Go to the Egyptian Dreams shop
Egyptian Dreams
Ancient Egypt Discussion Board
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Rain
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Egyptian Dreams Forum Index -> Sphinx
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Meresankh
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 107
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 8:36 am    Post subject: Rain Reply with quote

I am interested in this question of the weathering on the Sphinx being caused by rain. As I understand it, the geologist Robert Schoch argues that the weathering is compatible with rainfall in the years 7000-5000BC, which was the wettest period in Egypts history. Some people take this to mean that the sphinx is actually a lot older than that. But whatever, the argument seems to be that it couldn't have been carved in the 4th dynasty, because there was no rain in Egypt at that time. But is this in fact true? Rain is referred to in several old Kingdom texts, is it not, and according to I.E.S Edwards "the Pyramids of Egypt", the mortuary temple for Sahure had a drainage system for rain. So it must have still been raining in Egypt in Sahure's day.

Maybe there wouldn't have been enough rain at this time to cause the weathering on the Sphinx, but I still feel curious about it just the same.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
isisinacrisis
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Posts: 2228
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it rained, I think there wouldn't have been much of it and certainly not enough to erode a sphinx, it is a desert region after all, but I'm not a metorologist so I'm not sure, but I think rain was quite a rare thing in Egypt and still is.

Yes I have heard of the 'savanna Sahara' theory and the idea that before it became desert, it was grassland that had a wet season, but became desert after some climate change (not sure what exactly-maybe something to do with the ice age?) but that was way before civilisation (unless, of course, you believe the 'Disney Land types' LOL)

I was wondering, maybe the Egyptians made their Sphinx on already weathered rock?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Segereh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 22 Apr 2004
Posts: 2934
Location: Bruges

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could it be only the head and legs are actually cut out of the rock?
These rain-tracks only appear on the trunk of the sphinx, so this would make sense, no? The rain-tracks could well be from this age around 6000 BC then, while the head and legs of the monument were from a later date.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Meresankh
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 107
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:
I have heard of the 'savanna Sahara' theory and the idea that before it became desert, it was grassland that had a wet season, but became desert after some climate change


As I understand it, the Sahara was still green savannah until about 4000BC, when it started drying out. This was becoming serious by about 3500BC, when you started getting increasing numbers of people moving into areas like the Nile valley, where there was water and fertile land. I don't know, however, exactly when this process finished, and the Sahara ended up in the state it is today, though I have heard it may have been as late as 2000BC. If that's so, then it may well still have been raining in Egypt as late as the end of the Old Kingdom. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Meresankh
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 107
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just out of interest, I've just found this item about the desertification of the Sahara on a BBC news site. It claims that the Sahara became a desert around 4000 years ago, and the process may have taken as little as 300 years.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/390097.stm

This is very interesting if correct, as the dates correspond to the decline of the old Kingdom. It does seem at odds with something else I saw on TV once though.

Some time ago there was a fascinating documentary on Channel 5 about the mummy of a black (African) child found in mountains on the borders of Libya and Chad, which is desert now, but in those days was green of course. It showed the basics of the techniques of mummification which the Egyptians later used. Also, there were carvings of gods which foreshadowed the later Egyptian gods. This culture was spread across the whole of north Africa. Which makes sense, because before it became a desert, it must have been much easier travelling in the area. But at any rate, it also seems that the area was drying up at that time (3500BC), and rainfall was decreasing, so you got more and more p[eople moving into the Nile valley.

Other interesting things were that although these people were semi-nomadic, they weren't totally primitive. They were able to build stone circles as sanctuaries and tombs of large stones for instance. Whether they'd have had the ability to carve something like the Sphinx, I don't know.

At any rate, I suppose you'd have to be a meteorologist to know the answers to these questions. But the news item above does raise the possibility that there could still have been considerable rainfall in the Nile valley even in the old Kingdom.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
isisinacrisis
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Posts: 2228
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did see that documentary about the black mummy! It said that Anubis was a remnant of that culture, and so was 'cattle worship' (Hathor?) and it even said that the ideas for the pyramids came from pyramid shaped mounds of sand/mud in the savanna.

I didn't realise the Sahara became desert that late, in 4000 BC-I thought it was much older than that (like 7000 BC) but even so I don't think it rained significantly when the Egyptian civilisation was around, if it did rain, it would probably have come in short-lived sporadic bursts-but not enough to erode a sphinx. I remember studying desertification in my geography classes, studying the Sahel just south of the Sahara, how rainfall is decreasing and the land is drying up. Even though the climate changes now are man made, I was wondering if this was also a kind of desertification, and the way it happens now is similar to how it happened then (but on a bigger scale).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Meresankh
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 107
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all rather fascinating isn't it? The idea of the Sahara drying up in the fourth millenium BC does fit in with the increase in population in the Nile valley then. On the other hand, if the process was actually as late as 2300-2000BC, then that would fit the decline and collapse of the old Kingdom, but is obviously long after the beginnings of Egyptain civilisation.

I think the idea that is vaguely taking shape in my head is this. Could the weathered parts of the Sphinx have actually been first carved by the "Saharan' People who moved into the Nile valley in the 4th millenium BC, and was there enough rainfall then (3500-2500BC) to account for its weathering, without having to take it back to 7000BC? Another thing to take into account is the Temples of Malta, which began in 3500BC, and were almost certainly constructed by people of north African origin, probably the same culture as the one we're talking about (they also seem to have worshipped cattle). These show considerable skill in working with stone - they're not the work of ignorant barbarians. One of them is a complete hall carved out of solid rock. The possibility that these Saharan people could have at least started work on the rocky outcrop that became the Sphinx doesn't seem impossible (the head is obviously dynastic Egypt, so no doubt that was added in 2500BC). But of course, a lot more information would be needed before we could be certain of anything like this.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Segereh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 22 Apr 2004
Posts: 2934
Location: Bruges

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny detail on the meteorology department. Ramses II mentions "snow and rain" in a letter to king Hattusili II of Hatti. This has been recorded in the Hittitan archives. Would he only have known these concepts from hear-say? Confused

Had nothing really to do with the subject though. Smile I'll have to rely on Mark Lehner again, as I think he's one of the rare trustworthy sources on Ancient Kingdom history - pyramids especially. He quotes the geological inquiries of Thomas Aigner, stating the stones from Chefren's valley temple, connected to his pyramid, came from the upper layers of the bedrock the sphinx was carved out from. The upper layers... sounds like there hadn't been much previous work on the rock then?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
isisinacrisis
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Posts: 2228
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SNOW in Egypt?!? No way!!! Rain I can understand, but snow???
It didn't really get that cold, did it??

I did hear another theory on why the old kingdom declined-meteorites. There was a shower of meteorites apparently at that time, which caused the climate to change and get cooler, I think. Not sure if it's true but its interesting.

You say the Sahara people travelled to Malta? Now that's interesting because I never knew they would have had ships that were advanced enough to travel so far, back in prehistoric times.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Meresankh
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 107
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Segereh wrote:
I'll have to rely on Mark Lehner again


The book by Lehner sounds good, I'll have to get it sometime.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Meresankh
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 107
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:

You say the Sahara people travelled to Malta? Now that's interesting because I never knew they would have had ships that were advanced enough to travel so far, back in prehistoric times.


Well, it seems that Malta was first settled in about 5000BC by people who came from Sicily, which is fifty miles away. Around 4000BC there seems to have been another influx of people from north Africa, or at least they had contacts with them, which eventually led up to the period of temple building that started in about 3600BC. The Maltese temples are actually the oldest free standing stone structures known in the world. It shows that the ability to construct large buildings and work in stone was already in existence then, though of course this may well have nothing to do with the Sphinx.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Segereh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 22 Apr 2004
Posts: 2934
Location: Bruges

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely do so Smile
Getting one of Lehner's books that is Confused

Most trustworthy source I'm familiar with on everything concerning the Ancient Kingdom. Like Ahituv on the Palestine regions and Aldred on Egyptian art Cool
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Steve
Scribe
Scribe


Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Posts: 248
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rain is a pretty rare phenomanon in the desert, it was probably caused by sand storms and wind.
_________________
"A society that burns books will eventualy burn its people,"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
Segereh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh


Joined: 22 Apr 2004
Posts: 2934
Location: Bruges

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those would make horizontal incisions, but the whethering on the sphinx's corpus is vertical erosion. That's the weird part of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
anneke
Queen of Egypt
Queen of Egypt


Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 9305

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bit of a side bar here, but egypt did include some areas in the Sinai at some point.
They surely would know snow from some of the higher elevations there?

Did Ramses mention where he saw snow?
Nile Valley does seem unlikely.
_________________
Math and Art: http://mathematicsaroundus.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Egyptian Dreams Forum Index -> Sphinx All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group