An image of the Terraces of Pumatallis at Ollantaytambo. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Did MIT Scientists Find a Way to Move Massive Stones Just as the Ancients?

Is this how ancient civilizations moved massive, multi-ton stones thousands of years ago?


It remains a profound enigma just how ancient civilizations across the globe managed to move supermassive blocks of stone and transport them into position to build some of the most amazing ancient sites we all look upon in astonishment today.

Some of the best examples are the Pyramids at Giza, Stonehenge, Tiahuanaco, and Ollantaytambo, among many others. All these sites have one thing in common: their builders somehow managed to transport and put into position massive blocks of stone that weigh between 10 to 100 tons.


MIT Scientists Find a Way to Move Massive Stones

Wall of the Six Monoliths at Ollantaytambo. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Wall of the Six Monoliths at Ollantaytambo. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

How the ancients did it has remained a profound mystery. Did they use some lost ancient technology? Did aliens help them? Or did we not study the ancients well enough? Scholars continue searching for clues that may help answer how megalithic structures like Stonehenge were built.

Now, researchers at the design lab Matter Design have found a revolutionary way to move massive stones, some of them weighing more than 25 tons with their bare hands.

As noted by the Business Insider, the secret lies in harnessing ancient civilizations’ same methods to build Stonehenge and the statues on Easter Island.


It seems difficult to accept that ancient cultures could move stones weighing on average 25 tons thousands of years ago. But the group of researchers from MIT says it may not be impossible after all, and they have even shown us how to do it.

Everything began back in 2014 when researchers from the design lab Matter Design studied ancient civilizations and how they built and moved supermassive structures like the Moai Statue on Easter Island and the Egyptian Pyramids.

They discovered something surprising yet fairly simple: using stones with the right density and a balanced center of mass, you could move objects as heavy as a great white shark with their bare hands.

Image Credit: Matter Design.
Image Credit: Matter Design.

They got help from the construction research company Cemex Global R&D. The researchers found they could rotate massive stones that appeared light as a feather and even assemble these massive objects into staircases or larger structures without using ‘modern technology’ like trucks or cranes.


However, to determine which building materials they needed to use and where to place the center of mass, the researchers from Matter Design relied on a computer algorithm to make it easier for them.

If the computer algorithm encounters a formula that won’t work in real life, Matter Lab can adjust it to ensure the ‘objects’ are moveable by humans. “Of course, there are a lot of struggles along the way,” Brandon Clifford, an MIT assistant professor and one of the lab’s partners, told Business Insider. But “as we’re designing the element,” Clifford said, “we can always ensure that the center of mass is pulled to where it needs to go.”

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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