The secret of the perfect alignment of the pyramids


For centuries, the Pyramids of Giza have baffled scholars, not only because of their mysterious voids and hidden chambers, but because of the mystery of how the ancient Egyptians they built such impressive structures without modern technology. One of the problems that has given science the most headaches is trying to figure out how the structures they lined up so perfectly.

Although slightly twisted, in general, the square sides of the Great Pyramid of Giza, from 138.8 meters, also known as the Great Pyramid of Khufu, they are quite straight and almost perfectly aligned along the cardinal points, north-south-east-west, gather ScienceAlert.

“The builders of the Great Pyramid of Cheops aligned the great monument with the cardinal points with an accuracy of more than four minutes of arcthat is one fifteenth of a degree”explained the archaeologist and engineer Glen Dash In a study published in the journal The Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture.



In fact, the three largest Egyptian pyramids, two at Giza and one at Dahshur, are remarkably aligned, in a way that is not conceivable to be seen at one time without drones, planes and computers.

“The three pyramids present the same type of error; turn slightly anti-clockwise cardinal points»wrote Glen Dash. Although there are many hypotheses as to how they did this, the use of the pole star to align the pyramids or the shadow of the sunit was never completely clear how they did it.

Dash had another simpler idea. His study suggests that the Egyptians around 4,500 years ago could have used the autumnal equinox to achieve perfect alignment. The equinox is considered the time, twice a year, when the plane of the earth’s equator passes through the center of the solar diskand the length of day and night are practically the same.

Previously, equinox measurements had been neglected because a possible alignment method, because it was not supposed to provide enough precision. But Dash’s work showed that it could have worked in one way: using a stem known as gnome.

To figure this out, Dash conducted his own experiment, from the first day of the autumnal equinox in 2016, September 22, 2016and using a gnome cast a shadow. It followed the tip of the shadow at regular intervals, forming a smooth curve of dots. And at the end of the day, with a taut rope wrapped around the pole, he intercepted two of the curve points and created an almost perfect line which went from east to west.


“At the equinox the surveyor will find that the tip of the shadow follows a straight line and almost perfectly From east to west”, Dash wrote. He also showed that the degree of error is slightly counter-clockwise, which is similar to the slight error found in the alignment of the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre at Giza, and the Red Pyramid of Dahshur.

The experiment was conducted in Connecticut, USA, but Dash said that The same should work in Egypt. In fact, all the ancient Egyptians would have needed to line up the pyramids, Dash explained, it was a clear, sunny day. He added that the Egyptians could have calculated the autumnal equinox by counting 91 days ahead of the summer solstice. But while his article shows that this technique could have been used to align the pyramids, we still don’t have solid evidence that it really was.

“The Egyptians, unfortunately, they left us some clues. No engineering documents or architectural plans have been found that give technical explanations showing how the ancient Egyptians lined up any of their temples or pyramids.”Dash wrote.

While we may never know what really happened, this hypothesis raises an interesting point: that something as simple as shadow mapping during the autumnal equinox it could have been sophisticated enough to cover some of mankind’s most recognizable ancient structures.

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