The question of the pyramid construction in ancient Egypt has been one of the most intriguing mysteries in the world’s history. The Egyptian pyramids seem way too precise to have been constructed without sophisticated technical means. This paves the way to various controversial theories, such as that of the alien origin of Egyptian pyramids.

However, the truth might be much simpler than that. Scientists from the University of Amsterdam managed to find evidence that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to facilitate the transportation of giant stones that were used to build the pyramids.

To create the ancient Egyptian pyramids, builders had to constantly move giant blocks of stone and sculptures through the desert. They had to lift heavy loads and put them on sleds, which were then dragged through the sand.

The experiments of Dutch physicists confirmed that the sand right in front of the sled was poured with water. When the right proportion of sand was moistened, it could reduce the effort required to transport the cargo by half.

The moisture in the sand increases the formation of capillary bridges, which hold together the separate grains of sand. Thus, the stiffness of wet sand is doubled as compared to dry sand. Due to this, the sand in front of the sled stops piling up and lets it slide without hindrance, as in the case of dry sand.

It is almost certain that Egyptians knew about this technique. This is evidenced by wall paintings from the tomb of the monarch Djehutihotep, where it is possible to see a person who is wetting the sand in front of the sled.

The study of properties of sand can be of great practical importance in modern technology. Properties of granular materials, which are very common in the world, are still insufficiently studied.

The results of the study, which were published online in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters, could help optimize the transportation and handling of granular materials such as sand, gravel, or asphalt.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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