Uncovering the Impossible:
6 of the Heaviest
Ancient Stones Ever Made
Extraordinary engineering and building techniques were applied on a colossal scale in ancient times which remain unmatched to this day.
With the help of millions of dollars in contributions from the art world, Biblical scholar Michael Heiser succeeded in mounting a 340-ton boulder to a wall at the Los Angeles Museum of Art, in 2012. The boulder could only be transported 7 miles per day, traveling about 100 miles in around 3 months This was after many failed attempts, where the world's biggest cranes had kept on breaking. The boulder remained rough and unhewn and is but a pebble when compared to the biggest carved stones of ancient times carved stones of 500, 700, 900 tons are found in their thousands, all over the world.
So, if it was extremely difficult to move a stone weighing a fraction of the weight of the ancient stones then the question has to be, how on Earth was it done?
This video compares the stats on the six largest stones carved in the ancient world.
Number 6: Obelisk of Axum
Carved in Ethiopia before 2000 BC and weighing about 500 tons, it is a true marvel and is one of the heaviest stone carvings from ancient times but it is nowhere near the heaviest.
Number 5: Solomon's Temple
The largest stone in the Western Wall tunnel is estimated at 11.6 X 5 meters long and weighs between 700 and 900 tons. The wall had an original height of between 70 to 140 feet in places. It is built from bottom to top of large squared stones beveled at the edges and varying between 97.5 centimeters and 1.8 meters in height the stones are laid without cement. The massiveness of the work and the perfection of the cutting and fitting of the stone is on par with the Egyptian Pyramids.
Number 4: Colossi of Memnon
These two giants were each built from a single piece of stone. They are oriented towards the sunrise at Winter Solstice and they weigh over a 1,000 tons each. The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which was quarried near modern-day Cairo and transported 420 miles over land. They are too heavy to have been transported upstream on the Nile.
It's not surprising that people speculate that these structures were built by a lost civilization that appears to have spread all across the globe. The technology underlying these huge constructions was based on a foundation of Science and Mathematics which reveals traces of their manufacturing processes that are proving to be totally astonishing.
Cuts and holes on hundreds of stones indicate that the ancients drilled into granite with a feed rate that was 500 times greater and deeper per revolution of that of the most powerful modern-day tools!
Number 3: Colossus of Ramses
Although only fragments of the base and torso remain of this massive statue, it would have weighed in at 1,300 tons.
An inscription describes Ramses as the Sun Prince but it's believed these inscriptions were added during the reign of Ramses although the actual site itself is actually thousands of years older.
Broken pieces of the Colossus are in museums all over the world. Only fragments of the base and torso remain of the Colossus, which would have stood 19 metres high and weighed at least 1,300 tons. The stone for the statue was transported 170 miles overland from Aswan to Thebes.
Number 2: Stone of the South: Temple of Baalbek
The so-called stone of the south at the temple of Jupiter is of incredible proportions. The highest estimates of this unfinished stone's weight have reached an incredible 2,000 tons three other smaller stones under the Grand Terrace of the temple itself are also estimated to weigh from between 750 and 2,000 tons each. All the large stones used for the Temple of the Sun at Baalbek were quarried from the same location and taken over half a mile uphill to build the Great Temple.
Number 1: The Unfinished Obelisk
This gigantic obelisk would have stood an incredible 42 meters high and weighed over 2,700 tons when complete, more than twice the size of any known obelisk ever raised and quarried. Construction was apparently abandoned when natural fractures appeared in its side. That the stone is still attached to bedrock gives important clues to how the ancients quarried granite much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area, 500 miles south of Cairo. This monolith is disputed to be the largest stone ever quarried and certainly on par with the unfinished stone at Baalbek. This obelisk would have been taller than any other ever raised.
The discovery of this obelisk and several others in their unfinished states allows us to see how they were made but not what tools were used, which remain a complete mystery
Does it not completely boggle your mind that Michael Heiser struggled to move a rock a fraction the size of this using modern technology? There is surely an argument here that the ancient world was not as primitive as we've been led to believe.
Bonus Round: Unfinished Stela at Yangshan Quarry
The real heaviest monolith of the ancient world is, in fact almost 16,800 tons, heavier than all of our previous selections combined – and then some!
The gigantic unfinished stela base was abandoned during the Ming Dynasty in 1300s AD in a Chinese quarry and could provide the answer to the question of how other monolithic stone blocks were made in other parts of the world, in scope and ambition. The size and weight is almost unimaginable. It's existence is relatively new in the West and further investigation by experts is required to be better understood.
Running Time: 15 min