Monday 23 May 2016

UCL Test Pulling a Stone

The building of Stonehenge has been a topic of discussion for centuries but today all our questions may be answered.

A group of volunteers in London is conducting a mass experiment to find out how the ancient monument came to be.

At noon today, 23 May, the team will attempt to drag a one tonne concrete block using a replica of a neolithic wooden sledge. Each of the famous bluestones at the site in Wiltshire weighs at least double that but it will help researchers understand the origins of the World Heritage Site......

Just how did prehistoric Britons manage to transport the huge bluestones of Stonehenge some 140 miles from the Presili Mountains in Wales to their final home on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.

The answer is surprisingly simple. The feat really isn’t as hard as everyone imagined

In fact the one tonne stone whizzed along the make-shift silver birch track when pulled by just 10 people, moving at around 10 feet every five seconds – which works out faster than one mile per hour if pulled continually, rather than in the short bursts of the experiment........

From the Daily Mail -

...But the project was a far scaled down version of the real thing, with the hefty slab weighing just half as much as the lightest blue stone used in the construction of Stonehenge.

With ropes laced through holes in the concrete coffin-shaped slab, a video shows approximately 20 volunteers heaving at a call.

Their manual efforts pay off as the slab rolls across the logs, demonstrating how the Neolithic construction force behind the real monument would have shifted the stones thousands of years ago.

However, while the UCL group successfully demonstrated how the concrete slab could be moved a few metres, the efforts are truly dwarfed by the scales involved in building Stonehenge....

And a video from the BBC -

All very interesting especially as I have a full size, full weight (40 tonne per upright) trilithon replica just waiting for some one to attempt to move it and put it up by hand...

1 comment:

  1. It's fun this. But..

    The weight is 1 tonne: 10kN in engineering units.
    Spread out the way they did it equivalent to min of about 5kPA average with 10kPA average when shifted off centre as in the picture and about 25kPA local pressure under the bearers.

    If this were a heavier stone, or on types of ground that are non precompacted (like this park area) or if it had been raining, things may not have gone so well.


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