Researchers Made 3,900-Pound Boulders They Can Move by Hand, Giving More Insights Into Ancient Engineering

Gif: Vimeo

How were giant ancient structures like Stonehenge, or the towering Moai heads on Easter Island, assembled at a time when cranes and trucks were still hundreds of years away? Researchers at MIT have given more credence to theories that ancient engineers were masters of balance and leverage with a new experiment that produced giant concrete structures, some 3,900+ pounds in weight, that can be still be maneuvered by hand.


Matter Design (which was co-founded by Brandon Clifford, who’s also an assistant professor at MIT) worked with CEMEX, a company that specializes in building materials, to design a series of over-sized concrete monoliths that could be assembled like giant building blocks into a larger, functional structure. But despite weighing many tons a piece and being durable enough to survive hundreds of years, the concrete blocks feature unique makeups and shapes that make them relatively easy to move, even by just a single person.

There’s a couple of different design approaches at work here. The blocks, which are also known as massive masonry units—or MMUs, for short—are made from concrete with varying densities to allow precise control over where the object’s center of gravity ends up, adding stability and balance. And while each giant block looks like a random blob, they’re engineered with strategically placed bevels, rounded edges, pivot points, handles, and interlocking features. The resulting structures are still far too heavy for a human to lift, but they can be rocked, pivoted, tilted, walked, and even rolled from one location to another, with remarkable ease and precision.

Gif: Vimeo

So yes, the idea that 82-ton Moai statues were rocked and walked across an island to their final resting places is not implausible. But this experiment does more than just prove a hypothesis. Given advances in 3D printing, especially on grander scales, this approach could be used to design and build permanent, durable structures in places where a truck or a towering crane would be impossible, or too cost-prohibitive, to employ. In places where flooding is a threat or water levels are already rising, concrete walls could be easily assembled by local residents. Or heavy, impenetrable barricades could be quickly maneuvered into a place where threats are imminent, and there’s no time to build a more elaborate structure. One day you might even assemble your new home like a giant concrete Lego set. Just throw down a rug or two and those concrete walls won’t seem so cold.

Correction, April 22, 2019, 5:24 p.m. EST/EDT: This article previously incorrectly stated that the largest of these concrete structures weighed 25-tons, when in fact it weighed 1,770-kilograms, or a little over 3,900-pounds.


[Matter Design via designboom]



OK pseudoscience like this needs to stop.
This is why dumbasses think Aliens have visited us, and angels are real.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Look - The great megalithic monuments of the world are Stone. They are not conglomerations of precisely controlled densities of concrete. They were big. They were heavy. And YES they were hard to move... THAT WAS THE POINT!!!

Why did we go to the moon? BECAUSE IT WAS HARD.
Why did we climb Everest? BECAUSE IT WAS THERE.

Why did they build the pyramids? To tell the world “I EXISTED”.
Obelisks? “I DID THIS”

To try and figure out how they did it, other than brute force, I think cheapens the monument as a whole.

In the Amish culture, the community comes together for a barn raising. The work, the sweat is considered a godly act. They do it as a sign of devotion. A devotion to something they believe is bigger than them.

BIGGER THAN THEM. Moving an 82 ton statue is bigger than them.

Lets just accept that they did it. It honors them better then trying to push our modern laziness on them.