Roman Obelisk And Big Stones

Re-Erecting an Egyptian Obelisk in Rome in 1586

Re-Erecting an Egyptian Obelisk in Rome in 1586

Original Image

The Ancient Romans were fond of “collecting stuff”. From weapons types and technologies, to the odd queen or prince, to exotic animals to put in the arena (lions and tigers and bears, Oh My!) to big rocks.

It’s the big rocks that I think say an unexpected thing.

Rome has more Obelisks than Egypt. Many of them from Egypt. This list:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_obelisks_in_Rome

Says there are 8 from ancient Egypt.

The city of Rome harbours the most obelisks in the world. There are eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks in Rome, together with a number of more modern obelisks; there was also formerly (until 2005) an ancient Ethiopian obelisk in Rome.

For transport down the Nile to Alexandria and from there across the Mediterranean Sea to the capital Rome, special heavy cargo carriers, the Obelisk ships, were used by the Romans. On site, large Roman cranes were employed to erect the monoliths.

What I find of interest is the size and date of one of the large Egyptian ones:

Tallest obelisk in Rome, and the largest standing ancient Egyptian obelisk in the world, weighing over 230 tons. Originally from the temple of Amun in Karnak.map Brought to Alexandria with another obelisk by Constantius II, and brought on its own from there to Rome in 357 to decorate the spina of the Circus Maximus.map Found in three pieces in 1587, restored approximately 4 m shorter by Pope Sixtus V, and erected near the Lateran Palace and basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano in 1588 in the place of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which was moved to the Capitoline Hill.

The picture at the top shows it being moved again in 1588 A.D. but that earlier move was in 357 A.D.

Frequently on shows looking at megalithic structures the presenter will moan and fret about it being ‘impossible’ to move some large stone or another ‘even with modern equipment’. Typical weights causing such bleating range from about 20 Tons to 200 tons. Here we have a stone of 230 Tons being moved. Twice. In two very different eras. Neither one with “modern” equipment.

What did it take?

Ropes. Rollers. Windlass. Some wood beams. Bunch of people. Boat for the water parts (itself made of wood).

Things that people have had since the dawn of history.

Now, for most of the megalithic structures that have near zero gap ‘joins’ between the stones, I believe they were formed in place as plasticized stone via some kind of oxalic or citric acid (or related) softening of the silicates. But for others, like Stonehenge and the Obelisks, the need to move them remains. As does the bleating that it was just too hard to do.

But here we have an existence proof that it is not too hard to do.

I’m sure some folks will want to assert that the Roman Engineers were better than anyone else and had invented new things, like the Roman Crane, and so the mystery remains. I don’t buy that. It is an argument from ignorance. We just don’t know all the technology of ancient Egypt. We do have an eye witness report of the construction of one of the great pyramids using some kind of machines. That we don’t know what kind of machine was used, or how large a crane they could make, doesn’t change that it existed and was being used to move large stones on the pyramid. As ropes and wood beams are valuable, we would not expect to find them abandoned in the desert or left at a work site. When taken apart for relocation, they become a pile of wood and rope. Not the kind of thing to make an archeologist take note. (They seem fixated on things that can be branded with priests and ceremony and largely ignore simple practical arts and explanations – for reasons only they can explain…)

An Aside On Rowing

Just as an aside, I saw a demonstration on a TV show about Stonehenge where a clever person worked out an easy way to move large stones. They made a concrete slab of representative size and proceeded to move it with about a couple of dozen people. How? They “rowed” it. As all the ancient folks had oars and boats, they knew rowing. So put a log each side of the stone. Take a dozen poles (oars) and poke the ends under the edges of the stone. Put your crew on the oars. Pull them down (you have about a 10:1 mechanical advantage due to the ground pole fulcrum) and that lifts the stone, now walk the ends backwards and the stone moves forward. Let the poles up (stone down) and reset the poles to the front. Repeat.

The folks doing that moved a large (something like a dozen tons) stone at a slow “few miles a day” over open ground. More than fast enough for most practical purposes.

While I’m pretty sure this isn’t the same group, this guy does a similar thing with a smaller stone (only 4 Tons ;-):

http://www.world-mysteries.com/gw_gpipes.htm

There are several other examples that come up with a web search on “stonehenge lever fulcrum row stone”; but I’m not feeling ambitious enough to wade through them all right now and find the one with folks rowing a larger stone across the UK countryside.

In Conclusion

It is very clear to me that moving big honking stones is not nearly as hard as many “modern” folks, and especially academics and intellectuals, make it out to be. (It is far far easier than the Space Alien Admirers claim ;-)

Folks were up to their eyeballs in stone working technology until the 1700s or so. The industrial revolution moved us more into using steel, glass, metals in general. In older times, reaching back to the dawn of the Stone Age, we used a lot of stone. People were just as intelligent then, as now. (There is some evidence they were smarter – brain sizes were larger, for example). If you have a culture that has spent 10,000 years working with stone, I think they will have figured out how to move it most easily. That we have forgotten how is not a limit on them. That we depend on hydraulics does not mean levers stopped working.

In particular, take that “stone on rowing poles” method. Right off the top, I thought of adding a bag of rocks to the end of each pole as a counter weight. Done right, with, say, a 10:1 leverage; a 24 Ton stone on 2 dozen poles (12 each side) has 2000 pounds on each pole. That takes a 200 lb weight on the end. One person can load that bag very rapidly. Now the stone is neutral. In practice, I’d likely just put 100 lbs in the bag. So you have 1/2 the ‘lift force’ but also 1/2 the ‘hold up while repositioning poles’ force. With 4 people per pole, that’s only 25 lbs each. Not hard at all. I expect that moving a real stone would take even fewer people, and that there are other ways to improve the process.

An interesting aspect of the ‘rowing’ method is that it does not require any ground preparation. You do not need a flat surface for rollers. With some cribbing and repeated lifts, you can ‘row’ over modest height obstructions as well, so if a nice flat approach has a stone ‘sill’ in the middle, you don’t need to cut a trench in the stone sill, nor build ramps up and down. Just crib, lift, and go.

So there are a lot of opportunities to move stones, using nothing fancy or difficult. We even have an existence proof in the Roman Obelisks that moving large stones (even long awkward ones) can be done with ‘primitive’ methods.

Subscribe to feed

About these ads

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Roman Obelisk And Big Stones

  1. EM – I’ve moved some pretty large stones around in the past by putting a crowbar under at the right distance and moving it forward once lifted, but your “rowing method” seems a lot easier if you have a group (mostly I moved those stones on my own, since it’s safer). 230 tons is still somewhat of a big thing to move, though, and was probably a lot more impressive then than today, when we’re used to giant (concrete) monoliths around the place.

    The one thing we’re better at today, though, is making things smaller. Until you’ve tried to make a really small part to fix, say, a watch you don’t realise just how difficult it is.

  2. Peter Offenhartz says:

    Logs make excellent wheels. In Maine boats are routinely hauled out of the water on a cradle which is sandbagged to the bottom on a rising mid tide. The boat is pulled onto the cradle when the tide is high. When the tide goes out and the cradle is exposed, we put logs under the front of the cradle and haul it up the beach aways to a place beyond the reach of even the highest tides. You have to pick your times and tides carefully, you don’t sit around waiting for the tides to come in, and it helps to have calm weather. But t he work isn’t hard.

  3. agimarc says:

    I ran across a SoCal lady named Dr. Maureen Clemmons over a decade ago making the rounds of the entrepreneurial space meetings who had a theory that the Egyptians used large kites for the motive power for moving and raising large heavy objects. She got hooked up with National Geographic and did some video recorded tests in the SoCal desert. We were trying to generate some interest up here for moving large objects across the tundra during the winter but never managed to get any money sprung loose as it was too strange for the producers to consider.

    Link to one of their tests follows: http://www.philipcoppens.com/kite_obel.html

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/06/0628_caltechobelisk.html

    There is some info out there about the use of liquid rock to construct huge ancient structures. Concrete is one such substance. There are others. I need to do some digging first. Cheers -

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    Per: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baalbek

    the 1000 T and 1200 T stones are still in the quarry. The largest used was 800 T (and 19 m long). So perhaps what we are seeing is the limit of what they could move. Just couldn’t quite get the 1000 T guy up the slope…

    As it is one heck of a lot of work to cut and dress a stone, there is a large incentive to use fewer, larger, stones. Even if there is lots of hard labor to move it. At 800 Ton, we have about 42 ton per meter of length. I think I could get, at most, about 4 poles under each meter, so 8 total (two sides). That makes it about 5 ton / lever. That would, at 10:1, have 1000 lbs on the ends. (With counterweighting, perhaps as little as 200 lbs actual pull force needed to lift) So did they have the ability to make, say, bronze reenforced lever ends that would hold 5 tons each? I think so. Look at Greek ship ram prows.

    Now I’d likely look for a windlass and rope system added too, especially for the directional forces. But I’m not seeing anything “impossible” about the lift. Hard? Yes. But done slowly, and with lots of specialized leverage tools, not impossible. Would beat the hell out of pounding that sucker into 1000 smaller blocks and needing to dress and transport them all…

  5. John F. Hultquist says:

    Follow-up on these:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_the_purple
    “The color purple refers to Tyrian purple, restricted by law, custom and the expense of creating it to royalty.”

    But “purple” also relates to a rock, in this case color is important:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyry_(geology)
    “This rock was prized for various monuments and building projects in Imperial Rome and later.”

    Tyrian purple:
    http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200604/millennia.of.murex.htm

    This one explains the source of the material for porphyry columns:
    http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199806/via.porphyrites.htm

    “. . .Satabous of Dimai, and in it he complained bitterly that his camels had been unfairly requisitioned by the authorities—for “draft service on the porphyry road.”

    Note: This is from 1998 and the original images are not in the text but are linked to at the very bottom – last line on the light brown background.

  6. john howard says:

    With log rollers and levers, thats how it’s done in the Carribean.

  7. John Robertson says:

    Have some experience moving large chunks of bedrock, wedges and crowbars gets it done.
    You are right rowing, even using two bars can move an awkward rock over broken ground quite quickly. Better than a winch, as some lift is necessary or the rock digs in.
    Skilled hard rock miners can move huge chunks, so the technology still exists.
    But archeologists do not seem to ever talk to quarry men or miners.

  8. Clay Marley says:

    It is true that if we stop using a technology we lose it.

    Back in the mid 90′s I was working on a Lunar lander at NASA JSC. I was responsible for developing the guidance algorithms, including the landing guidance. You’d think that someone at NASA would know how to land on the moon, but no one did. All those people had left.

    So I spent considerable time at the technical library scrolling through old microfiche for technical documents from the 60′s. Fortunately I found the original technical papers and was able to re-create it and then improve upon it.

    Eventually that and several other very good programs were canceled. I left NASA in frustration. But that’s a soap box for another time.

    The lesson is, if you are going to stop doing something, document it well. Otherwise it really does have to be re-invented from scratch.

  9. John F. Hultquist says:

    Fire fighters and trail construction and maintenance crews of the USFS use a “scraper” (aka, shovel ) with a steeper angle between blade and handle and sharpened sides of the blade. Not your typical garden shovel.
    Can be seen here:
    http://www.wta.org/magazine/1037.pdf
    . . . at the bottom of page 2.
    Page is from Washington Trails Association, a group I volunteer with. We use these and rock bars with a rowing motion on many work parties.

  10. Graeme No.3 says:

    All over the Middle East there are rock discs approx. 1 metre diameter with central holes and concave bases, centred over a convex base. Currently used for grinding grain.

    Saw years ago, speculation by an engineer that these were made originally by the ancient egyptians and used to transport rocks to the pyramids. The top stone carrying a vertical timber frame with a horizontal beam, with slings. His idea was that these were strung out across the route, and the stone would be ‘passed’ from one unit to the next by rotating the disc. The central hole was for mud as a lubricant (possibly ‘pressure fed’ by a log in the hole).

    For stonehenge etc. his idea was that the locals transported the stones by water to the foot of the “impassible” hills and raised them up a cliff using a counterweighted sling. Once above the height of the henge land it would be fairly easy to move them with rollers.

    May be nothing in it, but his basic thesis was that the ancients weren’t dumb, and would have figured out the easiest method of moving heavy weights.

  11. Sparks says:

    I always thought the builders of Stone Henge could have cut and prepared the stones during spring, summer and autumn and then after their harvests they could have moved them quite easily over the snow and ice during winter and use their harvests for the recruitment of workers. Archeology is full of experts that see every find as being part of a human ritual or evidence for one form of religious belief system or another, the impression that archeological experts build of our ancient ancestors is one of mindless hairy cavemen wondering around the planet aimlessly pulling big rocks about, and worshiping just about every inanimate object and life form they came in contact with. When clearly the construction of these ancient structures took a lot logistical planing and skillful engineering which involves communication, advanced social structures and an understanding of science, engineering and of course an understanding of mathematics, our ancient ancestors were more educated than they are ever given credit for by current experts, They most likely had and I’m convinced of this, they educated their young and each other and passed on their knowledge not as folklore, religious beliefs, old wives tales or superstitions but with what we would recognize as a social educational structure.

    Archeology today has so many unusual anomalies that are quickly dismissed as curiosities in favor of the ongoing view that ancient civilizations were unremarkable, undeveloped and mostly nomadic hunter gathers in a constant state worship, and in our current culture of information and technology all these discrepancies and the choir of muted illogical opinions that demean the intelligence and ingenuity of ancient humans has (unsurprisingly) manifested into some of the wildest theories about our technological achievements in our past development, Theories such as the supernatural and alien intervention variety will always point at anomalous human technology and achievements that don’t fit a sterile view of the past. They say: “look, how can ancient cultures have knowledge of such technology when they didn’t even know how to read and write… It must have been the gods, they must have been in contact with advanced alien civilizations”.

    On the Pyramids, it is strange to me that it is assumed that they used thousands of slaves to move a massive amount of heavy stone etc… Considering they lived on a continent with one of the strongest and largest land mammal alive, The African elephant, I’m sure they must have been intelligent enough to raise and train enough elephants to do all the heavy pulling, yet it is completely overlooked because apparently people 15 – 25 thousand years ago had the knowledge to be able to raise and domesticate one type of animal but lost the knowledge of how to domesticate another type of animal such as the African elephant, they didn’t record using elephants to build the pyramids so it must have been an alien culture that traveled what must have been a fair distance to move a few stones about and disappear again.

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Graeme No.3 says:
    31 January 2013 at 4:48 am

    “All over the Middle East there are rock discs approx. 1 metre diameter with central holes and concave bases, centred over a convex base. Currently used for grinding grain”

    I read that book back in the mid 1980s “How to Build a Flying Saucer” IIRC. The chapter on flying saucer was really lame but the chapters on moving and erecting heavy stones was very good. I showed the book to an Old man that I knew and he read it. Told me a story about when he was very young and his grandfather taught him and his older brothers how to raise and set some very heavy large Oak posts for a large barn. The chapter in the book on raising and setting a Obelisk was the same technique as practiced by the grandfather. pg

  13. Jason Calley says:

    This seems pretty straightforward.

    We know that huge stones were moved.
    We know that magic chants did not move the stones.
    We know that aliens did not move the stones.
    We know that floods or earthquakes did not move the stones.
    We know that they did not just move by themselves.

    Therefore, we can safely conclude (with a robust level of confidence) that…

    CO2 must be the cause!

    (Can I have my grant money now?)

  14. DirkH says:

    While looking for the rock discs mentioned above I found these strange Egyptian stone artefacts that look like stone replica of machinery parts … reminds me of what falls out of 3D printers in CAD prototyping.
    http://s8int.com/phile/page52.html

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    @DirkH: It would be interesting to run water through it. Perhaps E.M. could make a computer model of it and run it in a computer.

  16. vukcevic says:

    I think Adolfo got it. If the object is placed on a long axle at bottom of a long tube of similar diameter, and rotated fast, I suspect it would run as a turbine; used for lifting water from the river Nile, in the months when water level was to low for the normal irrigation.

  17. Gary says:

    People naturally move toward the physically optimal effort to accomplish their goals. It’s the Constructal Law every time — http://www.constructal.org/. An interesting example, again in stone, comes from a geologist in Connecticut who was interested in the ubiquitous stone walls throughout the woodlands. Curiously, the average lot size of enclosed fields was about two acres and he didn’t know why. Turns out that stone walls, besides being boundary markers, are also the “trash heaps” of all the stones that repetitive frost brought to the surface after the land had been cleared for farming in the 1700s. Rather than carry stones to deposit in one heap, they carried them to the perimeters of fields and accomplished two things at once with the least amount of energy expended.

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Adolfo&Vuk;
    I don’t think it was a pump impeller, the interior does not look hydrodynamic. I would say a fancy serving bowl. Likely the base of a multi-tiered display. That would fit the material and shape as well as its’ position of honor. A very fine piece. pg.

  19. andrew says:

    Slippery surfaces?

    Andrew

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    I’m w/ P.G. on that. Looks like a high end serving bowl so guests can ‘graze’ and ‘turn the wheel’ to see what is in the other lobe. I’d not be surprised if there were a slave on the backside replacing any items taken from the front as soon as the turn happens…

    I’d only add that it might also be an example of ‘liquid stone’ taken to a max. The basic material can be clay, and shist is a metamorphic rock, so I could see a theoretical clay mix that gets moulded, then fired, and finally polished. Would end up impressing the hell out of everyone.

    Think ‘lazy Susan’…

    The shape is wrong for anything aerodynamic / hydrodynamic. Don’t buy the candle story (where are the burn marks? it would make a heck of a smokey dirty flame…) Not as strong material for any structural / wheel uses. Nice dish though…

    @Gary:

    Nice example ;-)

  21. agimarc says:

    Found it: Liquid stone is officially referred to as geopolymers. And concrete is a very small subset of possible mixes. Cheers -

    http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Geopolymers

    http://www.geopolymer.org/

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/10/super-concrete-in-the-us-military-iran-and-the-pyramids/

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; I agree that the material and thin fluid design seems to indicate a clay/stone hand molded construction and not a carved from ridged schist stone construction. The “Lazy Susan” hand wheel use seemed to be an obvious use of the apparent design. One possibility from the material is to place the leaves over flame or charcoal to heat the food.

  23. Sparks says:

    @DirkH: It looks like it could have been used for sifting sand, grain or maybe panning for gold. If it was filled with sand or grain and suspended by a rope it would be easily spun where there was no flat surface.

    @EMSmith: I like the Idea of ‘liquid stone’, If they were using liquid stone, I would be looking for molds. Do you know if any have been discovered?

  24. George says:

    Giant structures are symbols of insanity.

  25. DirkH says:

    George says:
    1 February 2013 at 6:17 pm
    “Giant structures are symbols of insanity.”

    Does the Statue Of Liberty qualify, George?

  26. George says:

    Take a tree. Branch#1 on the tree wants to attack branch#2… even to the point of uprooting the tree. Does that make sense? What did branch#2 even do? Is the end goal to have a tree with one branch? That isn’t a tree… it is an obelisk.

  27. George says:

    Ahh. No. That was a gift. We didn’t make the SOL. Does not qualify.

  28. Zeke says:

    George says:
    1 February 2013 at 6:17 pm Giant structures are symbols of insanity.

    Look up Dubai, where the UN members have been meeting to establish controls on the worldwide web and to sell Afganistan to the highest bidder ($3 trillion in resources there).

    George says: Take a tree. Branch#1 on the tree wants to attack branch#2… even to the point of uprooting the tree. Does that make sense? What did branch#2 even do? Is the end goal to have a tree with one branch? That isn’t a tree… it is an obelisk.

    Chinese policy comes to mind. There are over 300 re-education camps in China, Party control of the internet, and a eugenics/population control holocaust which has resulted in millions of deaths since the Great Leap. Of course, scientists have attacked and destroyed agriculture there in the past, and claimed the earth/state cannot sustain human beings. Progressives today are eager to repeat the re-making of the economies of the West using exactly the same arguments, coincidentally.

  29. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: Stupidity is always easier and funnier to imitate, that´s why monkeys are stupid and funny. Intelligence is not.

  30. Zeke says:

    @Adolfo: Animals are funny. My girls send me videos all the time.

    I have tried to argue here that the trouble is man can (and does) fall lower than the animals. But I got in too much trouble for it ;) It was a thankless endeavor.

  31. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: Merchants of despair?, they sell fear, terrorize people, and profit from it.

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @Sparks:

    Don’t know of any moulds found. But things like ‘sand casting’ involve destruction of the form. Some of the megastones look like they have a ‘goat skin’ shaped surface (complete with leg stumps bulging out). It is very unlikely that a wood and skins form would survive, or be left laying around. For a small piece like this bowl, I’d expect more of a ‘clay like modeling’ process.

    @Zeke:

    There has been a slightly bizarre set of postings from “George” in the last day. I’ve put them on moderation watch and would suggest not “engaging”.

    Aside from just the generally ‘bizarre’ tone to some of them, they show clear patterns of Trolling and pot-stirring.

  33. Zeke says:

    EMSmith says: I’ve put them on moderation watch and would suggest not “engaging”.

    You’re right. Feel free to clear up the thread of the OT comments if you like.

  34. George says:

    wow. good to get feedback. i honestly didn’t know that about myself. thank you. honestly, i had no intention of stirring the pot. but i guess it is at least partly true! sorry. at least i know something new about myself i like this blog. visit it everyday for 2years.. i have thoughts and feelings.. but who can i tell? my wife can only handle so much haha. coworkers?.. please. i stand by my statements as my true thoughts, not purposefully hurtful.

    “i am a stupid jerk. but don’t blame me for being a jerk… i am stupid.” – George

  35. Mark Miller says:

    @Sparks: Pyramids built with thousands of slaves

    Dr. Zahi Hawass in recent years has rejected the “slave” theory of construction. He’s managed the excavation of the tombs of some pyramid builders, and he says they were not slaves, based on where their tombs were located, close to the king’s tomb. Not saying that you were saying they were slaves, but egyptologists are figuring out that the “slave” theory was an assumption.

    http://www.drhawass.com/blog/new-tombs-pyramid-builders-found

    @E.M.Smith:

    I saw the Werner Herzog movie “Dinotasia” recently. While it has some fantasy elements (as its name suggests), I was surprised that it contained some great depictions of how animals in the age of dinosaurs might’ve used their adaptations to survive. They were a lot better IMO than the imaginings I’ve seen paleontologists try to come up with on nature shows. One example was Archaeopteryx. The paleontologists I had seen previously couldn’t figure out what use its wings were. Based on the structure of the skeleton, they figured it had running legs, and a weak sternum, so they figured it must’ve run after its food on the ground, but since it would not have been able to flap its wings, they couldn’t figure out how it could’ve used them, except to do short hops, or glide down and snatch prey on the ground after using its arms and claws to climb up a tree. I saw that and thought, “Nah. Too inefficient.” Everything they were thinking of put its wings to its *dis*-advantage! This goes against any idea of natural selection. With behavior like that, I’d imagine it would’ve gone extinct, and there would’ve gone the theory of where birds came from…

    In “Dinotasia” they showed Archaeopteryx up on a tree limb, and down below came a large lumbering dinosaur. Archaeopteryx used the vibration of the dino’s footsteps to center itself over the dino’s back, and then it glided down onto its back, letting the dino transport it long distances, to find food. It picked off crawling insects on its skin. Secondy, flying insects would come by, and Archaeopteryx could run along the back and snatch them. I saw this and thought, “Wow! Yeah, I can imagine this.” It’s just like birds on the back of a rhino or cape buffalo! No one knows for sure how it survived, but I found this more plausible.

  36. Sparks says:

    @Mark Miller

    I don’t subscribe to the “slave” theory of construction, Dr. Zahi Hawass had some controversial theories of his own, and while he was chief Archeologist of a country under a dictatorship, if he disagreed with you or your line of scientific research your application for access to the sites of interest would be denied. I remember talk that he abused his authority in favor of the consensus view and he was the consensus, He was I nice character tho, it would be interesting to know how much of this view he was enforcing was actually his own.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    @George:

    One of the risks in running a blog is that folks who are ‘anti’ the positions of the blog owner can use various methods / ploys to damage either the blog reputation or the blog owner reputation. So, for example, put up racist comments as one “sock puppet”, then widely tout that “the site is racist” on other sites via another “sock puppet”. There are many such strategies. So I must defend against them.

    Now anyone can “have a bad day”; but I can’t know if a person is just having a bad day, or if they were “posing” before and are now “decorating the place for effect” and collecting screen shots for their alter-ego sock puppet. So the only thing I can do is assure their is a quick and clear response. That means that if anyone posts things that are racist, or anti-Jew, or anti-Black, or whatever: Those comments get a “snip” as soon as I see them and that person goes on “moderation watch”.

    Similarly, there are The Trolls. They post off topic comments, often a bit inflammatory, to cause pointless disruption. The purpose being to make threads a ‘shouting match’ (that drives away the most thoughtful, disrupts real learning and investigation, and -they hope- results in someone making highly insensitive remarks and / or discrediting themselves and the blog). I.e. pot stirring. Often Trolls are evidenced by a very large number of very odd topics spat out all over in rapid staccato. A “machine gun” of things tying to ‘find some action’. So one thing I look for is ‘large volume of short low content slightly off topic or inflammatory content comments’. You manged to hit that threshold. (Though admittedly, it’s an easy threshold to hit and many ‘high energy folks’ could hit it accidentally).

    Now it can make a place a bit boring if there is NO disagreement (and frankly nobody learns anything new). So disagreement must be allowed. But it must be channeled. Kept (mostly) near the topics of the thread. (Though I let things run wider most of the time as it is interesting and not disruptive). Kept of medium or mild ‘tone’. (Not shouting matches nor food fights nor insult fests). This can be a bit of a challenge… Thus the statement in the “About Box” up top that folks ought to behave as they would at a neighbors pool party or yard party. Not picking fights. Not insulting the hosts family or friends. Not saying things that would be an embarrassment if on the front page of the local paper the next day.

    So your comments will go to moderation “for a while”. Mostly due to the insult to a particular race. That’s a complete non-starter here.

    Please note that this does NOT prevent statements of verifiable fact. So, for example, it is a verifiable fact that on average “white guys” have short legs and smaller butt muscles so can’t jump worth a damn compared to African origin Blacks. To say “White men can’t jump” is a statement of demonstrable fact. Similarly, to point out Europeans have long deep chests, lots of lungs, and can do long distance running that leaves the African Sprinter gasping for breath and dropping out is also a statement of fact. So that is an example where examination of real racial differences is just fine. It denigrates no one to recognize our different shapes and sizes. (Though I have seen some folks ‘pop a cork’ over saying just such things…)

    Yet even doing THAT on a thread about Roman Obelisks and Stones would be ‘way out of place’ and cause me to wonder just why someone was bringing it up? Were they trying to start a pot stir? Were they hoping to use it as a ‘jumping off point’ for getting some race bating going on? So I would still look for “was there reasonable cause for them to ‘go there’ in the thread?” and if not, I’d likely suggest it was off topic and folks needed to get back to Romans and Rocks.

    Hope that helps to clarify what “running a blog” can entail… Keeping it interesting, while being reasonably defensive (they ARE out to get the Sys Admin! ;-) while preventing “food fights”.

  38. E.M.Smith says:

    @Mark MIller:

    I’m pretty sure the ‘slave’ theory was bunk. The bones of the dead shows them well fed and tended. The written records show little evidence for slave construction teams. It looks more like a professional work camp and labor pool. Most likely, IMHO, was just that ‘off season’ farmers might have paid their ‘taxes’ via work on the building pool. (But even that is a stretch, as transporting that much labor from all over Egypt to one place would be a problem…)

    Personally, I’d run it like the Romans did their army. During peace time, have them build things. Keeps them in condition and makes sure they can build siege works…

    Per Archaeopteryx: All it takes is a bit of advantage on a ‘leap and pounce’. Watch chickens. (They are evolving the other way). They run and when they need an extra ‘burst’ will leap and flap into a faster glide… So faster escape and faster predatory leaps both. Eventually to reach free flight.

    Landing on top of moving Big Boys is an interesting idea too…

    @Sparks:

    Hawaas is in some ways a typical power enthralled person. Lots of self aggrandizement et. al.

    Yet historically the Foreigners have not treated Egypt well. So being self-centered is likely a reasonable response… (revenge?)

    @Zeke:

    There is a peculiar cunning evil in people that is hard to find in dogs… though I see evidence of it in cats. Yet even there, the cat just does not realize it is doing evil.

    So I’d agree that there is ‘something’ in people that is lower than animals. We know when we are being evil, self centered, vain, petty, but do it anyway. The cat is a mean predator, but from being unaware and hungry. The dog is just looking for a good time.

    Don’t have a good answer, and still hoping folks can be better.

  39. Larry Geiger says:

    Ah yes, denigrate the Cat all you want. They know the truth. Free food. A warm sunbeam. All whilst you are at work busting a gut to get more dollars to buy food to feed the Cat. And then at the end of the day he gets his ears scratched and a warm, snuggly bed to sleep in. Cats are so smart and so in charge they’re not evil, they just don’t care. Totally silent and totally efficient. Even when mooching. You will never equal the Cat and he knows it :-)

Comments are closed.