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Astronomy, Architecture and Symbolism: the global project of Sneferu at Dahshur.

Author/s: J.A. Belmonte, G. Magli

Reference: Journal for the History of Astronomy 2015, Vol. 46(2) 173–205

Figure caption: Astronomy, architecture, and symbolism at Dahshur: the Red (left) and Bent (right) Pyramids as symbolic representation of the Red and White Crowns, respectively, as petrified counterparts of relevant respective reddish and whitish celestial phenomena such as the aurora borealis or the zodiacal light (plus Venus) and mentioned in in the annals of the king in the Palermo Stone. See the text for further details. Source: Diagram by the authors courtesy of the Multimedia Service of the IAC, in images courtesy of Graham Parkin and Daniel López, respectively, and Margarita Sanz de Lara taken courtesy of the Archaeological Museum of Palermo.
Figure caption: Astronomy, architecture, and symbolism at Dahshur: the Red (left) and Bent (right) Pyramids as symbolic representation of the Red and White Crowns, respectively, as petrified counterparts of relevant respective reddish and whitish celestial phenomena such as the aurora borealis or the zodiacal light (plus Venus) and mentioned in in the annals of the king in the Palermo Stone. See the text for further details. Source: Diagram by the authors courtesy of the Multimedia Service of the IAC, in images courtesy of Graham Parkin and Daniel López, respectively, and Margarita Sanz de Lara taken courtesy of the Archaeological Museum of Palermo.

The two pyramids built during the Old Kingdom by the Fourth Dynasty King Sneferu at Dahshur are usually considered as two consecutive projects, the second – that of the Red Pyramid – being generated by a presumably failure of the first, the Bent Pyramid. In the present paper, we show that the archaeological proofs of such a scenario are far from obvious and that, on the contrary, a series of architectural, topographical, epigraphic, and astronomical hints point to a unitary project probably conceived from the very beginning in terms of the two pyramids and their annexes. Altogether the two pyramids are thus shown to form a conceptual, sacred landscapeassociated with the power of the Pharaoh and his afterlife.

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