Dozens of newspapers and websites announced yesterday (16 November 2000) a major 'breakthrough discovery' by Kate Spence, a Ph D researcher at Cambridge University that was published in the journal Nature.
The main 'breakthrough' hailed by the media concerns the accurate dating of the Great Pyramid by modeling the precession of the transit of two stars, Kochab (in Ursa Minor) and Mizar (in Ursa Major), at the north meridian of the sky.
A fraction of a degree here or there is not unexpected, and such 'errors' may or may not have to do with precession.
If anything, it merely shows that the builders of the Great Pyramid were better and more accurate engineers than their successors. In truth, the misalignments are far too small to attribute to deliberation rather than mere engineering tolerances.
And she is very welcome to take the full credit for those ideas. Its the old story of whether the proverbial cup appears half full or half empty.
According to Kate, the builders of the Second and Third pyramids at Giza used the same 'invisible line' in the north, but because of the slight precessional change over the years, they got their pyramids misaligned without knowing. The Pyramid builders may not have been fooled by precession at all, as Kate suggests, but rather used precession to 'date' their own pyramids.
2450 BC the northern shaft of the Queen's Chamber (of the Great Pyramid) pointed towards the 'head' of Ursa Minor, the star Kochab, as the constellation culminated at the meridian (see diagram 4)." The Orion Mystery (1994) p.
This alignment and others were used by me to date the Great Pyramid to c.2450 BC, plus or minus 25 years, thus within a range of 2430 BC to 2470 BC. It was not necessary to use the star Mizar in the calculations, as the dating provided by Kochab was more than sufficient.
It is generally agreed that a plus or minus tolerance of 20 arc seconds should be taken into account for naked-eye observations of stars, hence the need for a 25 years deviation. Here are the specific statements in my books and articles: DE vol.
Being unaware of the slow precessional drift, and thus not realising that the 'invisible vertical line' shifted a fraction away from true north, they all misaligned their pyramids by an equal deviation, except Khufu (Cheops), builder of the Great Pyramid, who, luckily, built his pyramid by chance nearer the date of 2467 BC.
Here below is the stellar alignment for 2467 BC, which Kate used (from New Scientist web article, November 16th): In my book The Orion Mystery published in 1994, Plate 15a shows precisely the same stellar alignment used by Kate Spence, with Ancient Egyptian stellar-deities superimposed. 5-13) which clearly showed with diagrams how the north face of the Great Pyramid (defined by the north shaft of the Queen's Chamber) was probably aligned to the upper culmination of Kochab as it stood vertically over the celestial pole and the star Mizar, also giving the date 2450 BC 25 years for its construction.
This method has been in vogue at least since 1865 when the astronomer Piazzi Smyth attempted it using the Pole Star Alpha Draconis.