I came up with this a year ago, during the airing of Season 5. We may have found some other reason for it being dug in last week's episode, but this is my theory. They may not have had the compass technologies described in last week's episode.
Ancient Egyptian people (who built the statue, temple & underground tunnels), may have been the builders of the Orchid Well.
I think this because when Sawyer held onto the rope into their last flash (before they went to 1974) the well disappeared and they left a rope going underground behind. The statue was already built and still standing. We now know the unknown time period must have been before 1867 and the arrival of the Black Rock.
The only problem now is that during that time period the frozen wheel was also already built, as our Locke finds it in the caverns, same as ever. My theory was that the energy source at the wheel was discovered by who ever dug around the rope, and that they made the wheel, but I just disproved it.
So perhaps the Ancient Egyptians discovered the spot underground through the caverns from another entrance and built it. Then later, any person on the island that came along after Sawyer et all's final flash, and before Richard's arrival could have discovered the rope in the ground and dug the well, and found the wheel. This thinking could spawn a series of new adventures for people we've never even met that had lived on the island.
Maybe this is an overly complex way of looking at Widmore's interaction with the Island. Him knowing about "The Exit" , perhaps having used it himself at one point of other. But the Others all seemed aware of the supernatural powers of the Island. I hope we get his story soon...--Galapoodle 19:09, April 15, 2010 (UTC)