Mechanical advantage and physics of this type is covered in first year Statics. Its considered the easiest of all area's of physics. Its a stepping stone to dynamics, flow vectors, fluid dynamics, optics, and a vast many other subjects who's material is far more abstract. If you compare the best of the best in terms of minds of present man and ancient Egyptians, even if you allow for them to be identical in their brain capacity and intelligence in visual spatial comprehension, its an unfair comparison.
To be able to develop a sense and an instinct in this field to the point where you can extrapolate brilliant concepts of mechanical advantage, you need to have the ability to observe as many scenarios as possible. With present day computer modeling where you can input any scenario of force, angle, friction, dynamic, mass, gravity, etc, even to the extent of complicated interconnected complex truss systems and analysis of any point in the structure, present day man has the ability to develop a vastly superior comprehension and intuitive sense of this kind of stuff compared to ancient Egyption man. That is presuming they lacked computers, monitors, or any kind of dynamic visualization simulators 4500 years ago.
You might think that over time and with generations of practice, unique methods evolved and were passed along and improved to a point of extremely high level effectiveness. And you might also construct a hypothetical that presumes ancient Egyptians focus remained mostly in the realm of stone structure without the distraction of evolved advancement of any other area's as a result of this odd myopic focus. But even then, if you were to graph the gains in technology to time in this area, it would be a rather steep curve who's gains would be negligible relatively soon, just as it has been for our contemporary gains, with the exception of a slight blip after advancements in computer modeling.
The ancient discovery of a specialized lubricant who's properties are perfectly matched to the friction, viscosity, and heat requirements of one particular application may have taken generations to develope, but today, a 1st year student can model a variety of friction variables, book a meeting with a material science professor that next day and solve that same problem.
Bottom line... if stinky footed bumpkins constructed pyramids with no help from any advanced civilizations, we would have solved how they did THAT hundreds of years ago and quite easily. Rest assured.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 22-Sep-16 16:15 by Open mind.