Brown wants to try to raise an obelisk using a method similar to the one that Hopkins experimented with in Egypt. He builds a small sandbox to test the theory that ancient obelisk-builders used millions of grains of sand to lower their granite monuments into position.

In Egypt, Hopkins removed sand in the pit by hand, a method some felt was risky. Brown plans to build an enormous sandbox with holes in its side that can drain the sand, eliminating the need to get into the sandbox with a moving granite obelisk.

One of the keys, Brown believes, is to use dry rather than wet sand, so it flows freely. His team's attempt will be the first ever to use the sandpit method to erect a large-scale obelisk in modern times.

Previous   Next



How Big Were They? | Cutting Granite with Sand | NOVA Raises an Obelisk
Lever an Obelisk | Explore Ancient Egypt | Mysteries of the Nile | Resources | Transcript

Medieval Siege | Pharaoh's Obelisk | Easter Island | Roman Bath | China Bridge | Site Map

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site