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Taking Egyptians at their word.. 36,000 years?
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Seqenenre Tao
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:37 pm    Post subject: Taking Egyptians at their word.. 36,000 years? Reply with quote

I recently downloaded and watched a fascinating documentary called Magical Egypt - The Old Kingdom and the Older Kingdom Still. In it the host, John Anthony West makes the case that Egyptian civilization could go back a very long time indeed, and the Rule of the Gods might have been real. I don't have time to explain all of it here, but he made an extremely good argument and he wasn't one of those THE PYRAMIDS WERE BUILT BY ALIENS! people.

I'm hoping someone else watched it.. but there were a lot of things to think about.

- The Sahara did not exist in 8,000 B.C., 10,000 years ago.

- The further back in Egyptian history we go, the more advanced it appears to be.

- The Egyptians themselves tell us in the inscriptions that their history as a civilized nation goes back around 36,000 years. Embellishment of something is one thing, but simply discarding their entire record they left for us as having no substance to it at all, and ignoring it, is elitist and arrogant.

- Neolithic cavemen sprang into a developed, advanced civilization the day Narmer was crowned king?

- The Osireion appears to have been excavated and dug up as a ruin and relic when Seti I started building at Abydos.

- The Sphinx appears to be under great water damage, not sun or sand.

Theres a lot more he mentioned I can't list here right now, but if anyone has seen it, do give your opinion!

If anyone wishes to, just contact me via AIM and I will send you the . a v i. It won't take much over an hour.

Once again, I'm not saying for sure this is the case, just that it's very plausible and even probable possibility. And deserves much more thought and research.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't seen the show on tv, but the pre-dynastic period is known to have extended quite a while into the past.

Badarian culture: dates back to at least 4000-4500 BC and may even go as far back as 5000 BC

After the Badarians (maybe overlapping or developing from) we see the Naqada Civilization.


I'm not sure if I have ever seen any real evidence for cultures dating back 36,000 years. That quite honestly seems like a bit too much.

One of the oldest sites I have heard if is Nabta Playa where people are known to have lived 8-10,000 years ago. Something that is thought by some to be an astronomical site dates back to ca 6500 BC from what I have read.
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Seqenenre Tao
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does seem a bit much, the assumption is based off of Egyptian records themselves, and a few other points he raised I can't remember right now.

Like I said I can send the episode over AIM.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry it's taken so long for me to jump in and contribute. It's been a crazy week, but anyone who knows me at Egyptian Dreams knows I'd have to share my two cents worth sooner or later.

I can hear the collective sigh rising up from among my fellow ED posters. Laughing

It's no secret I favor an orthodox approach to ancient history, so I'll try to answer the points, Seqenenre Tao, based on what I know from my own studies or at least feel to be true.

First off is your source--John Anthony West. He's been called an "independent" Egyptologist or a "rogue" Egyptologist and even a mystic. All of this simply means he holds no real training in Egyptology and is not the real thing. You can lump him in with John Taylor, Piazzi Smyth, Edmé Jomard, Erich von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin, Moustafa Gadalla, Robert Schoch, and countless others past and present. Many of these men possess formal, advanced education and are not unintelligent, but it would seem few of them really have any solid grasp of the fundamentals of ancient Egypt or the rest of the Near East. For some reason they have abandoned logic and have teetered into the deep end of science fiction.

I should stress that I haven't seen this program of West's, but I'd like to look a bit closer at his points you shared.

Quote:
- The Sahara did not exist in 8,000 B.C., 10,000 years ago.


This is true, for the most part. About 10,000 years ago much of North Africa was a lusher and damper environment, more like a savanna. It was at about this time that much of North Africa (including Egypt) was undergoing hyperdesertification--a fancy word which means nothing more than that everything was drying out. This was climatic and natural, and the climates around the world we know right now will change drastically in the future, too. Even now southern Egypt is becoming more humid than probably anything with which the pharaohs were familiar. I fail to see how West is trying to use this as evidence of anything.

Quote:
- The further back in Egyptian history we go, the more advanced it appears to be.


This is definitely not true, from the perspective of the dyanstic period. West might be pointing at a pyramid and saying, "See? They didn't build those things later in Egyptian history," but that's not much of an argument. Art and architecture changed as the unrolling history developed, and later kings would not have made pyramids, anyway. Old Kingdom architectural styles are incredibly impressive, but they're certainly not more advanced than New Kingdom architecture. As just one example we can look at the engaged columns of the pyramid complex of King Djoser, from Dynasty 3. Obviously the architects of this time did not fully trust their own skills in making f.r.e.e-standing columns yet. And we can compare these to the towering, massive, f.r.e.e-standing columns of Luxor and Karnak, which went up from the New Kingdom and on.

Quote:
- The Egyptians themselves tell us in the inscriptions that their history as a civilized nation goes back around 36,000 years.


This is a favorite point of West's. I am not an expert in Egyptian myths and legends but I honestly cannot think of any story or inscription from which this fact comes. It doesn't sound Egyptian, to be honest. To express great lengths of time the Egyptians would say "thousands" or "millions," but I'm not sure from which context this specific figure of 36,000 comes.

And if it does actually exist, West is taking it awfully literally. All great ancient civilizations liked to brag about the antiquity of their societies, and exaggeration was a common literary tool. As anneke mentioned in her post, our understanding of prehistoric Egypt may not be perfect but is impressive, nonetheless. I would suggest a good perusing of Toby Wilkinson's book Genesis of the Pharaohs. Wilkinson is one of the leading minds in the study of Egypt's prehistory and he lays it all out concisely and clearly in this book.

There simply is no evidence whatsoever, archaeologically or textually, of any sort of advanced civilization existing that far back, anywhere on earth. Something would've been found by now, but nothing has, ever.

By the way, if anyone reading this knows of the myth, legend, or inscription from which West gets this figure of 36,000 years, I'd appreciate knowing it. Wink

Quote:
- Neolithic cavemen sprang into a developed, advanced civilization the day Narmer was crowned king?


There was no "springing" about it. This isn't the place to go into a long-winded lesson on predynastic Egypt, but through archaeology we have learned a great deal about the socio-political evolution prehistoric peoples took in the Nile Valley that led up to the dawn of the dynastic period. West is clearly ignoring this.

Quote:
- The Osireion appears to have been excavated and dug up as a ruin and relic when Seti I started building at Abydos.


I've never heard anything about this through all the years I've studied Egypt, and Abydos is one of my favorite sites. It's possible an older temple or monument of some sort existed on that spot before Seti I built the Osireion--his mortuary temple at Thebes does have some stone blocks that seem to have been scavanged from older monuments, after all. But the architecture and decoration scheme, as far as I understand it, conform to the styles of Seti I's time.

Quote:
- The Sphinx appears to be under great water damage, not sun or sand.


This is straight out of the theories of Robert Schoch, and I wouldn't take it seriously. West and Schoch and others of their kind are wholly ignoring the cultural and historical context of the Sphinx site, not to mention the greater geological facts of the entire Plateau. I would highly suggest reading this article by Zahi Hawass, which specifically addresses Schoch's and West's theory and lays it to waste.

Quote:
...and he wasn't one of those THE PYRAMIDS WERE BUILT BY ALIENS! people.


Well, at least that's good to know. Laughing

But they're out there, believe me. One of the leading proponents of this nonsense is Zecharia Sitchin, who believes all of the ancient civilizations of the Near East were more or less kickstarted by aliens. Makes for a great movie and television series (Stargate), but it's hard to believe educated adults actually believe such folderol. If you're ever in the mood for a good laugh, you can review the major points of Sitchin's theories on this site, which was put together by a scholar and linguistic expert named Michael Heiser and utterly destroys Sitchin's arguments point by point. It's fun reading! Very Happy
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my own theory about why the sphinx looks so worn...it may seem a little silly, but from what I'm reading of Hawass's theory, it could be correct:
-the sphinx was carved from a formation of limestone-very soft stone-which already had a vaguely sphinx like shape! This was caused by centuries of wind and sand, apparently there's a rock elsewhere in Egypt which looks a bit like a sphinx, but is purely naturally eroded. maybe this shape inspired the Egyptians to carve a face and lion like body onto it. It is possible that this stone also has remnants of rain erosion from the time when Egypt was wetter, thousands of years before the old kingdom.
-the Egyptians worked with the stone to make the sphiinx and the highly eroded nature of the stone made it difficult to work with but easy to carve.
-My idea is that the simple reason why the Egyptians, normally so perfectionist with their art and architecture, didn't clear away the evidence of past erosion was a) the stone was so eroded so that clearing away damage may have produced more damage and b) they were putting a lot more effort and energy into another major building project...the pyramids.

The article listed is very interesting-I don't understand all the geological terms but it seems to make more sense, that the sphinx is made of soft rock and other nearby structures are made from harder rock.

I have to agree with a lot of kmt-sesh's points here. JA West is quite a fringie, apparently, and I'm sure he's one of those who believes in the lost civilisation. Egypt has a very fascinating prehistory which is much more interesting than anything those pyramidiots say about Disney Land ans so on-the prehistory apparently gives a lot of context to how the Egyptian civilisation came to be.

I'm also curious as to whether the present day humidity in Egypt is caused by the dam, or by global warming? I'm inclined to say the dam because global warming should cause a drying of the climate (that's what happened in Egypt when the last ice age ended-as the world warmed, the ice melted and Egypt became a desert) and apparently the dam means that the water table is at an artificially high level which allows for better irrigation of crops. Bad news for any ancient monuments and remains of AE civilisation though, which have relied on a dry climate to keep them preserved.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I have my own theory about why the sphinx looks so worn...it may seem a little silly, but from what I'm reading of Hawass's theory, it could be correct:
-the sphinx was carved from a formation of limestone-very soft stone-which already had a vaguely sphinx like shape!


I think that's a very acceptable theory, isisinacrisis. Wink

It's very possible the Sphinx was originally a great limestone lump on the Plateau, at least about the upper half of it. Microanalysis of the stones from the Sphinx Temple show that these stone blocks are identical in composition to the area of rock the ancient Egyptians excavated around the lower portion of the Sphinx, creating that trench on three sides of it. This alone, by the way, tosses Schoch's and West's arguments into the rubbish heap.

Quote:
-My idea is that the simple reason why the Egyptians, normally so perfectionist with their art and architecture, didn't clear away the evidence of past erosion was a) the stone was so eroded so that clearing away damage may have produced more damage and b) they were putting a lot more effort and energy into another major building project...the pyramids.


This is certainly possible. It's a more difficult puzzle to work out, but what lends weight to your argument is well explained in the Hawass article to which I linked us: the Sphinx is composed of many layers of limestone and not all of that rock is as sturdy as the layers above and below. Large veins of it are much more susceptible to desert erosion. It's more than likely that not long after the Egyptians of Dynasty 4 completed the Sphinx, it was already showing signs of natural damage.

Quote:
The article listed is very interesting-I don't understand all the geological terms but it seems to make more sense...


I confess to the same thing. Some of the article is fairly complex for the layperson to understand. I reread it a couple of more times and parts of it are still over my head--we could use someone like Diorite, our resident geologist--to break it down into simpler terms for the rest of us. Still, overall, the article explains the science and geology angles very clearly.

Quote:
I have to agree with a lot of kmt-sesh's points here. JA West is quite a fringie, apparently, and I'm sure he's one of those who believes in the lost civilisation.


He sure does--which is what makes him a pyramidiot, or pyramidologist, or fringe theorist, or whatever label you want to attach to him. Maybe we could think of him as a pyramidiotic fringe pyramidologist. Razz He's one of many who bends the evidence to try to convince the more impressionable of a lunatic theory, but most of us are able to see right through him.

Quote:
I'm also curious as to whether the present day humidity in Egypt is caused by the dam, or by global warming?


We asked the same thing of Ray Johnson at a lecture he presented at the Oriental Institute last fall. Johnson is the current head of the Chicago House in Luxor, Egpyt. He admitted he doesn't know the answer for certain--he's an Egyptologist and linguist, not a climatologist. I don't know if anyone can answer it definitively, but personally I don't understand how the dam could effect the climate of a whole region of the world (it has, however, caused all sorts of other, local environmental problems). It could be global warming or just a natural change in the climate. What happened about 10,000 years ago occurred naturally, so we can't discount that here. Climates will always change, everywhere on earth.

LOL I just found Kevin's announcement that he's upgrading Egyptian Dreams to a dedicated server, and anything we write between Friday (yesterday, my time) and October 1 might not be saved to the server. To play it safe I'm going to save these last several posts (including yours, isisinacrisis) to a text file in case they need to be reposted on Monday. Until then it might be best to leave ED alone.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see all of our posts survived the weekend shakeup. I'm glad to see that. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seqenenre Tao u make a clear point, a good one. Problem is the existence of the word "time" isnt that old. The way how we measure time these days doesnt compete with how people talked about the days before in ancient time.
Everytime researchers find something new they try with anything they can grab on to fit it into a timeframe even if it doesnt fit in. Example; How many times have reseachers tried to make a timeframe of the bible..?? Problem is when u put this timeframe next to the findings about egypt nothing fits anymore.
Then we have the "Disney Land timeframe", "the middle ages", "ice ages" etc. All in which they have difficulties to put things in the right order. Researchers have to stop talking about a timeframe and look more for crossingpoints where these cultures got involved with other events.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right about those "crossingpoints," and in fact for modern researchers that is a critical method for helping to refine our understanding of chronology throughout the Near East. Cross-referencing dates with important events in differing cultures is a common technique, such as events related in the Amarna Texts or the records of a notable astronomical event.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regard to the 'textual' evidence for a 36000 year period, I don't know anything about that in Egypt, but it makes me think of the ancient Sumerian kinglist which talks about their pre-dynastic kings (who lived before the flood - that is the Sumerian account of a flood -see the epic of Gilgamesh) as having reigns of say 28000 to 43000 years! This is not taken seriously of course but seen as wanting to show the early legendary kings as associated with the gods & having their kingship originating from the gods. The later parts of this kinglist are taken quite seriously however, in chronological study. Perhaps West is leveraging off this type of thing?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neo2Dust wrote:
Seqenenre Tao u make a clear point, a good one. Problem is the existence of the word "time" isnt that old. The way how we measure time these days doesnt compete with how people talked about the days before in ancient time.


I completely agree with Neo2Dust. We have to take into account the meaning of 'time' in ancient civilizations. They were in what we call 'mythical discourse', what means that all the important events, all the sacred events were related to the time of the gods, and this time is not a 'logical' time but a 'mythical' time... it never existed in our logical conception of time, we live in another discourse: the 'logical discourse'.

Egyptians could speak about 36.000 years, millions of years... but it has no sense to translate these times to our time units. They only wanted to say 'in God's times, when everything was perfect'...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A point of order: We do not have any evidence that the Egyptians considered their history or the world to be 3,600, 36,000, or 360,000 years old; what we have are several poorly-transmitted fragments of Manetho that have been interpreted to add up to figures something like these and some scraps of the Turin king list that seem to show long reigns, but I challenge anyone to show me what they add up to and prove it conclusively. The evidence ain't there, so we're really not taking the Egyptians' word on anything-- becase we don't have their word to begin with.

(This does not even touch the multitude of other problems with this argument.)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am only beginning to learn about pre-dynastic Egypt, but while Gods are interesting, i believe the simple human stories are fascinating, as it shows how we grew and evolved. i'm not touching the aliens or Disney Land thing.

I wonder if they have some sort of way to map human DNA that would tell us all about the long road we took (out of eastern africa?). i DO suspect that we were a little more advanced in pre-history than we are given credit for, and maybe we were a lot more spread out than we thought 36,000 years ago. But I would never want to be one of those people that catch feelings for a theory that isn't too supported.

It would be so cool to find out everything about our human journey, though.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was part of the National Geographic DNA project. I paid, they sent me the kit, I sent them my DNA, and after a short time I had access to my own web page in their project. It showed my genetic ancestry going back some 50,000 years or more, originating in Africa.

So these kinds of things are known, based on genetic markers. Your DNA reveals where your distant ancestors started, the routes they migrated, and where they ended up. Pretty cool stuff.

I haven't checked in on my web page in a long time but I'm willing to bet the project is still ongoing.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just looked it up and it seems as though it is still going on.
If you don't mind me asking, did you learn anything that surprised you, or the lands your ancestors traveled through?
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