The composite class of Rangiwahia School, asks :-
How did the ancient Egyptians lift the enormous blocks to make the pyramids?
George Mullenger, a civil engineer at the University of Canterbury and who has an interest in historical constructions, responded.
In short, nobody seems to know for sure.
There are illustrations showing teams of men pulling large stone statues along on sledge runners. With temporary sloping ramps up to the working level on the pyramid, this method could have been used to raise the blocks into position. Strangely there do not seem to be illustrations of this being done: not any that I have found. Neither are there notes about quarries where the ramp material was taken from, or where it was taken away to afterwards. Perhaps the Egyptians thought that this was so routine and uninteresting that they did not feel obliged to remark on it.
Most of the blocks seem to have weighed about 2.5 tonnes, but there were some much larger, especially supporting the ceilings of the openings inside the pyramids. I have read that a small gang of workmen using closely spaced pivots under the middle of a block and "rocking" it back and forth could raise a large block quite easily. I suspect that some method would have to be found to keep the supports from collapsing as they got higher. I incline to the view that it would be easier to fill the opening up with earth temporarily while the ceiling block was placed and then remove the earth afterwards.
It has been estimated that about 70,000 workmen would have been required in the 100 years that it took to build most of the major pyramids. To help sliding, milk was sometimes poured under the runners. Strong ropes could be made from locally available plants. Gangs of men were organised so that they all had their own task, and knew when to pull together. It is thought that they worked willingly from a sense of national pride, and they worked for the 3 months that the farm land was flooded by the River Nile each year.
Largely discounted these days is the theory that the work was done by little green men from outer space.