as this one can prove almost anything about the pyramids. For observe, though presented as à priori reasoning, it is in reality not so, being based on the observed fact, that the true position lies more than three times as far from the northerly limit as from the southern one. Now, if in any other way, not open to exception, we knew that the builders of the pyramid used both the sun method and the star method, with perfect observational accuracy, but without knowledge of the laws of atmospheric refraction, we could infer from the observed position the precise relative weights they attached to the two methods. But it is altogether unsafe, or, to speak plainly, it is in the logical sense a perfectly vicious manner of reasoning, to ascertain first such relative weights on an assumption of this kind, and having so found them, to assert that the relation thus detected is a probable one in itself, and that since, when assumed, it accounts precisely for the observed position of the pyramid, therefore the pyramid was posited in that way and no other. It has been by unsound reasoning of this kind that nine-tenths of the absurdities have been established on which Taylor and Professor Smyth and their followers have established what may be called the pyramid religion.

All we can fairly assume as probable from the evidence, in so far as that evidence bears on the results of à priori considerations, is that the builders of the great pyramid preferred the Pole-star method to the -hadow method, as a means of determining the true position of latitude 30° north. They seem to have applied this method with great skill, considering the means at their disposal, if we suppose that they took no account whatever of the influence of refraction. If they took refraction into account at all they considerably underrated its influence.

Piazzi Smyth's idea that they knew the precise position of the thirtieth parallel of latitude, and also the precise position of the parallel, where, owing to refraction, the Pole-star would appear to be thirty degrees above the horizon, and deliberately set the base of the pyramid between these limits (not exactly or nearly exactly half-way, but somewhere between them), cannot be entertained for a moment by any one not prepared to regard the whole history of the construction of the pyramid as supernatural. My argument, let me note in passing, is not intended for persons who take this particular view of the pyramid, a view on which reasoning could not very well be brought to bear.

If the star method had been used to determine the position of the parallel of 30° north latitude, we may be certain it would be used also to orient the building. Probably indeed the very structures (temporary, of course) by which the final observations for the latitude had been made, would remain available also for the orientation. These structures would consist of uprights so placed that the line of sight along their extremities (or along a tube perhaps borne aloft by them in a slanting position) the Pole-star could be seen when immediately below or immediately above the pole. Altogether the more convenient direction of the two would be that towards the Pole-star when below the pole. The extremities of these uprights, or the axis of the upraised tube, would

fie in a north-and-south line considerably inclined to the horizon, be cause the pole itself being thirty degrees above the horizon, the Polestar, whatever this star might be, would be high above the horizon even when exactly under the pole. No star so far from the pole as to pass close to the horizon would be of use even for the work of orientation, while for the work of obtaining the latitude it would be absolutely essential that a star close to the pole should be used.

A line along the feet of the uprights would run north-and-south. But the very object for which the great astronomical edifice was being raised, was that the north-and-south line amongst others should be indicated by more perfect methods.

Now at this stage of proceedi gs, what could be more perfect as a method of obtaining the true bearing of the pole than to dig a tubular bole into the solid rock, along which tube the Pole-star at its lower culmination should be visible? Perfect stability would be thus insured for this fundamental direction line. It would be easy to obtain the direction with great accuracy, even though at first starting the borings were not quite correctly made. And the further the boring was continued downwards towards the south the greater the accuracy of the direction line thus obtained. Of course there could be no question whatever in such underground boring, of the advantage of taking the lower passage of the Pole-star, not the upper. For a line directly from the star at its upper passage would slant downwards at an angle of more than thirty degrees from the horizon, while a line directly from the star at its lower passage would slant downwards at an angle of less than fairty degrees; and the smaller this angle the less would be the length, nd the less the depth of the boring required for any given horizontal ange.

Besides perfect stabinty, a boring through the solid rock would present another most important advantage over any other method of orienting the base of the pyramid. In the case of an inclined direction line above the level of the horizontal base, there would be the difficulty of determining the precise position of points under the raised line; for manifest difficulties would arise in letting fall plumb-lines from various points along the optical axis of a raised tubing. But nothing could be simpler than the plan by which the horizontal line corresponding to the underground tube could be determined. All that would be necessary would be to allow the tube to terminate in a tolerably large open space; and from a point in the base vertically above this, to let fall a plum-line through a fine vertical boring into this open space. It would thus be found how far the point from which the plumb-line was let fall lay, either to the east or to the west of the optical axis of the underground tunnel, and therefore how far to the east or to the west of the centre of the open mouth of this tunnel. Thus the true direction of a north-and-south line from the end of the tube to the middle of the base would be ascertained. This would be the meridian line of the pyramid's base, or rather the meridian line corresponding te

the position of the underground passage directed towards the Pole-star when immediately under the pole.

A line at right angles to the meridian line thus obtained would lie due east and west, and the true position of the east-and-west line would probably be better indicated in this way than by direct observation of the sun or stars. If direct observation were made at all, it would be made not on the suu in the horizon near the time of spring and autumn, for the sun's position is the large affected by refraction. The sun might be observed for this purposing the summer months, at moments when calculation showed that he should be due east or west, or crossing what is technically the prime vertical. Possibly the so-called azimuth trenches on the east side of the great pyramid may have been in some ay associated with observations of this sort, as the middle trench is dire ted considerably to the north of the east point, and not far from the direction in which the sun would rise when about thirty degrees (a favourite angle with the pyramid architects) past the vernal equinox. But I lay no stress on this point. The meridian line obtained from the underground passage would have given the builders so ready means of determining accurately the east and west lines for the north and south edges of the pyramid's base, that any other observations for this purpose can hardly have been more than subsidiary. It is, of course, well known that there is precisely such an underground tunnelling as the considerations I have indicated seem to suggest as a desirable feature in a proposed astronomical edifice on a very noble scale. In all the pyramids of Ghizeh, indeed, there is such a tunnelling as we might expect on almost any theory of the relation of the smaller pyramids to the great one. But the slant tunnel under the great pyramid is constructed with far greater skill and care than have been bestowed on the tunnels under the other pyramids. Its length underground amounts to more than 350 feet, so that, viewed from the bottom, the mouth, about four feet across from top to bottom on the square, would give a sky range of rather less than one-third of a degree, or about one-fourth more than the moon's apparent diameter. But, of course, there was nothing to prevent the observers who used this tube from greatly narrowing these limits by using diaphragms, one covering up all the mouth of the tube, except a small opening near the centre, and another correspondingly occupying the lower part of the tube from which the observation was made.

It seems satisfactorily made out that the object of the slant uunel, which runs 350 feet through the rock on which the pyramid is built, was to observe the Pole-star of the period at its lower culmination, to obtain thence the true direction of the north point. The slow motion of a star very near the role would cause any error in time, as when this observation was made to be of very little importance, though we can understand that even such observations as these would remind the builders of the pyramid of the absolute necessity of good time-measure ments and time observations in astronomical research

Finding this point clearly made out, we can fairly use the observed direction of the inclined passage to determine what was the position of the Pole-star at the time when the foundations of the great pyramid were laid, and even what that Pole-star may have been. On this point there has never been much doubt, though co..siderable doubt exists as to the exact epoch when the star ocupied the position in question. According to the observations made by Professor Smyth, the entrance passage has a slope of about 28° 27', which would have corresponded, when refraction is taken into account, to the elevation of the star observed through the passage, at an angle of about 26° 29' above the horizon. The true latitude of the pyramid being 29° 58′ 51′′, corresponding to an elevation of the true pole of the heavens, by about 30° 4' above the horizon, it follows that if Professor Smyth obtained the true angle for the entrance passage, the Pole-star must have been about 3° 31' from the pole. Smyth himself considers that we ought to infer the angle for the entrance passage from that of other internal passages, presently to be mentioned, which he thinks were manifestly intended to be at the same angle of inclination, though directed southwards instead of northwards. Assuming this to be the case, though for my own part I cannot see why we should do so (most certainly we have no à priori reason for so doing), we should have 26° 18′ as about the required angle of inclination, whence we should get about 3° 42′ for the distance of the Pole-star of the pyramid's time from the true pole of the heavens. The difference may seem of very slight importance, and I note that Professor Smyth passes it over as if it really were unimportant; but in reality it corresponds to somewhat large timedifferences. He quotes Sir J. Herschel's correct statement, that about the year 2170 B.C. the star Alpha Draconis, when passing below the pole, was elevated at an angle of about 26° 18′ above the horizon or was about 3° 42′ from the pole of the heavens (I have before me, as I write, Sir J. Herschel's original statement, which is not put precisely in this way); and he mentions also that somewhere about 3440 B. C. the same star was situated at about the same distance from the pole. Bu he omits to notice that since, during the long interval of 1270 years, Alpha Draconis had been first gradually approaching the pole until it was at its nearest, when it was only about 3 from that point, and then as gradually receding from the pole until again 3° 42′ from it, it follows that the difference of nine or ten minutes in the estimated inclination of the entrance passage corresponds to a very considerable interval in time, certainly to not less than fifty years. (Exact calculation would be easy, but it would be time wasted where the data are inexact.)

Having their base properly oriented, and being about to erect the building itself, the architects would certainly not have closed the mouth of the slant tunnel pointing northwards, but would have carried the passage onwards through the basement layers of the edifice, until these had reached the height corresponding to the place where the prolonga tion of the passage would meet the slanting north face of the building. L M 2 12

I incline to think that at this place they would not be content to allow the north face to remain in steps, but would fit in casing stones (not necessarily those which would eventually form the slant surface of the pyramid, but more probably slanted so as to be perpendicular to the axis of the ascending passage). They would probably cut a square aperture through such slant stones corresponding to the size of the passage elsewhere, so as to make the four surfaces of the passage perfectly plane from its greatest depth below the base of the pyramid to its aperture, close to the surface to be formed eventually by the casing stones of the pyramid itself.


Now, in this part of his work, the astronomical architect could scarcely fail to take into account the circumstance that the inclined passage, however convenient as bearing upon a bright star near the pole when that star was due north, was, nevertheless, not coincident in direction with the true polar axis of the celestial sphere. I cannot but think he would in some way mark the position of their true polar axis. And the natural way of marking it would be to indicate where the passage of his Polestar above the pole ceased to be visible through the slant tube. other words he would mark where a line from the middle of the lowest face of the inclined passage to the middle of the upper edge of the mouth was inclined by twice the angle 3° 42' to the axis of the passage. To an eye placed on the optical axis of the passage, at this distance from the mouth, the middle of the upper edge of the mouth would (quam proximé) show the place of the true pole of the heavens. It certainly is a singular coincidence that at the part of the tube where this condition would be fulfilled, there is a peculiarity in the construction of the entrance passage, which has been indeed otherwise explained, but I shall leave the reader to determine whether the other explanation is altogether a likely one. The feature is described by Smyth as "a most singular portion of the passage-viz., a place where two adjacent wall-joints, similar, too, on either side of the passage, were vertical or nearly so; while every other wall-joint, both above and below, was rectangular to the length of the passage, and, therefore, largely inclined to the vertical." Now I take the mean of Smyth's determinations of the transverse height of the entrance passage as 47.23 inches (the extreme values are 47.14 and 47.32), and I find that, from a point on the floor of the entrance passage, this transverse height would subtend an angle of 7° 24′ (the range of Alpha Draconis in altitude when on the meridian) at a distance 363 65 inches from the transverse mouth of the passage. Taking this distance from Smyth's scale in Plate xvii. of his work on the pyramid ("Our inheritance in the Great Pyramid "), I find that, if measured along the base of the entrance passage from the lowest edge of the vertical stone, it falls exactly upon the spot where he has marked in the probable outline of the uncased pyramid, while, if measured from the upper edge of the same stone, it falls just about as far within the outline of the cased pyramid as we should expect the outer edge of a sloped end stone to the tunnel to have lain.

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