Critical Notes on Stecchini and Tompkins
Precisely because I am for the most part supportive of the geodetic method
of investigation Stecchini advocated and demonstrated, I spent a great deal
of time with both his appendix and with Peter Tompkins more accessible popular
rendition of the same material. I have read them critically enough to reconstruct
the model at the core of their argument in my own mind, and to identify
inconsistencies and or typos. My own copy of their book is a first printing,
but I was surprised to find that none of the errors were corrected in the
paperback edition now back in print.
There seems to be a disturbing tendency of nature to smash the corners off
the apex of the Pyramid every time one tries to resolve all the details
in sharp focus. There are two instances of this I noticed in Tompkins where
it seems as if the details were fudged or muddied just at the critical point.
First, there is a bit of possible confabulation around the question of whether
the perimeter is being related to the length of a degree of latitude or
longitude at the equator. It seems that the numbers actually work for a
degree of latitude, but conceptually one wants it to be a degree of longitude.
This is covered over with a claim by Tompkins that the ancient Egyptians
understood the earth to be a sphere at that point and therefore understood
the two to be equal at the equator. But in his appendix, Stecchini goes
into great detail explaining that the Egyptians actually understood the
two to be equal at either 55* 06' or 55* 30'. Each of the two different
geodetic centers of ancient Egypt are each located at half of one of these
values. The predynastic center, used to establish the geodetic cubit, was
reestablished at Akhaten, at 27* 45', by the pharaoh Akhnaten, while the
center of the royal cubit was located at 27* 33'.
A deeper and far more arcane question revolves around the location of the
center mark on the north edge of the Pyramid as measured by Cole. Stecchini
makes a point of explaining how the existence of these two different partial
dimensions, whose sum is two millimeters shorter than Cole's reported total
length for the north side, indicate that Cole most likely made an error
of two millimeters measuring against the pin marking this center point;
thereby effectively over counting the length of the north side.
I am inclined to accept Stecchini's argument on this point. He also makes
a good case that the whole Pyramid was rotated two and a half minutes counter
clockwise, with the north and west sides being held square to each other.
But then, he supposedly uses the data from the lengths of the two different
ends of the north side to support his claim that the east side was rotated
about its own center three minutes counter clockwise. While the east side
clearly has been aligned in a way which may be explained by the additional
three minute rotation he describes, the lengths from the mark do not appear
to me to support the scenario in relation to the apex location he describes.
Indeed the lengths of the two segments seem to be biased in the opposite
direction from what they should be to support Stecchini's contention. In
Tompkins treatment there is an (apparent) typo wherein it is stated that
it is the west side which is rotated (rather than the east)
yet it is clear from Stecchini's rendition, and from Cole, that it is the
north west corner alone which is being held square. If the eastern side
were being rotated counter clockwise about its own center point to make
it face north east, then it would indeed make the north side shorter, but
it would do so by reducing the length of the north eastern half segment
of the north side. Instead, it is the north western segment which is in
fact shorter according to Cole. I thought the error could be due to the
reprinting or transcription of Cole, but I have checked the primary source
myself. I have held a copy of Cole in my hand and transcribed it for myself.
Cole's data is reproduced accurately by Stecchini in Tompkins. I find this
discrepancy disturbing because Stecchini's assumptions about the respective
sectional profiles of the north and west apothem would seem to hinge on
this point. I would ask Stecchini for clarification, but he is dead. I hope
Tompkins may be able to answer these questions.
My point here is only to articulate extremely subtle questions. I still
feel overwhelmingly that the fact that it is even possible to debate such
nuances is due to the overall coherence of this line of investigation. On
the whole Stecchini and Tompkins seem to have achieved very close to a perfect
explanation of the design, which makes it all the more frustrating when
I do find flaws or mistakes in their explanation of the details.
It seems as if the best answer may be to construct an accurate model of
the Pyramid and perhaps the entire Giza Plateau in Alias on the Silicon
Graphics computer. I have now started modeling the Great Pyramid. Ideally,
we would add a solar vector trajectory model as well. In this way we might
even be able to model the reflections from the faces and address my other
questions about the alignment of the east and south faces. If atmospheric
refraction could also be modeled we might even be able to begin to test
hypotheses about the behavior of reflections in the design. Even in the
absence of answers to these dynamic questions it might be possible to straighten
out the details of the design in three dimensions better than has previously
been achieved. Especially since comparatively few seem capable of following
the geometric arguments in sufficient detail to resolve the questions. Unfortunately,
it looks as if this may even apply to Stecchini as well at least with regard
to questions of geometry as opposed to measurement. I hate to say this of
my hero and sincerely hope that it is I who am mistaken.