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RESEARCHERS BEG WIND AT QUARTZ HILL: OH, GO FLY OUR KITE.

Byline: Daily News

QUARTZ HILL - The kite waited, as did the 11-ton spire it was meant to lift. And three dozen volunteers stood by Sunday to test a controversial theory of how the pyramids were built.

But the Mojave Desert breeze would not cooperate.

``I'm really bummed,'' said Maureen Clemmons, 45, of Reseda after the sixth attempt by researchers to raise the obelisk on a wispy wind. ``We were wearing goggles last weekend; we couldn't even see'' it was so windy.

``It's sad,'' added Clemmons, leader of a National Geographic expedition.

Behind her, a 33-foot telephone pole scaffold grew from the high desert sand. Beneath its pulleys lay the 28-foot obelisk, unmoved by the breeze captured by a flagging parafoil.

Wind permitting, Clemmons and her team of ``pyramidiots'' of enthusiasts and researchers from the California Institute of Technology will return in coming weeks for another try.

Their theory - that it was the wind, not slaves, that helped raise the megaliths of ancient Egypt - got some support last year when they used a mammoth kite to hoist a 3.4-ton obelisk on the Quartz Hill plain 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

The feat was broadcast around the world.

``Do you know any Indians who can pray for wind?'' joked Mory Gharib, a Caltech professor of aeronautical engineering, who was frustrated by gusts of only six to 15 mph, too light to lift the giant stone.

``What I could use is a steady fan from Costco.''

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Maureen Clemmons, left, and her team apply grease Sunday to help wind power in their effort to raise an 11-ton spire.

Tom Mendoza/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 26, 2002
Words:274
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