On the Alignment of Some Ancient Geoglyphs

The term geoglyph has become synonymous with almost any kind of large organized pattern on the ground. Some are the remains of ancient structures long since abandoned, others were created to express an idea, perhaps even to communicate some kind of message. Most defy explanation either in terms of what they represent or attempt to communicate, how they were constructed, or for whom were they intended. 

A previous post examined a geoglyph known as the Badlands Guardian east of Medicine Hat, in Alberta, Canada. The Badlands Guardian is thought by many to be simply an example of a hollow-face illusion resulting from natural erosional processes. We showed that this feature is oriented to the cardinal directions and by virtue of its orientation with respect to the path of the sun will tend to maintain its facial appearance over the course of the year.

In this article, we discuss the alignment of other geoglyphs aligned to the poles (i.e., north-south) and to other geographic locations.

Directional Markers in the Southern Hemisphere

Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere forget that the southern hemisphere currently has no pole star. The Paracas Candelabra is on the north side of a hill on Peru’s Paracas Peninsula. Lacking a celestial reference to north, the Candelabra faces within a couple of degrees of due south (Figure 1). Almost two hundred meters tall, the geoglyph would have provided ancient mariners with a directional reference that can be seen twenty kilometers out at sea.

Figure 1 The Paracas Candelabra is oriented to within a couple of degrees of due south. It is even more closely aligned to the Hudson Bay pole (magenta line). Google Earth

More than a thousand kilometers southeast of Paracas in the northern Atacama Desert near the town of Pintados Chile lie an assortment of geometric, anthropometric, and animal forms on the side of a hill. These figures are smaller, on the order of tens of meters in size. One is an arrow that points due south (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Arrow on Cerro Pintados is aligned exactly north-south. Google Earth

Unlike these features rendered on hillsides that can be seen at ground level, the following geoglyphs can only be seen from above.

Blythe Intaglios

The Blythe Intaglios are a number of large biomorphic glyphs etched into the ground in California along the Colorado River. Three are humanoid forms with outstretched arms. One is aligned to the north (Figure 3). A second figure is aligned with a third that, in turn, points north, northeast. There is also a fourth humanoid figure forty kilometers due east in Bouse AZ that faces south.

Figure 3 Blythe Intaglios. One of the humanoid figures faces due north. The animal figure to the southeast is aligned approximately in the direction of the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset. Google Earth

None of these figures can be fully visualized at ground level. There are no hills high enough or close enough to be able to see these features from above. The inescapable conclusion is that they were built for someone who could view them from the air.

Figure 4 Overview of Blythe Intaglios showing the alignments of the three humanoid figures to the north (white), the Hudson Bay pole (magenta), and one to another (orange). Google Earth

Charles Hapgood proposed that the ice ages were caused by shifts in the geographic location of Earth’s poles. He hypothesized that the North Pole was near Hudson Bay during the last ice age. Figure 4 summarizes a series of inter-related alignments. The third humanoid figure mentioned above that points north, northeast is aligned to the Hudson Bay pole, which is approximately 31° east of north. The figure (a) is upside down with its feet facing the former pole. The second humanoid mentioned earlier and an adjacent animal figure are both in line with the third figure (a). The feet of the second figure face the third figure (b). It can be shown that this angle was in the direction of the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset when the North Pole was in Hudson Bay. This angle is approximately 43° south of east, which is greater than the current solstice angle of 28°. The difference is due to the fact the latitude of the site changed after the Hudson Bay pole shift. The animal figure (c) is rotated counterclockwise relative to (b). The first humanoid figure (e) is aligned to north. The adjacent animal figure is aligned in the current solstice direction (d) as shown in Figure 3. The difference in alignment between the two animal figures (c) and (d)  is approximately 15°, which is equal to the difference between the solstice angles.

According to Hapgood, during the last ice age when the North Pole was in Hudson Bay, this part of the United States was ice-free with a much more temperate climate than it has today. Thus, unlike other parts of North America, the Southwest has probably been inhabited continuously for tens of thousands of years. Perhaps the alignment of these geoglyphs along with what they represent might be able to tell us something about the history of this part of the world over this period of time.

Nazca Lines

In Before Atlantis it was shown that the two brightest Nazca lines are aligned to two former hypothesized pole locations in the Bering Sea and the Norway Sea. Numerous sites in Peru including the ancient city of Cuzco were also once aligned with the Bering Sea pole.

Figure 5 Alignment of Nazca lines and geoglyphs. The red and yellow lines point to ancient poles in the Bering Sea and Norway Sea, respectively. The purple line points to Cuzco. Lines are offset to better show alignments. Google Earth

Although many explanations have been proposed for the alignments at Nazca, none have considered their relation to other sites, other geographic locations. Figure 5 shows the correlation of Nazca lines with the direction of the two former poles mentioned above and the city of Cuzco some 370 kilometers east, northeast of Nazca. One can find numerous linear features along the purple line that are oriented toward Cuzco.

An examination of the orientation of Nazca’s zoomorphic geoglyphs reveals that seven appear to be oriented with respect to Cuzco as well (Figure 6). The human figure sometimes called the Astronaut (top photo) faces toward Cuzco, as does the Heron. The Condor seems to be flying at a right angle relative to the direction Cuzco. The Dog and Parrot face away from Cuzco. The Spider is also aligned in the same general direction as is the Tree.

Figure 6 Alignment of Nazca glyphs relative to Cuzco. Google Earth

That at least some part of Nazca at some point in time referenced the ancient city of Cuzco is apparent. Although it is beyond the scope of this article to speculate about its purpose, one wonders whether the Nazca lines could have once been a kind of map to help guide someone or something approaching Cuzco in the air from the west?

Uffington White Horse

The Uffington White Horse is located on a hillside in Oxfordshire, England. The figure, deeply cut into the soil and filled with chalk, is oriented south, southwest. One theory for why the horse is aligned in this direction is that in midwinter the sun appears to overtake the horse, reflecting a mythological belief that the sun was carried across the sky on a horse or in a chariot.  We propose another explanation. If we draw a line between here and Stonehenge, the horse appears to be headed precisely in that direction (Figure 7). Dated to 1380 to 550 BCE, a relatively short time after the completion of the last phase of construction at Stonehenge around 1600 BCE, could the Uffington White Horse have been a directional marker pointing toward Stonehenge?

Figure 7 The Uffington White Horse appears to be galloping toward Stonehenge in the direction of the white horizontal line 48 kilometers away. Google Earth

Top image courtesy Marilyn Bridges.

Evidence of a Previous Temple at Dendera, Egypt

This article presents new astronomical evidence supporting the existence of an earlier temple at the site of the current temple of Hathor at Dendera in Egypt.

The temple of Hathor is west of the Nile River thirty miles north of Luxor. The construction of the present temple began in the first century BCE during the last Egyptian dynasty and was completed in the first century CE under Roman rule. 

The Egyptian goddess Hathor had many aspects: mother or consort of the sky god Horus, a symbol of femininity, a guide to the afterlife, and others. Hathor was often depicted as a cow, or a woman wearing a headdress of cow horns.

The temple and several nearby structures are oriented approximately 17° east of north. Too far north to be aligned to the Sun, Moon, or planets, it is believed the temple was aligned to the rising of a star or constellation associated with Hathor.

One possibility is the constellation Ursa Major, which the Egyptians saw as the representation of a bull, and a star in Ursa Major known as Alkaid. According to Jose Lull and Juan Antonio Belmonte in The Constellations of Ancient Egypt, 

“This star could have been used as a reference to establish the axes of several temples, such as that of Dendera, where Alkaid would presumably be the star mentioned in the hieroglyphic texts of the temple of Hathor…”

It is convenient to think of the stars existing on the inside of a celestial sphere. As Earth revolves on its axis, the stars appear to rotate around the celestial poles. At Dendera, the north celestial pole is 26° above the northern horizon. The point on the horizon 17° east of north along the major axis of the temple traces a circle 31.4° away from the north celestial pole. As shown in Figure 1 this path is currently about 10° away from Alkaid. Alkaid thus does not currently rise in line with the temple.

Figure 1 Current alignment of the Temple of Hathor to the celestial sphere.  Sky Publishing Corporation.

As the tilt of the Earth precesses over a 26,000-year orbit about the ecliptic pole, the north celestial pole follows the path of the dotted line in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Precession of the north celestial pole over the 26,000-year cycle. Sky Publishing Corporation.

There are two points along this path, two times during the precessional cycle when Alkaid rises directly in line with the Temple of Hathor (Figure 3). The most recent was when the current temple was built approximately 2000 years ago. At this point in time, the north celestial pole was between Polaris and Thuban and so there was no pole star. The second time was about 10,000 years ago when the pole star was in the constellation Hercules.

Figure 3 Alkaid aligns twice to Temple of Hathor at Dendera during the 26,000-year precessional period. Sky Publishing Corporation.

Interpretations of hieroglyphics in the temple and the zodiac of Dendera attach special importance to the astrological sign of Cancer. In contrast to Greek and Babylonian zodiacs, Cancer is placed at the center of the Dendera zodiac. One theory is that the Egyptian civilization began during the age of Cancer. At this time about 10,000 years ago the pole star was in Hercules and Alkaid rose in line with the major axis of the temple just as it did 2000 years ago when the current temple was built  (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Alkaid just above the horizon in alignment with the major axis of the Temple of Hathor. Your Horizon

How is it that the Temple of Hathor aligns with its celestial counterpart Alkaid on these two particular dates?

According to John Anthony West in The Traveler’s Guide to Ancient Egypt

“Like virtually all Egyptian temples, Dendera is built upon the site of a succession of earlier temples. An inscription over one of its subterranean crypts (this one not open to the public) declares the temple had been built ‘according to a plan written in ancient writing upon a goatskin scroll from the time of the Companions of Horus.’ Thus, Ptolemaic architects from the first century B.C. were claiming that the architectural plan for the temple dated to the legendary prehistoric era when the ‘Companions of Horus’ ruled Egypt.”

Concerning this time West states

“The Greek and Roman writers of antiquity, basing their accounts on information received either first- or second-hand from Egyptian sources, claimed far greater antiquity for the civilization of Egypt than that currently established by Egyptologists. These Egyptian sources claimed vast time scales (estimates ranging from 24,000 and 36,000 years) during which Egypt was civilized and ruled respectively by the netterw themselves and by the Shemsu Hor, the companions or followers of Hours.”

Let us evaluate the alignment of the Temple of Hathor in a broader prehistorical timeline. As described in Before Atlantis, inspired by Charles Hapgood’s crustal shift hypothesis, we have computed four past locations of the North Pole based on the alignment of over fifty sites throughout the world. The oldest pole location is in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutian Islands. It turns out that the major axis of the Temple of Hathor points directly toward the Bering Sea pole. By virtue of its association with this ancient pole, this site could be much older than is currently thought.

Figure 4. Temple of Hathor is aligned to the Bering Sea pole. Google Earth

We propose a new chronology where the site was originally aligned to the north when the pole was in the Bering Sea approximately 125,000 years ago. After the Bering Sea to Norway Sea and subsequent pole shifts, the site became misaligned to the north. At the start of their civilization, the ancient Egyptians, the followers of Horus, co-opted what was already an ancient site. Aligned then with Ursa Major and Alkaid, a temple to the star’s terrestrial counterpart, the goddess Hathor, was built. (In Before Atlantis we propose a similar explanation for the alignment of the Parthenon and its relation to the Greek goddess Athena.) With knowledge of precessional motion, thousands of years later, the Egyptians rebuilt the temple when it again became aligned to Alkaid.

If this explanation is correct then the original site could have been established more than 100,000 years by the mythical netterw who, like Augustus LePlongeon’s naacal, were not gods but an advanced technological civilization that had developed from earlier human sub-species out of Africa 200,000 to 300,00 years ago.

Feature photo courtesy Marilyn Bridges.


The Inca Steps of Quenuani, Peru

Inspired by videos created by Megalithomania and Brien Foerster, who first found the site, this article examines the Inca Steps of Quenuani between the towns of Cuturapi and Yunguyo on the Peruvian shore of Lake Titicaca.

From clues in these two videos, the geographic location of Quenuani has been determined using Google Earth to be at latitude 16.259446° S and longitude 69.171322° W. Based on rough measurements from the image (Figure 1) the linear rock cuts appear to be aligned approximately 23° west of north. This implies the steps face 67° east of north. Is there a celestial explanation for this alignment?

Figure 1 Google Earth image of the Inca Steps

Using a location analysis tool developed to support the research presented in Before Atlantis, the angle 67° can be shown to be just outside the range of solstice sunrise alignment angles (64.8° to 66.6°) over the past 41,000 years. Measurement error is one possible explanation for the discrepancy. 

Figure 2. Puma Punku is slightly misaligned to the east.

The site of Puma Punku is located 38 miles southeast of Quenuani. Puma Punka and nearby Tiwanaku are not aligned exactly to the cardinal directions but are rotated slightly east of north. In Before Atlantis we have determined four prior locations of the North Pole over the past 125,000 years based on Hapgood’s pole shift hypothesis. Between 75,000 to 125,000 years ago, the North Pole is thought to have been in northern Greenland. In this part of Peru, an ancient Greenland pole would have been in the direction 1-2° east of north.

If the North Pole were in Greenland, Puma Punku would face due north. Quenuani would also be rotated slightly to be within the range of solstice sunrise angles (65.9° to 67.7°). 

Based on its orientation it is likely that Quenuani was built as a place to observe the sunrise over Lake Titicaca on the solstice. It is also possible, if Hapgood’s theory of pole shifts is correct, that Quenuani, and perhaps other sites in the area such Puma Punku and Tiwanaku may be related by virtue of their alignment to an ancient pole in Greenland and could be 75,000 to 125,000 years old.

Top image source

Three Faces: Altered Landforms or Pareidolia? (Part 3 – The Face on Mars)

This series of articles discusses three surface features that resemble faces: a strange landform in Alberta Canada known as the Badlands Guardian that was discovered in 2005, a carved stone formation found by Daniel Ruzo on the Marcahuasi Plateau in Peru in the 1950s, and the Face on Mars, a mile-long structure on the surface of Mars first imaged by a Viking orbiter spacecraft in 1976.

The Face on Mars

The Face on Mars has become a classic example of pareidolia – of seeing faces where there are none. Yet, despite NASA’s claims to the contrary, as we shall briefly summarize in this article, there is significant evidence to support the hypothesis that the Face and other nearby objects are artificial in origin and probably incredibly ancient based on their highly eroded state. 

Figure 1 360° rotation of face computed from Mars Odyssey/THEMIS imagery.

Not a Trick of Light and Shadow

When it was first imaged by a Viking orbiter more than four decades ago, NASA dismissed the Face on Mars as a trick of light and shadow. I tested this assertion using an algorithm we had developed at TASC – a tech firm north of Boston – known as “shape from shading” that computes a 3D model of the Face from the available imagery. Since only two images existed at the time, both taken under similar conditions, I used the 3D model to render synthetic images at different simulated sun angles and viewpoints. The results, which were published in the journal Applied Optics, showed that the Face maintained its facial appearance over a wide range of imaging conditions and so is not an optical illusion as claimed by NASA.

Different from Surrounding Landforms

The Face on Mars is more than a mile wide and 1-2/3 miles long. Could the Face have been constructed by modifying a pre-existing landform? 

A colleague of mine at TASC had developed an algorithm to detect manmade objects in images using fractals. A fractal is a mathematical concept to describe objects in nature that are self-similar including the shape of coastlines, the structure of natural terrain, and many other kinds of phenomena. Fractal models are often used in computer graphics to generate photo-realistic renderings of natural features. Instead of using fractals to generate images his idea was to use fractals to analyze images, specifically to detect manmade objects by finding areas in images that deviate from a fractal model. When we applied his fractal algorithm to the Viking imagery the Face was found to be different from the surrounding landforms.

Is it unreasonable to conclude that this landform was different from the other landforms because it had been modified to look like a face?

Figure 2 Comparison between an orthorectified MGS image and its mirror image. Multiple points of symmetry are evident.

Architectural Sophistication

Mars Global Surveyor and later orbiters showed that the Face is much more eroded than was previously thought. In particular, the right (eastern) side appears to have slumped (perhaps due to a process that is known as mass wasting) and is covered with dunes. As shown in Figure 2 there clear evidence of symmetry in the platform surrounding the Face, the forehead, and the eyes. There are also repeated expressions of symmetry and the geometry of 3-4-5 right triangles in its shape and internal features.

Artificial Structure or Pareidolia?

We close with a rendering of the Face as seen from the southwest. It is a time-lapse view over the course of a summer day on Mars. Like those enigmatic features on the Marcahuasi plateau discussed in the previous post, if the Face on Mars is an optical illusion, nature is having a great joke on us.

Three Faces: Altered Landforms or Pareidolia? (Part 2 – A Face on the Marcahuasi Plateau)

This series of articles discusses three surface features that resemble faces: a strange landform in Alberta Canada known as the Badlands Guardian that was discovered in 2005, a carved stone formation found by Daniel Ruzo on the Marcahuasi Plateau in Peru in the 1950s, and the Face on Mars, a mile-long structure on the surface of Mars first imaged by a Viking orbiter spacecraft in 1976.

A Face on the Marcahuasi Plateau

The Marcahuasi plateau is in the Peruvian Andes east of Lima. A vast array of ancient ruins and enigmatic rock sculptures was discovered there in the 1950s by Daniel Ruzo in his search for evidence of a pre-Inca civilization [1]:

“Since 1925 I have been of the opinion that one should be able to find traces of a very old culture extending from Central to South America, especially between the two tropics. The study of the old traditions and legends, the analysis of the recitals of the Spanish Conquistadors endorsed this assumption.”

Encountering gigantic and magnificently executed but isolated, eroded, and partially destroyed sculptures in the hills and along the coast of Peru eventually led him inland to the Marcahuasi plateau where he found hundreds of stone ruins and formations of animal and human figures. 

Well off the beaten path, after a rare visit to Marcahuasi in 1989, film producer Bill Cote wrote [2]:

“What little is written about Marcahuasi indicates a certain reluctance on the part of archaeologists to say that the figures are man-made. Indeed, many of them are subtle and not always obvious to the viewer. But that is precisely what contributes to the mystery. There are so many recognizable forms there, that one is tempted to say they must be man-made, or else nature is having a great joke on us.”

In the late 1990s, Linda Moulton Howe shared some of Bill’s photographs with me. One of the photos was of a human form that had been carved out of bedrock. Like the Face on Mars, which I was studying at the time, the Marcahuasi face stares up at the sky. But unlike the highly eroded stone figures in other photos I had seen, the face in this photo showed clear signs of having been carved out of bedrock using advanced technology (Figure 1). 

Figure 1 Close up of the face and cut marks in the stone skirt to the right of the face in the original photo at the top of the article. (Bill Cote)

With just a photograph it was hard to say more about this mysterious stone face at the time – a decade before Google Earth, and two decades before imagery existed of sufficient resolution to be able to locate the formation in an overhead view. 

Figure 2 Overhead view of the stone face on the Marcahuasi plateau. (Google Earth)
Figure 3 Upright views of the Marcahuasi face from above. (Google Earth)

After an extensive search of Marcahuasi using Google Earth, I was able to find the stone face (Figures 2 and 3) in a Digitial Globe image over the northwest section of the plateau (11.775670° S 76.581853° W). Ruzo mentions that the visual effects produced from shading and shadowing on the stone sculptures are most pronounced near the solstices. To my surprise, I discovered this face is not aligned with the cardinal directions or to the solstices. If however, we consider previous locations of the North Pole as described in Before Atlantis, it can be shown that when the pole was in the Norway Sea the sun would have set directly west of the face on the summer solstice (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Alignments of Marcahuasi face. Current solstice alignment (white line). Direction to Norway Sea pole (solid yellow line). Solstice alignment relative to the Norway Sea pole (dotted yellow line).

It turns out that the face is also aligned in the direction of the sacred city of Caral-Supe, which is about 90 miles to the northwest. In Before Atlantis it is shown that Caral-Supe could have once been aligned to the Norway Sea pole and that two other sites along the Peruvian coast in Chavin and Warawtampu also face Caral-Supe (Figure 5).

Figure 5 Sites that face the sacred city of Caral Supe. (Google Earth)

The Norway Sea pole alignment is interesting as it suggests that these sites could have been first established between 75,000 and 125,000 years ago. In a previous post, we proposed that Por Bajin, a remote site in Siberia that also references the Norway Sea pole, could have been built by Denisovans, an earlier human species that coexisted with Neanderthals as long as 500,000 years ago. 

Ruzo believed the structures on the Marcahuasi plateau were ancient stating “traditions speak of the giants or Huaris, legendary beings, builders of the cyclopean structures, the remains of which persisted until the Incas.” Fossil evidence indicates that Denisovans were considerably larger than modern humans. Could these giants of the Marcahuasi plateau have been Denisovans? 

Future articles will continue to explore the revolutionary hypothesis that the oldest artificial structures on Earth were not built by modern humans but by a previous race who had evolved into an advanced worldwide technological civilization 100,000 years ago or more.

[1] Daniel Ruzo, “The Masma Culture,” L’Ethnographic, Paris, 1956

[2] Bill Cote, “Marcahuasi – A Mystery in Stone,” Louisiana Mounds Society New letter, no. 42, p. 1, October 1, 1991.

Three Faces: Altered Landforms or Pareidolia? (Part 1 – The Badlands Guardian)

This series of articles discusses three surface features that resemble faces: a strange landform in Alberta Canada known as the Badlands Guardian that was discovered in 2005, a carved stone formation found by Daniel Ruzo on the Marcahuasi Plateau in Peru in the 1950s, and the Face on Mars, a mile-long structure on the surface of Mars first imaged by a Viking orbiter spacecraft in 1976.

Figure 1 The Badlands Guardian is barely evident in Alberta’s earliest air photos taken in 1949-1951.

Badlands Guardian

Twenty-five miles east of the town of Medicine Hat in Alberta Canada is a landform that resembles a face looking due west. This feature known as the Badlands Guardian was first discovered in Google Earth imagery in 2005. Although the feature is thought to be the result of erosional processes there is much about it that is unusual. 

First is the visual form itself – that of a human figure, similar in appearance to the indigenous people from this part of Canada, wearing a headdress. It could have been any ethnic group. That it appears to represent the people native to the area is an interesting coincidence.

Second, the formation is aligned to north. There are perhaps hundreds or even thousands of similar badlands formations in North America. That one of these formations is oriented to north is not unusual in itself. That it is aligned to north and depicts the indigenous people would seem to be an unlikely coincidence.

Figure 2 Appearance at noon on the summer solstice (left), Equinox (middle), and winter solstice (right).

Even more remarkable, the alignment of the feature to north and to the path of the sun is such that the feature maintains a consistent appearance at noon over the course of the year (Figure 2). This would not be the case if it were oriented in another direction.

Figure 3 The Badlands Guardian is not visible at ground level.

The Badlands Guardian is an example of the hollow face illusion. Like numerous geoglyphs across the world the Badlands Guardian can only be seen from above (Figure 3).

Although it is likely that nature conspired to produce this phenomenon by the interplay of countless random events, it is not impossible that a pre-existing landform could have been modified in specific ways to produce this face. Either way, the Badlands Guardian is a remarkable feature.

The Lion Rock and the Constellation Leo

Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the middle of Sri Lanka. It is an imposing landform standing approximately 660 feet above the surrounding countryside. King Kassapa chose the site for his new capital and palace in the 6th century CE. The palace was at the top of the fortress, which today contains numerous terraces and pools. The entrance is through a gateway in the form of an enormous lion, of which only the claws remain.

Sigiriya is also believed by some to be the mythological city of  Alakamandava – the City of the Gods –  built by King Kubera, the half-brother of Ravana as described in the ancient Hindu epic poem the Ramayanaya.

Was Sigiriya built by King Kassapa or did the site already exist, perhaps dating back to the time of King Kubera or earlier?

The rock fortress and surrounding complex are rotated approximately 8.5 degrees east of north. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna has determined that the site is aligned to the sunset on the days when the sun at mid-day is directly overhead. At the equator, the sun passes directly overhead on the equinox. The sun can also pass overhead at places near the equator on days surrounding the equinox. For example at Sigiriya, latitude 7.95° N 80.75° E, this happens around September 1 and April 11, which is about twenty days after the spring equinox and twenty days before the fall equinox (Figure 1).

Figure 1 The site is aligned to sunset on days around April 11 and September 1.

The days of the zenith sun – when the sun passes directly overhead – are the same every year so the alignment cannot be used to date the site by itself. Could the name “Sigiriya,” which means “lion rock” in the native Sinhalese language have some celestial significance; for example, is it associated with the constellation Leo, one of the twelve zodiacal constellations, which was also known to Vedic astrologers?

There are twelve astrological ages corresponding to the zodiacal constellations, each about 2160 years long, that add up to a precessional cycle of 26,000 years. The astrological age in which we live is defined by the heliacal rising of the constellation on the first day of spring. 

This year, on the first day of spring, the sun rises in the constellation Pisces. The sun rises in different constellations on other days. On September 1, the sun rises and sets in the constellation Leo (Figure 2). If Sigiriya were a modern site, aligning it to Leo on this day would have symbolic significance.

Figure 2 The sun currently sets in Leo on September 1. Graphics courtesy https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yourhorizon

During the reign of King Kassapa, the sun set in Virgo on September 1 (Figure 3). Why would King Kassapa build a site representing a lion that is aligned to Virgo? Perhaps he did not build Sigiriya but co-opted a site that was already there.

Figure 3 Approximately 1500 years ago the sun set in Virgo on September 1. Graphics courtesy https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yourhorizon

When was the last time the sun rose and set in the constellation Leo? There are two answers based on Sigiriya’s alignment. In the fall, on or around September 1, the last time the sun rose in Leo was one full precessional cycle ago, 26,000 years, or about 24,000 BCE. (Given the cyclic nature of the precessional cycle, its age could conceivably be N x 26,000 years, where N is an integer.)  In the spring, on or around April 11, the last time the sun rose in Leo was about 5 astrological signs ago, 5 x 2160 = 10,800 (or 10,800 + N x 26,000) years ago as determined from the diagram below.

Figure 4 Western zodiac shifts one astrological sign every 2160 years.

On the spring equinox, the last time the sun rose in Leo was 6 x 2160 = 12,960 years ago, which is believed to be Zep Tepi or “First Time” when the pyramids and Sphinx were first established on the Giza plateau in Egypt.

Did the builders of Sigiriya use a solar alignment on a different day, April 11, to mark a date, around 8800 BCE, when the site was first established, perhaps by King Kubera during the time of the Ramayana? Expert interpretation of Vedic astrology in this context, which is beyond the scope of this article,  might provide additional insight.

Pole Shift Hypothesis

Hapgood’s pole shift hypothesis provides another even more ancient dating for Sigiriya. Our method of using pole shifts to date archaeological sites assumes sites were aligned to the north or to celestial events such as solstices referenced to north at the time they were built. 

In Before Atlantis we discovered two of the sites that point to an ancient pole in the Bering Sea refer to lions. Cuzco and the neighboring fortress of Sacsayhuaman are thought to represent a puma, a mountain lion. The temple of the Winged Lions in Petra also incorporates lions into its design. 

Figure 5 Aligned to an ancient pole in the Bering Sea (red arrow) Sigiriya is aligned in the direction of the summer solstice sunrise.

Could the Lion Rock of Sigiriya be another site that is aligned in some way with the Bering Sea pole? It can be shown that if Sigiriya were built when the pole was in the Bering Sea it would have been located almost exactly on the equator and rotated in the direction of the summer solstice sunrise (Figure 5). Not itself aligned to the cardinal directions, perhaps this was the best the builders could do to modify a pre-existing landform in order to somehow reference the sky at that time. If this was, in fact, the case then based on this alignment and Hapgood’s dating of an ancient pole near Alaska, Sigiriya could be 100,000 years old or more.