Archaeologists found ancient ramp system at site in Egypt’s Eastern Desert

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The remains of a 4,500-year-old ramp system have been unearthed in an ancient quarry in the Eastern Desert. Experts say such a design would have alleviated some of the burden for the workers who had to pull these huge loads
The remains of a 4,500-year-old ramp system have been unearthed in an ancient quarry in the Eastern Desert. Experts say such a design would have alleviated some of the burden for the workers who had to pull these huge loads

Archaeologists may finally be a step closer to understanding how Egypt’s Great Pyramid was built thousands of years ago.

The remains of a 4,500-year-old ramp system have been unearthed in an ancient quarry in the Eastern Desert, according to Live Science.

Its design suggests the ramp was used to drag massive alabaster stones up a slope, using sleds and rope.

The ancient ramp was discovered at the site of Hatnub by researchers from the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo and the University of Liverpool in England, Live Science reports.

Along its sides are two staircases lined with postholes, to which ropes were likely tied thousands of years ago to drag the huge stone blocks.

Such a design would have alleviated some of the burden for the workers who had to pull these huge loads.

‘This system is composed of a central ramp flanked by two staircases with numerous post holes,’ Yannis Gourdon, co-director of the joint mission at Hatnub, told Live Science.

Archaeologists found ancient ramp system at site in Egypt's Eastern Desert
Archaeologists may finally be a step closer to understanding how Egypt’s Great Pyramid was built thousands of years ago

The ancient ramp was discovered at the site of Hatnub by researchers from the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo and the University of Liverpool in England, Live Science reports.

Along its sides are two staircases lined with postholes, to which ropes were likely tied thousands of years ago to drag the huge stone blocks.

Such a design would have alleviated some of the burden for the workers who had to pull these huge loads.

‘This system is composed of a central ramp flanked by two staircases with numerous post holes,’ Yannis Gourdon, co-director of the joint mission at Hatnub, told Live Science.

‘Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 percent or more,’ the researcher said.

The researchers say the discovery is the first of its kind, according to Live Science, and shows clear indication that it dates ‘at least to Khufu’s reign’ – for whom the 481-foot Great Pyramid was built.

The find is just the latest in a growing body of research attempting to finally get to the bottom of the Great Pyramid’s many mysteries.


This 4,500-year-old system used to pull alabaster stones up a steep slope was discovered at Hatnub, an ancient quarry in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Two staircases with numerous postholes are located next to this ramp. An alabaster block would have been placed on a sled, which was tied by ropes to the wooden poles.
Credit: Yannis Gourdon/Ifao