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This page concerns an Egyptian Hermetic scheme in Britain. For some background on Egyptian geodesy, see my page here.)
Below is a drawing that was done by draughtsmen of a certain Lepsius, who travelled with a team through Egypt in the nineteenth century. This drawing shows the ceiling of the Ptolemaic temple of Hathor-Ma’at in Deir-el-Medina. When Lepsius and his team travelled through Egypt in the nineteenth century his draughtsman produced many accurate, faithfully reproduced drawings of the temples and their artwork based on what was then visible. These drawings have proved invaluable to Egyptology, because much of the artwork has since deteriorated due to the carbon dioxide from the breath of millions of tourists over the years, greatly affecting the colours of the ancient paints.
The Ptolemaic temple of Hathor-Ma’at in Deir-el-Medina
And shown here below is a close up of the top right part of the drawing, and in this can be seen an Egyptian version of a Serpent-Bearer constellation in a starry environment. As can also be seen from the two images here, there is a very striking similarity not only in the posture, including foot and hand positions, but in the very style of the standing figures in this and the Long Man of Wilmington.
Was the Long Man designed by the Ancient Egyptians? I would say so, yes. If the Long Man looks Egyptian, why hasn’t it been noticed before? Actually it has. Back in the early 80’s Rodney Caslteden in his book The Wilmington Giant: The Quest for a Lost Myth noted that the style of the figure had ‘a distinctly Egyptian resonance,’ and likened it to the kind of figure one might see on the façade of an Egyptian temple. He observed that Egyptian officials held staffs as an insignia of their office, and were depicted holding them, just as the Long Man has his two staffs. He observed that like Egyptian figures, the Long man has the torso face-on but the legs in profile. He also pointed out that the Egyptians had a penchant for the colossal, which again fits with the Long Man. He noted too that the Egypt of the pharaohs was contemporary with the period of the Bronze Age landscape in which the Long Man is located, and cited archaeological evidence for contact between Bronze Age Britain and the Meditteranean.
All rather intriguing.
Castleden did some other good work on a feature at the Long Man site that he calls the Windover Cursus. This is a long, parralell double track-like structure that seems to lead nowhere other than the Long Barrow on the top of the Long Man hill – Windover Hill. Castleden observes that at another location in Southern Britain (not far from the other British human hill figure, the Cerne Abbas chalk giant, as it happens) a cursus is connected with Long Barrows in a similar way, namely the longest of all the cursuses, the Dorset Cursus, of which we shall have more to say a little later. Castelden measured the ruts of the Windover Cursus and found strong similarities to the ruts found in the rocky surfaces of the island of Matla, believed to have been created by the draging of sledges. Castleden therefore sees the cursus as an avenue used for a ritualised dragging of sledges being carried to the burial mound, i.e. the long barrow on the top of Windover Hill. Although Castleden doesn’t mention it, this is an exact duplication of an important part of the Egyptian royal funerary rite. Great causeways lead up from the Nile to each of the pyramids of Giza, and along these the royal funerary sledges were dragged towards the pharoahs’ tombs – the pyramids, and then the process continued in the internal passages on the way to the burial chamber. The long barrow at the Long Man site is located up on a hill beside a river – the Cuckmere – just as the pyramids are located by the Nile. The deceased could have been dragged on the sled up from the river then up the cursus to the burial site, the long barrow.
There are certain examples of British Bronze Age grave goods in the British Isles curiously similar to those of Egypt, and I’m not just talking about the odd faience bead. In 1955 a burial tomb in the Hill of Tara Complex in Ireland was opened by archaeologists to reveal a full necklace of amber and faience beads, and recently the qualified Egyptologist Lorraine Evans has said that this is remarkably similar to necklaces found in royal burials in Egypt, such as that of Tutankhamun.
We may note, as this same Lorraine Evans does in her book Kingdom of the Ark, that an old Scottish myth traces the ancestry of the High Kings of this same Tara site, where the necklace was found, back to a daughter of a pharaoh who, according to this myth, lead an expedition to the British Isles. The site where the necklace was found – Tara – has always been associated with this dynasty. An almost identical necklace (again similar to the Egyptian, in other words) also turned up in a tomb in Devon, England, in 1889.
Just as curious, and more so from the cumulative point of view, is the extraordinary Mold Pectoral, one of the most amazing finds of British archaeology, and the largest single piece of worked gold ever uncovered at a British ancient site. It was found in a Bronze Age burial mound in Mold in Flintshire, North Wales, in 1833. Evans noted in her book that it bears an uncanny resemblance to gold pectorals that formed part of the funeral garb of high-ranking members of Ancient Egyptian society. Even the use of a beaded pattern worked into the surface of the gold was familiar to the British Egyptologist.
The Gold of the Grail Kings: The stunning gold shoulder cape found in a 4000-year-old burial mound in Wales, and, right, an image of the ka of an Egyptian wearing a similar adornment in a tomb painting. Below: Gold collar on a ka statue from the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Evans did not allow her enquiry to probe back before the Middle Bronze Age period, but the Tara tomb itself (although probably reused) was early, and there is something else from the earlier period that we should take into account, namely Silbury Hill.
In the British Early Bronze Age landscape nothing stands out so clearly as being unique and anomalous as the enormous man-made structure of Silbury Hill, west of Marlborough in Wiltshire.
Silbury Hill, the ‘British Pyramid’ – largest Bronze Age ‘mound’ in Europe, started around 4,700 years ago in very much the same era as the Great Pyramid.
How far do you think you would have had to have travelled in those days – the early Bronze Age – to find something similar? The correct answer is of course Egypt and archaeology now states, through the most up-to-date carbon dating techniques, that Silbury was indeed built at the same time as the Great Pyramids of Giza. The hill is a well-balanced structure, symmetrical even, with a flat platform at the top, and underneath the turf covering it has a stepped structure like an Egyptian stepped pyramid. It was built from chalk blocks and the engineering and architectural skill involved was considerable, with no precedent in Britain.
There’s good reason to believe that the hill was constructed as a representation of the Egyptian mythological Primordial Mound, and not just because it was surrounded by a lake like the ones in Egyptian temples representing the primordial waters from which the mound rose. There is something deeply curious about the hill’s latitude, for it is almost precisely 4/7 of the way from Equator to Pole. In fact the 4/7 latitude line goes right through Avebury stone circle, a little way to the north of Silbury Hill. This connects the hill with other Primordial Mound sites of the Ancient World. Delphi, the greatest of the Greek oracle centers, is located on Mount Parnassus. There was a version of the myth of Deukalion, the Ancient Greek Noah figure, where this flood hero landed his ark on Mount Parnassus, it being the first mountain to rise above the waters of the flood in that myth, just as with the Primordial Mound of Egyptian Myth. Indeed, Parnassus is at 3/7 from Equator to Pole, while the Theban Primordial Mountain, the sacred mountain of Thebes in Egypt known as Mistress of the West and sacred to Hathor, is as 2/7. Silbury, at 4/7, actually matches Egyptian depictions of the seven-stepped Primordial Mound. At Thebes an annual festival was held in which statues of the god Amun as a ram-headed figure were carried about in a crescent shaped boat. Similarly, at Delphi there was a festival in which a crescent shaped boat was carried, and this boat was known as the Argo, the same name used for the boat which carried the golden fleece of the Ram. Indeed, one version has the Castalian Spring of Delphi as the place where the dragon lived from whose teeth were sprouted the Earth-born warriors we find in the Argo myth. And furthermore, Herodotus says that in Egyptian Thebes once a year a sacred ram was sacrificed and its fleece was draped over the statue of this Theban ram god, Amun – the same fleece/boat tradition at both sites in other words. These coincidences may be explained if there is truth in the stories told by Herodotus in which the Greek oracle centers were founded by visitors from Egyptian Thebes. Certainly there was also an oracle at Egyptian Thebes, as there was at Delphi, and in the Theban temple of Amun there was even an equivalent of the omphallos stone of Delphi that was said to have been placed at this spot after Zeus had measured the size of the Earth. Since the Earth-measuring that links Egyptian Thebes and Greek Delphi is the seventh divisions of the hemisphere, it seems likely that the same claim may be made for the seven-stepped hemisphere of Silbury that Herodotus made for Delphi, namely that it was built according to the commission of Egyptian visitors.
Left: Egyptian stepped Primordial Mound depiction.
Right: ‘Mistress of the West’ – the sacred peak of Thebes
Might a pharaoh’s tomb be inside Silbury Hill? Archaeologists have looked, but they’ve found no tomb inside the hill. However, with a few exceptions, such as the Great Pyramid, Egyptian pharaonic burial chambers were located under the ground, beneath their pyramids, so there may still be a tomb awaiting discovery under the hill.
But did they have the means to come to Britain, the Egyptians I mean? They had ocean-going vessels. We know from inscriptions that fleets of ships made long sea trips back in the time of Sneferu, the father of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, and from the causeway of Sahure, another Pyramid Age pharaoh from a couple of generations later we have quite detailed depictions of the large ocean going ships that were used to travel over sea to the trade with a land called Punt. There are no objections on grounds of technology or capability to expeditions by ancient Egyptians to Britain.
There’s another Bronze Age site in Britain that has strong correspondences to the site of the Egyptian pyramids in Giza in terms of its configuration, namely the Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire, but we’ll leave that ‘till later I think. One other thing that is worth mentioning here though is the Friston Mace head. Friston Forest lies to your right as you row up the Cuckmere towards the Long Man, named after the village of Friston located just to the south of the hill on which the Long Man was carved. A certain artefact relevant to our current theme was found here in Friston, and is now on show in the Lewes museum. The piece in question is a finely crafted polished ovoid mace-head made from a hard stone with marbled streaks running through it. Such streaked stone was often chosen in Egypt for similar finely crafted polished rounded mace-heads, which could also be ovoid, particularly during the Proto-Dynastic period.
When I say “mace” I mean by that a shaped lump of hard stone attached to a wooden handle. In Egypt the mace had symbolic connotations and functioned as an insignia of power held by high-level officials and the pharaoh. It is therefore interesting that archaeologists looking at this piece from Friston conclude from the fine workmanship – the same symmetrical curvature evident in the Egyptian examples – that it was probably originally made to serve as a symbol of authority. Take this authority figure with the fine mace grasped in his hand and stick a bead-indented gold collar on him like the one found at Mold, then put him in charge of a group of men constructing the stepped-pyramid of Silbury Hill, and what have you got? A scene right out of Ancient Egypt. In the simplest terms, the fine craftsmanship and rare ovoid shape of this piece make it a direct parallel to the Egyptian maces, which would be interesting enough anyway, but together with the location of the find at Friston, literally just over the other side of the hill from the highly Egyptionesque chalk figure of Wilmington, it becomes a very interesting object. Mace heads do turn up in British archaeology, but this ovoid example is extremely rare. British examples were not normally polished in this way. So there you go. For the Long Man we have both iconographical and archaeological hints at an Egyptian connection. But there is more to be said about the iconography.
Left: the Friston mace head, found near Wilmington. Right: Egyptian early mace head.
OK, so, moving on to the further Egyptian examples of iconographical parallels for the Long Man with his two staffs. Have a look at these.
We have here on the left the overhead view of the Long Man, without the foreshortening, in other words the plan view. Then we have an Egyptian artefact showing a version of a particular motif, plus two close ups to show detail. These close ups focus on what Egyptologists call an animated ankh. An ankh is one of those fellows, like a cross with a loop instead of the upper part. And the animated ankh is different from the normal ankh in that it is shown with human arms and human hands, which may be engaged in some activity. So the ankh is animated, it is doing something. In these cases, and in many other examples, the action of the ankh is that of holding two staffs, one to each side of the body, just as with the Long Man images. They are definitely staffs; their shape identifies them as was sceptres. And here we can begin to talk about the symbolism and therefore discuss the ideas which this motif is meant to convey.’
How familiar are you with the story of the battle between Horus and Seth? Picture an Egyptian Golden Age, when all is well in a well-ruled kingdom, ruled by King Osiris and his wife Isis. Their child is the youth Horus, who would normally be the next to the throne. However, the boy’s uncle, Seth, a violent warrior, kills the king, and then claims that he is a better candidate for the throne than the heir, with Horus being too young to rule the land. There are then a series of battles between these two, so disruptive to Egypt that the two fighters come to be seen almost as two elementary powers that need to be held in balance for the order of the Golden Age to be restored. They each came to be rulers of one half of Egypt, one ruling Upper Egypt and the other Lower Egypt, and these became known as the Two Lands, a concept which was of major importance right through dynastic Egypt. The main bone of contention between these two then became the question of where to place the boundary between Upper and Lower Egypt.
This brings us back to the ankh flanked by two staffs, the was sceptres. We know from versions of the Egyptian Book of the Dead that the motif of ankh flanked by was sceptres was a symbolic grouping that could have some relation to the re-establishment of healthy conditions when the argument between Horus and Seth was resolved.
What do you know about the Egyptian god Thoth? Thoth was the god of scribes, of writing, the intellect, maths, measurement, that kind of thing. I mention him because Thoth is in fact shown holding the was-ankh-was grouping in the Book of the Dead in an image that accompanies a passage of text that describes the good things Thoth did for Osiris, including resolving the battle between the “Two Fighters”, Horus and Seth. This text includes the words, seen as being spoken by a deceased soul entering the Afterlife: “I come to you son of Nut, Osiris, ruler of eternity. I am one of the followers of Thoth; I rejoice at all he has done. He brought you the sweet winds for your nostrils to give you life and he brought the beautiful wind to your face, which comes forth from Tumu [Eternity] for your nose.” This passage also includes the words: “He [Thoth] destroyed storms and whirlwinds for you. He caused the Two Fighters to be gracious to you and the Two Lands to be at peace before you.”
Thoth with was-ankh-was
So here we see Thoth “giving life”, represented by the ankh, and we learn that he has done this by bringing the sweet winds, those that in Egypt blow from the North, as opposed to the desert whirlwinds that were seen as being a result of the elemental battle between Horus and Seth. Such whirlwinds blow each year in Egypt around April and May. In the story of the Battle between Horus and Seth it was actually Thoth who was said to have carried out the measuring of the land which resulted in an agreed boundary latitude between Upper and Lower Egypt, this line being known as “The Balance of the Lands.” In this sense then it was Thoth who established peace between the Two Fighters. So Thoth brings life back to Osiris, the Golden Age. Are you with me so far?
Ok, now this idea of the Balance of the Lands is further encoded into certain examples of the was-ankh-was grouping, as we can see here in an image from Denderah.
There are weights hanging down from the elbows of the animated ankh, this imagery being similar to Egyptian depictions of a set of scales. Thus the image combines two versions of the name given to the place beside the Nile where the boundary between Upper and Lower Egypt was measured by Thoth. This place, namely the Egyptian capital of Memphis, was called both The Balance of the Lands, Mekhat Tawi, and The Binding of the Lands, Ankh Tawi. The ankh symbol, you see, carried two hieroglyphic meanings, “life” and “to bind”. So here we have two was sceptres both bound together by the ankh, and also being held in balance, since the ankh has been made into an image of scales by the addition of hanging weights. It was a set of scales that Thoth was said to have used to measure the place of balance, probably because the word for “balance” in the Egyptian phrase “Balance-of-the-Two Lands” recalls the name of the instrument used, along with the palm rib, to measure stellar angles, which by extension can also be a measurement of relative latitude position. The hieroglyphic determinative sign for “to weigh” shows a triangle, or builders’ square, with a plumb bob suspended from the apex, a sign which can also mean to “balance the Earth”. The plumb bob was also the chief component of the merkhet, of course, which with a few adaptations could used to measure stellar inclination. The great scales of Thoth in the place of Ma’at are called Mekhaat and in Wallis Budge’s dictionary of hieroglyphs we see that this name in other contexts means “the balance of the Earth”.
There would be good reasons why Thoth’s fair measuring of the boundary between North and South could be thought of as an act of weighing in a set of scales: finding latitude from the inclination of the Pole, and indeed surveying in general, involves the use of plumb bobs, which hang down from vertical bars like weights hanging from scales. Before you can measure stellar inclination, you need to find the level horizontal as the baseline from which to take an angular measurement.
A look at part of the Egyptian text from the Shabaka Stone, which was copied from an Old Kingdom text, is extremely relevant at this point. It’s pure poetry because it expresses such resonant ideas:
He judged between Horus and Seth; he ended their quarrel. He made Seth the king of Upper Egypt in the land of Upper Egypt, up to the place in which he was born, which is Su. And Geb made Horus King of Lower Egypt in the land of Lower Egypt, up to the place in which his father was drowned which is “Division-of-the-Two-Lands.” Thus Horus stood over one region, and Seth stood over one region. They made peace over the Two Lands at Ayan [location immediately to the north of Memphis]. That was the division of the Two Lands….Then Horus stood over the land. He is the unifier of this land, proclaimed in the great name: Ta-tenen, South-of-his-Wall, Lord of Eternity. Then sprouted the two Great Magicians upon his head. He is Horus who arose as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, who united the Two Lands in the Nome of the Wall, the place in which the Two Lands were united.
Reed and papyrus were placed on the double door of the House of Ptah. That means Horus and Seth, pacified and united. They fraternized so as to cease quarrelling in whatever place they might be, being united in the House of Ptah, the “Balance of the Two Lands” in which Upper and Lower Egypt had been weighed.
Notice that the above does not refer only to a political unification, but also to a measuring, a weighing in a balance to find the location of Memphis. The Balance of the Two Lands (Mekhat Tawi), was, as we’ve said, an epithet for the Old Kingdom capital.
I’ll just explain some of the elements of that Egyptian passage. The Nome of the Wall was a name for the Memphite region of the pyramid builders. Memphis was the home of the god Ptah, and Ta-Tenen or ‘Risen Land’ is here the Memphite Primordial Mound of Ptah the Creator, which the Saqqara pyramid may well in some sense represent. (The other chief Primordial Mound was the sacred mountain of Thebes.) Horus is equated with this mound, and on the mound in the creation myth the first plants sprouted. We are told in this passage how reed and papyrus are placed in the door of the house (Memphite temple) of Ptah, presumably as its two pillars. Memphis was famous down through the ages for being the location of the Temple of Ptah. Reed, or Sedge, was a symbol of Upper Egypt, more commonly paired with a bee as a symbol for Lower Egypt, and Papyrus was a symbol of Lower Egypt, more commonly paired with a lotus as a symbol for Upper Egypt, but in any case here, with the reed and the papyrus, we have the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt at the site of the temple of Ptah in Memphis.’
The key point I’m making at the moment then is that the Long Man closely resembles Egyptian images representing the Balance of the Two Lands where the two staffs represent the Upper and Lower Lands. Further to this we may note that two staffs could carry this meaning in a definite way, referring to the Two Lands. For example in Abydos we see Thoth standing before Seti I, who is in Osiris pose. Thoth here is holding two Caduceus-like scepters entwined with cobras, one staff topped with papyrus of the North with its cobra wearing the crown of the North and the other topped with the lotus of the South and the corresponding Southern Crown on the cobra. This is another version, then, of the idea of Thoth giving life to Osiris as a result of holding the two lands in balance. There are also the later Horus cippus images where the young god stands flanked similarly by the lotus and papyrus staffs of South and North. I certainly do suggest that the Long Man in Wilmington represents this same concept, but there is more to discuss here, for the balance of the lands has a mathematical/geodetic concept behind it.
Thoth holds serpent-entwined lotus and papyrus wands and gives life to pharaoh Seti I in Osiris pose, from Abydos, Upper Egypt
As I’ve already mentioned, according to a very longstanding Egyptian tradition, Egypt was seen as being made up of the “Two Lands”, namely Upper Egypt, to the south (upper because it’s upstream along the Nile) and Lower Egypt to the north, encompassing the Delta. To recapitulate further, a boundary dispute, symbolized by the battle between the gods Horus and Set, was settled when the gods measured the “Balance of the Two Lands”, in other words the place of equality between them. The place chosen was Memphis, henceforth given the epithet “Balance of the Lands” and also “Binding of the Lands”. The Egyptians from early in dynastic history made use of an instrument that allowed them to measure stellar inclination, and from a measurement of the stellar inclination of the Pole of the sky it is but a short step to an awareness of change in latitude when travelling north-south along the Nile, a journey which would be common for Egyptian surveyor-priest-architects. Locating the Pole is understood universally by Egyptologists to have been a part of the original surveying procedure when building structures such as the pyramids of Giza, accounting for their incredible accuracy of alignment to the cardinal directions, with observation of the Northern Sky even being referred to in the old texts relating to the Stretching the Cord ceremony.
So we’re saying that the measurement of the Balance of the Lands was not just a mythological idea, but was an actual mathematical measurement.
But of what?
We are dealing with relative latitudes. But the next questions are 1) relative latitudes of what to what? And 2) what mathematical ratio are we looking for?
We know it will involve Memphis, the Balance of the Lands. It will be something to do with a fair portioning out of the Two Lands, Upper and Lower. That Which Is Above, Upper Egypt, is equal to That Which Is Below, Lower Egypt.
This is why it is interesting that we know of a famous Egyptian example of an architectural embodiment of the concept of that which is above being equal to that which is below. Perhaps you can guess what I’m talking about? Most famous building in the world?
No, not the Shard. Not the Taj Mahal either. The Great Pyramid of Khufu, in Giza.
The king was to be placed in the sarcophagus that sits on the floor of the King’s Chamber. And the surface area of the outside of that part of the pyramid which is above the level of the floor of the King’s Chamber is equal to the surface area of that part of the pyramid which is below this level. This observation goes right back to the Egyptologist Petrie, who, according to David Furlong, proposed that “the height of the King’s Chamber was established at a level that was 1/2 the triangular area of the cross-section of the pyramid.” The relevance was probably closely related to those images of Thoth “giving life” to Osiris, i.e. the king, by means of the establishment of the balance between upper and lower regions. Let’s take a look at this from a pictorial and geometric point of view, to make it a bit clearer to visualize and conceptualize, and to see the elegance of it.
To explain the labelling: the original Egyptian pronunciation of the name of Thoth was probably closer to Tehuti. So to reiterate, the grey truncated equilateral – or equilateral trapezium – in this diagram of the Great Pyramid cross-section has the same surface area as the white triangle above it. By the way, Egyptian mathematics was quite concerned with such things. Here is an image of part of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, showing the calculation of, respectively, the areas of a triangular plot of land, a truncated equilateral trapezium, and an equilateral triangle divided into smaller and larger trapeziums. These three calculations are known as Problems 51, 52 and 53 of the Rhind Papyrus, and the scribe included diagrams, as you can see.
The Egyptians must also have had tables for important square root values, because these values are used in several of their papyri. They had a word for square root, and also a hieroglyphic symbol for it, shaped like the corner of a square. In fact, as Egyptologists recognise, the most common unit of measurement used in Ancient Egyptian land surveying, the double remen (74.07 cm according to the British Museum’s Dictionary of Egyptology) was equal to the diagonal of a square whose sides equalled one Royal Cubit, this latter being the main unit of Egyptian measurement in general (52.4cm according to the same Egyptological dictionary).
So a figure for the square root of two would certainly have been known to them.
A square root of a number is, as I’m sure you’ll recall, the number that when multiplied by itself will equal that first number, yes?
Take a look at this diagram.
Xi is equal to Xii, both being the radii of the same circle, would you agree?
Now look at this.
ABC is a right angle triangle, so a2 x a2 = x2, by Pythagoras theory, right?
The sum of the squares of the two shorter sides of a right angle triangle equals the square of the longest side.
So if we say a = 1, then a2 (i.e. a x a) is 1 x 1, which = 1, right?
So a2 + a2 is actually 1 + 1, which equals 2.
So, since x2 = a2 x a2 = 2, then x2 = 2, then to find x we take the square root of both sides of the equation, which tells us that x = the square root of 2. So the diagonal of a square is equal to the side of that square multiplied by the square root of two. For example, if we multiply the Royal Cubit (52.4cm) by √2 we get the double remen, 74.1cm.
Going back now to our former diagram we can now label it differently.
The smaller of the two concentric squares has a side of 2a, and the larger a side of 2 x √2a. So the larger square has a side √2 of the side of smaller square.
Now the equation for the area of an equilateral triangle is just half the base multiplied by the height. And if there is another similar square which is 1/√2 times as big, it will have half the area, because 1/√2 is the same as √½, and √½ x √½ = ½.
The same ratio, 1: √2, gives the relative heights of two equilateral triangles where one has twice the area of the other. Put another way, it gives the horizontal line that divides any equilateral triangle into two equal areas. Including the triangles that form the faces of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
We’ve found a mathematical ratio used in Ancient Egypt that embodies the balance of Upper and Lower, and we are now going to see how this ratio relates to a scheme of relative latitudes including the latitude of Memphis.
The primary site in Upper Egypt, and the administrative capital for Upper Egypt for much of dynastic history, is the site of Thebes. As you can see from this diagram, Memphis is located at the Balance of Upper and Lower latitude measured from the latitude of Thebes down to the coast at the north point of the Delta. This, purely and simply, is why Memphis was chosen as the Balance of the Lands.
Actually we needn’t rely on a diagram alone for confirmation of the accuracy of this, for a simple calculation from latitude figures can be done. Measuring north from Memphis we come to the north point on the coast at 31’33”N. The latitude line running through the Temple of Amun in Karnak, up in Thebes, is 25’43”. The ‘balance point’ between these, using the triangular equilibrium ratio of 1:2.41, is precisely at the latitude of Memphis, at 29’51”. (Convert to decimal for ease of calculation, subtract 25.71 from 31.57= 5.86. Multiply by 1/3.41=1.72. Subtract 1.72 from 31.57 = 29.85, convert back to degrees and minutes = 29’51”.)
Early Egyptian constructions were often topped with a reed mat. I mention this now because a motif that references this type of building in fact gives us an early Egyptian example of the geometry we’re discussing here, and indeed it comes from the Memphis necropolis site of Saqqara, Memphis being of course the site that we have seen is at the Balance of the Lands. Look at this.
This image shows a wall panel made from many blue-green glazed tiles inset with a shallow arch pattern, the arch being held up by the djeds. Three of these faience panels were used to decorate chambers in the underground maze of tunnels beneath the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. The Djed Pillar, which here in this early version seems to take the form of a tied bundle of reeds, had a long history in Egypt as an amuletic and hieroglyphic symbol of stability, and later at least as the backbone of Osiris, as well as having some connection with Ptah, the god of Memphis. I’ve superimposed the Balance of the Lands geometry and you can see that the correspondence is good enough to show that the Egyptians were interested in this particular geometrically constructed pattern at the beginning of the Pyramid Age. The panel’s only motif is a circle segment-shaped vault held up by djed pillars made from papyrus reed bundles. The rest of the panel is made from blue green tiles representing reed mats and also the sky, i.e. the sky mythologized as a reed mat like the ones the early Egyptians placed over their reed-bundle structures. The djeds therefore appear to be mythological pillars holding up the arch of the sky. There we are, you see: the primordial reed hut has cosmological significance, making it perfect for the basis of the classical tradition.
The Balance of the Two Lands was a profoundly geometric concept, in accordance with Ma’at. By the way, what do you understand by the Egyptian concept of Ma’at, and how do you think this might translate to conceptions of natural and architectural space? Ma’at, which was personified as a goddess, all the same remained a principle, namely that of the Ancient Egyptian concept of good order, encompassing truth, balance, law, morality and justice, present in the heart and actions of an individual, in society, the heavens and in the natural world. Ma’at is about the establishment of order over chaos, and about understanding the natural, pre-existing order in things. So Ma’at would manifest in an architectural or geodetic space by means of a framework of natural order. What inherent framework of order exists in a natural space, a space in nature, on the planet’s surface?
The framework I’m getting at is just the cardinal directions. True North, that direction which points constantly to the Pole of the sky, and South, where the Sun is at its highest point every day, and East and West, where the Sun rises and sets at the equinoxes, when the day and night are equal length – these are all constants, effectively eternal and unchanging, for practical purposes. As soon as you’ve established North from observing the stars, the other directions are extrapolated from right angles. You can then also look for order in natural features of the landscape and/or build upon the existing order using the language of order: mathematics, for example in the form of Euclidian geometry. In this way Ma’at is established for the land at the level of resonant Idea.
Society was thought to be potentially healthier if the layout of the nation, the idea of the nation, embodied this type of order. So if Egyptian surveyors had come to Britain, this is the mode of operation that they would have worked within. And speaking of which, we are now ready to return to Britain; do you remember what it was that we were wondering about here?
It was the Long Man and whether or not there is a reason why his iconography is similar to those Egyptian images. So if the iconography does embody the same notion, the Balance of the Lands, what would we expect? ‘Well, that the Long Man is at a particular latitude derived from that same mathematical ratio but within a British version of the geodetic scheme.
In Egypt the main communication highway running through the land was of course the Nile, which flows in a south to north direction. So it was logical to take the North Point of the Delta as a defining point for the geodetic scheme there. In Britain in the early times, when the lower lying areas were not always easy to cross, it was hilltop pathways – ridgeways as we call them – that became the main communication highways. These were Roads of Ma’at in the sense of law and order: the high ground was not only easier to travel due to being drier, but it also afforded traders a better view of the surrounding area and thus forewarning of potential attacks by bandits. Certain hill systems in Britain happen to be particularly suited to this, since they run in relatively continued bands across long distances. The South Downs is an example, running in an east-west direction. Another is formed by the Chilterns, the chalk range that forms a kind of spine for southern England. In the West Country – Cornwall and Devon – the land narrows towards the most westerly point of Britain along an axis that points like an arrow southwest out into the Atlantic, and it so happens that this axis also aligns with the axis of the Chilterns further to the east, and continuing along this line we come also to the most easterly point in Britain, in Lowestoft. If you were an Ancient Egyptian coming to Britain, then you would have arrived by ship, over the sea, which means from the Atlantic. So you would approach from the southwest, and Cornwall would be your first sight, probably you first stopping point, and most likely you main initial trading post, not least because the Cornish mines were the source of much of what you’d come for. As your interest in this fertile island increased, you might want to know: if this was the most westerly point, what was the most easterly? And what direction takes me into the heart of this island?
Topographical Map of Southern Britain, plus Ridgeway Axis line to East Point
Geological Map of Southern Britain, plus Ridgeway Axis line to East Point
Along the course of this route along the Cornish peninsula and then along the Chilterns, there are certain key landscape features, right on the axis of the route,which mark it out as a sacred route. Most notably, Glastonbury Tor and Silbury Hill are located along this route, the first a natural hill, altered by human action, the second – Silbury – being entirely man-made, though of considerable size.
Why mention this line here? It is when we start considering the relative latitudes of the two extreme points of the British nation – the most easterly and the most westerly points – that we first realise we are entering the right ball park as regards this business of the Long Man being at the Balance of the Lands. The most westerly point is Land’s End, and the most easterly is Lowestoft. Lowestoft is further north than Land’s End, in fact Land’s End is quite close to the southerly extreme.
What we are going to do is look at the latitude of the eastern extreme at Lowestoft and the latitude of the westerly extreme of a line across the land, and then find the Balance of the Lands ratio point between those two latitudes. But before we look at the maths of this, a little more on this sacred line across the landscape.
Just to clarify first: longitude is how far east-west you are, and latitude is how far north-south you are. So in this case, imagine if you like a horizontal line on the map running through Lowestoft, and another running through Land’s End – these are lines of latitude – and then it is another horizontal line somewhere between these two that we are looking for, at a certain ratio of the distance between them, to see if it goes through the Long Man.
So, some more on that Sacred Way from East Point to West Point. As well as those features of this line I’ve mentioned, there are also certain very old roads and tracks that follow the general course of sections of this line linking most easterly and most westerly points. For example, the Ridgeway – known as Europe’s Oldest Road – meanders around the central section of this line, and the pre-Roman Icknield Way is another old track that runs close to eastern sections of this line. The Ridgeway is as old as Silbury Hill, our British Pyramid, and indeed the Ridgeway’s western terminus is at Silbury Hill. In other words it was a route that took people to a sacred site, and so was probably itself also a sacred way. Because of the shape of Cornwall and Devon, a path coming up from the western extreme would also follow this type of course to complete the western sections of the path. We know that people were walking this general course back in the period in question. This means that there would have been an awareness that Glastonbury Tor is located close to the line connecting most easterly and westerly points. Glastonbury Tor, which rises very prominently above the Somerset levels, is one of those hills that has always had an aura of sanctity. The striking, evocative outline, the cave inside the hill, the two springs that rise there – the iron-rich red and the calcium-rich white – the way that morning mists can make the hill seem to be an island in some strange sea, all this contributes to the hill being of the type found on every continent in the world, namely a sacred hill that is a primary location in a mythologized landscape, the main reference point for the entire zone of inter-visibility, and a vision which would have beckoned those ancient travellers for miles across the moors.
But now consider this: Glastonbury Tor is actually an elongated teardrop shape in plan view, and the long axis of this teardrop shape quite clearly points along the course of this line running from West Point in Cornwall to East Point in Lowestoft. The terracing on the Tor indicates human re-sculpting of the hill; it may even be that the teardrop shape has been augmented by human action to align in this way, or else it is a lucky coincidence. It requires no great technology to set out a straight, extended line of sight over a long distance. One simply needs three straight staffs to stick in the ground, two along the existing line, the third being placed in line with them to extend the line with the plumb bob employed here and there to make sure they are dead vertical. This can be repeated and continued to extend the line further and further. The defining limits of the line were not simply East Point and West Point pure and simple, but, to harmonise and incorporate the natural Ma’at of the landscape, the definition of the line was rather set as this: a straight line on the land that goes along the long axis of Glastonbury Tor and has its eastern and western extremes at points close to British East Point and West Point. We shall further refine that definition in a moment.
One version of such a line is the so-called St Michael Line, as discovered and popularised by the alternative antiquarian John Michel. The St Michael Line is effectively a straight ‘as-the-crow-flies’ line starting at Land’s End and going through Glastonbury Tor, with the eastern end having to be wherever this straight line ends up on the east coast, even though it is some distance north of East Point. I have no doubt that this line was anciently surveyed and established. Not only does it go through Glastonbury Tor, but two of the most significant henges in the country – Avebury and the Big Rings of Dorchester – were built right on the line.
However, another line was then established where the reverse was true – instead of starting at West Point, going through Glastonbury Tor and ending up somewhere distant from East Point, this one starts at almost exactly East Point, in Lowestoft, still goes exactly through Glastonbury Tor, and then ends up somewhat to the north of Land’s End, as a line drawn in Google Earth neatly shows. This alternative version of the “St Michael” line was plotted out because it further embodied Ma’at (the Egyptian principle of cosmic, natural and societal good order) in a specific way: the average bearing of this line (the bearing at its centre, half-way along the line) in Britain is the “Golden Angle” that is the diagonal angle of a 2 by 1 rectangle, an angle which the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age were very keen on, as I shall discuss in a moment.
There is something else very neat about this particular straight line: it goes exactly through the heart of Silbury Hill, that British Pyramid at the end of the Ridgeway Path that we’ve come across already. In other words it goes through the two most famous and anciently evocative prominent, flat-topped hill sites in the whole of southern England. The is also a hint of an Egyptian presence at Glastonbury. The important Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie noted the similarity of the construction of the Chalice Well next to the Tor and Egyptian building techniques, and considered that it might have been hewn from the rock by ancient Egyptian colonists – visionary.
So the refined definition of the line becomes very clear and simple. It is a straight line on the land which goes through both Silbury Hill and Glastonbury Tor and which also goes to East Point (Lowestoft) and also quite close to West Point. It also goes through one of the twin Sinodun Hills, the most prominent and evocative feature of the Dorchester-on-Thames landscape, and a spot which was the location of a Bronze Age structure pre-dating the more recent earthworks. Another site on this line is the Whiteleaf Cross chalk hill figure in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire, a feature of unknown age which could have served a practical purpose, allowing the alignment to be sighted at great distance across the flat Vale of Aylesbury.
It might seem to you that they had a difficult task in creating a straight line that would go to East Point from places where East Point itself was not visible, being away over the horizon, but I suspect that it was achieved fairly easily. The land as a whole was probably surveyed by triangulation along Egyptian lines fairly early on after Egyptians arrived and began to exert their influence, if only for practical reasons such as apportioning agricultural land as in Egypt itself. That the east-west distance between West Point in Cornwall and East Point in East Anglia was double the north-south distance became apparent to them from this triangulation project, I suggest, then from a resulting estimated central point of this 2 by 1 rectangle a trial straight line on the land heading off at the 2 by 1 diagonal starting bearing was plotted. They then noted how far north or south they were of East Point when they reached the coast, and then went back to the start and set off again having shifted the starting point north or south accordingly. They then continued this line towards West Point and straight away noticed that it very nearly went straight through the remarkably prominent and evocative Glastonbury Tor. This caused them to decide to start a third time, this time adjusting the starting point slightly so that the line would pass exactly through Glastonbury Tor. This way, other than the fact that a fair amount of walking the land was required, the process of plotting out the line was not technically difficult.
So…what about the Balance of the Lands when working with the latitude of the spot where this 2 by 1 line meets the east coast in Lowestoft (52.479˚) and with the point on the west coast where this straight line meets the coast (50.1017˚)? The Balance of the Lands latitude, using the ratio we found in Egypt, turns out to be at 50.80˚, only about half a mile further south than the Long Man of Wilmington at 50.817˚ while, we have said, the Long Man’s iconography represents this very concept: the Balance of the Two Lands. Have a look at this diagram. That is quite something, don’t you think?
This is about a lot more than interpreting the Long Man. What we are really dealing with here is the foundation of a whole geodetic scheme. One interesting question is whether the Egyptian surveyors did some kind of mapping, and if so what kind this was. There is always the question of how to transpose from the curved surface of a sphere to a flat, two-dimensional map. The resulting Euclidian (flat geometry) world is therefore a conceptual, virtual world (call it Mapworld) but is one that accords with our experience of the landscape as being based on a flat surface. As the ancient geographer Ptolemy wrote, the intellect is able easily to transfer the shape and size seen by the sight on a planar surface to the curved and spherical surface, and, we might add, visa versa. When we look at something like our straight line from East Point to (roughly) West Point going through Glastonbury Tor, this is a straight line on the landscape, in other words an extended line-of-sight, as the crow flies, as they say. Altitude variations aside, it follows the shortest route between points. Approximating the globe to a sphere, if extended it would go all the way around the World and return to the starting point. Such a full circle of the globe has the same radius as the Earth and is called a Great Circle. There are also types of map projection where the straightness of this type of line is quite well preserved. Our line can be very easily followed on a British road atlas, for example, where it remains straight. It is so easy to follow because it runs parallel to a line drawn diagonally across rectangles on the road atlas one grid square tall and two grid squares wide. In your own time you may like to repeat the process I have carried out, drawing this straight 2 by 1 line from page to page on a road atlas, going right through Glastonbury Tor and Silbury Hill, to Dorchester and then Whiteleaf and ending up in Lowestoft, always remaining parallel to the 2 by 1 rectangle diagonals on the atlas.
The preservation of the straightness of the line on the map has to do with the type of map projection used in this type of atlas, but what about the 2 by 1 business? On the landscape, rather than the atlas, though dead straight, the line is not a constant bearing with respect to the cardinal directions along its length, because the line changes latitude, and straight lines of sight do not maintain a constant bearing with respect to the cardinal directions at different latitudes. We do, however, find the 2 by 1 aspect showing up in other ways.
Firstly, if one was to follow a constant bearing – a rhumb line, the type of course followed by a boat sailing by the stars, i.e. the Pole – if one was to follow such a line connecting these same two eastern and western points, this bearing would be the “Golden Angle”, the diagonal angle of the 2 by 1 rectangle. The Egyptians who arrived here would have been familiar with this sort of thing, as they were seafarers. This rhumb line doesn’t go through Silbury Hill and Glastonbury, but curves around to the South; the straight line through Silbury and Glastonbury is the short cut version, the shortest route between the same start and end points.
Another way that the 2 by 1 bearing plays out is in the way that the distance travelling between the East Point longitude and the West Point longitude at the more southerly latitude is close to being twice the distance travelling north from the more southerly to the more northerly latitude. This can be discovered quite easily using Google Earth’s distance measuring tool.
But the Ancient Egyptians didn’t have Google Earth, so in what manner might the ancient surveyors have been aware of this 2 by 1 aspect? Having set out the straight line of sight on the landscape they could have measured the bearing at the centre of the line. To save having to go there, we can use Google Earth to work this out, where they would have used the stars on site. The bearing of the line at its central longitude (i.e. just outside Devises, Wiltshire) comes out as 26.8° (63.2° from North), which compares closely to the diagonal angle of a 2 by 1 rectangle, 26.6°. This is also, as I’ve said, the average bearing of the line along its entire length from western to eastern extremes; in other words if we find the bearing of the line on the West Coast and the bearing of the line once it has reached the East Coast, and then take an average of these, the result is this same angle of 26.8°. This 2 by 1 angle, as I’ve said, is also the bearing we find when drawing the line on a road atlas, and there is a reason for this.
The AA motorist’s atlas uses the same coordinate system as the Ordnance Survey maps i.e. a type of projection known as the Transverse Mercator (TM). This is not the same as the normal Mercator. The normal Mercator Projection is one where all longitude and latitude lines are made to be straight, parallel / intersecting at right angles, so that a line of constant bearing shows up as a straight line on the map, but a straight line-of-sight/great circle shows as curved. With the TM however, such as on the OS maps, while a line of constant bearing shows as curved, a straight line on the land, extending as the crow flies over areas not exceeding a few degrees in longitude, (such as our line through Glastonbury, Silbury, Dorchester, Whiteleaf and East Point) will appear pretty straight. The apparent bearing of that line with respect to the cardinal directions may be misleading on such a map, as a result, except near the centre/meridian. A TM projection uses a central meridian, you see, and the angular bearings of direction on the map are only completely true at sites along that meridian of longitude. It so happens that the O.S. maps use a central meridian quite precisely at half way between British East Point and West Point, 2° West, and this is why the angle on the road atlas is the same all the way along the line we are dealing with as the true bearing of that line at the central longitude! I’m not suggesting, of course, that the ancient Egyptian surveyors were using a Transverse Mercator projection, necessarily, but rather that in order to assign an angular bearing value to this line, they logically did so from its centre and then noticed a connection to Ma’at since this is an angle from Sacred Geometry, that of the diagonal of the 2 by 1. Hence they considered this to be of significance and considered it as the angle of the line within their flattened Euclidian Mapworld conception. After all, why would you use the bearing at far west and east extremes, when these are also at the extremes of distortion? If you had to pick one angle, you’d pick the one at the middle, as this is also the average angle of the line as a whole. Using the central longitude seems sensible, and logical, and this after all is why 2° West was chosen as the longitude of the central meridian of the O.S. maps. In this virtual world, the British Mapworld, the Glast./Silb./Dorch./East Point line really is the diagonal of a 2 by 1 rectangle, and as such the foundation of a geodetic scheme based on Sacred Geometry.
The Ancient Egyptians of the Pyramid Age obviously held this 2 by 1 angle to be special. Enormous effort was employed to ensure both the Ascending Passage with its amazing Grand Gallery and the long Descending Passage in the Great Pyramid were dead straight and inclined at this angle. In fact Egypt provides the only comparable examples I know of where this angle was considered important enough to warrant a major project to manifest it on a grand scale. Other examples are the well-recognized and widely accepted alignments at the 2 by 1 angle from the southwest corner, centre and northeast corner of the Khafre pyramid to the six Giza “satellite” pyramids, as shown in this diagram.
Golden Angle alignments to the Satellite Pyramids
It does take a bit of thinking about. But don’t worry. Just as long as you are aware that this bearing is not fixed on the actual landscape at varying latitudes along the line, but the same 2 by 1 ratio does play out in various ways, and that, I believe, the Egyptians had an awareness of this
How did this all come about?
A tin ingot that was dredged up from Falmouth Harbour around 1810 is of a type in use in the East Mediterranean back in the Bronze Age, suggesting that Cornwall was already a point of contact for foreign traders, as we know it later was in Roman times. If so, they were there originally for the tin, for which there was already a big market in the Bronze Age. The items traded for the tin (such as amber and faience beads and necklaces) were in turn traded along existing internal native trade routes, such as the route over the ridge of the Chilterns. But how to get to the Chilterns from Cornwall? Initially, a series of landmarks were followed. Without question these included Glastonbury Tor, this being such a distinctive and prominent eminence along this route, visible from a great distance. One of the civilizations using tin at this time was Ancient Egypt. Egyptians, we shall be able to say, arrived in Cornwall and there learnt from the locals something of the native trade routes. Intrigued by this fertile land out in the distant ocean, the Egyptians saw potential, and decided to find out more about it. They commenced a survey. Surveyors were sent out to triangulate the landscape and find out how big it was, and what shape it was. They then found a line across it that embodied Ma’at, and consecrated it as a Sacred Way, a road of the gods. The Egyptians then decide to fully establish this line on the landscape by building a further eminence right on its course, and to do this they do what they are doing at the same time in Egypt, and build a pyramid – Silbury Hill – choosing to do this at the latitude of 4/7 from Equator to Pole so that it is a Primordial Mound like the ones at 2/7 at Egyptian Thebes and 3/7 in Greece.
So why do you think this angle is interesting, given that we are dealing with the foundation of a whole geodetic scheme? It implies a regular shape, a 2 by 1 rectangle, laid out across the landscape. That’s the start of it. The Egyptian surveyors would have conceived of this great 2 by 1 geodetic rectangle on the landscape. But why was this useful to them, given what we’ve seen with the Long Man? From that simple, regular shape, you could then extrapolate other geometric figures, and those figures generate the Balance of the Lands ratio. That’s the point. Euclidian geometry assumes a flat surface, and with Mapworld, a virtual reality, that is what we are dealing with. And being a simple, regular figure, the 2 by 1 rectangle forms a fabulous foundation for the scheme. And a prime example is the very circle-in-crossed-square pattern that generates the Balance of the Lands line marked by the Long Man. It’s the basis of this diagram I showed you a moment ago. But let me tell you something else about this line. Are you aware that the Long Man has a brother? What comes to mind if I ask you what other chalk figure there is in Britain that is of a similar nature?
There are other chalk hill figures in Britain, but the two human figures are the Long Man and the Cerne Giant. Now did you know that these two are actually at the same latitude? The Cerne Giant is only 338 metres or 0.24 miles further north than his brother. This will turn out to be extremely relevant, but for the moment let’s just notice the position of the two giants on the diagram that has the geometric figure.
So in the diagram we can see the 2 by 1 rectangle, which is of course half of a square, and by adding in the diagonals of that square and half of the circle that fits into the square, we can generate our Balance of the Lands line through the chalk giants. It’s a neat pattern given that it already encompasses (though not labelled here for clarity’s sake) Glastonbury Tor, Silbury Hill and Dorchester-on-Thames, as well as the two Giants, so that’s already a neat list of some of Britain’s most enigmatic, mysterious, ancient sites.
We’ve noted that the pharaoh’s sarcophagus was located in the Great Pyramid at the height of the balance of Upper and Lower ratio because this was seen as giving life back to Osiris, the dead king, by restoring the peaceful state of the Golden Age, and also the life-giving breath of the north wind, linked to the idea of the resolution of the boundary dispute that was achieved by Thoth. Logic would dictate that some similar kind of reasoning may have come into play here in Britain. And this is why I shall now bring to your awareness a deeper mystery to the British geodetic scheme, more surprising still than anything we have so far discussed. Let me bring your attention to the Orion connection, because just as there was an Egypt on the ground, there was also a heavenly Egypt in the sky, complete with its own idealised location where the pharaoh could reside, namely its own Balance of the Lands along the course of the starry river, the Milky Way.
From the King’s Chamber a narrow shaft extends upwards through the pyramid to the exterior of the pyramid’s southern face. For most of the way it does so at an inclination of 45 degrees. As such it pointed towards the culmination of Orion’s Belt in the Pyramid Age. Culmination in this sense is when a constellation reaches its highest point in the sky as it crosses the meridian due south. In the Pyramid Texts two of the most clearly described places to which the pharaoh’s Soul ascends from the tomb after death are the circumpolar stars (to sit on the Throne of Osiris – i.e. Cassiopeia; see my page on this here) and the Orion constellation (the bird-hunter in the Field of Reeds; see my page on this here). Because this matches the alignments of both the northern and shouter shafts rising out of the King’s Chamber through the pyramid, there is good support for the theory that the purpose of this shaft was to direct the soul leaving the body up to his starry homes, as well as to bring the emanations of down into the pharaoh’s resting place.
There is good reason to believe these shafts within the pyramid were star-aligned. For a start, ventilation was part of the funerary cult. The Opening of the Mouth ceremony involved the idea of rejuvenating the soul of the deceased by allowing fresh air to enter in. The northern shaft from the King’s Chamber is inclined such that it pointed towards the star that in the Pyramid Age was closest to the pole, in the northern sky, as the star crossed the meridian. The circumpolar stars, the Indestructible Ones, were seen as the source of the cooling north wind that brought peace and rejuvenation. Thoth “gave life” to Osiris when he ended the fight between Horus and Set that had caused dust desert whirlwinds, bringing back the pleasant north wind instead. The northern shaft in the Queen’s Chamber was also directed towards a star in the Plough asterism that is one of the circumpolar Imperishable Ones. The southern shaft in the Queen’s Chamber also had a fairly obvious stellar alignment, the culminating Sirius, brightest star in the sky. So deliberate alignment of upon Orion’s belt seems fairly certain.
45 degrees is the angle of the diagonal of a square, while the sky appears to be a semicircle arching over-head, so Orion at culmination at the Giza latitude was at the intersection of the diagonal of the square with the circle within the square, if you like; in other words it appeared to be at the Balance of Upper and Lower Skies, or the Upper and Lower Duat by means of the Balance of the Lands ratio. Because the Milky Way crosses the sky just as the Nile crosses Egypt, the sky appeared to be like another, eternal, celestial Egypt, and naturally then would have its own upper and lower lands. Orion is located near the Milky Way, as if on the banks of the celestial Nile, and with its culmination at a 45-degree inclination it also appeared to be at the Balance of the Lands, like the Memphite necropolis here on Earth. Giza is part of the extended Memphite necropolis, and so the three pyramids were built in the configuration of the three stars of Orion’s Belt, to further establish this connection between the earthly and the celestial versions of Egypt.
But the key point to remember here, for our current purposes, is that a shaft from the King’s Chamber was directed up at the culminating Orion, and then the next point to bear in mind is that the Cerne Abbas Giant, as a standing male figure holding a wooden club raised above his head, is himself, as well as being located at the Balance of the Lands latitude, an image of Orion. Others have suggested he is meant to be Hercules, but the Hercules constellation is, by definition, and certainly before he reached classical Greece, a kneeling figure, indeed when he first reached Greece he was simply called the Kneeling Man, and the Hercules identification was applied later. This means that not only is the Cerne Abbas giant at the height of the King’s Chamber in the British Rectangle, but he is also an image of that constellation whose essence was drawn down into the King’s Chamber along the shaft.
Orion – The Bright Club Bearer of the Sky. Left to Right : Tomb of Nakht Ka image, Modern/Classical Orion Constellation and Cerne Abbas.
To sum up so far then, the Cerne Abbas Giant looks like Orion with club raised above his head in one hand and the other arm raised out to his other side, while in the pyramid the Orion shaft comes into the King’s Chamber through its southern wall, entering the chamber low down at the height of the sarcophagus, placed on the floor.
Now, to a surprising degree of accuracy, the Cerne Abbas giant is located in a very significant point along the “Orion shaft” in what we may justifiably call a British Pyramid Plan, sitting snugly within the geodetic scheme that we are extrapolating here. We’ve already looked a little at the latitude aspect, matching it up to the level of the floor of the King’s Chamber. We can be more accurate than that, because of course the shaft enters the chamber slightly above the floor height, and we’ll return to that in a moment. But what I want to tell you about first is a new aspect; we are not simply talking about the latitude of the location here, but a spot pinpointed by the longitude value too.
Within the vertical plan of the cross-section of the pyramid – that cross section which shows the most information about the internal structure, cutting north-south through the middle – we can look at how far the point in question is from the central axis as compared to the full length of the base. Then we may look, within the geodetic scheme, again at this same point, defined by the same ratio of horizontal, longitudinal distance from the central vertical axis as compared to the full longitudinal length from the eastern to western extremes.
The pinpointed spot (i.e. exactly where the “Orion Shaft” enters the King’s Chamber) turns out to be in a field at the foot of the hill upon which the Cerne Abbas giant is located! The spot is in fact a mere third of a mile from the Cerne Abbas Giant figure himself. The creators of the figure could not have placed a prominent hill figure at the exact spot, as this spot is not on a hill, so they chose to put him a short stone’s throw away at the more suitable spot on the chalky hillside.
Cerne Abbas Giant
They it appears they placed a kind of diagram on the landscape of a North-South cross-section of the grand project that was going on in their homeland: the construction of the Great Pyramid. Why choose this cross-section? I should point out that this North-South cross section, which is an east-facing plane, is the key one because it is pharaoh’s FACE – the pyramids were seen as the pharaoh in a pyramidal form with the pyramidion stone at the top being the head, given eyes on the eastern side so that they could see the beauty of the rising Sun; we know this from an inscription on such a stone, and it duplicates the situation with coffins which were also given eyes on the eastern side leading to this side being considered the front. The pyramidal form probably suggested the nemes headdress, as seen on the head of the east-facing Sphinx. Sokar, the god of the Memphis and Giza necropolises, was himself seen as a pyramidal form with a little head on top, as we know from images such as this showing an image of the god carried on a portable boat used in festivals. To return to the point here – the east face of the pyramid is the front of the pyramid in the sense that it is the pharaoh’s face, and this explains the choice of cross section.
So back to Cerne Abbas. Allow me to walk through the calculation with you so you have some of the figures. The eastern extreme of the straight line on the land that goes through Silbury Hill and Glastonbury Tor is at 1.762˚E, and this line reaches the western coast at 5.69˚W. The central meridian, halfway between them, is therefore at 1.968˚W, and the longitudinal distance from the centre to the east and west extremes of this geodetic scheme is therefore 3.73˚. In the Great Pyramid, the distance from the central vertical axis to the edge of the base is 220 cubits. So 220 cubits corresponds to 3.73˚ of longitude in the Pyramid Plan in the geodetic scheme. Within the pyramid, the distance from the central axis to the end of the Orion-aligned section of the shaft, the point where it flattens out to the horizontal and enters the wall of the King’s Chamber, is 29.3 cubits.
So the longitudinal distance from the central axis in the plan will be found by
And this distance from the central axis gives us longitude:-
And the Cerne Giant is at 2.475˚W, a difference of a mere 0.01˚ of longitude.
Now to look at the latitude aspect in a bit more detail. The Orion Shaft comes to the end of its inclined section, diverts to the horizontal and enters the wall of the chamber a metre above the level of the floor of the chamber, which corresponds to 0.02 degrees of latitude above the Balance of the Lands latitude in the British Pyramid Plan. This puts the Orion Point (the end of the shaft) at a latitude of 50.82 N, which compares with impressive proximity to the latitude of the Cerne Giant at 50.81 N. Once again the margin of error is a tiny 0.01˚ of latitude.
As a result of the part played by the Cerne Abbas Giant, there is an implied vertical cross-section plan of the interior of the Great Pyramid laid out on the central triangle of the pattern used to create the balance of lands in the geodetic rectangle.
Or course, in Britain Orion culminated as a different angle; a 45-degree angle would not have been directed towards Orion’s Belt in the same way as at Giza; however, a shaft with a different inclination could have done the job while still entering the King’s Chamber at this same spot; the spot itself is not dependent on the angle.
As with a lot of Egyptian art, we are looking at two perspectives at once, because the balance of the lands pattern naturally wants to be completed from a half to a full circle, the scheme doubling from a rectangle to a larger square, and as such we have the plan view, the view from above, of the pyramid with its four triangular faces meeting at the apex in the middle.
There will be more to say on this fuller plan in a moment. But for now: the triangle containing the pyramid plan is doing double duty, being both a side and a vertical view.
What do I mean about Egyptian art showing more than one perspective at once? Most famously of course there is the standard representation of people, where the face and legs are shown from a side-view while, in the same image, the torso is shown from the front view, but there are other examples. I can show you an example here below. This is the Pond in a Garden scene from the tomb of Nebamun. You can see here that we have the pond in plan-view, as seen from above, but around it we have a number of ground-level, side-on views of the trees growing around the pond. So we have vertical planes inserted into the horizontal plane to give us a fuller picture. Egyptian art often uses composite perspectives, each designed to maximise on the amount of information that is being conveyed. It has come to be called Aspective.
Pond in Garden scene from Tomb of Nebamun
So the same triangle does double duty in the plan: it is both the southern face of the pyramid, and a vertical cross section, and what are preserved as common to both are the baseline and the apex point. So we have discovered a pyramid plan in Britain. The accuracy of the measurement is impressive, the nature of the concept of it is extraordinary and quite beautiful, and the scale of the project is amazing. The Cerne Abbas Giant represents the light of Orion’s Belt, culminating at the meridian, and shining down the shaft.
Let’s just rewind to one matter that I’m afraid I rather glossed over, the question of longitude, the number of degrees East-West between two locations. Picture this scene. Egyptian surveyor officials are stationed on two inter-visible hills, say Glastonbury Tor and Burrowbridge Mump. On the Tor a large fire is burning, but is screened off so that its light is not visible on the Mump. Those stationed on the Tor await that time of the night mythologized as the return of the First Time, Zep Tepi, when Leo is in the East, Orion is culminating due south, and the Throne of Osiris in upright in the North. Using viewing apparatus that makes only the meridian due south visible, the appointed surveyor awaits the moment when a particular star in Orion’s Belt hits the meridian. When it does, the screen around the fire is immediately dropped, and over to the west, on Burrowbridge Mump, they mark off a point on a water clock. As the water pours out of the clock they await the moment when that star crosses the meridian, and then stop the clock, and take a measurement for the amount of time that has passed between the two moments. This can then be compared to the quantity of water that would pour out of the clock during a known fraction of a full day, (such as an hour, for instance), and from this the difference in longitude between the two hills is then calculated. By repeating a process such as this the relative longitudes of a range of sites from one side of the land to the next could have been recorded within only a few weeks. This could, perhaps, have been supplemented with distance measurements derived from systems of triangulation.
There are other significant points generated by this Scheme. It’s fitting with the concept of Ma’at that the Golden Section of the foundational line through Glastonbury Tor, Silbury, and East Point, if we measure lengths along the line, happens to be at the point where the line crosses the Thames – the British Nile, if you like – and sure enough this is at the site of the largest Bronze Age landscape complex in the whole of the Thames Valley region, Dorchester-on-Thames. It was clearly a very important ceremonial site at the time.
It’s the “St Michael’s Line” that goes through the actual former site of the Big Rings double henge, but the two lines are quite close together at this point, and where our version of the East Point – West Point line crosses the Thames is still within the Dorchester landscape complex. To be specific, it goes right through the site of a large earthwork on the summit of Castle Hill, one of the two prominent hills in the area, the Sinodun Hills. Down below these two hills on the floodplain of the river was the rest of the Dorchester landscape complex, complete with the large double henge and the large, long straight cursus.
Essentially, a cursus is another type of massive early Bronze Age earthwork, consisting of two parallel, straight banks with ditches, running often for some distance. We don’t know what they were used for, although a reasonable speculation is that they had some kind of ceremonial, processional purpose. They are certainly fascinating additions to the landscape. Actually the one here at Dorcherster has, like the double henge, been all but obliterated by the digging for gravel in the last century, but both of these do show up in pre-war aerial photos.
Big Rings Henge, Dorchester on Thames
Henge, Cursus, and other prehistoric structures, Dorchester on Thames
There is more to the Ma’at of this, because in fact the 2 by 1 rectangle actually generates the Golden Section. The diagonal of the rectangle minus the short side of the rectangle is equal to the golden section of the long side of the rectangle.
Let’s back up a bit. What is the Golden Section?
It’s the division of a line such that ratio of the smaller length to the larger is the same as the ratio of the larger length to the length of the whole line.
Look, here’s a line, from point A to point C. It is divided into two sections, and the division is at point B. Because this is the Golden Section, this means that if the smaller section, BC, is 1 unit long, then the longer is about 1.618 units. So the ratio of the smaller to the larger lengths is 1:1.618. However, this being the Golden Section, we can also say that the ratio of the larger section to the length of the whole line is also 1:1.618. We can check that mathematically. If the smaller section is 1 unit and the longer is 1.618, how long is the whole line?’
Now, what is 2.618 / 1.618?
Well, it’s 1.618.
There is something pleasingly neat about the idea behind this ratio, is there not? And pleasing neatness is a form of attractiveness, and attractiveness is a form of Beauty. And Beauty is a collective, universal and eternal Idea in the Platonic Realm which when perceived can lift us, enrapture us, re-initiate us into timeless, transcendental consciousness. What I’m getting at is that there is a longstanding tradition of this being an aesthetically pleasing proportion. Let’s have a look now at how the 2 by 1 rectangle generates the Golden Section from its constituent parts. Here is a 2 by 1 rectangle, OK?
And here is its diagonal, yes? Now, the diagonal minus the short side of the rectangle is equal to the Golden Section of the long side. This can be shown by drawing in some arcs. We can swing round the short side and mark it off the diagonal like this, and then swing the remainder of the diagonal down and mark that length off the long side like this, and by doing so we have divided the long side according to the Golden Ratio. A vertical line drawn up from there, like this, then marks off the Golden Section of the diagonal as well. This gives that site – Dorchester-on-Thames – a rather beautiful resonance.
We have now marked off the Golden Section of the diagonal of the rectangle. Of course in our Mapworld scheme this is a straight, Euclidian diagonal only in a conceptual sense, and on the type of map used in the AA road Atlas, and on the landscape itself, where it is a constant, straight line of sight. The Golden Section in pure distance terms of our foundational line is exactly at that major Bronze Age site of Dorchester on Thames. Did the Egypto-British surveyors measure the full length of the line somehow, and then measure off its Golden Section, discover the supremely elegant coincidence of this being at the point where the line crosses the Thames, and choose it as a result as the site of a sacred city? Or is it a coincidence? I would prefer to call it a Sacred Synchronicity, and either way there is a mystic resonance about the idea of it. In fact, an analysis of Egyptian art does seem to reveal the use of this same geometry as an underlying framework. Have a look at this.
Look for example at his Egyptian depiction of the Spirit Double of an Official standing in a 2 by 1 ‘False’ Door, where I have superimposed the same geometry. The left arm (or right as we look at it) holds a mace at the height that marks off the Golden Section of the long side of the 2 by 1 rectangle of the door frame. Various researchers, such as, notably, Else Christie Evans in Geometry in Egyptian Art, have observed that the Golden Section is absolutely rife in Egyptian imagery. The human navel is at the Golden Section of the body, as this diagram would show if the major and minor sections were the other way round, the shorter in the upper half and the longer in the lower. This encourages us to think of Dorchester-on-Thames as the navel of the British East – West line.
All rather neat. Going back to the Cerne Giant, and the Pyramid Plan, one might ask: Did the Egyptians also see Orion as a hunter with a club, as we do now? Yes they did. see my page on this here.
The Cerne Abbas Giant is a figure with a club raised over his head and the other arm raised up to the other side. We know the giant was re-cut every seven years in relatively recent centuries. It’s very easy to see how, when being re-cut from ground-level without the original design before them, the figure would have mutated to his current appearance, somewhat less in proportion than most Egyptian art. A figure holding one arm up in front of him and the other raised above him holding a stick was in fact a standard in Ancient Egyptian tomb art. One example is found on an artefact that also shows a figure holding two palm rib staffs in a Long Man-esque way, plus the was-ankh-was grouping, plus the king on his thone – Cassiopeia. This artefact is the golden shrine of Tutankhamun.
In the panel shown above from Tut’s shrine we see the king enthroned like Osiris and being presented with the two palm ribs plus tadpoles representing millions of years by a female figure in Long Man pose, and the inscription tells us here the king is “given life”. (Notice the was-ankh-was over neb grouping integrated into this scene.) Below this is shown another panel from the shrine where we see the king’s spirit double hunting like Osiris in the Field of Reeds of the afterlife, with a throwing stick raised above his head, ready to throw at waterfowl rising out of the marshes, legs apart in a striding pose, and the other hand held up in front of him, in this case holding what may be decoy ducks. The posture he has assumed here was a standard Ka image, used in wall paintings in tombs. The Ka, remember, was a double of the physical body, but existing in an ideal form, and was the equivalent of the body for those in the afterlife, a kind of Platonic Idea of the body existing in the realm of Forms. Images and statues of the Ka in the mortal realm could become residences for the spirit of the deceased, and they could also help to establish his or her wellbeing in the afterlife, if they conformed to certain standard forms.
Next we loo at how the “Pyramid Plan” – by which I mean the configuration on the map that has the Cerne Orion figure at the end of the Orion shaft in the pyramid cross section – that, stunningly, the same plan exists in duplicate, rotated 180˚ around the pyramid apex point. With the half-circle generating the balance of the lands line within the half-square one naturally wants to complete the figure, complete the circle, complete the square, not least because doing so gives you the plan view of the pyramid with its four triangular faces pointing towards the four directions, East, South, West and North.
The Orion Shaft isn’t the only shaft that enters the King’s Chamber. There is also the Northern Shaft that was directed up to the circumpolar stars. It is a strange coincidence that the section of this shaft that crosses over the Grand Gallery in the cross section plan seems to be marked out on the ground by the greatest, the longest of all the British cursuses – the amazing 10km long Dorset Cursus. When I say it is a strange coincidence what I mean of course is that I suspect it isn’t a coincidence at all. Have a look at the diagrams:-
Well what if I was to say that the next site we are going to discuss is at least as amazing, and in many ways considerably more so?
First of all, to try your existing knowledge of the site: what comes to mind when I say…. Actually no, before I ask that, let’s come at it this way: we’ve talked about the way the half-circle in half-square begs completion. As it happens the full square then has its northern boundary near, in a vague and general sense, an ancient and in some ways natural boundary. Hadrian’s Wall defined the limit of the Roman empire in Hadrian’s time, and it runs along a naturally rocky outcrop – the ancient meeting place between two tectonic plates, but that’s somewhat by-the-by. The real point is that by completing the figure we now have four pyramid-face triangles, and the three new ones are just as capable of doubling up as cross-section triangles as the southern one.
‘As we contemplate this opening up, this potential for multiplication, we might then think again of the Orion Point (where the shaft enters the King’s Chamber), and ask ourselves about other sites with an Orion and/or potential Egyptian/Great Pyramid connection. This is where I ask: what site comes to mind when you consider this in terms of the Northern triangle?
The “Stonehenge of the North”? Considered by archaeology to be the most significant early Bronze Age monumental landscape complex between Avebury in the South and the Orkney islands in the North?
The site in question is the Thornborough Henge complex. In total, there are seven large henges, and six of them share the same design: a massive outer neatly circular bank, the circle being 240 metres in diameter; within this a second bank forming an inner concentric ring. They are therefore double ring henges, like the Big Rings henege that was at Dorchester, mentioned above. As if to recall the chalk henges of Southern England such as at Avebury, and in a manner reminiscent of the way the Giza pyramids were faced with bright white limestone, these concentric circular banks were fitted with a surface covering of white gypsum. This major cosmetic undertaking would have left them a very impressive sight, and would have shone brightly in the moonlight. The best known part of the landscape complex, its core in that sense, is formed of the three Thornborough henges themselves. Not only are they equal sized and matching in their neat, circular, double-ring forms, but these three are also equal spaced. Since they were clearly built with neat, accurate measurement in mind, there is an anomaly: why are the three henges placed nearly but not quite in a straight line?
The Three Main Thornborough Henges. Greyed area = cursus
This is the same question Robert Bauval asked himself about the three pyramids of Giza. Then one night he was looking up at the Egyptian sky when the answer came to him. It was an answer that made sense of so much, pulled so many mysteries together into an integrated whole. Orion as destination for the soul of Osiris and the Osiris-identified kings in the Afterlife, as in the Pyramid Texts; Orion as part of the Duat, the afterlife kingdom of Osiris; The Duat in the sky as residence for the Ka of Osiris, but the desire also for the Ka-houses of the kings on the west bank of the Nile to be residences, the Earthly equivalent of the land of the dead; the Pyramids as those very Ka houses; the similar location of Orion on the banks, i.e. to the side of the celestial Nile: the Milky Way – As Above, So Below; Egypt as an image of the Cosmos in the Egyptian Hermetic texts. In short, Bauval was looking up at the three stars of Orion’s Belt, the very stars towards which the shaft was directed in the Pyramid Age, and he noticed the same configuration: three stars, equidistant, one a little smaller, almost in a straight line, but not quite. And so the Orion Mystery was born, or rather resurrected from the sleep of millennia. Some Egyptological academics, (whose intentions may not always be 100% noble, entrenched as they can be within their slow-moving and often argumentative, back-biting and nit-picking disciplines, always keen to appear soberly cautious to their contemporaries, perhaps protective of their own hard-won and wage-paying intellectual territory) attempted to resist Bauval’s theory. But the theory has persisted and in the final analysis remains strongly logical, eminently plausible, highly persuasive; there is a very high likelihood, in other words, that it is correct. I count myself as a firm adherent. I do not adhere to every one of Bauval’s elaborations, extension and developments upon the theme, but we see the great value of the core idea itself. And so back to Thornborough, where we have just asked the same question. So why not the same answer: they are so configured, equi-spaced, but slightly off straight alignment, because they too represent the three stars of Orion’s Belt. After all, just as the Giza pyramids beside the Nile echo Orion’s location next to the starry river, and were some of the most massive monumental constructions in Egypt at the time, with the Great Pyramid having a width of 230m, and were cased in white limestone to shine like starlight, the Thornborough henges are similarly well placed to represent the Belt in their position on the floodplain next to the River Ure, in correct configuration, with their width at 240m so that the Great Pyramid would fit quite neatly within the outer bank, were, similarly, some of the most massive monumental constructions in Britain at the time, and were themselves faced with bright white gypsum so as to shine impressively like starlight.
The theory linking Thornborough with Orion was first put forward by university academic archaeologist Dr Jan Harding, now a senior lecturer in later prehistory at Newcastle University, and a scholar who has played a major part in recent field work and research into the complex. “In plan,” wrote Harding, “the henges are an exact mirror-image of Orion in its highest position [i.e. at culmination]…[and]…the southern entrances [of the henges] framed these stars [i.e. Orion’s Belt] as Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, appeared above the horizon.”
The complex also includes a cursus about 1.2km long passing under the southern entrance of the central henge. The henges themselves have not yet been subjected to a comprehensive dating programme, indeed there is not a great deal upon which to base a precise dating, but they are acknowledged to be from the late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age, a period simultaneous with the Pyramid Age.
Harding writes that they represent “one of the largest earthmoving projects” of this period, and are “at the heart of a remarkable ‘sacred landscape’ in use for over 2,000 years….Their scale and complexity demonstrate a massive commitment of labour and an impressive degree of planning…ditches still survive to over 15 m wide and 2.6 m deep, while banks are as much as 18 m across.”
It’s safe to say that there is no other early Bronze Age site in the North of England that has been more famously or intriguingly connected with the Giza Orion Mystery. How astonishing, how sublime would it then be if this complex turned out to be at the Orion Point, aligned with the Orion Shaft in the Northern Pyramid plan, just as Cerne Abbas is in the Southern? So let’s have a look.
At first glance the diagram of the plan imposed on the map looks promising, so we next take a closer look.
What we find is that, amazingly, the Northern Orion point in the rotated pyramid plan does indeed pinpoint a group of henges within the Thronborough complex with the same amazing degree of accuracy that we saw with the Cerne Giant. It’s not one of the three Orion’s Belt henges, but those three Thornborough henges are part of a landscape complex that continues downstream along a southeast axis, with, amongst other things, another cursus and four more henges, three of which archaeologists describe as ‘almost identical’ (i.e. in size, form, construction etc.) to the three Thornborough henges. Indeed, archaeologists tell us that the only other henge in the country which was of this type was (intriguingly!) the ‘Big Rings’ henge of Dorchester on Thames (which has its own cursus, too, of course). Due to the proximity plus the strong similarity, all the henges in the Thornborough region are therefore considered to be very much a part of one landscape complex, built by the same people around the same time as part of one project. However, I want to add in here straight away that the latitude discrepancy between the three main henges and our special point turns out to be of the most beautifully precise and intentional nature, as I shall describe in a moment; there is in fact no discrepancy. Far from it.
But first, there are two things to note at this point about the three extra Thornborough-like henges to the southwest of Thornborough. Firstly they are all very close to the ‘Orion Point’ that we are looking for. Secondly, the axis that connects them back to the Thornborough henges is at a bearing of 45 degrees, and as such it is very much a continuation of the ‘Orion shaft’ alignment, the shaft that is inclined at 45˚ in the Great Pyramid and was directed at the culmination of Orion’s Belt at the Meridian in the Pyramid Age.
The figures then: Northern Orion Point longitude 1.47W. Northern Balance of the Lands latitude 54.16N. Northern Orion Point latitude 54.14 Hutton Moor Henge latitude 54.16N longitude 1.46W. Cana Barn Henge at 54.14 1.45W, Nunwick 54.17N, longitude 1.51W.
As we noted when dealing with the southern plan, the Orion Shaft comes to the end of its inclined section, diverts to the horizontal and enters the wall of the chamber a metre above the level of the floor of the chamber, which corresponds to 0.02 degrees of latitude from the Balance of the Lands latitude in the British Pyramid Plan. This puts the Orion Point (the end of the shaft) at a latitude of 54.14 N, which put it at precisely the same latitude as the Cana Barn Henge, since this too is at 54.14 N. I’ve shown the precise Orion Point on the diagram here as a red cross.
I can’t help wondering if Cana Barn also represented Sirius; the images above, compared with the map above them, should make it pretty clear why the thought occurred, and I also wonder if the cursus either was or represented a canal for ferrying the soul of Osiris. (The Pyramid Texts read: ‘The reed-floats of the sky are set down for me that I may cross on them to the horizon, to Harakhti. The Nurse-canal is opened, the Winding Waterway is flooded. The Field of Rushes is filled with water, and I am ferried over to yonder eastern side of the sky, to the place where the gods fashioned me, wherein I was born, new and young.’ Another text reads : ‘Father Osiris Pepi’s cross-over canal has been opened, the Winding Canal has flooded. So, father Osiris Pepi will call for the helmsman and for the one who listens (to commands), and they will ferry father Osiris Pepi to yonder eastern side of the sky. So, father Osiris Pepi will go to yonder side of the sky, to yonder place where the gods are born, and father Osiris Pepi will be truly born [in yonder eastern side of the sky ], in yonder place where the gods are born.’ The rise of Sirius with the Sun (close to Orion) heralded, and indeed was held to bring about, the Nile flood, and the Egyptians were used to building canals to move and store this water for agricultural purposes. Was the cursus flooded then stopped up, and used for arite involving a sacred barque?
Now back to that deliberate discrepancy. This is particularly neat. So far we have ascertained that the Orion Point is within the wider zone of the Thornborough Henge complex, but that the three Thornborugh Henges – the ones in Orion’s Belt configuration – are some way to the North, a little way over the Balance of the Lands latitude, into the Lower Egypt region. There is something about this that ought to ring a bell: while Memphis in Egypt is at the Balance of the Lands in that plan, and while Giza is part of the extended Memphite necropolis region, Giza, the location of the three pyramids in Orion configuration, is actually someway to the north of Memphis, it is, in other words, similarly over the border into Lower Egypt. Equally, Memphis, at the Balance of the Lands, is southeast of Giza, while the three extra henges of the wider Thornborough complex are, similarly, southeast of the main three henges.
This leads to us doing a calculation to find out how far, in terms of a ratio of the full latitude range for the scheme, Giza is displaced into Lower Egypt. It runs like this:-
Egyptian North point = 31.57°N, Thebes (centre of plan) = 25.71°N, so full full lat. Range = 5.86°. Memphis, at “Balance” = 29.85°N, but Khafre pyramid (centre of Giza complex) = 29.976° N. So Khafre lat. – Memphis lat. = 0.126°. So we can calculate the ratio as follows: 0.126° divided by 5.86°=0.0215. Then we apply this to the British scheme, noting that 0.0215 x 2.3773° = 0.051°. Thornborough is at 54.21°N. If we subtract the 0.051° from this it ought to take us southward to the Balance of the Lands, if the displacement is of the nature we are proposing. 54.21° – 0.051° = 51.159°N. The Balance of the Lands also = 51.159°N. It is precisely the same!’
Kind of astonishing! Breath-taking. Quite incredible really.
The above then is a basic summary of the key points of Egyptian geodetic Pyramid Plan scheme with the Balance of the Lands latitude, the Long Man iconography and the equivalent British scheme with its elegant 2 by 1 rectangle and Golden Section point, and the truly extraordinary revelations concerning Cerne Abbas and the Thornborough Henges.
There is another interesting site, one of the country’s major cursus sites, which is also at a King’s Chamber / Balance of the Lands location in the British Pyramid Plan. Just as Thornborough is known as the “Stonehenge of the North”, this site has been called “East Anglia’s Stonehenge”. We’ve seen how the Pyramid Plan can be rotated around its axis, with the Thornborough Henges as the northern equivalent of the Cerne Abbas position at the end of the Orion Shaft, right? OK, but in both of these cases the orientation of the cross section of the pyramid is not the same as with the Great Pyramid itself. The cross section of the pyramid we’re dealing with is actually a slice taken through the centre of the pyramid in the north-south direction, not the east-west. OK? Well, if we were to label the left and right sides of the diagram of the cross section, the left side would be South and the right side would be North. That’s not what we see on either of the British pyramid plans, the north or the south.
In the southern pyramid plan what we would have labelled south would be on the west side of the map, and even after the 180˚ rotation the situation is simply inverted, so that it’s on the east side of the map. To have it on the south side we would need to do a further 90˚ rotation. So we need to give the key a further turn, and only then do we find that north is north and south is south. This rotation leads as to a plan where there is a significant site right at the sarcophagus location – the place where it sits on the floor in the King’s Chamber.
The sarcophagus location is shown in the diagram here. It lies upon the landscape a little to the west of Bury St Edmunds, with head to the north at Fornham All Saints on the floodplain of the River Lark just to the south of a village called Hengrave.
This is the site of another one of those mysterious ancient landscape features present both at Dorchester-on-Thames and at the Orion Shaft location of Thornborough in Yorkshire – a cursus! Now only detectable as crop marks seen from the air, this 43-metre wide cursus runs for about a mile in a roughly northwest to southeast direction and is made up of three straight sections with slight changes of direction at the junctions between them. The northernmost end is not known but the southern end can be seen in aerial images and has a circular crop-mark next to it. Like the cursuses at Dorchester-on-Thames and Thornborough, this one runs adjacent to a river, the Lark.
The Fornham Cursus and associated prehistoric earthworks
The site is an archaeologically significant one. It is professional archaeologist Dr Duncan McAndrew who considers that the Fornham All Saints cursus complex could be part of what was once “East Anglia’s stonehenge”. As well as the cursus there is evidence at the Fornham site for two causewayed enclosures that are believed to be the sites of one or possibly two wooden henges.
There has never been a really in depth official archaeological investigation of the site, which seems strange, since it is the largest cursus monument in the whole of East Anglia, but another archaeologist, Dr Jess Tipper, county archaeologist at Suffolk Archaeology Service has descried the site as being part of a “major prehistoric ritual landscape”.
Here then is another site combining henges and a cursus on a floodplain of a river, just like Dorchester-on-Thames and Thornbourough (and the Dorset Cursus, which starts close to Knowlton Henge). The Fornham cursus gives every indication of having been constructed by the same people as those other Pyramid Plan sites.
A local piece of folklore holds that three ancient kings were buried nearby, in Kingsbury Hill in Kingsbury Wood, a stone’s throw from Hengrave. This lies behind the name of a local coaching inn, The Three Kings, for example. It seems resonant with an Orion connection.
Now, thinking about the Pyramid Plan as a whole, we may want to us: ‘Why? Why did the Egyptians go to so much trouble?’
The answer has to be speculative. One thing we do know, though (from the Westcar Papyrus) is that the ancient Egyptians themselves believed that Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, only proceeded with designing the plan for the interior chambers of the pyramid after he had spent considerable time studying the designs of the very ‘Chambers of Thoth’ themselves that he found in the Temple of Thoth, the architect of the gods. Being a product of divine mind, this design plan was held to have a talismanic power. There is also the Book of the Secret Chamber (part of the Book of What is in the Netherworld, or Am Duat) which says that anyone who makes a copy of the form of the secret ways and chambers of Rostau will attain the satisfaction of the gods. It’s often said that Rostau and the Giza necropolis were one and the same.
A summarised and paraphrased version of a section from the short version of the Book of the Hidden Chamber based on the translation of Budge goes like this:-
Whoever knows the plan of the hidden roads of Rostau and the holy paths of the underworld and the secret doors in the land of Sokar shall journey on those roads in a state of divine satisfaction and Ma’at, [i.e. good order]. Ra himself is towed in his boat over the roads of Ma’at of the underworld. Whoever makes copies of the image of the Otherworld written in the hidden places south of the Hidden Palace shall go forth in peace.
So the text seems to talk about the talismanic power that was believed to be invoked by creating copies of the secret ways and chambers of Rostau in the Land of Soker. Now we know from the inscription on the Dream Stele located between the paws of the Great Sphinx of Giza that this Sphinx was located ‘beside Sokar in Rostau’. In other words Giza, location of the Great Pyramid, was linked to, or was an Earthly manifestation of Rostau. We also know from tomb images and texts that Sokar was believed to reside in a chamber under a pyramidal structure, guarded by the Aker Sphinxes, just as the pyramids of Giza are guarded by the Great Sphinx. The entry into the Great Pyramid was the entry into the Underworld, for the pharaoh, the passages being the first of the roads into Rostau. So here we would appear to have a text relevant to the Plan, since the Plan is itself a copy of those chambers.
Of course, the text is referring to the journey that the deceased must take in the Afterlife, and the chambers of the Great Pyramid were certainly not an exclusive entrance to them. Giza was not the only earthly Rostau. All the same, there does seem to be some kind of resonance of concept here between the British Pyramid Plan and the idea of copying the ways of Ma’at in Rostau.
I’m going to suggest that the Egyptians saw great potential in the British Isles when they came across them, but their generally home-loving and somewhat Xenophobic outlook was still difficult to shake. But if Egypt itself was really just a copy of the celestial land, home of the gods, if they could manifest that plan here they could mitigate their cosmic homesickness; they could make home, resonating again with the morphic fields of the Platonic Idea of their ideal homeland.
The Pyramid Plan is really just the Foundation for the Great Hermetic Scheme. Move on to Part 2 to find out more about this, starting with the Egyptian precedent for this type of Hermetic Scheme.
 This is true to a very accurate degree for lengths along the line. Remember the line is dead-straight when walking it along the landscape, but because the Earth’ surface is curved, its bearing changes along its course, and this means that the amount of latitude and longitude covered by a given length along the line also changes. A mile along the western part covers more latitude but less longitude than a mile along the eastern part. Because of this, if you work out the Golden Section of the longitude or the latitude you get different figures than finding the Golden Section of the line itself. The longitude figure is still close to Dorchester (the neighbouring village of Berrick Salome), but with latitude there is more of a divergence.