Ancient Egyptian civilization ran along the Nile
River with many of their architectural monuments respecting light. Countless of
their buildings (regularly made by stone due to dry weather eliminating wood as
a viable material) were designed around the influence of light; for example,
the Old Kingdom contained pyramids which were thought to convey sunrays
descending downwards. Consequently, Pyramids are the form which are common to
both Ancient Egyptian civilization and Ancient Maya civilisation; these are
often aligned so light shines through to specific locations inside at certain
times of the year.

Abu-Simbel is a monumental building in Ancient
Egyptian civilization in cooperation with light, discovered in the 1810’s.
Abu-Simbel consists of two temples; these are in Nubia (West Bank of Nile River)1
built during the reign of Ramesses II to celebrate his victory in Battle
(Battle of Kadesh 1274 BCE)2
as well as intimidate the Nubians, therefore it is speculated to have been
built in 1264BCE. On October 22nd and February 22nd, the
back wall of Abu-Simbel is lit up through the sun rays penetrating the pyramid
(55m deep3);
allowing the sanctuary to light up showing the sculptures/statues; one being
the statue of the Pharaoh. However, the axis of the temple did not illuminate
the statue of Ptah, who lived underwater, emphasising how significant/literal
the cooperation of light is to the Egyptians. The reasoning for these statues
situated within Abu-Simbel is routed in it being a building for God hence these
sculptures highlight their religious beliefs; furthermore, the dates which the
statues are lit up are ‘thought to’ correlate with the ‘king’s birthday and
coronation day’ 4.

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Ancient Maya civilization (2000 BC- 16TH
Century) also respected light; it is a Mesoamerican civilization and the singular
entirely developed civilisation in Mesoamerica regarding written language and
architecture. Their classic architecture involves temples in form of steep pyramids
typically with a stone tablet situated in front (e.g. Tikal Acropolis). El
Castillo is a monumental building in cooperation with light, situated in the
City of Chichen Itza5.This
pyramid is a temple built between the 8th-13th century6
for the God Kukulkan; in total there are 365 steps to the top of the pyramid
(equalling the days in a year). During Spring and Autumn equinoxes, the
illusion of serpents ‘running’ or ‘crawling’ down the Northern Balustrade appears
due to the sun set causing shadows. The function of this is to represent the
God Kukulkan. This cooperation of light is not surprising since the many of the
Mayans beliefs revolved around celestial events, and in fact El Castillo emphasises
this through representing the Mayan calendar as a monument.

Another building designed to work with light would
be the pyramid of the sun; built by Teotihuacan civilization in 100 AD. On
August 12 and April 29th, the sun sets, and the pyramid has been
designed to be northwest of the horizon point.

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