AstroEgypto

By attributing to their edifices a particular astronomical orientation,
by decorating the ceiling of their monuments with celestial representations,
by covering their inner walls with texts refering to the surrounding Nature,
the ancient Egyptians have delivered their vision of the world and the beyond.
Assisted by modern tools, let's try to decipher their legacy to humanity ...


Au-delà

Egyptian funerary boat sailing towards the Sun




point « Le lever du Soleil sur la Terre d'Egypte : une recréation au quotidien » (African Skies / Cieux Africains n°6, 2002)

In ancient Egypt, every celestial event took on particular symbolism. Among these celestial events there was the rising of the Sun, its appearance above the eastern horizon as a reddish disk. According to the ancient Egyptians, the daily rebirth of the Sun, its coming forth from the primeval waters, the waters of the Nun from which comes life on earth and in the sky, was similar to its very first appearance in the sky of Egypt the day the world was created, on this day they called Sep Tepy. Read more ...


point « Evolution de l'imagerie céleste égyptienne au cours de la Période Dynastique » (Toutankhamon Magazine n°3, 2002)

The ancient Egyptians bequeathed to us many architectural, rocky and scriptural remains whose scientific study provides information about their exact knowledge of the surrounding nature - their perception of the sky including the objects populating it, the movements animating them. (Article soon available on download)


point « Le lever héliaque de Sirius, source de datation historique » (Cahiers Caribéens d'Egyptologie n°6, 2004)

The study of old Egyptian recordings of the heliacal rising of Sirius in the reigns of pharaohs Sesostris ?, Amenhotep I, Thutmosis III, Ptolemy III, Ptolemy IV and in Roman times, leads to determine the average value of the visual acuity of the Egyptian astronomers. Then follow new dating proposals of the beginning of the reign of several pharaohs as wall as the identification of the Egyptian decans, these stars which remained unseen 70 days each year from the sky of ancient Egypt. Read more ...


point « Préalable à l'identification des décans égyptiens : constitution d'une base de données archéologiques » (Cahiers Caribéens d'Egyptologie n°19/20, 2015)

In ancient Egypt, the successive risings or transits of stars in the night or twilight sky were used to tell the hours of the night. These stars whose yearly period of invisibility was then close to seventy days are today termed as decanal since their heliacal rising occurred at ten days interval each. Their hieroglyphic names appear on the interior lid of wooden sarcophagi, on the external surface of water clocks, on the ceiling of temples and tombs dating from the First Intermediate Period to the Roman era. Every one of these vestiges makes up an archaeological database whose completion was needed to identify the ninety old Egyptian decanal stars to stars visible with the naked eye Read more ...


point « Catalogue d'étoiles peuplant le ciel méridional de l'Egypte ancienne » (Cahiers Caribéens d'Egyptologie n°11, 2008)

On the interior lid of sarcophagi dating from the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom, on the one hand, on the external surface of water clocks, on the ceiling of temples and tombs dating from the New Kingdom to the Roman era, on the other hand, were written down the hieroglyphic names of ninety stars or groups of stars filling the southern part of the old Egyptian sky. This article gathers the hieroglyphic names, the translitterated form and, when available, the meaning of the hieroglyphic name of every one of these stars or groups of stars we today term as decanal since they rose heliacally at about ten-days interval during the course of the ancient Egyptian civil year made up of 365 days. Read more ...


Body of a goddess

Part of Nut goddess' body that the ancient Egyptians assimilated to the Milky Way


point « L'année civile égyptienne et les horloges stellaires » (Revista de la Sociedad Urugaya de Egiptologia n°25, 2008)

On the interior lid of nineteen wooden sarcophagi dating from the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom as well as on the ceiling of the Osireion at Abydos were painted stellar clocks which worked on the basis of the old Egyptian civil year made up of 365 days : every ten days, the rising of a given star marked the end of an earlier hour of the night, indeed. Since a quarter of day was not regularly added to the old Egyptian civil year, it wandered, and the content of the stellar clocks had to be regularly updated. Read more ...


point « Astronomical dating proposals of the ancient Egyptian stellar clocks » (Revista de la Sociedad Urugaya de Egiptologia n°26, 2009)

On the interior lid of nineteen sarcophagi unearthed in Middle and Upper Egypt necropolis on the one hand, on the ceiling of the cenotaph of Seti I at Abydos, Middle Egypt, on the other hand, were painted stellar clocks which worked on the basis of the successive appearances of stars in the east between the end of astronomical twilight and the very beginning of dawn throughout the ancient Egyptian civil year made up of 365 days (Gadré and Roques, 2008b). The present paper aims at dating the twenty stellar clocks by comparing their respective stellar arrangements. The dating proposals are next compared to those deduced from the applying of archaeological, topological and philological criteria. Read more ...


point « Conception d'un modèle de visibilité d'étoile à l'oeil nu. Application à l'identification des décans égyptiens » (Ph.D thesis defended on the 21st May 2008 at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Toulouse)

On the interior lid of sarcophagi, on the external surface of water clocks, on the ceiling of temples and tombs dating from about 2100 to about 50 BC and located all along the Nile river, between Alexandria and Aswân, were drawn twenty stellar clocks and eighty star lists in the order of their successive heliacal risings, nocturnal risings or transits. Their identification to stars visible with the naked eye of the Hipparcos catalogue first required the making up of a complete list of these ninety stars accompanied with the translation of their respective hieroglyphic names. The comparison between the stellar arrangements characterizing the one hundred star lists led to their grouping into six types of star lists and to the determination of the spatial, temporal and optical sighting conditions of the decanal stars. These constraints have next been applied to a visibility model of stars visible with the naked eye in the dark or twilight sky of ancient Egypt which combines several astrometric and photometric parameters. Next, the making up of star lists in the order of their heliacal risings, of their nocturnal risings or transits, the comparison with the six prototypes of star lists, the taking into account of several astronomical, philological and parietal criteria, led to contract the number of candidate stars to everyone of the ninety decanal stars. This research work led to draw a map of the sky of ancient Egypt, to better define the ancient Egyptian nighthours, to refine the beginning of the reign of several pharaohs, etc. Read more ...


point « Introduction aux méthodes de l'archéoastronomie. Première partie : Application à l'identification des décans égyptiens » (i-Medjat n°1, 2008)

This article, the first one in a series of two, is the proceedings of a public lecture made at the Bureau des Longitudes, Paris, on the 6th February 2008, and available on download on the website of the radio Canal Académie. After a brief introduction to Archaeoastronomy, we detail the logic of an archaeoastronomical study then apply it to the solving of a well-known egyptological problem : the identification of the old Egyptian decanal stars, which was the topic of my doctoral dissertation. Read more ...


point « Introduction aux méthodes de l'archéoastronomie. Seconde partie : Application à la détermination de la source astronomique d'orientation de divers édifices égyptiens » (Cahiers Caribéens d'Egyptologie n°15, 2011)

This article is in direct line with the first one, published within i-Medjat n°1. It aims at applying the logic of the archaeoastronomical study defined in the previous article to the solving of a second egyptological problem : the determination of the source of orientation of monuments. The monuments in question are the Old Kingdom pyramids on the one hand, the temple of Isis at Dendara on the other hand. Read more ...


Imagine ...

The star of Sirius and the Orion constellation bathing in the sunset glow



point « ArchaeoAstronomy and Space Archaeology : a link between » (i-Medjat n°6, 2011)

This article is a brief introduction to ArchaeoAstronomy and Space Archaeology, two research fields both issued from the crossing of knowledge and techniques specific to Archaeology, History, Astronomy, and to the Space field. Within this introductory article, I choosed to more particularly focus on the similarities and the differences between ArchaeoAstronomy and Space Archaeology, and to explain why developing Space Archaeology, in close collaboration with worldwide Archaeologists, Egyptologists, Astronomers and Space Engineers, is a continuation of the research work in ArchaeoAstronomy I started about fifteen years ago. A further article, to be published within i-Medjat n°7, will detail the way to contribute to the development of both ArchaeoAstronomy and Space Archaeology by using XXIth century's tools. Read more ...


point « Developing ArchaeoAstronomy and Space Archaeology in the XXIth century » (i-Medjat n°7, 2011)

This article lies in direct line with the one published in i-Medjat n°6. I here first detail the characteristics common to Archeology and Astronomy, then explain how the crossing of these two disciplines can give rise to two sub-disciplines of great scientific interest: Space Archeology and ArchaeoAstronomy. Next, I suggest a new way of developing these two research areas: implementing, on the Culture Diff' website (www.culturediff.org), two Web interfaces dedicated, the one to Space Archeology, the other one to (Egyptian) ArchaeoAstronomy. Read more ...