Ancient Obelisk's True Purpose Revealed
We've had 'Altar of Peace' wrong for decades, according to 3D modeling
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 31, 2013 7:30 AM CST
This image from the computer simulation shows the sun lined up behind the obelisk and the Ara Pacis   (Indiana University Bloomington)

(Newser) – Researchers using 3D modeling and data from NASA think they've discovered the true purpose of the Obelisk of Montecitorio—upending a theory that has stood for decades. The 71-foot-tall ancient Egyptian obelisk was brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus, and would have stood across a plaza from the Ara Pacis, the "Altar of Peace" built to commemorate the Pax Romana. Historians have long accepted scholar Edmund Buchner's theory that the obelisk was positioned so that its shadow would point to the altar on Augustus' birthday, Sept. 23.

But when Bernie Frischer from Indiana University Bloomington built a computer model using NASA's Horizon System, which provides details on the locations of celestial bodies as seen from any point on Earth at any time, he found a "big surprise," he tells LiveScience: "Buchner was wrong." What mattered, the model suggested, was not the shadow, but the position of the sun over the obelisk as seen from in front of the Ara Pacis. They would line up perfectly on the festival of the Temple of Palatine Apollo, which makes sense because Augustus dedicated the obelisk to Apollo. "I think Buchner erred because he was too concentrated on Augustus' birthday, and so only made one calculation," Frischer says, whereas his simulation "can instantaneously calculate" lighting positions over a 40-year period.

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Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 31, 2013 4:56 PM CST
The Mayans, Incans, and Aztecs crafted dials, indicators, calendars,and all kinds of celestial devices that made the Romans and Greeks look like neanderthals.
Dec 31, 2013 1:47 PM CST
When archaeologists are honest, which is not very often, they will admit they do not know much. Whenever they find something and do not know the purpose behind it they say, "It is cult related." They can say almost nothing for certain prior to 1000BC.
Dec 31, 2013 12:42 PM CST
Such a deal. Has anybody except me ever noticed that all the architecture in D.C. looks like ancient, imperial Rome? There are so many similarities between our empire and that one, such as wallowing in luxury, starkly contrasting haves and have-nots, inundation by everybody else in the world who wants to live here.and self delusional greatness due to moral bankruptcy.. I could go on and on.