PROLOGUE: The Last Wonder of the Ancient World

1. The Cheops pyramid alone contains about 6.3 million tons of quarried and finely cut rock. The pyramids in the Memphite Necropolis, in the western desert near Cairo, contain over 25 million tons of quarried rock. Stonehenge in England contains about 10,000 tons of roughly hewn rock, thus 2500 times more rock was used to build the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Pyramid is about 600 times more massive than Stonehenge.

2. The stepped structures called ziggurats in Ancient Ur and Babylon may have been begun at the same time (c. 2750BC) as the Third Dynasty step-pyramids of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, but the true pyramids (with smooth faces) are an Egyptian invention of c.2550BC. The Mexican pyramids are much younger, dating from no earlier than the first millennium BC. The famous pyramids of the sun and the moon at Teotihuacan in Mexico date from c.AD600 (though they may have been built on earlier sites). The best and most recent book on the subject of pyramids around the world is Jean Kerisel’s La Pyramide à travers les Ages (The Pyramid through the Ages).

3. The Old Kingdom pyramid sites are located over a stretch of desert land some eighty kilometres long and three kilometres wide, very close to modern Cairo, which is known as the Memphite Necropolis.

4. The Arab chronicler, Al Makrizi (fifteenth century AD) in his Khitat or Topography (of Cairo) wrote that when Ma’moun found the Great Pyramid contained no treasures, he ordered gold pieces to be put into the sarcophagus in the King’s Chamber so that his workers might ‘find treasure’ and not think their months of strenuous effort in vain. (See Peter Tompkins’s Secrets of the Great Pyramid. Another entertaining book on the history of pyramid exploration is Leonard Cottrell’s The Mountains of Pharaoh.)

5. Herodotus, The Histories, Book II (paperback, Penguin Books, Classics series). Many of the facts given by Herodotus on the pyramid are suspect. It was he who, on dubious hearsay 2000 years after the Great Pyramid was buiult, said that Cheops was regarded by the Egyptians as a ‘criminal’ who treated his people like slaves. Only in the eighteenth century did Europeans begin serious exploration and scientific analysis of the pyramids; their focus was on the Giza pyramids and especially on Cheops’s pyramid, in the hope of finding treasure or in an attempt to uncover some religious revelation related to the Bible. In the nineteenth century the British were particularly keen on such theories. After the work of Colonel Howard-Vyse and Perring in 1837, it is generally conceded that Flinders Petrie’s The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh (London 1883) was the first serious archaeological work on the Egyptian pyramids. Petrie conducted the first detailed topographical survey and much of his data is still used. Gantenbrink has shown, however, that some of Petrie’s inside measurements of the pyramid need fine tuning, especially for the so-called Queen’s Chamber shafts. The ‘definitive’ study on the Egyptian pyramids is Dr I. E. S. Edwards’s The Pyramids of Egypt.

6. The story of the discovery was seen in many national and international newspapers and periodicals, including the Daily Telegraph (7.4.1993), the Independent (16.4.1993) The Times (17.4.1993), the Los Angeles Times (17.4.1993), Chicago Sun-Times(23.4.1993),Le Monde (17.4.1993), Le Figaro (17.4.1993), France-Soir (17.4.1993), the Daily Mail (17.4.1993), Today (17.4.1993), Der Spiegel (19.4.1993), Stern (8 July 1993), Bild, Blick (16.4.1993), Bild am Sonntag (18.4.1993), Hannoverfsche Allgemeine (17.4.1993),Neue Presse (17.4.1993), Hamburger Abendblatt (17.4.1993), Die Welt, El Pais, Le Matin (17.4.1993) and several other local papers. The BBC and Channel 4 announced the news on the 16 April 1993, and other TV and radio stations around the world followed.

7. See Bibliography, Bauval R. G.

8. Independent, London, 16.4.1993; Daily Mail 17.4.1993.

9. Daily Mail, London, 17.4.1993; Today, London, 17.4.1993.


1. Robert K. G. Temple, The Sirius Mystery.

2. Near Wad Medani, in the Al Fau region, some 350 kilometres from Khartoum.

3. Sirius has a magnitude of -1.5 and is 8.6 light years away. It rises about one hour after Orion.

4. M. Griaule and G. Dieterlen. ‘Un System Soudanais de Sirius’, in Journal de la Société des Africanistes, XX, fasc. 1, 1950.

5. Alvin Clark first saw it, however, in 1862, through a telescope.

6. Temple, op. cit., p. 1.

7. For a good discussion of the Aten religion, See J. H. Breasted, Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, pp. 312–343.

8. Porphyry (third century AD) tells us that ‘the kings of Egypt … had made [Egypt] inaccessible to foreigners’ (Porph. De Abstin, IV, 6, Nauck p. 237). This was also said by many ancient historians, such as Diodorus of Sicily (first century AD) (Diod. I 69).

9. The Ancient Egyptians kings did not see themselves as belonging to dynasties, but as a continuous line of divine kings. The notion of separating groups of pharaohs into dynasties is far more recent, and comes from the Egyptian priest and historian, Manetho, who lived in the third century BC when Egypt was under the Ptolemies. Much modern chronology related to Ancient Egypt rests today on Manetho’s invention of the dynastic system.

10. Edwards, op. cit., p. 2.

11. In very ancient times the Memphite Necropolis was the land of Sokar or the kingdom of Sokar. Its central region was Rostau, closely identified with the Giza pyramid field. In the Pyramid Age Osiris was personified as Sokar (Edwards, op. cit., p. 10). Common titles for Osiris were Lord of Rostau and Dweller in Rostau. Throughout the pharaonic era, Rostau was considered the main entrance to the afterworld.

12. The city of Annu or On is mentioned in Genesis (41;45) in connection with Joseph and his Egyptian wife, Asenath, daughter of a priest of On. Annu or On (Iwnw in Ancient Egyptian) apparently meant pillar-city (see S. B. Mercer, The Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 127). It was named Heliopolis, probably in the fourth century BC, by the Greeks (Herodotus, op. cit., pp. 2–8.

13. ibid.

14. Aubrey Noakes’s Cleopatra’s Needles, gives a good account of the events that led to the transportation of these obelisks from Egypt to London and New York.

15. Their true hieroglyphic names are best rendered as Khufu (Cheops), Khafra (Chephren) and Menkaura (Mycerinos).

16. This area runs from Abu Ruwash in the north to Dashour in the south. The nearest site to central Cairo is Giza.

17. G. Goyon, Le Secret des Batisseurs des Grandes Pyramides, pp. 89–90.

18. See note 12.

19. R. T. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, pp. 37–61.

20. ibid., pp. 37–8.

21. ibid., p. 246. Also H. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, pp. 153, 380 and note 26. R. Bauval, in Discussions in Egyptology (henceforth DE), vol. 14, p. 7. The idea that the Benben Stone was probably placed on the On pillar is also expressed by Mercer, op. cit., p. 127.

22. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 246.

23. J. Baines, in Orientalia, vol. 39, 1970, pp. 389–95. See also Bauval in DE, vol. 14, p. 7.

24. Breasted, op. cit. pp. 70–2. Also Edwards, op. cit., p. 282.

25. Edwards, op. cit., p. 284.

26. The hieroglyphic writing was probably invented well before the Pyramid Age. Conservative dating places it around 3000BC. By the time of Cheops it was well developed.

27. The Great Ennead is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts (see Chapter 3); there are allusions to the Great Ennead in earlier tomb writings, although Osiris is not mentioned in the extant material.

28. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 246. Clark also sees a link with the planet Venus (a travelling star to the Ancients). See p. 122 for the identification of the soul of Osiris to the stars of Orion. This gives the Benben a rather stellar character (the matter is fully discussed inChapter 11).

29. See E. A. Wallis-Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, vol. 1, for a full discussion.

30. The term mastaba was coined by Auguste Mariette in the 1860s; it reminded him of the bed-like sitting areas, called Mastabas, seen outside the homes of rural Egyptians.

31. ‘Mansions of Eternity’ are, of course, the step-pyramids and, eventually, the great true pyramids.

32. Edwards, op. cit., p. 19.

33. ibid., p. 19.

34. ibid., pp. 34–70.

35. ibid., p. 34 and p. 284. Edwards says, ‘Imhotep’s title “Chief Of The Observers” … became the regular title of the High Priest of On.’

36. W. Lethaby, Architecture, Mysticism and Myth, p. 129.

37. ibid.


1. Edwards, op. cit., pp. 292–3.

2. True pyramids certainly did have a Benben at the top. (Edwards, p. 282). There is every reason to believe that the same applied to the earlier step-pyramids.

3. There are several pyramidions. The best example, in the main hall of the Cairo Museum, is the pyramidion of Amenemhet III.

4. Helio-Polis, literally sun city in Greek.

5. A. Moret, Le Nil et la Civilisation Egyptienne, 1926, p. 203; Edwards, op. cit., p. 282.

6. Edwards, ibid.

7. The thirty million tons estimate is based on data provided in Atlas of Ancient Egypt by J. Baines and J. Malek, p. 140. It does not include the temples, causeways, ramps etc., which formed part of the permanent and temporary construction operations. The density of limestone was taken as 2400 kg/M3.

8. Baines and Malek, op. cit., pp. 135 and 140. See also Malek, In the Shadow of the Pyramids, inside cover.

9. Edwards, op. cit., p. 2.

10. For a detailed study on the Meidum pyramid, see K. Mendelssohn, The Riddle of the Pyramids. See also Edwards, op. cit., pp. 71–3.

11. Mendelssohn, op. cit., p. 40, gives 850,000 tons for Zoser. Edwards, op. cit., p. 92, gives 9 million tons for the two Dashour pyramids, but also includes the casing for the Meidum pyramid.

12. The southern pyramid or ‘bent’ pyramid of Dashour is actually rhomboidal in shape, the bottom half of a pyramid with a slope of 54 degrees, on which is the top half of a pyramid with a slope of 43.5 degrees. The northern pyramid at Dashour has a slope of 43.5 degrees.

13. The southern pyramid has retained most of its casing stones. Seen from afar, the northern pyramid also looks semi-intact. In contrast, the much younger pyramid of the Twelfth Dynasty, that of Amenemhet III, looks like a heap of rubble.

14. Malek, op. cit., p. 47.

15. A. Badawy, A History of Egyptian Architecture, vol. 1, p. 124.

16. Edwards, op. cit., p. 73.

17. ibid., p. 78.

18. ibid.

19. ibid.

20. ibid., p. 92. Since the first edition of his book in 1947, Edwards has revised his views on Sneferu in the light of new data and discoveries. His 1993 edition allocates the two Dashour pyramids to Sneferu.

21. ibid.

22. ibid.

23. ibid., p. 93.

24. ibid.

25. See Chapter 3. As for the Great Pyramid’s lack of official inscriptions, some graffiti were found inside the ‘relief chambers’, in which some have read the name Khufu. This is the strongest ‘evidence’ in the arsenal of the Egyptologists to show that it belonged to Khufu (Cheops). For a different view, see W. R. Fix, Pyramid Odyssey, pp. 75–89.

26. The Great Pyramid remained the world’s tallest structure (146 metres) until 1888, when the Eiffel Tower was planned in Paris (300 metres). But such comparisons are unrealistic; the mass of the Eiffel Tower is 7175 tons compared with 6.3 million tons for theGreat Pyramid. The Empire State Building is 381 metres high, and is estimated to contain not more than 300,000 tons of permanent structural material.

27. Edwards, op. cit., p. 152.

28. Wallis-Budge, The Mummy, p. 10.

29. See Appendix 2.

30. Edwards, op. cit., p. 289; Malek, op. cit., p. 124; J. B. Sellers, The Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt, p. 338.

31. Baines and Malek, op. cit., p. 36. Here the start of Khufu’s reign is given as c. 2551BC, and comes closest to my own estimates (see DE, vol. 26, 1993).

32. Letter from I. E. S. Edwards to R. G. Bauval dated 27.1.1993.

33. Bauval in DE, vol. 26, 1993, p.5.

34. Edwards, op. cit., p. 284. Edwards also says that the high priest wore a coat decorated with stars.

35. ibid. Contrary to the current consensus, we see ancient Heliopolis (Annu) as being a ‘wisdom school’, where the focus was on the observation and recording of the motion of stars.

36. It is not impossible that Imhotep was still alive when Zoser’s pyramid was completed and Sneferu came to power. The dramatic change in design suggests either that this was the case, or that Imhotep was succeeded by someone he trained.

37. We now use our new computed date given in DE, vol. 26, p. 5.

38. Mark Lehner, ‘The Development of the Giza Necropolis: the Khufu Project’, in MDAIK, 1985, band 41, Tafeln 1–3. Also in Newsletters of JARCE, nos. 131, 135. Also see Lehner ‘Some observations on the Layout of the Khufu and Khafra Pyramids’, inJARCEXX.

39. Lehner, MDAIK, op. cit., pp. 114–18.

40. The Dashour pyramids are also visible from Giza on a bright day from the high level of the Giza plateau. From the tarmac canal road which passes near Dashour, the pyramids appear suddenly when you are almost next to them on the east.

41. P. D. Ouspensky, A New Model of the Universe, pp. 350–1.

42. Edwards, op. cit., p. 98.

43. This estimate is widely accepted by Egyptologists. Dr Jean Kerisel (see note 2 in Prologue) thinks this is too high in view of the main ‘voids’ caused by the wide jointing in the core of the monument. His estimate is closer to 4.7 million tons (Kerisel, op. cit., p. 67). Both values are, however, largely theoretical since there is no telling how many joint voids there are. The estimate of 6.3 million tons allows for filling joints with debris.

44. Ouspensky, op. cit., p. 352.

45. Edwards, op. cit., pp. 291–2.

46. ibid., p. 104. See also Chapter 12 of this book.

47. Waynman Dixon was an employee of the North England Iron Company. He was a good friend of Petrie’s father, who corresponded with him and met him in 1873. In 1865 Piazzi Smyth also met Dixon and became good friends. In 1875 Dixon and his brother, John, were recruited by Sir Erasmus Wilson (founder of the Egyptian Exploration Fund in 1883 and its first president) to organise the transport of the obelisk, Cleopatra’s Needle, now in London. See Epilogue.

48. These shafts were closed until Waynman Dixon discovered them in 1872. Dixon and Dr Grant, his colleague, lit fires at their mouths in the Queen’s Chamber to see if they penetrated to the outside of the pyramid, but no smoke was seen. Mysteriously, the smoke in the southern shaft seemed to disappear into the monument itself (C. Piazzi Smyth, The Great Pyramid; its secrets and mysteries revealed, p. 428).

49. The southern shaft is about sixty-five metres long, but there is no telling how much space lies beyond it. The northern one, though still not fully explored, is at least 24 metres long.

50. Ouspensky, op. cit., p. 354.

51. Plato’s Timaeus and Critias is a dialogue which deals essentially with the so-called Atlantis myth.

52. Proctor was a well-respected astronomer. He founded the popular science magazine, Knowledge.

53. Some 1500 tons of granite was imported from Aswan (1000 kilometres to the south) to construct the King’s Chamber and its five relief chambers on top. Why limestone was not used, as happened in the Queen’s Chamber, remains a mystery. The King’s Chamber is about forty metres up the monument, so it must have been very difficult to construct without lifting devices and machines.

54. This is confirmed by Dr Richard Parkinson of the British Museum. See also A. Gardiner’s article ‘The Secret Chambers of Thoth’ in JEA, 11, 1925, pp. 2–5. Also E. Hornung in ZAS, 100, 1973, p. 33.

55. Tompkins, op. cit., pp. 218, 284.

56. For a recently published discussion on the quarries of Zawyat Al Aryan and Abu Ruwash, see Edwards, op. cit., 1993 edition.

57. The figure is likely to be closer to 26 million tons if we allow for temporary ramps and filling material.

58. Malek, op. cit., p. 117.

59. Sahura’s pyramid (Fifth Dynasty), although also in pitiful condition, is probably the best preserved.

60. Smaller pyramids were built until well into Christian times (in Meroe in the Sudan). In Memphis, construction went on at Lisht, Hawara and Dashour until the Thirteenth Dynasty, but these are poor structures compared with the Fourth Dynasty prototypes.

61. Badawy, op. cit., p. 143.

62. Malek, op. cit., p. 119.

63. Edwards, op. cit., p. 152.

64. J. A. Kane, The Ancient Building Science, introduction.

65. M. Isler, in JARCE, XXVI, 1989. Isler is a solar theorist though Edwards, Lauer and others have long shown that the Great Pyramid was aligned with star sightings.

66. Edwards, op. cit., p. 247.

67. ibid., pp. 248–51.

68. R. O. Faulkner, ‘The king and the star-religion in the Pyramid Texts’, in JNES, XXV, p. 153.

69. ibid.

70. In 1974 Mark Lehner gathered the so-called Edgar Cayce readings into a book, The Egyptian Heritage. Cayce was a mystic who advocated in his readings, delivered in trance, that the Great Pyramid’s construction was started in 10450BC by survivors of Atlantis. On the back cover of the book, Lehner seemed to agree with this view. For more on Edgar Cayce, see T. Sogrue, There is a River. (ARE Press, Virginia 1963.)

71. M. Lehner, in MDAIK, band 41, p. 109.

72. R. J. Cook, in The Giza Pyramids, a design study.

73. J. A. R. Legon, in Report of the Archaeological Society of Staten Island, vol. 1, NY 1979.

74. Legon, in DE, vol. 10, 1988, pp. 33–9.

75. ibid., p. 38.

76. ibid.

77. Apparently he will do so in future. He is, however, following a purely geometrical and mathematical course of reasoning to discuss the esoteric meaning of the layout plan.

78. Cook, op. cit.

79. ibid.

80. Robin Cook, who also prepared the diagrams for The Orion Mystery, believes that the motives were entirely religious and expressed through a combination of geometrical and astronomical data; we agree. The ancient designers were obviously like architects today – trained in many disciplines, including geometry, astronomy, religion, history, symbology and so on, and whose art was to know how to express the whole in architectural design to provide the monument with religious function and countenance.


1. Tewfik-Pasha was an Anophile and was apparently initiated into freemasonry, and once served as the Grand Master of the Egyptian Grand National Lodge (Paul Naudon, Histoire générale de la Franc-Maconnerie, (Office du Livre, 1987 ed., p. 224). In 1881 he asked the British government to come to his aid and depose Arabi Pasha, his minister of war, who was plotting a coup against him. A British force, led by Wolesley, arrived in Alexandria in July 1882 and shelled the city. Wolesley’s forces closed with Arabi’s army at Tell Al Kebir and Arabi was defeated. Technically, Egypt became a British protectorate from then on.

2. Several incidents against Europeans were reported. In June and July 1882 Arabi’s supporters went on a rampage in Alexandria, killing Europeans and looting their villas and shops. This apparently justified Wolesley’s shelling of the city from his warships anchored off the ancient harbour.

3. G. Maspero, in Rec. Trav., vol. v, Fasc. I–II, p. 157.

4. P. Montet, Isis: ou à la Recherche de l’Egypte Ensevelie. Montet gives an excellent account of Mariette’s life and work. Mariette seemed to get himself in rather tight spots with public figures; he brawled with Verdi over Aida, and was in Empress Eugenie’s bad books for refusing her a gift of Egyptian jewellery. He also got into many academic brawls, one violent between him and the German Egyptologists under Lepsius.

5. Montet, op. cit., p. 48. Mariette received a fund of FF30,000 to resume work at Saqqara. At the time, this was a small fortune.

6. See note 25, Chapter 2.

7. Montet, op. cit., pp. 81–2.

8. Maspero, op. cit., p. 157.

9. ibid.

10. ibid.

11. ibid. Also, Montet op. cit., wrote that Mariette, with his great experience, should have known better. We can only assume that bias blinded his judgement.

12. Maspero, in Bull. Eg. Serv. II, vol. 6.

13. ibid.

14. Maspero, in Rec. Trav., III, p. 179.

15. ibid.

16. Breasted, op. cit., p. 102.

17. W. R. Dawson and E. P. S. Uphill, Who Was Who In Egyptology, p. 38.

18. Breasted, op. cit., introduction, p. vii.

19. Dawson and Uphill, op. cit., p. 38.

20. Breasted, op. cit., p. 93.

21. ibid.

22. Breasted, op. cit., pp. xiv–xv.

23. ibid., pp. 312–43.

24. ibid.

25. ibid., p. xi.

26. E. A. Wallis-Budge, The Egyptian Book Of The Dead, p. ix.

27. ibid., p. xii.

28. Edwards, op. cit., p. 177.

29. The three major works mentioned are: K. Sethe, Die Altägypttischen Pyramidentexte, 3 vols., 1908–12; S. B. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation & Commentaries, 4 vols., 1952; A. Piankoff, The Pyramid of Unas, Bollingen Series XL. 5, 1968.

30. R. O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. OUP ed., 1969.

31. Faulkner, op. cit., p. v.

32. Among them, Frankfort in 1948, and J. B. Sellers in 1992 (see Sellers, op. cit., pp. 7–9).

33. Letter from C. Keller to Robert Bauval dated 8.10.1986.

34. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 13.

35. ibid., p. 12.

36. ibid., p. 13.

37. Letter from a Swiss-German Egyptologist to Robert Bauval dated 9.12.1986.

38. Letter from C. Keller, 8.10.1986.

39. S. Hassan, Excavations At Giza, vol. VI, part i, p. 43.

40. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts.

41. Faulkner, op. cit., p. vii.

42. Mercer, The Religion of Ancient Egypt, pp. 25 and 112.

43. ibid., pp. 121–2.

44. Faulkner, op. cit., p. vii.

45. ‘R.O. Faulkner, The king and the star-religion …’, in JNES, XXV, 1966, pp. 153–61.

46. Letter from I. E. S. Edwards to Robert Bauval dated 20.7.1986.

47. As note 42.

48. H. Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 1961 ed., preface.

49. A. Piankoff, The Tomb of Ramesses VI, Bollingen Series XL. 1.

50. Sellers, op. cit. Sellers is a UCLA graduate and studied Egyptology at The Oriental Institute in Chicago.

51. ibid.

52. ibid., pp. 173–5.

53. Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion.

54. Sellers, op. cit., p. 8.


1. Between 305BC and AD642 it was one of the great centres of learning. Among the numerous scholars who lived and studied in Alexandria then were the mathematicians Euclid and Heron; the astronomers Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, Timochares, Posidonius, and Ptolemy; the philosophers Theophrastus and Clement of Alexandria, and the theologian Arius.

2. The word ‘copt’ comes from the Greek Aigyptos which means Egypt (the Greeks gave Egypt its modern name; the Arabs call their country Misr). Copts or Aigyptii were the natives who became Christians during the Graeco-Roman epoch. The Coptic church is still strong in Egypt and has its own pope or patriarch. In Egypt in March 1993, I briefly met the Coptic bishop of Cairo, his holiness Bishop Musa (Moses).

3. This is part of the so-called Osirian Mysteries of Ancient Egypt. The belief in an Osirian afterlife was first a privilege of kings; it was gradually democratised until everyone was entitled to an Osirian rebirth. The rituals were complex and, in the case of kings, may have taken several months after the death of the monarch. The mummy (a modern word coming from the Arab noun mummia which means pitch or tar) was regarded as the Osirianised version of the dead person.

4. Mercer, The Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 25.

5. ibid., p. 112.

6. Sellers, op. cit., p. 70.

7. Hassan, op. cit., pp. 276–317. Hassan gives a full description of the Duat.

8. O. Neugebauer and R. Parker, Egyptian Astronomical Texts, vol. 1, pp. 24–5.

9. ibid.

10. ibid.

11. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 122.

12. Mercer, The Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 270.

13. E. A. Wallis-Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, vol. 1, p. 107.

14. Obtained by Skyglobe 3.5 astronomical program. This date is verified by others.

15. During the epoch of the Fourth Dynasty, the heliacal rising of Sirius occurred some five to seven days after the summer solstice. At this time the sun rises near azimuth 63.5 degrees and Sirius, at the epoch, rose near azimuth 116.5 degrees.

16. A well-known fact in Egyptology. The religious calendar thus began its New Year’s Day when Sirius was rising heliacally. Because of the extra quarter-day difference between the true year and the calendrical year of 365 days, this meant that the religious calendar lost a day every four years. Both the religious calendar and the civic calendar would synchronise again, of course, every 1461 years (4 × 365.25 = 1461). This period of 1461 is often called the Sothic Cycle.

17. Wallis-Budge, Osiris, vol. 1, gives the various sources for the Osirian myth. Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride is the most detailed from classical times (c. AD50).

18. Maat was represented by a winged goddess wearing a feather on her head.

19. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, Part I.

20. Faulkner, ‘The king and the star-religion …’, pp. 153–61.

21. By Skyglobe 3.5 and allowing for proper motion in declination –1.21 arcseconds per year. J. Legon (see Bibliography), using his own precessional program, gets –21 degrees 38.38 minutes. He gets –20.85 degrees for epoch 2500BC; this value is also given by astronomer and navigator H. R. Mills in his book, Positional Astronomy and Astro-navigation made Easy, p. 232. Mills gives –20.83 degrees for 2500BC, which is the same as –20 degrees 49 minutes. For epoch 2450BC (the date of Khufu’s pyramid), Skyglobe 3.5, with the application of proper motion to its reading, gives –20 degrees 30 minutes with an estimated value of plus or minus five minutes for hand-reading precision with the mouse on the screen. Very much the same result is obtained with EZ Cosmos program when adjusted for proper motion in declination.

22. J. Greaves, Pyramidographia, 1646, p. 73.

23. Abbé le Mercier, Description de l’Egypte, composée sur les memoires de M. de Maillet, Paris 1735.

24. Jomard, Description de l’Egypte. Edition Panckoucke, 1821–1829, tome IX, p. 491.

25. J. S. Perring, The Pyramids of Gizeh. Part I: The Great Pyramid.

26. W. F. Flinders Petrie, The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, (1990 ed. by Histories & Mysteries of Man Ltd.), p. 29.

27. Piazzi Smyth, The Great Pyramid, p. 428.

28. Flinders Petrie, op. cit., p. 24.

29. Archeologia, vol. 293, September 1993, p. 6. See also Stern magazine, Number 28, July 1993, pp. 24–5.

30. J. Capart, études et Histoires, I, Bruxelles 1924, p. 182.

31. G. Steindorff, Egypt, Baedeker 1929, p. 140.

32. Edwards, op. cit., (1961 ed.), p. 126.

33. J. Vandier, Manuel d’Archaeologie Egyptienne, Tome II, Paris 1954, p. 88.

34. A. Badawy, ‘The Stellar Destiny of Pharaoh and the so-called Air-shafts in Cheops’s Pyramid’, in MIOAWB, band 10, 1964, pp. 189–206.

35. In MIOAWB band 10, 1964, (Trimble) pp. 183–7 and (Badawy) pp. 189–206.

36. Badawy, op. cit., p. 190.

37. ibid.

38. ibid.

39. ibid.

40. V. Trimble, ‘Astronomical Investigation concerning the so-called Air-Shafts of Cheops’s Pyramid’, MIOAWB, band 10, 1964, pp. 183–7.

41. ibid., p. 187.

42. I. E. S. Edwards, ‘The Air-channels of Chephren’s Pyramid’, in Studies in Honor of Dows Dunham, p. 55–7.


1. The pyramidion was found in 1902 by Maspero near the pyramid of Amenemhet III at Dashour (Ann. Serv. III, 1902, p. 206). It is made of finely polished black granite and is remarkably well preserved. It weighs about four tons.

2. A setting-out engineer is responsible for fixing the grid system from which the builder will develop the construction on the site. A theodolite (20-arcseconds reading), ranging rods and poles, 30 or 100 metres steel tape, tilting or ‘dumpy’ level, plumb bobs (8 oz.), set of set-squares, nylon line (hank), straight edge (steel), plus a variety of materials such as claw hammer, builder’s square, stakes etc., are the typical tools of the trade. Omitting the theodolite, tilting or ‘dumpy’ level and items made of steel, the Ancient Egyptian setting-out engineer would have required all the others for the accuracy he achieved. Levelling course would have been achieved by slope ratios and temporary water channels; straight lines on the ground, through stellar sighting at the meridian (Edwards, op. cit., pp. 250–1). Much debate among scholars plagues this issue.

3. It contains some 250,000 blocks. Assuming a 20 blocks per day, this would take 34 years. To bring it down to 10 years, we have assumed 69 blocks per day, about 7 blocks per hour, far too high, in my opinion, for an epoch without wheeled transport and without lifting machines.

4. Preliminaries are the various non-permanent works on a building project, such as workers’ accommodation, temporary access roads, temporary stock piles, offices, drainage, workshops water supply and so forth. On large engineering projects, especially in a remote area (such as the western desert near ancient Memphis), these can easily amount to 15–20 per cent of the full works.

5. J. P. Lauer, Observations sur les Pyramides, p. 99.

6. ibid.

7. ibid, pp. 99–124.

8. Z. Zäba, L’Orientation Astronomique

9. It is easier, of course, for a setting-out engineer to fix one grid line instead of three, and during building operations each pyramid would serve as a sighting for the next.

10. J. Phaure, Introduction à la Geographie Sacrée de Paris, 3eme edition, Borrengo, p. 29.

11. National Geographic, vol. 180, No. 2, August 1991, pp. 122–34.


1. J. Lacouture, Champollion: Une Vie de Lumières, ed. Grasset and Fasquelle, Livre de Poche 1988, pp. 428, 456. Apparently shouted by Champollion on 14 September 1822 to his elder brother, when he realised that he had worked out how to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

2. E. A. Wallis-Budge, Heaven and Hell, preface p. x and pp. 131–5, 348. See also Hassan, op. cit., p. 315.

3. Edwards, op. cit., p. 10.

4. Carved on the so-called Shabaka Stone, British Museum item 498.

5. Shabaka Texts, line 18c.

6. Hassan, op. cit., p. 302.

7. Sellers, op. cit., p. 164.

8. ibid., p. 165.

9. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 27.

10. Tompkins, op. cit., pp. 218, 284.

11. Baines and Malek, op. cit.

12. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 97.

13. Goyon, op. cit., p. 198.

14. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 108.

15. M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. 1, p. 204.

16. R. O. Faulkner, The Book of the Dead, (glossary) Rostau.

17. ibid., Spell 173, p. 172.

18. R. O. Faulkner, The Book of the Dead.

19. Hyginus Poet. Astr. 2.32; A. B. Cook, Zeus vol. 2, p. 481.

20. Diodorus, I, 12,5.

21. Eusebius, Praep. Ev. III, 3,6.

22. R. H. Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, p. 216.

23. Wallis-Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p. cxxiii.

24. One pyramid of the Fifth Dynasty (Unas); four pyramids of the Sixth Dynasty; and in three small pyramids of queens.

25. Edwards, op. cit., (1991 ed.), pp. 288–9.


1. Dr Edwards retired in 1974, though he is still very active. He lives with his wife not far from Oxford.

2. Edwards, ‘The Air-channels …’ pp. 55–7.

3. Letter dated 8.1.1985. I have since met Dr Malek on several occasions. He is at present directing the task of recording all Egyptological works (archives) for the Griffith Institute, and agreed that the contents of his letter could be disclosed.

4. The present apparent motion of Orion’s Belt, when plotted on the declination changes, decreases in the negative range (i.e., upward towards the celestial equator). From c. AD2500, the motion will be downwards.

5. This is a good pocket mini-computer, it costs about $US100.

6. J. A. R. Legon, ‘A Ground Plan at Giza’, in DE 10, 1988. I understand that Legon intends to provide a religious interpretation of the plan, but not concerned with Orion-Osiris.

7. R. G. Bauval, ‘The Seeding of the Star Gods’, in DE 16, 1990.

8. ibid.

9. See note 6 of Prologue.


1. R. G. Bauval, ‘A Master Plan …’ in DE 13, 1989.

2. Edwards, op. cit., (1991 ed.), pp. 288–9.

3. One is extremely damaged and it appears to most visitors, at first, that only three pyramids are at Abusir.

4. Edwards, op. cit., p. 152.

5. Malek, op. cit., inside cover.

6. Approximate distance. Estimate from Atlas of Ancient Egypt and Egyptian government survey map.

7. Having the sites two kilometres from each other is, in engineering logistics, a rather curious choice for two monuments being built at the same time for the same king. In many temporary works it would have meant doubling the resources, which could have been avoided if the two pyramids were sited, say, 500 metres or so from each other such as at Giza.

8. R. G. Bauval in DE 26, 1993, p. 5.

9. Edwards, op. cit., p. 93. This is a theory put forth by Dr R. Stadelmann. Most Egyptologists assume a reign by Sneferu of twenty-four years.

10. Sellers, op. cit.

11. ibid., p. 11.

12. ibid., p. 174.

13. ibid.

14. Catalogue 2000.0 was used for this book.

15. E. C. Krupp, In Search of Ancient Astronomies, pp. 186–190.

16. J. Cornell, The First Stargazers, p. 92.

17. Sellers, op. cit., p. 116.

18. Lichtheim, op. cit., p. 51.

19. A thesis was written in 1986 and a copy provided to Dr Edwards, who discussed it with me.

20. Lichtheim, op. cit., p. 51.

21. ibid.

22. Sellers, op. cit., p. 90.

23. In the Pyramid Texts Geb is often said to be the earthly father of Osiris. He is the legitimate consort of Nut, the sky goddess and mother of Osiris. In the Pyramid Texts, however, Nut seems to have had explicit sexual encounters with Ra (or Atum-Ra), the sun god.

24. Lehner, The Egyptian Heritage, pp. 128–9.

25. ibid.

26. In the northern hemisphere, from the equator to the north pole. The farther from the pole, the higher is the celestial equator.

27. Sellers, op. cit., p. 116.

28. Edwards, op. cit., p. 152.

29. ibid.

30. P.B. 3033 in the East Berlin Museum. Most of the Westcar Papyrus is kept in vaults. I was allowed to see and photograph it by Dr Wilddung and his assistant, Dr Muller, in September 1993.

31. Edwards, op. cit., p. 153.

32. ibid.

33. Plutarch, The Life of Alexander the Great. The story is told by many chroniclers of Alexander’s life. In one of the versions (Plutarch), it is said that the last native king of Egypt, Nectanebo II, changed into a snake (Zeus-Ammon) and made love to Olympia. Zeus-Ammon was much venerated by the Greeks in the time of Alexander, and his oracle at Siwa (western Egypt) was symbolically linked to the oracle of Zeus at Dodona by Herodotus (The Histories, II).

34. M. Lyttleton and W. Forman, The Romans: Their Gods and Their Beliefs, Orbis 1984, p. 29, shows how Julius Caesar claimed Venus (Aphrodite) as the ancestress of the Julian house. Other legends make his real mother become pregnant by a snake, probably symbolising, like Alexander before him, Zeus-Ammon in his snake form.

35. Louis XIII was believed impotent by many.

36. This phrase was coined by the Hermetic Philosopher, Tomasso Campanella, in 1636. He apparently drew the solar horoscope for the future sun king of France, Louis XIV.

37. Edwards, op. cit., p. 152.

38. This is evident from the so-called Coffin Texts, the Middle Kingdom’s version of the older Pyramid Texts.

39. This idea of the fourteen pieces of Osiris’s body and the pyramids of Memphis is not new. It was mentioned on several occasions by researchers (see e.g. T. Holland, Freemasonry from the Pyramids of Ancient Times, p. 14, where he states ‘… that Osiris having fourteen tombs for various parts of his dismembered body, fourteen pyramids must have been devoted to them’).

40. A. W. Shorter, The Egyptian Gods, p. 39. Also Wallis-Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p. li.

41. Wallis-Budge, ‘Osiris …’, vol. 1, p. 99.

42. Shorter, op. cit., p. 43.

43. See Denderah Zodiac for example. (Neugebauer and Parker Egyptian Astronomical Texts, vol. Plates.)

44. This is evident from the position of Orion (Mithra). See statue of ‘Mithra killing the Bull’ in the British Museum, (upper galleries, Ancient Roman Section).

45. Typically in such depictions, Orion the Giant or Orion the Hunter holds the head of the bull with his left hand and is about to club it with the mace, held in his right hand. The head of the celestial bull is the Hyades cluster of stars.

46. Star 311 was on the left (north of Aldebaran) at rising point looking east.

47. Shorter, op. cit., pp. 41–3.

48. ibid.

49. ibid.

50. Sellers, op. cit., p. 116.


1. A. G. Gilbert (ed.), The Hermetica, Solos Press 1992, foreword, pp. 5–29.

2. A. G. Gilbert, The Cosmic Wisdom beyond Astrology.

3. See Chapter 10.

4. I. E. S. Edwards, ‘Do the Pyramid Texts suggest an explanation for the Abandonment of the Subterranean Chamber of the Great Pyramid?’ for J. Leclant’s Festschrift in 1994.

5. Also with us was Frau Marion Krause-Jach, a pharmacist from Berlin, a very good friend of mine who was visiting Egypt. Marion was most helpful during conferences given by Rudolf Gantenbrink in London (22 April 1993) and Paris (21 June 1993).

6. See Chapter 4, note 40.

7. DE 26 came out in May 1993. DE 27 is due in late September 1993.

8. See Chapters 11 and 12.

9. Channel 4 News at Seven, 16.4.1993.

10. See Prologue.

11. Prof. Kerisel was the first person to propose a scheme for ventilating the Great Pyramid (see ‘Chauffage Ventilation Conditionement’, in Revue de l’Association des Ingénieurs Climatique, Ventilation et Froid, No. 12, Decembre 1990, p. 54).

12. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 263.


1. Papyrus British Museum 10371/10435; translation by R. Parkinson, Voices of Ancient Egypt, p. 65.

2. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 263.

3. ibid.

4. See Chapter 3.

5. Wallis-Budge, The Egyptian Book Of The Dead, p. xii, fn. 1.

6. The length of the southern shaft (the ‘Gantenbrink’ shaft) in the Queen’s Chamber makes this obvious (see Prologue).

7. Krupp, op. cit., p. 186. Yet to be fair, Krupp does treat Ancient Egyptian astronomy with respect and felt that ‘we may yet be surprised by what we find among the tombs and temples of the Nile’ in an astronomical sense. It was, surprisingly, Richard Parker and Otto Neugebauer who did not see any ‘scientific’ application in the astronomy of the Ancient Egyptians. Astronomer James Cornell, however, felt that all science in ancient Egypt was subjugated by religion.

8. S. Mayassis, Mystères et Initiations de l’Egypte Ancienne, Chap. I, pp. 1–13.

9. Diodorus, I, 69.

10. Strabo, Porphyre.

11. Herodotus, Histories, II, 2–8.

12. Dion Chrystomenos, XI, 37s.

13. Schwaller de Lubicz, Sacred Science, p. 11.

14. Letter from Dr G. Haeny (Swiss Archaeological Institute, Cairo) to Robert Bauval dated 9.12.1986.

15. Schwaller de Lubicz, op. cit., p. 16.

16. Mendelssohn, op. cit., quoted by Cornell, op. cit., p. 84.

17. A. Weigall, A History of the Pharaohs, vol. I, pp. 1–15.

18. ibid. See also R. Parkinson, Voices of Ancient Egypt, p. 48. Parkinson shows a graffito from Wadi Hammamat which depicts cartouches of kings of the Fourth Dynasty, including Khufu, Redjedef, Khafra, Hordjedef, Baufre and names of certain goldsmiths.

19. Schwaller de Lubicz, op. cit., p. 87. Also see Gilbert, Hermetica, p. 20.

20. Diodorus, I, 44.

21. Schwaller de Lubicz, op. cit., p. 87.

22. C. Cerf and Y. Navasky, The Experts Speak: the Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation, Pantheon Books, NY 1984, pp. 9–10. This is a must for all who face academic and ‘expert’ opposition.

23. ibid., pp. 3–4.

24. Rundle Clark, op. cit., p. 246.

25. Abatte-Pasha, ‘Le Phenix Egyptien’, in Bull. Inst. Eg., II, 4, p. 11.

26. Rundle Clark, The Legend of the Phoenix, Part I, pp. 1–17.

27. G. W. Oosterhout, ‘The Heliacal Rising of Sirius’, in DE 24, 1992. Also M. F. Ingham, ‘The Length of the Sothic Cycle’, in JEA, 55, pp. 36–40 for a detailed discussion on the Sothic Cycle and period of invisibility of Sirius.

28. Sellers, op. cit., p. 204.

29. ibid., p. 193.

30. Tompkins, op. cit., pp. 174–5.

31. Sellers, op. cit., p. 174. G. Santillana has also strongly argued the case (see note 30).

32. Schwaller de Lubicz, op. cit., pp. 175–8.

33. We are now, in 1993, at almost highest declination – a few centuries (minutes for the precessional clock) from the midnight hour of the great Orion-Osiris cycle.

34. Strabo, Porphyre.

35. Herodotus, Histories, II, 2–8.

36. Plato, Timaeus and Critias, 22–26. See also edited version by Betty Radice, Penguin Books 1977, appendix, pp. 146–67.

37. Timaeus, 41E–42D.

38. W. Scott (trans.), Hermetica, Solos Press ed., p. 228.

39. Walter Scott first advocated this in his edition of the Hermetica (1924). We understand that recently Warburg Institute scholars were read a paper by Peter Kingsley, a research student, ‘Hermetica: The Egyptians’ Origins & Background’ (26.5.1993); Kingsley, it seems, believes that the true source of the Hermetica is Egyptian.

40. They were writing in Greek but were very likely Greek-educated Egyptians. Walter Scott believed that the author of Asclepius I (one of the books of the Hermetic Writings) was ‘probably an Egyptian by race’ (Hermetica, p. 228).

41. From at least the time of Herodotus (fifth century BC) the Greeks believed that the priests of Heliopolis had acquired a sacred wisdom which was recorded in holy books, books which they ascribed to the god Thoth, the inventor of hieroglyphic sacred writings and geometry. It was this god, Thoth, whom the Greeks later called Hermes Trismegistos and attributed the Hermetic Writings to him. Thoth was a supposed messenger or secretary of God, and was thus imbued with infinite wisdom; his writings, therefore, would reveal true gnosis (divine knowledge). In Egyptian drawings, Thoth is a human figure with the head of an ibis, the symbol of wisdom. He is often seen holding a writing board and a marker, in his role of dispatcher of divine messages and recorder of human deeds, especially those which would be weighed in judgement in the afterlife court of Osiris (the so-called Great Hall of Judgement). In this last capacity, Thoth would establish whether the deceased had acquired gnosis and was entitled to a place in the cosmic Kingdom of the Dead ruled by Osiris.

42. Hermetica, Asclepius III, Solos Press ed., p. 136.

43. ibid.

44. Fix, op. cit., p. 99. See also Lehner, The Egyptian Heritage, pp. 131–2.

45. T. Sugrue, There is a River, ARE Press, 1988 ed., p. 356. Cayce died on 3 January 1945.

46. These belong, we understand, to the Association for Research and Enlightment (ARE), with headquarters at Virginia Beach, 67th Street and Atlantic Avenue, VA 23451. They have a large library and operate centres around the world.

47. Sugrue, op. cit., p. 468. Also J. E. Furst, Cayce’s Story of Jesus, Berkeley Books, NY 1976 ed., p. 101.


1. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol … op. cit. p. 246.

2. Herodotus, Histories II, 73.

3. A. Lucas, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, p. 299.

4. Baines, in Orientalia, vol. 39, 1970, pp. 389–95.

5. ‘Ben’ or ‘bin’, literally ‘son’, is still commonly used in the Arab world and in Israel to denote ‘son of …’

6. Edwards, op. cit., p. 282.

7. Rundle Clark, Legend of the Phoenix, pp. 5–6.

8. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, p. 246.

9. Rundle Clark, Legend of the Phoenix, p. 17.

10. ibid.

11. ibid., p. 15; Edwards, op. cit., p. 282.

12. Edwards, op. cit., p. 282.

13. This is produced by the shock waves in the atmosphere.

14. For a full study on meteoritic cults, see various articles by G. A. Wainwright in JEA, vol. 18, pp. 3–15; vol. 17, pp. 185–95; vol. 21, pp. 152–70. See also C. Daremberg and E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecs et Romaines, ‘Elagalabus’ and ‘Baetylia’; Cook, Zeus, III, part I, pp. 881–903.

15. I am grateful to Vagn Buchwald, an authority on iron meteorites at the Instituttet For Metallaere, Lyngby, Denmark. He supplied me with wonderful photographs of meteorite ‘Morito’ which he had taken. I am also indebted to Brian Mason of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC for permitting a reproduction of meteorite ‘Willamette’ taken in the 1940s. ‘Willamette’ is now at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

16. See note 14.

17. ibid.

18. ibid.

19. Pausanias, Desc. Greece, III, 22,1; L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, vol. I, chapter v.

20. Pliny, Nat. Hist., II, 59.

21. P. K. Hitti, History of Syria, London 1951, p. 312.

22. See note 14.

23. ibid.

24. See note 14. There is also mention of a sacred meteorite in the Bible concerning the symbol of Diana of Ephesus ‘which fell from heaven’ (Acts 19:35).

25. G. A. Wainwright, in Ann. Serv., xxviii, 177.

26. G. A. Wainwright, ‘Some Aspects of Amun’ in JEA, p. 147.

27. G. A. Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’ in JEA, 18, 1933, pp. 3–15.

28. ibid. The word bja also means meteoritic iron, since this was the only form of iron available in c. 2400BC.

29. G. A. Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’, p. 14. This is mentioned by Plutarch (AD50), in De Iside et Osiride, sect. 2, Teubner’s ed., Moralia, ii, p. 536.

30. Since the 1920s the idea has occurred to many. Wallis-Budge seems to have been the first to make the connection (see note 31). As far as I can make out, I am the first to suggest that it was an ‘oriented’ i.e. conical, iron meteorite of about fifteen tons (see my article in DE 14, 1989, pp. 5–17).

31. E. A. Wallis-Budge, Cleopatra’s Needles, London 1926, Chapter 1; J. Leclant and J. P. Lauer (eds.), Le Temps des Pyramides, pp. 79 and 336.

32. Goyon, op. cit., p. 225. He estimates a weight for the pyramidion of Cheops’s pyramid of 15.89 tons. Kerisel, on the other hand, estimates 4–6 tons, but wonders if it ever existed (La Pyramide à Travers les Ages, p. 83).

33. A large fallen meteorite, contrary to popular belief, is not burning hot when it strikes the ground but cold. This is because of sub-zero temperatures in outer space and only the outer skin is heated by friction when it is flying through the earth’s atmosphere. In a state of rest, the outer layer cools quickly.

34. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, pp. 153, 380 and note 26.

35. See Chapter 4, note 11.

36. Wallis-Budge, The Mummy, p. 175.

37. These are probably titles and deal with the same person at different stages of his career, i.e., Horus as child, as heir and as king. On the role of Horus as the real son of the king see Edwards, op. cit., p. 32.

38. These were called Hapy, Imseti, Duamutef and Kebhsenuf. In the Pyramid Texts their main function was to help in the opening of the mouth ceremony and lifting up the dead king to the sky. This is a depiction very suited in astral terms, as Wainwright has shown, to the low culmination of the four stars of the ‘head’ of Ursa Minor, as they slowly ‘scoop’ over the horizon in the north and then ascend to an altitude some fifteen degrees over the pole in c. 2450BC.

39. G. A. Wainwright, ‘A Pair of Constellations’ in Studies for F. Ll. Griffith. Wallis-Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p. cxxiv. As gods of the four cardinal points they symbolised the four pillars that hold the canopy of the sky. They also represented the four corners of a chamber serving a funerary ritual (Sellers, op. cit., p. 248). In the funeral rites, the four sons of Horus are also symbolised by the so-called canopic jars which held the lungs (Hapy), liver (Imseti), stomach (Duamutef) and intestines (Kebhsenuf) of the deceased person.

40. Pyramid Texts, lines 1983–4.

41. Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’.

42. ibid., p. 11.

43. B. Scheel, Egyptian Metalworking and Tools, p. 17.

44. Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’, p. 11.

45. Lauer, op. cit., p. 106, fn. 1. (The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentaries, Commentaries section).

46. Egyptologist and astronomer from Prague, Zbynek Zäba came up with almost the same conclusion in 1953. His work, L’Orientation Astronomique dans l’Ancienne Egypte et la Precession de l’Axe du Monde’, has been widely accalimed in the Egyptological world. Lauer, in his review of Zäba’s work (see note 49), stresses Zäba’s revelation that a similar instrument to that used by the ancient pyramid builders to sight the northern polar stars was used, symbolically, for the ceremony of the opening of the mouth (see Lauer, p. 108; Zäba, p. 72). Apparently the instrument was placed on a wooden cube and, linked to a plumb line, allowed a very ‘precise alignment to the stars’. Interestingly, three instruments were found in these shafts in 1972 which suggested something of the kind (see Epilogue). Wainwright (‘A Pair of Constellations’) correctly pointed out that two ‘adzes’ were used in the ceremony, one by Horus and the other by his four sons.

47. I am indebted to Gantenbrink for a plan view of the two northern shafts which show in detail the circuit or ‘kinks’ of these shafts.

48. See Chapter 12.

49. Goyon, op. cit., p. 160.

50. ibid., p. 89; Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’, p. 6.

51. Goyon, op. cit., pp. 88–93.

52. ibid.

53. ibid., pp. 160–2.

54. Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’, pp. 6–15.

55. Baines and Malek, op. cit.

56. Sellers, op. cit., p. 164.


1. Sesostris I (Twelfth Dynasty) was the hero-king of the Middle Kingdom. He was the son of Amenemhet I, who was apparently assassinated at court. Amenemhet I and Sesostris I built their pyramids at El Lisht, a few kilometres south of Dashour.

2. Letter from Dr G. Haeny (Swiss Archaeological Institute, Cairo) to Robert Bauval dated 9.12.1986.

3. Breasted, op. cit., p. 71; Parkinson, op. cit., p. 41. The word ‘Benben’ is also translated as ‘Pyramidion’.

4. Breasted, p. 71.

5. ibid.

6. ibid., p. 203.

7. Leiden Museum Papyrus No. 344. See also Breasted, op. cit., p. 204.

8. Leiden Museum Papyrus No. 344 (henceforward LMP 344); 6–12.

9. LMP 344; 5, 10.

10. Breasted, op. cit., p. 204.

11. LMP 344; 11, 6–8.

12. In view of their common antiquity (pre-Pyramid Age) and common religious function, the alignment is unlikely to be a coincidence.

13. Sellers, op. cit., also gives a translated quote, p. 164.

14. Wainwright, ‘Iron in Egypt’, pp. 6–11.

15. Goyon, op. cit., pp. 89–90.

16. Edwards, op. cit., pp. 250–1 and Lauer, op. cit., pp. 99–124, only consider the north stars. But setting-out engineers, as is well known, ‘toss’ or reverse their sighting instruments (theodolites) 180 degrees to verify the true alignment. This is sometimes called a backsight, performed as a check. Thus a similar sighting point to the south would secure the precision achieved by the ancient builders.

17. Farouk I abdicated in 1952. Goyon settled in France and became head of research of the Centre National des Recherches Scientifiques (CNRS). He had been a student of Pierre Montet, the famous French Egyptologist of the College de France.

18. Goyon, op. cit., p. 93.

19. Strabo, 19–xvii, I, 30.

20. Herodotus, Histories, II, 15–17.

21. Goyon, op. cit., p. 92.

22. ibid.

23. Lichtheim, op. cit., p. 204.

24. Goyon thinks they might have been slightly concave discs.

25. Mercer, Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 121.

26. Bauval, in DE 14, 1989, p. 7.

27. Louvre: Stela item C 30.

28. The djed or tat column, probably kept in Heliopolis, was sacred to Osiris. It might have represented his backbone (see Wallis-Budge Osiris …, vol. 1, pp. 51–3).

29. Lichtheim, op. cit., p. 203.

30. The best Osirianised example is, of course, the solid gold coffin of Tutankhamen in the Cairo Museum.

31. An article, ‘The Horizon of Khufu’ by Robert Bauval, is due for publication in DE in 1994.

32. It seems unlikely that a monument which took several decades to build and taxed the nation to the limit, was to be used only once for a rebirth ritual. See opinion given in Tompkins, op. cit., p. 236 and pp. 256–8 for other ritualistic functions associated with rebirth.

33. Bauval DE, 26, 1993, p. 5; DE, 27, 1993.

34. I am indebted to Rudolf Gantenbrink for letting me see this ‘niche’ on the video film taken by UPUAUT 1 inside the southern shaft of the King’s Chamber.

35. This was pointed out to me by Dr Haeny (see note 2); he was apparently informed by a ‘friend’. A quick glance at a map shows it to be quite correct.

36. Probably as early as the outset of the Fourth Dynasty. Certainly, by the time of Sesostris I the temples at Heliopolis had suffered pillage and damage, because Sesostris ordered a full reconstruction programme.

37. Kerisel, op. cit., p. 83. He reminds us that Diodorus (c. first century BC) reported that the top of the pyramid appeared like a ‘platform’; but Diodorus’s account describes the pyramid nearly 2400 years after Cheops.

38. Westcar Papyrus, Berlin 3033.

39. Lethaby, op. cit., Architectural Press ed. 1974, pp. 38–9, ‘according to Brugsch, the sun temple at Heliopolis had a sacred sealed chamber in the form of a “pyramid”, called, Ben-ben …’

40. Sugrue, op. cit.

41. ibid., p. 393


1. All quotes are from these personal letters, notes and diaries. The originals are kept in the archives of the Royal Observatory at Edinburgh by Mr Angus Macdonald, the Librarian.

2. Colonel Howard Vyse. Operation Carried On At The Pyramids Of Gizeh in 1837. James Frazer, London 1840, pp. 275–277.

3. Lucas A. Ancient Egyptian Materials And Industries. Histories & Mysteries Of Man Ltd London 1989, p. 237.

4. El Sayed El Gayar and M. P. Jones ‘Metallurgical Investigation of an Iron plate found in 1837 in the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, Egypt’ in Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, vol. 23, 1989, pp. 75–83.


1. W. Flinders Petrie, The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh 1883, p.53.

2. W. S. Smith, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, Penguin Books 1958, p. 30.

3. Alexander Badawy, A History of Egyptian Architecture, Giza 1954, p. 163.

4. Although α Cephei and α Lyrae (Vega) will come to within 4 degrees of the pole in AD7500 and 14000, they will not be nearly as accurate pole stars as Polaris and α Draconis, whose closest approaches to the pole are only about 30 minutes away.

5. Robert H. Baker, Astronomy, New York 1950, p. 57.

6. Otto Neugebauer and Richard A. Parker, Egyptian Astronomical Texts, I. The Early Decans, London 1960, p. 25.

7. ibid., p. 110.

8. S. R. K. Glanville, The Legacy of Egypt, Oxford 1942, pl. 32.

9. Paul V. Neugebauer, Tafeln zur astronomischen Chronologie, I. Sterntafeln. Leipzig 1912, pp. 8, 20.

10. ibid. pp. 21–82.

11. This culmination was, of course, rendered invisible by daylight during about half the year. It would have been visible about 2700BC from late July to early January.


1. The software PC programs that are easy to use and quite accurate for down to epoch 4000BC are Skyglobe 3.5; EZ Cosmos; Starmap 2.10 High Precision. These are relatively well priced. Many others are available at different prices.

2. A. Hirshfeld and R. W. Sinnot, Sky Catalogue 2000.0, vol. 1. Cambridge University Press 1982. Introduction p. xiv.

3. ibid., pp. 119, 121 and 124.

4. Dr J. O’Byrne, of the Chatterton Astronomy Department of the University of Sydney, says about the precessional calculations for Epsilon Orionis (the central star of Orion’s Belt) that ‘the precessed position for Epsilon Orionis has been calculated assuming a very small value for proper motion in both co-ordinates (rather than zero) to see the effect. The result is a difference of 4 seconds of RA and 65 seconds of declination, which is probably unrealistically large.

5. I. E. S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt. Penguin, 1993 ed., pp. 247–51.

6. J. B. Sellers, The Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt. Penguin, 1992 ed., p. 194.

7. J. E. Manchip-White, Ancient Egypt. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1970, p. 138.

8. O. Neugebauer and R. Parker, Egyptian Astronomical Texts. Brown University, 1964, vol. 1.


1. So, for example, Erman, Die Literatur der Aegypter, 70, 72.

2. This determinative may indicate a house, a room, or any object, like a box, which contains in the way that a house contains.

3. The photograph is indistinct; see Möller, Hieratische Lesestücke, I, 6.

4. JEA, III, Pl. XII, between 96–7.

5. On 54 of his Commentary.


1. E. A. Wallis-Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, II, p. 942.

2. ibid., p. 946.

3. Edwards, op. cit., 1991 ed., p. 1.

4. Faulkner, The Book of the Dead, p. 12.

5. ibid.

6. ibid.

7. Edwards, op. cit., 1991 ed., p. 13.

8. ibid., p. 14.

9. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol …, p. 102.

10. Coffin Texts, ii, p. 104.

11. Neugebauer and Parker, op. cit., vol. I.

12. ibid., p. 41.

13. ibid.

14. Carlsberg, I, Part I, A.I, 1–6, the Nut picture.

15. ibid., G.IV, 26–9.

16. Dramatic Texts, VI, pp. 3–6.

17. ibid., pp. 38–43.

18. Neugebauer and Parker, op. cit., vol. I, p. 73.

19. Bauval, DE, 14, p. 12; DE, 16, pp. 21–8; Wernes Honig, DE, 14, p. 52.

20. Wallis-Budge, The Mummy, p. 175.

21. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods.

22. Santillana and von Deschend, op. cit., for further reading on ancient sky religions and duality.


1. For astronomy, see Bauval in DE, 13, 14, 16, 26 and 27; geometry and mathematics, see J. A. R. Legon in DE, 10 and 14. See also Edwards, op. cit., pp. 245–51.

2. Robin Cook, op. cit., Seven Islands ed., 1992.

3. Edwards, op. cit.

4. Such as the shafts, ibid., p. 285.

5. See Bauval, DE, 13 and 14.

6. Archeologia, No. 283, September 1993, p. 6.

7. Bauval, in DE, 13, 14, 16.

8. Bauval, in DE, 26.

9. Legon, in DE, 10 and 14; R. Cook, op. cit; R. Gantenbrink (unpublished).

10. Edwards, op. cit., p. 285; Bauval, in DE, 13, 16, 26 and 27.

11. A. Badawy ‘The Stellar Destiny of Pharaoh …’ in MIOAWB, Band 10, 1964, pp. 189–206.

12. Bauval, in DE, 13, 16, 26 and 27.

13. Jean Phaure, Geographie Sacrée de Paris, introduction; Lethaby, op. cit.

14. Faulkner, ‘The King and the Star-Religion …’, pp. 153–61.

15. Pyramid Texts, e.g. lines 820, 882, 2180.

16. DE, 28 and 29.

17. Pyramid Texts, line 632.

18. Bauval, in DE, 13 and 16.

19. Pyramid Texts, line 13.

20. Bauval, in DE, 26 and 27.

21. Legon, in DE, 10 and 14; Legon, ‘The Geometry of the Bent Pyramid’, in Göttinger Miszellen, No. 116, 1990, pp. 65–73.

22. Legon, as note 21; see also R. Cook, op. cit.


1. DE, 13, pp. 7–18.

2. Faulkner, ‘The King and the Star-religion …’, in JNES, xxv, 1966, pp. 153–61.

3. DE, 26, pp. 5–6.

4. ibid.

5. DE, 28.

6. Badawy, ‘The Periodic System …’, in JEA, 63, p. 58.

7. Bauval, in DE, 14, pp. 5–16.

8. Edwards, op. cit., p. 295.

9. DE, 26, pp. 5–6.

10. DE, 28.

11. Goyon, op. cit., p. 41.


1. J. H. Breasted, Development Of Religion and Thought In Ancient Egypt. Un. Penn. Press 1972 ed., pp. 101–2.

2. I. E. S. Edwards, The Pyramids Of Egypt. Penguin 1993 ed., p. 282.

3. R. O. Faulkner, ‘The King and the Star Religion in the Pyramid Texts’, in JNES vol. 25, 1966, pp. 153–161.

4. A. Badawy, ‘The Stellar Destiny of Pharaoh and the so-called Air-shafts of Cheops’ Pyramid’, in MIDAWB band X, 1964, pp. 189–206. Also V. Trimble, ‘Astronomical Investigations concerning the so-called Air-shafts of Cheops’ Pyramid’, in ibid., pp. 183–7.

5. R. G. Bauval, various articles in DE vols. 13, 14, 16, 26, 27 and three others forthcoming in early in 1994.

6. Computer programs such as Skyglobe 3.6, Starmap or EZ Cosmos can demonstrate this visually.

7. R. G. Bauval, ‘The Adze of UPUAUT’ and also ‘The Horizon of Khufu’ in DE journal (early 1994 ref. not available yet).

8. A. Badawy. ‘The Periodic System of Building a pyramid’ in JEA 63, 1977, p. 58.

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