Tech

Infographic details how world's wonders were made

Updated: 2015-06-09
Share this news?...Click box   Bookmark and Share
Read more on: world's wonders   Great Pyramids of Giza  
From Casinos in Las Vegas to museum facades, modern architects and engineers take inspiration from ancient structures such as the Great Pyramids and Parthenon. 
 
Now an infographic details some of the techniques used to build these inspirational and lasting monuments. 
 
It includes the eco-friendly Roman concrete and the Incas' ability to cut stone and slot pieces together like a jigsaw to build Machu Picchu. 
 
It also shares the latest thinking on how experts argue mysterious structures were made. 
  

From Casinos in Las Vegas to museum facades, modern architects and engineers take inspiration from ancient structures such as the Great Pyramids and Parthenon. Now an infographic details some of the techniques used to build monuments such as the Pyramids (illustrated), Taj Mahal and the Colosseum
   
The Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt 
 
Experts still debate about some feats of engineering, such as how vast stones were lifted into place to build the iconic pyramids at Giza. 
 
It remains a mystery how the the last of the world's 'seven wonders' was constructed 4,500 years ago. 
  
The Great Pyramid is made from 2.4million limestone blocks weighing around 2.5 tonnes each and it is thought workers moved around 40 blocks a day, leading experts to assume ancient Egyptians must have had a technique for shifting them relatively easily. 
   
Experts are still arguing about some feats of engineering, such as how vast stones were lifted into place to build the iconic pyramids at Giza (pictured) It remains a mystery how the the last of the world's 'seven wonders' was constructed 4,500 years ago 
  

Last year, researchers at the University of Amsterdam said that the Egyptians used wet sand to drag heavy blocks across the desert on sleds. This technique may be seen in hieroglyphs (shown above)
     
The infographic, put together by construction specialists, Able Skills, lists different theories as to how the vast pyramids were constructed include stones being dragged, lifted or rolled into place. 
 
The latest thinking is that tools and levers were used to manoeuvre blocks into position, while ramps allowed a workforce of 14,567 to carry them to the right place over the course of 20 years. 
 
Last year, researchers at the University of Amsterdam said the Egyptians used wet sand to drag heavy blocks across the desert on sleds. 
 
Their experiments demonstrated the correct amount of dampness in the sand halves the pulling force required, while a hieroglyph suggests the technique was used to build at least one structure. 
 
'A sledge glides far more easily over firm desert sand simply because the sand does not pile up in front of the sledge as it does in the case of dry sand,' the team said. 
 
Physicists at Indiana University suggested the blocks could - or should - have been moved by turning cuboids into dodecagons - 12 sided shapes - to make them easier to move. 
 
More elaborate suggestions include the use of cradle-like machines, for example. 
   

Physicists at Indiana University suggested the blocks could - or should - have been moved by turning cuboids into dodecagons (pictured) - 12 sided shapes designed to make them easier to move
       
The Parthenon in Greece       
  

The Ancient Greeks came up with the idea of the Golden Ratio - a formula for making anything aesthetically pleasing, which has inspired artists and architects such as Dali ans Le Corbusier. It is believed that Parthenon (illustrated) in Athens, built between 447 and 438 BC illustrates this
    
The Ancient Greeks came up with the idea of the Golden Ratio - a formula for making anything aesthetically pleasing, which has inspired artists and architects such as Dali and Le Corbusier. 
 
It is thought that Parthenon in Athens, built between 447 and 438 BC illustrates this, but some argue the concept was conceived after the iconic building was completed. 
 
It was not until 300 BC that Euclid wrote about the ratio in 'Elements'. 
 
The building, which is now in ruins, was built with as few straight or parallel lines as possible to make it more visually pleasing. 
 
The infographic explains the building incorporates different kinds of limestone and marble, including 13,400 stones transported from Mount Pantelakos some nine miles (16km) to the Acropolis. 
 
It is believed the spectacular temple took just 15 years to build and was reconstructed in 490 BC. 
  

The infographic says the Parthenon (shown) incorporates different kinds of limestone and marble, including 13,400 stones that were transported from Mount Pantelakos some nine miles (16km) to the Acropolis
            
The Colosseum in Rome  
  

The Colosseum in Rome (illustrated), built in around 70 to 80 AD, could seat between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators for events such as gladiator tournaments
   
The Colosseum in Rome, built in around 70 to 80 AD, could seat between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators for events such as gladiator tournaments. 
 
Because the circular structure was built in a valley, the Romans fitted drains 26 ft (eight metres) beneath the amphitheatre to remove any water flowing from Rome's hills, according to the graphic.
They also buried supports 40 ft (12 metres) deep in the soil and used arches to support the vast weight of the tiered structure. 
 
But perhaps the reason why the testament to Roman engineering has lasted so long is a secret concrete recipe, which experts are still trying to emulate today. 
  
Because the circular structure (pictured) was built in a valley, the Romans fitted drains 26 ft (8 metres) beneath the amphitheatre to remove any water flowing from Rome's hills, according to the graphic 
   
  
Experts at the University of California used X-ray beams to study volcanic ash-lime mortar, which binds together tuff and bricks used to build the Colosseum. This is a chunk they made themselves to replicate the Roman's super strong mortar
  
Experts at the University of California, Berkeley used X-ray beams to study volcanic ash-lime mortar, which binds together tuff and bricks used to build the Colosseum. 
 
Scientists looked at the mineralogical changes that took place in the curing of replica mortar over a period of 180 days and compared the results to 1,900 year old samples of the original. 
 
The team discovered that the volcanic ash creates a crystal structure that prevents tiny cracks from spreading. 
 
The use of strätlingite crystals in the material showed no corrosion, with their smooth surface suggesting stability and as well as these positive qualities, experts said the mortar was greener too, adding that modern engineers could emulate it to produce more eco-friendly materials. 
  
The Basilica Cistern in Turkey  
   

It has been claimed that 7,000 slaves built the Basilica Cistern (illustrated) in Istanbul in 532 AD, but like with the pyramids in Egypt, there's some debate about whether specialist labourers were used
           
   
The cathedral-sized cistern is an underground chamber measuring 105,000 square feet (9,800 square metres) in area to hold 2,800,000 cubic feet (80,000 cubic metres of water). Part of an elaborate pillar showing the face of Medusa is shown at the site
  
It has been claimed that 7,000 slaves built the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul in 532 AD, but like with the pyramids in Egypt, there's some debate about whether specialist labourers were used. 
 
Ancient texts said it originally contained gardens surrounded by colonnades and provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings into modern times. 
 
The cathedral-sized cistern is an underground chamber measuring 105,000 square feet (9,800 square metres) in area to hold 2,800,000 cubic feet (80,000 cubic metres of water). 
 
The cellings are supported by 336 marble columns laid out in a specific pattern of rows of 12. 
 
In order to make it waterproof, the cistern was built with 13ft (4 metre) thick firebrick walls around it, coated in a binding paste.
  
Angkor Wat in Cambodia  
  
The ceiling of the cistern is supported by 336 marble columns laid out in a pattern of rows of 12 (shown)
  
Like the carvings and paintings inside it, the construction of the Angkor Wat temple complex (illustrated) in Cambodia, built between 113 and 1150 AD, is a bit of a mystery
      
Like the carvings and paintings inside it, the construction of the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, built between 113 and 1150 AD, is a mystery. 
 
It is composed of between six and 10 million sandstone blocks, each weighing around 1.5 tonnes, with some carvings stretching half a mile (1km) in length. 
 
But experts think the carved stone building is held together using mortise and tenon joints, instead of cement. 
 
Experts have hypothesised that builders used bamboo scaffolding, ropes and elephants to move carved blocks into place before locking them into position. 
 
Last year, archaeologists used Nasa technology to reveal 200 hidden paintings on the building's walls, which are thought to have all been covered in paint originally. 
 
While the faded pictures might be invisible to the naked eye, processed images show elephants, gods, musical instruments, boats and patterns, which are all thought to be ancient graffiti. 
 
Experts believe the artistic markings were made by pilgrims visiting the holy site after it was abandoned in the 15th century, but the more elaborate paintings could have been created during earlier attempts to restore the temple to its former glory,Science reported.
 
The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy  
 
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (illustrated) has defied gravity since the 12th century. Three stages of construction began in 1173, but the ground floor immediately sunk in unstable soil  
  

It was not until 2013 that the tower lost some of its tilt after an 11-year restoration project. This image shows the famous tower before work began
    
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has defied gravity since the 12th century. 
 
Three stages of construction began in 1173, but the ground floor immediately sunk in unstable soil and construction was halted for a century when engineers built one side of the tower taller than the other to compensate for its tilt, making the upper floors curved. 
 
The third stage, including the bell chamber with seven bells, was finished in 1372 and the monument clad in white marble. 
 
However, it was not until 2013 that the tower lost some of its tilt after an 11-year restoration project.
Previously, the 184 ft (56 metre) bell tower's tilt was increasing by more than a millimetre a year, creating a danger it could collapse altogether. 
 
In 1993 it was leaning by 18 ft (5.4 metres) compared to 13 ft (3.8 metres) in 1817 and just 5ft (1.4 metres) in 1350. 
 
The 14,500-tonne tower was shut for a decade while the foundations were reinforced and water was drained from beneath. 
 
Supporting steel cables were placed in circles around the structure. 
 
After the £25 million project, the tower straightened itself almost immediately by 15 inches (38 cm).
Giuseppe Bentivoglio, technical director of the monument, said the tower's lean towards the south is shrinking. 
 
The structural engineer explained: 'The tower is moving. It is straightening towards the north. Between 2001 and 2013 it has recovered 2.5 cm of its incline.' 
 
'According to studies by researchers at Stuttgart University with whom we worked, the tower will continue to straighten another couple of millimetres and then stabilise before starting to lean again, but at a much slower rate than before.' 
 
He added: 'In theory it would be possible to straighten it completely.' 
  

The 14,500-tonne tower was shut for a decade while the foundations were reinforced and water was drained from beneath. Supporting steel cables were placed in circles around the structure (shown above)
      
Machu Picchu in Peru   
  

Like the Basilica Cistern, Machu Picchu (illustrated) in Peru was built from blocks of stone that were cut to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle without using mortar
    
Like the Basilica Cistern, Machu Picchu in Peru was built from blocks of stone that were cut to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle without using mortar. 
 
Some of the bricks are positioned so closely together that it's impossible to put a knife in the space between. 
 
It's likely they were cut using a 'wooden wedge' technique, where holes were drilled into rocks and wedges inserted into them. 
 
Builders then waited for freezing temperatures so that ice forced the blocks neatly apart, but it is a mystery how stones were cut perfectly straight and made smooth. 
 
It has been suggested that around 5,000 people worked to build the temple complex in the mid 1400s, on the sleep slope, 8,038 ft (2,450 metres) above sea level in the Peruvian Andes with steps made from single pieces of granite. 
 
Experts think the monument was a religious sanctuary for the Incas, offering an incredible view of the Urubamba Valley below. 
   
                
The Taj Mahal in India    
    

Despite being built just 350 years ago, the Taj Mahal (illustrated) is another monument still giving up its secrets 
    
 

The monument (pictured) took 22,000 labourers and 1,000 elephants 20 years to build from white marble and semi-precious stones
    
Despite being built just 350 years ago, the Taj Mahal is another iconic monument still giving up its secrets. 
 
Earlier this year, a researcher from Politecnico di Torino found a remarkable feature hidden in plain sight - the entire complex was built to align with the winter and summer solstice. 
 
The remarkable discovery by Dr Amelia Carolina shows that as the sun sets and rises during the solstices, it aligns perfectly with the four corners of the garden near the central dome. 
 
'The Taj Mahal complex has a north-south axis,' she wrote in her research, published in the journal Philica.

'When an architectonic structure is aligned in this manner, it is aligned to the projection on the horizontal plane of the "axis mundi" - the axis about which the world is rotating. 
 
'However, in their planning, architects could also use some elements aligned in the directions of sunrise or sunset.' 
 
The exact reasoning for aligning with the solstices, though, is not entirely clear. 
 
The monument took 22,000 labourers and 1,000 elephants 20 years to build from white marble and semi-precious stones. 
 
It has been rumoured that the four pillars surrounding the mausoleum were built slanting away from the dome to protect it in case any of the pillars ever collapsed.
 
SOURCE:
dailymail.co.uk
  
Editorial Message
This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only. 
whatsonxiamen.com does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content. For copyright infringement issues please contact editor@whatsonxiamen.com
Share this news?...Click box   Bookmark and Share
Comments Area ( Total Comments: 0 )