A team of scientists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam claim to have discovered how the ancient Egyptians moved huge stones across desert sands to build the Great Pyramids. Through a series of experiments and simulated desert conditions, they found the secret to moving heavy stones across the porous surface of the desert lies in the dampness of sand. In other words, they dampened the sand for the sleds to slide over without it digging into the sand ahead. Continue reading for a video and more information.

According to Inhabitat, “The research revealed that sand with just the right amount of moisture can double its stiffness. Thanks to microdroplets of water that bind grains of sand together through capillary action, friction and the force required to drag the sled are cut in half. An ancient artwork found within the tomb of the Middle Kingdom nomarch Djehutihotep confirms the new scientific findings.”