Meet China's massive 16,000-ton–unfinished stele

By: April Carson



A huge—16,300-ton—stele is in a remote Chinese quarry. Made up of three pieces, their total weight is thought to be about 31,300 TONS. Local officials have inspected the pieces and commissioned a study to determine their potential value, which is believed to be in the range of US$16.8 million.


There are things we don't understand. We have evidence that far-reaching civilizations were able to achieve amazing things in the distant past all throughout the world.


We find the Yangshan Quarry, which was used for centuries as the major source of structures and temples on Nanjing and the adjoining region. The quarry is now preserved as a historical site, and it is famous for its enormous unfinished stele surpassing the weight of 16,300 tons.


The quarry was previously mined for up to six dynasties, when local limestone was used in a variety of construction projects, including buildings, walls, and statues around Nanjing.


Yangshan's massive stele is one of several stunning examples of ancient engineering and stonemasonry techniques.


History of the Stele


In 1405, the Yongle Emperor ordered the cutting of a MASSIVE stele in Yangshan Quarry to be used in the construction of his father's Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum. He desired to create something magnificent, and he decided that 16300 tons was about enough.


Three separate parts of the stele are then carved out by workers. The stele base (pedestal), the stele body, and the stele head are all rectangular in shape.


Before the cutting process was nearly finished, no one considered the stele's size. Then, when it came time to consider relocating the huge stone, difficulties arose. The ancient Chinese were unable to figure out how to move a supermassive stone.


The researchers discovered that transporting the three pieces from the quarry to the Ming Xiaoling and successfully putting them in place was impossible.


Finally, the project was abandoned, leaving behind a huge stele at the Yangshan Quarry. The length of the body is approximately 50 meters, with a width of 10.7 meters. It weighs in at around 9,000 tons.


The head of the stele is somewhat smaller. It is almost 11 meters tall, 20.3 meters wide, and 8 meters thick. It weighs about 6,000 tons.


Today, the most important part is still in Yangshan Quarry. The stele body and head are so heavy that they were never moved from there.


The Yangshan stele is one of many incredible engineering projects carried out all over the world. However, some of the planning and construction remains a mystery.


The unfinished obelisk in Aswan, Egypt, is another outstanding example of huge cut stones. It is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever built. If completed, it would have been 42 m (approximately 137 feet) tall and weighed about 1,200 tons, equal to around 200 African elephants in weight.



The obelisk's builders began working on it directly in the rock, but fractures appeared in the granite and work was abandoned. The top of the obelisk is still attached to the bedrock.


It's hard to imagine how people could have channeled all this energy into creating these megastructures so many centuries ago, knowing that they would never see the finished result.






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About the Blogger:


April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com


To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav


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