Heralding the Sun

Léo Dubal

vla,  virtual laboratory for archaeometry
dubal  (at) archaeometry.org

Oldest testimonies of direct sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface are recent,
probably not more than 7'000 years ago. 
Those testimonies coincide with the present Geological period of nearly
constant sea-level, which I suggest to name Heliocene.

 Here is the graph of the
Variations of Post-glacial Sea-level, in meters
Time Before Present, in thousand of years.

This recent data compilation is the achievement of Robert A. Rohde

It led me to suggest that the lull of those last 7000 years might have
cleared the sky and allowed homo sapiens to herald the Sun.
In contrast, 
during the period between 14 to 7 thousand years Before Present
  occurred a breath-taking fast rise of the sea level at
a rate of 15 mm per annum, surely a source of
deep mental frustration for the inhabitants near sea shore.
Such a rise has not only drown the Cosquer cave,
cut off the British islands from continental Europe by flooding Doggerland,
but also, I suspect, generated permanent overcast skies.
The lull which occurred afterwards induced
a theatrical change of scenery,
a kind of cultural revolution:  
the solar orb, from a minor role
of walk-on actor behind a screen of clouds,
became the star of human imagination.
A fairly transparent sky throughout the Heliocene
might have provide Homo sapiens
with the kind of peace of mind
for heralding the Sun.
In such an hypothesis, which signs non-literate people
might have left us to decipher ?
The engravings depicting anthropomorphic faces of the Sun 


in Chinese Helanshan and Australian Murujuga are well-known. 

Other less-known testimonies are the records
in the landscape
of the apparent behaviour of the solar orb. 

Staging the Sun at...Downtown Zürich

 Some of those records are located in the middle of urban centres,
for example:  the Cathedral of Zürich,
whose orientation
stands out in sharp contrast
to the
other buildings facing the river .

This Cathedral was built in the
XIIth century, but not just anywhere...
upon the remains of the Basilica Carolos Magnus ordered to build,
again not just anywhere, …but
upon the remains of a proto-celtic temple,
fitted with
solstitial sunrises and sunsets.  
Upon the
aerial view of downtown Zürich
are drawn
the rays of the setting sun,
threading their way between the two towers
until the Gross Munster's spire.

Today, this staging at dusk on summer solstice days
is still
a worth seeing event.

Staging the Sun at Newgrange

In 1963, Michael O'Kelly discovered that the 19 meters long corridor
at Newgrange was funnelling  the light of the winter solstice sunrise upon

 a labyrinthic figure, the perfect metaphor
of the apparent cyclicality of time.
The light come through a separate "Roof-Box" over the entrance,

a kind of Solar trap.

 This winter solstitial solar lighting
lasts a few seconds on Dec. 17th
then grows up to 3 minutes

 at solar meridional turnaround on the Dec. 21st,
then diminishes to a few seconds on Dec. 25th,
and then dissapears until the next year.

Staging the Sun at Dos Sulif

At Dos Sulif, in Valcamonica,
the rising summer solstitial Sun casts the shadow of the Plumb-line
on one axis of the Camunian roses. 


The Sun first appears there very late, at 9:30 am, i.e.: it is already eastwards.

Staging the Sun at La Gardette s/Cèze
Seen from La Gardette, in France, 

the winter solstitial Sun rises against the slope of La Loubière.
The shadow of the plumb-line falls parallel to the axis of symmetry 


of the grylls, anthropomorphs and cruciforms engraved 

all over this outcrop of weathering resistant gneiss.

Staging the Sun at Santiago de Compostela

 Anton Bouzas discovered that seen
from Castriño de Conxo,
at winter solstice,

the sun is rising against the slope of Pico Sacro.
The Rock Art engraving at Conxo looks
more like a sledge than a labyrinth, 

and might well be at the origin of the 9th century legend
of the transportation from Pico Sacro to Compostela
of St James' sarcophagus.

Staging the Sun at Louxor

 Noemi Méndez & Miguel Angel Molinero captured
the Colossi of Amenhotep III
as Worshipping Observers of the winter solstice rising sun.  

The amount of labour involved to build such a scenery is tremendous,
the weight of those colossi is 3000 tons.
Therefore, whenever the landscape caracteristics are suitable,
other dates than those of solstices might be choosen....

Staging the Sun at Mogor

Jose Luis Galovart discovered at Mogor, in Galicia,
that the entrance of the engraved labyrinth is pointing toward

the Sun setting, 600 hours before vernal equinox.
Mogor is indeed close to Finistere, the Ends of the Earth and, 
before disappearing into the vast ocean, the Solar Orb sets between two islets,
Ons and Onza, located 11 km away.

Staging the Sun at Tell el Amarna

 Off solstitial times and again about 4 weeks before vernal equinox,
the Egyptologist Marc Gabolde discovered that, 

seen from the Small Aten Temple, in Tell el Amarna,
the Sun arises out of an indentation in the horizon line. 

  There, it is no longer a matter of capturing the solsticial Sun,
but of the inlay into the landscape of a symbol, the sign AKHET. 

Here we have the hieroglyph of the Sun coiling up two mountains
as drawn by Champollion, which he translated by Horizon.

Staging the Sun at Giza

The Sphinx head at Giza,


has been carved out of a rocky outcrop of
hard grey limestone sticking out of the sand,

while the rest, out of soft yellow marly limestone. 
In 1980, the Egyptologist Mark Lehner noticed that 

"Seen from the  Sphinx at summer solstice,
the setting Sun is drawing,
between the two large pyramids,  
the hieroglyph akhet“. 

He called this staging of the Sun at Giza, 
architectural illusionism on the grandest scale. 
With a look at GoogleEarth one has to admit that the setting
of the pyramids and  the Sphinx is not at all fortuitous.

The head of the Sphinx is taken here as the pivot to display
the direction of the summer solstice setting Sun,
just between the two large pyramids.
It sounds as if, in order to stage the hieroglyph Akhet,
and in the absence of an appropriate landscape,
Pharaoh Kheops decided to build it, 
and let erect two man-made mountains.
 The astrophysicist Juan Antonio Belmonte,
the chief of the hispano-egyptian mission,
managed even to involve the Sphinx
into the the show of June 21st, 2006. 

His observations comfort the hypothesis of
a single master building plan at Giza.

Staging the Sun at Elephantine

230 years earlier, in order to build the Egyptian State,
the Great architect Imhotep, was for sure badly in need of a calendar.
Actually, I suspect him to have stage a solsticial show
on the tropical Island of Elephantine.
There,  the yearly rise of the Nile level,
by a mere geographical accident,
occurs around summer solstice, just at the time
when the zenital sun lits the bottom of the Nilometer,

the so called Eratosthene’s well.  
The Starvation Stela on the neighbour Island of Sehel
tells us that Imhotep indeed came over there,
and, the radiodating of adobe bricks of the Zoser pyramid 

by Georges Bonani, Mark Lehner & al., published in 2001,
indicates, with a fair probability,
year -2741 +/- 74 .
Now, the very controversial question:
WHEN has the Nilotic calendar been launched ?
Could Imhotep have declare solstice day

July 16th, -2767 

first day of the Egyptian calendar ?
This day, 1 akhet I,  is the 1st day of the 1st month
of the season Akhet, 

hieroglyph meaning inundations. 
After 7 years of drought, according to the starvation stela,
launching the Egyptian Calendar by staging the sun
to lit the bottom of the Nilometer and
letting everybody watch the Nile level rising again
and soon flooding whole Egypt,
has been for sure a great show, if it happened! 

The fact is that no amendment to this calendar
has been brought for 3 millennia…

Staging the Sun at Thebes

Thirteen hundred years later,  Amenhotep IV,
while he was still living in Thebes with his royal spouse Nefertiti,
witnessed, on May 14th, -1337,
a partial Solar eclipse of magnitude 94%.

Totality in Thebes would have probably
threaten to death the Pharaoh and his spouse.
Totality actually occurred midway between Thebes and Memphis.
As engraved on those stele, the Pharaoh disguised himself as a Sphinx,


for the task of decoding the engraved message :
 Shall he build the horizon of Aten in Akhet-Aten.
What have been the follow-ups
of this injunction of the Solar Disk Aten?
Well, the site of the new capital Akhet-Aten has indeed
been choosen close to central line of the eclipse.
But that’s not all…

Staging the Sun at Akhet-Aten

On the monumental boundary-stela K at Akhet-Aten
is engraved the date of the founder event of
Akhenaten own cult of personality.
  It is the date of the foundation stone ceremony
of the Small Aten Temple:


during the 5th royal year and peret season,
in its 4th month and in its 13th day…
here, unfortunately, one has to read between the lines. 
Anyway, if my lecture is correct,
this date,  March 2nd, -1336,
10 lunar months after the Solar eclipse of May 14th, -1337,
coincides with a day of New Moon,
a day when the solar disk reigns alone in the sky.
As seen on GoogleEarth aerial view, this day, 

the direction of the rising sun points towards a small valley,
the royal wadi. 
The photo of Marc Gabolde shows this very same scene, 

but on February 19th, +2005. 
From the Small Temple to Aten,
on March 2nd, -1336, at 04:38 am UT,
Akhenaton & Nefertiti have
 heralded the Sun.
This is probably the 1st event no longer qualifying
for the label  Expression of non-literate people.

Note: a tentative chronology of the amarnian heresy stands
at the end of