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Stephen Blakely BS

Member of EXARC: 
Member of ICOM: 
United States

My (large scale) experiments investigating my concepts as to how, specifically, large stone blocks were lifted by the Old Kingdom Egyptians commenced in 2005, although I had reduced to paper such concepts several years earlier. These stone lifting experiments explored the use of (vegetable) fiber rope, limestone, granite, wood, and lubricants (e.g., olive oil, flax oil, rendered animal fat). These experiments were instrumented (e.g., rope tension meters and loads cells) to measure and record relevant data generated. Also, separate, related tests were conducted, e.g., determination of various coefficients of friction (static and dynamic). All my experimental archaeology concepts and related experiments are based only on materials and technologies known to have existed in Old Kingdom Egypt.

In April 2013, a “full size” Egyptian Pulley (limestone, 12” cylinder diameter; 1.5” diameter natural fiber rope) was demonstrated successfully by lifting a 5,000 pound weight up a ~52 degree incline (in a University of Illinois Mechanical Engineering Senior Project, which I personally sponsored, with the goal of demonstrating, full scale, my Egyptian Pulley design). The Egyptian Pulley used in this first full scale demonstration is now on display (until September, 2013) in the Egyptian Gallery of the Spurlock Museum, located on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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