Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/460

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

was 3° 34' distant from it; that is, in b.c. 3430 or b.c. 2140. The passage, then, chronicles the time when the pyramid was built—with a seeming choice of alternatives. But the nearer of these is negatived by what we know of Egyptian history and we are thus left with the other, that of b.c. 3430, as the date of the pyramid's construction. The pyramid thus dates itself astronomically, which is the first remarkable thing about it.

It is to be noticed that astronomy here furnishes Egyptology with a fixed epoch from which to go forward or back. We are not here dealing with conjectures as to when a certain king or dynasty can be made

PSM V80 D460 Geometric hypothesis of the sectional elevation of the great pyramid.png
Geometrical Hypothesis applied to Colonel Howard Vyse's Meridian Sectional Elevation of the Great Pyramid.

to fit into a general chronologic scheme by the relics it has left us of itself. Calculations from known astronomic data can tell to an exactness gauged only by the size of the opening of the passage as seen from below precisely when the pyramid was built with only the choice above described. To deny which would but argue a lack of appreciation of physical science. For that such a pointing can be but the sport of chance, the whole structure of the pyramid emphatically denies.

The Great Pyramid was in fact a great observatory; the most superb one ever erected. The building is the most mammoth in the world, and it had for telescopes something whose size has not yet been exceeded. This something which did those old astronomers for instrument was the Grand Gallery. As its name implies this was a stone gallery of imposing proportions set on an incline of 26° 17' in the very heart of the structure and pointing south. It is approached by the