www.cheops-pyramide.ch Copyright 2006 Franz Löhner and Teresa Zuberbühler
A new method by Franz Löhner
Many methods for constructing the Great pyramids of Giza have been suggested. Ramps in all shapes and forms have been drawn, but so far no really good explanation, how this great feat was done has been found. Calculations show that a stone weighting 2.5 tons had to be moved up the pyramid of Khufu every 1 to 2 minutes, so the pyramid could be finished in a maximum of 20 years.
No more large construction ramps!
The German Franz Löhner  has thought of an impressively simple way how the ancient pyramid builders could have erected those large monuments - using wooden rope rolls and sledges on tracks installed directly on the flank of the pyramid. The rope roll is basically a small wooden stand with a wooden bearing (a cross beam) over which a rope can be deflected or turned around (details below).
A wooden track is constructed directly on the pyramid face and anchored on the casing. Two rope rolls are installed on both sides of the track and anchored on a special casing stone each. The two rope rolls constitute a rope roll station. A rope roll station is installed about every 30-37m height and an additional one on the edge to the pyramid plateau. On both sides of the track, a ladder-like rig is installed for the haulers to walk on. The stone block (weighting an average of 2.5 tons) is laid on a wooden sledge and tied down with ropes. The sledge is then installed on the tracks. Of course the tracks and the skids of the sledge are well lubricated with watered oil.
Now the ropes which are attached to the sledge are brought up to the rope roll, slung over the cross-piece of the rope roll and left dangling. Two hauling teams (of 24 men each - calculations show a minimum of 46 men are necessary) are waiting on the top, standing in two groups on each side of the track on the top of the ladder-like rig just down from the rope roll station (reel station). To pull the stone up, the hauling teams are walking down the steep ladder-like rig on the pyramid flank. Two haulers together grab a crossbar handle (wooden toggle) attached to the rope and, holding it in front of their chest, they push. When they walk down, the sledge with the stone is carried up the tracks.
Once the sledge arrives at the edge of the pyramid frustum, it is tilted,
so it rests on the plateau and another hauling team takes over and transports
the stone to its intended position on the pyramid plateau. The sledge
is released and returned to its starting point in the stone quarry. The
hauling team meanwhile can return back to the rope roll station for their
next assignment, using a normal stairway which is installed for their
Why build separate ramps when the pyramid has four inclined planes as an integral part of its structure? Löhner's solution is a very simple device - a so called rope roll or reel station. This rope roll is basically a small wooden stand with a wooden bearing (a cross beam) over which a rope can be deflected or turned around. Pairs of these rope rolls and tracks for the sledges are installed directly on the pyramid flank (the illustration also shows the ropes tying the rope roll down to the stone block) and anchored to protruding casing stones.
Because the ropes from the sledge are turned around and back down, the hauling teams can walk down on both sides of the track instead of walking up ahead of the sledge. By walking down they pull the sledge with the stone attached to it up the tracks.
Which principle is behind this? Because the haulers can add their own weight to their strength to pull the stone up, it is possible to accomplish this on the 52°-slope on the pyramid flank with teams of only 48 men. Without the rope roll to turn the rope, it would not be possible. Calculations show, that without the rope roll even on a moderate slope of only 5° you already need over 50 men to pull the same 2.5 tons stone block up.
Click on the thumbnail for a larger photo.
The rope roll can also be used on a ramp - and the steeper the
ramp the better! But ramps are not necessary, Franz Löhner
suggests, that the pyramid builders permanently installed wooden tracks
for the sledges on the flank of the pyramid and erected not only one but
a system of these rope roll stations directly on the flank. It was possible
to build several reel-stations on each side of the pyramid, thus transporting
the required one block per minute up the flank.
Calculations by H. Illig and H.U. Niemitz 
show, that on the 52° steep pyramid flank and using Franz Löhner's
rope roll 46 haulers are enough to transport a stone
block weighting 2.5 tons. Because the hauling teams have to walk in pairs
and on each side of the track, they form a hauling team of 48 men. Adding
7 helpers (lubricating the tracks, levering the stones, changing ropes,
and overseeing etc.) we calculate, that one hauling team on the pyramid
flank consisted of 55 men. For slopes of 5° we need 24 haulers, on
plain ground only 12 haulers. Please take note, that without a rope roll
you need over 400 men for an inclination of 10°!!
So instead of a huge labor force of 20 to 30'000 men for building the
pyramids, Franz Löhner suggests a work force of under 7000
men! This was a very large, but manageable construction site
where skilled workers were employed over a number of years, each worker
with a very precise assignment as part of a large planned undertaking
- building the Great Pyramid of Giza!
This technique can be compared to slinging a rope attached to something heavy up over a branch of a tree and then pulling the heavy object up by grabbing the rope and walking a short distance away from the tree. If you walk down a steep incline you need even less force than on level ground. A simple technique that the ancient Egyptians surely had mastered!
The same principle can be applied on a ascending slope of 52° (like the flank of the pyramid of Khufu). If you sling a rope over a beam you can walk down the ascending slope and pull a heavy load up at the same time.
If you use Löhner's rope roll instead of a beam, there are only a few differences: the crossbeam that is the rope roll turns on well lubricated bearings in a wooden block and it is well anchored on a special casing block on the pyramid flank. This method works, because the haulers are using their own weight in addition to their strength to pull the stone. Because they walk down, not up or horizontally, they use much less force to haul the stone. Please note, this is not a counterweight as suggested by some people - it is not only the weight of the 50 men that is pulling the stone up, but their strength plus their weight.
is also not a pulley or a pulley block, these use wheels and have an axle
which were both not known at that time. The illustration shows a pulley
block with several wheels used for a sailing rig, but those were also
not known during the 4th dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The rope roll is
a simple device - all you need to make one is some wooden planks, a wooden
crossbeam and copper sheets for the bearings.
Limestones were quarried close to the pyramid construction site but white
Tura (Thura) limestones had to be brought from the eastern shores of the
Nile. The stone blocks were transported with special barges on the Nile
and the Nile channels to the Giza plateau.
Khufu's pyramid is the first pyramid, where granite stones were used
in large quantities, for example for the Grand Gallery and the King's
Chamber. But granite from Aswan posed special problems, the stone is very
hard and difficult to quarry and the blocks were huge and had to be brought
by ship to the Giza plateau.
Acknowledged doctrine says, that even hard granite was cut and carved
with copper tools. Franz Löhner did several experiments with copper
tools and is sure, that it was not possible to work the granite without
Khufu's pyramid construction process
Once the blocks were in Giza, they were transported by rope roll to the
base of the pyramid and then up the side. The large chambers, halls and
corricors inside of the Cheops pyramid posed special problems because
of the large granite blocks used. Another special concern were the last
10 meters of the pyramid and how to place the large pyramidion stone on
the apex (tip).
Franz Löhner suggests a number of methods and techniques
that have one thing in common - the work on the pyramid and in the quarries
should be done with as little effort or expenditure of energy
as possible and no resources should be squandered unnecessarily.
His solutions also need no new or special tools or techniques, but use
methods well within the capabilities of the ancient Egyptians.
For example transporting stones:
In this website dates according to conventional Egyptian chronology are used, which is based on several list of the dynasties of pharaohs, for example the Aegyptiaca of Manetho of Sebennytos.
www.cheops-pyramide.ch Copyright 2006 Franz Löhner and Teresa Zuberbühler