockers" was utilised. He suggests that cross-pegged wooden "lobes" were fitted radially around each block of stone, weighing an average of 2,500 kg with approximate dimensions of one cubic metre, with four quadrants forming the pulley drum. A hoisting rope was tied to one of the pegs and wrapped around the drum until it was fully loaded with rope. The free end of the rope was then attached to a shaduf, an ancient type of crane, a class-one lever. Three ropes were probably wound to share the load. The load lay inside the pulley and the entire pulley wheel - a class two lever - could then be hoisted higher using ropes guided by a grooved bearing stone. The pulley utilised the initially placed stones as a rack, helped with the placement of wooden rails. A claw-lift crane was then used to position each stone in its place, the claw fitting into pre-gouged holes in an already-placed stone. Hai says such an apparatus could provide a 2.8 mechanical advantage, thus a 2,500 kg load could be hoisted with three ropes, each sharing 300 kg of load.
Hai points to excavated artifacts which confirm that the Pyramid-builders used these technologies and that this construction system would have been much more efficient than one using a ramp. His self-published book Raising Stone contains many colour illustrations and photographs to show how this ingenious construction method could have worked. It seems he's onto something.