McKnelly Megalith

In dedication to Steve & Rendy McKnelly.

Megalithic civilizations held tremendous knowledge surrounding mass and weight. What if we could mine this past knowledge to inform contemporary practice with the tool of gravity?

Anthropologist Carl Lipo recently discovered that (some of) the Rapa Nui[1] Moai were not rolled from the quarry to the podium on their backs, but rather transported standing upright.[2] In a similar manner to how one might shimmy a refrigerator into place, the Moai were pulled back and forth by ropes, employing momentum to transport these unwieldy megaliths. This (re)discovery brings new meaning to the folklore that the statues ‘walked themselves’. Simultaneously a retired carpenter named Wally Wallington is spending his retirement moving heavy things, by himself.[3] He is successfully constructing a stonehenge in his backyard with his most useful tool—gravity. There is a great deal of speculation surrounding the artifacts created by our megalithic era ancestors. Much of this is a result of marvel, wonder, intrigue, and most importantly ignorance. When one entertains that these civilizations held a focused knowledge surrounding weight, mass, and volume (topics we have since lost) these marvels transform from curious speculations into potentials for productive knowledge.

[1] Commonly known as Easter Island.
[2] Carl P. Lipo, Terry L. Hunt, Sergio Rapu Haoa, “The ‘Walking’ Megalithic Statues (Moai) of Easter Island”, Journal of Archaeological Science, 2012.