How were the pyramids built? Maybe with water In this drawing, a giant statue is pulled on a sled (Wikimedia Commons/AP photo)
How were the pyramids built? Maybe with water
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For centuries, it's been a mystery as to how the ancient Egyptians moved the huge stone blocks needed to build the pyramids. Did they use sleds, ramps, wheels, logs? There's even a theory that aliens were involved.

Now researchers say they've found a much simpler technique to make the job easier: just add water.

How the builders transported stones weighing several tons from quarries all over the country has been an enduring mystery, according to the History Channel, AOL and The Washington Post.

If the researchers are right, the answer has been staring Egyptologists in the face for centuries. Check out the drawing of an Egyptian sled, above. What's that guy pouring?

It could just be plain old water. One of the most popular theories on how the Egyptians transported the stones is that they were hauled on sleds. Pulling a sled through sand is hard work. But it becomes much easier if the sand is wet.

Researchers carried out their own experiment and found if the sand is just wet enough, the sled can be pulled with half as much effort.

The study says that's because water gets between grains of sand and forms what they call "liquid bridges." They "act like glue, keeping the grains in place. This is great for sand castle building, and also, it turns out, for sand transportation," according to American Physical Society.

Basically, the water prevents the sled from digging into the sand and creating more friction.

Critical thinking challenge: Why did the ancient Egyptians use slaves instead of steam engines to move the blocks to build the pyramids?

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COMMENTS (123)
  • robertrkelly
    5/02/2014 - 02:08 p.m.

    Why do Egyptians built pyramids.The answer is that they need money for their families.So they built pyramids to make money and they do.They need money to feed they family,pay cloths,and a place to live.

  • sabrinah1530
    5/02/2014 - 02:54 p.m.

    people make a lot of stuff that looks like that it looks like the real one

  • connormabry
    5/02/2014 - 02:54 p.m.

    Hem water makes since that they would use water they had the nile river right their.So it may not have been aliens but i like to beilve so don't judge me .

  • loganherring
    5/02/2014 - 03:02 p.m.

    That is very weird that Egyptians were that smart back then. Also it's very cool to know that aliens were not involved in it. Now we know what happened and what they did to make them.

  • keylanmurry
    5/02/2014 - 03:10 p.m.

    its seems like people back then are smarter than people now. Though, people are no smarter at anytime then another, we just involved.

  • KieranS-4
    5/02/2014 - 06:34 p.m.

    For many years, nobody has know the answer to how ancient Egyptians were able to build the pyramids. Researchers say that the secret is to add water. People thought that the stone bricks were carried by sleds in the sand. This would be hard, but if you add water to the sand, it makes the sled easy to drag across. The water prevents the sled from sinking into the sand making it harder to pull due to greater friction.

    This theory is a good one. This doesn't explain how they got the bricks up the pyramid to finish the higher layers though.

  • JettW-1
    5/02/2014 - 06:49 p.m.

    Egypt's pyramids are very mysterious. So mysterious, that no one really knows how they were built. Some theories include ancient Egyptians using sleds, logs, ramps, the help from aliens, and wheels. Some researchers have a new theory. The ancient Egyptians might have used water. The researchers also tested pulling a sled with and without water and their data said the water made it much easier. If the ancient Egyptians did use water, it would fill many wholes in the story of how the pyramids were built. Some people believe the use of water to build the pyramids was obvious according to some ancient hieroglyphs.
    I think the mystery of the pyramids is very interesting. The new water theory adds to the mystery and makes a lot of sense.

  • EvanF-2
    5/02/2014 - 07:32 p.m.

    One possible theory on how the Egyptians carried the big resources needed for building pyramids was by water. Another theory says that they carry the reagents on sleds, but that's still a lot of weight to be hauled around! With water, the materials would weigh about half as much and create less friction sliding on the ground.
    I think this is a possible theory, and a very smart plan for transportation. With all that work, the Egyptians must have been thinking there must be a better way!

  • EvanF-2
    5/02/2014 - 07:33 p.m.

    One possible theory on how the Egyptians carried the big resources needed for building pyramids was by water. Another theory says that they carry the reagents on sleds, but that's still a lot of weight to be hauled around! With water, the materials would weigh about half as much and create less friction sliding on the ground.
    I think this is a possible theory, and a very smart plan for transportation. With all that work, the Egyptians must have been thinking there must be a better way!

  • seiaw-2
    5/02/2014 - 09:08 p.m.

    for centuries, the way the Egyptian pyramids were made, was a mystery. There are many theory's, some more rational than other, but now there is the theory of water. research shows that putting water in the sand helps pull a sled easier. The Egyptians used sleds to move statues and things. I think that would have been very clever of them to use water to make things move easier and faster.

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