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.