[The following excerpt consists of the Preface and Chapter 1 of Imhotep the African: Architect of the Cosmos by Robert Bauval & Thomas Brophy, a new disinformation® book. The book is packed with photos, nearly all of which are NOT reproduced here.]
A few kilometers outside the modern city of Cairo, on a large, flat elevation at the edge of the Sahara overlooking the Nile, is the world’s very first architectural complex. Nearly 5,000 years old, the centerpiece of this mind-boggling complex is a huge stepped pyramid surrounded by strange temple-like structures, the lot contained inside a giant perimeter wall whose length is more than 1,500 meters. Aligned conspicuously toward the four cardinal directions, this strange place evokes a mood, for lack of better words, of “sacred architecture”—or, perhaps more aptly, “sacred astronomy.” No doubt something extremely potent took place here— certainly rituals of the highest order that somehow involved the cycles of the celestial bodies as seen through the eyes of a holy man or shaman. Amazingly, when one considers the extreme antiquity of this complex, Egyptologists know for sure who conceived it: Imhotep, the high priest of Heliopolis and vizier of King Netjerykhet/Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty in c. 2650 BC. And that, if the truth be told, is just about all they know with certainty. All else is educated guesses, speculation, and even fanciful thinking derived from later sources when Imhotep the man had been mythologized and even deified beyond recognition.
So who was this ancient Egyptian superstar—this pharaonic DaVinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Newton all rolled into one—whose very name still commands reverence and awe? From where or from whom did he acquire his vast knowledge of astronomy and the art of stone masonry? And perhaps more intriguing still, what was the real purpose of his Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara? Is there embedded in it an encoded mes- sage? And if so, what? And from whom?
Much has been written and said about Imhotep, from scholarly the- ses to bizarre novels and movie scripts of pure science fiction. But the real person—his true origins, his race, the root source of his knowledge and genius—all seem lost forever in the mist of time. How does one go about finding the truth about a man who lived 5,000 years ago? Where does one begin the search? There are no written papyri or inscriptions about Imhotep’s life that are contemporary or even near contemporary to him, except for his name and his royal titles inscribed on the podium of a broken statue found in the 1920s at Saqqara. So where can one look for more clues? Which stone remains unturned that may reveal the truth of this giant of a man?
There is one aspect of Imhotep’s life, perhaps the main aspect, that is often overlooked or, at best, trivialized by Egyptologists—his occupation as Chief of the Observers or Chief of the Astronomers, which, in today’s terminology, would be Astronomer Royal. This important occupation of sky-watching, when combined with Imhotep’s other roles as high priest of Heliopolis and vizier of the pharaoh, provides us with the means to “read” him, as it were, through the complex at Saqqara, which was designed to service the high occult rebirth rituals of pharaohs. Since 1984, I have argued that observational astronomy and a basic knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes should be incorporated into the science of Egyptology or, to be more specific, used to decode the sky religion and associated rituals found in the Pyramid Texts and incorporated into the religious architecture of the pyramid and temple builders of ancient Egypt. I applied this approach to the famous Giza pyramids in the 1990s with great success. I now want to do the same for Imhotep’s “Testimony in Stone” at Saqqara.
This was the daunting task I set myself. Knowing myself—and with so many other matters to attend to—I waited for something—a new dis- covery, new clues—to jumpstart the quest. As is often the case with such things, this came from a totally unexpected quarter.
In early December 2007, I received a phone call from a friend whom I had not heard from in years—Mark Borda, a businessman turned desert explorer. Mark called from his home in Malta to tell me of an amazing discovery he had made a few weeks earlier in Gebel Uwainat—an uninhab- ited mountain region in the remote southwest of Egypt’s Western Desert. Mark informed me excitedly that he had found hieroglyphic inscriptions on a boulder, which, on first analysis, showed that the ancient pyramid builders of Egypt had managed to travel to this distant place and meet with a previously unknown people—something that had so far been deemed impossible by Egyptologists due to the total aridity of the region and the distance involved. Mark’s discovery changed all this.To me, however, it also meant that an important “missing link” had been found that could connect the ancient Egyptians to their true black-African origins. For now Mark’s crucial discovery could be linked with another all-important discovery made in 1997 by American and Polish anthropologists at Nabta Playa, a prehistoric site of great antiquity located some 100 kilometers due west of the Nile, but still 500 kilometers east of Gebel Uwainat.
At Nabta Playa, a plethora of mysterious man-made megalithic structures—stone alignments, stone circles, strange tumuli, and deep buri- als—were found to have astronomical alignments and symbolism closely resembling, if not identical to, that of the pyramid builders of Egypt.Was it from these mysterious megalithic stargazers that Imhotep derived his advanced astronomical knowledge and stone-shaping art? The question begged the answer.
No sooner had Mark hung up than I decided, there and then, to investigate this matter further. I had to see these hieroglyphic inscriptions for myself and, hopefully, find more clues in their vicinity that could help resolve this enigma. So I contacted an American colleague and friend from San Diego, author and astrophysicist Dr.Thomas Brophy, who had already carried out extensive research at Nabta Playa, and invited him to join me on an expedition into the Egyptian Sahara. Thomas, too, had a strong hunch that the Egyptian civilization was connected to a prehistoric African people who inhabited the Sahara thousands of years before the pharaohs. In 2003,Thomas had boldly gone on a solo expedition to Nabta Playa to obtain the precise coordinates of the stone alignments and had published his findings in a book, The Origin Map, as well as in peer-reviewed articles.
In early April 2008, Thomas and I set off from Cairo with a small convoy of 4-wheel-drive vehicles.We were guided by Mahmoud Marai, a professional desert guide who had been with Mark Borda when the Gebel Uwainat inscriptions were discovered. The story of this expedition and our findings are told in our book Black Genesis (Inner Traditions, 2011). In Black Genesis, however, we refrained from discussing Imhotep and his true origins because we wanted first to establish a firm foundation for our thesis. Later in the course of 2011, I had the opportunity to visit several times and do research at the Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara. It was then that Thomas and I reconnected to write the story of Imhotep based on our new research.
In Black Genesis, our approach was to apply our knowledge of obser- vational astronomy and precession to “decode” the alignments and other design features of the Step Pyramid Complex. Slowly but surely, we began to enter the mind-set of Imhotep via his opus magnum in stone. As if immersed in a whodunit detective story, we followed the clues that took us on an exhilarating magical mystery tour that started at Saqqara and led us beyond its confines to temples in Upper Egypt—and ultimately, as we had suspected, to the stones of Nabta Playa and the black-African stargazers who had placed them there.
Throughout the rest of this book, for simplicity and ease of reading, we always use “we” when describing our travels, researches, and previous publications, even when the actual event involved only one or the other of us. For example, the visit to the Heliopolis area of Cairo (chapter 1) involved only myself and a small group, while the 2003 visit to Nabta Playa (chapter 4) involved only Thomas and a small group. If the actual referent is not obvious from the context, in essentially all cases it can be found in the references we cite.
Thomas and I are proud to have pooled our knowledge and experi- ences again in this quest for the truth of the origins of Egypt’s civilization. It’s a rewarding feeling that is not easy to describe. Our ultimate reward, however, will be that you enjoy reading our story as much as we enjoyed writing it.
—Robert Bauval, January 8, 2013
Why should we attempt to combine the rigors of the science of modern astronomy with the more art-like pursuits of Egyptology and biography? As synchrony would have it, I am drafting this on a very chilly American holiday—Martin Luther King Day—while President Barack Obama delivers his second inaugural address, echoing the words of MLK and offering a poetic route to an answer for that question:
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; . . .[T]o hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”
Later in his speech, Obama continued to echo MLK by articulating the many ways in which “our journey is not complete” until we incorporate that “most evident of truths,” through our actions, into our worldview. The inextricable linking of the “I” that is “we” and the re-integration of the interior arts with the exterior sciences are the two axes of the integral mission to achieve a sustainable post-postmodern worldview.
I see our attempts in this current book as a small part of that great mission.Attraction to the modern pursuit of archaeoastronomy in general fits into that context as well. Something about the mysterious monuments of deep antiquity that our ancestors have left for us speaks to a time when the inner arts and the outer sciences were more fused—yet somehow more noble, even more aware, in ways that our modern rigid segregation of the inner and the outer blocks us from embracing.And clearly, Imhotep played a key role in bringing those noble truths of awareness into the earliest embodiments of human civilization.The current integral mission to bring together all the disciplines in pursuit of a more powerful, wholistic grasp of reality is a step forward toward completing our journey to reunite with the essence of our own origins. It is in that spirit that I joined Robert Bauval on our journeys to the remotest desert—on a mission toward the reality of our deep past. And in that spirit, I hope we bring to readers of this volume some of the results of those journeys—with both fidelity and enjoyment.
—Thomas Brophy, January 21, 2013
The City of the Sun
Heliopolis: one of the most important cult-centers of the pharaonic period and the site of the first sun-temple, dedicated to the god Ra-Horakhty. – Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson 1
The greatest center of magic in Egypt was probably the holy city of Heliopolis, the city of the sun, where the most ancient theology developed. Here were preserved numerous papyri,“magic” in the widest sense of the word, including medical, botanical, zoological and mathematical texts. Most Greek philosophers and savants travelled to Heliopolis to study some of that knowledge. – Christian Jacq 2
A lonely obelisk stands in the northeast part of the modern city of Cairo. It represents Heliopolis, the most revered “center of learning” of the ancient world. Most Egyptologists believe that Heliopolis existed long before the pyramids. It was known as Innu by the ancient Egyptians; later, the Hebrews called it On; much later still, the Greeks gave it the current name of Heliopolis, which means “City of the Sun.”Today, local inhabit- ants call it Ain Shams,“Eye of the Sun.”
Egyptologists tell us that Heliopolis was headed by a high priest—the our mau, or Chief of the Observers—whose main function was to observe the night sky and the motion of the stars. One such high priest, indeed the earliest known to us by name and the most revered, was a man called Imhotep,“HeWho Comes in Peace.” So famous and admired was Imhotep that, during the latter part of the pharaonic civilization, he was venerated as a god. Later, the Greeks regarded him as the Father of Medicine, associating him with Asclepius and thus bestowing on him the unique position of being a historical human, not a king, who was officially deified. Imhotep even gained super-villain stardom status in Hollywood in 1932 in the original movie The Mummy starring Boris Karloff, and sub- sequently in the 1999 loosely remade blockbuster by Stephen Sommers starring Brendan Fraser.The latter grossed 415 million dollars and spawned several sequels—the 2001 The Mummy Returns and the 2004 Revenge of the Mummy—as well as many spinoffs like the Scorpion King and a series of novels, cartoons, and comic books. Second only to Tutenkhamun, or perhaps now even on a par with the boy-king, Imhotep holds a central place in modern pop culture, ranking in the Top 10 list of super villains thanks to Karloff and Fraser.
The truth, however, is that very little is known about Imhotep the man. Although he receives high praise from Egyptologists and historians alike and is often referred to as a genius—or the inventor of architecture, or the father of science—Imhotep’s true identity is really largely the subject of guesswork and speculation. In fact, as high priest of Heliopolis during the 3rd Dynasty of Egyptian kings, Imhotep’s name appears less than half a dozen times in contemporary texts.The recent academic work on the 3rd Dynasty refers to him in only seven of its 300 pages, with most of the information culled from writings long after Imhotep’s time. In short, one could say that Imhotep is a Jesus of deep antiquity—highly mythologized and eventually divinized, but with little or no contemporary archaeological or textual evidence to support the myth.The main reason for this huge lacuna is that Egyptologists have generally ignored one of Imhotep’s most important proficiencies: his highly advanced knowledge of astronomy.
Imhotep and Heliopolis
Imhotep’s architectural masterpiece, the fabulous Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara, has for too long been studied as only that—an architectural masterpiece. But we have come to see it as an astronomical “manual” in stone.The Step Pyramid Complex, as we shall see in the coming chapters, is a sort of pharaonic “DaVinci Code,” which, if properly understood and decoded, can take us into the mind and even the origin of the architect- astronomer genius who created it.
The first hint of this “Saqqara code” was given to us by Sir I. E. S. Edwards, one of the most eminent Egyptologists of the 20th century and widely acknowledged as the authority on Egyptian pyramids. The first time we met this affable scholar was in the summer of 1985 at his home near Oxford, where we had a long talk about pyramids. It was then, as we talked of the astronomy of the pyramids, that he referred to the new edi- tion of his famous book The Pyramids of Egypt, the first edition of which appeared in 1947, the last in 1993. He pointed to this passage, which related specifically to Imhotep:
On the ground of internal evidence alone it has been deduced that the Pyramid Texts [dated c. 2300 BC] which refer to the stars had an independent origin from the solar spells and that eventually they were merged into the Heliopolitan doctrine. Imhotep’s title “Chief of the Observers,” which became the regular title of the High Priests of Heliopolis, may itself sug- gest an occupation connected with astral, rather than solar, observation. Here therefore may be the difference between the underlying purpose of the true and step pyramid, the latter being the product of a stellar cult and intended to enable the king to reach the astral heaven.3
Later, because of the overwhelming internal evidence of observational astronomy in the Pyramid Texts, Edwards preferred to translate Chief of the Observers as Chief of the Astronomers.4 He died in September 1996, long before we took up this hint and began to look carefully at the astral aspect of the Step Pyramid Complex.
In 2005, I moved from England to Cairo, and set up a study base near the Giza pyramids. From the balcony of my fourth-floor apartment, I had a view of the Great Pyramid. From the rooftop, I could easily see the majestic Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the principal legacy of Imhotep. The result of my 2005–2006 Egypt study was the book The Egypt Code, in which we showed how various aspects of the Step Pyramid Complex were designed according to “sacred astronomy”—i.e., astronomical observations incorporated into the architecture of a sacred complex.5
We will revisit this material in chapters 3 and 4 when we probe the Step Pyramid Complex and the Saqqara code. But first, we need to understand what went on at the cult center of Heliopolis and, more specifically, why it was that Imhotep was both high priest and master architect of the Step Pyramid Complex.
Today, the local Arabs call the spot where the temple of Heliopolis once stood El Massalah, the Obelisk.This is because the only visible thing that remains—other than a very small part of a temple’s foundation and a few pitiful broken statues—is a lonely free-standing obelisk. When the city of Fustat (medieval Cairo) was built by the Arabs starting in the late 7th
century, the remains of the temples and buildings of Heliopolis were systemati- cally ransacked and used as a quarry for building material. The few remaining artifacts are strewn outside a rickety wooden shed within a large open rect- angular space known as Tel el Hisn, the Hill of the Horse, which is surrounded (“besieged” is a better word) quite liter- ally by ugly apartment blocks built in the 1960s and 1970s during Nasser’s socialist era. Ancient Heliopolis is now an integral part of the Matareya district, swallowed by the ever-growing city of Cairo.
We vividly recall our first trip to Matareya, ancient Heliopolis, in March 1993. It was a time of turmoil when anti-government terrorists had set off makeshift bombs in central Cairo, one of which exploded inside a restaurant in Tahrir Square on February 26, killing two students at the nearby American University and injuring many others.
One week later, on March 5, we decided to visit the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Tahrir Square. We reckoned that, with such low tourism, it would be an ideal opportunity to take photographs unobstructed by the usual throng of tourists. As we happily clicked away in the ground-floor gallery, we became aware of a commotion at the entrance of the museum. A congregation of impressive-looking Coptic bishops had come into the gallery with their bodyguards. Upon seeing us, one of the bodyguards, indicating that he was armed by placing his hand inside his jacket, shouted “no photos!” But one bishop, named Baba Moussa, asked who we were. After we explained that we were taking pictures for a book, he signaled his bodyguards to let us take all the photos we wanted.
It was still early when we finished, so we decided to go to Matareya to take some photographs of the obelisk of Sesostris I (a 12th-Dynasty king) and whatever else remained of ancient Innu.The obelisk, 120 tons of solid granite towering some twenty meters, stands like a forlorn sentinel help- lessly watching the ever-encroaching slums of Cairo.A beggar approached me with one palm outstretched and his other hand pointing at the obelisk and cried “el-massalah! el-massalah! Bakshish, bakshish!”We wondered if he, or indeed any of the locals today, were aware that this quasi-abandoned archaeological site was once the greatest center of learning of the ancient world, where scholars from as far off as Greece came to be tutored by the Egyptian priest-scientists of Innu. For thousands of years, luminaries like Pythagoras, Eudoxus, Cnidus, and even, it is said, the great Plato came to be taught the sacred sciences of ancient Egypt: geometry, mathematics, medicine, divination, and, above all, astronomy.
The various epithets given to Heliopolis make this more than evi- dent—“the chosen seat of the gods,” “the horizon of the sky,” and “the sky of Egypt,” to cite but a few.Abdel-Aziz Saleh, a professor of Egyptol- ogy at Cairo University who spent many years excavating at Heliopolis, noted that “a number of high-priests of Ounu [Innu, Heliopolis] were individually entitled ‘He who discloses the secret of Heaven [sky]’ and the ‘Supervisor of the mysteries of Heaven [sky].’” 6
So important was Heliopolis as a seat of high learning that, even though some of the great scholars from Greece may not actually have made the journey to study there, their biographers nonetheless feigned that they had in order to enhance their scholarly prestige. Even Christ did not escape such a connection, for the district of Matareya was once an enclave of “Followers of Jesus,” later to become the Copts, the Egyptian Christians who fervently believe that the Holy Family received sanctu- ary at Heliopolis.The canonical gospel of Matthew in fact says that the Holy Family sought refuge in Egypt from King Herod’s campaign to kill all baby boys in Palestine. Indeed, to this day, just a few hundred meters down the road from el-Massalah, the small Church of the Holy Family stands, its interior walls decorated with scenes of the family entering on a donkey into the semi-ruined city of Heliopolis.
Remarkably, there is a superb painting by the 19th-century artist Edwin Long showing Joseph leading the donkey that carries Mary with the infant Jesus in her arms, while passing by a religious procession with an effigy of Isis carrying the infant Horus. Many historians of religion hold that the Isis-Horus myth was absorbed into Christian mythology and converted into the Mary-Jesus myth, complete with the astro-symbology of the Star of the East, a clear indication of the enormous influence that Heliopolis had on world culture.7
The guard at the small ticket office outside the Heliopolis archaeologi- cal site told us that it was closed.The fact that the guard was alone made it easier to offer the proverbial bakshish (bribe/tip) to be let inside. An Egyptian note equivalent to about two U. S. dollars did the trick.The area was littered with garbage, and there were ugly puddles of green sewage water around the ruins.A few broken statues were displayed on the floor outside the small shed.We focused on taking photos of the obelisk, then a few others of the surrounding ruins and broken statuary.Then we drove to the nearby Church of the Holy Family.There, a friendly guard let us into the small but very moving church, and we took some photographs of the murals showing the Holy Family at Heliopolis.
The Bird of Creation and the Marking of Time
The Pyramid Texts comprise the oldest collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts, perhaps the oldest known texts in the world. They were found by French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero in 1881 and 1882, carved on the inside walls of 5th- and 6th-Dynasty pyramids at Saqqara. The oldest version is found in the pyramid of King Unas (last king of the 5th Dynasty, c. 2300 BC), which stands but a few hundred meters to the southwest of the earlier Step Pyramid Complex of Imhotep. The Unas pyramid has been closed since the late 1990s, but we managed to enter it several times between 1992 and 1995. On one occasion in December1993, we spent several hours inside it filming a television documentary for the BBC’s Everyman series, The Great Pyramid: Gateway to the Stars, which aired on February 7, 1994.
There is a passage in the Pyramid Texts (Utterance 600) that speaks of Heliopolis in an intriguing way:“O Atum-Khoprer (the rising sun), you rose high on the heights, you rose up as the benben stone in the Mansion of the Phoenix in Heliopolis.” The benben stone was a very ancient and very sacred relic that was kept in the main temple at Heliopolis, called the Temple of the Phoenix (see Appendix I). But the most accredited transla- tor of these texts, British philologist Raymond O. Faulkner, imposed the Greek word “phoenix” on the much older ancient Egyptian word bennu. The bennu was a magical bird that, according to the Egyptian Creation Myth, had appeared at the “first dawn of creation” to set time in motion by uttering a great cry that initiated life on earth. It is also evident that there is a word-play between benben and bennu, for both have the same etymological root, ben, and both are linked to the same ideas of creation and time.According to archaeoastronomer E. C. Krupp, the ancient priests of Heliopolis had interpreted an actual astronomical observation—not of the rising sun per se, but rather of the sun rising along with a very special star, the star Sirius:
The world began in earnest there (at Heliopolis) when Sirius, the stellar signal for the Nile Flood, in its first return to the predawn sky, alighted as the bennu, the bird of creation, upon the benben and then took wings as the sun followed it into the heavens to bring light, life, and order to the cosmos.8
It is well known that the star Sirius, called Spd by the ancient Egyptians, was associated with the birth of Horus, the divine archetype of kings said to be born from the womb of the goddess Isis. It is also known that this star was used as a marker for calendric computations and especially to act as the starting point of the year—as well as to what is loosely termed the “Great Year,” but is more accurately referred to by Egyptologists as the Sothic Cycle (a name derived from the Greeks, who called Sirius Sothis).
When we speak of time, it is wise to note the words of archaeo- astronomer R.W. Stoley.This astute scholar emphasized that “ultimately, our clocks are really timed by the stars. The master-clock is our earth, turning on its axis relative to the fixed stars.”9 Early humans lacked mechanical devices to measure the passing of time. So they, and especially the ancient Egyptians, used the natural “clock” of our world—the earth itself or, to be more precise, the apparent perpetual cycle of the fixed stars as they “sail” from east to west every night. The priests of Heliopolis, as the Chief Observers, were responsible for this important function. And even though they may not have known that it was the earth’s own rotation and revolution around the sun that caused the apparent cycles of the stars, they, as we today, could observe the motions, record their duration, and therefore calculate the cycles.
Egyptologists are in agreement that, of all the stars that were observed by the ancients, one special star stood out above all others: Sirius (known as Alpha Canis Majoris by modern astronomers). Egyptologists have rec- ognized how important the first dawn rising of Sirius, technically known as the “heliacal rising,” was to the Egyptians:
The importance of Sirius for the Egyptians lay in the fact that the star’s annual appearance on the eastern horizon at dawn her- alded the approximate beginning of the Nile’s annual inundation which marked the beginning of the agricultural year . . .10 The Egyptian year was considered to begin on 19 July (according to the Julian calendar) which was the date of the heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius.11
The Nile River overflows and floods the adjacent valley in Egypt every year at about the time of the Summer Solstice—the last week in June, according to our present Gregorian calendar. By a propitious coincidence, the star Sirius also rises in the east for the first time at dawn after a prolonged period of “invisibility” that lasts some seventy days. It is no wonder, therefore, that the early inhabitants of the Nile Valley saw a connection between the annual heliacal rising of Sirius and the annual inundation of the Nile. And since this event regenerated Egypt’s crops with rich detritus and fertilizers brought down from central Africa by the river, it is easy to see how this astronomical event was mythologized into the “birth of Horus” and, by extension, that of his earthly incarnation, the pharaoh.
A powerful and elaborate sky religion centered on the rebirth of kings among the stars gradually developed around, or at least fundamentally intertwined with, this one vital astronomical observation. It would also lead to the design and construction of “resurrection machines” in the form of the great pyramid complexes of the Old Kingdom, whose ultimate function was to bring about the transfiguration of the king’s lifeless body into a “living star” in the sky.12
The Sothic Cycle
It would have been relatively easy for the ancient Egyptians, or indeed anyone else for that matter, to count the days from one heliacal ris- ing of Sirius to another and come up with the 365-day annual cycle. However, it was eventually noticed that, every fourth year, the heliacal rising was delayed by a day, so that this fourth year of the cycle had 366 days.This was called the tetraeteris by the ancient Greeks, and known to the Romans as the quadrennium.13 Today, this “extra day” is taken into account in our Gregorian calendar by having a “leap year” of 366 days once every four years.The leap year was introduced by Julius Caesar in the Julian calendar, which, interestingly, was designed for Caesar by an Egyptian astronomer, Sosigenes of Alexandria.
It seems clear that the ancient Egyptians were quite aware of the extra day in the yearly cycle but, for reasons that we shall soon see, did not adjust for it in their 365-day calendar, known as the civil calendar.
Today, we know that this extra day occurs because the solar year is not exactly 365 days long, but nearly 365¼ days. At any rate, Egyptologists and astronomers alike agree that the ancient Egyptians did not correct their civil calendar by introducing a leap year, in spite of the fact that they were aware that their calendar “drifted” a lot over time. The question, therefore, is why not? Here, however, is where Egyptologists and astronomers part ways. For the explanation that is self-evident to astronomers is generally rejected by modern Egyptologists—thus the Sothic Cycle debate.
The adoption of a civil calendar of 365 days without a leap year every fourth year meant that the calendar drifted from the true astronomical year at the rate of nearly one full day every four years. A simple calcula- tion shows that this would create a cycle of 365¼ x 4 = 1,461 years (or 1,460 years if the extra ¼ day is left out).This, in a nutshell, is the calculated Sothic Cycle for a 365-day civil calendar or a 365¼-day (approximate solar year) calendar. In reality, as we shall see in a later chapter, this value can vary by a few years when and if the cycle is actually observed—that is, its start and end dates are actually recorded.And to be precise, the solar year, also called the tropical year, which is the precise time between one Vernal Equinox and the next is about 365.2422 days, while the sidereal year, which is the time it takes earth to return to the same relationship of the sun to distant fixed stars is about 365.2564 days. In Black Genesis, we show how the fact that the solar year is a bit shorter than 365¼ days and the sidereal year is a bit longer than 365¼ days makes the average Sothic year, which is a combination of the two, come out very close to 365¼ days.At any rate, the Sothic Cycle debate among academics is simply this: Many astronomers believe that the Egyptians had to be aware of it and even made use of it in their calendric computations, but contemporary Egyptologists don’t.
Much ink has been spilled in this Sothic Cycle debate. It is fair to say, however, that the previous generation of Egyptologists was quite open to the idea of the Sothic Cycle, while today’s Egyptologists reject it on the basis that there is no direct evidence to support the notion that the 1,461-year cycle was known, let alone used, by the ancient Egyptians. We shall unequivocally demonstrate in chapter 3 that the ancient Egyptians not only knew the Sothic Cycle, but also used it from the very earliest times.
The first-century Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, who consulted the works of Egyptian astronomer-priests, reported that the cyclical return of the Egyptian “phoenix”—i.e., the bennu—to Heliopolis was none other than the cyclical return of the heliacal rising of Sirius to its point of origin on the calendar, namely New Year’s Day:
The bird called the phoenix (bennu), after a long succession of ages, appeared in Egypt and furnished the most learned men of that country and of Greece with abundant matter for the discus- sion of the marvelous phenomenon [of its magical return] . . . it is a creature sacred to the sun. . . . Some maintain that it is seen at intervals of 1,461 years, and that the former birds flew into the city called Heliopolis.14
Egypt, with her mysteries, seems to have exercised a special fascination on the imagination of Tacitus; he boasts of knowing her better than others.15
British Egyptologist R.T. Rundle Clark also asserts:
Underlying all Egyptian speculation is the belief that time is composed of recurrent cycles which are divinely appointed: the day, the week of ten days, the month, the year (and) even longer periods . . . 1,460 years . . . in conjunction of . . . stars and inun- dation. In a sense, when the Phoenix gave out its primeval call it initiated all these cycles, so it is the patron of all divisions of time, and its temple at Heliopolis became the center of calendric regulation. As the herald of each new dispensation, it becomes, optimistically, the harbinger of good tidings.16
It seemed obvious to these experts, as it is also obvious to us, that the Sothic Cycle of 1,460 or 1,461 years, namely the calculated return of the heliacal rising of Sirius to its starting point in the calendar, was the same as the return of the mythical phoenix—i.e., the Egyptian bennu—that periodically returned to Heliopolis to begin a “new age.”And because the heliacal rising of Sirius symbolized the birth of Horus, the birth/rebirth of the pharaohs, earthly incarnations of Horus, was associated with this astronomical phenomenon.
We suppose, however, that pharaohs who happened to be born when a Sothic Cycle began were regarded as special, perhaps even messianic. In our book The Egypt Code, we argue that the birth of the pharaoh Akhenaten in c. 1356 BC coincided in his lifetime with the return of a Sothic Cycle and may have been the impetus for the dramatic religious reform he instigated. It is also possible that the birth of the 3rd-Dynasty pharaoh Djoser, whom Imhotep served as vizier and high priest, also coincided with such a return of a Sothic Cycle and, consequently, may have been the religious, intellectual, and creative impetus that brought about the Step Pyramid Complex.
If a Sothic Cycle ended and a new one began at intervals of 1,461 years, and if we know at least one of these start/end years, it should be relatively easy to work out when other Sothic Cycles begin by simply adding or subtracting increments of 1,461 years. As far as we can make out, however, the ancient Egyptians left us no records of such events.
Censorinus, on the other hand, a Roman writer in the 3rd century AD who was interested in astronomy, philosophy, and antiquarian subjects, wrote about the most recent Sothic Cycle, which began around 100 years before his time:
The beginnings of these years [the Egyptian year] are always reckoned from the first day of that month which is called by the Egyptians Thoth, which happened this year [239 AD] upon the 7th of the kalends of July [June 25th]. For a hundred years ago from the present year [i.e., 139 AD] the same fell upon the 12th of the kalends of August [July 21st], on which day Canicula [Sirius] regularly rises in Egypt.17
Thanks to Censorinus,we know that a Sothic Cycle began on July 21 Julian in the year 139 AD.A check with the astronomical software StarryNight Pro confirms that this statement is correct. Sirius did rise heliacally on July 21 according to the Julian Calendar in the year 139 AD, as witnessed from the city of Alexandria, which is where the observation was most probably made, since it was the capital city of Egypt at that time and the seat of learning and time-keeping.The altitude of Sirius was 1° and that of the sun -9° in the eastern horizon. Sirius would have had an azimuth of 109° 16’, a configuration very consistent with its first appearance of the year before sunrise. We thus can easily work out approximate start dates of other Sothic Cycles—1321 BC, 2781 BC, 4241 BC, 5701 BC, 7160 BC, 8621 BC, 10,081 BC, 11,451 BC, and so on. It is thus justified to assume that ancient Egyptian time-keeping probably started with one of these dates.
But which one?
Zep Tepi—The “First Time”
We know from many ancient Egyptian texts that the people who occu- pied the Nile Valley had a concept of a beginning or starting point—a creation—in their history, very much as Christians take the (assumed) date of Jesus’s birth as the beginning of the Christian Era. Indeed, based on the Bible, the 19th-century Irish Archbishop James Ussher calculated that the world began on October 23, 4004 BC!
The ancient Egyptians called their own beginning zep tepi, literally the “FirstTime.” Unlike Archbishop Ussher’s calculation, however, we believe that the Egyptian FirstTime is rooted in astronomical reality. Here is what the Egyptologists say about zep tepi:
The basic principles of life, nature and society were determined by the gods long ago, before the establishment of kingship. This epoch—zep tepi—“the FirstTime”—stretched from the first stirring of the High God in the Primeval Waters to the settling of Horus upon the throne and the redemption of Osiris. All proper myths relate events or manifestations of this epoch.Anything whose existence or authority had to be justified or explained must be referred to the “First Time.”This was true for natural phenomena, rituals, royal insignia, the plans of temples, magical or medical formulae, the hieroglyphic system of writing, the calendar—the whole paraphernalia of the civilization . . . all that was good or efficacious was established on the principles laid down in the“FirstTime”—which was, therefore, a golden age of absolute perfection—“before rage or clamour or strife or uproar had come about.” No death, disease or disaster occurred in this blissful epoch, known [as] . . .“the time of Horus.”18
In our previous book The Egypt Code, we showed how zep tepi could be calculated astronomically to the 12th millennium BC by taking the very first appearance of Sirius at the latitude of Memphis. This date dovetails with the start date of the eighth Sothic Cycle before Censori- nus (which, if counted at 1,461 years per cycle, would put it at 11,451 BC).19 However, such a remote date for the beginning of the Egyptian civilization is violently opposed by Egyptologists and archaeologists, who are adamant that the ancient Egyptian civilization cannot be much older than 3100 BC.
We do not propose to repeat here in detail the reasoning that led us to fix zep tepi in the 12th millennium BC. In brief, however, using astronomy in conjunction with the Pyramid Texts, we showed that the main monu- ments of the Giza necropolis—namely the three Great Pyramids and the Sphinx—formed an earthly model of the constellations of Orion’s belt and Leo as these appeared in the skies of the 12th millennium BC at the time of the Spring Equinox (the day of the year when the sun rises exactly due east).This date corresponds to the first appearance in human history of the star Sirius in the latitude of Giza.
We do not claim, as many have wrongly thought, that the Giza monu- ments were built in 11,450 BC; what we do claim is that they were built on older alignments or ground plans that date from the time when the location first became a sacred site. Geological evidence, however, sug- gests that perhaps the Sphinx may be that old, and perhaps other parts of the Giza complex as well—such as possibly a viewing platform on top of which the Great Pyramid was later built, and perhaps the Subter- ranean Passage.20 At any rate, when we first published the zep tepi dating in 1993 and then in more detail in 1996,21 there was a mighty outcry from Egyptologists who were furious at the suggestion that Egyptian civilization could have begun several thousands of years before the Early Dynastic period, which they fixed at c. 3100 BC.
Even some archaeoastronomers—among them E. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and his colleague in South Africa,Anthony Fairall, professor of Astromony at the University of Cape Town and planetarium director at the South African Museum—joined ranks with Egyptologists in the verbal onslaught. Krupp attacked our
In Black Genesis, we revisted the zep tepi discussion and noted that Sirius made its southernmost culmination on its entire 26,000-year journey at
that time c. 12,200 BC. And in fact, Sirius’s declination at southern culmina- tion precisely equaled the declination of the southern horizon at Giza. What this means is that, during the years around Sirius’s southern culmination, the star may have been only glimpsed, just at the horizon, at midnight around the Sum- mer Solstice. The Giza plateau may have been used as a viewing location for that epochal event—perhaps marking the First Time, or zep tepi, when Giza originally became a sacred site. At locations north of Giza, Sirius would have disappeared completely for many years or centuries, whereas locations south of Giza would always have been able to site Sirius sometime during any year. Further, the very bright star Vega (Alpha Lyrae) was the “north pole star” of that time. And Vega achieved its northern culmination, highest declination of about 86.54°, also c. 12,000 BC. And that declination is the same as the declination of the very precisely oriented Subterranean Passage underneath what is now the Great Pyramid.
zep tepi dating in the popular magazine Sky & Telescope with the conde- scending title “Pyramid Marketing Schemes.”22 His objection was that the ancient Egyptians did not know the zodiacal constellation Leo, at least not before it was supposedly introduced by the Greeks in c. 350 BC. Krupp also accused us of allegedly placing the map of Egypt “upside down” to fit our theory.
As for Professor Fairall’s criticism, that came in an article published in The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society no less, in which he refuted our zep tepi dating on the grounds that the angle made by the stars of Orion’s belt and the pyramids on the ground did not match at the zep tepi date.23 The dispute finally all came to a huge crescendo in November 1999 when the BBC program Horizon presented the attacks of these two scholars, as well as a few others, in one part of a two-episode docu- mentary titled Atlantis Reborn. Krupp and another American academic, Kenneth L. Feder, professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, were particularly vocal in this BBC documentary. We found out later that they were senior members of an organization called CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), an ultra-skeptical society of academics and laypeople that claims to defend and protect the public against pseudo-science—in other words, a sort of scientific inquisition that hunts down and debunks whomever they deem unscientific or or anyone who challenges CSI- COP’s established status quo. Since 2006, CSICOP has shortened its name to CSI, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Although the producers of the BBC program denied they knew of the CSICOP affiliation of these two scholars, they nonetheless allowed them much leeway to debunk us in the program. Here is a portion of Krupp’s conclusion:
I think, then, it is unlikely the three pyramids of Giza are stand-ins for the stars. For all I know, they may symbolize the Three Blind Mice, the Three Graces, the Three Musketeers, the Three Wise Men, or the Three Stooges. But I don’t think they are the three stars of Orion’s Belt.
We obviously could not remain silent. The matter was brought to the attention of the British Broadcasting Standards Commission (BBSC) who, upon hearing all the facts, made a rare ruling against the BBC and obliged them to make amends for their unfair tactics.They required the BBC to re-broadcast the program, but with our counterarguments added. They also required them to precede the program with a full reading of the BBSC adjudication and to publish the adjudication in the Times of London.The broadcasting corporation also faced the displeasure of senior British astronomers like Professor Mary Brück of Edinburgh University, wife of the celebrated Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Hermann Brück; Professor Emeritus Archibald Roy of Glasgow University; Professor Percy Seymour of Plymouth University; and Professor ChandraWikramasinghe of Cardiff University, who formally criticized BBC Horizon with written statements that supported our views.24
Putting these academic quibblings aside, however, there was a far more serious objection by Egyptologists to our claim. They pointed out that there was no direct archaeological evidence that supported a human presence in Egypt in the 12th millennium BC, let alone one capable of sculpting the Sphinx or calculating astronomical cycles.The most outspoken Egyptologist on this point was American Mark Lehner, once himself a keen believer in a much older date for the Sphinx and Egyptian civilization. Since 1975, however, Lehner has become a zealous opponent to this idea. He summed up the consensus of his fellow Egyptologists with these words:
I should tell people how this has come down to me personally. Because I actually went over there with my own notions of lost civilizations, older civilizations from Edgar Cayce . . .
Civilizations don’t disappear without a trace. If archaeologists can go out and dig up a campsite of hunters and gatherers that was occupied 15,000 years ago, there’s no way there could have been a complex civilization at a place like Giza or anywhere in the Nile Valley and they didn’t leave a trace, because people eat, people poop, people leave their garbage around, and they leave their traces, they leave the traces of humanity. . . .Well, as I say to New Age critics, show me one pot shard of that earlier civilization. Because the only way they could have existed is if they actually got out with whisk brooms, scoop shovels and little spoons and cleared out every single trace of their daily lives, their utensils, their pottery, their wood, their tools and so on, and that’s just totally improbable.Well, it’s not impossible, but it has a very, very low level of probability, that there was an older civilization there.25
Lehner’s claim that civilizations don’t disappear without a trace reminded us that, hardly a century ago, scholars used the same argument to discount the existence of ancient Troy, finally to be proved wrong by an amateur, Heinrich Schliemann, in 1876. Recently, the discovery of sophisticated monumental architecture at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, dating to at least as early as the 9th millennium BC, reveals another previously unknown advanced culture. Indeed, whole civilizations—the Minoans of Crete and the Etruscans of Italy,for example—were totally unknown to archaeologists well into the 19th century. Ironically, Mark Lehner made his comments in 1997, when Egyptologists were well aware that much archaeological, anthropological, and astronomical evidence existed in the Egyptian Sahara at the prehistoric complex at Nabta Playa.
Beginning in 1974, the Combined Prehistoric Expedition (CPE), led by American anthropologist Fred Wendorf and Polish anthropologist Romuald Schild, and later including astronomer Kim Malville, has brought to light a plethora of archaeological, anthropological, and astronomical evidence that strongly implies, if not proves, that there was a proto-Egyptian civilization in the Western Desert of Egypt, the Sahara, thousands of years before the so-called Early Dynastic period. So it was somewhat ill-informed of Lehner to claim in 1997 that no evidence that supported an older phase for Egyptian civilization existed. At any rate, this issue will be re-examined in chapter 4 and in Appendix IV of this book. Let us now, however, return to Heliopolis, for it is there, we strongly believe, that one should begin the search to understand the intellectual and religious forces that led to the monumental construction of the Step Pyramid Complex.
The Mound of Creation
Although much has been written about Heliopolis in textbooks and novels, the truth is that Egyptologists know very little about its origins and even less about the systems of initiation and teachings that took place there. Scholarly opinions are varied.26 Let us begin, therefore, with what scholars agree on—that the epicenter of Heliopolis was where the lone obelisk still stands. To be very precise about this, the coordinates of the obelisk are:
30º 07′ 45.39″ N
31º 18′ 37.01″ E
Another widely accepted view is that Heliopolis was the main center for astronomical observation and calendric computation, and that records were mostly focused on the cycles of Sirius, especially its heliacal rising. Also, one often reads in Egyptology textbooks that the most sacred loca- tion at Heliopolis was a mound or hill called the Mound of Creation; it was on this mound, legend had it, that the bennu bird alighted on the first sunrise of creation. It seems logical, therefore, to consider these three known facts together—the mound, sunrise, and cycles of Sirius—to work out why and how this most holy of ancient centers was established at this location, with its precise latitude and longitude.
Mounds and Hills
There is much textual and archaeological evidence that the ancient Egyptians had a particular interest in and great reverence for certain mounds. A set of these sacred mounds is encompassed by Heliopolis, Letopolis, Abu Ruwash, Giza, and Saqqara. Let us imagine this vast area roughly twenty-five kilometers square with no cities, no villages, no roads or monuments—in other words, a vast region still undisturbed by humans. From a high point like the summit of the Mokattam hills (a long mountain mesa south of modern Cairo on the east side of the Nile), one would be able to see the fanning out of the Nile Valley into the Delta toward the northwest, and the Sahara on the far western horizon. In the inundation season from late June to late September, especially during high floods, the area would be submerged, looking like a lake except for high mounds protruding like icebergs in a sandy sea. One such mound was the Mound of Creation at Heliopolis.
British Egyptologist David Jeffreys, an expert in the topography of this region, gives a good description of how it must have looked in ancient times during inundation season.27 Let us now imagine the first humans coming into this region and, at some point, witnessing something “fall- ing from the sky” that looked like a fire-bird trailing a long plume and streaming down with a loud screeching noise, finally landing near the Heliopolitan mound. In 1990, we published an article on the origins of the benben stone in which we presented textual and photographic evidence that suggests that the sacred relic of Heliopolis, the stone that is depicted in New Kingdom papyrus as a conical or pyramidal object, could have been a large iron “oriented” meteorite recovered by the inhabitants of the area and placed in the Temple of the Phoenix at Heliopolis (see the substance of the article in Appendix I).
In 1970, Egyptologist John Baines, professor at Oxford University, showed that the root of the word benben (ben) has sexual and fertility connotations and, more particularly, often alludes to the semen from a human penis.28 As for the benben itself, it was associated with the creator god Atum of Heliopolis.According to Egyptologists like Edwards, Henry Frankfort, and James Breasted, a pillar sacred to Atum was worshipped at Heliopolis along with the benben, probably with the benben placed on top of it.29 From various passages in the Pyramid Texts, it is obvious that the pillar, a well-known phallic symbol in antiquity, was somehow associated with the phallus of Atum:
Atum is he who once came into being, who masturbated in (Heliopolis). He took his phallus in his grasp that he might create orgasm by means of it. (pyr. 1248)
O Atum-khoprer (sunrise), you became high on the heights [pil- lar/mound?], you rose as the Benben stone in the Mansion of the Phoenix in Heliopolis. (pyr. 1652)
It is thus not hard to imagine,as Frankfort pointed out, that the combination of the pyramid-shaped benben on top of a pillar (later stylized into the obelisk with a pyramid-shaped top) may have represented the phallus and “seed” of Atum.30
To all these interconnected ideas we then added the suggestion that this “seed” was prob- ably a fifteen-ton “oriented” iron meteorite, which is commonly conical or pyramidal shaped (see Appendix I).Whatever the object was, every- thing suggests that the sacred mound, obelisk, or pillar on which the benben was placed served as some sort of main geodetic marker or datum from which astronomical observations and geo- graphical measurements could be made.
Spend time in open deserts where there are hills and mounds, such as Egypt’s Western Desert, and it becomes second nature to use the mounds and hills as markers to fix the positions of the rising or setting of the celestial bodies. In other words, the undulated skyline becomes, quite literally, a kind of open-air planetarium from which time-keeping computations can be made and geographical directions established.The easiest and most obvious observation is sunrise or sunset at the solstices, marking the two extreme positions of the solar year. Furthermore, special attention must have been paid to the Summer Solstice sunrise, because it was at that special time of year that the Nile began to flood the land. Moreover, from 3100 BC and for most of the Dynastic period, it was when the heliacal rising of Sirius occurred.
The Living Image of Atum
Standing near the Mound of Creation at Heliopolis and looking toward the west, you can see three distinct mounds across the Nile on the distant horizon. One mound at Letopolis is due west at azimuth 270º; a second mound at Abu Ruwash is southwest at azimuth 243º; a third mound at Giza is more to the southwest at azimuth 225º.Two of these mounds, Letopolis and Abu Ruwash, mark the position of the equinoxes (Letopolis) and the Winter Solstice at sunset, as seen from Heliopolis when looking west.
This was pointed out for the first time in 2006 in our book The Egypt Code:
Measuring from a scaled map of the Memphite Necropolis, it is obvious that Djedefre’s pyramid is nearer 27° south-of-west of Heliopolis. At this latitude this is the orientation of the setting sun at the winter solstice.31
The very same idea was “borrowed” in 2007 by Spanish astronomer Juan Belmonte, who wrote:
There [at Abu Ruwash], the pyramid of Djedefre was built on top of a rocky outcrop that in antiquity would have been clearly visible from Heliopolis.As a matter of fact, sunset at the winter solstice.32
Reversing the position of the observer and looking east from the Letopolis mound toward Heliopolis, the observer would be looking at the equinoxes at sunrise; similarly from the Abu Ruwash mound looking toward Heliopolis, the observer would be looking at the Summer Solstice sunrise. Furthermore, when looking from the Giza mound, Heliopolis would be exactly 45º south-of-west. Unless all this is an amazing set of coincidences, it seems clear that these mounds were chosen because of the special directional interrelationship they have with each other.
At the foot of the Giza mound, as if a sentinel to it, is the universally known statue of the Sphinx. Could the Sphinx have had a connection with Heliopolis? Egyptologists agree that the or iginal god of Heliopolis was Atum, and that Heliopolis was first called per-atum, the “city” or “domain” of Atum. This very ancient god was the head of the supreme Egyptian pantheon known as the Great Ennead, or the Nine Gods. The latter was said to have come into existence at the beginning of the world, the zep tepi. It all started with Atum, whose masturbation created Shu, god of air, andTefnut, goddess of moisture. They, in turn, begat Geb, god of the earth, and Nut, goddess of the sky. From Geb and Nut were created Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephtys, four anthropomorphic gods who descended from heaven to earth and founded the civilization of Egypt.There was, in fact, a tenth member to this corporation of gods: the man-god Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. Each pharaoh of Egypt unwaveringly believed himself to be the reincarnation of Horus.
However, even though Atum was the supreme god of Heliopolis in pre-pyramid days, sometime around the 4th or 5th Dynasty, the religious focus shifted to another solar deity known as Re-Horakhty, the latter being a merger of the sun god Re and Horus of the Horizon. In our previous books, especially in Keeper of Genesis (Message of the Sphinx in the United States) and The Egypt Code, we show that Horakhty was a stellar deity whose name was given to the Great Sphinx and also the zodiacal constellation we today call Leo, the celestial lion.
The combined name Re-Horakhty was derived from the observable fact that, during the Pyramid Age, the sun was in the constellation of Leo at the Summer Solstice; this “merger” was seen as a cosmic union of Re and Horakhty.Yet the Sphinx does not face the Summer Solstice sunrise (at azimuth 63º, or 27º north-of-east), but instead faces due east, the place of sunrise at the equinoxes.How can this anomaly be explained? Egyptologists have often pointed out that one of the identities attributed to the Great Sphinx, probably the oldest, was none other than Atum, the original god of Heliopolis. As such, and for reasons that Egyptologists cannot explain adequately, the Sphinx was called Seshep-ankh Atum, the Living Image of Atum. According to Lehner, an expert on the Sphinx: “The ancient Egyptian general term for sphinx, shesep ankh Atum, means ‘living image of Atum,’ Atum being both the creator god and the setting sun.”33
This Sphinx = Atum = lion imagery was, in any case, confirmed by the eminent Swiss Egyptologist Edouard Naville, who wrote:“There can be no doubt that the lion or the sphinx is a form of Atum.”34 Further- more, the highly respected Egyptologist Rosalie David also confirmed the antecedence of Atum at Heliopolis at the opening of the Pyramid Age, pointing out that “. . . the god Re [sun god] had taken over the cult of an earlier god Atum.”35
Egyptologists concur that, according to ancient Egyptian beliefs, the world came forth from Atum as he appeared on the Primeval Moundor Mound of Creation. In the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts, and the Book of the Dead, a lion is said to emerge from this primeval mound before all other creatures, including humankind. Polish Egyptologist Karol Mysliwiec of Warsaw University, who did an extensive study of the god Atum, showed that there is a direct association between the birth of Atum and this primeval lion. In other words, Atum first appeared on earth as a lion.36 Around the Pyramid Age, however, the Egyptians saw the Sphinx as Horakhty, Horus of the Horizon, which we have identified as a lion, even though it was also still referred to as the living image of Atum.37 So, if the Sphinx was originally seen as the living image of Atum and depicted as a lion with a human head and later called Horakhty, then might it not make more sense to consider an earlier date for the astronomical alignment of the Sphinx?
Heliopolis was sacred to these two gods, who are alter egos of each other at different epochs: Re-Horakhty during the Pyramid Age (c. 2650–2300 BC) and Atum at an earlier date. But which earlier date? Since Heliopolis was the site of the Temple of the Phoenix or bennu, who regulated time and initiated the Sothic Cycles, then would it not be logical to wonder if a Sothic Cycle did begin when the sky figure of Leo, the cosmic lion, was in direct alignment with the Sphinx—i.e., due east?
Leo and the Equinox
The sun rises due east (azimuth 90º) at two dates in the year: the Spring Equinox (March 21–22) and the Autumn Equinox (September 22–23). The question, therefore, is better formulated as follows:Was there a time when the constellation Leo marked one of the equinoxes? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Leo marked the Spring Equinox between the 12th and 9th millennia BC.
Using powerful astronomical computer software that reconstructs the sky for any epoch in the past or future—StarryNight Pro, for example—it can easily be verified that the first time that the constellation Leo was seen in its entirety due east on the horizon on the day of the Spring Equinox was about 11,500 BC.This date dovetails neatly with the beginning of the very first Sothic Cycle, which we have identified as zep tepi—the First Time—when sky and ground mirror each other at the Giza necropolis,with the three main pyramids “reflected” as the three stars in Orion’s belt in the lower southern sky and the leonine Sphinx “reflected” as the constellation Leo in the lower eastern sky.
That the Giza complex was believed to have been initiated at zep tepi is confirmed by the pharaohThotmoses IV, who left a written testimony— a sort of pharaonic “message in a bottle”—inscribed on the stele he had placed between the paws of the Sphinx with these words: “The Holy Place of zep tepi,” the place of the First Time.The whole passage reads:
Then the hour came to give rest to his followers, at the limbs of Horemakhet [the name of the Sphinx in the New Kingdom], beside Sokar in Ra-Setjaw [Giza], Renutet in Northern Djeme, Mut the mistress of the Northern Wall and the mistress of the Southern Wall, Sekhmet who presides over her Kha, Set, the son of Heka, the Holy Place of the zep tepi (First Time), near the Lords or Kheraha, the divine road of the gods toward the West of Iunu (Heliopolis).
And although we have stressed this point in our books Keeper of Genesis,The Origin Map, and Black Genesis with archaeological, geological, anthropological, and astronomical evidence, most of modern Egyptology remains intractable. After nearly two decades of time-wasting debate, rebuttals, and counter-rebuttals, there was only one way forward: We had
Precession of the Equinoxes
Because of the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes— which is the result of a very slow wobble of the earth that cycles about
every 26,000 years—the twelve zodiacal constellations that form a belt or “high- way” on which the sun appears to travel (the ecliptic) will eventually each mark the Spring Equinox (or Vernal Point) at different epochs or “ages” for a duration of about 2,160 years. Thus, according to this modern traditional astrological convention, the Age of Leo is generally given as being from about 10,750 BC to 8590 BC. But the size of the zodiacal constellations varies considerably. One of the largest is Leo, which occupies nearly 40° of angular distance. Furthermore, the constellation that marks an age has to be visible in the sky over the eastern horizon on the day of the Spring Equinox, before sunrise, which favors the earlier date of c.11,500 BC in our context.
to leave modern Egyptologists arguing among themselves and move on. As far as we are concerned, the question is no longer whether there was a deliberate interrelationship in the positioning of the various pyramids and temples, but why? What could have been the real motive—or function—of such a scheme?
Sacred Astronomy and Geometry
In 1990, French Egyptologist George Goyon, after serving as personal Egyptologist to King Farouk I of Egypt from 1936 to 1952 and studying the geography of the pyramid fields in the vast Memphite necropolis, could not help but wonder if “the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age had much more astronomical and geographical knowledge than hitherto assumed by us.”38 Goyon, however, was not the first person to suspect this, although he was the first modern-era Egyptologist to do so as far as we can determine. Before him, however, there had been non-Egyptologists like the Italian classicist Livio Catullo Stecchini (1913–1979), professor of Ancient History at William Paterson University in New Jersey, who published a thesis in 1971 about the highly advanced geographical and astronomical knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. Egyptologists largely ignored Stecchini’s thesis, branding him a pseudoscientist,39 although the idea of a deliberate interrelation between the Giza plateau and Heliopolis had, in fact, been proposed as early as 1852 by an Armenian-Egyptian engineer, Joseph Hekekyan, a fact pointed out in an article published in 1998 by British Egyptologist David Jeffreys.40
Hekekyan (1807–1875) served as director of the School of Engineering in Egypt. In 1852, he conducted a detailed survey of the Giza-Memphis region that was published under the title Topographical Sketch of Heliopolis and Surrounding Lands, which is now kept in the manuscript archives of the British Library in London. In this paper, Hekekyan showed that the southwest-to-northeast diagonal passing through the apex of the Great Pyramid, if extended toward the northeast, will also pass through the apex of the Sesotris I obelisk at Matareya-Heliopolis some twenty-four kilometers away.41 Predictably, virtually all Egyptologists ignored him.
In 1970, however, Goyon also conducted an investigation of the astronomical orientation of the Great Pyramid at Giza and arrived at the same conclusions. He further noticed that a third mound some eighteen kilometers due north of the Giza plateau marked the location of ancient Letopolis, which, furthermore, was precisely eighteen kilometers due west of Heliopolis. These three locations formed a huge right triangle. But that was not all. Goyon also suggested that the ancient astronomers who aligned the Great Pyramid were sighting the Big Dipper constellation, called Mesekhtiu (the Bull’s Thigh) at its upper culmination when it hovered over Letopolis, since Letopolis was the capital of the ancient nome (district) whose symbol was a bull’s thigh.42
Goyon, too, was all but ignored by his fellow Egyptologists. Then, more than a decade later, in November 1983, a journalist at the Wash- ington Post surprised everyone by proudly announcing that an American Egyptologist, Hans Goedicke of John Hopkins University, had discovered a connection between the Giza pyramids and Heliopolis!43 Goedicke, who was clearly inspired by Hekekyan’s earlier discovery (1852) and Goyon’s publication (1970), claimed to have identified the “Giza diagonal”—with a minor variation: apparently a line could be drawn from the southeastern corners of the three pyramids and extended straight to Heliopolis “and the sanctuary of the Benben Stone.”
This new Giza diagonal proved to be erroneous, however, due to Goedicke’s unfamiliarity with the precise layout and measurement of the Giza pyramids.Working from a small-scale drawing or photograph of the Giza complex, he made an error typical of amateurs who draw lines, even with very fine pencils, which actually represent several meters of width in the actual Giza complex. Putting the Giza complex on a standard A4 sheet (8.27 × 11.69 inches), the scale would have to be about 1:5000, with every centimeter representing fifty meters. In such a drawing, even the thickness of a pencil line would represent several meters! Further compounding this error, it seems that Goedicke used an even smaller image that fit on an A5 sheet (5.83 × 8.27 inches). On a map of this size, it may appear as if the southeast corners of the three pyramids can be joined in a straight line, but the reality is that the line would, in fact, miss the southeast corner of the third pyramid by several meters. In fact, British engineer Chris Tedder, who has spent many years studying the layout and measurements of the Giza pyramid complex, confirmed this:
The three SE corners are not in a straight line. . . a line between the SE corners of G1 and G3 misses the SE corner of G2 by 12m (39ft), and a line between the SE corners of G1 and G2, extended to G3, misses the SE corner of G3 by 23m (76ft)—either G2 is set back from the line about 12m (39ft), or G3 is offset to the east by 23m (76ft).44
Scholars who at first supported the Giza diagonal were thus forced to acknowledge this large deviation of either twelve meters (at G2) or twenty- three meters (at G3).Yet, amazingly, some still obstinately retain as gospel this defunct Giza diagonal theory, claiming it as the only motive of the ancient builders for the layout of the Giza pyramids.46 Moreover, they keep flaunting it ad nauseam in articles and textbooks.47 (See Appendix II for a full discussion on this issue.)
In 1989, a few years after Goedicke’s Giza-diagonal declaration, we published our own thesis in the academic journal Discussions in Egyptology, showing for the first time the correlation between the layout of the three Giza pyramids and the pattern of the three stars in Orion’s belt, based on the religious ideologies found in the Pyramid Texts and the symbolic astronomy incorporated into the design of the Giza complex.48 Again, most Egyptologists ignored it, with the solitary exception of Edwards.
In private correspondence dated October 16, 1984, Edwards said the following:
Let me say that I found your astronomical observations very inter- esting. . . . I am very much in agreement with your contention that the stars of Orion’s belt were an important element in the orientation of the Great Pyramid. . . . I think you have made a very convincing case that the two other pyramids were influenced by it.
Dr. Richard Parker—eminent Egyptologist, renowned expert on ancient Egyptian astronomy and calendars, and a colleague of Edwards—concurred in another letter in 1985.
When The Orion Mystery was published (Bauval, 1994), the Orion CorrelationTheory (OCT),as it was now being called,received widespread notoriety, since the book was accompanied by the major BBC documen- tary The Great Pyramid: Gateway to the Stars, which forced Egyptologists out of their comfort zone.They simply could not ignore it and attacked the thesis in the international media and popular science magazines. A handful, however, were open to the idea—notably Edwards and Jaromir Malek of the Griffith Institute in Oxford. The latter did the honor of reviewing the book, and cautiously commented:
The idea that the distribution of the pyramids is governed by definable ideological (religious, astronomical, or similar) considerations is attractive.After all, if there were such reasons for the design of the pyramid and for the relationship of monuments at one site, why should we shut our eyes to the possibility that similar thinking was behind the apparently almost perverse scatter of the pyramids over the Memphite area? The argument that the Egyptians would not have been able to achieve this had they set their mind to it cannot be seriously entertained.49
To be clear, Professor Malek did not sanction the thesis, but seemed particularly open to to idea of a deliberate interrelationship between the various pyramids based on religious ideologies. In a similar vein, Miroslav Verner, an eminent Czech Egyptologist who is also an expert on Egyptian pyramids, puzzled over this issue of their distribution:
The reasons why the ancient Egyptians buried their dead on the edge of the desert on the western bank of the Nile are evident enough.The same, however, cannot be said of the reasons for their particular choice of sites for pyramid-building.Why, for example, did the founder of the 4th Dynasty, Sneferu, build his first pyramid at Meydum then abandon the place, building another two of his pyramids approximately 50 kilometres farther north of Dashur?
Why did his son Khufu build his tomb, the celebrated Great Pyramid,still farther to the north in Giza? …the question are numerous, and, as a rule, answers to them remain on the level of conjecture.50
While most Egyptologists equivocated over these issues, Jeffreys, a director at the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) in London, became convinced that a planned (as opposed to haphazard) interrelationship did exist between certain pyramids and the city of Heliopolis:
The archaeology and topography of Heliopolis and Memphis have often been the subject of comment, but these two important sites have usually been discussed in isolation from one another; only rarely have they been considered as elements in the wider landscape of this crucial area of the NileValley.Work on the EES Survey of Memphis has convinced me that any regional study of this area must take into account the local (and no doubt conflicting) territorial claims of both urban centers, and indeed that of Letopolis-Ausim to the west as well. . . . It is difficult today to appreciate just how prominent and visible these sites and monuments actually were . . . in the last century the Giza pyramids could also be seen from Heliopolis. . . . It is therefore appropriate to ask, in a landscape as prospect-dominated as the Nile Valley, which site and monuments were mutually visible and whether their respective locations, horizons and vistas are owed to something more than mere coincidence?51
Jeffreys did not discuss possible astronomical motives for a deliberate inter- relationship between the various sites, but he did at least suggest, albeit with the exaggerated caution that plagues modern scholarship, that it seemed to be “something more than mere coincidence.”52 In brief, Jeffreys, who had headed the Topographical Survey of the Memphite region in the late 1990s for the EES, noted that there were clear “lines of sight” to Heliopolis from the pyramid fields starting at Abu Ruwash in the north to the so-called Sun Temples of Abu Ghorab in the south, but that beyond this point the “line of sight” was cut off, as it were, by the high hills of the Mokattam range.53
Jeffreys, however, gave no explanation for why the pyramids farther south of Abu Ghorab, especially those at Abusir, Saqqara, and Dashur, did not have lines of sight to Heliopolis. Jeffreys’s insight was nonetheless intriguing and definitely worth a closer look.We, too, were convinced that the locations of pyramids were chosen for reasons related to Heliopolis, but we did not think that simply having lines of sight was the primary motive. If this were the case, we would expect Imhotep, of all people, to have positioned the Step Pyramid Complex with clear visibility to Heliopolis as well, especially since all the choice sites north of Abu Ghorab were as yet unexploited and thus available to him.
The same argument goes for Djoser’s immediate successors—the pha- raohs Sekhemkhet (3rd Dynasty), Huni (3rd Dynasty), and Snefru (founder of the 4th Dynasty)—who chose sites even farther away without lines of sight to Heliopolis. Something clearly was amiss in Jeffreys’s theory, even though there was definitely something to it.There surely was an explana- tion for this apparent anomaly that had to do with the sacred astronomy of the Heliopolitan priest-scientists. Starting with Imhotep himself, they,after all, were largely responsible for the design, the choice of location, and the alignments of the various pyramid complexes.
When one looks at the overall positions of the various pyramid fields, the ancient cult centers of Heliopolis and Letopolis, and the Sun Temples of Abu Gohrab, there are at least two alignments emanating from (or extending toward) Heliopolis that clearly have important solar meaning: the Letopolis-Heliopolis line at azimuth 90º implicit of the equinoxes, and the Abu Ruwash-Heliopolis line at azimuth 63º implicit of the Sum- mer Solstice.
The Giza Mound
According to Egyptologists, the city of Letopolis, today called Aussim by the local Arabs, was known as Khem in ancient times. George Goyon says it was sacred to Horus of Khem and was the cult center of a priesthood that served the rebirth cult of the pharaohs during the Pyramid Age. It is located precisely due west of ancient Heliopolis and due north of the Giza plateau.At this precise location, it defines a latitude and longitude that are directly related to the Heliopolis sacred mound and the Great Pyramid.
It is well known that under the Great Pyramid there is an ancient mound that was originally about twelve meters high with a rough cir- cumference of 200 meters. This mound was terraced into “steps” and the Great Pyramid was built on top of this stepped terrace/pyramid, sitting on the latter like a giant cap. On the north face of this mound is a rectangular opening, about a meter square, that forms the entrance of a descending shaft some seventy-two meters long (the Subterranean Passage). This passage leads to a large space, a sort of man-made cave, that Egyptologists call the Subterranean Chamber. This chamber does look very ancient indeed. In direct contrast to the perfect symmetry of the rest of the internal features of the Great Pyramid, however, it is extremely roughly cut. In it, there are strange features that have yet to be explained—a pit or “well” going down some ten meters below the floor, a rectangular horizontal tunnel in the east side that reaches a dead end after a few meters, and, in the western part of the chamber, a strange elevated platform reminiscent of a throne or seat.
It has long been assumed that the Subterranean Chamber was cut out by the same people who built the Great Pyramid. However, althoughevery Egyptology textbook about the pyramids states this as fact, there is nothing that proves or, to be fair, disproves the claim.
In January 1993, we discussed this matter with Edwards in an exchange of letters, suggesting that this so-called Subterranean Chamber might be far older than the Great Pyramid itself:
Dear Dr. Edwards,
[H]as anyone thought that the Subterranean Chamber may have existed before the Cheops [Khufu] Pyramid was built? It may explain many things. It is not impossible that it was an ancient ancestral tomb.Thus found “as is” by the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age. . . . It may also explain why the rock mound was left within the core of the Great Pyramid.The consensus that the rock mound was left to “save work” is, from a construction viewpoint, not really tenable. . . .The ideal building site is a leveled site where ground bearing capacity is good enough to take the load of the proposed structure, but not so hard as to make excavation too difficult.The last site you would select is one with a rock mound on it. Normally, if such a site was unavoidable, an experienced engineer would have the mound leveled. Such groundwork is necessary not only to ensure proper load distribution in the case of, say, a pyramid edifice, but also so that you can set out the corners of the structure, before construction, to ensure proper leveling as the building goes up. It is also awkward to lay large stone blocks level and true when you work around and over a rough, uneven mound. In short, leaving the mound is more of a nuisance than to remove it. Also the risk of uncertain load distribution . . . is too much of a risk to consider, especially when one is responsible for the greatest structure ever built. . . . [An] engineer or architect today would insist on having the mound removed, or persuade the owner of the new edifice to select another site. . . . [My] conclusion . . . is that the builders of the Great Pyramid did not “abandon” the Subterranean Chamber [as Egyptologists say] but, quite the contrary, meant to preserve it in its original state . . . the same way we, today, would insist on leaving an old monument untouched even though it was in a poor state and badly finished [as is the Subterranean Chamber].
In recent years, the same conclusion was arrived at independently by American geologist Robert Schoch:
[A] suggestion [was] made by Robert Bauval, one I had inde- pendently been thinking about too. Perhaps the Subterranean Chamber, and the natural rock mound in which it is found—a rock mound that is now covered over by and enclosed in the Great Pyramid—is much older than the Great Pyramid itself? Was it considered sacred for thousands of years before the Great Pyramid was actually built?54
Schoch, who is best known for having teamed up with John A.West to investigate the age of the Sphinx in 1991–1993, is a great advocate of an older origin for Egyptian civilization. Between 2009 and 2012, he expanded his research to the site of Gobelki Tepi in Turkey, which is estimated to date to c. 8000 BC or perhaps even earlier. He has used his exceptional knowledge of geology to argue the case for an older Sphinx at Giza. It was natural, therefore, that we would team up on several occasions—on television documentaries and at conferences—to present both the geological and astronomical evidence for an older Sphinx.
Schoch is convinced that there was a previous, older phase at Giza, which we both term the “megalithic phase.” This possibly includes not only the Subterranean Chamber of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, but also the so-called Valley Temples, Sphinx Temple, and Mortuary Temples located east of the pyramids.
But if the mound at Giza absolutely had to be retained no matter the huge construction risks and difficulties it would have caused, then clearly the reason could not have been a practical one.The risks could easily have been avoided by placing the pyramid 100 meters or so farther west.The only other motive, then, would have been religious. In other words, the mound and the prehistoric chamber underneath it had to be retained at all cost for a cultic reason.
So what was so important about this mound? We return to this issue in a later chapter. Suffice it here to say that its resolution further brings together the amazing story of the sacred astro-ceremonialism of these interrelated sites.
Meanwhile, let us recall that Imhotep was not only the high priest of Heliopolis, but also, and more signficantly, the personal architect of King Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty and, as such, the designer of the celebrated Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara. Before Imhotep, there was no construction done in Egypt using quarried and hewn stone blocks; everything built before him used mud bricks. Before Imhotep, there were no pyramids, and it would be another century before Khufu erected the Great Pyramid at Giza. So it is appropriate to ask: If the mound of Giza was so important and so sacred, then why did Imhotep not choose this site for his project? Why did he instead choose a site some eight kilometers farther south? As we shall see, Imhotep indeed had good reason to do so.
In the next chapter, we examine the mysterious complex of Saqqara in order to discover the true motive behind Imhotep’s choice of location.As we do so, we will come closer to understanding who this genius really was.
1 Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson, The Illustrated Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2008).
2 Christian Jacq, Magic and Mystery in Ancient Egypt (London: Souvenir Press, 1998), p. 19.
3 I. E. S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt (London: Penguin Books, 1993), p. 284.
4 Edwards, Pyramids of Egypt, p. 286.
5 The initial analysis of the Step Pyramid Complex astronomy is in Robert Bauval, The Egypt Code (New York: Disinformation Company Ltd, 2008), chapters 1 and 2.
6 Abdel-Aziz Saleh, Excavations at HeliopolisVol. I. (Cairo: Cairo University, 1981), pp. 11, 23.
7 See http://www.robertbauval.co.uk/articles/.The Orthodox Christianity Online Encyclopedia contains this curious claim about a nearby street: “In one small street in the el-Matarya district of today’s Cairo (Eid Street/Shek El-Te’eban Street), all kinds of bread and bakery cannot be leavened up to this day, since the Virgin Mary first visited that place with the Holy Family 2,000 years ago and they were refused bread and cast away. This is an ongoing miracle that anyone can witness till this very day. Bread leavens normally in all surrounding streets.”
8 E. C. Krupp, Skywatchers, Shamans, and Kings (New York: Willey Popular Science, 1997), p. 223.
9 R.W. Stoley, “Primitive Methods of Measuring Time, with Special Reference to Egypt,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 17, 1930, p. 167.
10 Richard Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (NewYork: The American University in Cairo Press, 2003), p. 167.
11 Shaw and Nicholson, Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, p. 58.
12 For a full discussion on this issue, see Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert, The Orion Mystery (New York: Crown, 1994).
13 Patrick O’Mara, “Censorinus, the Sothic Cycle, and Calendar Year One in Ancient Egypt: The Epistemological Problem,” JNES vol. 62, 2003, pp. 17–26; see also George Sarton, Ancient Science through the Golden Age of Greece (London: Dover Press, 1993), p. 29.
14 CorneliusTacitus: The Annals of Tacitus, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb (London: Macmillan, 1877).
15 See Gaston Boussier’s Tacitus and Other Roman Studies (New York: Hutchison (Trans) Putnam), 1906.
16 R. T. Rundle Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt (London: Thames & Hudson, 1959), p. 246.
17 Quoted in William Matthew Flinders Petrie, Researches in Sinai (London: J. Murray, 1905), p. 164.
18 Clark, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, p. 263.
19 Bauval, The Egypt Code, pp. 64–65.
20 Bauval, The Egypt Code, pp. 64–65; see also Bauval and Hancock, Keeper of Genesis: Message of the Sphinx (London: Heinemann, 1996).
21 It was first presented by us in The Orion Mystery in 1993 (p. 193), then in Keeper of Genesis in1996, and in The Egypt Code in 2006.We also discuss it and the important role of the subterranean passages in our last work, Black Genesis: The Prehistoric Origins of Ancient Egypt (Rochester,VT: Bear & Company, 2011).
22 E. C. Krupp,“Pyramid Marketing Schemes,” Sky & Telescope, February 1997, pp. 65–75.
23 A. Fairall, “Precession and the Layout of the ancient Egyptian Pyramids,” The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, June 1999.
24 For those wishing to know the full story of this bizarre episode, we refer them to these Internet publications: http://www.grahamhancock. com and http://www.robertbauval.co.uk/articles/.
26 The two-volume thesis, Excavations at Heliopolis I & II (Cairo: Cairo University, 1981), by Abdel Aziz Salem, ex-Dean of Archaeology at Cairo University, shows the diversity of learned opinions on this topic.
27 See David Jeffreys, “Regionality, Cultural and Cultic Landscapes,” Egyptian Archaeology, edited by Willeke Wendrich (Chichester, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), p. 102.
28 J. Baines, “Bnbn: Mythological and Linguistic Notes,” Orientalia, vol. 39, 1970, pp. 389–395.
29 Edwards, Pyramids of Egypt, p. 282; Henry Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), pp. 153, 380 n. 26; J. H. Breasted, The Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972), pp.70–72.
30 Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, p. 380 n. 26.
31 Bauval, The Egypt Code, p. 71.
32 Juan Belmonte and Mosalam Shaltout, In Search of Cosmic Order: Astronomy, landscape and symbolism (Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities Press, 2009), p. 260. Belmonte does not credit us for this discovery, although he surely was aware of it, since he lists The Egypt Code in his bibliography and also refers to it regarding another matter—the serdab of the Step Pyramid.
33 http://www.aeraweb.org/projects/sphinx/; see also Zahi Hawass and Mark Lehner “The Sphinx: Who Built It and Why?” Archaeology Magazine, vol. 47, no.5, September, October 1994, pp.30–41.
34 Edouard Naville, “Le nom du Sphinx dans le livre des morts,” Sphinx, vol.V, 188, p. 193.
35 Rosalie David, Ancient Egyptian Religion, Beliefs and Practices (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982), p. 46.
36 K. Mysliwjec, Studien zum got Atum,Vol.1 (Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 1978).
37 For a detailed study of the lion symbolism and iconography in Egypt, see Brent A. Strawn, What is Stronger than a Lion? Leonine Image and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible and the Near East (Fribourg, Switzerland: Academy Press, 2005), pp. 174–178.
38 George Goyon, Kheops: Le Secret des Batiseurs des Grandes Pyramides (Paris: Pygmalion Press, 1990), p. 92.
39 PeterTomkins and Livio Catullo Stecchini, Secrets of the Great Pyramid (Edison, NJ: BBS Publishing, reprint March 1, 1997).
40 David G. Jeffreys, “The topography of Heliopolis and Memphis: some cognitive aspects,” in H. Guksch and D. Polz (eds), Stationen: Beitrage zur Kulturgeschichte Agyptens (Mainz: Rainer Stadelmann Gewimdet, 1998), pp. 63–71.
41 Joseph Hekekyan, Brit. Lib. Add. MS 37458.21, 1852. Hekekyan wrote: “Right Line identical with the SouthWest and North Eastern Diagonal of the Soris (Cheops) Pyramid and the Obelisk.”
42 George Goyon, “Nouvelles Observations relatives à L’Orientation de la Pyramide de Cheops,” Revue D’Egyptologie,Tome 22, 1970, pp. 91–92.
43 C. Brown, “A Theory on the Pyramids: Hopkins professor tells why they were put there,” Washington Post, C8, 30.11.1983.
45 From The Seventy Great Mysteries of Ancient Egypt, edited by Bill Manley (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003), p. 73.
46 Mark Lehner, “A Contextual Approach to the Giza Pyramid,” Archiv fur Orientforschung, 32 (1985), pp. 136–158; G. Magli “Akhet Khufu: Archaeo-astronomical hints at a common project of the two main pyramids of Giza, Egypt,” NNJ-Architecture and Mathematics, 11, 2009, 35–50, n.4; http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers.
47 See, for example, Kate Spence, “Are the Pyramids aligned with the Stars?” in The Seventy Great Mysteries of Ancient Egypt (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003), p. 71. Also G. Magli, “Topography, astronomy and dynastic history.”
48 Robert Bauval,“A Master plan for the three Pyramids of Giza based on the configuration of the three stars of the Belt of Orion,” Discussions in Egyptology, vol.13, Oxford 1989, pp. 7–18.
49 J. Malek, “Orion and the Giza Pyramids,” review of “The Orion Mystery,” Discussions in Egyptology, vol. 30, 1994, pp. 101–114.
50 Mirolav Verner, Abusir: Realm of Osiris (New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2002), p. 11.
51 Jeffreys, “The topography of Heliopolis and Memphis,” p. 65.
52 Jeffreys did venture to offer “cultural and cultic” possible motives. See “Regionality, Cultural and Cultic Landscapes,” p. 102.
53 Jeffreys, “The topography of Heliopolis and Memphis.”
55 Christian Jacq, Les Grands Sages de L’Egypte Ancienne (Paris: Perrin, 2007), pp. 18–22.
56 Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt, p. 286.
[Excerpted from Imhotep the African: Architect of the Cosmos. Copyright 2013 Robert Bauval & Thomas Brophy.]
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