Architecture, Astronomy and Sacred Landscape in Ancient Egypt

From abydos to the valley of the kings and amarna: the conception of royal funerary landscapes in the new kingdom

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 11, No. 2

Royal funerary landscapes in Egypt show a remarkable continuity in the use of symbols and in the interplay between natural and man‐built features. In such a context directionality, both in the sense of succession of elements and of orientation of single buildings and tombs, plays a relevant role in governing the landscape in accordance with the idea of “cosmic” order, the basis of the temporal power of the Pharaoh. This paper investigates cognitive aspects of the funerary royal landscapes of the New Kingdom, with special emphasis on the connections with astronomy and orientation. A close similarity between the sacred landscape at western Thebes and the early dynastic funerary landscape at Abydos comes out and such a similarity may have been one of the reasons for the choice of Valley of the Kings as royal Necropolis. The original, actually unique way in which old symbols and features were re elaborated by Akhenaten in planning his funerary landscape at Amarna is also highlighted.

Architecture, Astronomy and Sacred Landscape in Ancient EgyptDownload pdf