Moving Mountains


Pondering the Baghdad Battery last night got me thinking about other remarkable ancient accomplishments.

Stone was the ancient material of choice. Somehow they were able to not only quarry massive blocks with precision accuracy, they transported them for miles. In the case of sites like Machu Pichu, across rivers and hundreds of feet straight up the side of a mountain.

In Feb. of 2012 a rock weighing 680,000 lbs. was quarried in Riverside California. It was to be transported 100 miles to the L.A. County Museum of Art for an exhibit called “Levitated Mass” Over 100 workers, a 1.4 million lb. crane, 2,400 horsepower truck, structure made of steel girders supported by 208 tires, a power unit pushing and another pulling; were able to move it at around 5 miles per hour.

The Western Stone in Jerusalem weighs 1.2 million lbs., Ramesseum Statue in Thebes, Egypt 2 million lbs., and the Trilithon at the Temple of Jupiter in Lebanon 4.8 million lbs. All quarried miles away. Somehow these single blocks of stone were not only transported, but set perfectly in place without  anything other than incredible ingenuity.  Puma Punku in Bolivia sits at the top of a mountain plateau, at an elevation of 12,00 feet. Built before these people even had the wheel, somehow rocks weighing up to 100 tons found their way up the side of  this imposing mountain.

Engineering head scratchers litter the ancient world. Ponder a time when the expression “moving mountains” didn’t elude to an impossible task, rather, just another day at the quarry.