On the Geomagnetic Alignment of Chinese Pyramids

14 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2022

Date Written: March 20, 2022


We examined more than three dozen earthen pyramids in central China believed to have been constructed as mausoleums and burial mounds of early emperors and their families. Analysis of their physical properties reveals a range of weak to strong correlations between location, age, alignment, and size (ground area). A strong correlation (R = 0.79) between the orientation of a pyramidal mound and the direction of the geomagnetic pole at the time of construction supports the idea that the Chinese used some form of magnetic compass to align many if not all these structures. A moderate negative correlation (R = –0.59) between the size of a mound and its date of construction reveals that older mounds tend to be larger and decrease in size over time. One notable exception is the mausoleum of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang constructed during the third century BCE. The mausoleum, which has yet to be excavated, lies within the largest pyramidal mound in China. Instead of being aligned to the geomagnetic pole circa 200 BCE, the mound is aligned to the geomagnetic pole sometime between 1800 and 1900 BCE. One possible explanation is that the emperor’s mausoleum was constructed within a preexisting structure built much earlier. Comparing these findings with those from a previous study of 3rd to 5th Dynasty Egyptian pyramids suggests that the size of structures in both places tended to decrease over time and that it is possible the ancient Chinese, as well as the Egyptians, could have repurposed/reused older and larger structures as tombs for later-day rulers and their families.

Suggested Citation

Carlotto, Mark, On the Geomagnetic Alignment of Chinese Pyramids (March 20, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4062137 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4062137

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