Pyramids, are designed and built to be very stable structures. They are first encountered in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC, known as ziggurats. Unfortunately, they were built of sun-dried mud bricks and so, over time have crumbled. These early pyramids were stepped with between two and seven tiers. Their function was ceremonial.
Pyramids around the World
Pyramidal structures are now to be found around the globe; whether this is a consequence of diffusion or independent design is uncertain, possibly both.
For Ignatius Donnelly, the pyramids of Egypt and Central America were the result of a shared heritage originating in Atlantis. However, the millennia that separate their construction in the two regions would seem to militate against this idea. The Mayan pyramid at Mirador in Northern Guatemala was thought to be the largest in the world, by volume, at 2.8 million cubic metres, however, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is 4.45 million cubic metres(au)(bq). This is now rivalled by the Mayan pyramid at Toniná, Chiapas(bd).. The great Giza pyramid is 2.5 million cubic metres in volume.
Even more spectacular was the 1996 discovery of pyramids on the southern Atlantic coast of Brazil dated as early as 3000 BC, predating the earliest Egyptian Pyramids by a few hundred years. However, two sites in Peru, Caral and Sechin Bajo, are claiming pyramid complexes with dates of 3500 BC(j). Very ancient pyramids have also been claimed for Crimea(af).
What is arguably the greatest concentration of pyramids in the world is to be found in the Lambayeque Valley of northern Peru, numbering 250, built of mud brick, and dated to circa 750-1100 AD. The late Philip Coppens referred to the valley in his book, The New Pyramid Age  and it was also the subject of a BBC documentary(an).
Apart from Meso-America, pyramids have also been discovered as far apart as the Canaries, Sicily, Sardinia and Mauritius(k) as well as Russia(dc) and China(cp). A website by Gabriele Lukacs, dedicated to possible European pyramids is now available(g). The remains of three pyramids have also been identified on the Greek Peloponnese, one of which has been dated to 2720 BC ± 580 years.
In 2005, an ongoing debate was ignited when the Bosnian-American ‘archaeologist’ Semir Osmanagic announced that he had identified a gigantic manmade pyramid beside Visoko, 30km north of Sarajevo. Highly publicised excavations began in 2006. Readers should be aware that Osmanagic has expressed  rather bizarre notions including a belief that the Maya were descendants of the Atlanteans who in turn arrived on Earth from the Pleiades! A French commentator, Douglas Moonstone, has a comparable belief, namely, that the Atlanteans came from the constellation of Orion and furthermore that the “Neanderthals fled their bases on another near planet, probably a planet of Sirius B and a planet of Alnitak, as we have seen in previous volumes, and they have saved Hopis, Sapiens, in a space station in orbit.”(cc)
On one side, we had Philip Coppens offering support for Osmanagic(cl), while on the other, an on-site investigation by Robert Schoch concluded that the Visoko ‘pyramid’ was probably not man-made!(cm).
Osmanagic updated his claims in December 2011(o) and as recently as August 2016, He was still offering a spirited defence of his views(bi).
Gigantic pyramids have also been proposed for Germany by K. Walter Haug(ab). and demonstrated on his heavily illustrated website(aj).
Maxim Yakovenko was the founder of the world-pyramids.com website(bf). in 2008. It has a range of interesting articles that relate to pyramids around the globe. Unfortunately, the news section does not appear to have been updated over the past two years.
A recent (2010) site, lists(h). the eight largest pyramids in the world. A wide range of free papers, in pdf format, relating to the Giza Pyramids is available online(l)..
Perhaps even more dramatic is a recent claim(q) of a pyramid older and larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza, known as Mount Sadahurip in Garut, West Java, Indonesia .
July 2012 saw Linda Moulton Howe publish(r) a two-part illustrated article about an anomalous feature in Alaska which has been identified as a buried pyramid larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza. This feature was first identified twenty years ago, but the story appears to have been suppressed, according to a retired U.S. Counter-intelligence officer who contacted Howe. A comparable claim has also been made for pyramids in Antarctica and later shown to be a hoax(w).
Now for some further light relief, earlier in 2012, a nonsensical report(s) of an underwater glass pyramid in the Bermuda Triangle emerged. I’m sure it will be soon followed by a sighting of Elvis creating crop circles in Antarctica.
In September 2013, it was reported(y) that “researchers have discovered an underwater pyramid 60 meters high with a 8000 meters square base near the Bank De João de Castro, between the islands of Terceira and São Miguel” in the Azores. Shortly afterwards the Portuguese Navy denied the existence of any such structure.(aa) This claim has now spawned its own website(ad).
Even more ridiculous was a report in the UK’s Daily Star which claimed that an underwater pyramid estimated to be between 3.5 and 11 miles across had been spotted on Google Earth, situated off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific(cd).
Finally, it appears that in order to satisfy the public interest in pyramids the meaning of the term itself has been extended to include a range of natural features as well as man-made structures. Robert Schoch is happy to see Newgrange as a type of pyramid, others see Silbury Hill as a pyramid(e). while some writers apply the term to mountains as is the case with Jeff Nisbet(f). who sees ‘pyramids’ in Scotland. Nisbet attempts to justify his view with a very unconvincing suggested link between ancient Egypt and Scotland incorporating freemasonry and Princess Scota(bh).. Similar stories are widespread in Ireland where Scota is allegedly buried in Kerry in Gleann Scoithin, now known as Foley’s Glen. Scotia was another ancient name for Ireland. Andrew Power expands on the Scota story in his Ireland: Land of the Pharaohs  as well as Ralph Ellis  and Loraine Evans .
This claim of an Egyptian link with Ireland has been recently repeated by Steve Preston in his Egyptians in Ireland . David Halpin, an Irish writer from Carlow, has also written a three-part paper on the connections between Egypt with Ireland(av).
Pyramids of Egypt
The actual number of Egyptian pyramids recorded is variously cited as 118 or as many as 138. However, the greatest number of pyramids is to be found in Sudan, with around twice as many as Egypt, but are far less spectacular(df).
August 2012 brought a report(u) that two possible new Egyptian pyramid complexes have been discovered using Google Earth. However, subsequent inspection on the ground showed them to be less interesting(v).
A site providing a wonderful 360º view of the Giza Plateau is now available(m). while another site offers a remarkable panoramic aerial view(t).
Another site offers a remarkable collection of old images of the pyramids dating back to the mid-nineteenth century(br).
Another matter that has caused continual controversy is the layout of the three Giza pyramids. Robert Bauval is probably best known as the original promoter of the Orion Correlation Theory, which claims that the layout of three principal Giza pyramids mirrors ‘Orion’s Belt’ in that constellation. This received widespread coverage when it was outlined in The Orion Mystery . written by Bauval and Adrian Gilbert and in Keeper of Genesis . written with Graham Hancock, published two years later. In fact, Bauval had first published his theory in 1989 in Discussions in Egyptology(cw).
While the theory of Bauval & Gilbert are very well known, a more elaborate claim was proposed by Scott Creighton in his The Giza Oracle , in which he suggests that 11 pyramids in the Giza complex along “with the Great Sphinx forms a grand ‘Precession Wheel’, indicating key dates from humankind’s remote past – and indeed, its future”!(cy).
Further alignment claims and debate relating to two shafts that some claim were originally directed at particular stars(cx).
Date of the Egyptian Pyramids
The Pyramids of Egyptare are generally accepted to have been constructed in the third millennium BC in the period 2700 – 2150 BC. However, a number of investigators have inferred a much greater antiquity for some of these remarkable structures particularly the Great Pyramid (G.P.) at Giza. They believe that by pushing back the date for the construction of the Great Pyramid and/or Sphinx endorses the possibility that Plato’s early date of 9600 BC for the Atlantean War is factual.
Hossam Aboulfotouh calculated the date of the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza as 3055 BC, which he claims was also the time of the Deluge or what he refers to as the “tsunami of the Mediterranean”.(da)(db)
Ralph Ellis, a British researcher, has investigated the erosion to be seen at Giza, Meidum and Dashur and concluded  that there is evidence for an 8000 BC or an even earlier date for the construction of these structures(a). Ellis also has an article on the internet outlining his evidence for an earlier date for the construction of the Great Pyramid. More recently Robert Schoch announced the discovery of evidence of erosion INSIDE the Great Pyramid suggesting that a more ancient core had been exposed to the elements for a long period before being built upon to give us the structure we have today.
Edgar Cayce ‘revealed’ in 1932 that the Great Pyramid was built over a hundred year period from 10,490 to 10,390 BC(ap). At the other end of the time spectrum, Huang Heqing, a professor in the department of art and archaeology at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, amused the world with the claim that the Egyptian pyramids were built in the 19th century, in fact he goes further and maintains “that all the achievements of ancient Western cultures were fabricated in the nineteenth century”, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus in Athens and the ruins of Persepolis in Iran(cu).
The late Joseph Jochmans related  how it was recorded that the outer casing stones showed water marks halfway up the height of the Pyramid before the Arabs removed them. Geologists have found evidence of a final catastrophic flooding event in Egypt circa 10,000 BC. Furthermore, radiocarbon dating of organic inclusions in a fourteen-foot layer of silt around the base of the Great Pyramid offered a date of around 9600 BC.
This suggested extended age for the pyramids has been incorporated into the argument to prove the possible existence of other advanced ancient civilisations that were concurrent with the 9600 BC date given by Solon for the antiquity of Atlantis.
Understandably, these revolutionary ideas have been met with fierce opposition by establishment archaeologists. This is a debate that will run for some time yet.
The earliest historical references to the pyramids can be found in early Egyptian and Greek documents(ch). However, the oldest known papyri, discovered at the Egyptian site of Wadi el-Jarf offer evidence supporting a date of about 2500 BC for the construction of the Great Pyramid, which reinforces conventional dating theories. One of the documents, written by Merer an overseer, records details of the construction of the final stages of the G.P.(ce). This, of course, seriously undermines the extended antiquity for the pyramids by proponents such as Graham Hancock.
Zecharia Sitchin, the controversial ‘alternative’ historian, entered the fray in 1980, with the claim that the only concrete evidence that the Great Pyramid had been built by Khufu, was an inscription forged by Colonel Richard Howard-Vyse(d). (see below). Philip Coppens has also written an article(cq). about Sitchin’s claim. The Howard-Vyse forgery debate has been stirred up again by researcher, Scott Creighton, who produced copies of Howard-Vyse’s papers to support the claim of fraud(ah). If true, this would lend some support to a redating of the structure.
2014 began with a report that two idiotic Germans, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, had chiselled off part of the ‘Vyse’ cartouche from inside the Great Pyramid, which led to an international incident. They claim that the objective of their foolhardy act was to demonstrate that the Pyramid is older than generally accepted and was in fact a remnant of the Atlantean empire(z).
At the opposite end of the speculation spectrum is a recent book by Emmet Sweeney, The Pyramid Age , in which he claims that the pyramids were in fact far more recent and bravely suggests a date of around 800 BC for their construction. In this regard it is to be recorded that the Bible makes not the vaguest reference to one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world. It has been erroneously stated that Herodotus, a prolific recorder of trivia and who claims to have travelled as far south as Elephantine, failed to mention the pyramids. This is not true, as can be seen in Book II of his Histories 124-134. However, it is possible that it was meant to say that Herodotus did not refer to the Sphinx! It has been claimed that he was describing the pyramids at Dashur and not Giza(ao)!
In May 2013, Peter James, a structural engineer, published a new theory on why the building of pyramids ceased(x).
The Pyramid Builders
For a long time it was thought that the pyramids had been built by slaves, possibly Israelite. Recent years has seen this idea debunked(at). and reinforced by papyri put on display for the first time in July 2016, which clearly indicate that the pyramid builders were paid and were not slaves (or extraterrestrials)(be).. A sober review of development of pyramid building and the technology involved was offered by Owen Jarus in June, 2016(bo).
Unfortunately. there are a number of commentators who have attributed the construction of the Great Pyramid to extraterrestrials, who cannot accept that the Egyptians built the pyramids, in desperation have interpreted the existence of the pyramids as ‘evidence’ of extraterrestrial visitations!(ae).
One such proponent is Peter Lemesurier who identifies the elohim of the Old Testament as the designers of the GP and that they came from the star Sirius . He claims that they left prophetic messages in the structure of the GP for humanity.
Many and varied are the claims regarding the pyramid builders and their methods, including that they were built by refugees from Atlantis(bl). . October 2017 had Gerry Cannon & Malcolm Hutton claim(bx). that the Great Pyramid was built by an advanced civilisation, which may have been Atlantis! Graham Hancock holds similar views.
Even more entertaining is a claim by two Irishmen, Francis J. and Francis P. Ward, that druids from Ireland, which they consider to have been Atlantis, built the pyramids at Giza!(bt).
The Great Pyramid Building Methods
The idea that a gently-sloping ramp was used has been a popular idea for a long time, but weaknesses in the concept were soon apparent. For example, the material required to build some of the proposed ramps would have been greater than the pyramid itself. Franz Löhner has developed what he calls a ‘rope roll’ to demonstrate that simple technology available to the Egyptians could have been used to lift the pyramid’s blocks into place. Löhner has worked in a quarry and consequently has an intimate knowledge of the practicalities involved. He has co-authored a book (German only) , with Dr. Heribert Illig which expands on his idea and has developed an interesting website(cg), in English and German, with further information.
The most persistent question relating to the pyramids and in fact all megalithic structures is “how did they manage to build them using such large heavy rocks and blocks”? Many ingenious solutions are on offer but perhaps the most remarkable is that proposed by W. T. Wallington who has demonstrated(n) that using basic materials, which were available to the Egyptians, one individual can manipulate a 4500kg stone block. His website includes a remarkable video clip of his method. A review(bu) of this video is worth a read. More recently a collaboration between Matter Design and CEMEX Global R&D has demonstrated that irregularly shaped cement objects weighing many tons can be moved easily by hand, suggesting that the manpower required to build many ancient monuments was far less than is generally assumed today. The conclusion being that technique is the key to how many of the ‘impossible’ structures of the past were constructed(ci). Ashley Cowie has written an article in which he looks at how these techniques may have been applied to the construction of the megalithic walls of Cuzco in Peru, the ancient capital of the Inca(cj). Cowie also holds that a huge earthquake caused a major change in Inca construction methods(ck).
How the pyramids were built is still uncertain with a range ingenious theories on offer. At first it was thought that a huge ramp was used, until it was realised that such a ramp with the required gentle incline would require a greater volume of material than the Great Pyramid itself! Two suggestions that still have considerable support are that (A) many of the stone blocks were ‘cast’ in situ as proposed by Joseph Davidovits(bm). and (B) that an internal ramp within the pyramid was used as claimed by Jean-Pierre Houdin(bn).
In 2006, Dr. Michel Barsoum of Drexel University of Philadelphia claimed to have proof that the Egyptians had used a lime-based cement in the building of the pyramids(cz).
What may be relevant was what was found at Giza(bk) and described as ‘melted limestone’, which led Robert Schoch to consider it the result of ‘a plasma event’.
Margaret Morris offers a comprehensive account of the features of the Great Pyramid and possible construction methods on her website(bb) and in three books . Morris is a supporter of Joseph Davidovits who proposed the controversial idea that the building blocks of the Pyramid were cast in situ.
In 2007, petrographer, Dipayan Jana, refuted Davidovits theory and as far as I’m aware, no rebuttal has been forthcoming from either Davidovits or Morris. Later in 2008, Ioannis Liritzis and his team also challenged the theory of Davidovits, when they pointed out that the material used to build Egypt’s most famous monuments “contain hundreds of thousands of marine fossils” that are distributed throughout the rock in a manner compatible with natural rock(dd).
However, it struck me that if Davidovits was correct, this ‘rock’ might instead be some of his liquid geopolymer that had been spilt and hardened in the sun!
In 2019, Fehmi Krasniqi produced a three and a half hour video(cv) on the building of the Egyptian pyramids, primarily based on Davidovits’ claim that the Egyptians used a form of concrete to make the building blocks in situ. However, Krasniqi ventures beyond Egypt, suggesting that the ancient Egyptians travelled to America, stopping off for supplies in Atlantis, now the Azores.
A 2014 study(ag) revealed that the Egyptians were able to move the pyramid building blocks over wet sand. “By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed.” This is comparable with the documented method employed by the Chinese to transport 200/300-ton blocks used in the construction of their ‘Forbidden City’(ai). In October 2018 it was revealed that the remains of a ramp flanked by two staircases with postholes was discovered at an ancient quarry at Hatnub in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. “Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 percent or more.”(cf). While this may explain how blocks could have been moved, with relative ease, to pyramid building sites, it does not tell us how the pyramids were actually constructed.
Great Pyramid’s Function
Edward Malkowski supports(ax) the ideas of Edward Kunkel(ay) and John Cadman(az), who believed that the Great Pyramid was designed to function as a water pump. However, Malkowski goes further, suggesting that this pump was used to generate subtle electrical fields that were used to assist plant growth, which seems unnecessary, considering the fertility of the Nile Valley renewed naturally by the annual flooding of the river.
Steven Myers has written two books(ba) on the subject of ancient Egyptian hydraulics.
In 2009, Dean Talboys published his theory(co). which suggests that the remarkable internal features of the GP, including the King’s Chamber and the Grand Gallery were part of a device which used sea water to generate enough torque to drive an electric dynamo. Talboys suddenly ends his dissertation with the unexpected admission that “we are still left with the problem of what to do with the electricity it generates we could, at least, be a little closer to understanding why someone went to all that trouble”!
Many and varied are the theories that have been put forward regarding the intended function of the Great Pyramid. A most recent (Jan.2021) has been offered by Konstantin Borisov, who suggested that the purpose of the Great Pyramid of Giza was to emit free electrons to the Ionosphere, with the objective of creating light on the planet! This capability was enhanced by Giza’s location near the maximum geographical center of Earth and the use of nummulitic limestone in the construction of the Great Pyramid! Further details are revealed in an article published on the Ancient Origins website(ct).
2014 also saw the publication of Pyramid Gravity Force(ac) by John Shaughnessy in which he claims that “The pyramids were built to prevent and/or control tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity, tidal waves, major earth quakes, land movements and the magnetic field movements on Earth.” I suggest that all the Amazon reviews are read before purchasing.
It was recently revealed(ar). that, Ben Carson, a former Republican candidate for the US presidency, once proposed to an assembly of students at Andrews University that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain! This idea has been traced back to the sixth century, when there was a belief that the pyramids had been the granaries of Joseph, as Julius Honorius (Cosmographia, c. 500 CE), Antoninus of Piacenza (Itinerary 43, c. 570 CE), and Geoffrey of Tours (History of the Franks 1.10, 594 CE), among others, all testify! This theory was later popularized by works such as ‘The Book of John Mandeville’, a hugely popular 14th century travelogue.”(bs).
Perfection of the Great Pyramid!
Among the numerous mysteries related to the Great Pyramid is the fact that each side of the structure is actually slightly concave, making it the only known eight-sided pyramid (pedants would probably claim nine sides, including the base). This feature was first photographed in 1940(al). Jean-Paul Bauval has written a paper on this concavity, arguing that it was a design feature and not a construction error. He goes further and proposes “that the geometry generated by the concavity on the overall shape of the monument shows a clear relationship, whether intended or by accident, between the Egyptian Royal Cubit (RC) to the meter unit (m) . Finally, this geometrical design has the peculiarity of creating a ‘virtual space’ at the top of the monument on which might have been placed a spherical object”(cr).
The assumed accuracy of the orientation and dimensions of the Great Pyramid was recently called into question by Mark Lehner and Glen Dash(bj).
Apart from the disputed question of age of the Great Pyramid, its very structure has prompted its own share of debate with persistent claims that its location, dimensions and orientation have significance in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and geography. Lists of these connections are available online(p).
A June 2016 report revealed(bc). that the builders of the Great Pyramid had made a very minor miscalculation resulting in the west side being around 5 inches longer than the east side. The research team, led by Glen Dash and Mark Lehner, also noted that the pyramid is not oriented as precisely with the cardinal points as we have been led to believe since “The pyramid’s north-south axis (or meridian) runs 3 minutes 54 seconds west of due north while its east-west axis runs 3 minutes 51 seconds north of due east, he told Live Science. The east-west axis also runs through the center of a temple built on the east side of the pyramid. These measurements mean that the Great Pyramid is oriented just slightly away from the cardinal directions, the degree of error from north-south and east-west being almost the same.” However, these very minor defects cannot detract in any way from the magnificence of the structure constructed so long ago.
In a 2018 paper(ca), Glen Dash returned to the very slight misalignment of the Great Pyramid with the cardinal points.“The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree.” Dash claims that the engineers who designed the plans for the Great Pyramid have used the fall equinox to seamlessly align this pyramid to the cardinal points. “He also claims that all three major Giza pyramids exhibit the same type of error in that they are rotated slightly counter-clockwise from the cardinal points.”
November 2017 began with an exciting claim published in Nature magazine(bv). that a huge cavity had been identified above the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid of Giza. This discovery was made using non-invasive technology, which suggests that physical verification will require some degree of interference with the structure of the pyramid, which may not be allowed by the Egyptian authorities. The initial announcement was quickly followed by a refutation of the claim of a void over the Grand Gallery by Zahi Hawass(bw). Nevertheless, further investigation now (2019) seems to have confirmed the existence of this void(cn).
Not long after, it was reported in the UK’s Daily Mail that an Italian archaeoastronomer, Giulio Magli, believes that the void at the center of the Great Pyramid houses a throne made from meteorites, used to help the pharaoh in the afterlife(bz). Magli has previously received public notice with a paper which explored the possibility that Göbekli Tepe had been constructed to “celebrate and successively follow the appearance of a new, extremely brilliant star in the southern skies: Sirius.”(ca).
In 2020, some notes of Isaac Newton’s from the 1680’s were auctioned, which revealed Newton’s interest in the pyramids. It seems that “Newton was trying to uncover the unit of measurement used by those constructing the pyramids. He thought it was likely that the ancient Egyptians had been able to measure the Earth and that, by unlocking the cubit of the Great Pyramid, he too would be able to measure the circumference of the Earth.” (cs).
The pseudoscience of pyramidology took off in the 19th century, with a range of outlandish claims(aq), based on external and/or internal dimensions of the Great Pyramid, supporting anything from the British Israelites or the early Jehovah’s Witnesses, to being a source of divine prophecy!
In the 20th century, Adam Rutherford, a British Israelite, founded The Institute of Pyrmidology in 1940. Between 1957 and 1974, Rutherford published a set of four books on the subject, although a fifth volume was planned . When Adam died, his son James took over the Institute, but following his death in a car accident the Institute ended.
Nevertheless, pyramidology was given a new twist in November 2015 when a Spanish architect, Miquel Pérez-Sánchez, added the old alphanumeric system of gematria to the mix and claimed that he had identified the name ‘Atlantis’ when ‘translating’ some of the dimensions in the structure of the Great Pyramid(by). Scott Onstott is also a modern advocate of the existence of Mathematical Encoding in the Great Pyramid.(as)
For those interested in the possible significance of numbers and the Great Pyramid, there are three related papers available on Keith M. Hunter’s website(aw).
Ralph Ellis, mentioned above, is a controversial English revisionist of biblical and ancient Egyptian history, who bravely argues(b) that Mount Sinai, of Ten Commandments fame, was in fact the Great Pyramid of Giza ! John Taylor (1781-1864) claimed in 1859 that Noah was the builder of the Great Pyramid . Even more imaginative was the claim by C.E. Getsinger in the 1920’s that Noah’s Ark was in fact the Great Pyramid(bp)!
(b) Archive 2926
(d) Archive 2494
(j) Archive 2138
(p) Archive 3620
(ab) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2013HYPERLINK “http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2013&id=375″&HYPERLINK “http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2013&id=375″id=375
(af) Archive 3619
(ah) Archive 2806
(am) See: Archive 2564
(ao) See: Archive 2818
(bb) Archive 3057
(bn) Archive 3631
(bp)The Thomson Review, Thomson, Illinois, July 19th, 1922 – p.3
(bx) Archive 3618
(cw) Discussions in Egyptology, volume 13, 1989, pp. 7-18
Telchines is the name given to a group of legendary people associated with both Rhodes and Crete. However, the German writer, Specht Heidrich, maintains that the early Greeks believed the Telchines to have been a real people. In a 2004 book he describes them as an evil seafaring people who attacked the Greeks and were later destroyed by a flood. Heidrich placed Atlantis on Crete and then identified the Telchines as Atlanteans. Emmet Sweeney thought[700.193] that if Heidrich is correct his Telchine attack may be reflected in the story of Eumolpus, who attacked Athens during the reign of Erechtheus.
Emmet John Sweeney is a Scottish historian, who graduated from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. He has followed the lead of Immanuel Velikovsky and produced a number of books arguing for a radical revision of the generally accepted chronologies of the early civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean.
He controversially claims that “all the civilisations on both sides of the Atlantic arose more or less simultaneously, sometime between 1100 and 1200 BC” [700.202]. He further claims that Atlantis was destroyed around 800 BC! This date is significant as it coincides with an event that led to devastation in Southern Germany and the Alps involving huge inundations and tilting of lake shorelines which could only be brought about by a very powerful seismic upheaval(b).
He has also tackled the Arthurian legend, regarding which he considers Stonehenge to have been Arthur’s ‘round table’. The blurb for his 2001 book Arthur and Stonehenge goes further stating that “As for Arthur himself, he was the primitive bear-god “Artos”, the Celtic version of Hercules. Originally portrayed with a bear-skin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great oaken club, he became the prototype of the Greek Hercules when Hellenic traders, braving the wild waters of the Atlantic in search of tin, heard his story from the Britons.”
Sweeney has now ventured beyond his comfort zone and devoted his talents to the Atlantis question. He argues for the existence of a large island in the Atlantic, whose remnants today are Azores. He sees this island as a stepping-stone to the Americas, that is necessary to explain the evidence of transatlantic contacts in the very distant past. He also takes the opportunity to highlight weaknesses in radiocarbon dating (p218).
The Washington Times, which is owned by the ‘Moonies’, gave his book a favourable review(a)! The reviewer, Martin Sieff, a native of Belfast and Velikovskian catastrophist, is accused by Jason Colavito of using his critique to promote Sweeney more as a catastrophist rather than as an atlantologist and does so without revealing Sieff’s own catastrophist
A more critical review of his work can also be found elsewhere on the Internet(c).
(b) H. Gams and R. Nordhagen, Mitteil. der Geograph. Ges. in Munchen, XVI, H. 2 (1923), pp. 13-348. R. Sernander, ‘Klimaverschlechterung, Postglaciale’ in Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte, VII (1926); O. Paret, Das Neue Bild der Vorgeschuchte (1948), p.44.
Heracles (Herakles) was a Greek mythical hero(c), later known to the Romans as Hercules.He is one of a number of mythical heroes who were reportedly abandoned as babies(f). He has also been identified with biblical Samson(a), the Phoenician Melqart and the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh(b). Dos Santos has decided that Hercules was originally the Hindu hero Vishnu[320.129], quoting Megasthenes (350-290 BC), the Greek geographer, in support of his contention. Others have referred to Megasthenes identifying Hercules with Krishna(e)(g).
He is usually portrayed as brandishing a club and wearing a lion’s head as a helmet, probably because he, like Samson, reputedly unarmed, overcame lions and since lions were not part of the fauna of ancient Greece it reasonable to assume that at least this part of the tale had an Asian or African origin, but the similarities don’t end there(a).
Euhemerists has suggested that he was a real historical figure, possibly a former king of Argos.
A more controversial suggestion has been made by Emmet J. Sweeney, in his 2001 book, Arthur and Stonehenge, in which the blurb for the book claims that “Arthur himself, he was the primitive bear-god “Artos”, the Celtic version of Hercules. Originally portrayed with a bear-skin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great oaken club, he became the prototype of the Greek Hercules when Hellenic traders, braving the wild waters of the Atlantic in search of tin, heard his story from the Britons.” However, Sweeney also identifies Moses “as an alter ego of Hercules.” in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science[700.198].
There appears to have been a cult of Heracles that may have extended as far as Britain, where the Cerne Abbas chalk figure is sometimes claimed to represent him(d).
The term ‘Pillars of Heracles’ was used by the ancient Greeks to define the outer reaches of their limited seagoing range. This changed over time as their nautical capabilities improved. Some of the earlier ‘Pillars’ were located at the entrance to the Black Sea and the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Messina. Later the term was applied exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar.
(a) https://www.aeonjournal.com/articles/samson/samson.html (offline Jan. 2018) See Archive 3444
The Flora and Fauna of Atlantis is mentioned by Plato in Critias;
“Besides all this, the earth bore freely all the aromatic substances it bears today, roots, herbs, bushes and gums exuded by flowers or fruit. There were cultivated crops, cereals which provide our staple diet. And pulse (to use its generic name) which we need in addition to feed us; there were the fruits of trees, hard to store but providing the drink and food and oil which gives us pleasure and relaxation and which we serve after supper as a welcome refreshment to the weary when appetite is satisfied – all these were produced by that sacred island, then still beneath the sun, in wonderful quality and profusion.” (115a-b)
The lack of sufficient detail in the extract from Critias has led to a variety of interpretations. Jürgen Spanuth in support of his North Sea location for Atlantis has claimed[015.68] that during the Bronze Age the snow line in that region was higher than at any other time since the last Ice Age at 1,900 metres. He claims that as a result, grapes and wheat were cultivated there during that period.
The existence of the same species plants and animals on both sides of the Atlantic has been noted for some time, so when the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) was discovered in the 19th century and subsequently combined with the realisation that sea levels had dropped during the last Ice Age, it was thought that a stepping-stone/s, if not an actual landbridge, between the continents had been identified. This idea was popular with many geologists and botanists at the beginning of the 20th century, such R.F. Scharff and H.E. Forrest, both of whom also saw the MAR as the location of Atlantis, an idea that still persists today. Emmet Sweeney is a modern writer who also sees the earlier exposed MAR as an explanation for the shared transatlantic biota and is happy to identify the Azores as the last remnants of Atlantis.
Andrew Collins has attempted to squeeze a reference to coconuts out of this text to support his Caribbean location for Atlantis. However, coconuts were not introduced into that region until colonial times(c). Ivar Zapp & George Erikson, driven by similar motivations had made the same claim earlier. My reading of the text is that Plato is describing food with which he is personally familiar.
Mary Settegast points out that around 7300 BC there is evidence of crop rotation including cereals at the Tell Aswad site in Syria.
The olive tree thrives best in the regions with a Mediterranean climate. Olive trees are mainly found between 25° and 45° N. latitude and, as for France, only in the Mediterranean area.
Ignatius Donnelly devoted Chapter VI(a) of his Atlantis tome to a review of the Atlantean flora and fauna. The print media at the start of the 20th century kept the general public aware of these theories(b).
The Berbers of North Africa, sometimes referred to as Amazigh, are blond and blue-eyed where they have not interbred with the Arab population.
They are genetically related to the Saami people of northern Scandinavia according to mtDNA studies(g) published in the American Journal of Human Genetics in 2005. It is frequently mentioned that the Berbers refer to a rich land called Attala situated in the west. The Berbers are probably related to the Guanches of the Canary Islands who were also blond with blue/grey eyes. Although the Spanish virtually wiped out the Guanches, there are still native tall blond blue-eyed individuals to be seen in the Canaries.
Genetic studies in 2009 offered evidence that the first inhabitants of the Canaries were Berbers(a). In 2017, additional investigation offered further confirmation of this relationship, published in a report in the October edition of Current Biology(h) and expanded on in an article on the Ancient Origins website by Alicia McDermott(i) .
The Berbers also constructed pyramidal structures as tombs or temples such as that at Madghacen in Algeria(e).
Recently Ulrich Hofmann has offered evidence that the predecessors of the Berbers were the people of Atlantis. He identifies these Atlanteans with the Temehu and Tehenu of ancient Libya, recorded in the ancient inscriptions of Egypt. Emmet Sweeney follows a similar line claiming[700.36] that “if we seek the modern descendants of the Atlanteans, we must search among the Berbers”.
David Eccott, a British advocate of very early pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic contacts, has a paper on Andrew Collins’ website in which among others, he claims that Berber seafarers reached the Americas and that rock art in Utah can be attributed to them(j).
The difficulties attached to tracing ancient ‘Libyans’ are outlined in a paper, What Happened to the Ancient Libyans, by Richard L. Smith (1945- ). This essay can be downloaded as a pdf file(b) and is highly recommended as it gives additional insights into the credibility of many of the classical writers frequently quoted in connection with the Atlantis story.
Following the 2011 fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, the Berbers there, who were particularly repressed, have again begun to assert their right to greater cultural expression, considering themselves to be the original Libyans(c). However, a report from Reuters dated 18/10/12(d) tells of the destruction of an 8,000-year-old petroglyph by Islamic extremists in an Amazigh region of Morocco. This is the latest example of efforts by the Islamic Salafists to destroy evidence of pre-Islamic culture.
Bob Idjennaden and Mebarek Taklit have written of the prominent part played by berbers in the shifting alliances that constituted the ‘Sea Peoples’, who attacked Egypt at least twice during the 2nd millennium BC.
*(f) See: Archive 3608*
Amazons is the name used by classical writers(k) to identify two matriarchal nations living near the Black Sea and in ancient Libya, but at apparently different periods. An extensive website on the subject associates the Amazons with three locations; Lake Tritonis(j) , the Greek island of Lemnos(i) and the River Thermodon, now known as Terme Çay, in northern Turkey(h).
Accounts relating to these remote times are understandably vague but one tale describes the Libyan Amazons as waging war against the Atlanteans, a race who lived in a prosperous country with great cities.
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the Berbers, also known as Amazigh in North-West Africa have a matriarchal culture. The possibility of an etymological connection between Amazon and Amazigh was suggested by Guy C. Rothery (1863-1940) in his 1910 book, The Amazons , and recently endorsed by Emmet Sweeney in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science. In 1912, Florence Mary Bennett published Religious Cults Associated with the Amazons, which has been republished in recent years.
Another matriarchal society in the same region has also been suggested for the Maltese Islands(h).
Sir John Chardin (1643-1713) a French-born traveller and merchant reported that a tribe of Amazons still existed in the Caucasus in the 17th century(d).
Although the idea may be seen as fanciful, recent archaeological discoveries have provided evidence of female warriors in ancient times in parts of the former Soviet Union. The archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball has written of her investigations into the subject. Peter James offers a solution to the existence of two locations for the Amazons. He believes that the original Black Sea location is correct and that the transference of the story to North Africa was the result of the ‘libyanising’ intent of Dionysus of Miletus, who was later quoted by Diodorus Siculus in his account(f) of the Amazons.
. James offers this explanation as part of a larger relocation of mythologies to more westerly locations. Other interesting views of the Amazon mystery can be found on a number of websites(a)(b).
Lewis Spence advanced the imaginative view [259.49] that the Amazons were not women at all, but men whose appearance was considered effeminate by some commentators. A more rational explanation on offer is that the males of some peoples had little facial hair or shaved (such as the Hittites) and were possibly described by their more hirsute enemies as ‘women’.
The popular idea that the Amazons were single-breasted, man-hating warriors has recently been comprehensively debunked by Adrienne Mayor in her latest book, The Amazons .
>Even more eyebrow-raising is the suggestion that Amazon warriors existed in South America based on 16th century reports and modern research(c). Columbus, in a 1493 letter to Luis de Sant’angel, refers to an island named Matininó, which was inhabited only by women(m), armed with bows and arrows. Hernán Cortés also filed a similar report.<
The Smithsonian magazine published a useful overview(e) of the history of the Amazon story in the April 2004 edition and in September 2011 revealed the story of the little-known female warriors of Benin (formerly Dahomey), numbered in their thousands, who were active during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The BBC published an article in August 2018 on their history and their modern day descendants(l) .
Radiocarbon Dating was developed by a team led by Willard F. Libby (1908-1980) just after World War II and won him a Nobel Prize for the work. However, in his acceptance speech Libby generously acknowledged the contribution made by the earlier work of Serge Korff (1906-1989).
Radiocarbon Dating is based on the fact that when organisms die the amount of Carbon-14 in the remains decay at a fixed rate. Although initially hailed as a definitive dating method for organic remains, it soon became obvious that it was not quite as reliable a tool as initially thought, although still widely used.
Originally a Carbon-14 half-life of 5568±30 years was used and is known as the Libby half-life. Later this was revised to 5730±40 years and is known as the Cambridge half-life. The initial theory was based on the assumption that Carbon-14 was being produced at a constant rate. However, this constancy has been questioned, as it can vary as a result of changes in the earth’s magnetic field. The intervention of man in the form of atomic bomb tests briefly doubled the amount of Carbon-14 produced(I). Local events can also have a dramatic effect on measurements; for example, the Tunguska explosion left the soil there so enriched with Carbon-14 that it gives a date in the future (1)! Emilio Spedicato has also pointed out that Carbon-14 can be created in the atmosphere by any cometary or asteroidal impact and so alter the assumed constant ratio of C12 to C14.
Immanuel Velikovsky offered the following valuable observation(j) “as the method was refined, it started to show rather regular anomalies. First, it was noticed that, when radiocarbon dated, wood grown in the 20th century appears more ancient than wood grown in the 19th century. Suess explained the phenomenon by the fact that the increased industrial use of fossil carbon in coal and in oil changed the ratio between the dead carbon C12 and the C14 (radiocarbon) in the atmosphere and therefore also in the biosphere. In centuries to come a body of a man or animal who lived and died in the 20th century would appear paradoxically of greater age since death than the body of a man or animal of the 19th century, and if the process of industrial use of fossil, therefore dead, carbon continues to increase, as it is expected will be the case, the paradox will continue into the forthcoming centuries.”
Graham Phillips mentions that ‘recent evidence suggests that that the level of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere may have decreased permanently around 3,500 years ago due to changes in the earth’s magnetic field.’ This has resulted in dates around that period being up to 500 year out. Calibration figures are now available to take account of some of these deviations based on data from dendrochronology, ice and sediment cores and coral samples. Further refinements are not to be ruled out.
These weaknesses in radiocarbon dating have been seized upon by some fundamentalist Christian groups determined to justify their ‘young earth’ beliefs(d). However, attacks on the basic concepts underlying radiocarbon dating have been refuted by its supporters(e).
In 774/5 AD an increase of 1.2% of Carbon14 was detected through tree ring studies(c). This is thought to be the result of an external event such as a supernova or solar flare. Since many other episodes of a lesser or greater intensity have probably occurred, a growing shadow is being cast over the reliability of radiocarbon dating that may only be dissipated by further studies. Clearly, further complex recalibration is not to be ruled out, as it is highly unlikely that this eight century event was the only such occurrence.
A recent report(h) has drawn attention to the danger of using fossil fuels, as it pumps a type of carbon into the atmosphere that confuses the dating technique. Scientists say that by 2050, new clothes could have the same radiocarbon date as items 1,000 years old!
Radiocarbon dating is only useful up to a maximum of around 50,000 years. In February 2010, researchers at Queens University Belfast announced a new calibration curve that extends back over the 50 millennia. The production of this calibration curve is the result of 30 years research into the variations in atmospheric Carbon 14 caused by solar activity, the earth’s magnetic field and the oceans. Other radiometric dating methods are now available to deal with dates beyond this limit.
2010 also saw another important refinement of radiocarbon dating with the development of a ‘non-destructive carbon dating’ method which will enable the dating of very delicate, rare or highly valuable artefacts, without having to destroy any samples from them, as is required at present(a).
One strong dissenting voice was that of archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, former Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities who said “Carbon-14 dating has a margin of error of 100 years. In order to date Egyptian dynasties, we need to have specific dates; you cannot use carbon dating,” Hawass explained further to Al-Masry Al-Youm(s), that “this technique shouldn’t be used at all in making changes to the chronology of the ancient Egypt, not even as a helpful addition.” Incidentally, in April 2015, a tempermental Hawass walked out of a debate with Graham Hancock over the inclusion of an image of Robert Bauval in Hancock’s presentation(g).
Emmet Sweeney tells a disturbing story of how some establishments have treated inconvenient C14 results, recounting[700.221] “the fate of samples from the tomb of Tutankhamun subjected by the British Museum to radiocarbon testing. The samples, consisting of fibers of a reed mat and a palm kernel, produced dates of 844BC and 899BC respectively. These were broadly in line with the date for Tutankhamun predicted by Velikovsky, but roughly 500 years too recent for textbook chronology. In spite of assurances given to Velikovsky that the results would be published, they never saw the light of day.” [758.xvi]
In Forgotten Civilization and his earlier Pyramid Quest, Robert Schoch has drawn attention to a number of difficulties that have arisen with radiocarbon dating and the implications for Egyptology. A warning about future difficulties with the reliability of radiocarbon dating has been issued by Heather Graven, a climate-physics researcher at Imperial College London. She has found that the rate of fossil-fuel emissions is skewing the carbon ratios used to determine an object’s age. She estimates that by 2050 atmospheric carbon dioxide will make new organic material appear to be 1,000 years old(2). Graham Hancock has also expressed reservations regarding the use of radiocarbon dating, urging both caution and open-mindedness(m).
An even more jaundiced view of current dating difficulties is expressed(l) by Jonathan Gray.
One of these, namely, the potassium/argon method has been claimed by writers such as Richard Milton to have its own inherent problems and must be treated with caution. It appears that although dating methods have advanced greatly further improvements can be expected.
The latest refinement of radiocarbon dating techniques has shortened the time taken from six days to two and additionally, now allows on-site testing(f).
The Malagabay website(n) posted a series of blogs through April 2017 under the heading of ‘Deranged Dating’ highlighting weaknesses in radiocarbon dating!
There is now a valuable list of papers(o), with links, devoted to the many problems that have gradually emerged in relation to radiocarbon dating. This just part of the ‘A New Chronology’ website(p).
June 2018 saw a report issued from Cornell University that highlighted some inaccuracies that have been found in dates relating to the southern Levant region, which includes parts of Jordan, Israel and Egypt.Archaeologist Sturt Manning and his colleagues “have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time, affecting frequently cited standards used in archaeological and historical research.” (q)(t)
Currently, standard calibration curves assume that at any given time radiocarbon levels are similar and stable everywhere across each hemisphere. It seems therefore that the calibration of radiocarbon dates will have to take regional factors into consideration in future. In March 2020 a further study(r) from Cornell confirmed the value of regional calibration, which can now be applied to contentious issues such as the date of Tutankhamun’s death and the eruption of Thera (Santorini).
(1) New Scientist (7/9/02, p.14)
(2) Fortean Times (FT340) May 2016, p.16