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The Great Pyramid: What was it built for?

Egyptologists believe that their pyramids developed independently from an original 'mastaba' form,  which was in turn believed to have originated from the covering over of rock-cut tombs of nobility, royalty and Pharaohs.

The earliest reports suggest that a socio-religious shift in thinking occurred in Egypt at the same time as the major constructions of Giza were completed, an idea which correlates with the change in the pharaohs title (It was around this time that the pharaohs began to use the prefix/suffix 'Ra' or 'Re' in their name, identifying themselves with the one, true god. Ra or Re). The development of such unparalleled 'super-structures' at this time, along with such a dramatic change in the social order and worship strongly supports the idea of another, as yet unidentified influence in the Nile valley culture. In addition, there are several compelling facts which tend to suggest that the traditional 'pyramids as tombs' theory can no longer be considered sufficient to explain the presence of such developments at this time.

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The 'standard' Egyptologist theory:

The picture we have developed concerning the development and purpose of these pyramids originates solely from the Greek historian Herodotus, who actually said that Khufu was buried on an island surrounded by water.

There have been various attempts to explain the Great pyramid (and Ghiza). The current explanation from Egyptologists is that the three pyramids were built individually by the 4th dynasty Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure (See Appendices for chronology), which according to the standard chronology, places the pyramid construction phase within the extreme limits of 2,400-2,650 BC. The theory explains the presence of the Giza complex in terms of a funerary complex and is based on the following premises:

  • Herodotus was told that it was built by Cheops.

  • Each pyramid has a 'coffer inside' (The great pyramid was said to have had two originally)

  • Other funerary objects around the pyramids have been associated with Khafre.

  • The 'Polar' passage alignment with 'Alpha Draconis' at 2,400 BC.

However, while the 'Tomb' theory is appealing, there are certain aspects of it that leave 'reasonable room for doubt', such as:

  • Some 4th dynasty pharaohs are credited with more than one pyramid.

  • No original burials have been found in any pyramid in Egypt (Including the opening of several empty coffers).

  • There are no supporting inscription, stele, or papyrus to commemorate the constructions of Giza.

  • The Giza pyramids have no internal funerary inscriptions to 'assist the dead'.

  • Several structural features cannot be explained in 'funerary' terms.

One of the major problems we have today is that there are no contemporary records or inscriptions to commemorate the constructions at Giza. In itself, this is a peculiar fact, as other contemporary Egyptian funerary structures abound with 'sacred' and 'magical' texts and inscriptions inside them to assist the passing of the dead pharaoh into the underworld.



Tradition and word of mouth:

Following Herodotus statement that it was built for Cheops, the Egyptian high priest Manetho stated in the 3rd century BC, that it was built by Suphis. (Sophis incidentally, is also the ancient Egyptian name for Orion; thus the Sothic year). What Manetho also said was that this Suphis was buried on an island surrounded by water, which is obviously contradiction to the 'pyramids as tomb's' theory. Perhaps this statement was a reference to the layout of the pyramids, which have been compared to Orion's belt.

While many of the original testimonies vary in detail, the name 'Khufu' is constantly repeated in relation to the great pyramid (HWFW, Khufu, Shufu, Suphis, Cheops, Chephren, Shephren etc). It must be remembered however, that with the possible exception of Manetho, most references are based on the original testimony of Herodotus.

It is worth exploring the name 'Khufu' a little further here:

Egyptologists explain that Khufu's name had become 'a powerful charm', and was put on monuments as a sign of sanctity and protection. In other words, it was used in later times as the sign of the cross has been used in Christian countries for nearly two thousand years. Of course, we do not assume that every representation of a person bearing the symbol of a cross is Jesus Christ, nor that every building with a cross was personally ordered to be built by Jesus. Neither do we assume that every person named Jesus is the original Jesus Christ.

In relation to this, Fix cites evidence to show that the quarry-marks and cartouches that have been used to attribute pyramids to kings may have been misinterpreted. Some of the cartouches of 4th-dynasty kings may originally have been sacred symbols identifying different schools of religious thought, rather than primarily the names of individual pharaohs. The historically known kings Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure may well have appropriated, and possibly restored, the three Giza pyramids as their own memorial monuments, and may have been responsible for some of the surrounding auxiliary structures -- small subsidiary pyramids, temples, tombs, and boat pits -- but there is no conclusive evidence that they started and finished the three major pyramids themselves.

'The very able D. Davidson shows a positive engineering proof, eight definite proofs in fact, that Cheops' body was never interred in the Great Pyramid' (7).

(Personal note: Having read the book, I can find no justification for this statement).

There is no question that the name Khufu (Cheops) and its several variations have been associated with the structure since at least Herodotus time. The discovery of 'Khufu' (and Khnum Khufu), inscriptions inside the relieving chambers supports this connection. The fact that this integral information about the structure was independently preserved orally by the Egyptian priesthood for thousands of years is a testimony to both the priesthood and the oral tradition itself.

It seems relevant that the name accredited to the building of the structure (Knufu-Shufu-Suphis), is also name that is independently associated with both a God (Khnum-Khufu), a sacred/good luck charm (Khufu)and the ancient name of the constellation Orion.



Criticism of the tomb theory.

It is important to 'keep in context' over this issue However, the truth is that there are a number of anomalous features of the great pyramid that are not contextual. The Great Pyramid is the only pyramid built with an ascending system of passages.  All the other pyramids only have a descending system with the 'coffer' placed below. Also there are a number of specific design features that suggest that the pyramid may not have been built to house a body after all. What evidence is there that it was a tomb? The empty coffer is appealing but there are no original funerary hieroglyphics, paintings or inscriptions to be found on or in the Great Pyramid or the coffer.  Almost all the other funerary monuments in Egypt are covered with protective funerary inscriptions.  It is unlikely that a King would have been buried there with no inscriptions and paintings for his tomb, as these were a form of afterlife protection. The spells and texts of this period are expected.

Looking at the other contemporary 'Heliopean' pyramids (and therefore keeping in context), we find that they all show similar construction features (portcullises, corbels, corner sockets, casing stones, etc), none have funerary inscriptions and none have produced an original body.

Petrie (12), makes an interesting observation concerning Herodotus' claim that 'Cheops' was buried 'in a subterranean region, on an island there surrounded by the waters of the Nile'. He first calculates that in order for the Nile waters to 'surround' the coffer, it needs to be another fifty feet below the existing 'subterranean' chamber. He then produces a candidate for the chamber. 'Exactly such a locality, too, both sepulchral, and with the required hydraulic conditions, has since been discovered about 1,000 ft S. East of the pyramid building'. (Plate XIX). The structure is a large and deep pit on the square and bottom of which rests an 'antique, rude sarcophagus of very gigantic proportions'. The pit is surrounded by a trench, which is deep enough to descend below the adjacent waters of the Nile, allowing it to fill with water. It is called 'Campbell's' tomb.

On a final note, it is noted that the Ghiza plateau was subject to a spectacular phase of ground-work before the pyramids were built, with the whole plateau being levelled (to accuracy of within less than an inch over the whole site - see Petrie), being covered with a limestone and basalt pavement which runs under all the pyramids. It is also curious that Khufu, the builder of the great pyramid (and therefore the first pyramid), chose to build on the edge of the site, leaving the centre position for Khafre, his son who reigned after him.


The Snoferu Dilemma:

The Dashur pyramids remained a site of worship for well over 1,000 years. Snoferu's cult was still alive in the new kingdom. The traditional names of the pyramids are:

The Red pyramid - 'Snofero's northern pyramid'

The 'Bent' pyramid - 'Snoferu's southern pyramid

Meidum - 'Djed Snoferu' Sneru endures''

A decree from the time of Pepi I (6th Dynasty), which exempts the priests of 'the two pyramids of Snoferu' from certain taxes, was written in relation to the 'Red' and 'Bent' pyramids at Dashur. Cartouches of Snoferu have also been found on both pyramids (On the corner-stones and upper chambers of the 'Bent' pyramid), but none yet on the Meidum pyramid.

Snoferu is only credited with a reign of just 23 years (2,575 - 2,551 BC) (2), suggesting that he managed to move three times the amount of stone as his son, Cheops (Khufu), but in only half the time.

Each of the pyramids was built in a completely different architectural style, with the bent pyramid showing two separate styles alone (The bottom courses of masonry curve upwards at the corners, while the top half are built horizontally as at Giza).

 It is noticeable that the two Dashur pyramids which are attributable to Snoferu align to Heliopolis, as do other pyramids built in the 4th-5th Dynasties (see below).

This casts a long shadow on the 'pyramids as tombs' theory.

Apart from circumstantial funerary remains from around Giza, the fact is that the only 'evidence' that the pyramids themselves were intended for funerary purposes is from Herodotus original text, which was itself not an observation, but rather a third person narrative.

If the super-pyramids were constructed primarily to house the tombs of Pharahos, why place another coffer in the queens chamber of the Great pyramid and why is the Kings-chamber coffer so small that if we were to place a fully mummified 'body' in it, we would be dealing with the tomb of a child and not an adult. Why are coffers found still sealed in their original condition, only to be found empty on opening them and why build more than one pyramid? These are the questions which have yet to be satisfactorily answered before the 'pyramids as tombs' theory can be fully accepted.



The Pyramid as a Geodetic Marker.

There has been in the past, research that demonstrated the inclusion of geometry and astronomy in the dimensions of the pyramid. and Giza The neatly encapsulated dimensions of the Earth in the pyramid's dimensions, lend weight to the theory that Giza is a 'Marker' of the 30th parallel, a latitude which was had a significance to other 'sacred' sites in the past. These include Giza (Heliopolis), then moving East, Eridu 'King-ship moved there after the flood', Persepolis (No-one lived there in 600 BC), Harappa and Lhasa (exactly 30 degrees East).

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but it is fact that the dimensions of the Grat pyramid represent the earth's northern hemisphere on a scale of 1:43,200: It's perimeter equals a half minute of latitude at the equator; the perimeter of the corner sockets equals a half minute of equatorial longitude, or 1:43,200 of the earth's circumference; and its height, including the platform, is 1:43,200 of the earth's polar radius.[3] It is only since the carrying out of satellite surveys from space in the 1970s that scientists have obtained measurements of the earth as accurate as those contained in the Pyramid.

Stecchini claimed that a number of other locations throughout the ancient world were located in exact geodetic relation to the longitude meridian of the Great Pyramid. Of these the Persian capital Persepolis, whose location otherwise appears senseless to scholars, is perhaps the most straight forward to explain. Persepolis was located at 30� 00' north latitude, and three units of exactly 7� 12' east of the meridian of the Great Pyramid. The reason for this 7� 12' unit was that the Persian Empire of King Darius the Great was idealized as three geodetic squares of 6� of latitude, stretching from 30� to 36� north. At 33� north, the midpoint of this distance, 6� of latitude is equal to 7� 12' of longitude, thus making these regions true squares. Among the other ancient sites exhibiting similar geodetic precision, according to Stecchini, are: Nimrod, Sardi, Susa, Mycenae, Dodona and Delphi, as well as the Kaaba at Mecca, and Mt. Gerizim, the original Jewish holy centre, before it was moved to Jerusalem in 980 BC.

The following assertion made by the pre-eminent Egyptologist, Ludwig Borchardt is typical. He is commenting here on an Egyptian inscription stating that the distance between Behdet (at the northern tip of the Nile Delta) and Syene (at the first cataract near Aswan in the south) was 106 atur, "one must absolutely exclude the possibility that the ancients may have measured in degrees." Borchardt gives absolutely no grounds for this assertion. It is instead invoked as an article of faith. It is ironic that it was Cole's survey of the Great Pyramid, commissioned by Borchardt himself, which provided Stecchini with his best evidence to refute this long standing prejudice. It should be pointed out, however, that Stecchini derived his knowledge of Egyptian geodetic measurement from his reading and interpretation of hundreds, if not thousands, of hieroglyphic texts. In the case of Borchardt's quote cited above, if one simply checks the distance, it does in fact measure 106 geodetic atur. An atur was 15,000 royal cubits, which was also equal to 17,000 of the older geodetic cubits. The figure 106 atur is significant because it is 1/12 of the length of the meridian from the equator to the pole. (This figure translates to 15� latitude).

Piazzi Smyth suggested that the Giza complex was the centre of the world's landmasses.

Hapgood's excellent research on the Piri-reis map demonstrated that the map was centred on the region of Cairo. This same map (and others),  show the outline of the Antarctic continent before it froze over. At present, according to Radio-carbon dating of core samples taken from the Rosss-sea bed, it is estimated that the last time this was possible was at around 4,000 BC.

(More about Egyptian Geodesy)


Pyramid Alignments:

It is now realised that the corners of many of the large Egyptian pyramids from the third to fifth dynasties align towards Heliopolis.

Pyramid sight lines at Abusir, Saqqara and Giza

It was Hans Goedicke who made the earliest suggestions. They were not published first in a scientific journal, but in a newspaper in 1983. And what does the theory say? Goedicke noticed that there seemed to be a common constructional element at several necropolises: one corner of each structure is often on a straight line with the same corner of other structures in the necropolis. These alignments are found at Giza (south-east corners of Khufu, Kaphre and Menkaure), Abusir (north-west-corner of the pyramids of Sahure, Neferirkare and Neferefre), Saqquara (south-east-corners of Sekhemkhet, Djoser, Userkaf und Teti) - and even between necropolises as Goedicke suggested that the east face of Userkaf's Pyramid is aligned with the same face of Khufu's Pyramid several kilometres to the north.

Goedicke later concluded that these sight lines were aimed at the solar temple at Iunu (Heliopolis).

Miroslav Verner later confirmed that the south east corners of the three Giza pyramids and the north west corners of Sahure, Neferirkare, and the unfinished pyramid at Abusir are aligned with Heliopolis.  He suggests that these alignments intersected at the temple of the sun god Re, at the tip of the obelisk, which may have represented a fixed point in the world of the ancient Egyptians in that period.  (Verner, The Pyramids, 2001, p.302)

As we can see, Giza has two sets of corner-alignments, not one.

Should we arrive at the conclusion that there was an overall design for the Giza complex, and a specific one too, then we are able to open our eyes to a new set of possibilities. It is also important to determine whether the great pyramid itself (and all of its chambers), was built from an original design. There are various definitive studies that show exactly that.

(More about the Alignment of Egyptian Pyramids)



Astronomy and the Great Pyramid:

It has long been argued that the Great pyramid embodies certain fundamental astronomical data in its dimensions. Proctor (23) said 'we see in all the Egyptian pyramids the evidence of an astronomical plan'. As there are certain clear evidences of attention to astronomy in the great pyramid, any argument that other discoveries of astronomical figures are 'coincidental' have little merit. Proctor firmly believed that the grand gallery and other passages were designed for determining the declination and ascension of stars.

Apart from the polar shaft, and cardinal alignment, which are obvious astronomical features, it has been long suspected that the great pyramid may have been originally designed as an astronomical observatory. In Le-Measurier's interpretation, he suggests that the pyramid was built in different phases, one of which, up to the level of the 'king's' chamber was for observing the stars, with the rest of the structure being built in a later construction phase and for another purpose. In return, it is argued that the proximity of so many other pyramids, with similar 'funerary' features reveals the true context of the pyramids. However, the very same argument was applied to the British stone circles, where in places like Scotland, where there are arguably too many 'recumbent' circles in some areas to explain in terms of just astronomy.

The British astronomer Richard Proctor, found a reference in the works of the Roman philosopher Proclus in his commentary on Plato's 'Timaeus'.  In 1883 he published 'The Great Pyramid, Observation Tomb, and Temple', in which he suggested, more reasonably, that the Great Pyramid was used as an observatory before its completion. His proposition explains the 'Gallery' in terms of an observation point (thus the evenly spaced holes in the walls), for viewing the transit of the stars (sun). He claimed that the pyramid was used in that state then re-used as a funerary complex later. It has been since discovered that parts of the ascending passage were cut through existing masonry, which supports his theory.

Early Arab historians also support the idea that the Great Pyramid was built as an observatory and that it contained reproductions of the celestial spheres. For example:

Murtadi, in 1584, said that the magical priest Saiouph made his abode, at the time of the deluge, in the pyramid; which, he says "was a temple of the stars, where there was a figure of the sun, and one of the moon, both of which spoke."  He mentions the great grandson of Noah, (Bardesi ?), who, as priest, "applied himself to the worship of the stars." He adds "It is reported that he made the great laws, built the pyramids, and set up for idols the figures of the stars".

The concavity of the great pyramid's faces (and the determination of the equinoxes)

The photo above illustrates the curious optical phenomena that appears on the pyramid without its casing, at dawn and sunset at the time of the equinoxes (around 21 March and 22 Sept), a shadow appears on the south face of the great pyramid, apparently dividing it in half, with the shaded side nearest the sun. The phenomenon occurs because the core-masonry is concave on all four faces by a yard deep. The casing stones that exist show clearly that the finished surface wasn't concave. This strange feature was first illustrated in La Description de l'Egypte in the late 1700's (Volume V, pl. 8). Flinders Petrie noticed a hollowing in the core masonry in the center of each face and wrote that he "continually observed that the courses of the core had dips of as much as �� to 1�" (The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, 1883, p. 421). Though it is apparently more easily observed from the air, the concavity is measurable and is visible from the ground under favorable lighting conditions.

The purpose for the concavity of the Great Pyramids remains a mystery and no satisfactory explanation for this feature has been offered. The indentation is so slight that any practical function is difficult to imagine unless that is its exact function was to highlight the day of the equinoxes)

Maragioglio and Rinaldi described a similar concavity on the pyramid of Menkaure, the third pyramid at Giza. Miroslav Verner wrote that the faces of the Red Pyramid at Dahshur are also "slightly concave."

An Extraordinary effort was applied in order to achieve this effect. It was deliberately built into the design.

In Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture, Clarke and Englebach wrote:

Most pyramids have individual peculiarities which are as yet difficult to explain. For instance, in the Great Pyramid, as possibly in certain others, a large depression in the packing-blocks runs down the middle of each face, implying a line of extra-thick facing there. Though there is no special difficulty in arranging the blocks of a course in such a manner that they increase in size at the middle, there is no satisfactory explanation of the feature any more than there is of the 'girdle-blocks' [in the Great Pyramid's ascending passage] already discussed. [p. 128]

A. Pochan (16), in the thirties (1935) put forward a paper on the subject to the Institute d'Egypt. In response, the following was written in 'La Bourse Egyptienne': 'Yesterday evening, Mr. Pochan, to whom we already owe the discovery of red paint that once covered the pyramids, revealed quite a curious phenomenon to the Institute d'Egypte. It seems that the great pyramid constituted a precision instrument that allowed the date of the equinoxes to be determined exactly to within twelve hours'. Pochan considered this the reason that the door was placed to the side slightly as the feature might have created extra water-ingress had the door been central. However, almost as if to contradict this idea, the second pyramid has no concavity, and yet the door is off-centre; similarly, the third pyramid does have concavity, but a central door.

The 'solstice effect' is a result of concavity and cardinal alignment. The real question is whether the effect was intentional or not. The concave aspect of the pyramids face suggests that the 'change of plan' theory never applied to the external design, which continued without change (excepting the course heights), to the top. As there is no recognised structural benefit from this design, and considering the dates that the shadow effect occurs (Solstice), it seems reasonable to assume that this SOLAR event might have been deliberately incorporated into the design.

(The Khufu Calendar)



The Great pyramid as a Solar Temple:

It was a common feature of 'Solar' temples around the world to be painted red. The use of red paint to denote a religious building is still observed to this day in Tibet (also on the 30th parallel). Pochan (16) says - 'at the tomb of Pen-Meruw at Giza, the name of the Great pyramid is followed by the determinative reserved for solar temples (This is a pyramid shape, with a small 'pyramidion' on top) and 'Khefre' is one of the Egyptian names for the sun (sunrise, daytime, sunset)'.

The following extract is from Pochan (16), who proved conclusively that the great pyramid, or a part of it, was at some time, painted with red-ochre paint. He says: 'As I proceeded to measure the casing stones of the great pyramid, a peculiar fact attracted my attention. Some detached blocks lined up a few metres from the pyramid, which apparently had once been a part of the facing, showed a curious red-brown tint on their flat sloping side.

To what phenomenon could this tint - which the blocks' other surfaces did not have - be attributed? To time? Light? To the sand - as unferruginous as it was - that they had covered the blocks for so long? It is hardly likely, for the other surfaces would have shown beginnings of a similar transformation. Moreover, a knife blade penetrates the coloured surface with difficulty and cuts through the other surfaces easily.

Chemical tests gave me an immediate result: the facing blocks were coated with a paint having a ferrous oxide base (red ochre). Tests carried out on other parts of the sample were negative...', and he continues 'However, it was necessary to verify this fact. The second pyramid still retains part of its casing, which definitely seems to be coloured red fragments taken from the pyramids casing, when subjected to chemical tests, showed the same reaction as those taken from the facing blocks of the great pyramid'. We must also keep in mind that the Sphinx's face is also painted red. Pliny informs us that it was painted because of a cult However; formal proof that the pyramid was painted came to me in the course of a separate examination of the rather deteriorated casing stones found on the pyramids south face. E. Baraize and I ascertained that some of these blocks showed, on their uppermost horizontal surfaces, traces of red paint corresponding to the breaks between the rocks that had been placed directly above them; the coating was clearly thicker and showed fins'.

Like the Chaldean ziggurats and the pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara, the pyramids of Tajjin and Vera Cruz have seven recessed terraces. This must also have been true of the pyramid of Cuicuilco. The strangest thing is that the pyramid of Tajin was completely painted red, like the pyramid of Cheops and Kephren; its 365 steps and red colour indubitably prove that it, like Egypt's great pyramid, was a temple to the sun, its seven terraces, like those of the Chaldean ziggurats, being dedicated to the seven planets. (16). The only English pyramid, Silbury hill also has seven steps.



The Association with Isis-Osiris.

When the Sphinx was cleared by Vyse and Cavaglia, they uncovered a Greek inscription saying that the sphinx was the 'Guardian of the tomb of Osiris'.(10)

The Inventory Stele, found in 1857 by Auguste Mariette just to the east of the Pyramid, dates to about 1500 B.C., but according to Maspero and other experts, shows evidence of having been copied from a far older stele contemporaneous with the Fourth Dynasty. In the Stele, Khufu himself tells of his discoveries made while clearing away the sands from the Pyramid and Sphinx. He dedicated the account to Isis, who he called the "Mistress of the Western Mountain," "Mistress of the Pyramid," and identified the Pyramid itself as the "House of Isis."

Davidson (2), first points out some of the pyramid's 'shadow-effects' on certain days, one of which is Nov 1st. An important day to ancient Egyptians. He says:

'The rites of Osiris in ancient Egypt were annually celebrated on the day of the Festival of the Dead, November 1st. Owing to the fact that the noon reflections of the great pyramid defined the day of the celebrations, Osiris in later Egyptian times, was associated with the pyramid. Hence the fact that Isis, the female counterpart of Osiris, was designated in later times, "The Queen of the pyramid," and the "Mistress of the commencement of the year". When the November year was discarded for the Sothic or Sirius year, Isis followed the alteration of the years beginning, and was identified with the star Sothis or Sirius. The original November year beginning aspect of the goddess was Hathor, later absorbed by Isis. 'The Festival of the Dead', or 'Day of the Dead', is also celebrated in Mexico. Where it is on the 17th of November, and is regulated by Pleiades. The Mexicans had a tradition that the world had been partly destroyed, and were afraid that a similar catastrophe would annihilate them at the end of a cycle.

Strangely, the 17th of November, is an 'alternative, modern' day for the 1st. According to Plutarch, 'The alternative dating on the fixed Alexandrian (Julian) calendar of his time, fell on the 17th day of the Egyptian monh of Atyr (Hahor). In the XIIth dynasty, the same alternative dating would be the 17th day of Month I, sowing season, - the 1st month of the fixed 1st November year' (2). The aborigines of Australia also have their day of the dead in November, when the Pleiades are most bright. November was called the 'Month of the angel of death' by the Persians and in the XIX dynasty of the tradition, the 'angel of death' appears as Hathor. (The house of Horus). The association between Hathor and Pleiades, whose modern name is the 'seven sisters' was known in ancient Egypt as the 'seven Hathors'. (2 pp 26).

The XIXth Dynasty narrative of the 'Destruction of Mankind' states that 'Ra ordered in the midst of the night to pour out the water of the vessels, and the fields were entirely covered with water and there came the goddess (Hathor/Venus) at the morning, and she found the fields covered with water Then Ra ordered that libations be made to her at every festival of the new-year. The narrative defines this as the 'Festival of Hathor'. (2)

The Connection with Sirius, the 'dog-star' was recognised by several Arabian writers, who have seen a mystic correlation between the design of the pyramid and the revolutions of Sirius, the judge-god of the dead.

Sirius was known as Sothis by the Egyptians, thus the so called Sothic year, or revolution of 1460 years.  Some authors think Hermes, god of wisdom, was Sirius, or Sothis.  Hermes is Thoth, or Anubis, the deity presiding over the dead, and yet being the originator of learning.  Tradition among Arab writers and revived among certain mystical Christian writers of the 19th century, indicated Seth as the builder of the Great Pyramid. Seth, in this case could be Sothis, ('suphis') or Sirius.  

No star was so venerated in Egypt as Sirius, associated, as it was, with the time of the annual overflow of the Nile, which the rising of the star foreshadowed.  The hieroglyphic for Sirius is, oddly enough, the triangular face of a pyramid.  Some 19th Century writers suppose that the pyramid may have been dedicated to this venerated star or period.  It was also believed that the pyramid was used for observations of Sirius.

The 'star-shafts' might be expected to be included into this section, but it has yet to be explained how they could be utilized for astronomy. While it is true that they might have an association with stars, and an immense amount of labour was spent on building them, their relationship to the purpose of the pyramid has yet to be determined.

Bauval argued that the Great Pyramid was used during the 4th dynasty for religious ceremonies connected with the stellar rebirth cult for kings: the four shafts served a fertility or phallic role, and assisted the soul of the departed king to ascend to the celestial kingdom of Osiris-Orion. Bauval finds support for this in the Pyramid Texts, inscribed in several pyramids of the 5th and 6th dynasties.

The pyramids were a mirror image, the Earthly representation of the Belt of Orion, the destination of the dead King! The Egyptians were dualists -- everything they thought and believed was a duality. Everything had its counterpart, cause and effect, left and right, East and West, death and rebirth -- nothing was ever seen in isolation. They had constructed at Giza an exact replica of the Duat destination of the King. Far from being a tomb, the pyramid was the starting point of the King's journey back to the stars from whence he came, back to the First Time. Bauval initially made use of the astronomy program Skyglobe 3,5 for the PC. Though too inaccurate for serious work -- it does not take proper motion, rotation, refraction, for example, into account -- it was sufficient to clarify Bauval's mind as to the value of his discovery. Skyglobe 3,5 will plot the Milky Way on its charts if requested, and doing so added further proof to Bauval's theory. Giza is West of the Nile -- putting the plane of our galaxy into the equation showed that Orion is "West" of the Milky Way, in proportion to Giza and the Nile.

Orion and the placement of Egyptian pyramids according to Bauval/Gilbert

But the authors found even more similarities which cannot be explained by coincidence:

  • Star brightness and pyramid size: Giza consists of two almost equally tall pyramids and a smaller one which is only 53% of the height of the other two. The belt of Orion consists of two almost similarly bright stars, and one with only 50% of the brightness of the other two. The smallest pyramid is the one which deviates from the diagonal, as does the dimmest star!

  • Other pyramids in Egypt fit the picture of the sky: the two large pyramids at Dashur are a match for the brightest two stars in the open cluster "Hyades", two more pyramids near Giza are bright stars of Orion, and the pyramids of Abusir are exactly where the head of Orion should be

  • Selection of construction sites: The centre of the pyramid constellation, Giza, was chosen so that the Nile exactly represents the Milky Way at the position of Orion's belt. The Milky Way represents the field of reeds in the legends which had to be crossed to reach the netherworld, just like the pharaoh had to cross the Nile to go from the land of the living on the eastern bank to the place of the dead on its western bank (where all the pyramids and tombs were located).

(Triple Circles in UK and Orion Worship)


A clear division can be identified between the orientation of ancient Egyptian temples of upper Egypt when compared with those of Lower Egypt. Lockyer (2), made note of the fact that whereas the early dynastic northern 'Memphite' pyramids, Giza pyramids, and Sphinx were orientated cardinally to face equinoxial phases of the solar cycle, the great temples in the south of Egypt, such as Karnack, the Colossi of Memnon and  Abydoss, were all orientated to capture the suns rays on Solstice days of the year.

The Valley temple, Giza was associated with Isis (As evidenced by the inscriptions on the 'Sphinx' stella). The Osireion, which shows remarkable similarities in construction, was associated with Osiris

The Osireion (left), and the Valley-temple (right).



The pyramid as an 'Initiation' Centre.

According to the theosophical tradition the Great Pyramid was originally used as a temple of initiation. This idea was researched by Marsham Adams, who in 1895, wrote the book 'The Book of the Master' (...of the Hidden House), in which he showed that 'The soul of the departed is pictured as following the passages and chambers of the great pyramid. In this version the pyramid itself is seen as an allegory in stone of the ways and trials of the future life' (2). To quote Adam's himself, he said that the Egyptian Book of the Dead refers to an "ideal structure and to the passages and chambers therein, and that these passages and chambers followed precisely the order and description of those of the Great Pyramid ". The sacred procession of the Egyptian dead moves silently along as they pass to the tribunal of Osiris. They enter into the Hidden Places and penetrate the secret of the House of Light (compare the ancient Egyptian name for the Great Pyramid - "Khut," or "Light").

Sir Gaston Maspero endorsed this thesis and added: "The Pyramids and the Book of the Dead reproduce the same original, the one in words, the other in stone." Maspero supported the contention that 'The Secret House was the scene where the neophyte was initiated into the mysteries of Egypt'.

What is the Egyptian "Book of the Dead"? It was believed by the ancient Egyptians that the "Book of the Dead" was written by Thoth. He was the scribe to the gods and was the one responsible for speaking the words of creation and putting it into effect. Its name is not a correct description of it. It should be named the "Chapters of the Coming Forth by Day". It is mainly concerned with the state of the departed soul and its trials and existences in the afterlife. According to one of the world's experts on the 'Book of the Dead', Sir Wallis Budge, it was not of Egyptian origin but its ideas were brought to Egypt by a different culture and people.

Ivimy (21), points out the similarities between the 'Bardo Thodol' or 'Tibetan Book of the Dead', from the Buddhist philosophy. He says 'It bears such a remarkable resemblance to the Egyptian Book of the Dead as to suggest that there was some ultimate connection between the two The similarities between the two books is particularly noticeable in regard to the doctrines of the judgment and in the funeral rites they prescribe for the purpose of assisting the deceased to pass successfully through his ordeal. Both treaties are, in effect, "nothing more than guide-books for the traveler in the realm beyond death".

The visual similarities of the Am-duat are clear. The 12-hours of the 'Duat' may represent the journey taken by the sun on the equinox. 



The Great Pyramid and Religion:

It has been claimed that the pyramid is the Bible 'in stone'. Various authors have pointed out that the Ark of the covenant is described as 2.5 cubits long and 1.5 high, which at 25 inches per cubit has the same dimensions as the kings coffer; Similarly, it has been noted that Solomon's 'molten sea' has the same capacity as the kings chamber.

Ivimy (21), suggests that the Sun-god 'Atum', and 'Adam' were one and the same ruler or king

The Bible includes some interesting quotes, which have been interpreted as regarding the pyramid:-

ISIAH 19 : 19, 20  - 'In that day there shall be an alter to the lord in the midst of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the lord, and it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the lord of hosts in the land of Egypt'. The significance of this quote is magnified when it is realised that the word 'Alter' in Hebrew means 'The lion of God'. Ezekiel describes the Alter as Pyramidal, and calls it the 'mountain of God'. It is also a geographical fact that the Giza complex is situated at the border of Upper and Lower Egypt, which places it in 'the midst' and at 'the border thereof'. (15)

Henry O'Brien (26) started writing a book in the 1830's called 'The Pyramids of Egypt for the First Time Unveiled'. Unfortunately, he died soon after, and we are bereft of his most excellent insights on the subject. He did, however, include certain observations in his other literature. On the purpose of the pyramids he said: 'Others have fancied them (The pyramids) intended for sepulchers; and as the Egyptians, taught by their ancient Chaldean victors, connected astronomy with their funereal and religious ceremonies, they seem not in this to be far astray, if we but extend the application to their sacred bulls and other animals, and not merely to their kings, as Herodotus would have us suppose. The immense sarcophagus lying in the interior of the first or Great pyramid, with the bone found by the Earl of Munster in the second (Note - Then Major Fitzclarence, March 2nd 1818), must put this question beyond the possibility of doubt'. The bone he referred to was determined to be the thigh-bone of an ox.  He continues by describing another sarcophagus found by Belzoni at 'Biban el Moluk' ('The gates of the King' or ' the universal king of the ancients'), which was 9ft 5in long, 3ft 9in wide and 2ft 1in high, sounding like a bell and transparent as glass, which he believed was a relic of the Apis cult, supported by the discovery of an embalmed bull in the innermost chamber. (Remembering also the huge discovery of embalmed bulls at Saqqara). O'Brien explores the idea that the 'foreign dynasty', and most specifically Khufu and Khafre were remembered unfavourably by the Egyptians, presumably for 'prohibition of sacrifices and closing the temple doors'. He then asks the reasonable question. Exactly what the particular temples alluded to were? His conclusion was that they were the pyramids.

In support of this theory, O'Brien introduces a fascinating piece of information. He says: 'This conclusion receives additional force from the conversation which Wilford, in his "Dissertation upon Egypt and the Nile" (Asiatic Researches), tells us he had with several learned Brahmins, when, upon describing to them the form and bearings of the great Egyptian pyramid, one of them asked if it had not a communication under ground with the river Cali? Being answered that such communication was spoken of as having once existed, and that a well was still to be seen, they unanimously agreed that it was a temple appropriated to the worship of Padma-devi, and that the supposed tomb was a trough, which, on certain festivals, her priests used to fill with the sacred water and lotus-flowers'.

  • The Indus valley culture had a world mountain called 'Mount Meru'. It was also referred to as a world 'spine', as is the 'Djed' of Osiris.

  • The Great Pyramid is called the 'Golden mountain' in the sacred Hindu writings (7).

  • The Hindoos call it 'Rucm-Adri', or the 'Golden mountain'. 'The sacred books of the Hindoos speak of three pyramids in Egypt, and they describe this as "The Golden Mountain", and the other two as mountains of silver and less valuable material' .(15)

In reference to 'Padma-devi', as mentioned by Wilford, It appears that she is a version of 'Brahma' the creator. We find that she is a part of the trinity formed with Vishnu and Shiva in Vedic myth. 'Worshippers of Vishnu, Shiva or Devi visualize the deity as containing all three functions (preserver, destroyer and creator) within one form or concept Shiva rides the bull; Vishnu flies on the divine eagle Garuda; goddess Devi mounts the lion'.(27)



A Suppository for knowledge:

The idea that the pyramid was in some way a 'Suppository' of knowledge, has held the imagination of writers and thinkers. Some of the earliest accounts of the pyramids suggest a link with Hermes and Thoth. This idea is not as without foundation as it may at first appear to be:

Some Arabic-Coptic accounts of the Great pyramid say that it was once covered with inscriptions, some inside and some out. For example:

The story of King Saurid, as told by Murtadi (Text), includes references to 'two great mountains' and the 'mountain of fire'. He says that Saurid had a dream '300 years before the deluge' in which he saw the 'earth overturned', and that he ordered the pyramids to be built to 'write their wisdom upon them' and 'secure in them what was of most esteem....with the bodies of their kings....that the violence of the water might not destroy it'.

Also, according to the accounts of Masoudi, a papyrus, found in the monastery of Abou Hormeis, said to have been inscribed with 'Ancient Coptic characters', apparently said the following 'Upon the walls were written the mysteries of science, astronomy, geometry, physics, and much useful knowledge, which any person, who understands our writing can read' (2).Davidson makes an interesting suggestion, that the Coptic traditions had begun to confuse the texts and pictures of the 'Secret house' in the 'Book of the dead', with the Great pyramids chambers and passages, and that this is the origin of the myth of the internal passages of the pyramid having been inscribed within. The fact that there are no such inscriptions supports this idea.

Regarding the 'wisdom' inscribed on them, Herodotus reports that inscriptions of strange characters were to be found on the pyramid's casing stones and in AD 1179 the Arab historian Abd el-Latif recorded that these inscriptions were so numerous that they could have filled "more than ten thousand written pages". William of Baldensal, a European visitor of the early fourteenth century, tells how the stones were covered with strange symbols arranged in careful rows. However, in 1356, following a severe earthquake, the Arabs took fallen casing stones from the pyramid to rebuild mosques and fortresses in the Cairo, which had been levelled. As the stones were cut into smaller pieces and reshaped, all traces of the ancient inscriptions were apparently removed from them.

There are no known inscriptions inside, apart from the hidden graffiti. This leaves us with the casing stones. Should this wisdom have extended beyond the price of vegetables, as reported by Herodotus Petrie puts the issue to rest in his report; see extract below:-

Extract from Petrie :- With regard to the many records of inscriptions on the outside of the Pyramid, a few words are necessary. From the time of Herodotus down to the 15th century, inscriptions are continually mentioned, and their great abundance is described with astonishment by travellers. This has led to the supposition that the builders had left records inscribed on the outside, although not a letter is to be found on the inside. But against the possibility of this view, it must be remembered that no early inscriptions are found on the casing remaining at the Great Pyramid, nor on any of the innumerable fragments of those stones, nor on the remaining casing of the Second Pyramid, nor on that of the Third Pyramid, nor on the casing of the South Pyramid of Dahshur, nor on the casing of the Pyramid of Medum, nor on occasional blocks uncovered at the Sakkara Pyramids. In fact, not a single example of hieroglyphs has ever been seen on any casing, nor on any fragments of casing. The truth then about these numberless inscriptions appears to be that they were all travellers' graffiti. Strabo says that the characters were like old Greek, but were not readable; this points to Phoenician or Cypriote graffiti.. The accounts of the inscriptions given by the Arabs also show that they were mere graffiti; Abu Masher Jafer (before 886 A.D.) mentions Mosannad (i.e., Himyaritic) letters; Ibn Khordadbeh (10th cent.) also mentions Musnad letters; Masudi (11th cent.) describes them as being in various different languages; Ibn Haukal (11th cent.) says they were in Greek. Abu Mothaffer (alias Sibt Al Jauzi, died 1250 A.D.) gives the fullest account, mentioning seven sorts of writing : (1) Greek, (2) Arabic, (3) Syriac, (4) Musnadic, (5) Himyaritic (or Hiritic or Hebrew in different MSS.), (6) Rumi, (7) Persian. William of Baldensel (1336 AD.) mentions Latin; and Cyriacus (1440 A.D.) mentions Phoenician. Whether these travellers all understood exactly what they were talking about may be doubted; but at least none of them describe hieroglyphs, such as they must have been familiar with on all the tombs and other monuments; and they agree in the great diversity of the languages inscribed. The earlier travellers also do not describe such a great number of inscriptions as do the Arabic writers; suggesting that the greater part recorded in later times were due to Roman and Coptic graffiti.

Now among the hundreds of pieces of casing stones that I have looked over, very few traces of inscription were to be seen; this was, however, to be expected, considering that the pieces nearly all belonged to the upper casing stones, out of the reach of mere travellers. Three examples of single letters were found, two Greek and one unknown; and on the W. side, in one of the excavations, a piece was discovered bearing three graffiti, one large one attracting lesser scribblers, as in modern times. The earliest inscription was probably of Ptolemy X., showing portions of the letters Π T O ........... C ω T .......; the next was a Romano-Greek of a certain M A P K I O C K ......; and over that an Arab had roughly hammered in ..... m a j ...... This is the only example of continuous inscriptions yet found, and it belonged to one of the lowest courses; it is now in the Bulak Museum. Thus, all the fragments and the descriptions point to the existence of a large body of graffiti, but do not give any evidence of original hieroglyphic inscriptions.

When one considers the large number of graffiti which are to be seen on every ancient building of importance, it seems almost impossible but that the Great Pyramid �one of the most renowned and visited of all� should not have been similarly covered with ancient scribbles, like the host of modern names which have been put upon it since the casing was removed.* The statues Ramessu II., at Abu Simbel, bear quantities of Greek graffiti, in fact, some of the earliest Greek inscriptions known, besides Phoenician and Roman; the top of the temple of Khonsu at Karnak is crowded with the outlines of visitors' feet, with their names and particulars appended, in hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek the inscriptions on the colossi of Amenhotep III. ("the Memnons") at Thebes, and on the Sphinx at Gizeh are well known; the long scribbles in demotic on the temple walls at Thebes have lately been examined; the corridors of Abydos bear early Greek graffiti; the passage of the S. Pyramid of Dahshur has two hieroglyphic graffiti, besides Greek; and there is scarcely any monument of importance in Egypt but what shows the scribbling propensities of mankind; be they Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, or the worst sinners of modern times, Hellenes and Americans.

We can assume that the pyramid was, at some time, covered with text. Which most, if not all, was probably graffiti, the fact that it was not recognised as Egyptian hieroglyphs by anyone seems significant. Apart from the inscribed pyramid 'theory', some people believe that the 'information' was left in the dimensions of the pyramid. As the pyramid has been 'forcibly' entered, we are also at a loss as to what its original contents might have included.

Stailand Wake (24) suggested that the pyramids were 'intended to mark the substitution of an astronomy based on the passage of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac for the lunar astronomy which preceded it'. This idea is the same school of thought as Davidson.



The word 'pyramid' translated.

The earliest symbols for pyramids were hieroglyphic.  The shape was not an exact triangle, but was used as a sign for a 'solar temple' (se Fix). Hawass points out that the pyramid shape is 'clearly related to the ben-ben, the symbol for the sun god' (13).

The Egyptian name for the pyramids is 'Khuti' - 'The lights'. Davidson (2) believed that this name originated from the semetic equivelant which was 'Urim' - 'The lights'. In Phrygian and Greek, the root 'Ur' - 'light', became successively 'Pur' and 'Pyr' (fire), and 'Pyra' (Plural), for 'Beacon fires'. In Chaldee and Hebrew, he adds, 'Middin' = 'Measures'. Hence the Chaldee-Hebrew name is - 'Purim-middin' - 'Lights-Measures'

Well known American Egyptologist Mark Lehner has stated that the ancient Khemitian term for pyramid was something he calls MR.Pyramid. Lehner bases this on his translation of MR as "Place of Ascension" following his belief that pyramids were tombs for kings and where the dead king's souls "ascended". But MR, usually written as Mer, is commonly translated as beloved, as in Meriamen (Beloved of Amen, The Hidden) or Meritaten (Beloved of Aten, The Wiser). Our indigenous sources tell us Mer meant "beloved" and had nothing to do with pyramid.

However, the ancient Khemitians apparently used the term PR.NTR, Per-Neter, for pyramid. Per means "house" and  Neter has been translated by Egyptologists as "God" or "Goddess". However, this could also be translated as "House of Nature, or House of Energy" for Per-Neter. The temple was Per-Ba (House of the Soul) and the tomb was Per-Ka (House of the Physical Projection) according to the indigenous tradition. With this understanding of Per-Neter as House of Nature, god or energy, we are given three different interpretations of the word 'pyramid'.

The Greek word 'Pyramidos' has an interesting meaning. If we support Dunn's ideas that the energy reactions in the Great Pyramid took place in the so-called Queen's and King's Chambers, then certainly it was 'Fire in the Middle'. Of course, the work by Davidson (2) puts this in a slightly better context, as the Greek meaning of the word 'Pyramid' means nothing if it came from a different root language.

J. Seiss, preferred the Coptic translation for the word. He said: 'In the ancient Coptic, "pyr" means "division", the same as "peres" in Daniel's interpretation of the handwriting on the wall; and "met" means "ten" putting them together -"pry-met"- we have the name given to this structure. And that name, in the language of the ancient Egyptians, means "The division of ten".' (15)

Chapman holds that the pyramid is born of the roots 'pyr', 'em', and 'us', meaning 'Far resplendent light/fire' (7).

Verner mentions that 'although Egyptologists themselves are not entirely certain as to the origin of the word Pyramid. Some of them derive it from the special mathematical or geometrical term per-em-us, which appears in the mathematical Rhind papyri I and II and expresses the height of the pyramid we should also mention that the ancient Egyptians themselves used the term 'mer' to designate the pyramid.' (20).



The 'Stonehenge-Giza' connection.

It has been pointed out by Petrie, Davidson, Michell, Gaunt and others that there appears to be a strong connection between the South of England and Egypt. Place names, Design, Dating, and plenty more all point to a possibility of research.

  • Stonehenge was built on the same latitude as the angle of the Great pyramid (Or as near as possible at 51 51').

  • At Stonehenge, the sun sets at 51�51' on mid-summers day.

Much of the following is taken from D. Davidson's work in 1924 (2); 'The great unit of surface measure in ancient Egypt was the aroura. This was a square of length of side of an hundred common Egyptian cubits of 20.63 British inches long. This square was divided into four quarter squares; the quarter aurora being thus employed as a separate unit of measurement A circle of this diameter falls precisely internal to the outer ring of stones forming the circle of Stonehenge (And so therefore, plenty others - see Thom) Thus at Stonehenge we find the Egyptian quarter aroura set out in circular form to define, by its alignments, the points and circuit of the solar year. A similar association held between the quarter aroura and the year in ancient Egypt. For as Horapollo states:- "To represent the current year, they (the Egyptians) depict the fourth art of an aroura: now the aroura is a measure of land of an hundred cubits. And when they would when they would express a year they say a quarter" Hence in an Egyptian inscriptions, there are two hieroglyphics representations of the year - one is indicated by a square, and the other by a circle'.

Stonehenge and Great pyramid dimensions

Davidson also comments on the origin of the aroura. He says 'The original representation was in the form of a circle. The circumference of this circle measured 3652.42 selected units of length. This represented the circle of the solar year to a scale of ten selected units of length to a day. The diameter then measured 1162.6 selected units of length'. Petrie's best estimate of Stonehenge was 1163 'British' inches.

(More about Stonehenge)



  • The picture we have developed concerning the development and purpose of these pyramids originates solely from the Greek historian, Herodotus, who also said that Khufu was buried on an island surrounded by water.

  • No original burials have been found in any Egyptian pyramid.

  • All the large pyramids in the 'Heliopolis' area (18-24) were believed to have been built over a period of less that 100 years.

  • Some 4th dynasty pharaohs are credited with more than one pyramid.

  • There is no surviving papyrus, stele or inscriptions to commemorate the designer, construction, or completion of the Giza pyramids.

  • The Giza pyramids (and others - i.e. the 'Red' - pyramid) have no visible internal funerary inscriptions.

  • This is not normal behaviour for Egyptian tomb builders of any period and alters the context of these 'Heliopolis' pyramids.

  • Manetho said it was built by 'Suphis', 'Sophis' is also an ancient name for Orion, from which derived the 'Sothic' year

  • Khufu's name had become 'a powerful charm', and was put on monuments as a sign of sanctity and protection.

  • The 'Sphinx stele' had the syllable 'Khaf' on it within a cartouche.

  • There are a number of funerary objects around Giza associated with Khafre.

  • The 'Polar passage' aligned with the pole-star at about 2,400 BC and another at 3,300 BC.

  • Mark Lehner's carbon-dating places the pyramid 400-1000 years older than current, standard theory accepts.

  • The inventory stella calls Isis the 'Mistress of the pyramid' and Osiris, the lord of Rostra (Ghiza).

  • It also says that Khufu 'found' the temple of Isis, beside the house of the Sphinx.

  • It says that Khufu built two pyramids.

  • The cartouche of 'Djefre' was found on the roofing stones of the boat pit in front of the Great pyramid.

  • The 'Heliopean' pyramids of the 3rd - 5th dynasties were aligned towards Heliopolis.


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2). D. Davidson & H. Aldersmith. The Great Pyramid: It's Devine Message. 1924. Williams and Norgate.
3). Alberto Siliotti. Guide to the Pyramids of Egypt. 1997. White star publishers.
7). Worth Smith. Miracle of the Ages: The Great Pyramid. 1934. The Elizabeth Towne Co., Inc, USA.
10). Ian Lawton & Chris Ogilvie -Herald. Giza The Truth. 1999. Virgin Publishing.    
13). W. M Flinders Petrie. The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. 1990. Histories and Mysteries of Man Ltd.
15). Joseph A. Seiss, D.D. The Great Pyramid: A Miracle in Stone. 1973. Steiner Books.
16). A. Pochan. The Mysteries of the Great Pyramids. 1978. Avon Books.
20). Mirislov Verner. The Pyramids.
21). John Ivimy. The Sphinx and the Megaliths. 1975. Harper and Row.
23). A. Proctor. Myths and Marvels of Astronomy.
24). C. Staniland Wake. The Origin and Significance of the Great Pyramid. 1882. Reeves and Turner.
27). Vidya Dehejia. Indian Art. 1997. Phaidon Press.


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