Researchers believe new archaeological discoveries in Egypt may help shed light on how the pyramids were built.
The finds, by archaeologists working in an ancient quarry near the Great Pyramid of Giza, include a rampway with staircases and what are apparently postholes, providing support to the theory that ramps were used to haul up giant stone slabs.
Archaeologists involved in the dig told The Guardian on Tuesday that the steepness of the ramp and inclusion of stairs and postholes on both sides indicate laborers were able to pull up the stone from both directions using a pulley system, allowing them to work more quickly than was previously believed.
“The system we have discovered would allow more people to exert force at one time, so it means you would be able to exert more force and move the blocks more quickly,” Roland Enmarch, a senior lecturer in Egyptology at University of Liverpool and co-director of the Anglo-French team that made the find, told the newspaper.
He said the archaeologists would publish their findings in the near future.
The discovery was made as the researchers studied inscriptions in the quarry near King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, which Enmarch said have been known to archaeologists for some time.
Though researching the inscriptions was their initial priority, Enmarch said the team shifted its focus to the ramp because the realized it could help explain how the pyramids were constructed.
He also said the research team dated the ramp’s construction to the time of the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid, which is the oldest of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — dating from circa 2560 BCE — and the only one still largely intact.