Culture History Did Scientists Just Solve the Mystery of the Pyramids? By Ilana Strauss Yale University University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Ilana Strauss is a journalist who began writing for the Treehugger family in 2015. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Cut, New York Magazine, and other publications. our editorial process Ilana Strauss Updated November 12, 2018 ©. WitR/Shutterstock Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community For thousands of years, people have wondered how these monuments in Egypt were made. The giant pyramids in Egypt are confusing. How could people build giant stone structures without modern equipment? Theories from massive slave armies to aliens have abounded over the years. But scientists may finally have solved the mystery with a few words: Pulleys and ramps. Oh I'm sorry, were you expecting something more exciting? Well, I was. Alas, the simplest explanations are often the best. Roland Enmarch, an Egyptologist at the University of Liverpool, went on an expedition to document some ancient Egyptian inscriptions. You can imagined how surprised he and his colleagues were to uncover a 4,500-year-old ramp clearly made for a pulley system dating back to the Great Pyramid days. While people have suspected for a while ramps were used to build the pyramids, this pulley evidence is new. "We think this could significantly change the theories about how the workers who built the monument were able to transport such large blocks of stone to great heights," wrote Enmarch. "It could even provide evidence that pulleys were invented hundreds of years earlier than previously documented." Two sets of stairs lining the ramp and a bunch of wooden posts cut into holes in the wall would have helped two teams of workers haul alabaster blocks up the pyramid, no aliens necessary. (Though I'm not ruling out slave armies quite yet. Pretty sure nobody hauls alabaster rocks for fun.) Although really, this explanation is more impressive than aliens. Human ingenuity apparently knows no bounds. People figured out how to make an impossible structure without the energy sources modern people consider so necessary. Imagine what we could do if we still focused on inventing technologies that didn't require nonrenewable resources?