Egyptian Astronomy: 2. The Causeways of the Pyramids

800px-giza_pyramid_complex_map-svg[Map of Egyptian Monuments by MesserWoland, Wikipedia]

Causeways and their Orientations

Causeways, now much in ruins, were once covered walkways leading from the east to the temples of the pyramids. They were beautifully decorated with star patterns. We found them to be of interest and possible relevance to the Kanayama Calendar because of their orientations.

From northernmost pyramid, the three pyramid causeways point in the following directions. See Fig. 61.

Khufu’s:  14 degrees north of east

Khafre’s:  14 degrees south of east

Menkaure’s:  due east

What is the significance of these orientations?

Causeways and Cross-quarters

At the 30 degrees north latitude of Giza, the summer solstice direction is 28 degrees north of east, while the winter solstice direction is 28 degrees south of east. The 14 degree alignments means that the causeways point in directions of the summer and winter cross-quarters of the sun’s path. See Fig. 65 and


Cross-quarter Solar Observations?

Were the Egyptian causeways used for making solar observations on cross-quarter dates? We seriously doubt it. The ancient Egyptians used their knowledge of astronomy and built the causeways along with the other monuments. Then they covered the causeways with ceilings for those walking those corridors. Those ceilings would not allow the use of causeways for solar observations.

Winter Causeway

Yet, the causeways symbolized the directions to important astronomical phenomena at the time of Zep Tepi. The winter causeway of Khafre points to the sun rising at the breast of Leo, while the view of Leo matches the head and shoulders of the Sphinx. Again, the sky is imaged on the earth. See Fig. 66.

Summer Causeway

What of the other causeway? The authors of The Message of the Sphinx do not comment on its astronomical nor ritual meaning. However, the figures in the book show that this is the direction to the Virgo constellation at The First Time. Virgo may be the symbol of Isis, consort of Osiris. The reason that the causeways can point to two adjacent constellations (usually 30 degrees apart) is that the solstitial directions are nearly 30 degrees (actually 28 degrees). The two cross-quarter directions are separated by nearly 30 degrees and point to Leo and Virgo.

The Great Year

The ancient Egyptians were familiar with the Great Year of 25,920 years due to the precession of the axis of the earth. Their Zep Tepi occured half a Great Year ago from our own time, around 10,500 BCE.  See Fig. 74. The Sphinx and then the Giza pyramids were constructed in a magnificent plan to commemorate Zep Tepi. They form one of the most splendid monuments on earth. No doubt elaborate ceremonies honored the First Time and the connection between sky and earth for vast periods of time.

Orion is now nearly at the “top” of its great cycle. Is it not fitting that these discoveries are being made half a Great Cycle after the First Time of Zep Tepi?

Concluding Remarks about Egyptian and Kanayama Monuments

The Egyptian monuments are an intricate systems design. So are the Kanayama Megaliths, with their three coordinated sites and dozens of observations which together produce the super-accurate Kanayama Solar Calendar. These two systems have different purposes, yet both are remarkable achievements of the human consciousness that conceived and executed the plans.


Egyptian Astronomy: 1. The Sphinx and Zep Tepi


Great Sphinx, Wikipedia

Monuments of Ancient Egypt

We, at Kanayama Megaliths, have been studying the Egyptian monuments in order to understand their megalithic calendar. The Message of the Sphinx has been an excellent resource. 

Ref:  The Message of the Sphinx by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, 1996.

This book shows that the Great Sphinx and the Giza pyramids are a system and a monument to Zep Tepi, The First Time. The authors explain what it means in astronomical terms. Sifting through physical evidence and running astronomical software to visualize ancient skies, they came to stunning conclusions. We will refer to figures from their book.

Giza Pyramids

All Giza Pyramids

Giza Pyramids, Wikipedia

Please keep in mind that the great Giza pyramids were never intended to serve as tombs. They were places of high initiation, of preparation of the pharaoh into immortality when his soul after death joins the stars in the sky.

Zep Tepi

Zep Tepi, The First Time, is often refered to in the Egyptian texts, “the remote epoch when the gods were believed to have come to earth and established their kingdom in Egypt.” (p. 79). In the authors’ view, the First Time refers to the time long ago when Orion was at its lowest meridian point, just above the horizon toward the south. Now Orion appears quite high in the sky although it is still a southern constellation. The apparent movement of Orion in the sky is due to the earth’s precession cycle which is of duration 25,920 years. See Fig. 58 in the book.

Hancock and Bauval determined that this took place around 10,500 BCE. The leonine Sphinx may have been built at that time to face its image, the stellar constellation Leo, when the sun rose on vernal equinox morning.


Leo Constellation, Wikimedia Commons

As for the Giza pyramids, they were built about eight millenia later. However, they follow a plan that is connected to and consistent with the Sphinx. Thus there is a Giza system or a Giza Plan.

Giza Ground Plan


Orion Constellation

Hancock and Bauval show that the ground plan of the three great pyramids matches the pattern of three stars in Orion’s belt, while the Nile River represents the Milky Way galaxy in the sky. As the axiom goes, “As Above, so Below.” Orion is the stellar symbol of Osiris; Sirius is the symbol of his consort Isis.

Astronomical Conjunctions of Giza

The significant conjunctions of the Giza system at the time of Zep Tepi, 10,500 BCE are (see Fig. 30):

* Vernal equinox at dawn,

– The sun rises in Leo (conjunction of sun and Leo), and the Sphinx gazes at this conjunction in the east.

– At the same moment, Orion transits the meridian. This is mirrored by the three great pyramids.

* Summer solstice at dawn,

– The Milky Way is nearly vertical in the eastern sky.

– Orion transits the meridian 3.5 hours later. See Fig. 36.

* Conjunction of Sirius with the horizon:  Around 11,500 to 10,500 BCE Sirius appears for the first time in the sky, just above the horizon almost due south; it is seen only as far north as the Giza latitude of 30 degrees north. Sirius could not be seen from here before this time period;  the proper motion of Sirius in space has brought it into view.


Kanayama Calendar and Astronomical Cross-Quarter Dates



The Kanayama solar calendar features solar observations made on certain dates of the year. These are dates that we, at Kanayama Megaliths, refer to in Japanese as yontobunand in American English as half-angle dates.

The astronomical cross-quarter dates are those days of the year when the sun’s declination angle is midway between its summer solstice or winter solstice declination and the zero angle at equinox time. Notice that the dates come in pairs. The winter pair occur when the declination is half of the approximately -23.5 degrees. The summer pair occur when the declination is half of +23.5 degrees. These dates are fixed all around the planet, independent of latitude or longitude.

The astronomical cross-quarter dates given by Universe Today (see link below)

are 10/24, 2/18, 4/21, 8/22 for 2015. They agree to within one day or two with Kanayama.

We, at Kanayama Megaliths, have hesitated to use the term “astronomical cross-quarter dates”(although it is correct) because, in Europe and in America, people think it means the pagan holidays called “cross-quarter holidays” such as Lammas and Halloween which fall approximately mid-way (about 45 days) after the solstices and the equinoxes.


If you have been following our posts, you know that the Kanayama half-angle dates occur in pairs. The winter pair  are about 60 days before and after the winter solstice. The summer pair are about 60 days before and after the summer solstice. For reference we list them here.

Winter:  10/23 and 2/19.     Summer:  4/22 and 8/20

The Kanayama Megalithic Solar Calendar makes full use of these two pairs of dates. On those days of the year, special observations of sunlight are made. They help to pinpoint the exact dates of summer solstice and winter solstice, which is what a calendar is meant to do. This is, to a large extent, why the Kanayama Calendar is so accurate.


The summer and winter observations




First snowcover

This is a brief note that the Kanayama Megaliths Research Center has posted “Kanayama Megaliths first snowcover of this winter” dated January 16, 2017 (Monday). We are showing here only three of the photos posted there. Follow the link to see them all.

Today was the third day of snow. We went to the Megaliths. On the way we saw Oppala, former Jomon village on the sunny side of the river. You can visit the Megaliths, but be careful driving on icy roads.



Kanayama Megalithic Solar Calendar

Kanayama Megalithic Solar Calendar

Six-season chartThe ancient people of the Japanese archipelago called their land Hinomoto (Hi-no-moto), the Essence of the Sun. The Kanayama Megaliths are located in the mountains region called Hida, the Land of the Sun. The Jomon people who constructed the Kanayama Megaliths were sun-watchers primarily and star-watchers partially. It is difficult to have a good view of the night sky when one is in a mountain forest. Instead, the Kanayama astronomers focused on acquiring careful knowledge of the movement of the sun in the sky. The Japanese term is Hinomichi (Hi-no-michi), the Path of the Sun.

The Jomon sun-watchers developed a highly sophisticated megalithic system for accurately following the Path of the Sun.

The Kanayama Megalithic Solar Calendar took into account the 365 full solar days in a solar year. Plus they included leap-day corrections on a four-year leap-year cycle as well as a longer 128-year leap-year cycle. Therefore, this calendar is supremely accurate to one day in 51,000 years. Compare this with our modern Gregorian calendar which will accrue a one-day error after only 3236 years. Since 435 years have already elapsed, there are only 2801 years left before we will encounter the one-day error. On the other hand, while the megaliths may have been functioning for 5,000 years already, they still have another 46,000 years to go.

sine function

The Kanayama Calendar is based on the Jomon’s knowledge of Simple Harmonic Motion or SHM. SHM is what describes the periodic motion of pendulums, playground swings, and the sun in the sky over the course of the year. (Hint: it is a sine function.) The solstices (solstice means the standstill of the sun) occurs at winter and summer when the sun’s noonday position in our sky seems to change little day by day. On the other hand, at time of equinoxes, spring and fall, the sun’s noontime position changes rapidly in the sky. All sunwatchers know this. They try to form their own calendars by observing the sun’s position at the two solstices (6/21 and 12/22) and the two equinoxes (3/21 and 9/23). However, it is extremely difficult to know just when the sun is at solstice, by the very fact that it doesn’t “move” much in the sky.

The half-angle dates. The Kanayama sunwatchers were highly creative. They asked themselves, “When is the sun’s noontime position half-way in direction (in angle) (in the sky) between the solstice and the next equinox?” We modern people would probably say, “Half-way between the seasons, so I would say about ~45 days after the solstice, right?” If that is your answer, you are wrong! The “half-way in the sky” date is ~60 days after the solstice, and ~30 days before the equinox.

In case you think this “half-angle date” will vary with your location (namely, latitude) on earth, you are again wrong. This date can be calculated from SHM (which is after all, just a sine function). You will calculate the two dates before and after the summer solstice as:

4/22 and 8/20


and the pair for the winter solstice as:

10/23 and 2/19.


Therefore, the solstices are bracketed and are in the midpoint of the two summer half-angle dates and the two winter half-angle dates. Observations of solar position are made on those four dates at the Kanayama Megaliths. We wonder if other astronomers in other parts of the world took special observations on those four dates.

Pinpointing the Summer Solstice.  The determination of summer solstice day is further refined 31 days before and after the solstice day. A megalithic grouping (which we call the Senkoku-Ishi) was arranged (and it still is) so that a spectacular spotlight pattern appeares on a rough panel for a few days beginning, and a few days ending, on:

5/21 and 7/22


Leap-year Determination.  Careful observation of the shift of the light patterns from year to year tells us that the solar year is not exactly 365 days long, that a day has to be added from time to time. Some times, though, we can expect to add a day by a four-year cycle but find that the extra day is not needed this year. That happens every 128 years. So there are, within a couple of human lifetimes, two leap-year cycles of four years and 128 years. There are higher order cycles as well, if one lives long enough.

How are the exact years for adding an extra day to be determined? Well, the Kanayama astronomers decided to make a special observation on 10/14 (if a normal year). If a leap-day is needed, the observation will extend to 10/15. This is how they would know. The “other side” of the winter solstice is 2/28. So another pair of important dates is:

10/14 and 2/28.

And so there would be a corroborating solar observation and then an extra day would be inserted the next day. How clever!

DSC00501 (1)


Green 杉玉 sugi-tama



Have you ever seen a fresh, green sugi-tama newly raised outside a sake brewery?  If you visit the blogsite of Okuhida Sake Brewery,, you will see this photo. Better yet, go to Hida Kanayama and visit the Okuhida Brewery.

杉玉 sugi-tama is a 玉 tama, ball made of 杉sugi, Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica). It is a sign that new sake has been created. The 杉玉 was raised at 10 am on December 2 with a sake-tasting event. Congratulations for another good year of premium sake!

Our previous posts about Okuhida Sake include:

Since many of us have never seen the sugi which rarely grows outside of Japan, here is a photo taken in Iwaya Valley near the  Kanayama Megaliths.




2016 Winter Solstice Observations.    3. Iwaya-Iwakage and Senkoku-ishi


Ed. Note:  This is the concluding section of our three-part report on winter solstice observations, 2016.

Winter Solstice 2016.12.21    

Iwaya-Iwakage.  10:25 am.  We have just returned from the climb up Higashinoyama. The light of the sun rising from the mountain is beginning to strike the Iwaya-Iwakage megaliths while the lower foreground is still in deep shadow. The sun rises from the mountain at 10:15, and it was ten minutes later. This spectacle is superbly calculated. The location is well-suited for receiving the light of winter. Shapes that illuminate the megalithic group are made from the time the sun rises from the mountain until it sinks. It’s hard to believe, but it is happening here.

24-951a2160Inside Iwaya-Iwakage, light is entering into the chamber. From inside at the back of the inclined surface, looking at the sky in the south, you can see that the sun is entering below this inclined surface. This tilt is set in accordance with the sun’s position 60 days before the winter solstice, so that it is very bright inside.

Senkoku-ishi   Evening, around 4 o’clock at Senkoku-ishi.   Sunset light has hit the B and B’ boulders. Originally the one stone was broken and is now sitting in two parts called B and  B’. The part of the V where the light hits  may mean that the original stone was placed  there to capture light of the sun at the time of winter solstice.

Approximately 4:10 pm.   The sun will soon hide in the mountains. It is possible to watch it from the mountain, up to near the time (4:30) when the sun sets to the horizon, because of the position of the megalith group in the mountain valley. This is also the place where, in the opposite direction, the summer solstice  sun will rise. I think it can be said that the place has been carefully selected for the megalithic group!

Ed. Note:  This ends our three-part report on Winter Solstice 2016. A new year begins. Happy New Year to all our readers!