Impressive Feats of Engineering – #2: The Forgotten Ones
Here at Motion Drives and Controls, we’re carrying on with our series of impressive engineering feats in this latest blog, and in all fairness we could have very possibly called this ‘part two’ of the inaugural feature that we posted last time. However, most of what we covered then was pretty well-known, whereas many of the achievements in this latest list are far more obscure. We’re all for obscure though, so read on for more baffling, and rather forgotten, feats of ancient engineering:
A breathtaking stepwell in Rajasthan, Chand Baori is hardly a household name, but it should be. Dedicated to the Goddess of Joy and Happiness, the walls of Chand Baori – sweeping down to 100 feet below the surface – are so steeply sloped that you often can’t even see those standing above.
Chand Baori was built in AD 800 by King Chanda, and legend says that it was finished in a single night using supernatural assistance (which we reckon is cheating).
Given the available technology, Chand Baori is truly remarkable. As well as being an unimaginably deep well, Chand Baori was instrumental in solving huge water issues in this extremely arid region. With more than 3,500 steps on 13 levels, it’s just as impressive as many more well-known feats.
Sacsayhuaman is a walled complex of Incan origin. If you want to see the ultimate in dry stone walls, this place is undoubtedly the definitive holiday destination for you, as the largest of the stones at this rather overlooked fortification weighs in at over 100 tons.
The exact builders of Sacsayhuaman are somewhat difficult to pin down, but it’s likely that the structure was finished around 1508.
The biggest mystery at Sacsayhuaman is just how the Incas moved the stones into place in the first instance. As if that’s not enough to get on with, the stones fit together so closely – despite the lack of mortar – that even earthquakes haven’t been able to shift them. Pretty impressive we’d say.
Leshan Giant Buddha
A far cry from the garden ornaments you’re probably used to seeing, Leshan Giant Buddha measures in at 71 metres in height, and was carved from solid stone during the Chinese Shang Dynasty. Overlooking a total of three rivers, as well as being the largest Buddha in the world, it also tops the list for pre-modern statues too. Not too shabby.
A monk named Haitong started construction in 713, and it took thousands of workers between 70-90 years to complete.
Discounting the fact that just one finger on this statue is 11 feet long, what really fascinates us is the hair of the Giant Buddha, as this is in fact a cunningly disguised drainage system to shield the statue from water. Given the state of the statue today, we’d say it’s done a pretty impressive job!
Monhenjo Daro was one of the largest settlements in the enigmatic Indus Valley civilisation, and prospered for some 1,000 years before it was mysteriously abandoned (after the manner of most Indus Valley sites). Housing around 35,000 residents, this ranks as one of the earliest urban habitations in the entire world, rivalling even those in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Mohenjo Daro was built in 2600 BC (give or take) in what’s now modern-day Pakistan.
Just taking into account the scale and early construction of Monhenjo Daro would make it impressive, but it’s perhaps most renowned for an innovative plumbing and sewage system. These guys had indoor toilets and submerged sewage drains, whereas the West took until the 20th century to get some of these systems cracked.
We’ll soon be moving away from the efforts of ancient engineers on our blog, but here at Motion Drives and Controls our ingenious power transmission solutions are anything but stuck in the past. Products like our Boschert devices are relied upon throughout the modern engineering industry, so contact us now by calling 01926 411 544 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to find out how we can be helping you in the here and now.