Ancient Egyptians civilisation ran along the Nile
River and many of their architectural monuments respected 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 the appearance of pyramids which were thought to
convey sunrays descending downwards. Consequently, Pyramids are the form which
are common to both Ancient Egyptian civilisation and ancient Maya civilisation;
these are often aligned so light gets through to specific locations inside at
certain times of the year.

Abu-Simbel is a monumental building in Ancient
Egyptian civilisation 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
and were built during the reign of Ramesses II in order 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 at the back of the pyramid 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, hence emphasising
how significant/literal the cooperation of light is to the ancient 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 respect light; it is a Mesoamerican civilisation 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). In particular
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 civilisation 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.