This chapter discussed, in brief, what we know about Egyptian astronomy during the Middle and New kingdoms. Our knowledge is inadequate, as it is based on second-hand material drawn in coffins or painted in tombs. But I think that if one considers seriously even just the few sources that we have, and puts them together with a series of objective data on the astronomical orientation of the temples, there is enough material to conclude that, at least starting from the Middle Kingdom, astronomical knowledge in Egypt was absolutely complete and comparable to that of any other great civilization, if not superior to it, as testified to by famous Greek writers (curiously enough, these conclusions can also be drawn from Neugebauer's works even though he takes every opportunity to affirm his lack of esteem for the Egyptian scientists).
As for the problem of determining how old the knowledge of astronomy is, since the Old Kingdom unfortunately did not leave us any astronomical coffin or astronomical ceiling whatsoever, but only the greatest and most complex buildings ever built in human history, we will address this issue in the final part of the book.
Was this article helpful?