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The pyramids of Giza as a precessional measurer of the ages

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 · 2 months ago
The pyramids, and in particular the Pyramids of Giza, have always represented the biggest mystery in the human history.


No megalithic monument has attracted the interest and curiosity of scholars and enthusiasts of every era more than the Pyramids of Giza, as well as adventurers even willing to risk their lives to find immense and fabulous treasures presumably hidden inside. It can certainly be said that the interest aroused by the pyramids has concerned various aspects of their thousand-year history, which can be briefly summarized as follows:

  • The identity of the builders, since the testimonies that come to us from this now distant past, attribute the construction of these monuments to the Pharaohs of the 4th dynasty, Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura, indicated with the Greek names of Cheops, Chefren and Menkaure.
  • The construction period, which is traced back to the period between approximately 2700 BC and 2500 BC, attributed in chronology to the 4th dynasty, to which the builders belonged.
  • The construction techniques, which represent one of the most difficult puzzles for modern experts and scholars to solve, since it is not clear how they were made.
  • What is the ultimate goal, which Egyptologists have always and only considered as the sepulchral monuments of the Pharaohs.

These points answer the questions of who built the pyramids, when, how, and for what purpose.

Here then a series of innovative elements began to come under the eyes of scholars, who were forced to think about the mathematical and geometric characteristics of the pyramids and their astronomical characteristics, which derive from alignments with the cardinal points and with constellations referring to certain historical eras; other elements are added which gradually made the task of scholars increasingly difficult and demonstrated the enormous complexity of those monuments.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary to introduce some simple astronomical concepts that can be useful for understanding the topic comprehensively.


Our planet makes a series of regular and periodic movements in our solar system which allow the measurement of time and seasons and which go by the name of Earth motions. Among these is the motion of precession.

Diagram of the precession of the earth's axis. As a result of the reverse rotation of the axis, the
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Diagram of the precession of the earth's axis. As a result of the reverse rotation of the axis, the Earth describes a double cone with a vertex in its center and an angle of approximately 23° 27' in a cycle of approximately 26,000 years.
The Earth is also affected by other motions in addition to rotation and revolution.

The discoveries made on our planet have made it possible to verify that the Earth does not have a perfectly spherical shape, but is slightly flattened at the poles and swollen at the equator due to its rotational motion.

Furthermore, the equator is inclined with respect to the ecliptic plane by approximately 23° 27'; the gravitational attraction force of the sun, the moon and the planets of the solar system acts on the equator tending to straighten the earth's axis (so as to place it perpendicular to the plane of the orbit) but since the Earth rotates on itself it behaves like a spinning top or gyroscope, tending to keep the inclination of the rotation axis constant.

The resultant of this set of forces is the slow reverse rotation of the Earth's axis with respect to the Earth's motion, resulting in a displacement of the axis which thus describes a double cone in space with its vertex at the center of the Earth.

This motion is defined as precession and requires just under 26,000 years for the Earth's axis to return to the same position (25,776 years to be precise).

The precessional motion is not regular but undergoes short-term disturbances caused by the gravitational effect of the moon; these are called "nutations", short-term oscillations in the direction of the axis approximately every 18.6 years.

As a result of the precession motion, the Earth's rotation axis points, as time passes (in the order of centuries), towards different regions of the celestial sphere; it currently points to star a in the constellation Ursa Minor, which is our current North Star, but over time it will point to other constellations that will point to celestial north.

This is because the precession motion of the Earth's axis modifies the celestial coordinates of the stars, determining their apparent movement at a rate of 1° every 72 years (71.6 to be precise).

Diagram of the precession of the earth's axis. As a result of the reverse rotation of the axis, the
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Diagram of the precession of the earth's axis. As a result of the reverse rotation of the axis, the Earth describes a double cone with a vertex in its center and an angle of approximately 23° 27' in a cycle of approximately 26,000 years.
The discovery of precession motion is officially attributed to the Greek astronomer Hipparchus who in the 2nd century BC noticed the variation in the celestial coordinate system by checking measurements made about a century and a half earlier by other astronomers who had created catalogs with the position of a thousand stars and verifying that there was an "error" in the measurements "systematic of about 2° in celestial longitude, the so-called right ascension made by his predecessors.

Hipparchus discovered the visual effect of precession motion, unable to provide the scientific explanation of the precessional phenomenon which was given only in recent times by Newton onwards and then confirmed by the discoveries of modern astronomy on the orbital geometries of our planet.

It is important to remember that the discovery of the precessional motion is attributed to Hipparchus but there is a strong debate on whether the Ancients, at least the Egyptians and Babylonians, knew at least the visual effects of the precessional motion, being able to carry out and conserve measurements of the celestial vault in secular times and therefore able to verify the apparent movement of the stars.

Official science denies this possibility or admits that the Ancients knew precession but did not know how to calculate it.

It should be remembered that among the visual effects of the Earth's axial precession motion is the precession of the equinoxes. In fact, the movement of the Earth's axis, towards which the equator plane is perpendicular, also determines the movement of the equinoctial points, i.e. the points of intersection of the axis with the plane of the orbit which correspond to the points occupied by the sun at the equinoxes, and therefore they also move with the movement of the axis.

This phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes means that the sun reaches the equinoctial point, i.e. the position of the equinoxes, slightly earlier in their date.

However, the period in which the equinox returns to the same position is not exactly equal to the period of axial precession of the Earth due to other factors related to the gravitational attraction of the planets and the orbital geometries of the Earth.

The apparent optical effect linked to the precession of the equinoxes is the retrograde movement of the sun and therefore of the equinoctial point along the constellations of the ecliptic band, the zodiac constellations, which govern the vernal equinox and therefore also the autumnal one.

This means that approximately every 2160 years the Sun, at the equinox, is in a different constellation, with a sequence such as Taurus → Aries → Pisces → Aquarius etc. that is, opposite to the annual motion we talked about above.

This is due precisely to the precession motion of the Earth's axis which modifies the region of space and therefore of the celestial sphere towards which the earth's axis points.

Historically it can be said that from the time of the great Greek civilization up to the Roman era the sun rose, at the equinoctial dawn, in the constellation of Aries, while subsequently it moved to the constellation of Pisces and in the next few centuries the equinoctial point will begin to swinging in the constellation of Aquarius.


The scarcity of archaeological finds in terms of papyri with astronomical content has not allowed us to reveal most of the mysteries linked to ancient Egypt, which could be revealed thanks to new discoveries or a more correct decipherment of the hieroglyphs.

Through the use of the Merkhet the Egyptians carried out observations of the transit of the meridian
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Through the use of the Merkhet the Egyptians carried out observations of the transit of the meridian of the stars and to orient the monuments to the cardinal points.
Egyptologists, starting from the assumption that Egyptian astronomy was essentially practical knowledge, linked to the need to create a calendar for civil and economic uses, made a series of discoveries supported by the archaeological evidence contained in the discovered finds.

Astronomical knowledge has been deduced from various representations found, such as in the zodiac dating back to the 1st century BC made in the ceiling of the temple of the goddess Athor in Dendera, remembered with the name of Dendera Zodiac. It depicts the twelve constellations deriving from Babylonian culture and these are flanked by the Egyptian constellations. In fact, it is remembered as the zodiac that provides a complete map of the ancient sky.

From the findings made it is evident that the Egyptians were able to observe single stars and constellations that they had learned to know and represent in funerary monuments and on astrological papyri.

In addition to the constellations of Orion, the Great Bear of the Dragon, they also knew the five visible planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Mercury and Venus) to which they attributed a meaning linked to manifestations of the gods of the Heliopolitan pantheon (especially Horus).

As regards the instrumentation used by the Egyptians for geometric and astronomical measurements necessary to orient the monuments, the instrument most in use found by archaeologists is the Merkhet. It consisted of a palm leaf that had a notch on the top and a square with a plumb line; it was used to determine the axis of temples and pyramids, to observe the transit of the meridian of the stars and for measurements relating to agriculture. Some scholars date it back to at least 2500 BC and it would also have been used for the orientation of the Giza pyramids to the cardinal points.


It is important to note that the geometric, mathematical and astronomical characteristics of the pyramids of Giza and in particular of the great pyramid of Cheops have been the subject of study by various disciplines that have been linked to archeology for some time.

The field of study that has provided the most surprises is that of archaeoastronomy, which studies the astronomical alignments between individual stars or constellations with monuments of ancient sacred architecture and with monuments in general.

Even if it seems to proceed slowly on its path, archaeoastronomy has made giant strides in recent decades, even if the theories that have been expressed in recent years, thanks to the contribution of independent researchers, have been strongly debated and attacked by part of classical archeology which does not admit most of the results obtained.

In the history of archaeology, and in particular Egyptology, there are numerous examples of scholars who during their studies, in a more or less marked way, have highlighted the important geometric and astronomical characteristics of the Giza monuments.

Among the first to carry out measurements of the Great Pyramid we find Sir Flinders Petrie (period 1880-81), highlighting the impressive mathematical-geometric precision and the inclination of the internal ducts which he defined as ventilation ducts.

Among the first geoastronomical characteristics that scholars have been able to ascertain is the almost perfect alignment to the cardinal points. The northern facade is aligned to true north and so on the other facades with an average error of just 3 minutes of arc equal in percentage terms to 0.015%, a precision that still amazes modern scholars, for whom it is not possible to find a real plausible explanation.

Although it was immediately understood that the geoastronomical connotations of the Great Pyramid were evident, the direction given by classical Egyptology was to consider the monuments of the Giza plateau as the funerary monuments of the Pharaohs of the 4th dynasty. An idea that still prevails today together with that which connotes the pyramids to the solar religion.

The immediate consequence of considering the geometric and astronomical characteristics of the pyramids has been, in recent times, to push several scholars to hypothesize that the pyramids of Giza were in the past a sort of astronomical observatory, starting from the assumption that it had been possible to use internal ramps to scanning the night sky, a practice to which the Egyptian priests were dedicated not only for practical reasons, linked to the formulation of the calendar and lunar cycles, but also for reasons linked to the Egyptian religion which was founded on the cult of the stars.

The American archaeologist Isler admitted this possibility, further asserting that the high degree of precision in the alignment with the cardinal points could be explained precisely by its use for astronomical observation.

So in the 20th century, studies on the astronomical characteristics of the Giza pyramids began to take shape and among the first academic scholars to seriously take this possibility into consideration was the Egyptologist Alexander Badawy.

In the meantime, the hypothesis having emerged that the internal ducts of the pyramid were not ventilation channels but had a religious purpose linked to funerary rites, to allow the soul of the Pharaoh to open a passage towards the sky, Badawy in a his study in the early 1960s hypothesized that they were channels facing the stars; he began to collaborate with Prof. Virginia Trimble (1964), astronomer, and together they published the results of their research in specialized journals.

The astronomical alignments of the internal conduits of the Cheops pyramid according to Alexander Ba
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The astronomical alignments of the internal conduits of the Cheops pyramid according to Alexander Badawy and Virginia Trimble in their 1964 studies. The northern conduit was aligned around 2600 BC. with the constellation of the Dragon (Thuban was the polar star) while the southern one pointed towards the constellation of Orion. Badawy and Trimble considered only those of the King's Chamber. It was later discovered that the calculations were incorrect due to an error in the measurement of the inclinations of the ducts carried out in the 19th century by Flinders Petrie, corrected by the engineer. Rudolf Gantenbrink.
Badawy, provided the data in his possession to the astronomer who made the necessary astronomical calculations to verify the declination of any stars or constellations with respect to the celestial equator with reference to an approximate time relating to the Fourth Dynasty (around 2600 BC), in way to calculate the height at the meridian of some constellations in that reference era and realized that the northern conduit pointed towards the north pole of the ecliptic and therefore towards the polar star (then α draconis) while the southern one pointed towards the three o'clock stars of Orion's belt (Al Nitak, Al Nilam, Mintaka).

The three stars of Orion's belt culminated every day on the meridian, passing exactly above the southern conduit of this Chamber. In the same period no other constellation passed in the same portion of the celestial sphere so the alignment with the constellation of Orion was the first great archaeoastronomical discovery of the 20th century.

Badawy came to the conclusion that this conduit deliberately pointed to the aforementioned constellations to allow the soul of the Pharaoh to undertake the celestial journey towards the area of ​​the sky that included the constellation of Osiris - Orion.

This discovery, initially unnoticed, was only revived at the beginning of the 1980s by Prof. Edwards.

Obviously, the fact that no Egyptologist, apart from Professor Sellers, has explored Badawy's studies in depth has opened up space for new and suggestive hypotheses put forward by researchers from other disciplines and independent scholars.

It is of fundamental importance, however, to remember that before the recent discoveries made on the pyramids of Egypt linked precisely to the stellar correlation with Orion, some world-famous scholars, whose contribution has created considerable embarrassment for the scientific community, gave a notable impetus to a sort of cultural revolution on the knowledge that the men of our era can boast of the mentality and history of science of ancient civilizations; I am referring to scholars of the caliber of Zaba, Scwhaller de Lubicz, Professor Jane B. Sellers, the Egyptologists Selim Hassan and Mercer to whom one cannot fail to add the further name of Santillana.

Of these, Schwaller de Lubicz stated, as a philosopher and historian of science that he was, that the true custodians of science and philosophy were the Egyptians who transmitted it (now on the path of "sunset") as a legacy to Greek civilization, and urged scholars of our era to revolutionize our judgment on ancient civilizations by more correctly considering the profound scientific knowledge they brought with them.

The astronomer Zbynek Zaba stated, in his 1953 study, that many funerary monuments were oriented according to the stars, while in other cases the orientation followed the south-north axis and that it cannot be excluded that the Egyptians knew the precession.

Of one of the objects found in the internal conduits of the Great Pyramid, Zaba expressed the opinion that it was a pesh-en-kef object used in ancient funerary rituals linked to the cult of rebirth and demonstrated that it was used, fixed on a piece of wood together to a plumb line to orient the megalithic constructions to the polar star.

In turn, Giorgio de Santillana, in his 1973 study, highlighted the importance of the precession of the equinoxes in ancient cosmologies and myths while Professor Jane Sellers focused her attention on the importance of precessional astronomy in ancient texts Egyptian religious figures, in particular on the very ancient Pyramid Texts discovered in the pyramids of Saqqara.

Sellers reproaches her fellow Egyptologists for their lack of knowledge of ancient astronomy which represents a valid point of reference for understanding the history of culture, sacred architecture, religion in its dynamic temporal evolution and the mythical traditions of Ancient Egypt. In her writings she demonstrates that the precessional interpretation is very relevant and is far superior, in its normality, to the often "forced" one that philological scholars try to accredit, in which the scientific and cosmological thought of the Ancients is mortified.

The American scholar supports the thesis that the Egyptians were aware of precession and had also managed to calculate it, even with more or less wide margins of error, even if they had not understood it from a scientific point of view.

A series of elements concerning the events of the protohistory of Ancient Egypt and the early times of dynastic history are based on the knowledge of precessional astronomy and, according to Sellers, the Egyptians gave considerable importance to the observation of the spring equinox.

Other scholars such as Selim Hassan and Mercer, in the 1950s, hypothesized that ancient Egyptian religious texts such as the Pyramid Texts had precise references to a "prehistoric" stellar religion that would have characterized Egyptian religious culture long before the advent of a religion solar.

These scholars questioned for the first time the dogma according to which the Pyramid Texts were only liturgical invocations and magical rituals and placed the emphasis on the allegorical interpretation in an astronomical sense of these very ancient writings which, having been found engraved inside of the walls of the pyramids of Saqqara, are to be linked to the complex meaning of the monumental architecture of the Age of the Pyramids.

With the studies of Mercer, Selim Hassan and later Faulkner, the idea emerged that the stellar religion of the ancient Egyptians was connected to astronomy through a set of extremely complex rituals, based on the rebirth of the Pharaoh after his earthly death, transfiguring himself like the god Osiris in the constellation of Orion who becomes his celestial home in the Douat (i.e. the Pharaoh resurrects like the god Osiris and is transfigured in his celestial home which is Orion).

The consequence of what has been said is that there is a double aspect under which it is possible to treat the ancient Egyptian religious culture:

  • the theological-scriptural aspect that derives from the interpretation of the Ancient Egyptian Scriptures which were found thanks to the great textual discoveries of the past centuries
  • the visual aspect of the ancient Egyptian religious cults, linked to the sacred architecture of the pyramid era (and beyond)

These two aspects cannot be considered separately since much of the material found through textual discoveries dates back to the era of the pyramids, so they are inseparable.


Among the contemporary scholars who have drawn valid lessons from the studies carried out on the astronomical characteristics of the monuments of Giza we can include the fierce group of independents, including Jonh Anthony West, Graham Hancock, Adrian Gilbert, Robert Bauval who have had the merit of deepening studies in this area with excellent results.

In particular, Robert Bauval, a graduate in Engineering and author of numerous projects in the construction field, began, starting from the 80s of the last century, for reasons linked to his personal passion for Egypt, where he also lived for some time, to be interested in the astronomical characteristics of the pyramids of Giza.

From this arose an in-depth study that Bauval undertook on the basis of astronomical knowledge and data provided by the studies carried out on the pyramids mentioned above; therefore taking into account the lesson of Zaba, Badawy and Trimble, starting from the now known assumption that the internal conduits of the pyramid of Cheops, coming out of the King's Chamber, pointed towards the constellation of Orion and towards the circumpolar stars at the approximate time of 2600 BC.

In about ten years of research Bauval managed to demonstrate that not only does the internal structure of the pyramid present marked astronomical characteristics, with the alignments of the internal conduits, but he went so far as to hypothesize that there was a perfect astronomical alignment between the three pyramids of the Giza plateau and the three stars of Orion's belt (Al Nitak, Al Nilam, Mintaka).

To this we can add Bauval's hypothesis that the entire monumental complex of Giza was part of a larger and more complex architectural project aimed at depicting the image of Orion in which the pyramid of Zawyat-al-Aryan and the pyramid of Nebka in Abu Rawash and, subsequently, the Hyades in the constellation of Taurus.

This was done through the construction of megalithic monuments that marked the astronomical era in which they were built or to which they referred; a project that probably failed because for technical and historical reasons it would not have been achievable by a single dynasty, but would have required the joint effort of several dynasties and therefore would have spanned a time span of hundreds of years.

The astronomical alignments of the King's and Queen's Chamber conduits in the Khufu pyramid with cor
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The astronomical alignments of the King's and Queen's Chamber conduits in the Khufu pyramid with corrected measurements taken by Gantenbrink and Bauval in 1993.
Considering the fact that after the 4th and 5th dynasties a series of historical-social and political changes occurred, which also led to a collapse of the technological capabilities of the Nile civilization, this project would not have been completed.

The evidence adduced by Bauval essentially concerns precessional astronomy, in the sense that the astronomical calculations carried out by him in collaboration with astronomy scholars confirmed the possibility of astronomical alignments between the pyramids of Giza and the constellation of Orion in certain eras in which the configuration of the sky at Giza allowed this type of alignment.

Basically Bauval developed his theory by operating on four levels:

  1. the analysis of the astronomical alignment of the internal conduits exiting the King's and Queen's Chambers based on the most recent measurements;
  2. the study and photographic analysis of the correlation between the shape of Orion's belt and the architectural plan of Giza;
  3. the interpretative analysis of the Ancient Egyptian Scriptures of the Pyramid Texts on the basis of the most recent translations, in which there are precise references to the rites of the stellar religion of the Old Kingdom;
  4. the study and analysis of precessional measurements that allow us to correlate the Giza pyramids with the entire precessional cycle.

Let's look at these four points in detail:

  1. Starting from the data relating to the measurements of the inclinations of the internal conduits of the pyramid of Cheops, provided by the analyzes of Flinders Petrie and taken up by Badawy and Virginia Trimble, Bauval understood that there could be inconsistencies or that even the most "ancient" measurements could not be precise per second. Since a study of the internal ducts of the pyramids is underway by Eng. Rudolf Gantenbrink, Bauval preferred to ask Gantenbrink for the measurements directly. The results of the survey, conducted by Gantenbrink in 1993, were noteworthy as the inclination of the southern shaft of the King's Chamber was found to be 45° and not 44° 30' as calculated by Petrie. From the point of view of the characteristics and astronomical alignments of the Great Pyramid, this discovery was very important since a different slope of the conduits implies a different era in which the conduit was aligned with the reference constellation, in this case that of Orion. The results for the southern conduit of the King's Chamber allowed us to date the presumable construction or preparation of the conduit to around 2475 BC, with a gap of about ten years, compared to the approximate time of 2600 BC calculated by Badawy and Trimble. For the other conduits, i.e. the northern one of the King's Chamber, pointed towards the polar star and the southern one of the Queen's Chamber, whose orientation towards the star Sirius was discovered, dates of 2425 BC and 2400 BC respectively were obtained. approximately (for an inclination of 32° 28' and 39° 30' respectively), compared to the 2600 of Badawy and Trimble. The latter, among other things, did not carry out research on the ducts of the Queen's Chamber, believing that it had been abandoned during the construction of the monumental complex. The first conclusion, which we can define as intermediate, that Bauval reached after this discovery is that the dating of the pyramids of Giza, or at least of the Great Pyramid, can date back to around that time (i.e. 2475-2450 BC), i.e. definitely a dating more recent than Badawy's calculations.
  2. Bauval immediately realized in the completion of his research that there was a connection between the pyramids of Giza and the constellation of Orion. In the course of his research Bauval began to employ the analysis techniques typical of modern architecture and engineering, studying the topographical reliefs of the Giza plateau, the preparation of the general architectural plan, the arrangement of the pyramids with respect to the ideal construction plan, analyzing the diagonal line on which the ancient sacred architecture extended and here he made his first important discovery. In fact, he had the opportunity to verify that the pyramid of Menkaure (Menkaura) did not follow the ideal diagonal in the south-west direction on which the first two are instead arranged (that of Cheops and that of Chefren) and he concentrated on the meaning of this precise architectural plan. After having carefully observed the night sky in the Cairo area, Bauval understood, in circumstances that can be defined as fortuitous, that the arrangement of the three pyramids of Giza appeared as the projection onto Earth of the configuration of Orion's belt, in which the two stars of intensity apparent major (Al Nilam and Al Nitak) appear positioned on an ideal diagonal in the south-west direction while Mintaka appears slightly decentralized towards the east compared to the south-west diagonal. The visual effect that can be seen from the comparative analysis of an aerial photograph or a topographic map of the Giza plateau with a photograph of Orion's belt is that of perfect correspondence, as if it were a cartographic projection of that constellation. Further analysis of the topography of the other sites on which pyramids of the V dynasty are found confirmed Bauval's hypothesis of the existence of a general architectural plan aimed at representing in the Giza plateau, which extends east of the Nile, a projection of the image of the constellation Orion; project which was not fully completed due to circumstances linked to the political-social development of ancient Egyptian history.
  3. A further level on which Bauval worked was that of the analysis of the Pyramid Texts, engraved on the internal walls of the pyramids of Saqqara. These texts, which are the oldest corpus of liturgical hymns and invocations to the God Osiris and his son Horus (and the oldest ever discovered), presumably date back to at least the time of the pyramids (around 2300 BC), but they are based on older originals. Most of these formulas, which in the past were defined by Egyptologists as a disordered set of invocations and magical rituals, present precise references to optical astronomy which openly speaks of the journey of the Pharaoh's soul in the celestial vault to reach its stellar home in Orion. There are important steps that connect the home of Osiris-Orion to the Giza plateau and the pyramids. The critical analysis of the Pyramid Texts demonstrates that the most ancient Egyptian funerary texts were part of a religious and philosophical doctrine that had its foundation in the cult of the stars and of rebirth after death in the celestial abode; cult which, despite being defined by some Egyptologists as having a "predynastic" or prehistoric origin, had a notable influence on Egyptian religion for many centuries before the solar religion of Ra prevailed. To understand in particular the continuous references to precessional astronomy it is necessary to carefully evaluate the text of the Writings in which there are many references to the dynamics and apparent motion of the stars in the celestial sphere. The value of the discoveries made on the Pyramid Texts is remarkable if we consider that the thought expressed by the ancient astronomer-priests who wrote them is reflected in the sacred monumental architecture in which the mathematical and astronomical information that is not an end in themselves but are aimed at expressing the symbolic value of the liturgy that involved such architecture.

    Like cathedrals, they were temples that had to serve for the liturgical aspects of the Christian religion, and the instructions given to the architect who developed the project using geometry and mathematics to symbolically express the liturgical function of worship were based on these requirements.

    It is therefore reasonable to think that the same criterion applies to the Cheops pyramid. The correct approach for a full understanding of the pyramid project, therefore, will make use of elements of mathematics and astronomy to extract the symbolic meaning of the project and ultimately link it to the liturgy of worship.

  4. The consequence that can be defined as "natural" of this theory is that the entire Giza complex can be seen not only as a representation of Orion's belt, as regards the architectural project, but that this monumental system is the pivot on which it rotates a mechanism that we could define as a sort of precessional meter of cosmic eras that in the past informed the religion and cosmology of Ancient Egypt. We have seen above that the apparent optical effect of the axial precession of the Earth (to which is added the variation in the obliquity of the ecliptic) is to determine the retrograde movement of the equinoctial point, from year to year, along the space of the sphere celestial in which the zodiac constellation that governs the spring equinox is located. Therefore the sun apparently moves (about 50'' of arc per year) with retrograde motion along the spring constellation in a period of about 2160 years (precessional era), after which the equinoctial point moves into the constellation that immediately precedes in the ecliptic band (Taurus → Aries → Pisces etc.), a constellation that will govern the spring equinox in the following two thousand years, while the constellation that previously governed the spring equinox tends to disappear under the horizon. In this period of time the constellation that dominates the spring equinox will be visible approximately three hours before the equinoctial sunrise, observing the sky towards the point where the sun will rise which is the true east; in this way the sun will rise against the background of the equinoctial constellation for the entire time it takes to cross the approximately 30° of the ecliptic in which the equinoctial constellation extends and this requires a very long time (approximately 2160 years).

This is not the only visual effect of the axial precession (which is precisely defined as the precession of the equinoxes) since the optical effect does not only concern the constellations of the ecliptic band or zodiac band but generally concerns all the constellations of the celestial hemisphere, since the main consequence of precession is to determine the variation in the celestial coordinates of the celestial bodies which over the course of hundreds of years seem to move in the celestial sphere with respect to an observation point, so the star indicating celestial north also varies (today it is in the constellation Ursa Minor, but in the next few centuries the axis will point towards an area devoid of stars).

The effect is actually caused by the fact that the Earth's axis, over time, points towards different areas of the sky, determining this apparent optical effect.

The position of the rising and culminating of Orion through the different eras.
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The position of the rising and culminating of Orion through the different eras.
As regards the constellations that include stars that rise in the east and set in the west, such as the constellation of Orion, the subject of this analysis, the optical effect concerns the entire time cycle of 26,000 years in which there is an initial half-cycle of about 13,000 years in which the constellation is low on the horizon and the three stars of the belt are at a height of about 9-11° on the southern horizon when transiting the observation meridian. In this first half-cycle the constellation tends to "rise" from the minimum height indicated above to a height of approximately 58°, and then begins a reverse "descent" cycle which brings the constellation back to its initial configuration in the same period of time as about 13,000 years.

Since the Egyptians were mainly interested in observing the rising of some stars and their transit to the meridian (especially Sirius and Orion's belt), according to Bauval it appears evident that in a sufficiently long period of time, about a century, they were able to verify the change in the celestial coordinates of these stars and were aware of the easily recordable change in the declination and height of the latter.

If we consider that the variation in declination is approximately half a degree per century, in two hundred years the apparent movement of the star as it rose was more or less equal to the apparent size of the full moon; a result appreciable to the naked eye.

The consequence of these observations is evidently immediate proof of the knowledge of the Egyptian astronomer-priests of the visual effects of precession.

The knowledge of this mechanism, synchronous and specular with regards to the precessional cycle, led the Egyptian priests to exploit its temporal peculiarities in order to fix the reference period for the construction of the internal conduits of the pyramid, which thus effectively became the mechanism which they used to build a star clock of the ages.

By moving back and forth on the observation meridian and knowing the rate of variation of the celestial coordinates of the observed stars it is possible, starting from a specific epoch, to establish a temporal reference relating to a specific alignment between a monument and a constellation.

This mechanism, which measures the apparent movement of the stars from a precessional point of view, also provides us with a temporal reference that allows historical dating.

Thus Bauval, starting from the not entirely correct calculations of Badawy and Trimble which dated the conduits to around 2600 BC, with the correct measurements of the inclinations of the internal conduits managed to date their construction to a more recent era, around 2450 BC.

Obviously the precessional mechanism allows us to go further, since it also allows us to search for the era in which the exact arrangement of the three pyramids of Giza and their alignment corresponded exactly to the configuration of Orion's belt.

By moving along the observation meridian and checking the height at transit over the meridian, we realize that this configuration was reached in a very distant era which marked the beginning of this precessional cycle, around 10,450 BC. Only in this era did the exact configuration and geometric alignment of the pyramids corresponds to the configuration of Orion's belt (i.e. the two images are superimposed if we imagine reconstructing the sky of that era and projecting it onto the Giza plateau).

The meaning of such a distant era scares scholars and disorientates but should not necessarily lend itself to speculation on the origins of the builders since the reference to this very remote era is inherent in Egyptian cosmology, which expressly speaks of an Age of 'Gold in which the Gods lived on Earth. This remote era was referred to as the "First Time" (Zep Tepi) of Osiris, in which the Egyptian God of the underworld ruled over the land of Egypt, so Bauval combines his theory of the pyramids-Orion stellar correlation with Egyptian cosmology.

The purpose of this alignment would therefore not be to give us an indication of the era in which the Great Pyramid was built but rather to draw our attention to the temporal origin of the precessional cosmic cycle, an era which corresponds to the First Time of mythical history of Ancient Egypt.

The remote era of 10,450 BC, in fact, is not considered by Bauval as the date of construction of the Cheops pyramid. He limits himself to saying that the construction of the Cheops pyramid took place around 2475-2450 BC, that is, the era of construction of the internal conduits which were aimed at the three stars of Orion's belt (in particular Al Nitak) and the polar star, aligning them astronomically with that era.

But the knowledge of precessional astronomy allowed the builders of the pyramids to make a virtual journey through time and to reconstruct the configuration of the sky of Giza as it appeared in 10450 BC (the First Time of Osiris) and to align the geometry of the plane with this configuration. architecture of Giza.

From this aspect, therefore, the astronomical-religious meaning of the Cheops pyramid is brought to the highest levels since the scientific mechanism used in the realization of the geoastronomical characteristics of the Cheops pyramid is aimed at the expression of the religious symbolism that it wants to transmit and which is inherent in the religious culture and Egyptian cosmology.

It is very important to remember one last point that is often overlooked by scholars.
If it is true that the geometric and astronomical characteristics of the Great Pyramid seem to prevail over those of the other two giants of Giza (also in terms of the astronomical alignments of the internal conduits), it is also true that the correlation with the constellation of Orion concerns the configuration of all three pyramids of Giza, demonstrating that the project was founded on a single architectural plan, aimed at depicting the projection of the constellation of Orion onto the Giza plateau.

The pattern of the sky as of approximately 10,400 BC. in which the exact configuration of the conste
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The pattern of the sky as of approximately 10,400 BC. in which the exact configuration of the constellation of Orion, as it appears at that moment with respect to the horizon, is reproduced by the arrangement of the three pyramids of Giza.
The builders of the pyramids shared this project over time and the Pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty put the "seal" on it.


It is important, for the sake of completeness of the topic, to make a series of considerations that allow us to provide a clear judgment on these theories.

The first consideration concerns the profound laceration that this topic seems to have caused in the world of academic culture and beyond.

Generally scholars tend to divide into two groups of skeptics and avid supporters, of which the former certainly includes the majority of academic scholars.

For a whole series of reasons that concern cultural prejudices, theories that tend to accredit more in-depth knowledge to ancient civilizations clash with the "linear" vision of the history of human civilization, so it is impossible to hypothesize that the progress of human knowledge reached levels comparable to modern ones until after the scientific revolution of the modern centuries (from Galileo onwards).

This vision of the history of science and human progress is still prevalent today, resulting in a mental block forming among scholars which does not allow them to calmly evaluate many convincing aspects of these theories.

The second important consideration to make is that the stellar correlation theory is a very well thought out theory; taking advantage of the existing research gap on the astronomical characteristics of the pyramids, filled only by the studies of Badawy and Trimble in 1964, Bauval and with him Hancock and Gilbert were able, through personal merit and with considerable intuition, to tackle the problem at its root by studying those elements which with the passage of time have become evident to the eyes of scholars but which the Egyptologists themselves had removed for fear of risking too much.

On the left, the rising of the stars of Orion's belt compared to the eastern horizon around 2450 BC;
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On the left, the rising of the stars of Orion's belt compared to the eastern horizon around 2450 BC; on the right, the arrangement of the three pyramids of Giza. As you can see they fit together perfectly; furthermore we see that the pyramids of Dashour further north represented the Hyades, while the entire project of representing the constellation of Orion was not completed. The Nile represented the Milky Way.
Egyptology is a self-contained science that hardly accepts disciplinary interchange and Egyptologists do not risk their reputation and their university professorship to pursue theories that revolutionize the cultural panorama.

Archeology and Egyptology in particular were born to provide answers on the history of human civilization and scholars of these disciplines have learned as a fundamental working method that of excavation in search of objects, human remains and textual documents that offer a panorama of the ancient history; they wouldn't dream of raising their gaze towards the sky and looking at the configuration of the starry vault to understand the religion of ancient Egypt, because this does not fall within the vision of their operating method.

Another important consideration to make: the recent discoveries of independent researchers have given a certain impetus to archaeoastronomy scholars who have hastened to take the astronomical characteristics of Giza back into consideration.

Some scholars have considered the possibility of alignments between the Cheops pyramid and the polar star around the time indicated by Bauval (2500-2450 BC); these alignments would have been made with the use of the instrument called Pesh-en-kef and with the aid of a plumb line; hypothesis which takes up considerations already made by the astronomer Zaba in the 1950s.

Although Bauval's theory on the pyramids-Orion correlation is well developed and convincing, there are a series of considerations that must be taken into account in order to understand any weak points of the same, or to be able to evaluate changes to be made to it to make it even more effective.

By this I am referring to the fact that Bauval stated that the construction of the Cheops pyramid may have taken place in an era that is approximately between 2500 and 2450 BC, for reasons linked to the alignments of the internal conduits of the King's Chamber and the Regina which converge on Orion, Sirius and the polar star at the date of 2475-2450 BC.

This statement must be carefully evaluated, since it is equivalent to stating that the construction of the pyramid took place in that era.

This position seems to be contradicted by a series of circumstances linked to experimental tests carried out in the past, the validity of which is admitted by science, which would tend to increase the age of the pyramids by over 500 if not perhaps by around 1000 years compared to era of 2500 BC.

These discrepancies in the dating of the pyramids could depend on a series of historical elements which we do not possess and which are difficult to evaluate and on which even astronomical theory can fail.

In fact, nothing excludes the possibility that the Giza project may have been a project that involved multiple dynasties at different times, because if it is true that Egyptologists persist in saying that Giza is the product of the 4th dynasty, it is also true that some embarrassing evidence in the opposite direction.

Although Bauval has set the era of the pyramids at 2475 BC, a dating equivalent to the astronomical alignment of the internal conduits, nothing excludes that the internal conduits could actually have been built in that era but given the structure of the monument which had already been standing for some time, since knowledge of the precessional mechanism allowed the builders to easily orient the conduit.

Unless we want to say that this construction constituted an insurmountable obstacle when we wanted to have the duct reach the outside, as was actually done for the King's Chamber, compared to a construction that had been built for some time.

The problem of the orientation of the pyramid's conduits is a false problem since the knowledge of optical astronomy allows the designer to build an object in a certain era and to orient its internal parts to any era one wishes to choose.

The empirical evidence resulting from laboratory tests carried out in the past seems to undermine Bauval's theory.

Finally, it is important to remember that among the weaknesses attributed to Bauval's astronomical theory there would be that the magnitude of the stars of Orion's belt does not correspond to the size of the three pyramids of Giza; therefore the dimension seen by the sequence Cheops → Khafre → Menkaure would not correspond to the magnitude of the three stars of Orion.

Menkaura (Menkaura)Khafra (Chefren)Khufwey (Cheops)

Magnitude is a parameter that numerically expresses the apparent brightness of the star being analyzed, so the values ​​obtained do not seem comparable to the real dimensions of the artefacts in terms of height and presumed volume. However, this seems to be a controversy with little impact on the importance that this theory has assumed.

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