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Chuckles and Guffaws

 
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:44 am    Post subject: Chuckles and Guffaws Reply with quote

Sometimes when I'm talking with people at our Egyptian exhibit at the museum, it's hard not to laugh at some of the things I hear. Today is a good example.

1. One man wondered if I knew much about the Assyrians and their origins 7000 or 8000 years ago. I ensured him the Assyrians did not rise to power until about the 7th Century BCE (they drove the Kushites from Egypt and conquered the Two Lands during their road to empire), and that he was probably thinking of the Sumerians, the only civilization known to have risen in the Near East before the Egyptians. No, he was positive it was the Assyrians. Privately I wondered if he had been watching too many Conan-the-Barbarian-type movies.

2. I talked at length with a very bright young man who was probably a senior in high school, perhaps a college freshman. He was working on a paper about the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East, and from listening to him I think he had a better handle on the history of the Minoans and Mycenaeans than I do. Then he came out and asked exactly when Mahatma Gandhi had traveled to visit ancient Egypt. I kid you not. Surprised The poor kid was embarrassed as soon as he realized what he had asked. I ignored it and returned our conversation to the Minoans and Mycenaeans.

3. As they say, save the best for last. After a tour I had given, a friendly man remained afterward to discuss with me a television show he had seen about some woman in California. Evidently this woman is trying to forward the theory that the ancient Egyptians used kites to move their stones into place when erecting pyramids. Shocked Laughing Shocked Again, I kid you not. This gentleman asked what I thought about this theory; I told him not to put too much stock into it. This woman is just blowing a bunch of wind at us. Okay, I didn't say that last line, but I would have had it come to me at the time.

Honestly, it's hard not to break out laughing sometimes. Today was especially rich for that. Anyway, I just thought some of you folks might share in a chuckle with me over this stuff. Wink
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing Laughing

However, I have heard of this kite theory-it seems to make sense, Egypt is rather windy, and it seems a lot more plausible than using laserbeams to levitate blocks. The only thing is...did the Egyptians have kites at all? I know the Chinese did, but did the Egyptians
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Meresankh
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think most people get their ideas of history from movies and things like popular novels, and for the most part it's totally impressionistic, and usually totally inaccurate! They usually won't listen even when presented with evidence to the contrary either. I don't know what one can do about it. After all if you recommend reading to them, they probably won't read it. I suppose they just have to find it out for themselves. It can be quite comical though.
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:
Quote:
However, I have heard of this kite theory-it seems to make sense, Egypt is rather windy, and it seems a lot more plausible than using laserbeams to levitate blocks. The only thing is...did the Egyptians have kites at all? I know the Chinese did, but did the Egyptians


The fact that there were no laserbeams involved is probably what kept me from breaking out in laughter then and there. At the very least the theory involves some aspects of the scientific method. "Kites" is a rather misleading term in this case even though it was the one used; I didn't choose it. It would be more along the line of sails, and of course the Egyptians had those. So, really big kites? Shocked

But I still don't buy it in the least. Egypt is no more or less windy than any other north African country, but that's not the point. You have to picture it very carefully. As the pyramid went up course by course, were the men supposed to stand around and wait for the wind to blow in just the right direction for every block moved into place? What if the wind kept blowing on a portion of flat course and the block went sailing off the side? What if it was a HUGE wind that sailed the block away and the block came down and crushed the pharaoh as he was out hunting?

Okay, that last one was ridiculous, but I find the whole idea fairly ridiculous. Egypt never lacked massive amounts of manpower and ample evidence exists for how that manpower was deployed for construction projects. As I always say, if the evidence is there, there's no cause to invent theories. That's what this woman was doing.

I probably should have explained further that this woman, in carrying out her tests, made use of blocks-and-tackle. The Egyptians had no such devices in the Old Kingdom--they didn't even have pulleys then. And I should have also mentioned that in the test this woman performed with an obelisk, she did manage with windpower to get the obelisk upright...for a couple of seconds, before it fell right over.

I'll stick with the existing evidence and what it tells us. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Egyptians used windpower in any such way. Wink

Meresankh
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I think most people get their ideas of history from movies and things like popular novels, and for the most part it's totally impressionistic, and usually totally inaccurate! They usually won't listen even when presented with evidence to the contrary either. I don't know what one can do about it. After all if you recommend reading to them, they probably won't read it. I suppose they just have to find it out for themselves. It can be quite comical though.


I could have abbreviated that when I quoted you, Meresankh, but I liked all of what you wrote. I couldn't agree more. As I just said, there's no reason to invent "evidence." It's not a terribly logical approach. Anyone can invent any technique to explain this or that, but it's quite a strecth then to suggest that maybe this is how they built those darn pyramids. You're right that such people won't listen--they're too absorbed by their own pet theories.
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Dampwater
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh my goodness, so u guys don't know !!!!
the Ancient Egyptians had telepathic powers that made them lift up the rocks and let them talk to that woman in the future and tell her that they used kites to lift stones.

You know what else is really really weird. Is that there are some accounts of Egyptians saying that they are either married or get visits from Ancient Egyptian souls. At first I laughed, but then it gave me some goosebumps.

Ah, its good coming back to post here, its been such a long time since i have visited. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see you again, Dampwater. I've been wondering where you were. Welcome back! Very Happy

Quote:
the Ancient Egyptians had telepathic powers that made them lift up the rocks and let them talk to that woman in the future and tell her that they used kites to lift stones.


Don't laugh...more than a few people truly believe in the "levitation" business. There are no ends to the kooks and their wild speculations. To me this kite theory is a bunch of silly hogwash, but I don't consider the woman a kook. At least she based her experiments on credible science. She was just stretching the realm of possibility way too far.

Quote:
You know what else is really really weird. Is that there are some accounts of Egyptians saying that they are either married or get visits from Ancient Egyptian souls. At first I laughed, but then it gave me some goosebumps.


I once met a woman at our museum who believes she had a past life as an ancient Egyptian woman. Had I not already spent half an hour enjoying conversation with her about our exhibit before she admitted this to me, I may have found her a bit odd, but this woman was no fool. I can't completely discount the possibility of reincarnation because, like everyone else on earth, I cannot possibly know what happens after death. I think there's more out there than we may realize, so though I almost always follow science as my guidebook, I leave a few of those doors open. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:35 am    Post subject: Re: Chuckles and Guffaws Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:

3. As they say, save the best for last. After a tour I had given, a friendly man remained afterward to discuss with me a television show he had seen about some woman in California. Evidently this woman is trying to forward the theory that the ancient Egyptians used kites to move their stones into place when erecting pyramids.


This isnt all that goofy. Well, it is but the hoi polloi arent to blame.

The Discovery Channel had a piece on someone who wondered why kites couldnt be used to help raise the obelisks. They posited that after all, the AEs used wind powered sails on boats. THey also claimed that certain background squiggles in depictions could be kite lines.

Of course, they could have consulted HAtshepsuts Obelisk almost as a step by step manual, but they didnt.

They proceeded to make themselves a modest sized obelisk and try to raise it using kites. Not .89c Wal-Mart kites but KITES - serious affeciando type kites. The obelisk was greased with lard, the kite lines were ancient hemp type etc. Supposed to be realistic.

Well like most reenactments, the wind wasnt with them and the obelisk took longer to procure so that they were left with a 3 day window to try it.
They had 5 or 6 kites lifting the darn thing. The bottom line is that the hemp wouldnt hold (very heavy too) so they had to go to nylon lines, but it did lift it to about 45degrees with no extra help.

The problem is that the AEs didnt even use oxen in that type of thing because theyare not as easy to control for such delicate operations as intelligent men; and obviously unreliable wind is a problem.

While kites would be a feasible aide in the task, it remains unlikely they did. But if something like the Discovery Channel lends the notion credance, it is hard to laugh at the person who takes it in and prolly cant name more than 2 pharoahs to start with.

Its a silly idea, but I thought I would mention were it sort of came from.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember the hoopla this TV special caused when it came out. I even heard of it from visitors at our museum, and personally I remain completely unconvinced. I believe there was some similar argument that kites were used to help position pyramid blocks, too. Nonsense. Mad

I didn't see this special myself, but I kind of wish I did. Is it true they used pulleys for this experiment? That would be quite misleading because the ancients did not have pulleys as part of their technology.

In one of the magazines to which I subscribe (Archaeology, Archeology Odyssey, KMT, Biblical Archaeology Review...it's hard to keep them straight) there was once an article written by an historian who related his experiences in working with television producers for these kinds of specials. Evidently these producers are more insterested in ratings than accuracy, even with such esteemed institutions as the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and A&E. Accuracy is often scrapped for the hopes for better ratings, but they like to throw in famous scholarly personalities like Bob Brier for the people they draw in.

I mean, when you can't trust television, who can you trust!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
I didn't see this special myself, but I kind of wish I did. Is it true they used pulleys for this experiment? That would be quite misleading because the ancients did not have pulleys as part of their technology.


In point of fact there was nothing "special" about it Wink.

I dont recall pulleys involved, for the most part it seemed quite on the up and up. I do recall the hemp rope not being up to the job as far as the weight-to-strength ratio adn they didnt have time to fashion something else and had to resort to modern nylon.

They were largely answering the question "COULD" they have used kites - is it feasible - versus "WOULD" they use them. Of course Kite-ophiles interpretting AE depictions set the whole thing on a dubious course. We all know Aliens and thousands of Hebrew slaves wearing Nemes were involved....
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, at least they were shooting for "could." It's the fanatics and fringe theorists out there who no doubt took it for gospel. "Yes, the Egyptians of ancient times used kites to build their great edifices. I saw it on TV, after all."

Quote:
We all know Aliens and thousands of Hebrew slaves wearing Nemes were involved....


What about the aliens. Weren't they wearing nemes headdresses? You'd think their gray little heads would get burnt in that hot desert sun.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a diversion/off the track thing:

Did you see "Troy"? Aside from the multitude of changes from Homer's version (like people getting killed by ALL the wrong people; Patroclus as Brad Pitt's cousin instead of homosexual lover), I thought I noticed something odd.

When Achilles and Hector are challenging each other at the temple of Apollo there is a collossus statue in the shot for a sec. I SWEAR it looks like a mini version of the Ramsses collosus or what I imagine the Amenhotep III ones would look like. It looks distinctly pharoanic with beard and nemes. It is only in the shot for a sec and from the side; I cant figure who or what it is supposed to be.

Maybe the set decorator just assumed old is old and went with it.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Did you see "Troy"? Aside from the multitude of changes from Homer's version (like people getting killed by ALL the wrong people; Patroclus as Brad Pitt's cousin instead of homosexual lover), I thought I noticed something odd.


I have that DVD and enjoyed the film. To be honest my interest in Greek mythology and hero tales is nearly nil, so I didn't know about Achilles and Patroclus at the time. It only click when I saw the film Alexander the Great, during which there's that scene of the young boys in their picturesque outdoor setting of a school, and the subject of Achilles and Patroclus is brought up there by one of the boys. My brain went click and it suddenly made more sense than the cousin thing from Troy. But we must look at it from the perspective of modern Westerners in a modern age: the bo-hunk-a-licious Brad Pitt would never be interested in homoeroticism, regardless of whatever character he's playing. I guess the same wasn't true for Colin Farrell in Alexander the Great. Yowza!

Quote:
It looks distinctly pharoanic with beard and nemes. It is only in the shot for a sec and from the side; I cant figure who or what it is supposed to be.


LOL I can just see some set designer rumaging around the dusty storage rooms of Hollwood when he comes across a discarded colossal Ramesses statue from the set of The Ten Commandments. "I have no idea what in the hell this thing is," he says to his assistants, "but it's pretty cool, so let's throw it in the invasion of the temple scene."

No, I never noticed it, and I've watched the movie a couple of times. But next time I see it I'll be sure to keep an eye out. Wink
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