Author of the Month

Robert Bauval, Author of the Month for February 2008

The Egypt Code (cont.)
By Robert Bauval

What are Egypt's Old Kingdom pyramids for? What possible purpose could they have had? Why do they have low protracted tunnels, and long narrow shafts that seem to lead nowhere, and corridors, galleries and chambers that are often stark and empty? Why were the pyramids astronomically aligned to the stars? Why are they scattered in clusters along a 40 kilometres strip of desert? And, more intriguingly, why are some devoid of texts while others have their walls fully covered with inscriptions that speak of the sun and stars, and of a strange religious cosmology in a celestial landscape that is reminiscent of Egypt itself?

Until very recently the standard theory offered by Egyptologists was that the pyramids were tombs, large sepulchres principally to house the body of dead kings. As for their elaborate internal systems of tunnels, shafts, corridors and chambers, these were intended mainly to confuse and outsmart tomb-robbers, while their astronomical alignments were either meaningless or just a fluke. Amazingly, such views went mostly unchallenged for nearly two centuries, this in spite of the maddening detail that no bodies of kings (not a skeleton or skull or even a bone splinter) was ever found inside a pyramid or, for that matter, outside it. And more maddening still, no-one had an explanation why, if they were 'tombs', these pyramids were not placed into a single well-defined cemetery but instead were scattered in small clusters in a vast desert plain west of the River Nile like strange volcanic islands in a sea of sand. Yet, oddly enough, the clues that suggested a much higher purpose than just 'tombs' were plentiful and always there for all to see and evaluate. And these clues screamed of a connection with the stars. For example:

(1) The base of each pyramid was aligned to the astronomical directions using star alignments.

(2) The largest of the pyramids contained 'air-shafts' oriented towards important star systems such as Orion, Sirius and the circumpolar constellations (viz. the pyramid of Khufu at Giza).

(3) Pyramids were given 'star' names or names implicit of stars ('The Pyramid of Djedefre is a sehedu star'; 'Nebka is a star'; 'Horus is the Star at the Head of the Sky' and so forth).

(4) Pyramids had ceilings of chambers decorated with five-pointed stars (viz, the Step Pyramid and 5th and 6th dynasty pyramids at Saqqara).

(5) Pyramids contained writings carved on the inside walls that spoke of a star-religion and the destiny of king in a starry world called Duat which contained Orion and other constellations (viz. the 5th and 6th dynasty pyramids at Saqqara).

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