As Published

  • Occam’s Egyptian Razor: The Equinox and the Alignment of the Pyramids open

    The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree. The Great Pyramid’s neighbor, the Pyramid of Khafre, is aligned with an error of approximately 6 minutes, and the builders of Snefru’s Red Pyramid at Dahshur achieved an accuracy of 8.7 minutes. All three pyramids exhibit the same manner of error; they are rotated slightly counterclockwise from the cardinal points. How the Egyptians managed to achieve such accuracy has long been debated. Many methods have been suggested. Yet there is one straightforward method that scholars have largely ignored, perhaps because it was thought to be too simple. This is the ʽequinoctial solar gnomon methodʼ. It uses a vertical rod to track the movement of the sun on the equinox. In this paper we show that it is a practical method, and reproduces the magnitude and direction of error we see in the alignment of the largest pyramids of the Pyramid Age.


  • The Great Pyramid's Footprint: Results from Our 2015 Survey open

    What is the exact size and orientation of the Great Pyramid? Archaeologists, scientists, engineers, and mystics have sought answers for centuries. In an effort to finally and definitively answer this question, a comprehensive resurvey of the pyramid’s base was undertaken in February of 2015. In this article, I report on the survey's findings.

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  • What was the Original Size of the Great Pyramid's Footprint? open

    How large a footprint did the Great Pyramid make on the Giza Plateau when it was completed? It is not an easy question to answer, as most of the outer edge of the pyramid’s base is long gone. Scholars have had to hunt for evidence of the ancient baseline and then extrapolate their findings to locate the original corners. Not surprisingly, the surveys that have been conducted to date do not precisely agree. With the question of the Great Pyramid’s footprint still incompletely resolved, another attempt seemed in order.

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  • On the Field Testing of the Methods the Egyptians May Have Used to Find Cardinal Directions open

    The Egyptians were able to align their Fourth Dynasty monuments to cardinal directions with an accuracy of better than one degree. Scholars have offered many theories which purport to explain how the Egyptians may have achieved such alignments, but only a few have been field tested. This article compiles test results on four of the proposed methods: the pole star method, the circumpolar star method, the simultaneous transit method and the Indian circle method.

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  • Did the Egyptians Use the Sun to Align the Pyramids? open

    The Egyptians aligned pyramids of the fourth dynasty, including the Great Pyramid of Khufu, to cardinal points with amazing accuracy. For the most part, scholars who have studied the issue have concluded that the Egyptians must have used the nighttime stars to achieve such accuracy. In this article, I put the solar method to the test. I find that the method works, and is capable of yielding results sufficiently accurate to account for the alignment of the pyramids.

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  • How the Egyptians May Have Found Their True North open

    The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the huge monument to true north to within six minutes of arc, or one tenth of a degree. How they managed to do that has long been debated. In this article we will examine four prominent theories, test one, and compare and contrast the others.

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  • New Angles on the Great Pyramid open

    In this article, we derive new estimates for the size and orientation of the Great Pyramid using data compiled by Mark Lehner and David Goodman in 1984. We can fix the locations of the casing corners to within ten centimeters. The Lehner/Goodman estimates for the location of the casing’s corners proved to be remarkably close to Flinders Petrie’s estimates.

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  • North by Northwest: The Strange Case of Giza's Misalignments open

    The Giza Pyramids are aligned to cardinal points with uncanny accuracy. But many of Giza’s other monuments share a strange, systematic alignment error; they are rotated a few degrees northwest from cardinal points. In this paper, we explore the possibility that the errors were due to the use of the solar gnomon method by the Egyptians to orient many of their structures. The method works precisely only when it used over level ground. The ground at Giza slopes from west to east and that may account for the systematic alignment errors.

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  • Solar Alignments of Giza open

    In this paper, we identify those places on the Giza plateau where the Egyptians might have observed the solstices. Our goal was to test the hypothesis that Giza might have functioned not only as a funerary complex to serve the dead king, but also to serve the living Egyptians as a platform for observing the solstices.

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