For centuries, scholars have been wondering how the Egyptians of the ancient period built the pyramids, and especially how they managed to align them with such precision. A new theory suggests that the builders of the pyramids could have used the autumnal equinox to achieve this amazing result.
The layout of the ‘Indian Circle’
The four corners of the Great Pyramid of Giza are astonishingly straight and almost perfectly aligned with the four cardinal points. The three pyramids are themselves aligned with each other in almost perfect proportions. We can now observe this with drones and satellite data; at the time, accomplishing such a feat was not easy.
In 2018, the archaeologist and engineer Glen Dash proposed a simple and elegant hypothesis: the Egyptians would have used the autumn equinox to establish their measurements, with the help of a gnomon (a stick that one plants in the ground to project the shadow of the Sun). Thanks to a series of measurements carried out since the equinox on September 22nd, 2016, Dash has managed to demonstrate that the so-called ‘Indian Circle’ method made it possible to obtain the orientation of the cardinal points with relative precision.
From the stick to the pyramid
Thanks to the gnomon, it is possible to follow the trajectory of the Sun through the sky by placing the shadow projected by the upper end of the stick on the ground at regular intervals. Once this curve is drawn, just draw a circle from the centre of the gnomon, and mark the two points of intersection between the circle and the curve. Draw a line from one point to another and you will get a line traveling from east to west (or vice versa), provided your measurements are taken at the equinox.
The margin of error of this method, measured by Dash, turns out to coincide perfectly with the slight error of one-fifteenth of a degree that we note in the orientation of the three pyramids. Of course, this discovery offers no guarantee that the technique could have been used by the Egyptians, but it nonetheless offers a path that is not devoid of interest.
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