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View Full Version : The Pyramids of Egypt. How were they really built?



Kaptive
06-15-2012, 10:31 PM
Hello,

I thought I'd share a piece of work that has been in process for just over a year now that has blossomed into a bit of an epic.

The Pyramids of Egypt. How were they really built? is the title of book that is coming out in August, and it is written by a guy called Chris Massey who lives just a few miles from me. He's been in the building industry all of his life, and a good part of what he does involves creating solutions to getting weird architectural structures into difficult places.

So to keep it short... he went on holiday to Egypt which was actually a suprise gift for him, and prior to this holiday he hadn't given Egypt or the Pyramids a second thought.

Having seen them, and being told by the guides that they were built with ramps, ropes and brute force, and then by other tourists that the job required aliens; as a builder, it bothered him deeply. Non of it sounded right, and so he set about thinking how he'd achieve it with what was available to them at the supposed time of construction.

A year or two later... well, his theory is on youtube, and it covers all of the main theory that he spells out in his book. It is pretty good, and it would seem so obvious that you wonder why no one has thought of it before.

So... He asked me to turn his idea into animation. It has been a semi fluid process, and the idea has grown throughout production.

All of it is LW 9.6. It makes heavy use of HD Instance. There is a small bit of jimmyrig in there for background characters and the walking man by the canal. (Though I did use it extensively for a few shots that didn't make the final cut... though you see a glimpse of them at the start in the quarry shot if you look at all the little tiny men going about their business.)

For the pole men and the guy on the reed boat, I used Rhiggit for the first time (excellent, excellent, I cannot recommend it enough. The more I've used it, the better it gets).

Other than that, I don't know what else to tell you other than saying, it isn't technically perfect, and like all of us, I could knit pick to my grave! But I was pushing my ole' machine to its limits with the shear amount of stuff in many of the shots.

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy it, minor technical floors and all! Share with anyone you think might find it interesting! The theory is a pretty good one, give it a shot!

The Pyramids of Egypt. How were they really built? Part 1: The Theory (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJcp13hAO3U)

Part 2 barely shows any animation, but it's an interesting follow up that shows the ideas from the theory recreated in a scale model.

The Pyramids of Egypt. How were they really built? Part 2: The Experiment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxFXsoqbfrk)

Hope you enjoy... and thanks for taking an interest!

Kris :thumbsup:

105119

kadri
06-15-2012, 11:33 PM
WOW! Amazing! I do not know if they were really build in this way but it is believable and i will watch the coming years how it turns out .

The animation serves the theory very good:)

SplineGod
06-16-2012, 01:12 AM
Nice job on the animation. Its an interesting theory. The part I would have some problems with are the hydraulic channels going up the sides of the pyramides. Im curious how the water would be pumped up the columns. Water at that height generates a lot of pressure. Building pipes that were water tight as well as strong enough to take that kind of pressure would be difficult. I know the Romans has mastered the use of concrete to build such things but I dont think the egyptians had concrete. Aside from that how would they have pumped water that high up?
Ive seen quite a few other theories about building wooden tracks up the sides of the pyramids and using sledges, carts, wheels etc to pull the blocks up. That seems an easier solution. Ive also seen where 1/4 circle wheel like forms were attached to each block to form a wheel and then the blocks were then rolled up the sides of the pyramid, The rope was wound arouond the wheel blocks and as the rope was pulled the wheel blocks would unwind and roll up the sides...again that seems to be a more straightforward approach. Theres also some who claim that the blocks were made by using soft lime that was ground up,mixed with water and natron to form a slurry then left to dry to form a sort of primitive concrete that was then hauled up the pyramids and packed into wooden molds to form blocks....
Anyways, nice job. :)

lertola2
06-16-2012, 01:22 PM
The theory of floating blocks up the side of a pyramid in giant sealed pipes seems beyond implausible to me. However the animations are amazing. Great job.

erikals
06-16-2012, 03:07 PM
very cool http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/023.gif

oliversimonnet
06-16-2012, 03:26 PM
Brilliant!

Hieron
06-16-2012, 04:09 PM
Nice theory for sure.
This guy seems to agree on quite a few points:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO53v39auP4&feature=relmfu

Though one must wonder how easy it is to get/keep all the tons and tons of water up there in the first place and constantly heightened as the pyramid grows), keep the leakage to a minimum, and all that sealed by locks/cement..

Seems simpler to me to just come up with masses of slaves, pulleys, force and ramps. But never looked into it... if there is some ancient watertight structure in Egypt that could hold such weight it would be interesting..

Love the animations.. they truly make this stand out. Very nice work.

safetyman
06-17-2012, 05:00 AM
The animations are top notch, very well done.

This stuff interests me greatly and I love the theory here. Like the folks here have pointed out, if the Egyptians could have found a way to keep all that water from spewing all over the place, I'd say this theory is a good one. One documentary I watched stated that "Why would they constantly take on projects that were almost impossibly difficult to accomplish over and over again?" The answer is, that for them it wasn't. It was relatively easy. Whatever method they used, for them it was not that difficult. Let's hope that is correct and that thousands of people didn't toil for decades.

I, however, subscribe to the alien helper theory -- aliens gave the Egyptians an anti-gravity gun and they moved the blocks into place in a short period of time. Simple.

probiner
06-17-2012, 05:48 AM
hmmm I don't know...
- The sealing of the water ramp would have to be tremendous.
- Basically they would have to do a pool at each level also sealed from the lower levels
- The floaters don't seem to be enough.
- Weren't there bigger blocks than those ones?
- Evaporation?

Anyway, enjoyed the video and the demonstrations :)

skype6
06-17-2012, 06:27 AM
Great animation and video! The idea is not bad, but managed to put the water and transported blocks at an angle upwards under the force of gravity and corrosion to the walls? I think that water would not help! We are talking about the building which is very high and it would take a lot of water and some sort of pump to do it all? All in all a nice video:thumbsup:

erikals
06-17-2012, 06:47 AM
it's a great idea though, what it it was made vertically instead, it'd make things easier :]
(quick mock-up, just to get the idea through, not final)

http://forums.newtek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=105136&stc=1&d=1339937240

Kaptive
06-17-2012, 03:01 PM
Hello,

Thanks for all the great replies and comments. The one thing I am eternally grateful about, is that thankfully, it isn't my theory! ...though I do think it is a very good one. I'm just the messenger, and so I don't have to defend it. But I certainly think it holds some water *ba-dum-tishhhh ahhhhhhhhhhh.

I think what was most important to Chris, is that the idea of floatation is considered. Using the basic concept, he has come up with a method that on paper, and through experimenting on a small scale... works. This isn't to say (and I think Chris might agree with me) that there aren't other build methods that may improve on his existing model. The exact method is always going to be speculation at best without a time machine or some brand new evidence. (Though Erikals, I like your thinking. I think the only difficulty with a tunnel that goes straight up is that locks may be much harder to use, though I might be wrong!).

But Chris, in my opinion is a smart guy, and I know for a fact that the book contains much more in terms of actual calculations with regard to water pressure and what would actually work in reality. Also in the book are alternative takes on the same concepts/scenarios using the same basic method of floatation (as well as expanding the use of water for other parts of the process).

With regard to the idea being implausable, I think the concept needs to be considered against the backdrop of how implausable the construction of the Pyramids actually are. To build something which we'd struggle to achieve even today, almost any idea is up for grabs if it works. What ever method they used, it isn't something we do today, and that is for certain!

If humans, (without aliens help) built the Great Pyramid, then this theory I feel is as close as anyone has got to achieveing the breakneck speeds required to build it in the time space allotted, and with the resources available. Through the course of doing this job I have learned a great deal about the Pyramids, and all of the various theories. Most of them, if not all of them seem like a real stretch of theimagination when thrust into reality.

Anyway, I could talk about this forever, but I'd bore you all lol.

But very glad you folks like it. The positives warm this animators heart ,so thank you!

Right now, I'm on holiday! I've been working months on end for crazy hours without a real break, so it's really good to be able to sit back for a bit; see happy customers, and having some of my work on public display for a change instead of hidden away in a corporate environment where no one ever gets to see it.
I do sometimes wonder what great work a lot of people do out there that never really gets seen. I imagine quite a lot!

Right.. back to relaxing!

Kris

Oh yeah, p.s. A lot of the questions about the finer details of the process are covered in detail in the book. We approached the animation with the idea of explaining the concept so that anyone can understand it, and without getting bogged down in facts and figures. But like I say, the book really does go into much smaller details and methods. Worth a look :)

pooby
06-17-2012, 03:29 PM
As Erikals suggested, The idea of floating up the centre seems to make more sense as the mass of rocks surrounding it would support the water pressure.

jeric_synergy
06-17-2012, 04:08 PM
The pole guy in the boat is hand animated, not mocap? VERY nice job there, really liked that bit especially.

On the theory as depicted, not so much. I'd venture those floats would need to be MUCH greater in volume than illustrated: the volume of water they'd need to displace of course must equal the weight of the stone block. How many times denser is stone than water?

(Oh, here it is! 2.3X-2.7X : http://www.edumine.com/xtoolkit/tables/sgtables.htm)

But really nice animation, very impressive.

Iain
06-21-2012, 03:56 AM
Great work Kris-that looks like a huge project for one person!

Interesting ideas too, some more plausible than others but all very well realised :thumbsup:

Kaptive
06-21-2012, 03:05 PM
Great work Kris-that looks like a huge project for one person!

Yeah, it was quite an undertaking! In fact, i'm going to give you a big hug for recognising this artists struggle :) Many thanks for the thumbs up!

inkpen3d
06-27-2012, 10:38 AM
Excellent animation Kris - well done indeed!

However, I do have to agree with other contributors to the thread...

The first thought that struck me whilst watching the video was: how would they stop all the leaks in those stone "pipes" given the huge hydrostatic pressure existing between the top of the pyramid and the pool at the base.

And the second thought was: how on earth would they lift all that water up to the reservoirs at the top of the pyramid and maintain their level - you'd end up expending huge amounts of energy raising all that water (which would be constantly leaking/evaporating away), probably more energy in total than raising the stone blocks by some other method (e.g. up ramps).

Anyway, as you say, you're just the messenger and the message you delivered was of very high quality.:thumbsup:

Peter

jeric_synergy
06-27-2012, 10:45 AM
I didn't want to nitpick, but another thing about the concept:

I don't believe those floating packages, which as I pointed out would have to be at least 3x bigger to float at all, would float gently up those vertical channels: I think they would ROCKET up quite rapidly. If they're buoyant enough to float at the surface, they'd really be buoyant at the bottom of a 100 tank.

Still, I'd enjoy seeing this system used in a fantasy film, just cuz it looks so cool.

inkpen3d
06-27-2012, 11:20 AM
There's also a difference in elevation of almost 40m (i.e. 120 feet) between the base of the pyramids on the plateaux and the level of the river Nile (i.e. just east of the Sphinx back when these structures were built). That in itself is one heck of a distance to lift large volumes of water - even when the river was in flood - and that's before you start raising it up to the construction level of the pyramid!

I used Google Earth to zoom-in to the ground-level view at the two locations referred to above and noted the elevation readings at the bottom of the GE window.

Peter

jeric_synergy
06-27-2012, 12:17 PM
There's also a difference in elevation of almost 40m (i.e. 120 feet) between the base of the pyramids on the plateaux and the level of the river Nile (i.e. just east of the Sphinx back when these structures were built). That in itself is one heck of a distance to lift large volumes of water - even when the river was in flood - and that's before you start raising it up to the construction level of the pyramid!

Yep: you'd need an EXTREMELY long aquaduct or, more likely, sluice-way, from upriver to the reservoir at the pyramid.

I think there's plenty of other, less laborious methods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K7q20VzwVs

Still, for a SF or fantasy film, this could be fun. "Hemp-punk", when your most advanced tech is a good rope.

inkpen3d
06-27-2012, 01:44 PM
Yep: you'd need an EXTREMELY long aquaduct or, more likely, sluice-way, from upriver to the reservoir at the pyramid.

I think there's plenty of other, less laborious methods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K7q20VzwVs

Still, for a SF or fantasy film, this could be fun. "Hemp-punk", when your most advanced tech is a good rope.

Interesting video - it's certainly one possible system that they might have devised/employed for constructing Stonehenge and for raising the obelisks in Egypt - in fact I vaguely recall seeing a program on TV a few years ago where someone raised a scaled down obelisk using a similar method.

Your sluice idea is a good one - I hadn't thought of that. Alas though, it looks like you'd have to go over a 100km up-river before you get the necessary elevation in the river to feed such a channel. :-(

Peter

jeric_synergy
06-27-2012, 01:57 PM
Your sluice idea is a good one - I hadn't thought of that. Alas though, it looks like you'd have to go over a 100km up-river before you get the necessary elevation in the river to feed such a channel. :-(

Peter
I figured.

Is it so hard to believe that when you've got thousands of slaves, and forty years, you can do crazy stuff? Nobody thinks Balmoral Castle was built like this. Egypt was an empire that lasted for two THOUSAND years, for Raven's sake!

erikals
06-27-2012, 04:45 PM
was about to say that....
also >

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 workers built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years. Much of the work probably happened while the River Nile was flooded.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/pyramids.html

 

fazi69
06-30-2012, 01:19 PM
I love CG work. I made in the past few archaeological reconstructions so I know how much work it consume. As for theory itself it is dead wrong.
Simple issue of water pressure will be bigger challenge for the ancients than the weight of stones. But hey .... who really knows ?
I read all from Deniken and Hancock so You can't say that I'm not open-minded. I believe everything but I have little engineering background and I know how awesome force 140m of water have even in simple pipe.

jeric_synergy
06-30-2012, 01:43 PM
Indeed. My understanding is that the pressure in a vertical pipe is more about the height than the volume, but considering that ONE cubic meter of water is one metric tonne gives one perspective on the challenges ancient engineers would face.

And btw: why is it always HUMANS hauling stuff around? Surely the Egyptians had oxen and whatnot for the gross movement of stone blocks. The final placement might have been humans for precision, but geeze.