The Great Pyramid of Giza, conjured up by the great Egyptian pharaoh Khufu and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, has a near flawless alignment and an archaeologist believes he may have finally discovered the secret behind its perfect construction.
Out of the three pyramids that stand in El Giza, the Great Pyramid is its oldest at 4,500 years of age and also its largest, towering at 455 feet. While there have been many theories about its alignment, engineer and archaeologist Glen Dash believes he has worked out the engineering prowess that was required to build this monument to Khufu.
It is Dash’s assertion that the engineers who designed the plans for the Great Pyramid of Giza may have used the fall equinox to seamlessly align this pyramid to the cardinal points, according to Live Science.
“The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree.”
Glen Dash has noted that when examining the other two pyramids situated beside it, the Red Pyramid and the Pyramid of Khafre, that these were also constructed with an astonishing degree of accuracy and also contain the same errors.
“All three pyramids exhibit the same manner of error; they are rotated slightly counterclockwise from the cardinal points.”
Research to determine how the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed began on the first day of the fall equinox in 2016, and Dash used a rod known as a gnomon so that he could track the shadow thrown off by the rod over the course of the day.
On the first day of the equinox, the archaeologist explained that “the surveyor will find that the tip of the shadow runs in a straight line and nearly perfectly east-west.”
Any error that occurred would make it run counterclockwise, which is what happened not only with the Great Pyramid, but also the other two pyramids beside it. While this experiment was conducted in Pomfret, Connecticut, the same results would also apply in Egypt.
If the Great Pyramid of Giza was indeed constructed in this fashion, Glen Dash explained that all the ancient Egyptians would have needed would have been “a clear, sunny day,” which is often the case in Egypt. If minor clouds did happen to appear, this would not have affected their work.
Those who constructed the pyramid would have easily been able to determine the correct time of the fall equinox by simply taking the date of the summer solstice and adding 91 days onto this.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) February 19, 2018
While using the fall equinox as their guide would certainly have worked for the ancient Egyptians, the question remains whether this is, in fact, the method and system that they definitively used. As Dash noted, those who constructed the pyramids left no designs or clues behind to let historians know exactly how they managed to align them so well.
“The Egyptians, unfortunately, left us few clues. No engineering documents or architectural plans have been found that give technical explanations demonstrating how the ancient Egyptians aligned any of their temples or pyramids.”
However, when it comes to ease of design, there would have been no simpler way to have worked on the Great Pyramid of Giza’s alignment than to have used the fall equinox as their guide, as Glenn Dash determined.
“It is hard to imagine a method that could be simpler, either conceptually or in practice.”
Glen Dash’s results on his experiments conducted on the alignment of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt have been published in the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture.