Star Lore – Pyramids

Star Lore – Pyramids

For thousands of years the pyramids of Giza in Egypt have inspired awe and admiration. But to truly understand these ancient monuments, you need to look to the skies. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

“The pyramids of Egypt are reasonably associated with the sky. The great pyramid at Giza is extremely square and it’s sides are in fact, cardinally oriented, to north, south, east and west. And those directions were called by the Egyptians the corners of the sky. So when you see a monument that is deliberately oriented to abstract directions that only get their meaning from the sky, you can say well there’s part of the sky built in here. We also seem to see in the pyramids, shafts that go out in the north and into the south directions from them. And the calculations of the orientations of these shafts do permit them to line up with key stars that we know were important to the Egyptians at the time that the pyramids were built. It doesn’t mean that anybody sighted through these shafts, you couldn’t do it in fact, they aren’t built that way. But they probably reflected a desire to connect the soul of the deceased pharaoh with those stellar destinations. So the arguments that relate the pyramids to the stars are very reasonable in the broad sense. And we’ll probably never have the actual story exactly how the Egyptians imagined it. But I don’t think that there’s any question that those pharaohs built cosmic order into the Pyramids to reflect their destiny in the next life which the pyramid was to act a catapult to get them to.”

Our thanks to Edwin Krupp. If you’d like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation.

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Star Lore - Pyramids

For the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the pyramids may have been their "stairway to heaven".
Air Date:05/16/2002
Scientist:
Transcript:

Star Lore - Pyramids

For thousands of years the pyramids of Giza in Egypt have inspired awe and admiration. But to truly understand these ancient monuments, you need to look to the skies. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

"The pyramids of Egypt are reasonably associated with the sky. The great pyramid at Giza is extremely square and it's sides are in fact, cardinally oriented, to north, south, east and west. And those directions were called by the Egyptians the corners of the sky. So when you see a monument that is deliberately oriented to abstract directions that only get their meaning from the sky, you can say well there's part of the sky built in here. We also seem to see in the pyramids, shafts that go out in the north and into the south directions from them. And the calculations of the orientations of these shafts do permit them to line up with key stars that we know were important to the Egyptians at the time that the pyramids were built. It doesn't mean that anybody sighted through these shafts, you couldn't do it in fact, they aren't built that way. But they probably reflected a desire to connect the soul of the deceased pharaoh with those stellar destinations. So the arguments that relate the pyramids to the stars are very reasonable in the broad sense. And we'll probably never have the actual story exactly how the Egyptians imagined it. But I don't think that there's any question that those pharaohs built cosmic order into the Pyramids to reflect their destiny in the next life which the pyramid was to act a catapult to get them to."

Our thanks to Edwin Krupp. If you'd like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation.

music