I'm your average Pharaoh, I'm building me a pyramid and I don't want help from aliens. Also, while it's probable that the pharaohs went for the human labour thing, that's totally boring. I'd like some help with upgrading ancient Egyptian tech, to plausible, near hi-tech but not quite that high, level.
A bit of background for my story:
So a lot of people say that aliens built the pyramids/gave us hi-tech to do it. Others debate this and as proof, go to great lengths to show how you can build a pyramid with your every-day (20 years) force of oh, 20K workers/slaves (some say it was up to 100K). That and some elaborate planning.
If we ever get (real) proof that the-aliens-did-it, I'll be the first to admit and embrace the facts. Till then I'm a big fan of human ingenuity - I say that humans in ancient times could have developed neat technology, if not hi-tech, but left no recognizable records. The ancient Egyptians were definitely elaborate planners, and had plenty of ingenuity. I wanna stretch that, to make some fun of both the alien theories and the 20 years by 20K workers theories.
An arrogant alien approaches Mr. Pharaoh with a proposition to build him a pyramid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza overnight. He'll throw an extra one for free if Pharaoh orders within a week. As payment he'd like a modest 100 kilos of antimatter, or 100 tons of gold, whichever's more convenient to the Pharaoh.
Pharaoh's thinking "Riiight..." and because he's also arrogant, tells the alien "No thank you, by your next visit to Earth, I can have a pyramid ready on my own". The alien sneers at this, makes some rude comment about human tech, and promises to come back in 5 years to see our failure.
Pharaoh’s pissed, and brings his wise council together for some brainstorming. They know that with classical lift and pull methods, a nice pyramid take 20 yrs X 20K ppl. But they have the following ideas to speed things up:
- Using a concrete-like substances instead of giant stone blocks, such as one theory claims (thanks for the comment, King-Ink!): http://www.geopolymer.org/archaeology/pyramids/are-pyramids-made-out-of-concrete-1/
- Using hot air balloons to survey, coordinate and administer work on the site.
- Using hot air balloons as lifts for people/materials. I'm not sure how much weight they can lift.
- Steam pulleys and lifts to move things around. If Herod of Alexandria could come up with a little steam gadget, the wise councillors can do better. They're called "wise" for a reason, right?
- Enhancement of slaves to have super human strength/dexterity using (cobra-venom based???) potions, they don't mind harm/death to the slaves as the workers can always be replaced. We have some substances today that enhance our abilities, I wonder what the ancients could have come up with.
What I'd like to ask is:
How feasible is each of these techs?
as a side question:
Will we be able to complete the work in a mere 5 years? If not, how long do I want to give the Pharaoh?
Please assume that each of the ideas are going to be tested and that workers/slaves are available and expendable. Some councillors toyed with these ideas for years but only now will the Pharaoh give them whatever they want to complete the work.
Extra credit goes for extra ideas, if you have them. Remember: plausible, near hi-tech but not quite that high.
While you're dispensing your wise council, I'll be with my workers ("I want to see that balloon in the air today! whiplash! ) :-)