model proposes a winding or spiral ramp around the structure of
the pyramid. Since it requires less ramp material than most of the
others, there are several models with one or more ramps winding
around the pyramid.
made from adobe blocks and debris have been suggested by a lot of
archeologists. The simplest model is a ramp straight up to the side
of the pyramid.
model proposes switchback ramps zigzagging up one of the faces of
the pyramid. This model is also used in several other models for
the last 50 meters, where other kinds of ramps are too steep or
need a very large base.
internal ramp is a straight-up ramp leading into the body of the
model proposes a combination of ramps around the structure of the
pyramid. Small straight-on ramps are used for the first meters of
height. Then the material is used for a larger ramp leaning against
the pyramid flank. For the final part, a series of stepped ramps
are used. Illustration
This model is similar to Franz Löhner's model but should not be confused with it! The model also proposes to use the angled faces of the pyramid structure itself to haul up the stones. But without using a rope roll, major problems develop after a very short time!
this two-sided approach the stones are attached to long ropes and
hauled up the lateral surface of the pyramid by hauler teams operating
on the flat plateau of the pyramid. These teams walk horizontally
across the plateau while hauling, until the stone reaches the edge
of the pyramid. Then the stones are hauled to the construction area.
Machines such as the capstan, the shaduf, the lifting jack, the gantry crane and hoists have been suggested to aid building the pyramid.
A shaduf is an ancient water-raising device used by
ancient Egyptians. To be able to use them for constructing the pyramid,
wooden towers would have be constructed and moved up the stepped sides
of the pyramid as construction proceeds. However the proposal that some
form of shaduf was used has to be deemed an impractical solution because
they can't lift or move enough stones (calculations show one 2.5-ton stone
per minute) in the time available. We also doubt, that a wooden beam alone
could carry that much weight.
Shaduf (or shadoof): Wikipedia / Egyptian painting / photo / used on the pyramid flank
Lifting jack: The lifting jack uses a short pole and several short planks. A stone block is levered using the pole at one side and the plank is inserted to keep that side of the block up. Then the opposite side of the block is levered in a similar manner and again a plank inserted. This process can be repeated until the desired elevation is achieved. By the time the pyramid of Khufu had reached half its completed height, some fifteen hundred separate jacking actions, together with approximately eighty horizontal transfers, would have had to be undertaken for a single stone block , so it could reach the appropriate height - way too much time and effort - an impractical solution!
capstan consists of a wooden drum or barrel mounted on
an axle. So called handspikes, are mounted or inserted through holes on
the top and are used to turn the capstan. It is used on ships to lift
the anchor or heavy loads. However the capstan is not stable enough to
lift the amount of stones needed for the pyramid. And since it uses an
axle like a wheel it was probably not known during the time, when the
pyramids were built. However later during the Late Period of ancient Egypt,
water drawing machines were used, where oxen pulled on a large horizontally
mounted wheel (Sakije)  similar to the capstan.
winch should not to be confused with Löhner's rope
roll. A winch is a mechanical device that is used to wind up a rope. It
consists of a spool and attached cranks. Winches are often used in ships
to hoist up the anchor or to lift up buckets with water from deep water
wells. The rope is wound around a cylindrical drum.
The ancient Egyptians probably didn't know this device until the wheel was introduced to Egypt. The spool or drum is turning around a central axis like a wheel. Axles are not very stable and likely to break if the load is too heavy. Löhner's rope roll has a diameter of 14cm and - more important - only a piece of about 10cm is used to deflect the rope. A short but thick piece of wood is much more stable than a think and long piece like in a wheel.
The pulley and the gantry crane or
other hoists also have to be discarded, because the basic building block,
the wheel, was unknown to the Egyptians. Other devices using cogwheels
or steel hooks have been suggested, but these machines were not known
during the area of the pyramid builders.
Wikipedia Pulley / Gantry crane
Some people suggest, that horses or oxen could have hauled
the sledges (or wagons) with the stones up the ramps. The first known
painting of an oxen hauling a sledge dates from 1000 years after Khufu
built his pyramid. For heavy loads, a sledge is anyway much better, wagons
needs roads and an animal to pull it. Horses only reached Egypt around
1700 before Christ, when Hyksos invaded Egypt. The wheel was not known
at that time either. Anyway, wagons with an axle were not stable enough
to transport heavy stones - a frieze
from Nineveh shows a statue on a sledge. A wagon just behind it is
only loaded with building material.
Transporting the stone blocks using a sledge on tracks
Only small, embankment-like structures have been discovered on the Giza plateau. Actually some smaller ramps were found - one on the southern side of the pyramid of Medûm (Meidum), which was 5m wide (adobe bricks) and at the pyramid of Sesostris I in Lisht there is a ramp of about 50m length. But these ramps are much smaller than the huge construction ramps suggested by the Egyptologists, more like transport roads or auxiliary ramps.
Facts contradicting all models
All ramps get smaller when they reach the upper portion of the pyramid. So it is of great importance, that when you get higher up you only use smaller and lighter stones. With a ramp you would expect, that the size of the stones would decrease steadily as you get higher. It is interesting, that this is not the case in the pyramid of Khufu! On the contrary you find thicker stone layers even very high up - on 69m, 75m and on 89m. This fact is inconsistent with the proposed ramps but corroborates the use of Franz Löhner's rope rolls and the installation of rope-roll stations also high up on the pyramid flank.
Stone courses of the Pyramid of Khufu
Transport up the pyramid flank with Löhner's rope roll
There is a dearth of conclusive archaeological evidence supporting and several facts contradicting the theory that massive ramps were used for the construction of the pyramids. For winding ramps there is no archaeological record at all that indicates the use of one, the depictions of ramps on wall paintings or papyrus generally show straight ones which lead up to a wall.
 Papyrus of Anastasi: There is a ramp to be made of 730
cubits, with a breadth of 55 cubits, consisting of 120 compartments, filled
with reeds and beams, with a height of 60 cubits at its summit, its middle
of 30 cubits... (inclination of ramp = 9.9°)
 J.F. Edwards Building the Great Pyramid
 O. Riedl Die Maschinen des Herodots
You want to know about the main problems or drawbacks of all
Theories of pyramid ramp systems disproved
|Franz Löhner www.cheops-pyramide.ch|
Concept and Design, English Texts:
|Teresa (Zubi) Zuberbühler www.starfish.ch|