THE ORION CORRELATION
5 Dec 1999
Posting by IL to The Daily Grail
A few observations about your comments on the Horizon programmes. As you correctly suggest, in "Giza: The Truth" we do dismiss Ed Krupp's "north means north" criticism of your theory, since in our view it is unduly pedantic and basically unfounded. We are similarly unconvinced by Kate Spence's theory about the groundplan. I communicated both these observations to Horizon's producer, Chris Hale, shortly after the programme was aired. However, I also pointed out to him that it was a great shame that he had chosen to use these two arguments as his prime rebuttal, since in "Giza: The Truth" we establish what are in my view far more pertinent pieces of evidence as to why your theory is unsound. These are as follows:
When I checked your data using SkyGlobe, I found that the 45 degree angle between the two main Belt Stars did not occur in 10,500 BC but more like in 12,000 BC, one thousand five hundred years previously. In 10,500 the angle was more like 35 degrees (see Giza: The Truth pp. 364-7, although note that we have made our figures slightly more accurate since the hardback was published). I admit that I am doing nothing more scientific than using a protractor held up against the screen, and that the figures vary slightly according to which belt star is on the meridian when you measure, but I think the variation is sufficient to seriously call into question your insistence that 10,500 is pinpointed with great accuracy. Could it have something more to do with Edgar Cayce's prophecies perhaps? Incidentally, Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett performed exactly the same analysis entirely independently of ourselves and arrived at exactly the same conclusion (see Stargate pp. 46-50). I urge anyone who has any doubts about this to download SkyGlobe from the Internet, set it with south on the horizon and Cairo as the location, and shift back 1000 years at a time and measure the angle for themselves. Remember also that this angle is unchanged by the seasons (albeit that the time of culmination changes), and only changes incredibly slowly in observation terms due to the ongoing effects of precession.
If we now ignore the dating issue, and look at the basic proposition that the pyramids were laid out to reflect the Belt Stars, we have two further pieces of information which are not normally elucidated elsewhere in relation to your theories but are in my view absolutely crucial. First, whilst noone can argue that the third star, Mintaka, is offset from the diagonal formed by the other two, it is equally clear that the visible magnitude of this star - by pure observation with the naked eye alone - is not significantly smaller. In fact the visible magnitudes of Al Nitak, Al Nilam and Mintaka (representing supposedly the Great, Second and Third Pyramids respectively) are 2.05, 1.70 and 2.23. On this basis we would expect the SECOND pyramid to be the larger than the Great Pyramid by roughly the same amount as the latter would be larger than the Third. OK, before you accuse me of pedantics, all I am saying is that Mintaka is NOT significantly smaller than the other two, and certainly not small enough to warrant the Third Pyramid having only of the order of 20 per cent of the base area of each of the other two!
Second, there is significant evidence in the internal layouts of the Second and Third Pyramids which suggests that they were replanned to a very significant degree in terms of size and/or position AFTER construction had already begun. What could be more devastating to a theory of a critical ground plan covering all three structures than the fact that the size and position of the later two was not incontrovertibly fixed in advance? (The evidence for this is in parts complex, but involves an appreciation of the multiple descending passages and chambers in these two structures - the arguments are explained in full in "Giza: The Truth" p. 118.)
Might I humbly suggest that before you compare your position to that of some of the finest minds of the past (Copernicus, Darwin et al), you come back down to earth somewhat and answer criticisms such as these - which, after all, come from independent researchers who have no scientific or professional position to protect, and who are quite willing to consider the possibility of advanced ancient civilisations etc provided the evidence therefor is not manipulated, distorted or selective.
Best regards, Ian Lawton
7 Dec 1999
Response posted by Robert Bauval to The Daily Grail
This is in reply to your open letter recently posted on TDG Website and which concerns the so-called 10,500 BC angle of Orion's belt.
First let me assure you that I do not think you are being pedantic at all. You have raised a valid issue in good faith, and I respect this. Any such doubts must be carefully aired and considered especially since the debate concerns the very origins of civilisation. I have nothing against this. On the contrary. But I am totally against the way Horizon presented these arguments for the reasons I gave in my article on this matter which you have read on TDG. I am also not in favour of turning such debates into personal slinging matches.
The major error you make in your approach to this problem is that not only you measure directly off the computer screen, but also that you rely simply on the Skyglobe software to verify the angle. I must confess that originally, I too simply did that in the early days of The Orion Mystery. Well, the short of the matter is that you simply cannot do that for the following reasons.
First Skyglobe, as you should know, does not take into account the proper motion of the stars (nor any other factor such as nutation, aberration, refraction) but merely accounts for the circular motion of precession. As an example, if you check carefully, you will see that the altitude of Al Nitak (the lower star of Orion's belt) in 10,500 BC as measured at the meridian is given by Skyglobe as being about 11.5 degrees. The 'true' value is nearer to 9 degrees, making Skyglobe value out by some 2.5 degrees. Now in terms of the altitude (but not angular deviation) of Orion's belt that's a lot. It is five times the size of the full moon. If you check in The Orion Mystery, I myself made this reading 'error' straight out of Skyglobe, which I then corrected in Keeper Of Genesis. How do we know that 'error' ? The latter value is arrived at by using the so-called Rigorous Method for precessional calculation based on spherical trigonometry and taking into account certain refined mathematical constants that Skyglobe does not have.
Secondly, and more importantly, is that you simply cannot measure "off the screen" using a protractor. This alone is bound to produce all sorts of 'errors' related to the curvature of your monitor screen, the difficulty in reading the angle with a crude protractor, the refraction of the light through the screen glass and so forth. Actually when I do the same exercise using my screen, the angle I get for Orion's belt in 10,500BC is closer to 40 degrees! At any rate this, quite clearly, is definitely not acceptable when dealing with such refined and complex precessional calculations. Any astronomer will simply laugh at the naivety of this approach. The hard reality of the matter is that you have to go through the Rigorous Precessional calculations and, once you have the declinations and RA values for Orion's belt in c. 10,500 BC, then go through the complex spherical trigonometry to work out the angle of the Belt with the N-S axis of the sky at culmination (the meridian). To cut all this jargon, let me say that I have asked Dr. Professor Mary Bruck (astronomer and lecturer at Edinburgh University now retired) to check out Dr. Fairall's calculations. She confirms that the angle formed by Orion's belt (passing through the first two 'largest' stars i.e. Al Nitak and Al Nilam) at culmination in 10,500 BC was between 47 and 50 (40 to 43 degrees measured from the horizontal i.e. the horizon), the variation being dependent on whether or not nutation was allowed for in the calculations. This means that the variance between the average of these angles with that angle made by the two largest Pyramids --which is close to 45 degrees-- is between 2 and 5 degrees. Remember, however, that no one, unfortunately, can be 100 percent certain of these calculated values since, after all, they are theoretical (albeit using the best mathematical constants available) and not actually observed and measured. But assuming that they are true to reality, then what does it all really mean ? Like I pointed out in one of my replies to this question to Mark and which was published on TDG, the apparent size (or length) of Orion's belt is about 3 degrees in angular size (about the length of an A4 sheet of paper). Even if we take the higher variance of 5 degrees in angle, this means that the 'error' in question is in the order of a minute 1.5 percent margin! (i.e. 5 divided by 360 degrees). If we take the lower variance of 2 degrees, then we get an even much lower 'error' of less than 0.55 percent margin! This, if you try and measure it "off the screen", something of the length of an A4 sheet hardly produces a perceptible change to the unaided eye. Try it out. Take an A4 size sheet of paper and twist it 2 to 5 degrees left or right --that is if you can be that accurate-- and you will see that the variance is almost unnoticeable. It is like aiming for the bull's eye on a dart board, but hitting the black blob slightly off-centre. In short the hit is as good as damnit.
Now I presume that the ancient Egyptians could only measure "off the screen" i.e. the actual sky being, in this case, the screen, by observing Orion's belt as it passed over the meridian. Well then, so if we, today, by similar measuring "off the screen" of our computer monitor get as much as 5 degrees variance, then the ancients did pretty well ! In short, when we account for the naked eye crude method of such "off the screen" measurements, then we have to agree that what they achieved is a remarkably good level of error tolerance. Now your argument that this error tolerance means that it proves there was no deliberate intention on their part to make a correlation with these stars and the Pyramids (especially when we accept the strong emphasis in the Pyramid Texts of the connection of the Pyramid builders with Osiris-Orion and the alignment of the shaft of the Great Pyramid to Orion's belt) is, in my view being pedantic. It would be like the Papal Inquisition saying to Leonardo Da Vinci that he did not intend a deliberate depiction of the Mona Lisa Gioconda because, after examining closely the crown of her nose and that shown in the portrait, there was a small variance in alignment!
The trouble with such arguments that you raise is that they employ a stubborn empirical approach to what is, after all, a symbolic correlation. Of course the Pyramids are not really stars. Of course the 'soul' of the king did not fly to Orion. Of course the Nile is not really the Milky Way. Of course the Sphinx is not really Leo. But this is missing the point. The point, quite simply, is that the sky was imagined be a cosmic 'home' for the departed kings, a sort of cosmic Egypt such that some of the natural features of the land, coupled with the artificial features of Pyramids, Sphinx and causeways, could be made to symbolise this 'as above so below' idea. If you can't understand this, you have no business trying to appreciate the motives of the ancient pyramid builders. You should stick to double-entry book-keeping or such similar occupation.
But let us stick, anyway, to your empirical approach to this matter for a while. Actually you are, in fact, missing the essential aspect of the 10,500 BC argument, and this is that Orion's belt strikes the meridian axis of the sky at its lowest "First Time" point (i.e. at its lowest altitude in the precessional cycle) with an RA (right ascension) of very close to 18 hours (actually 17 hours 58 minutes should we want to split hairs on this). This means that the Vernal Point (spring equinox point) would simultaneously have been seen on the rise in the eastern horizon, and thus the sun rise at the moment when Orion's belt struck the meridian would have been in direct alignment with the Great Sphinx. In consideration that the zodiacal constellation which also rose with the Vernal Point at that epoch was that of Leo, then this "double lock" or "double sky-ground symbolism" makes it, in my books at least, a very unlikely coincidence. My conclusion stands. The Giza necropolis appears to be an astronomical-architectural cryptogram which spells out the "First Time" and, in the reckoning of our modern day calendar, prints out on the ground by its alignments the date 10,500 BC. This is an astronomical fact. Now of course the real coincidence with all this is that, yes, this curious date was mysteriously predicted back in 1932 by Edgar Cayce. But I cannot help this; no more than you, I guess, cannot help thinking that because of this my motives for defending the 10,500 BC date are occult and (at least according to Picknett and Prince) somehow a sinister plot to promote the Edgar Cayce Foundation. Nothing could be further from the truth (read Secret Chamber). There will always be those who see 'conspiracies' everywhere. I am hoping that perhaps this reply will cause such rumours to abate. But something tells me it won't. And the reason is, I suggest, more 'occult' than Edgar Cayce. For let me ask you something: don't tell me that it hasn't crossed your mind that all this 'debating' with 'open letters' you so wish to generate with Hancock and myself on the Internet is a also a very good way of generating, more to the point, some Pyramid Selling? But of course it hasn't! How pedantic of me to even suggest that.
Best Regards, Robert G. Bauval
9 Dec 1999
Response posted by IL to The Daily Grail
Many thanks for your constructive reply to my last letter. We have both had a few "digs" at each other in these opening exchanges, but I am sure we can now concentrate fully on the matter in hand.
You have concentrated exclusively on the 10,500 BC dating issue in your reply, so let us begin with that. As far as using Skyglobe is concerned, I deliberately did this because, certainly in the Orion Mystery and Keeper of Genesis, it is what you indicated you had used yourself. If you have written papers elsewhere which are more specific about your use of more advanced methods, then perhaps I can be accused of laxity in not knowing about this, but generally speaking I expect that this revelation will be news to most readers of your books and most interested researchers. Indeed, although I am clearly not an astronomer, I am aware of the effects of proper motion, nutation etc, and that they are not factored into Skyglobe, but had been led to believe they would not play a significant part.
At any rate, I checked the accuracy of my "on-screen" Skyglobe readings over the epochs by printing several of them out, and they are not in error by more than 1-2 degrees maximum (remember that the "zoom" function allows one to be much more accurate), which would lead me to question why if you were using the same software at least when you wrote the Orion Mystery you pinpointed 10,500 BC when the angle derived therefrom is only 35 degrees - I think even you would agree that this is not within "acceptable visual tolerances". However you have provided the answer, which is that the "lock" on this date was always much less the precise angle of the belt stars, and much more the fact that at this date the constellation of Orion was at its lowest point in the precessional cycle. I cannot disagree with this fact (as we indicate in "Giza: The Truth"), and I accept that you do make the point in your own books. However I think anyone who has followed this debate will agree that the confusion arises as a result of your placing the emphasis at least as much on the angle of the belt stars, which - using Skyglobe at any rate - is seriously questionable.
The other factors which you use to obtain your "lock" onto 10,500 BC are twofold, and I have problems with both. First, there appears to be a consensus of scholarly opinion that the constellation of Leo was not recognised in the major pyramid-building era c. 2500 BC - or certainly not as a Lion at any rate; (I know your opinion of some scholars, but I still feel that you have not proved your case on this point). Second, you emphasise the Sun rising due east at the vernal equinox in 10,500 BC, with the Sphinx pointing directly towards it; however, as you yourself admit, this is true in ANY era, so of itself this hardly supports your case. In "Keeper" you seem to be suggesting that the TIMING of the sunrise at the vernal equinox coincided with the culmination of Orion on the meridian c. 10,500 BC - and that this happened to be also its lowest culmination. If that is the case (and clearly Skyglobe is not sufficiently accurate for me to check it), it is clearly an astronomical "coincidence" which is rendered somewhat less symbolic if the Sphinx wasn't even there at this time (see below).
Nevertheless, in the light of your revelation about the updated methods you use to calculate the angle of the belt stars, and if Professor Bruck's confirmation of the approximate angle is reliable (I mean no disrespect, only that I do not have the time or the inclination to learn about the more advanced calculations to check them for myself, for reasons which will become clear), then your theory might appear to have improved viability. However clearly any interested party must then decide how important it might have been to the ancient Egyptian pyramid-builders to pinpoint the start of Orion's precessional cycle - especially since the implication is clearly that they not only wanted to demonstrate their knowledge of precession, but that they were commemorating the "first time" of the elder gods. The significance you attach to the re-dating of the Sphinx then comes into play, and you clearly believe that this is the final piece of the jigsaw since it was built in this epoch of the "first time" by these "gods", who were therefore a genuine "ancient civilisation" of whatever origins. From my personal perspective, you will no doubt be aware of my antipathy to the redating of the Sphinx, which is purely on the grounds of my analysis of the evidence rather than any embedded preconceptions - indeed I am always at pains to point out that I do not reject the notion of advanced civilisations in great antiquity, but I do not believe the Sphinx is proof thereof. For this reason, and others which I will come onto below, I still find your case unsound.
Incidentally, lest I am consigned by you back to that most terrible of fates - that of double-entry book-keeping - I think it only fair to say that I am well aware of the unrivalled role which symbolism and archetypes played in the lives and works of ALL the ancient cultures around the globe, and of the extent to which this is sometimes underplayed and misunderstood by orthodox academics. This should be clear, for example, from our conclusions about the "star-shafts" and the acoustic knowledge of the pyramid-builders in "Giza: The Truth". Indeed my own research is now moving strongly in this direction. Accordingly I have no problem with the obvious importance of the concept of "as above, so below". However, I still maintain that theories such as yours must be subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny as any other, albeit while making allowances for a change in mindset, and I still find them lacking, not least for the following additional reasons.
As I indicated at the outset, you concentrated your reply exclusively on the dating issue. However you completely ignored the new points I made about the basic correlation theory. To reiterate, these are as follows: First, the massive (and not in any sense pedantic) differential between the size of the Third Pyramid and that of Mintaka relative to their earthly and celestial counterparts. And second, the incontrovertible evidence for significant replanning of the Second and Third Pyramids, both in terms of size and location; (readers should refer back to my original communication of the 5th December). Both of these, in my view, detract from the fundamental hypothesis of a correlation in the ground plan to such an extent that the dating issues we discussed above in fact becomes completely irrelevant.
Perhaps after such heavy prompting you would now like to turn your attention to these latter points...
Best regards, Ian
PS Two minor points. First, personally I am not a major supporter of conspiracy theories, and certainly not in relation to yourself and Graham Hancock. Second, yes of course I want to generate publicity for our book by placing "open letters" on the Internet. We all have to make a living, and I am now writing full-time. However, I am actually far more interested in bottoming out the real issues about the various theories we have discussed in our book, in good faith, and in allowing the general public to witness a constructive and important debate in progress. If I am failing in this objective, I am sure Greg will pull the plug on me in no time!
10 Dec 1999
Response posted by Robert Bauval to The Daily Grail
First I am glad you are seeing the sense in a civil, balanced debate on these matters rather that the behind-the-scene skulduggery that goes on elsewhere in other quarters.
Let me just clear a few points regarding precessional calculations and Skyglobe. I had, indeed, published the Orion-Giza correlation theory in 1989 in Discussions In Egyptology Vol. 13 in which the declinations and RA of stars had been worked out not by Skyglobe (which did not yet exist) but by astronomers using the Rigorous Formula of Precession. This is made clear in the article and notes attached. You will find a copy of this article in appendix I of Secret Chamber. In The Orion Mystery the same values were used, although Skyglobe was also used to work out the low point at the meridian for Orion's belt in its precessional cycle. Skyglobe correctly gave a date of c. 10,450 BC (the rigorous formula gives 10,400 BC). Even the astronomer Anthony Fairall, my staunch critic in South Africa, also agrees on this one. Skyglobe, however, gives the wrong altitude of 11.5 degrees +- whereas, in fact, it is closer to 9 degrees. Skyglobe does, however, provide a fairly good RA close to 18 hours. This means that Orion's belt, in 10,500 BC, crossed the meridian at the same time the vernal point was on the rise in the east. This does not occur all the time, like you say, but only around 10,500 BC +- 100 years or so. In view that Leo also rose helically at that epoch, it would a most unusual 'coincidence' that the Sphinx happens to set in such a way that it gazed at its celestial counterpart at that epoch as well. In Keeper of Genesis we had the declinations and RA of Orion, Leo and Sirius worked out by an astronomer, Adrian Ashford, using Sky Chart 2000.00 on an Apple Mac computer (very much the same as used by Paolo Piaggio, recently referenced on TDG). Skyglobe was only used for visual effects and other aspects within its range of accuracy (see Keeper of Genesis appendix 2).
But you have raised objections to my claim that the Sphinx represented in the minds of the ancient Egyptians the constellation of Leo in the sky. First let me say that I am puzzled by those like you --Egyptologists or not-- who insist that the ancient Egyptians (who after all were avid observers of the constellations and kept careful timekeeping with the stars) did not bother to identify the constellation of Leo or any other of the twelve zodiacal constellations. I find this not just puzzling but arrogant. The references in the Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts, Book of the Dead and other texts make it absolutely clear that the Egyptians paid special attention to the daily and yearly (and more probably long-term precessional) apparent motions of the sun across the ecliptic (zodiacal) path. It would seems absurd to suppose that, in view of this fact, they did not bother to charter the various star groups (constellations) through which the sun passed. In any case, there are many allusions in these texts that make it implicit if not explicit that certain zodiacal constellation were perceived as 'The Scales', 'The Bull', 'The Lion' and so forth. But in the case of Leo, the identification with a 'lion' or 'Sphinx' seems certain. In Keeper of Genesis we devote quite a few pages of the book to make this point clear (see Chapter 10). We show that the entity the ancient Egyptians called 'Horus of the Horizon' was identified to both the Sphinx and the constellation of Leo. There can be little doubt of this. Even the ancient Greeks knew that the Egyptians identified the constellation of Leo with the idea of a sphinx, pointing out that they used sphinxes as fountains to symbolise the summer solstice sun in Leo at the time of the Nile's annual flood.
20 Dec 1999
Note from IL regarding Robert Bauval's refusal to continue the debate
Readers of this site should be aware that, following various private emails in which he originally gave express support for our public debate on the Daily Grail site to be reproduced unedited on this site (the objective being that all my correspondence with various authors should be brought together in one place for easy access), Robert Bauval has now informed me that he no longer wishes to participate. The reason he gives is as follows: "I have no intention of fuelling what is a blatant attempt to hype commercial ventures disquised (sic) as 'debate'."
It is not entirely clear why, in his last public email to me, he applauded me for "seeing the sense in a civil, balanced debate on these matters rather that the behind-the-scene skulduggery that goes on elsewhere in other quarters", only to inform me more recently and in private that "I also intend to publish articles in recognised journals and periodicals. These are the legitimate routes to deal with this matter and to take into account all worthy criticism and flaws in a proper and orderly way - and not in this Internet boudoir style which you nice chaps call a 'discussion site'."
Readers can draw their own conclusions about the extent to which the debates on this site are constructive and useful, or merely cheap commercialism. However, one thing will be abundantly clear to those of you who have read the foregoing "constructive" correspondence: whilst Robert chose to answer the points about the 10,500 BC dating on which, as I have admitted, some revision is required in the update to our book - and on which he clearly felt on safe ground - he resolutely refused to answer the far more fundamental criticisms I have levelled at the basic Orion Correlation theory, which are contained in my initial email to him and repeated in the second. So, for good measure and to make sure the message goes home, I will repeat them here:
First, whilst noone can argue that the third star, Mintaka, is offset from the diagonal formed by the other two, it is equally clear that the visible magnitude of this star - by pure observation with the naked eye alone - is not significantly smaller. In fact the visible magnitudes of Al Nitak, Al Nilam and Mintaka (representing supposedly the Great, Second and Third Pyramids respectively) are 2.05, 1.70 and 2.23. On this basis we would expect the Second Pyramid to be the larger than the Great Pyramid by roughly the same amount as the latter would be larger than the Third. Mintaka is not significantly smaller than the other two, and certainly not small enough to warrant the Third Pyramid having only of the order of 20 per cent of the base area of each of the other two. Furthermore, astronomers know that the magnitude of these particular stars does not change significantly over time, so this potential objection is barred.
Second, there is irrefutable evidence in the internal layouts of the Second and Third Pyramids which suggests that they were replanned to a very significant degree in terms of size and/or position after construction had already begun. What could be more devastating to a theory of a critical ground plan covering all three structures than the fact that the size and position of the later two was not incontrovertibly fixed in advance? (The evidence for this is in parts complex, but involves an appreciation of the multiple descending passages and chambers in these two structures - the arguments are explained in full in "Giza: The Truth" p. 118.)
In respect of both these arguments, let us not forget that when the ancient Egyptians, and for that matter all the other civilisations of the ancient world, wanted to be astronomically accurate they were - witness the alignment of the Giza pyramids with cardinal north. It is true that we have rejected Ed Krupp's "north means north" argument, which relies on similar reasoning, because we feel it is unduly pedantic and at best a debatable point. However in this instance it is surely disingenuous to suggest that extreme poetic licence was used in the "as above, so below" symbolism. Such major differences in and changes to the supposed mapping must surely invalidate the basic hypothesis.
We can but hope that at some point Robert Bauval will address these issues via what he apparently now regards as the only "legitimate" channels.
16 Feb 2000Link to response to the Horizon programmes by astronomer Tony Fairall.
16 Feb 2000
Email response from IL to Tony Fairall
Dear Professor Fairall
I have just read your posting about the post-Horizon Orion complaints at http://www.museums.org.za/sam/planet/pyramids.htm. You may or may not be aware of the book "Giza: The Truth" in which I and my co-author, Chris Ogilvie-Herald, provide a detailed rebuttal of the Orion correlation theory in Chapter 9. Since its publication I have to a limited extent managed to engage Robert Bauval in "debate" on this subject, all of which can be found on my web site.
You will perhaps notice three things:
1. Personally I do not agree with any concerns you or Ed Krupp have about the juxtaposition of North and South, and I believe that undue concentration on this issue gives Bauval a chance to deflect the debate away from the real areas he cannot defend.
2. I accept Bauval's contention that the only angle of relevance is the one between Al Nitak and Al Nilam. Again, undue concentration on the exact angles of the third star and its offset can attract charges of pedantry and a lack of understanding of esoteric symbolism. Concentrating then on this angle between the two major stars, he has now completely disowned SkyGlobe (which gives a 45 degree angle in c. 12,000 BC - the same epoch you mention), and now relies on calculations provided by Prof. Mary Bruck which suggest a figure of between 47 and 50 degrees from the vertical at 10,500 BC, depending on whether or not nutation is accounted for. He says in our correspondence that this confirms your figures, and in your diagrams you do show one angle of 50 degrees. And yet you also mention that the figures are 10 degrees off in the text. Am I being stupid, or is there some confusion here? The reason I ask is that I can accept Bauval's contention that up to 5 degrees out is a close enough approximation not to invalidate his theory, given that he regards the timing of Orion's zenith at sunrise and other issues as equally important symbolic factors in his "lock". However a 10 degree discrepancy clearly starts to be easily visible and to invalidate his hypothesis. If you could point me towards your exact calculations I would be grateful, since clearly I am not and never will be a professional astronomer able to make my own check on such calculations.
3. All this aside, I believe most strongly that there are two basic factors which are not normally discussed in this debate but which undermine the basic correlation theory completely, irrespective of any dating issues. These are, in brief, that the visible magnitude of Mintaka is nothing like comparably small enough to justify the Third Pyramid having only 20% of the base area of each of the other two; and that the concrete evidence for the massive replanning of the Second and Third Pyramids after construction had already begun, both in terms of their size and their location, indicates that there could never have been an all important master plan for the layout. You will notice that once I had given some ground on the dating issue and tried to force Bauval to comment on these two points, he accused me of commercialisation and refused to continue our discussion. Familiar tactics from a political master, but I think increasingly people will see through this sort of chicanery.
You will find all these points elucidated better in the book and the website. I hope you find this a useful contribution, and would be interested to hear your views.
With best wishes, Ian Lawton
8 Mar 2000
Email responses from Tony Fairall to IL
[Initial brief response dated 18 Feb 2000]
Dear Mr Lawton,
I have read your email with great interest. It has reached me at a time when I cannot make a detailed response - i.e. read your web pages etc. - so this is just a brief reply for now. I have been on the road the last few days and now newly arrived at Guanajuato, Mexico. I have heard of your book via Chris Hale, the Horizon producer - I am not sure if he knew of it at the time of producing the Horizon episode, or was told about it afterwards. I was subsequently unable to obtain or see a copy of it in Cape Town. But I look forward to seeing it one day. Some of the points you have raised. Yes, I agree that the North-South reversal argument detracts from the key criticisms - and Ed Krupp seems to push it too far. My 50 degree angle is a rounded off value - I initially measured it from the planetarium projector. Subsequent calculations assuming circular precession put it closer to 48 degrees, but there will always be some uncertainty due to the unknown effect of nutation. Planetariums and most computer programs assume circular precession which is a reasonable approximation. I would still like to look into proper motions, but I have assumed negligible.
Yes, if one restricts the debate to only two pyramids, then a fit is possible - but then you could claim an association with numerous pairs of stars in the sky - any pair of stars you want for any date you want. Choosing two of Orion's stars would therefore seem quite unconvincing. I have always thought that any convincing fit would involve three pyramids and all three stars - and for that one would have to accept the North-South interchange, and a different date to 10500 BC. Anyway, I need to read your material in detail - and then write again. The days ahead bring rather tight time and a conference, so forgive me if there is some delay. I have however enjoyed meaning hearing what you say and your experience with Bauval.
Best wishes, Tony Fairall
[Follow up response dated 8 Mar 2000]
Thank you for your email. It happened I did also manage to recover all my emails from Mexico.
I have examined your web site with great interest, and the correspondence with Robert Bauval gives me a much clearer account than that I have received second hand. For instance I see he has there made public the idea that 10500 BC was chosen because it was a "first time", with Orion at the bottom of its precessional cycle - rather than that it matched the ground layout with any precision. That was also forwarded to me by Chris Hale. My response is that to establish such a first time would take many thousands of years of observation - which seems to me somewhat unlikely. I might also comment on measuring angles via sky globe. The sky is normally depicted as a celestial sphere - sky globe produces a flattened version which can distort angles. In the sky, for instance, a line through Orion's Belt leads one to Sirius, but on a flattened map (like we hand out at our planetarium), this is not usually the case. I have gone through the exercise of measuring the angles on our planetarium dome - which agree with my calculations.
I like your argument re the magnitudes of the three stars versus the sizes of the pyramids (I also mentioned it in our planetarium show, but not in so much detail). Other points in your email - I think I covered in my initial response. If only two stars and two pyramids are involved, I felt the argument was much weaker. To get three stars and three pyramids requires a further tilt of ten degrees. Also, like Ed Krupp, I am not that happy about the north-south interchange - which should have been stated by Bauval at the outset. I am not really out to get involved further in the whole business, but I will enjoy discussing things with my contacts here in the Egyptian Society - and I will make sure they know of your site. I will also be trying to get hold of your book.
Please keep me informed of further developments.
Best wishes for now, Tony Fairall
14 Nov 2000
New paper by IL entitled 'The Fundamental Flaws in the Orion-Giza Correlation Theory'.
18 Nov 2000
New paper by IL entitled 'The Impact of Kate Spence's Astronomical Orientation of Pyramids Theory on the Orion-Giza Correlation Theory', including brief correspondence with Spence regarding the AE's knowledge of precession.
24 Nov 2000
Open letter from IL to Robert Bauval originally posted on COH's EgyptNews Talk discussion group (with an appended diagram of the layout of the GP's enigmatic 'shafts' from above)
ORION CORRELATION THEORY
Given the renewed interest in your Orion Correlation theory, and the fact that I have considerably fleshed out my counter-arguments particularly in relation to the replanning objection, perhaps you would care to respond to the contents of my recent paper? I have had stimulating private correspondence with a number of researchers who remain "open-minded" about the theory, but none have yet come up with anything to make me seriously reconsider my position. As the main author of the theory, and since you are still defending it to the hilt, I think most reasonable observers would expect you to take the issues on board and argue constructively against them.
SPENCE'S ORIENTATION THEORY
Turning to Kate Spence's work, I can quite understand it if you feel aggrieved that she has in part plagiarised your work, and do not blame you for publicising this fact. However, since you have made it clear that the crux of her theory is completely new, and since it has clear implications for the AE's knowledge of precession in general, and therefore for the 10,500 BC dating aspect of your Orion Correlation theory in particular, should you not also invest some time in constructively rebutting these new aspects of her theory? Many people will perhaps be confused by your current stance, which is to claim credit for the "dual-star orientation" method that, as applied by Spence, invalidates your own pet theory.
I stand by the assertion in G:TT, repeated in my paper on Spence's work, that your attempt to date the Great Pyramid by the supposed alignments of the "star" shafts is deeply flawed. In particular, since I still favour a symbolic interpretation for the shafts until further exploration of the QC shafts in conducted, and am clearly in agreement with an orthodox date for the monument, for you to suggest that I am somehow being "dishonest and misleading" (your EN Talk posting of 22 Nov) in pointing out that the shafts have huge deviations is, frankly, a travesty. What possible justification could I have for lying about a theory that only shores up arguments with which I am already mostly in agreement? My motives in continuing to labour this point are exactly that you and many other researchers continue to mislead the public about important details.
Yes the KC shafts are pretty straight in their angle from the horizontal, and they both deviate laterally by a small amount in order that they exit in the centre of the edifice, having started off-centre in the chamber. The only problem with these is the initial westward deviation of the northern shaft, a subject to which I will return shortly. In any case, this "relative straightness" of the KC shafts was what led so many even orthodox Egyptologists to accept a stellar-based symbolic function. Turning to the QC southern shaft, yes, it does pretty much the same thing as its KC counterpart, although we still don't know why it stops as it does - in my view the best bet still being replanning from the QC to the KC, despite the enigmatic "handles" and use of Turah limestone near the end.
But everyone should have it drummed into them that the major reason for doubt about their purpose is the trajectory of the northern QC shaft. First off, the deviation in its angle from the horizontal is as much as 7 degrees. Second, and even more damning, unlike its KC counterpart it does not deviate laterally at all for the first 40 or so feet, which takes it well into potential Grand Gallery territory but it still misses it and so has no need to deviate. But then it veers off in a north-westerly direction, and none of us know what happens thereafter. Meanwhile the northern KC shaft deviates west early on and then straightens back up, but, yet again, it has no obvious reason to do this: the Grand Gallery is, yet again, not in the way. Rudolf Gantenbrink and I have both prepared scale drawings of the chambers and shafts as viewed from above which clearly demonstrate this point (mine is in G:TT, Figure 27, if you have a copy).
The upshot of all this is that at least one shaft does deviate massively, and noone knows where or how it ends up. And if the many Egyptologists who commented on the shafts before Upuaut investigated those emerging from the QC had known about this, they too would probably have reserved judgement. My main point is that it only takes problems with one of the four shafts to throw our interpretation of the function of the other three into total confusion. Until the northern QC shaft is properly investigated along its entire length, anyone who suggests categorically that the function of the shafts is related to stellar alignments is deluding themselves and the public. If, worse than that, they then attempt to accurately use these supposed alignments to date the edifice, they are even more guilty of manipulating the available data.
You suggest that Ed Krupp supports the stellar alignment theory for the shafts. What you fail to mention is that he is far from impressed by your attempts to use them for dating. As we quote in G:TT (p. 355):
I certainly don't take seriously these precessional discrepancies of a few centuries in the agreement of star alignments with the shaft orientations. There are many reasonable sources of error here - date of construction, date of design, Egyptian astronomical calculation, construction accuracy, intended alignment targets, and so forth, to accommodate the 'errors' cited. I actually get the feeling that no one in this business, except Badawy (deceased) and Trimble, know the first thing about error analysis.
As to whether the other astronomers that you mention are aware of the true trajectories of all the shafts and have factored them into their opinions, I cannot say for sure, but somehow I doubt it. I have spent some considerable time describing these intricacies because, in my view, the shafts remain one of the few serious enigmas left to be properly explained about the Great Pyramid. It does nobody any good to be lulled into a fall sense of security that their purpose is fully rationalised, especially by someone who has a vested interest in supporting the stellar alignment theory, and in particular for the southern KC shaft which is supposed to point at... that's right, good 'ol Orion's Belt!
To finally clarify my position on this, I continue to support the idea that the shafts had a symbolic function, possibly - but not definitely - related to stellar philosophical concepts. However even this would not necessarily imply that they actually "align" with particular stars, and, even if they do, this alignment is clearly not sufficiently accurate that it can be used as a dating mechanism. By contrast, the cardinal alignments clearly were intended to be highly accurate, which is what provides Spence's theory with a totally different order of potential validity.
I look forward to your response
PS In line with my opening observations and usual practice, I will be reproducing this email on the G:TT Discussion Site, and would expect, although of course only with your permission, to be able to do the same with any constructive reply you may provide. I am quite happy to continue any discussions via Chris' clearly popular forum, but I do think it vital that they are also preserved elsewhere to ensure that important debate does not get lost in the mists of the web as time moves on...
[The following is the diagram to which I refer above, reproduced from G:TT, Figure 30 (originally Figure 27)]
The King's and Queen's Chamber Shafts Viewed from Above
(prepared with the kind assistance of Rudolf Gantenbrink)
26 Nov 2000
Response from Robert Bauval to IL originally posted on EgyptNews Talk
I'm down here, in Buckinghamshire doing very well. How is it on planet Zod, where the inhabitants only feel important when debating with someone else? I am not using "somewhat disparaging" words. You're too kind. Hey, come on, at least speak you mind. Am I not being downright arrogant, bigger-than-thou, etc... etc?
As for debating on such matter, you need to go where it really counts now, son. It's all fun and games to go on and on in Egroups or posting 'challenges' on the Web. But it doesn't move the establishment one bit. Last week I was at Durham University debating, and yesterday evening I was at Cambridge with researchers and students in astrophysics and physics re: Kate Spence till midnight. A massive discussion/debate is now going to be proposed there for next year. So Ian, get of you're sofa or armchair, come down from planet Zod and stop being obsessed with trying to 'prove' me wrong, and start trying to 'prove' yourself right where it counts. I'll respect this better.
Have a nice day, Robert
28 Nov 2000
Response from IL to Robert Bauval originally posted on EgyptNews Talk
[For what it is worth here is my reply to Robert, although his continued refusal to discuss the real issues hardly merits it]
This is actually all a great shame, because spats of any kind on the internet are merely indicative of weak personalities and/or over-inflated egos. Neither are very attractive or educational. I don't really give a damn if you try and ridicule or belittle me - Chris and I had to learn about thick skins pretty fast after the publication of G:TT, especially with JAW's astringent tongue around - and I especially have learnt to only direct anger and unpleasantness at people I actually care about ;-) So everyone, including you, can make of this response what they will. But rather than compose some witty and sarcastic reply, which I am sure you must realise I am more capable of than most - and, to be frank, far more capable than you - I will just tell it from the heart.
When Chris and I first came across your theory many years ago we were, like many others, enticed by it - especially the 10,500 BC aspect. When we discovered information that appeared to argue strongly against it we felt duty bound to report as much. I guess, given that I still feel that there are many enigmas about our ancient forebears that not only have we yet to fully understand but that also we probably need to learn from, I would have liked for you to be able to argue against me and even to prove me wrong. It certainly worked with Colin Reader over the age of the Sphinx, even if it took a great deal of refinement of arguments and evidence. Colin, Chris and I spent hours on this, in private, before anyone else even knew about our discussions. And the upshot was that Chris and I gave Colin all the support to air his views and fundamentally new pieces of evidence and analysis that we could. And reached a certain degree of rapprochement with Robert Schoch as a result, by pointing out to him that, although his own evidence and analysis had not convinced us at the time, it had undoubtedly laid out the ground for Colin to come in and add the few bits we discovered had been missing, for which Robert clearly deserves great credit. Indirectly we have said the same about JAW's foundation laying, even if we find his arguments about possible age tenuous in the extreme, but he has been so busy making personal attacks on us that I doubt he has noticed.
In any case, debating vigorously, being prepared to change your mind in the face of new evidence, not having a totally entrenched position that your whole livelihood depends on - that is how the enhancement of knowledge should work. Graham Hancock was prepared to do this over the Khufu quarry marks, although this was somewhat confusing since the two of you never really suggested the GP was actually built before the orthodox date anyway. But what the heck, let's try and give credit where it is due. And I have never been afraid to admit that there are aspects of Graham's work, and of your work both with him, with Simon Cox, and with Adrian Gilbert, that I have great respect for. For that matter this is true of the work of people like Chris Dunn, Zecharia Sitchin and Alan Alford, people that I have also had a real go at as regards certain elements of their theories. You have all helped to raise the profile of "alternative history" in recent years, and are responsible for getting people like me, and thousands of others, interested and ready to question the orthodoxy.
However in the alternative camp we cannot put forward new theories left right and centre and just expect them to be accepted. There is just as much requirement for peer review. It is less organised, admittedly, but it is there. And we should accept that sometimes it must come in the first instance from within our own community if it is to stand a chance of peer review in the orthodox world.
In any case, I am sure you are aware that there are many "alternative historians" who are now defending entrenched positions from a totally subjective position, and against the available evidence, as there are members of the orthodox school doing the very same. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, you have now allowed yourself to fall into that very category. If you want to play politics, power, influence and money, that is fine, and entirely up to you to decide. But please don't think that the people that matter in any real sense of the word are fooled by it. And, above all else, you have to live with your own view of personal and universal karma.
If I am being naive I am sure I will drift into eternal obscurity, because there seems to be little enthusiasm in this world for people who just tell it like it is. But rest assured I will drift happy in the knowledge that my integrity, humour, and sense of the ridiculousness of the pomp and circumstance that we humans adopt, remains intact...
Best regards as always, Ian
1 Dec 2000
Response from Robert Bauval to IL's 'Fundamental Flaws' paper, originally posted to The Daily Grail
Before I tackle this matter, I would like to say that I am in the process of working on several new manuscripts, one being a new book with Graham Hancock, and the other being a complete re-write of the Orion-Pyramids correlation theory with Simon Cox. My time is extremely limited, not only because of these writing tasks, but also with many other matters such as research assignments and trips. But because Ian Lawton, God bless him, is a good enough fellow and means well, and because he has pestered me for so long to reply to his 'challenges', I shall briefly devote a little time today for such a purpose.
But first this: Ian may find this surprising, but he very much reminds me of myself when, in the 1980s, I was dragging my heels desperately trying to make known my findings on the Giza Pyramids. So perhaps he can benefit from some advice. In those early days, having developed the rudiments of the star correlation theory, I set out on a mission by trying to persuade everyone I met about my findings, and constantly challenging them in intellectual matches and pestering them no end to 'respond'. My obsession was turning me into a tiresome bore. Finally in 1985 I got to meet with the famous Egyptologist Dr. I.E.S. Edwards, who made me realise that I had been barking up the wrong tree all these years. He gave me the best advice based on his long-standing experience in such matters. He convinced me that the only way to get such ideas moving is stop doing what I was doing and concentrate on getting my work published in a Egyptology journal. I, of course, wanted to rush and publish my ideas in a book, but he fortunately made me see the value of his advice. At the time, Dr. Alessandra Nibbi, an Egyptologist from Oxford, was launching a new journal called Discussions In Egyptology. Through Dr. Edwards recommendation Dr. Nibbi reviewed two articles I wrote, and she kindly coached me on how to present them in the proper academic way, and eventually had them published in volumes 13 and 14 of her journal. I expected to cause a huge reaction in the Egyptology community, but nothing much happened. But being a construction engineer by profession, I have learned the hard way that nothing much happens when you lay the foundations for a new building. But yet without such a foundation, you cannot build the full edifices - worse, if you do attempt to build it, it will crumble.
It was not until 1994 that I finally decided it was time to present my theory to the general public. I am not saying that all non-fiction books should go through this process. But when it comes to a new theory or findings in a science such as Egyptology or something else, this foundation is a must. The trouble with many outsiders with good ideas -- and Ian Lawton may be one of them -- is twofold: first they are in a hurry to see their 'work' in print; secondly they focus on trying to 'prove' others wrong rather than bring out something original. With the publication of Giza the Truth by Virgin in 1999, Ian Lawton and his co-author Chris Ogilvie-Herald were the victims of precisely such an approach. They have become the "Doug and Dave" of the Orion theory and the age of the Sphinx debate. I know that Ian and Chris will be 'outraged' by such a 'patronising' attitude on my part, but since Ian, in another of his numerous 'open letters' on the Web, spoke from the heart, I return cordially to him this gesture (actually Giza The Truth was a sort of gigantic 'open letter' directed not just to me, but to all other researchers in this field). Ian Lawton, with an incredible obstinacy that I honestly cannot fathom, wants everyone to think that I prefer to dodge criticism and will not argue 'constructively against' my critics. This is rich considering that Graham Hancock and myself have actually challenged the BBC and our most voracious academic critics to a 'live' debate on television (see www.grahamhancock.com).
Actually Ian Lawton feels this way, I much fear, because he is particular miffed that I have ignored 'his' own criticism. Truly, there is none more irksome than a critic who is shunned or ignored. Well here goes again; let me put it this way, using a little metaphoric language: The Orion-Pyramids theory for a number of years now has been playing centre court against its natural and legitimate opponents, the academic Egyptologists and astronomers. It is they, and mostly they, that I must face and with whom I must score points if any serious progress is to be made. I am not saying the public's opinion does not matter. In fact, quite the opposite. But the general public around the world has been largely won over, contrary to what Ian Lawton and his friends may think. It is thus this slow and hard process of dealing with academics that now must be tackled, and although hard and frustrating at times, it is nonetheless the right process. So I am sorry Ian, Chris et al, but it does not really count for me to play tug-o-war with you. It is small affrays that lead nowhere, compared to the much bigger battles that I am confronting with academics that, I believe, slowly but surely will make a lasting mark. I know that this will sound very patronising to you but (excuse the pun) it's (Giza) the truth. And for those who have any doubt on this, I urge you to watch (again) this process in action on BBC2 Horizon on the 14 December 2000 at 9PM. Through the years since the publication of the The Orion Mystery, I have worked steadily in this direction, and now there are dozens of academics who have been compelled to debate the merits and faults of my theory: Dr. Zahi Hawass; Dr. Mark Lehner; Dr. I.E.S. Edwards; Dr. Viviane Davies; Dr. Edwin Krupp; Dr. Jaromir Malek; Dr. Tony Fairall; Dr. Percy Seymour: Dr. Archibald Roy; Dr. Mary Bruck, to name but a few. The Orion Mystery has been discussed in peer-reviewed works such as the Journal of the British Astronomical Association as well as the Journal of the British Astronomy Society. Even Dr. Mark Lehner, a staunch critic of my work, felt unable to ignore the theory in his excellent book, The Complete Pyramids. Most recently the Belgian popular archaeological review KADATH has devoted two issues fully to a critical appraisal of the Orion-Pyramids theory.
As I have said, I am presently working on a complete rewrite of the Orion-Pyramids theory with researcher and student Egyptologist Simon Cox. In this book (any good ideas for a title?) we will present the theory, refined and from a totally new perspective, as well as tackle the critical issues brought into the debate by academics and even the likes of Ian Lawton and Rudolf Gantenbrink. But most of all we will present new evidence which will buttress the Orion-Pyramids theory even further. The research is nearly complete, and we are now in the process of talking to publishers.
Meanwhile let me deal very briefly with the few points raised by Ian Lawton which he feels are a serious threat, if not a death blow, to the Orion-Pyramids theory. There is, of course, much more on such issues that I would like to discuss, but this will have to suffice for now.
IAN LAWTON'S ALLEGED "REPLANNING" OF THE GIZA PYRAMIDS
In relation to the argument put forward by Ian Lawton, that the Giza plateau was re-planned extensively and that, in Ian's words, this strongly suggests 'that they (the Giza monuments) could not have been constructed to a preconceived plan' (see 'Fundamental Flaws' paper above). We find this argument selective in its approach at best and spurious at worst.
Although a strong case has been put forward for a re-planning of the pyramid of Menkaure, this remains a speculative argument. Indeed, Mark Lehner states:
...the upper passage was probably abandoned when the floor of the antechamber was lowered' [The Complete Pyramids page 136]
The east-west rectangular chamber, which some see as an earlier burial chamber, was probably constructed to help manoeuvre the granite lining of the actual burial chamber...and to insert the huge granite beams of its ceiling... [The Complete Pyramids page 135 picture caption].
The upper abandoned passage mentioned by Lehner (which Lawton refers to as the 'original' descending passage) may well have been an original entrance passage, then again, it may not have been, certainly the argument can be carried either way and this in itself cannot therefore, be used to disprove a preconceived plan. Moving on to the pyramid of Khafre, we find that Lawton again uses the internal passageways argument to suggest a movement of the pyramid 'a long way to the south' or 'that the size of the edifice was massively increased but with its northern perimeter remaining more or less in place'. Using Lehner once again as a reference we find that he states:
...it has been suggested that the pyramid was originally intended to be larger, or that its north base line was first planned to be 30 m (90 ft) further north, so that the lower passage, like the upper one, would have been entirely within the body of the masonry. But it is hard to imagine that there was an earlier plan for a larger pyramid, such is the sculpted unity of the pyramid terrace, enclosure wall and pyramid base. What we are seeing is more likely evidence of a vacillation between two different passage systems in the course of the building [The Complete Pyramids page 123].
For a more in-depth study of this see Mark Lehner - 'Some Observations on the Layout of the Khufu and Khafre Pyramids' in JARCE 20: 1983. In his conclusion to the re-planning argument, Lawton states '...the replanning argument contains a broader implication for anyone who suggests that the whole Plateau was laid out to express sacred geometric knowledge...'. Clearly here, Lawton is using a circular argument. Many of the independent researchers that have put forward theories based upon a unified plan for Giza, have done so using unimpeachable mathematics as their basis. A quick look at the work of people such as Alfonso Rubino, John Legon (see Discussions in Egyptology Journal No 10: 1988 & No 14: 1989), Stephen Goodfellow (who along with Legon postulates that a 'vanishing point' exists at Giza), Robin Cook, David Ritchie, to name but a few, will show that complex and provable mathematical formula were used by the original site surveyors in the layout of the plateau. These researchers have shown that the relationships, mathematically and geometrically, between the various monuments play a huge part in the layout and that a unified plan must have been the exercise at the outset. There is one caveat that we should add here. Even if Lawton is correct in his assumptions that the two pyramids he mentions were re-planned, (as we have shown above, this is by no means proven, nor is it accepted by the Egyptological community as a whole) this does not disprove the unified plan at all, indeed - monuments are changed during construction, a quick glance at some of the planned buildings for the city of London in the last century and how they eventually turned out will illustrate this point - it may just mean that the original architects and surveyors changed their minds during the building process as new data became available to them and new techniques were developed taking him on in the fields of mathematics and geometry. Perhaps this question is best judged by those with the right experience and training. Dr. Jean Kerisel is such a man. One of France's most respected civil engineer, and also the President of the Franco-Egyptian Society, Kerisel has devoted many years in studying the engineering aspects of the Giza pyramids. His views on this matter were expressed on the BBC:
I think, personally, that the layout of the three pyramids has been designed from the beginning by Khufu. [BBC2 The Great Pyramid, February 1994].
THE MAGNITUDE (APPARENT BRIGHTNESS) OF THE STARS VERSUS THE SIZE OF THE GIZA PYRAMIDS
Ian Lawton and his colleague have published a photograph of the sky showing Orion's belt and superimposed on it the three Giza Pyramids, here below reproduced. [I have not reproduced this here, refer back to the copy in my original paper - IL]
Actually such critique originate with John A.R. Legon in 1995 and Paul Jordan in 1998. According to them, this shows that the correlation is not 'perfect' and that the apparent brightness of the stars do not match the relative size of the pyramids. I really do not wish to comment on such a circular argument which I truly feel is unworthy of serious discussion. It is a form of pedantry disguised as 'scientific investigation'. So it is best to let others judge for themselves. Here, however, is a counter-view given recently by Ivan Verheyden, editor of KADATH:
It seems that the three stars of Orion's belt are too far apart from each other for the Giza Pyramids to be their replica, unless we imagine that these are represented by their apex or summit, with the mass of the monuments hidden below. This objection is from a certain Paul Jordan who, after having written and directed science programmes for British television, teaches archaeology at Cambridge. For my part I am willing to consider such matters from Paul Jordan's viewpoint, but I must admit that I do not really see where is his objection. In Discussions In Egyptology No.33 (1995) John A.R. Legon claims that if, on plan, we try an superimpose the stars Almitak, Alnilam with, respectively, the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren, then the calculations of Right Ascenssion and Declination show that the third star, Mintaka, coincides with a point more than 500 metres (?) to the south of the Pyramid of Mycerinos, thus outside the perimeter of its base. In other words, in the sky Mintaka is certainly offset and in the same direction as Mycerinos on the ground, but not as rigorously as the pyramid. I really have to laugh at this! In all his articles in this journal John Legon, as many Egyptologists, refuse to recognise in the ancient Egyptians a knowledge of astronomy, and according to him they were only motivated by geometrical considerations. But here, in order to convince himself, he imposes (on the ancient Egyptians) knowledge even more advanced, almost equal to ours. For what does he do? He takes ultra-modern astronomical tables --apparent distance of two stars-- and imposes them on an ancient architecture which he insist should be in the exact proportions of the astronomical data which we only possess.
As for the argument regarding the apparent brightness of stars, Verheyden says:
In copying the size (of pyramids) in term of the brilliancy (of stars), Mycerinos should have built a pyramid 4/5 the size of the others. But who are we to affirm that it was so, quantitatively, that reasoned the astronomer-priests of Egypt? His pyramid is smaller and offset from the other two, but no-one can claim to know why it is smaller! [KADATH vol. 93, pp. 36-7]
The short of this so-called 'star magnitude versus pyramid size' polemics is that it is, quite simply, a red-herring.
Again, there is overwhelming support from both the Egyptologists and astronomers that the shafts of the Great Pyramid were astronomically aligned to stars. The majority accept the alignment with Orion's belt and Alpha Draconis for the KC shafts. Many are now coming round to the idea that the southern shaft of the QC was directed to Sirius (Mark Lehner suggests the lower portion of Orion). There is, however, reluctance to make any conclusions regarding the northern shaft of the QC, because of its unusual alignment and because no precise values were given by Gantenbrink, although 39 degrees seems to have been the case according to the latter. It is not unreasonable, however, that this particular shaft also follows the same trend as the others. Ian Lawton is incapable of appreciating the basis of symbolic architecture. For example the ancient Egyptians built 'false doors' in solid stone or carved into the rock through which the souls of the deceased could enter and exit the afterworld. It is ridiculous to argue that because these architectural features do not open and close like a real door, then these features were not meant to be regarded as doors. The shafts are not astronomical sightings devices; they are symbolic devices represent the direction of the sky and stars to which the souls of kings were meant to fly to. Various reasons may be behind the internal change of slope seen in the QC northern shaft, and also the lateral change in direction of both the northern shafts. Reasons that we yet do not know why. But this does not invalidate the fact that the two southern shafts provide fairly accurate targets to Alnitak in Orion's belt and Sirius, and that the general slopes of the northern shafts, taken from the low and high point of these shafts, also provide targets for the circumpolar stars. I do agree with Dr. Krupp that "error analysis" must be taken into account. Indeed I make a specific point about this in my objections to the so-called accuracy and precision claimed by Kate Spence in her calculations. Ian Lawton is by no means the first to draw attention to the irregular alignments of the northern shafts. This has been known for decades. Indeed such misalignments were discussed in The Orion Mystery, where I suggested that they may have, too, a symbolic function related to the Great and Small Bears constellations.
KATE SPENCE'S "DUAL STAR ORIENTATION" THEORY
I shall give in due course a full review of the merits and pitfalls of her theory. But for now and for the record, first I never claimed, as Lawton says, credit for the "dual-star orientation" theory. She is most welcome to such credit. Indeed I have never claimed any credit for methods of orientating the pyramid. What I have, indeed, claimed is that in 1994 I have used the culmination of the same stars, among others, to date the Great Pyramid to c. 2450 BC + - 25 years --a claim that Kate Spence not only ignored but now allocated (albeit with a slight variation i.e. c.2478 BC +- 5 years) to herself. It seems that others, too, are also claiming that Kate Spence 'ignored' their previous method of explaining and dating the misalignments of Old Kingdom Pyramids as a function of Precession (see Karine Gadre posting on Amun List and also my posting on www.grahamhancock.com). As for Ian Lawton's statement that Spence's orientation theory "has clear implications for the Ancient Egyptians' knowledge of Precession in general' (and consequently, as he sees it, flings another blow at the Orion-Giza Correlation theory), this is not only premature to say but, in my opinion, it is unfounded. As I have argued in an article (Part 1) on www.grahamhancock.com, the implication (assuming Spence's theory is right, which remains to be seen) can be construed as being quite the very opposite i.e. that the pyramid builders were, in fact, aware of precession. For my part, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Egyptians were aware of Precession. That they understood its fundamental mechanism is, of course, another matter, although I would not be at all surprised that they were quite capable of working out a fairly good rate for the precessional drift, especially in declination, much like the Greeks in Alexandria several millennia later.
More, much more on all that later. Meanwhile back to my work.
Robert G. Bauval
11 Dec 2000
Email response from IL to Robert Bauval
I appreciate you finally finding the time in your busy schedule to respond to my papers and correspondence at least in a partly constructive manner, and it the constructive comments to which I will first respond.
My over-riding reaction in this area is, unfortunately, that your suggestion that my own contribution is "selective at best and spurious at worst" is quite the most blatant piece of hypocrisy that I think even you have ever managed to conjure up. As usual it is your response that is wonderfully selective. When I originally planned my "Fundamental Flaws" paper I reconsulted Lehner's Complete Pyramids to remind myself what he had to say on the issue of replanning. Without wishing to be disrespectful to what is in many other ways an excellent reference work, his treatment of the logic underlying the layout of the chambers and passages in the Second and Third Pyramids is so superficial that I decided it did not even deserve a mention. This was a mistake on my part since you have decided, as I might have expected, to use it as the mainstay of your counter argument. So let us now look at what Lehner has to say in more detail.
With reference to the Third Pyramid, his comments are entirely logically inconsistent, as your two quotes so aptly demonstrate - although you clearly didn't regard this as a problem. On the one hand he acknowledges the possibility of replanning ("the upper passage was probably abandoned when the floor of the antechamber was lowered"), and on the other he ignores it. Furthermore his suggestion that the upper chamber was constructed merely to manoeuvre the granite blocks onto the ceiling of the lower one is not only inconsistent but ridiculous. Since all the chambers are well below ground level, all the blocks had to come down one of the descending passages first. Consequently there is no way that a chamber of the size of the upper one would have been required if this was its only purpose. And in any case we all know that there is an antechamber at the western end of the upper chamber which was used exactly for the purpose of lowering the ceiling blocks for the lower chamber, since they comprise its floor - and that this antechamber was then sealed off. Moreover, above all, although Lehner acknowledges the most important piece of evidence - that of the abandoned original passage terminating right underneath the superstructure - in the first quote, he completely ignores it in the second.
As to your own brief comment on this crucial piece of evidence, it is a masterpiece: "The upper abandoned passage... may well have been an original entrance passage, then again, it may not have been, certainly the argument can be carried either way and this in itself cannot therefore, be used to disprove a preconceived plan." Well, Robert, just for the benefit of those poor souls who are not quite as sharp and intuitive as yourself, perhaps you can expand on exactly why the upper passage may not have been "original" and "abandoned". Perhaps you think the AE's built it because they really liked banging their heads on a brick ceiling? (if that is the case I certainly know how they feel.)
Let us now turn to what Lehner has to say about the Second Pyramid. This is even more ridiculous. He is right to suggest that one of the possibilities is that it was shifted to the south but kept at the same size, and this is indeed one of the scenarios I put forward. However he also suggests that the pyramid may have been originally intended to be larger. This is the exact opposite of what the evidence of the positioning of the lower or original chamber, if it were to be under the apex of the edifice as usual, suggests. He is absolutely right to argue that "it is hard to imagine that there was an earlier plan for a larger pyramid", but there is every reason to suppose it may have originally been planned to be far smaller. He provides no explanation as to why there might have been "vacillation between two different passage systems in the course of the building", and, although it is actually Lehner that I am referring to in my original paper when I mention that some people regard the lower chamber as a "serdab", as I continue to emphasise there is no precedent for even a serdab to lie significantly away from the centre point of the structure. This is not an argument that Lehner even considers.
Robert, few people worth their salt are persuaded by someone's arguments just because they are an orthodox scholar. You of all people have used that line of attack time and again when it suited you. We take people's arguments on their merits. Lehner's comments on layout and replanning fall short of good scholarship - probably merely because his Complete Pyramids is intended primarily as an accessible summary work, and not one that focusses on the details of the Giza pyramids in particular. Meanwhile, you have completely failed to respond to, or even acknowledge, the views of Dr Edwards which I quote in my paper. Given that you are forever stressing how this "famous" Egyptologist with his "long-standing experience" contributed to the direction of your career, it is indeed a testament to your selectivity and inconsistency that you should ignore his far more detailed and considered comments on the replanning issue.
However, at the end of the day it is fatuous to trade quotes from the experts. I have interpreted what I regard as overwhelmingly the most likely reason for certain features of the internal layouts of the Second and Third Pyramids. If you want to prove me wrong, forget the quotes and consider the evidence for yourself. Give me valid and more likely alternative reasons for these features. Then I will listen to you. For once this is actual physical evidence I am talking about, and any attempt to take the attention away from that is a red herring. I wouldn't care if noone else, expert or otherwise, had ever even considered the replanning evidence. It is still there in stone, and no amount of fatuous argument will make it go away.
Intriguingly, and as something of an afterthought, you also accuse me of using a circular argument when my perfectly logical deduction from the replanning evidence is that the Plateau could not have been laid out according to some grand master plan. Quite how you arrive at this astounding logic escapes me, apart from the fact that you seem to assume that because certain "independent researchers have put forward theories based upon a unified plan for Giza" having used "unimpeachable mathematics", they must be right and I should use this as a prerequisite for my own arguments - an astounding approach to scholarship, even for you Robert. What you do not explain is that most of these researchers, although perhaps using similar geometric approaches, come up with different interpretations and conclusions - and yet you seem to imply that they are all correct. Even less do you address the issue that their work is entirely incompatible with your own theories, since it is not even remotely likely that the AE's adopting a detailed geometric/esoteric layout for the Plateau, and then made sure that the three pyramids mirrored Orion's Belt - as my private discussions with at least one of the researchers you mention infer.
But never fear, because if all else fails, Jean Kerisel is on your side. Perhaps rather than just quoting his opinion as if that should be enough to silence any doubters, you could ask him to consider my replanning evidence in detail, and attempt to use his experience to rebut it. At least he might do a more thorough and logical job - but then again he might just accept it because I doubt he has such an entrenched position to defend.
THE RELATIVE BRIGHTNESSES/SIZES OF THE STARS AND PYRAMIDS
Once again, you have completely side-stepped the real issues I have raised. You say "I really do not wish to comment on such a circular argument which I truly feel is unworthy of serious discussion. It is a form of pedantry disguised as scientific investigation." So here you are accusing me of circularity again, for equally mystifying reasons. You then proceed to make out that I am only regurgitating the work of others, when your subsequent quotes make it quite clear to anyone with even half a brain that my arguments are quite separate and distinct. Is this really the best you can do, Robert?
I do not agree with Paul Jordan's suggestion that the three pyramids are "too far apart", or John Legon's clearly contradictory suggestion that they are too close together. Indeed this should be abundantly clear from my diagram, which you reproduce, in which I quite clearly allow the relative distances apart to match up. Furthermore, I have stated quite clearly and repeatedly that I would not expect the AE's reproduction to be exact when any attempt at matching "the above" with "the below" would be esoterically motivated. What I have said is that you would not expect the discrepancy in the relative size of the Third Pyramid to be so marked, whereby it is at least, say, 50 per cent smaller than one might reasonably expect.
As for Ivan Verheyden's comments specifically on the relative brightness issue, I am not sure whose work he is referring to and whether or not Jordan and/or Legon have ever raised it, but I am afraid his "who-are-we-to-question" argument does not cut much ice with me if the question is a fair and reasonable one, as I believe mine is. If we all adopted that approach throughout history we would have learnt nothing,
At least I have now managed to make you accept that the the northern shafts do not deviate laterally to avoid the Grand Gallery, and that is an achievement in itself. I trust at least that you won't peddle this misconception any longer. As to your inconsistency in describing the incredible precision of the AE's when it suits you, and then falling back on their symbolism when it doesn't, judging from my correspondence I am not the only person who finds this far too convenient an approach for you to adopt. Nevertheless, to suggest that I am "incapable of appreciating the basis of symbolic architecture" is about as reasonable as me suggesting that you are incapable of appreciating the basis of a logical argument - although on second thoughts, perhaps it isn't. In any case I am perfectly aware of the AE's use of symbolism, and do not discount it at all in the shafts, as I have repeatedly stated. As far as I am concerned the important thing is that people are aware that there are a lot of questions left to be answered about them, not least about where the northern QC shaft ends up.
SPENCE'S ORIENTATION THEORY
Robert, all I can say is that all this obfuscating must wear you out - it certainly does me. Quite why Kate Spence, who uses the cardinal alignments to date the pyramids, should have to give you credit for having used the completely different and in my view far more unreliable mechanism of the supposed shaft "alignments" to date the GP, is quite beyond me and most other rational observers. Perhaps she should also have given neon-light credit to Mark Lehner for his radio-carbon dating work, and even to Khufu for leaving his quarry marks for us? As to suggesting that she has "allocated" your theory to herself, I suspect she would be very unhappy to be saddled with your particular dating mechanism.
Meanwhile, you have definitely saved the best till last. In suggesting that the implication of Spence's theory in relation to precession "can be construed as being quite the very opposite", I can only assume that it is by using so "very" many extra words that you hope to "quite" persuade everyone of the logic of your position. If you or anyone else can provide an explanation as to how the AE's could have a full knowledge of precession, and then choose to ignore it when accurately aligning their pyramids to the north, then I would love to hear it... no, on second thoughts, I really wouldn't.
Turning to your introductory comments, it is no surprise to me that you continue to attempt to patronise, but for those who are following our discussions and are actually interested in your politicking and ploys, a few words of clarification.
First, in no sense am I similar to you, and I'm afraid I cannot see my way clear to taking your remarks as a complement. As you say, your were "desperately trying to make known your findings on the Giza Pyramids". I am not "desperate" to rebut your theories at all - I merely wish to point out where possible that I believe they have fundamental flaws in the interests of ensuring that the matter is properly considered. In fact, to respond to your quite apposite point about concentrating on my own theories and research rather than rebutting that of others, I am highly focussed on continuing my research into what the ancient texts from around the world reveal about mankind's past and the whole issue of "origins", and on publishing the same. My discussions with you, such as they are, are merely a minor distraction. In fact I would not bother with this at all had you not been so very successful in selling your theory to the general public, and on this at least you should be congratulated for your perseverance. I have never suggested that your theory has not gained widespread recognition, maybe even acceptance. The problem, however, is have you badly misled the public? That much I do care about.
Second, for what it is worth I have had a number of constructive discussions with the eminent scholars that oppose your theory, like Ed Krupp, Tony Fairall and Kate Spence, but since they are mostly in agreement with me anyway I hardly regard this as a major feat of scholarship on my part. You are the main proponent of the Orion Correlation theory, and I fail to understand why you regard it as strange that, that being the case, I should press you to respond to my rebuttals. I have no problem if somebody wants to put my paper forward for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, but I am not going to expend significant energy and time on this side-show myself.
Third, to the extent that I have been "miffed" by your avoidance of my arguments, it is not because I have an unduly inflated ego or a persecution complex, as my correspondence with many other people on this matter will testify. I have never suggested that you avoid responding to criticism per se - that would have been ridiculous and clearly wrong. What I have accused you of is intellectual cowardice in responding to criticism as selectively as you have in the past. However, since you have finally deigned to respond to my arguments as well, however unsuccessfully, I withdraw my accusation.
Fourth, as for your suggestion that Chris and I are the "Doug and Dave of the Orion theory and the age of the Sphinx debate", you seem to be conveniently forgetting that, in the light of the constructive and compelling evidence produced by Colin Reader, we were not afraid to change our stance on the age of the Sphinx in the paperback version of G:TT. If only you had some equally persuasive evidence to answer my rebuttals of the OC theory, I would accord you and your theory the same respect.
And on that note I will leave you in peace to carry on your crusade....
Best regards, Ian
12 Dec 2000
Email to IL from astronomer Ed Krupp, Director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, with important clarification of his 'north means north' objection to the OC theory
Because you mentioned your earlier interest in the "inverting Egypt" problem, please let me take a moment to condense the primary facts. Although they are simple, they are not often clearly understood and described accurately by others.
I first detected this problem in 1995, when I was writing "Skywatchers, Shamans, & Kings: Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power", and I described it briefly in the section of that book on pyramids. I also offered a condensed presentation of the argument in the February, 1997, instalment ("Pyramid Marketing Schemes") of my monthly column on astronomy and culture for "Sky & Telescope" magazine. From 1997 through the present I have committed extensive commentary on it to e-mail, correspondence, and Internet discussions, primarily the HASTRO-L (History of Astronomy) netlist. In May, 1998, allied with Zahi Hawass, I participated in the Visions Travel "The Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Mystery" cruise through Alaska's Inside Passage. In my presentation, as part of a "debate" with Graham Hancock and others, I spotlighted seven serious problems with the Bauval/Hancock astronomical interpretations. Most of the subsequent coverage has focused on my complaint that Bauval, and later Hancock, made Giza map Orion by turning Egypt upside-down.
I am not as interested in establishing what the Egyptians did or didn't do as I am in understanding and evaluating accurately the Orion mapping assertion Bauval and Gilbert originally developed in "The Orion Mystery" and that Hancock and Bauval extended in "The Message of the Sphinx". Because the record of the past is always incomplete, I try to be judicious about the difference between proposal and assertion. Guided by that instinct, I evaluated the Orion's Belt mapping in the context of Bauval's and Gilbert's handling of it.
Originally, Bauval and Gilbert did not ascribe to Giza's plan the "artistic license" now often invoked by Bauval and Hancock, and they did not suggest the pyramids occupied the ground in isolation from the sky. In fact, their argument emerged from, and relied on, the Badawy/Trimble stellar alignment interpretation of the King's Chamber shafts. I first brought this interpretation to wider attention in 1978 in "In Search of Ancient Astronomies", and Bauval and Gilbert quoted and referenced me in "The Orion Mystery" in that connection.
Had Bauval and Gilbert ignored the shaft alignments and simply said three pyramids in a line equal three stars in a row, their argument would have been unfalsifiable and logically uninteresting. I would have left it alone. Instead, however, Bauval and Gilbert first anchored the Giza pyramids with clearly designated directional attachments to the sky. The north shaft, they agreed, was targeted on the upper culmination (meridian occupation, cardinal north) of Thuban, near the north celestial pole. The south shaft, they agreed, was targeted on the transit (meridian occupation, cardinal south) of the Belt of Orion. If you accept the stellar alignment of the shafts, and Bauval/Gilbert/Hancock do, it means the Old Kingdom Egyptians deliberately associated cardinal north on the ground at Giza with north in the sky and cardinal south on the ground at Giza with south in the sky. Of course, you can invert the directionality of the plan on the ground with respect to the sky's distinctive directionality, but doing so contradicts the original premise. Bauval et al, however, embraced that premise.
We know the Egyptians invested in the sky's distinctive directionality, in the pyramids and elsewhere. There is also other textual evidence that confirms the symbolic significance of cardinality in Old Kingdom Egypt, but it is not required for this analysis. It simply supports it.
There is, of course, no question that Bauval and Gilbert matched north on the ground with south in the sky and vice versa. This is evident in the photographic presentation in the book, in the diagrams, and in the orientation of all of the maps with south at the top (unmarked). Whether or not it makes a difference, it did confuse people. Take a look at the artwork on page 136 of "The Secret Language of the Stars and Planets" by Geoffrey Cornelius and Paul Devereux. This sympathetic report of the Bauval/Gilbert Orion Mystery impossibly projects the stars to earth to show the relationship between the pyramids and the stars.
A direct projection of Orion's Belt to the ground actually sends the diagonal line of "stars" across the diagonal line of the three main pyramids at Giza. That means that mapping strategy, which preserves the directional congruence of earth with sky, does not work. To get the configuration Bauval and Gilbert proposed, you have to "slide" Orion down the sky, over the south horizon, and onto the ground. This reverses the directionality of the mapping. The southernmost star in Orion's Belt is then toward the north on the ground, and the northernmost star is toward the south. The inversion clearly exists, and it contradicts key elements of their interpretation of Giza. Of course, Bauval doesn't deny the inversion. He just calls it something different and says it doesn't matter. He and Hancock say, "Just look south." Looking south is, however, the geometric equivalent of turning Egypt upside-down.
I said directionality does matter because Bauval and Gilbert embraced the defined directionality of the King's Chamber shafts and the Queen's Chamber shafts. Bauval and Hancock bypass that argument and refer to the "artistic license" perspective. Recently, however, Bauval claimed Kate Spence appropriated his earlier research and precedence for a stellar dating of the Great Pyramid. To support his claim, he argued again for the significance of the King's Chamber shafts and the Queen's Chamber shafts, particularly the north shaft of the Queen's Chamber, which he says was targeted on Kochab. To support his case, Bauval referenced an illustration of Kochab and Mizar on the Giza celestial meridian in "The Orion Mystery". This again means Bauval thinks north means north and south means south...except when he wants north to mean south. I have argued that this is a logical contradiction, and for me it constitutes a fatal flaw in the Orion mapping argument. It's easy to see it. You just look north.
Direction was originally important for Bauval and Hancock, and it remains important, as the recent squabbling over Kate Spence's paper demonstrates. Bauval's "Orion Mystery" Plate 15a absolutely confirms it was important from the beginning. It only became unimportant when I explained the implication on the Orion map assertion.
I won't burden you at this time with the rest of the details or with all of the other arguments I presented in the cruise "debate," but Bauval and Hancock do run into another big problem with their equinoctial configuration of constellations in 10,500 B.C. If the pyramids are the Belt of Orion (I don't think so), if the Sphinx is Leo the Lion (it isn't, but they say it is), and if the Nile is the Milky Way, then the Sphinx is on the wrong side of the river. I have described the Sphinx problem in weblists, correspondence, and lectures since then and will publish it next year.
If we say the monuments were intended to map the night sky but impose no rules for mapping, we are engaged in a meaningless enterprise. On the other hand, I prefer to start with a simple premise: If we are talking about mapping, then we are talking about one-to-one correspondence. Without accurate representation, mapping cannot be recognized as mapping.
Bauval and Hancock trumpet the extraordinary accuracy and precision of the Giza monuments and the "perfect correlation" the Egyptians forged between the ground and the sky. When held accountable for this accuracy, precision, and "perfect correlation," however, they revise the rules by which they have been playing. There hasn't, for example, been much discussion lately about the stellar correspondences of the pyramids beyond Giza. That is because the arguments against these correspondences are numerous, compelling, and easy to visualize. Apart from issues of proportion and size, which are problematic, the Giza "Belt of Orion" isn't pointing toward the right pyramid "stars."
The following excerpt from page 271 of "The Message of the Sphinx" also demonstrates the contrast between Bauval's and Hancock's earlier position on the precision of Egyptian intent and their current ambivalence about precision:
Our research has persuaded us that a scientific language of precessional time and allegorical astronomy was deliberately expressed in the principal monuments there and in the texts that relate to them. From quite an early stage in our investigation, we hoped that this language might shed new light on the enigmatic civilization of Egypt. We did not at first suspect, however, that it would also turn out to encode specific celestial coordinates or that these would transpose onto the ground in the form of an arcane 'treasure map,' directing the attention of seekers to a precise location in the bedrock deep beneath the Sphinx." "The Message of the Sphinx" actually concludes with homage to the "awe-inspiring scale and precision of the monuments.
Further, in "Heaven's Mirror" (page 89), Hancock quotes "The Hermetic Texts" in an endorsement of astonishing accuracy in mapping sky to earth: "Whosoever shall make an exact copy of these forms..."
If precision and accuracy were earlier so key to the understanding of Giza, why are they now abandoned to the fuzzier standards of "artistic license?" If the monumental celestial mapping of Giza is allowed artistic license, how does it pinpoint "a precise location in the bedrock deep beneath the Sphinx?"
Bauval's original inspiration, recall, was the distinctive bend in Orion's Belt and the bend in the Giza diagonal. This is an argument rooted in accuracy and precision. The angle, he informed us, is important, but later, after the issue of accurate mapping was raised, directional accuracy was discounted.
Actually, I know many artists and art historians prepared to take serious exception with the concept of "artistic license." I suspect the Egyptians would, too. They did, after all, cardinally align the Great Pyramid with no error greater than 5.5 arcminutes.
Uprighting Orion, E.C. Krupp
12 Dec 2000
Email response from IL to Ed Krupp
Many thanks indeed for such a detailed response - especially since you are clearly very busy working on a far more important project than this.
You are absolutely right that your rebuttal of the Orion Correlation has been misrepresented by others. I have made no secret of the fact that I have not been unduly impressed by it in the form I have previously received it, but the more detailed explanation you have provided reveals that it is the contradiction between the analysis of the shafts and the ground plan that is the stumbling block in your view, and this is clearly a much more valid argument.
For what it is worth, however, Robert Bauval recently accused myself and Rudolf Gantenbrink of wilfully misleading people into thinking that the shafts had huge deviations. Since I found this a bit rich coming from him, I supplied a detailed explanation of the shafts and their deviations, accompanied by a diagram, in my open letter to him (dated 24 Nov 2000 above). My conclusion is that the huge deviation of the northern QC shaft, which was last seen heading off in a north-westerly direction by Upuaut, plus the lesser deviation of its KC counterpart, neither of which is required to avoid the Grand Gallery (as my "from above" scale diagram proves), must place the star alignment theory regarding the shafts in grave doubt. It only takes one to significantly buck the trend for the purpose of them all to come into doubt. Of course, given that I am not convinced by this aspect, my own logical process allows me to evaluate the Orion Correlation independent of this, which is why I have never had a major problem with the "artistic licence" argument. I can however see that I am coming at this from the point of view of evaluating the OC theory in its own right and independently, whereas you are taking the equally valid tack of identifying the inconsistencies in Robert Bauval's approach to his various theories.
As to the other issues you raise, I totally agree with your comments about Robert and Graham Hancock using accuracy when it suits them and symbolism when it does not. Since we first spoke, Robert has actually deigned to respond to my criticisms of his theory at last (dated 1 Dec 2000 above), although not very effectively in my view, and I have raised this issue in my response (dated 11 Dec 2000 above). As for the supposed stellar correspondences beyond Giza, as far as I can tell these have been comprehensively dropped from the agenda because they were so outrageously distorted. The same is probably true of the detailed pinpointing of the "Hall of Records" under the Sphinx's rump.
I look forward to receiving your comments on my "fundamental flaws" paper when time permits.
Best wishes and thanks again for your time, Ian
3 Jan 2001
Email from correspondent Keith Hamilton suggesting an explanation for the internal structure of the Third Pyramid alternative to that of replanning
[Although the following explanation for the internal layout of the Third Pyramid clearly contradicts my assertion that it shows evidence of replanning, it is in my view a valid alternative view from someone who "knows his stuff". I cannot argue against it as a possibility, and as such I present it here in order to honour my commitment not to withhold information that might contradict my own arguments if I feel it is valid. Readers should however remember that this is only another possible explanation with perhaps equal merit to that of replanning, and that the evidence for the possible replanning of the Great and Second Pyramids must be taken into account also - IL]
I have noted your slight skirmish with Bauval over the replanning of Menkaure's pyramid on the discussion site; and your views in G:TT pg 118. Firstly I am no great supporter of Bauval's theories, which I feel you have correctly dealt with at length, further Bauval gives no coherent explanation for the design that we see in Menkaure's structure today, whereas you have made a reasoned attempt to explain the structure in terms of replanning. Unlike Bauval I shall make an attempt that could explain the structure that could suggest no replanning.
The idea for this comes from the design of certain mastaba's at Giza, as you probably know a vertical shaft was sunk into the bedrock, and from the end of this shaft a horizontal or sloping passage led to a chamber hewn out of the rock, which could be lined with fine limestone. However sometimes we are met with two passages that branch off from the vertical shaft, the upper passage entering the chamber at or a little way below ceiling and the bottom passage at floor level. The upper passage of such mastaba's have been termed 'windows' , these windows according to Reisner would sometimes be "blocked with masonry on the inside by the lining of the tomb and on the outside by the rougher masonry, and had therefore some function connected with the excavation of the chamber. I have mentioned above the difficulty presented by the cutting of chambers with passage entering the chamber low down in the north wall." (A history of the Giza Necropolis volume 1, pg 163).
I would suggest therefore that the upper passage in Menkaure's may indeed be a type of window, used to facilitate the cutting of a large chamber and aid ventilation. Cutting down from the ceiling would be preferable, when they approached floor level they could then excavate the lower passage from the inside to the outside with the debris being removed via the upper passage. In a similar way the lower granite chamber could be said to have two passages leading to it. Once the chambers had been excavated the upper passage would have served it's purpose and like the mastaba windows would be blocked with masonry. Was the lower Granite chamber a change of plan or part of an original plan? It could well have been original, with the upper and lower passages that lead to it being cleverly concealed from the upper chamber, such that the original violaters on entering the upper chamber were probably only aware of the one chamber with possibly a sarcophagus in place in the recess in the west end of this chamber. Goods found in this upper chamber may have temporarily put robbers off from further exploration, but ultimately others would have eventually discovered the lower chamber, just as the upper chamber in the red was discovered.
Lehner's statement, "The upper passage was probably abandoned when the floor of the antechamber was lowered" appears somewhat vague and I am somewhat surprised that he has not seen the parallel in some of the surrounding mastaba's.
In conclusion the suggestion I offer above, provides an explanation to those who are not happy with the replanning theory. As I've said before nothing is ever clear cut about these structures.
7 Jan 2001
Comments from John Legon about the recent discussions of the OC Theory, originally posted to The Daily Grail
I was very interested to read Robert Bauval's reply to Ian Lawton's criticisms of the Orion Correlation Theory in the pages of The Daily Grail, and the further response from Ian Lawton. Both Robert and Ian have included some references to my own assessment of the OCT, however, which require some clarification, and I hope you will allow me to put the record straight.
As Robert pointed out, I published a critique of the Orion Correlation Theory as early as 1995, in Discussions in Egyptology 33, 45-56. Many of the most frequently cited objections to the theory were set out in that article, as will be seen from the extracts which are available from my web site:- http://www.legon.demon.co.uk/. Paul Jordan, for example, in Riddles of the Sphinx (1998), p. 142, includes a diagram which closely resembles my original illustration of the discrepancies between the Orion constellation pattern and the so-called "wider plan".
I am mystified by Robert's assertion that my objections to his theory are "a form of pedantry disguised as 'scientific investigation'", and "a circular argument... unworthy of serious discussion." Even supposing that my use of scientific methods could possibly justify the accusation of pedantry in his eyes, there is nothing "circular" in my arguments, and it seems to me that he is trying to avoid a debate for the simple reason that he cannot answer the objections which I have raised.
To point out that the apparent brightnesses of the three stars of Orion's Belt do not match the relative sizes of the Giza pyramids is not being pedantic, it is stating a fact, which is easily verified by anyone who takes the trouble to look at the stars of Orion in the night sky. The three Belt stars appear as three points of light of approximately similar brightnesses, not even remotely comparable to the widely differing ground-plan dimensions of the three Giza pyramids.
If the pyramid-builders had really intended to construct an image of the Belt stars of Orion on the ground, then we might reasonably expect them to have built three more-or-less equal pyramids; but instead, we find that Menkaure's pyramid contains only about one-tenth of the volume of Khufu's pyramid. It seems that Robert's only response to this "star- magnitude versus pyramid size polemics", is "that it is, quite simply, a red herring"!
At first, however, Robert claimed that a correlation did exist between the magnitudes of the Belt stars and the dimensions of the Giza pyramids, using a photograph of the stars which can only be said to give a greatly distorted impression of how the stars actually appear to the naked eye. I am referring to the photograph reproduced by him in Discussions in Egyptology 13 (1989) plate 2, and later in The Orion Mystery plate 7. I was amazed that Robert should have attempted to demonstrate a correlation on the basis of this photograph, since owing to some form of optical distortion, the Belt stars appear as large blobs of light which bear no resemblance to the actual appearances and relative magnitudes of the three stars in the night sky.
Perhaps, however, Robert's accusation of pedantry was directed towards my use of spherical trigonometry to calculate the angular separations of the stars using the coordinates of Declination and Right Ascension, in order to make an accurate comparison with the distances between the pyramids on the ground. Far from being pedantic, I would suggest that this is the obvious method which any diligent researcher would have used to demonstrate that a correlation existed. If Robert believes that the OCT should be exempt from scientific analyses, then this only exposes the weaknesses in his arguments.
I would like to correct the mistaken impression which has been given by Robert's quotation of an article by Ivan Verheyden in KADATH vol. 93. Verheyden suggests that I "refuse to recognise in the ancient Egyptians a knowledge of astronomy". This is nonsense. It has always been obvious to me that the pyramid-builders were skilful astronomers. The simple fact is that I don't agree with the particular slant which Robert has placed on the significance of the Orion constellation in the Pyramids Texts, nor with his Orion correlation and star-shaft theories in general.
Verheyden also suggests that I think that an "ancient architecture... should be in exact proportions of the astronomical data which only we possess". Again this is nonsense. Of course the pyramid-builders did not have access to the exact coordinates, and they could not have laid out an exact replica of the Orion star pattern on the ground. The calculations which made use of star coordinates in my original analysis were not intended to reveal some minor deviations between the patterning of the Belt stars and the placing of the Giza pyramids, but the truly gross errors which are involved in Robert's concept of a 'wider plan' incorporating the pyramids of Zawiyet el-Aryan and Abu Roash.
As shown by the results which I published in DE 33, the distances between the Giza pyramids and the pyramids of Zawiyet el-Aryan and Abu Roash are approximately twice those needed to demonstrate a correlation with the stars Bellatrix and Saiph respectively. Certainly, we should not expect to find an exact correlation given the distances involved; but when the errors are of the order of 100%, then I think we have to admit that a correlation does not exist. I certainly don't think I should be accused of pedantry for drawing attention to this simple fact.
It is true that in a book review published in DE 37 (1997), I equated the coordinates for Alnitak and Alnilam with the survey data for the Khufu and Khaefre pyramids, and - ignoring the "rotation" of the star pattern - showed that the third star Mintaka corresponded to a point on the ground about 100 cubits (roughly 50 metres) from the centre of Menkaure's pyramid, or outside the perimeter of the base. Verheyden has wrongly quoted me as giving an error of 500 metres, and has reported my findings out of context. I calculated the positional error in order to refute Robin Cook's claim that the Belt star correlation was "remarkably good", and also to make the point that scientific methods allow us to quantify the discrepancies in the Orion correlation, and not have to rely upon crude comparisons between photographs and site plans which may or may not be accurate.
Another aspect of the Orion correlation which has aroused some considerable debate was described in my article in DE 33 (1995) - this being the north-south reversal of the line of the Giza pyramids relative to the line of the Belt stars. It seems that some commentators are prepared to accept this reversal of the natural orientation of the star fields, and think it conceivable that the pyramid-builders equated northern stars with southern pyramids, and vice versa. They should realise, however, that this is not how the Orion correlation was originally presented.
On the contrary, in his article in DE 13, Robert claimed that the alignment of the Belt stars was in the same direction as the alignment of the Giza pyramids. Recognising that: "The three pyramids are aligned in a southwesterly direction...", he said (p. 9): "The three stars are aligned in a southwesterly direction as they cross the meridian".
But this is not the case. The three stars are aligned in a northwesterly direction, meaning that the most westerly star, Mintaka, is also the most northerly. Robert's original article (reproduced in Secret Chamber p. 346-55), thus contained a simple error of fact, which was repeated when he went on to say that "the 'southwesterly' alignment of the three stars relative to the Milky Way's axis matches the 'southwesterly' alignment of the three pyramids relative to the Nile's axis". I think Robert genuinely believed that a correlation existed from both north to south and from east to west, when in fact he was turning the constellation upside down.
Having at some point realized his mistake, however, Robert held on to the Orion correlation theory by assuming the viewpoint of an observer hovering at some height above the ground, while looking southwards towards the Giza pyramids on the ground and the Orion constellation in the sky above above the southern horizon. This rather contrived conception was illustrated in The Orion Mystery, plate 16, but (as I recall) was not clearly explained at the time. As a matter of fact, an "artist's impression" in an article published in _The Independent_ newspaper, represented the correlation as if a 1:1 geographical relationship really existed between the stars in the sky and the pyramids on the ground - northern stars being equated with northern pyramids - when once again the directions were being reversed.
Finally, I would like to respond to Ian Lawton's assertion that the Giza pyramids were subject to extensive replanning, with the implication that this somehow invalidates my discovery of the unified geometrical "master plan" which determined the exact dimensions and relative positions of the three pyramids. First of all, whether or not changes of plan within the passage-systems of the pyramids can be demonstrated, my site-plan analysis refers to the dimensions as they were finally laid out, and the conjectured changes of plan do not alter the intrinsic logic of the external site plan as it was actually executed.
In making his claims about changes of plan, however, Lawton relies heavily on the authority of Dr. I.E.S. Edwards, apparently without realizing that Edwards' theories have been substantially refuted not only by Mark Lehner, but also by Prof. Rainer Stadelmann - the leading German authority on the Egyptian pyramids - in his standard text Die ägyptischen Pyramiden (1997). In addition, the Italian specialists Maragioglio and Rinaldi often disagreed with Edwards' interpretations.
Stadelmann points out the lower chamber in Khaefre's pyramid can never have been planned as the original burial chamber, but was merely a "Vorkammer" or antechamber. It is indeed obvious from the arrangement of the connecting passages and the positioning of the "turning recess" - which is incorrectly shown in Ian Lawton's diagram - that the lower chamber was nothing more than an adjunct to the actual burial chamber situated close to the centre of the pyramid. Since Lehner also describes the lower chamber as a storeroom or subsidiary chamber, it is evident that these two leading experts agree that Edwards was mistaken. There is, in reality, no reason whatsoever to suppose that the lower chamber was ever intended to function as a burial chamber, and the argument that it should have been located beneath the centre of the pyramid in an earlier plan, with the implication that the pyramid-base must have been shifted southwards in a change of plan, thus falls to the ground.
Similarly, for sound technical reasons, Stadelmann rejects Edwards' theory that changes of plan took place in Menkaure's pyramid, and he maintains that the upper entrance passage was a working passage which was used during the construction of the granite chamber. He also concludes that the dimensions of the pyramid's base are those which were originally laid out.
Far from there being incontrovertible proof that the Khaefre and Menkaure pyramids were subject to changes of plan, therefore, there is no concrete evidence to show that any significant changes were made to the internal arrangements in either pyramid. Even if we allow that some changes might have been made, the contention that this had an effect on the external dimensions and positions of these pyramids is mere speculation.
I entirely agree with Robert Bauval when he says: "the relationships, mathematically and geometrically, between the various monuments play a huge part in the layout", and that "a unified plan must have been the exercise at the outset". I would like to thank Robert for acknowledging the significance of my findings on the Giza site plan, and for his references to my articles on the subject in Discussions in Egyptology 10 (1988) &apm; 14 (1989).
Kind regards, John Legon
7 Jan 2001
Response from IL to John Legon
I would like to respond briefly to your comments on my recent correspondence with Robert Bauval regarding the Orion Correlation Theory, posted to Greg at TDG.
First off, I must apologise for not realising that you had indeed raised exactly the point about the relative brightnesses of the stars as against the size of the pyramids that I raise in G:TT, and had published it well before. I was genuinely unaware of your work, and while that is no excuse I will ensure that in any future edition this omission is corrected. I have now read your paper at http://www.legon.demon.co.uk/, and whilst I do not agree with everything therein the similarity of our analysis on this point is quite clear.
Having said that, I would like to turn to your objections to my replanning theory. I cannot agree with your initial assertion that if the final execution of the Giza site plan demonstrates a unified geometry, then any replanning that might have occurred is purely incidental and can be ignored. I think any normal standards of logic would suggest that extensive replanning after construction had already begun, and not just tinkering around the edges, mitigates heavily against the idea of any sort of grand, unified master plan - and I do not think that any number of finely sculpted sentences can detract from this essential point.
However, the question remains as to whether there is evidence of replanning in the first place. Whatever the more general position might be, I find your suggestion that Prof. Edwards' work in this particular area has been substantially refuted by Mark Lehner entirely unconvincing. As I have pointed out in previous correspondence with Robert Bauval, Lehner's comments about the rationale behind the internal structures, at least in The Complete Pyramids, are so brief and contradictory that they hardly merit serious comment. If I am guilty of ignoring papers where he has more fully explored these issues, then I am sure you will correct me and we can take it from there. Similarly if Maragioglio and Rinaldi have specific points to make on these issues, rather than just general disagreements with Edwards' interpretations, then I would be happy for you to point me towards them for further consideration.
Meanwhile you do provide some detail of Stadelmann's thoughts on the matter, so let us now turn to them. His assertion that "the lower chamber in Khafre's pyramid can never have been planned as the original burial chamber, but was merely an antechamber", without any supporting analysis, is hardly a thoroughbred piece of logic. Is there something I have missed - perhaps you could fill in the gaps, because I am afraid I do not have ready access to Stadelmann's work. You then suggest that "it is indeed obvious from the arrangement of the connecting passages and the positioning of the 'turning recess' that the lower chamber was nothing more than an adjunct to the actual burial chamber situated close to the centre of the pyramid". Again, please enlighten me, since I am obviously missing the essential piece of logic that supports this statement. You do suggest that the "turning recess" is incorrectly shown in my diagram, but you do not say why - for what it is worth I photographed and measured it for myself, and although my diagrammatic reproduction is not 100 per cent accurate it should be sufficient for these purposes. Do you, or for that matter Stadelmann, accept that it was for turning a coffer? And if not, what was it for? At present you have presented nothing to properly support your contention that "the lower chamber was never intended to function as a burial chamber", other than the summary opinions of two out of the three Egyptologists mentioned (ignoring M&R for the moment), and these remain, at least at present, lacking in any supportive analysis. Your final logical leap in suggesting that my "argument that the lower chamber should have been located beneath the centre of the pyramid in an earlier plan, with the implication that the pyramid-base must have been shifted southwards in a change of plan, thus falls to the ground" is similarly baffling, because you have not actually provided any reason as to why the architects of the Second Pyramid might have departed from the precedent that all substantive chambers, whether burial or otherwise, are more or less centrally located.
As for the Third Pyramid, you indicate that "Stadelmann maintains that the upper entrance passage was a working passage which was used during the construction of the granite chamber". If you are interpreting him correctly, I can see no reason why the upper passage should have been particularly useful in the construction of the lowest granite chamber, although it is undoubtedly the case that the antechamber at the west end of the upper chamber was hollowed out to assist the manoeuvring of the granite blocks for the lower chamber, which lies beneath it. Nevertheless I have had some recent correspondence that would support the idea that the upper passage was used to assist the general excavation of all the chambers, with precedent provided from certain mastabas, and this may well be what Stadelmann is getting at. Indeed I have published this recently (the above email from correspondent Keith Hamilton of 3 Jan 2001), even though it goes against the replanning theory, because it is a well-supported argument that in my view offers a reasonable alternative explanation. However it is only an alternative, in my view no more or less valid than my own interpretation (and that of Edwards), while of course the enigmas of the Second Pyramid also remain to be answered.
I would accept that, in the light of these further discussions, my original assertion that there is "incontrovertible" proof of replanning to the Second and Third Pyramids is too strong. However I would argue that there is still a "strong case" for this which deserves further consideration and discussion, and that if it is proved right then my contention that this had a considerable effect on the external dimensions and positions of these pyramids, and by implication on the likelihood of a grand master plan for the site, still stands.
Best regards, Ian Lawton
13 Apr 2001
Link to copy of article about the OC Theory by Egyptologist Jaromir Malek, which originally appeared in Discussions in Egyptology 30 (1994).