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In article <tmh38vg4uf...@corp.supernews.com>,
"People's Commissar" <tanijants...
>> Fekri Hassan has built up a picture of what happened
>> Ancient Apocalypse is a new BBC series that investigates
>> the dramatic collapse of great civilisations. Here, the
>> series producer Jessica Cecil relates the climate disaster
>> that struck the Egyptian Old Kingdom ...
Thanks for the tip!
Re the Old Kingdom (pun intended), here's an item from
a 1994 _Scroll of Set_:
[On Monday, November 7, 1994 Michael Aquino and Linda
Reynolds met at the University of California, Berkeley for
a closed-circuit televideo conference with Professor Emeritus
Harry I. Jones, Department of Archaeology, University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Aquino and Reynolds had
recently seen the film _Stargate_ and had pointedly-
divergent opinions concerning its substance, symbolism,
and significance. Magister Dennis Mann and Adept Karen
Revay had recommended Jones as a knowledgeable specialist
in the field. Also participating, from a televideo facility at
the deYoung Museum of San Francisco, was a noted rock
musician, here identified as "X". (The following transcript
of the teleconference has been edited for length.)]
MA: Dr. Jones, have you seen the film _Stargate_?
HJ: No, I'm afraid I donít get to the movies very much. What
was it about?
X: It was a somewhat fictionalized account of a project I did
for the U.S. Space Command at Cheyenne Mountain two
years ago. It was supposed to be hush-hush, under wraps,
all that sort of thing. I guess it didnít turn out to be that
well-kept a secret, did it?
LR: Is that why the young archaeologist in the film looked
so much like you? Was that deliberate?
X: Could be. Nobody asked me. I didn't even know the film
was being made until I saw it advertised in the paper.
HJ: What was this project?
X: Back in the seventies I did quite a few songs dealing with
Egypt, space travel, galactic, with an emphasis on the
Andromeda Galaxy. I made some of it up, other people in
the band made some of it up, but I took the basic ideas from
a lot of speculation about that sort of thing that was going
around in the Haight at the time. Some serious, some not so.
It evidently got me on file with the Air Force, if you can
LR: The Air Force contacted you about it?
X: Well, the Stanford Research Institute down in Palo Alto
asked me to participate in some discussions. I thought it
was all civilian academic. Turned out that two of the
people in the white coats wore blue ones underneath. So
then in 1991 I was asked to come out to Colorado Springs.
It was supposed to be a seminar sort of thing at the Air Force
Academy, but when I got there, they took me up to the
mountain, and then things got weird. Michael was there;
MA: It was weird, all right. But let's talk about what the
film did with it. In the movie some archaeologists in Egypt
working in a Fourth Dynasty dig discovered a gigantic
stone ring, which was found to be some sort of mechanism
oriented to the constellations as they appeared during the
Fourth Dynasty. It wound up in Cheyenne Mountain,
given another name in the movie for whatever reason.
The people SPACECOM originally brought in didn't have the
hieroglyphic skills to decipher all of the inscriptions, but the
X-character did, and managed to turn the thing on. It was
the "stargate" of the film's title, and worked as a sort of
slingshot to an unnamed planet in the vicinity of Orion.
The X-character took the trip, together with a Special
Forces A-team led by, um -
LR: Led by a colonel who everyone thought was a weirdo
but who got pulled into the Space Command because he
happened to have the mix of skills to handle something
MA: So on the Orion-planet the archaeologist and the
team found a desert city of human slaves and an Egyptian-
style pyramid and temple, which turned out to be a
landing-site for an alien spaceship, also shaped like a
pyramid. The alien was a disembodied intelligence who
possessed the body of a young man, called himself "Ra",
and used advanced technology to display both himself
and a number of zombified human assistants as Egyptian
gods animal heads and so forth and oppress the slave city.
The team from Earth exposed the "gods" for what they
were, blew up the alien in his spaceship, and returned
to Earth through the stargate, minus the X-character,
who decided to stay on the Orion planet.
LR: The insinuation was that the alien originally came to
Egypt, on Earth, at the time of the Fourth Dynasty,
was responsible for the technology required to build the
Great Pyramid, didn't want the Egyptians to be literate,
hence the absence of inscriptions in the Pyramid. When
Michael saw the film, he got mad because he thought it
was portraying the Egyptian gods as an oppressive alien
fraud. I didn't agree. I thought that the alien came to
Earth and saw an opportunity to impersonate the gods
which the Egyptians already had, and did as effective a
job of it as his technology would allow.
X: And the film was full of hints, in-jokes, and nose tweaks.
Budge's books were kicked around for being obsolete in the
hieroglyphics department. Hoffman's _Egypt Before the
Pharaohs_ got several cameo shots, although that book is
fairly conventional. There was a "sarcophagus" in the alien's
pyramid-ship that could bring dead humans back to life -
the implication being that the mysterious coffer in the
King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid was built as a
ritualistic imitation of that device.
HJ: Well, I'll give Hollywood credit for coming up with some
wild movie fantasies.
MA: Just a fantasy, then, in your opinion?
HJ: So what *were* you guys doing at the mountain? Never
mind, I don't want to get you in any trouble. But let's take a
look at some of the factors which would make a movie like
One - Egypt's civilization seemed to come out of nowhere, all
of a sudden. One moment you've got a bunch of hunting
and farming tribes wandering around the Nile Valley; the
next you've got a highly-organized nation-state society doing
brain surgery, writing and thinking in any number of
abstractions, and erecting buildings so geographically
precise, and so precisely designed, that five thousand years
later we still can't duplicate them.
Two - The Pyramids, and particularly the Great Pyramid.
There's been any number of books written about them, as
you know. Edwards. Tompkins. Lots of conventional
archaeology, even more far-out stuff. Just this year another
one - _The Orion Mystery_ by Bauval and Gilbert, who
are going on about how if you sight up the south ventilation
shaft from the King's Chamber, adjusting to 2600 BCE or so,
you get Orion, and if you look at the three Giza pyramids
from above, you are supposed to see something like Orion's
belt. Since that book came out in 1994, Iím guessing that
it's where your film got the Orion theme.
But these are all just theories. Not even theories, really - just
speculation. Nobody has the slightest idea, really, who
built the Great Pyramid, or why, or when. Stand back
and *look* at the damned thing. It's an architectural
nightmare. It's impossible to build. All of its interior design
features make absolutely no sense. The location, size, and
design of the passages and chambers make no sense. The
coffer - um, well, anyway you get the point. The Pyramid
irritates people because it is so utterly alien to what people
have usually built throughout recorded history. It's also so
big that it can't be ignored. So you're going to get a
procession of idiots - scholars, occultists, whatever -
insisting that they can explain it. They're just pulling
ideas out of the air. And, like now, you're going to get
storytellers making cute movies about it. _Land of the
Pharaohs_ in the fifties, _Stargate_ today, something
Incidentally the Egyptians were reading and writing just
fine in the Fourth Dynasty. They were doing it in the
*First* Dynasty! The Great Pyramid doesn't have any
writing in it -
LR: - The X-archaeologist in the film said that at the
beginning, but he was ridiculed by an audience of
Egyptologists, one of whom insisted that Khufu's name
was inscribed on some of the internal building-blocks.
HJ: Just scrawled graffiti. If you saw someone's handwritten
name crayoned on a piece of concrete in an elevator shaft
of the Empire State Building, would you assume that he
built the building or that it was built to commemorate him?
Hardly. That's just another instance of Egyptologists
scrambling around desperately, trying to shoehorn the
Pyramid into a nice, ordinary place in their books.
X: A few minutes ago you mentioned Orion, and that book -
LR: - _The Orion Mystery_ -
X: _The Orion Mystery_. Apparently the authors were quite
excited about Orion and the Pyramid. Any thoughts?
HJ: Archaeology is a three-step process. First you find
something. Then you try to figure out what it means.
Finally you have to get other archaeologists to listen to
you and agree with you.
Late 19th Century there the director of the solar physics
observatory of the Royal College of Science in London
was a professor of astronomical physics by the name of
Norman Lockyer. Got knighted for his Sun-studies, I
think. Anyway he got interested in Egypt - decided that
the Egyptian gods were in fact glyphs of solar, lunar,
and stellar bodies, relationships, phenomena. He went on
to apply this idea to Egyptian monuments and architecture.
Wrote the whole thing up in a book called _The Dawn of
Astronomy_. Pissed conventional Egyptologists off something
fierce. You see, it was accepted, by which I mean entrenched
in doctrine, that Egypt was a civilization too primitive and
superstitious to be capable of anything like complex
astronomy, to say nothing of architecture based on it. Also
Lockyer was an astronomer, not a school-trained archaeologist,
which meant that he was an outsider and upstart. So his book
was disdainfully ignored. For years it was almost impossible
to find. Shortly after the war I came across a copy, and after
reading it I harassed some friends at MIT into reprinting it.
Lockyer was not mind-numbed by all of the Osirian mortuary
stuff that Plutarch imprinted on conventional Egyptology.
He understood the original, pre-dynastic Set/Horus dichotomy -
Set the celestial pole and/or the circumpolar stars, Horus the
Sun which "defeated" the night sky every dawn and was "defeated"
by it every evening. He knew that Egypt, as an agrarian
culture with a seasonal river, was highly attuned to
astronomical signals of the cycling of time.
Do you see the point here? Lockyer's god-system *worked*.
That is, his Egyptian gods did exactly what their priests
said they would, right on time, over and over again. This
wasn't one of those situations where you pray or sacrifice to
a god and nothing happens. It *worked*.
Lockyer also took the ponderous Osiris/Isis mythology and
resolved it as neatly as could be, without all the human
death-fetishism that conventional Egyptology insists upon:
"I have previously noted the symbolism of Sirius-Hathor as a
cow in a boat associated with the constellation of Orion. There
is a point connected with this which I did not then refer to, but
which is of extreme importance for a complete discussion of
the question now occupying us. We get associated with the
cow in the boat, Orion (Sah) as Horus, but in other inscriptions
we get Orion as a mummy that is to say, in the course of Egyptian
history the same constellation is symbolized as a rising sun at
one time and a setting sun at another. Now, that must have
been so if the Egyptian mythology were consistent and rested
on an astronomical basis, because Sah rose in the dawn in one
case and faded at dawn in the other. From the table giving a
generalized statement with regard to Osiris, similar to that
we have already considered for Isis, it looks as if the mythology
connected with Osiris is simply the mythology connected with
any celestial body becoming invisible. We have the sun setting,
the moon waning, a planet setting, stars setting, constellations
fading at dawn. We see, therefore, that the Egyptian mythology
was absolutely and completely consistent with the astronomical
conditions by which they were surrounded; that, although it
is wonderfully poetical, in no case is the poetry allowed to
interfere with the strictest and most accurate reference to the
astronomical phenomena which had to be dealt with."
The argument, then, for the use of "Isis" as a generic name is
greatly strengthened by the similar way in which the term
"Osiris", which is acknowledged to be a generic name, is employed.
LR: And the point of the Orion azimuth-channel in the Pyramid?
HJ: _The Orion Mystery_ assumes that the Pyramid was in
fact Khufu's tomb, and that his spirit expected to go to the stars
to merge with Osiris after his body's death, and that the Orion-
constellation represented Osiris. Presumably the southern air-
vent in the King's Chamber was to give Khufu a running start
in the right direction. The authors conveniently ignore the
northern, polar-stars-oriented vent, to be sure.
MA: You don't think there's anything to their theory?
HJ: It's absurd to consider the Pyramid a tomb. One look at its
internal design is enough to dispel that notion. The Egyptians
designed and decorated their tombs methodically and elaborately.
The coffer in the King's Chamber is an inch or so wider than the
passages to that part of the Pyramid. Nor does it have a lid.
And of course when Al Mamun's men got into the King's Chamber
for the first time, i.e. by boring through solid rock around the
sealed granite-plugged passages in 813 CE, there was nothing
there except the empty coffer. Makes no difference: Since then
conventional Egyptologists have been insisting that the
Pyramid was Khufu's tomb, because that's the only way they
can fit it into their equally-conventional image of Egypt.
LR: About those shafts in the King's Chamber, let me read you
something from _The Orion Mystery_:
"Badawy's architectural studies had shown that the ancient
Egyptians did not ventilate tombs ... Badawy pointed out:
'To ventilate the burial chamber of Cheops channels running
horizontally at the level of the ceiling would have been more
adequate than the inclined shafts ... One should add to this
inadequacy in the design all the constructional problems
involved in the building of the two inclined shafts through all
the courses, a process which could have been avoided by
building them through one horizontal course.'"
HJ: If the Egyptians didn't ventilate tombs, it stands to reason
that the Pyramid wasn't designed as a tomb, doesn't it? Why
provide *any* air-access to a sealed tomb? Also, as the descending,
ascending, and Grand Gallery passages clearly show, the
Pyramid-builders weren't in the least deterred by constructing
inclined passages. All of those could have been made level, or
stepped, if inclines presented a problem.
Incidentally you cannot look through either vent-shaft and see
the sky, Orion or otherwise, for the simple reason that the shafts
do not run in a straight line from the walls of the King's Chamber.
They both run horizontally through the chamber walls, only
then bend upwards. In daytime, and with all interior lights in the
Pyramid turned off, they *do* admit two faint beams of light,
however, but that's all Iím going to say about *that* for now.
X: In _Stargate_ the implication is the Great Pyramid was Fourth
Dynasty, i.e. Khufu. When do you think it was built?
HJ: According to the Arab historian Abu-Zeyd-el-Balkhy,
inscriptions on the now-destroyed exteriors of the Giza pyramids
give their time of construction as when Lyra was in the sign of
Cancer. That would have been about 73,000 years ago, in the
X: Well, what about that book they were using at Cheyenne - the
one that also got cameoed in _Stargate_?
MA: Hoffman's _Egypt Before the Pharaohs_ -
HJ: I know it well; I know Mike Hoffman. He and I used to go
drinking at Virginia when I was a Visiting Professor there
a few years back. Yeah, the book's sound as far as it goes, but
remember that it's based on what youíd call the "normal
range" of archaeological supporting data: geological digs,
climate calculations, pottery, tools, hut ruins, that sort of
thing. It found just what you would normally expect to find
in a mideast precivilization of that time period. Point is Hoffman
assumes, not unreasonably, that there was nothing else sitting
around the Nile while the Gerzean Egyptians were building
huts and carving flints - something like the Pyramid, for
instance. Hoffman has no way of knowing that it was *not*
there all the while, looming over the Gerzeans.
Hoffman brings out in his book that the hook we hang Egyptian
dynastic dating on, particularly the early dynasties, is a list
from Manetho, an Egyptian priest at Sebennytos in the Nile
Delta around 280 BCE. We have it today only in fragments,
but it's *still* the hook, so to speak. That's how we get the usual
30 dynasties, and conventional Egyptologists are more or less
happy with that.
What they're *not* so happy about is that Manetho's list goes on
quite a ways before Menes, before the accepted date of 3100 BCE
going backwards: 350 years Thinites; 1,790 years other Memphite
kings; 1,817 years other kings; 1,255 years "Heroes"; and before
that 13,900 years in which the _neteru_ - the "gods" - reigned
physically on Earth. That's where Manetho stops.
LR: But Egypt is full of other pyramids which have been reliably
dated to the Old Kingdom.
HJ: But not by any stretch of the same construction quality. Most
of them are just crumbling piles of rock. They could just as easily
be imitations of a pre-existing, mysterious, and impressive Great
X: At Cheyenne we began by using a computer-modeling program
to take the sky back to the coded references we were given to work
with. But the initial conclusion was that something was wrong
with the data, with the inscriptions, because the reconstructed
sky went back around 25,000 years.
HJ: According to Hoffman, you had just basic tool-making culture
at that time.
X: That thing at Cheyenne wasn't any piece of chipped flint!
LR: Was it like the Stargate? In the film, I mean.
MA: Actually we couldn't figure out *what* the hell it was. It
came from Egypt, but we weren't told exactly from where. It's
a mechanical device, moving parts of some sort, non-organic,
so it couldn't be carbon-dated; and X did in fact discover that
several of the symbols on it corresponded to the 25,000-year-old
sky; but that's where the project came to a halt. In fact the
25,000-figure was considered invalid somehow, because the
archaeological advisors of the project were quite certain that
Egyptian civilization only went back to 3100 BCE. So that sent
them off in other directions, and X went home and I was assigned
back to regular J2 duties. I thought the whole thing had been
dropped as a dead end. Looks like someone got the bright idea
to use it as the basis for a movie, including X's involvement -
though it's nice to see that you aren't marooned somewhere
around Orion, X!
X: Looked like fun in the film. Almost wish I were.
LR: The project was halted, you said, but the film implied that
the device was in fact a - a jumping device between Earth
and the Orion planet, and that evidence of an alien
masquerading as an Egyptian god showed up there.
X: My fault, probably. At Cheyenne I was going on about
some of the themes in my music, and we got into some
interesting bull sessions on all of that, and I guess someone
was making notes. Did you ever hear "The Wheel", "Point Zero",
some of the older stuff, as from _Bark_:
"Egyptian kings they sing of Gods and pyramids of stone,
And they left the deserts clean, and they left the deserts golden
And shining as a beacon for those who need a road
Into the day and through the night we go and find our way home ..."
... that sort of thing? Quite a lot of it, really.
MA: One thing in the film surprised me - why the alien chose to
impersonate Ra. Why not Set, who in the kind of lightweight
Egyptian mythology used in _Orion Mystery_, and the film, is
cast as the "evil god"? Not that I'm complaining. But why not Osiris,
who _Orion Mystery_ insists was associated with Orion? Ra was
the *Sun*-god, more specifically *Earth's* Sun-god, and as I
recall he was not particularly nasty.
LR: Could be because Ra was famous for being a "traveling" god -
in his barque across the heavens every day - which would have
supported this alien's use of his spaceship.
HJ: Also you said that the film dated this character to the
Fourth Dynasty. I don't know whether they got that technical
about it, but it wasn't until much later in dynastic history
that Osiris became anything more than a god of the dead,
and to begin with a minor one, for in the underworld he
was subordinate to Ra, or Auf, the "dead Sun", during the
hours of darkness.
LR: Weíre about out of time here. Any closing comments?
X: Iíd like to go back to Cheyenne and try that gadget out,
if thatís how it works.
MA: I'm rather fascinated to see that there's so much data
hiding behind the facade of the movie, even if some of
it's off in left field. Looks like at least some hard thinking
went into it, and possibly got derailed later in the editorial
process - for example, the need to turn it into a monster-
movie with a bad alien instead of portraying Ra as a more
benevolent type of superalien - Michael Rennie in a
HJ: Amazing the lengths some people will go to write a
crazy story about the Great Pyramid.
LR: Thank you all.
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