In the earliest civilizations of the Ancient World, sun worship developed in parallel with an understanding of the movement of the stars. That was the origin of an architecture that expressed a number of religious and cosmological beliefs. Studies of ancient archaeological remains have revealed that astronomical orientations strongly influenced the construction of some of the most important ancient architectural monuments.
Besides its religious role, the sun regulated the culture of the Ancient World in many of its more practical aspects. For instance, the observation of solar and lunar cycles allowed people to anticipate seasonal change. This provided man with a means of organizing and improving agricultural and livestock activities and, in turn, influenced the construction of the large civil and religious buildings.
The complex relationships that developed between cosmology, sun worship, early mathematics, and the orientation of buildings with respect to the position of the sun, also decisively influenced the birth and development of what has come to be known as passive solar design.
This article describes some of these influences dating from the megalithic period to the development of Mesopotamian and Egyptian architecture.
Martínez Flores J. Stonehenge, donde los astros y dólmenes danzan, info-astro, astronomía digital nº3, enero. Agrupación astronómica de Gran canaria 1999; p. 45.
Belmonte JA. De la Arqueoastronomía a la Astronomia Astronomía cultural, Boletín de la SEA nº 15, invierno 2005- 2006; p. 32.
Hemenway P. Le code secrete. La formule mysterieuse qui regit les arts la nature et les sciences. Evergreen, Kóln, 2008; p. 33.
Edwards B, Sibley M, Hakmi M, Land P. Courtyard Housing, past, present and future, OXON, Taylor & Francis, 2006; p. 192.
Hisham M. Traditional Islamic Principles of Built Environment, Routletge Courzon, New York 2003; p. 64.
Giedion S. El presente eterno; los comienzos de la Arquitectura, ALIANZA FORMA 1981; pp. 24 and 111.
Belmonte JA, Zedda MP. Light and shadow on the pyramids. SEAC Congress. Light and shadow in cultural astronomy, proceedings 2005.
Spence K. Ancient Egyptian chronology and the astronomic orientations of pyramids. Nature 2000; 408: 320-324. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35042510
Belmonte JA, Shaltout M. keeping Ma’at: An astronomical approach to the orientation of the temples in ancient Egypt. Advances in Space Research 46: pp. 532-539, Sciencie Direct, Elsevier. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2009.03.033
Zignani P. Enseignement d’un temple egyptien, Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, Lausanne 2008; p. 46.
Flinders Petrie WM. A History of Egypt, from the Earliest Kings to the XVIth Dynasty. 6 volumes. London 1894.
Belmonte JA, Zedda MP. Light and shadows on the pyramids, proceedings of the SEAC 2005.
Butti K, Perlin J. Golden Thread, 2500 years of solar architecture and technology, Marion Bayars Publishers ltd. London 1980; p. 2-18.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2014 International Journal of Architectural Engineering Technology