How Did Ancient Civilizations Move Heavy Things?


How Did Ancient Civilizations Move Heavy Things?

How Did Ancient Civilizations Move Heavy Things?

How did ancient civilizations move heavy building materials? From the Great Pyramid of Egypt to Stonehenge in England, all builders will run into a similar problem when dealing with large structures, materials, or equipment: How are we going to move these things?

Here is how two of the biggest structures in history were moved.

The Great Pyramid

It’s estimated that about 2,300,000 stones were used to build the Great Pyramid. Each individual stone block weighs in at about 2.3 metric tons (about 5,0000 pounds). Add all that up, and we’re talking about some serious hauling capabilities for a civilization working over 4,000 years ago. So, how did they do it without the help of modern moving equipment?

Recent discoveries have led experts to conclude that the Egyptians constructed massive sleds to pull the giant rocks through the sand. They’d also have someone at the front of the sled pouring water into the sand to reduce friction. Questions still surround how they were able to get these rocks up in the air to give it such awesome height.


The largest rocks, called sarsens, that make up Stonehenge are up to 30 feet tall and weigh about 23 metric tons (about 50,000 pounds). These massive stones are widely believed to have been transported from nearly 20 miles away. Still, the smaller interior rocks, called bluestones, weigh around 4 tons and find their closest home 140 miles away. That’s a big job, so how’d they pull it off?

No one can say for certain how these rocks were moved. Stonehenge is somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 years old, but it’s obviously man-made. Some say the massive rocks were carried by glaciers, but leading ideas are that the rocks were placed on tracks made out of tree trunks and rolled the distance. A group of students in London tested this theory, and they actually covered a lot of ground moving a couple tons with just a small group of people.

Having the Right Technology Helps

Ancient civilizations are not very different from societies of people today. They were no less intelligent or less physically capable, these civilizations just didn’t have the advantage of hundreds of years of technological advances on their side. They had to be innovative. Thankfully, moving heavy things now is easier than it’s ever been, as long as you have the right equipment.

Get the Right Equipment for Your Move

If you have any heavy machinery, structures, or materials that you need moved somewhere, Hevi-Haul has the best equipment to get the job done right. With weight capacities up to 150 tons, weight or distance shouldn’t be an issue.

For more information about which skates will best meet your needs, contact us for a consultation.

Hevi-Haul: A History of Innovation

Since 1938, the dedicated team of material moving experts at Hevi-Haul has felt a sense of pride in delivering the very best machinery skates and structural moving skates, as well as custom skates and high-quality parts to the world. Our innovation and manufacturing excellence is fueled by a few basic beliefs, including a belief in being the very best. We do every job with a fine attention to detail, rooted in a belief of giving our customers the quality service and products we would expect if we were the customer who depended on the product. We believe that every member of the company actively contributes to making the product line better, the customers satisfied, and the company a fun place to work through thoughtful communications and mutual trust and respect. These tenets, along with a belief in being a responsible member of the community, enable Hevi-Haul to be the best a what we do: build products that move the world.

Our rich history in innovation started with the debut of our first skates to the industry in 1938 by Paul J. Kordes, marketed under the name Skid-Rol Dollies. Due to the post-WWII manufacturing boom, the heavy rigging and material handling industries experienced tremendous growth, leading to increased demand for our products. Our name was already synonymous with quality and rugged durability, and our dollies proved to be a much-needed tool for professional machinery movers, riggers, and structural movers.

A young Army veteran spurred on by his grandfather, a manager at Paul J. Kordes, came on board with a determination to take the company to the next level. Dan Knaebe, through tenacity and innovative thinking, built the distribution of Skid-Rol Dollies to the point that he was eventually able to purchase the company. After a reorganization effort in the mid-1970s, a production expansion led to the company rebranding to Hevi-Haul International, a name that encapsulates the strength and capability of the products we produce.

Dan continued to grow the company. Upgrading machinery, manufacturing methods, process improvements, and taking a critical look at our products through engineering analysis and refined product testing along the way. New products were developed and existing designs and manufacturing processes were refined and perfected. Dan’s son, David, grew up in the business and eventually joined the company as a welder, learning the ins and outs of every aspect of the company. Showing the same hard work and business acumen exemplified by his father, David worked his way up to his current position as General Manager of Hevi-Haul. David strives to lead Hevi-Haul into new frontiers, with a humble appreciation of the trust that Hevi-Haul’s customers continue to place in the company. From major multi-national companies to small machinery moving companies, Hevi-Haul continues our mission to manufacture and deliver the highest quality skates available.

Contact us today to learn more

Hevi-Haul Skates have been trusted by professional rigging companies and machinery movers for over 80 years as the premier family owned American brand machinery dolly. Contact us today for a personal answer to all your inquiries.