Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Technology

King Tut's Chariot a Marvel of Ancient Engineering 124

Posted by kdawson
from the ride-like-an-egyptian dept.
astroengine writes "King Tutankhamun, who ruled Egypt over 3,000 years ago, looks as if he was chauffeured around the desert in one of the earliest-known high-performance vehicles. Tut's chariots surpass all monumental structures of the pharaohs in engineering sophistication. Discovered in pieces by British archaeologist Howard Carter when he entered King Tut's treasure-packed tomb in 1922, the collection consisted of two large ceremonial chariots, a smaller highly decorated one, and three others that were lighter and made for daily use. 'These vehicles appear to be the first mechanical systems which combine the use of kinematics, dynamics and lubrication principles,' said Alberto Rovetta, professor in robotics engineering at the Polytechnic of Milan."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

King Tut's Chariot a Marvel of Ancient Engineering

Comments Filter:
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:46PM (#33129922) Homepage

    . 'These vehicles appear to be the first mechanical systems which combine the use of kinematics, dynamics and lubrication principles

    I combined your mom's use of kinematics, dynamics, and lubrication principles with my mechanical systems last night.

    OH SNAP!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And that's why I bought a Saturn.
  • by jaymzter (452402) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:49PM (#33129962) Homepage

    from our pyramid building, cat worshipping, space travelling, interstellar overlords.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    kinematics, dynamics and lubrication principles

    What a chav. King tut, with the worlds first height adjustable suspension.

  • King Tutankhamun, the pharaoh who ruled Egypt more than 3,300 years ago, rode full speed over the desert dunes on a Formula One-like chariot, according to new investigations into the technical features of the boy king's vehicle collection.

    They were the Ferrari of antiquity. They boasted an elegant design and an extremely sophisticated and astonishingly modern technology,"

    Did you look at the picture? The wheels are out of round. That thing had a worse ride than a shopping cart with metal wheels. And how fast could a horse pull a chariot over 'the desert dunes' without ejecting the occupant?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Lets see how round your tires are after 3300 years.

      FTA

      Even at speeds of about 25 miles per hour on Egypt's irregular soil, King Tut's chariots were efficient and pleasant to ride.

      I seriously doubt that 25MPH over a sand dune will eject the occupant.

    • Re:Um, Not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:03PM (#33130180)

      And how fast could a horse pull a chariot over 'the desert dunes' without ejecting the occupant?

      Well, that's why he is called "The Boy King" and not "The King Who Reached a Ripe Old Age." He got tossed from his Mach Five Chariot, while still young, broken his leg, and died from an infection.

      Ferrari chariots? I guess he was more like James Dean of his time. Except James Dean had a Porsche Chariot.

      • I guess he was more like Xzibit of his time.

        FTFY.

      • by jomama717 (779243) *
        I think it is interesting that one of the wheels is heavily worn, while the other is new looking, indicating it had been replaced - makes me wonder if his accident didn't involve a busted chariot wheel which was replaced after he died...presumably so Tut could use it in the afterlife.
        • ...makes me wonder if his accident didn't involve a busted chariot wheel which was replaced after he died...presumably so Tut could use it in the afterlife.

          The article definitely says the other tire is "newer," not "new." But that's still fun to imagine.

      • by lennier (44736)

        Live fast, die young and leave a good looking sarcophagus?

  • HOLY AMAZING! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qoncept (599709) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:53PM (#33130020) Homepage
    The fact that they realized all those years ago that soft is more comfortable than hard, slippery is faster than sticky and light is less work than heavy is amazing! And that easily makes these chariots "surpass all monumental structures of the pharaohs in engineering sophistication." Moving thousands of tons of rock without machinery is easy compared to slopping fat on a stick!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dancin' by the Nile, the ladies loved his style.
      Rockin' for a mile, he ate a crocodile.
      Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia, King Tut.

    • Re:HOLY AMAZING! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:05PM (#33130224) Homepage Journal

      Light is easy, light and strong is sophisticated. Also, the article alludes to springs and shock absorbers, a step up in engineering from just building a light and strong cart.

      • Re:HOLY AMAZING! (Score:4, Informative)

        by avandesande (143899) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:12PM (#33130354) Journal

        That's nice but the engineering behind the pyramids construction impresses me (and many others) more.

        • by medv4380 (1604309)
          I have to agree. As nice as the cart is it's a simple cart and the tech isn't beyond what they could do and would just require the rite ingenuity. The Pyramids and the Sphinx are just a bit more on the complicated side of possible and yet they were done. It would be like those crazy people going and building their Space Scraper. Sure it's possible but the economic, material, and tech would push us to our limit and you'd still have to convince enough people to go along with it to pull it off. There's nice
          • ..and you'd still have to convince enough people to go along with it to pull it off.

            And that's what slave labor is for. :)

      • by qoncept (599709)
        "Alludes to" ? What is it, an informative article or a crossword puzzle?

        Ok, ok, trick question. It really isn't either. It seems to have attempted to be informative, though. The problem is it lacks any substance whatsoever. It's all grandoise claims about how technologically advanced these chariots were without any evidence. Other than the 3d rendering (uhhh, why not a photo?!), of course, that looks like something a caveman could have made. You know, if he had the wheel.

        I can appreciate that this thi
        • Re:HOLY AMAZING! (Score:5, Informative)

          by fishbowl (7759) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:54PM (#33130964)

          >Other than the 3d rendering (uhhh, why not a photo?!)

          I would bet that it is related to the fact that the article doesn't feature Zahi Hawass chiming in.

          It's funny how much control Hawass has on what is said and shown about Egyptian antiquity.

          Now you'll notice that you rarely, if *ever*, see anything in Egypt without Zahi Hawass telling you what to think about it.

    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:06PM (#33130242)

      And that easily makes these chariots "surpass all monumental structures of the pharaohs in engineering sophistication." Moving thousands of tons of rock without machinery is easy compared to slopping fat on a stick!

      The patent/copyright finally ran out on the chariot thing about 200 years ago, leading to the Industrial Revolution.

      When the patent/copyright runs out on "magically levitating giant stone blocks into pyramid shapes" sometime in the future, I think we're going to have a heck of a lot of fun.

      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @09:36PM (#33133160) Journal

        When the patent/copyright runs out on "magically levitating giant stone blocks into pyramid shapes" sometime in the future, I think we're going to have a heck of a lot of fun.

        There's no particular mystery to how they did it - without magical levitation.

        It's interesting to pull a few blocks off a pyramid. You find inscriptions on them that say things like:

        "We DID IT! - Tiger Team Eight."

        • by Rexdude (747457)
          They actually did [usatoday.com], except they named themselves 'The drunks of Menkaure'. On a slightly unrelated note, this [pompeiana.org] graffiti from Pompeii wouldn't look out of place in a modern city.
    • by metlin (258108)

      Well, they did sleep on hard surfaces, without a pillow. So, their "awesomeness" sort of takes a hit.

    • by jbeach (852844)
      Why, it's almost as if they were ALSO intelligent primates with language skills, EVEN THOUGH they didn't have televisions!
    • by EdIII (1114411)

      Moving thousands of tons of rock without machinery is easy compared to slopping fat on a stick!

      That and I know for damn sure the Egyptians were not the first instance of man using "lubrication principles".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CAIMLAS (41445)

      The fact that they realized all those years ago that soft is more comfortable than hard, slippery is faster than sticky and light is less work than heavy is amazing!

      Well, it is pretty amazing if your Egyptology worldview accepts things like:

      * geometrically perfect granite sarcophagi, which modern machinery tools would be hard pressed (if even able) to replicate, were made by slaves - who used basalt chisels.
      * The pyramids, which have no scientific or explicable cultural explanation as to their function were constructed by slaves using pulleys, and crude tools - despite their geometric perfection, astronomical and astrological representation, and demonstration of very

      • Re:HOLY AMAZING! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by stephanruby (542433) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @07:30PM (#33132124)
        I thought that the claim that slaves built the pyramids was placed in serious doubt [harvardmagazine.com] recently.
      • by djconrad (1413667)
        Tut was buried in a cave, and so cave burial, with this chariot, is evidence of cultural change, not technological decline. I'm in Classics, not Egyptology, but I have never read that the Valley of the Kings was an indicator of a declining civilization.
        • by dfghjk (711126)

          The moved away from pyramid burials because the burial chambers were too easily looted. Tut's chamber was not a cave, it was a small chamber taken over from a less important person. Tut died suddenly and young and had not yet prepared an elaborate chamber of his own.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Honestly, the "Ancient Egyptian gods were really Go'ould" explanations are more reasonable than the nonsense espoused by contemporary Egyptology.

        Yes, because it is highly plausible that they were fictional characters from a TV sci fi series.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          No, you completely misunderstood what I was saying. It was a somewhat hyperbolic statement, but yeah... *whoosh*

    • >Moving thousands of tons of rock without machinery is easy
      Especially that they recently proved that all the stones used for building the pyramids were mixed like cement instead of what some noob proposed with pushing these huge blocks of rock up a slanted slope....they cut open one of the rocks, and saw swirls within the main field, suggesting man made materials, and most definitely the contents were poured into place.

  • ...he was chauffeured around the desert in one of the earliest-known high-performance vehicles.

    I seriously doubt he ever went faster than his horses. So what does "high-performance" mean? It didn't wear them out so quickly?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:13PM (#33130366) Journal

      Sure.

      Lower rolling resistance means more speed per horsepower and less fatigue per horse.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tuidjy (321055) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @07:45PM (#33132270)

      The tallest horse skeleton from that period barely passes the horse/pony barrier (by 3cm) The average horse of the period was 1.3m tall and the bones suggest that it weighted about 30% less than the light riding horses of today. It probably would not have be able to go very fast or very far with a rider. Yes, people rode them sometimes, but mostly they were used in chariots.

      In a race between a rider and Tut's chariot, I'd definitely bet on the chariot, even with a driver in addition to the Pharaoh.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Modern Marvels on History channel already covered this years ago

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Nothing really exists until it passes by the rolled-up theater program pressed to the eye of /.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Especially old, in the sense that this chariot was excavated in 1922, and has been on display in Egypt for decades. The rash of recent articles about this "high-performance chariot" is due to it being loaned out to a foreign exhibit for the first time, which is noteworthy, but from the press you'd think this object was newly unearthed a few days ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:15PM (#33130416)
    in modern western philosophy, literature and science, we are all thought about how great the greek civilization was, how they invented most of the concepts we use today, and ideas and principles, how glorious it was in that cesspit of ancient history, this and that.

    however, when one takes up history as a hobby, and reads up by himself/herself, it is a soon made discovery that for centuries before and during the climax of ancient greece, greeks went to egypt to study. the schools and learning in egypt encompassed practically everything, classified in two different school genres : school of life taught matters related to physical world - medicine, architecture, geometry and so on, school of death taught matters related to the otherworld. one finds out that a goodly number of the greek prominent figures, at least those who could afford it, went to egypt to study, or studied material transferred from egypt.

    it is an even more stunning discovery to find out that, most of the spiritual and philosophical concepts we use in everyday life today, even extending to some customs, originate from egypt.

    but, due to the most free material that is being free of church influence that was available in renaissance and baroque being ancient greece material that the byzantine scholars brought from istanbul when they fleed the ottoman conquest, western literature and science has developed by a misplaced influence of greece. which is quite natural actually, because until the end of 18th century, there wasnt any awareness of existence of a civilization like egypt.

    what is appalling though, is, that still goes on ....
    • It is a travesty that the Great Library was burned down; who knows what kinds of Egyptian treasures were to be found there...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tehcyder (746570)
      Don't forget that until the Rosetta Stone, nobody could read hieroglyphics, whereas everyone could read Greek, so it's hardly surprising that Egypt was just considered a mystery.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by socrplayr813 (1372733)

      I think it even goes beyond that. I'm constantly reading these stories about how sophisticated ancient civilizations were compared to our previous belief, and even about mankind's more-ancient ancestors. I'm convinced that our ancestors were much more advanced in nearly every way than we give them credit for.

      I suspect that some of that is that we want to believe we've developed beyond our views of our 'primitive' ancestors, and that desire helps to keep us from seeing the truth. Imagine what will be left

  • The end of the article suggests that King Tut may not have fallen off of the chariot and broken his leg because the chariot offers a ride that is too comfortable. This smells like a tremendous leap of logic to me. It's not like the thing was equipped with seatbelts, why would a design that allows for great speed with relative comfort preclude the possibility that maybe he fell out of the thing?
    • I think you need to go back and read the article again. It said that there's a 50/50 chance that this was the chariot that Tutankhamun fell from when he broke his leg.

      It was instead mentioning other factors in Tut's health that could have led to his death... the fact that he had malformed bones in his feet, and the fact that he had apparently been suffering from malaria. That he fell off the chariot and broke his leg isn't really in question... that it was an infection from the broken leg and not, say, succ

  • by Okonomiyaki (662220) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @06:01PM (#33131060) Homepage

    Sounds like more evidence for that small penis theory.

    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/UnNews:King_Tut_had_a_small_penis [wikia.com]

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @06:04PM (#33131092) Journal
    I recently saw the travelling King Tutankhamen exhibit and got to reading a bit about their technology. Besides being able to organize and motivate well enough to build the Great Pyramid, which required cutting, transporting, and installing twelve 3 ton blocks per hour, every hour, for 20 years [wikipedia.org], they knew about prime and perfect numbers, the Sieve of Eratosthenes, first-order linear equations, and summing linear and arithmetic sequences. They knew about pi and calculated it to about five digits, and could calculate the surface area of hemispheres and the volume of frustrums [wikipedia.org], which means they could do integral calculus (although they didn't realize that's what they were doing.)
    • And their civilization collapsed utterly and was almost lost to history. Quite a warning for the oil-will-never-run-out-and-global-warming-is-a-myth crowd.
    • by Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @09:02PM (#33132854) Homepage

      Yeah, but apart from the Great Pyramid, prime and perfect numbers, the Sieve of Eratosthenes, linear equations, sequences, pi, surface areas and volumes, what have the Egyptians done for us?

  • Best vintage garage find evar. It's gonna be a bitch to find parts.
  • Xizbit "a" (Score:2, Funny)

    by NetNed (955141)
    Wasn't this on pimp my chariot? They put 22's on it and Mad Mike installed 5 hieroglyphics flat panels on it.
  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dfuess (72488)

    "They boasted an elegant design and an extremely sophisticated and astonishingly modern technology,"

    I find the premise of the article arrogantly modern. "They" didn't boast modern technology at all but rather demonstrated the of the state of the art in Egypt 3000 years ago. Perhaps the appropriate view is that today's engineering despite all its plastic and glitter has not advanced significantly beyond that of ancient Egypt in some areas. I do wonder why it is that we do so often equate ancient with stupid

  • "chariot was introduced to Egypt by the Hyksos. It did not take Egypt long -- just two generations -- to have the world's best chariots"

    Could it be that Hyksos had world's best chariots?

  • Metallic hinges (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ModelX (182441) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @04:17AM (#33135232)

    In the Cairo museum, next to the Tut's collection (it may be part of it, I'm not sure, I was there years ago), I saw a foldable bed frame with metallic hinges. I thought that was the technological high-point of the museum, I haven't seen anything like that from the same time frame anywhere in the world.

  • The article mentions the "modern" bearing concept of hard materials against soft materials. But that's absolute BS. Good bearings are hard materials against hard materials.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

Working...