To overcome the chronology problem, Belmonte proposes a solid alternative in the upper culmination of Phecda and Megfrez, which results in a determination for the Old Kingdom pyramids more in line with the accepted chronology of the Old Kingdom.
Belmonte reviews and acknowledges prior proposals, including that of Piazzi Smyth and Proctor and Brusch that the pyramids were aligned to the pole star of the era. Thuban being the pole star of the era, which Belmonte notes is closest to the pole in 2787 BC. Belmonte acknowledges this as plausible but that it is out of line with the accepted chronology of the Old Kingdom.
Rawlins and Pickering found a minor error in Spence’s calculations and propose an alternative approach leveraging 10 Draconis, which yields a date of 2638 BCE +/- 10 years. Spence in her reply, remains unconvinced by Rawlins and Pickering’s approach due to the faintness of 10 Draconis.
Spence, Belmonte and Rawlins and Pickering proposals have each attempted to create a better fit to the accepted chronology of the Old Kingdom. Rawlins and Pickering briefly challenge the chronology by taking aim at the “rarely complete” kings list to support their earlier date of 2638 BCE.
Puchkov puts forward an argument on pp 35-36 that the chronologies propose by Breasted, Shaw and Beckerath broadly align with the exception of the 9th and 10th Dynasties. Here, Breasted has accepted the king list and duration of Eusebius 23 kings lasting 285 years whereas Shaw and Beckerath have allocated 35 years and 26 years total for these dynasties. Puchkov identifies that the majority of this discrepancy comes about due to the treatment of the 9th Dynasty.
This duration for the 9th and 10th Dynasties has a flow-on impact to the dates for the Old Kingdom. Since there is room for debate on the duration in a chronology, an earlier Old Kingdom date should not be discounted. However, the next obstacle for an older Old Kingdom is the radiocarbon dates published in 2010.
Puchkov writing on Hall of Maat, finds that prior to the 2010 paper of Ramsey et al the radiocarbon dates and chronologies were out of alignment. Puchkov provides a calibration of the radiocarbon data available for the Old Kingdom which shows a clear correlation with stellar dates for an older Old Kingdom (Figure 33). The same figure shows Spence and Belmonte’s proposals falling well outside of the expected range of calibrated data.
Following review of Puchkov, we are left with two alternatives: continue to follow the chronologies of Shaw or Beckerath, or allow for an older Old Kingdom. Spence, Belmonte and [to a lesser extent] Rawlins and Pickering all sit in the later Old Kingdom dates. Each justify their proposals through proximity to the chronologists dates for the Old Kingdom.
With the set of identifications I have made, the stories of the Westcar Papyrus are placed in December of the era. When combined with the assumption that the 15th day of the first month of Peret refers to the civil calendar which is known to wander, the dates proposed by Belmonte would drive an early October timeframe which does not fit the story lines of the Westcar Papyrus storylines. The date range proposed by Puchkov does and is supported by compelling evidence.
Belmonte, J., On the Orientation of Old Kingdom Egyptian Pyramids, Archaeoastronomy, no 26, 2001
Rawlins, D. and Pickering, K., Astronomical orientation of the pyramids, Nature, Vol 412, 16 August 2001
Puchkov, A., Egyptian Starry tales. Part I: “Stretching of the cord” ceremony for astronomical orientation of the Old Kingdom pyramids., accessed from academia.edu
Puchkov, A., Hall of Maat discussion forum post, accessed from [www.hallofmaat.com]