Revealed

How 15th century workers used ICY roads to haul 100-tonne stones to build China's Forbidden City

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Chinese workers masterminded a super efficient way of moving huge chunks of stone 43 miles in order to build China’s famous Forbidden City, engineers have claimed.

Records dating from around the time of which the walled city was built, from 1406, tell that workers hauled stones weighing over 100 tonnes from a quarry 43 miles away from the site of the Forbidden City, using a network of man-made paths.

However, 600 years later, engineers have revealed that a system of wells and frozen roads were used to make the stones slippery and easier to move and were more efficient than alternatives.

Engineers looked into the efficiency of how the workers moved the chunks of stone

Engineers looked into the efficiency of how the workers moved the chunks of stone. They calculated that without using the warm water (top image) 338 men would be needed to pull a stone weighing 123 tonnes and measuring 31 feet long. But using warm water to lubricate the icy road, just 46 men would be needed to move it (pictured bottom)

Experts from two universities in Beijing and Princeton University in the U.S. believe the workers dug small wells every 500 metres along the man-made paths to reach water that they would pour to ice the paths in the winter, as well as lubricate them.

It is believed teams of men pulled the vast pieces of stone themselves.

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