Keeping Ma’at: An astronomical approach to the orientation of the temples in ancient Egypt

Belmonte, J. A.; Shaltout, Mosalam
Bibliographical reference

Advances in Space Research, Volume 46, Issue 4, p. 532-539.

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For various reasons, Archaeoastronomy has not been one of the favourite disciplines of the Egyptologists in the past. Probably because of that, important questions such as the orientation of Egyptian temples and the relevance of astronomy in this respect had never been afforded with the necessary seriousness and deepness. The Egyptian-Spanish Mission for the Archaeoastronomy of ancient Egypt has, among its various priorities, the solution of this problem. In order to achieve that, we have measured the orientation of some 330 temples in the Valley, the Delta, the Oases and the Sinai so far. The aim is to find a correct and almost definitive answer to the question of whether the ancient Egyptian sacred constructions were astronomically aligned or not. Our data seem to answer this question in the affirmative sense. Besides, they offer a very interesting new perspective in the field of landscape archaeology, a new discipline hardly worked in Egypt so far, in which terrestrial landscape, dominated by the Nile, and celestial landscape, dominated by the sun and the stars, would combine in order to permit the establishment of Ma’at, the Cosmic Order, on Earth.
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