Sparavigna, A. (2018). Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Egypt. PHILICA.COM Observation number 215.
Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Egypt

Amelia Carolina Sparavignaunconfirmed user (Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino)

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In preparing a review on the published archaeoastronomical studies, which have as their subject the monuments of ancient Egypt, first of all it is necessary to consider the Dawn of Astronomy by Norman Lockyer (1894) [1]. It is in this book that we find discussed the great temple of Karnak and its solstice alignment. In four thousand years, the motion of Earth s axis has altered the alignment of just half a degree and consequently the hierophany that we can observe today is still remarkable [2,3].
To continue our study on astronomical alignments of the Egyptian monuments, we need to organize the material in some manner. For instance, we can subdivide it into three groups, related to sun, moon, and stars. Let us stress that the number of articles to examine is quite large, such as the number of monuments. Moreover, sometimes, it is difficult to have a free access to the publications.
For what concerns the first group - that linked to the sun - it is in this group that we can find the largest number of publications showing -experimental- studies of hierophanies, that is, articles giving pictures of the sun illuminating corridors and inner rooms of the monuments on specific days of the year, such as the winter solstice in the case of Karnak temple. Here I want to mention the remarkable work made by David Furlong, who published his studies on orientations according to sun, moon, and the stars in [4]. However, it is in the pages of his site where we can find several pictures related to solar hierophanies. We can see, for instance, the sunrise at Karnak and the study of the sunrise on winter solstice at the Hatshepsut Mortuary Temple, Luxor. In particular, Furlong shows the existence of a light-box-aperture, which allows the sun to illuminate an inner chapel of this temple. After Lockyer s book, in my opinion, it is Furlong s work that we have to consider for assisting our reviews on archaeoastronomy and the monuments of ancient Egypt.

[1] Lockyer, J. N. (1894). The Dawn of Astronomy: A Study of the Temple-worship and Mythology of the Ancient Egyptians,
Macmillan and Company, 1894.
[2] The Temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt. Portal of The Heritage of Astronomy,
[3] Sparavigna, A. C. (2016). The Karnak Temple and the Motion of the Earth’s Axis (June 13, 2016). Available at SSRN:
[4] Furlong, D. (2007). Egyptian Temple Orientation. egyptian_temple_orientation.pdf

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Published on Monday 1st January, 2018 at 16:33:59.

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Sparavigna, A. (2018). Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Egypt. PHILICA.COM Observation number 215.

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