Anomalies of Ancient Egypt
A list of anomalous artifacts and sites provide tantalizing clues into a mythic prehistoric era of Ancient Egypt, known as Zep Tepi to the Egyptians.
Earliest Source: The Palermo Stone
The Palermo stone is perhaps the oldest example of the record of a mythical King's list, which details mythic Kings alongside real historical ones of later dynasties. The stone is dated to the end of the 5th dynasty. Unfortunately, it provides some of the least information, over 5 fragments of the stone exist in 5 different museums around the world, and there is still believed to be quite a few more fragmentary pieces to discover. If archaeologists were able to uncover more, one of the earliest documents of kinship could be recovered, providing the best and most accurate early record for a much earlier phase in Egyptian history.
Artifact evidence for the earliest depictions of Egyptians myths is seen on Predynastic wares, where the representation of a snake god, thought to be Apep, is seen battling a Sun deity, probably Ra on earliest Naqada I culture pottery dated to 4400 BC. The Zep Tepi myths of the Ptolemaic Egyptians detail three main battles between the gods in this early golden age, where Apep fought Ra as a Snake, and Horus later against Set. On a symbolic level the conflict is thought to represent armed contests between the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom, battles which may stretch far back into archaic Egyptian prehistory.
The seemingly "absent and invisible" archaeological record of predynastic Egypt seems particularly misleading and also continues to baffle scientists to the present day concerning a much earlier reconstructed chronology. According to anthropologist Karl W. Butzer in a 1965 article in the journal "Current Anthropology," the absence is certainly not indicative of a wholesale occupational abandonment of prehistoric Egypt. The most important settlements probably lay situated on a much lower floodplain during 8000 to 5000 BC, and such settlements now lie buried under more recent deposits of alluvium. Other Egyptologists are at pains to point out also that it seems highly improbably that during a period when both lands to the east and west of Egypt undertook serious advances in population and cultural development, that the most fertile River Valley in Northern Africa would be uninhabited. Those cultures that do then show up c. 5000 BC, the Faiyum and Merimde cultures in the north, appear backward and not what one would expect of the times. Several archaeologists now suspect that both probably only corresponded to "marginal settlements" populated by semi-nomadic Bedouins, and did not represent the true level of advancement of the 5th millenium in Egypt.
The Osireion is one of the most intriguing monuments in Egypt. The structure lies at the end of Seti I large temple devoted to Osiris at Abydos, a city said to be the final resting place of Osiris himself. To many scholars, it is Seti, the Pharaoh of the New Kindgom c.1300BC, who built the Osireion.
This does not include the opinions of all archaeologists on the site however.
Osireion Complex at Abydos
A Monument "Out of Place"
The majority of the finely dressed blocks of limestone that make up the Osireion are completely bare, the structure basically seeming to function as some sort of "reservoir" for Nile flooding, over 40 feet below the ground; it was uncovered by Flinders Petrie and Margaret Murray under tons of sand in 1902-1903. Originally, in their detailed report of the excavation, they concluded that the Osireion had been built much earlier than Seti I, noting the Osireion's similar bare stone plinths to the limestone blocks at the Valley Temple of the Sphinx at Giza. Having found simple, and crude inscriptions of Seti on some of the Osireion's outer most courses, other archaeologists who were able to succeed Petrie and Murray due to available funding, proceeded to date it to the New Kingdom. In history books, the affiliation of its construction is firmly attested to Seti and no other.
To Flinders and Margaret, the deciding factor to date the structure were the styles of architecture and construction methods, not whose name was on it. An ostracon, a piece of potsherd, was found at the entrance, reading, "Seti is serviceable to Osiris."
Seti's Temple at Abydos (Osireion in bottom left corner)
Reclaimed Posterity from the First Time
What the inscription indicates is that Seti instead, refurbished the structure rather than built it from scratch, a practice known to be common among posterity seekers of Egypt attempting to link themselves to greater antiquity. Also, given the lack of writings on the structure's stones, something wholly out of place for a New Kingdom structure, and a depth over 40 feet below ground on a totally separate level than Seti's Temple, suggests a date not in conjuction with Seti, but that of the mythical "First time" called Zep Tepi among the Egyptians, ruled by Osiris.
Geological evidence at the monument also suggest greater antiquity. Impacted layers of Nile silts occur well above the Osireion, layers which piled up, dated by organic materials, to a time when the Nile flooded much higher than those in dynastic times, c.14,000-12,000BC.
The Great Sphinx: Lion Cult of the Ice Age?
The Sphinx at the mouth of the Delta, shows signs of earlier antiquity, the stones of its construction seeming to be eroded by copious Ice Age rainfall. Whatever early culture that shaped its original form, may have shared a connection with the Neteru "Venerables of the North" and "Venerables of Memphis" mentioned in the Zep Tepi legends.
The lion, it should also be noted, of which the Sphinx is shaped, is a species that no longer inhabits Egypt. The original Sphinx may have been sculpted as only a Lion in a very early epoch when the animal was far more common in the Ice Age, a spiritual edifice devoted to a large Lion cult, much like the Cattle cults that existed in isolated oases far to the south. Gobekli Tepe in central Turkey, is a monumental cult structure within the same period which displays many sculpted figures of Ice Age animals along its T-Shaped stone columns, a site that also may provide an invaluable cornucopia of information necessary to imagining a possible Sphinx cult in Egypt.
Others do not think the cataclysmic period of the Ice Age could possibly support a society capable of building the Great Sphinx monument. The period consisted of erratic shifts in climate and sudden quaternary extinctions of many mega fauna, such as the Wholly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. An independent and maverick egyptologist named John Anthony West, a man that played a major part in drawing public attention on the erosional controversy of the Sphinx, argues that the chaos and upheavals of the last Ice Age doesn't feel like a likely date for the structure. Anthony thinks that if a large society existed during that time, archaeologists would have surely found evidence for the civilization by now.
If, as Anthony believes, the Sphinx correlates astronomically to another "Age of Leo" another 26,000 years earlier than the end of the last Ice Age, around 36,000 BC, very long term geological factors probably would have buried the artifacts and certainly destroyed most organic materials of that civilization so that almost nothing would remain. Incidentally, the date of 36,000 BC also corresponds to information in the Turin Papyrus of the Egyptians, which records past eras of Egyptian history going back over 36,000 years. Anthony believes that if Egyptologists dug in areas that the Nile river flowed through during that time, which would be many miles to the west of its current position, remnants deep under the sands of the Sahara might reveal the tell-tale signs of a remote and advanced society.
The Pyramids: Artifact of an Earlier Time?
point to the pyramid of Khafre at the Giza Complex as further evidence
for an intermediary gap between a golden age of the Neteru and Shemsu
Hor and a later age of dynastic Egypt.
The Khafre pyramid's base is comprised of much larger blocks than those found in the upper courses, dividing the structure's construction phases into what appears to be two separate time periods, a possible link to an earlier timeframe where the pyramid remained "unfinished" or maybe initially a flat temple, rather than a tomb.
The internal courses are also less precisely arranged than the exterior ones, being filled with mortar construed of reeds, wood, and charcoal. Unfortunately, the inner courses remain out of sight and reach; if samples could be retrieved from these inner most courses for C14 dating, an undisputable record may reconstruct an overall chronology of the pyramid's development through the eons.
Surprisingly, one such carbon dating study did take place in Egyptological research, a preliminary report published in 1993 in Cairo in the Egyptian journal, "Annales du Service". The survey was conducted by Herbert Haas, Mark Lehner, Robert J. Wenke, Willy Wolfli, James M. Devine and Georges Bonani. The team apparently dated 72 monuments, obtaining 72 radiocarbon dates from 64 samples, variously obtained from mortar between pyramid blocks, or wood from beams supporting Zoser's stepped pyramid in Saqarra. The report had this to say,
"Our calibrated age measurements differ systematically, with only a few exceptions, from the ages estimated for these monuments on the basis of written sources...The remaining dates average 374 years older than their estimated ages based on ancient texts."
Supposedly, twenty samples were removed from the results and promised in a forthcoming publication, which has oddly never surfaced all these years later. A later study in 2001, written by four of the same authors, based on new carbon dates, failed to even mention the earlier report in 1993. Consistently, the report also gives dates which appear markedly earlier than ones commonly established by conventional theory. However, in this report, the authors seemed to remain completely neutral, and with only a small initial caveat in the introductory statements, state that the results "approximately" confirm conventional ideas but still leave open differences in chronological dating. The authors then simply list all the results without any further controversial comments.
If such evidence proves greater antiquity, then the later dynastic times of Khafre might merely represent a later building epoch in the history of Giza, in which the Pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty added tombs next to the pyramids, structures which had already been standing for at least a few centuries.
The valley temple itself is composed of largely bare stone plinths, one of the characteristics of the anomalous Osireion mentioned earlier, and also shares much of the same water erosional patterns of the Sphinx on its outer most limestone walls. The Sphinx temple next to it is also comprised of quarried blocks hoisted from the Sphinx enclosure, containing the same signature water erosion.
Whoever originally built the Sphinx, also, at the very least, built the outer walls of the Valley Temple and the adjacent Sphinx temple when the same levels of rainfall were active in the ancient climate of the Ice Age. In fact, in the Inventory Stela discovered by Auguste Mariette, the Valley Temple is instead named "The House of Osiris", not Khafre's. The similarity in style and construction of the Osireion in Abydos to the Valley Temple also puts its date at around the same time.
Khnum Khufu's Monument
The great pyramid adjacent to Khafre's, accredited to the Pharaoh Khufu, is built atop a mound of bedrock. Modern engineers, such as Robert Bauval, stress that incorporating such a large geographical feature into the framework of the pyramid would have fostered a large number of technical problems and logistical headaches. Today engineers note that it is much easier and practical to construct on top of a flat even plain of bedrock rather than working around a mound. Yet, the Egyptians still built a structure precisely aligned, within our modern levels of accuracy, to the four cardinal directions and as close to perfectly square as any building that has ever been made. All of this, dangerously close to the very edge of the giza plateau shelf. Placing the monument 100 meters further south would have been a much safer bet for architects beginning such a daring project. It is clear then that building atop the mound was viewed as necessity by the ancient Egyptians, and that it itself held a certain sacred historical significance, signs of an earlier presence on the plateau.
Another line in the inventory stela also states, that, "he (Khufu, alleged builder of the great pyramid) found the House of Isis, mistress of the Pyramid, by the side of the cavity of the Sphinx." Here, the stela suggests even that Isis is associated with the Pyramid, perhaps credited with an earlier version of the pyramid structure, and that Khufu "found" a temple of Isis, perhaps the Sphinx or Valley Temple adjacent the Sphinx.
The only real textual evidence that suggests Khufu's design of the great pyramid, is on interior blocks of granite originally discovered within the relieving chambers above the King's chamber by Colonel Howard Vyse in the 1800's. Names of Khufu as "Khnum Khufu", occur along the blocks, both upside down and others disappearing into the floor and ceiling. Scholars believe the inscriptions served as markers to ensure proper placement at site. However, Robert Temple points out in his book "Egyptian Dawn" that Colonel Vyse failed to mention the graffiti within the explorer’s diary
upon originally entering into the chambers, and only mentioned the symbols
after entering the relieving compartments on a second visit. Some suspect that in the interim, Vyse faked the inscriptions to please unsatisfied sponsors originally promised treasure from the "excavations".
Although Khufu's name apparently vindicates mainstream ideas that Khufu built the pyramid, other Egyptologists have noted that the name of Khuf, or Khufu, of Khnum Khuf, was throughout Egyptian civilization often used as a simple, yet powerful magical charm, to "bless" objects, amulets, or stones. More precisely, Khnum Khufu is a ram-headed god, chiefly associated with the island of Elephantine in southern Egypt in Aswan, a divinity that presided over the potter's wheel and the art of stone masonry. The Egyptologist James Breasted, pointed out in his book, "Ancient Records of Egypt," that the expression, "Khnum-Khufu" literally just means, "Khnum protects me", and is technically not a name.
If anything, the iconic Pharaohnic cartouche element that the inscriptions lie within simply suggests that the pyramid is the property of an unknown pharaoh of an unknown date called "Khnum Protects Me," not Khufu of the 4th Dynasty. It is also quite fitting that the primary city of worship to Khnum Khufu, patron god of stone in Aswan, southern Egypt, is also the sole location that granite for the pyramid was quarried and brought up to Giza via the Nile to be installed into the inner chambers. In other words, these inscriptions are attributed to that Khufu of Aswan, the ram-headed Khnum.
There is a strong likelihood that the name then is simply being used as a" magical" charm by the stone masons that carved the blocks to either protect the work gangs transporting the block to site, and/or as a charm to protect the eternal rest of the Pharaoh's Ka spirit within the Pyramidal afterlife. Notice that I do not say, to protect the Pharaoh's mummified body within the Pyramid, as there is no evidence to suggest that a Pharaoh's dead body ever lay within the Pyramid, or any mummified Pharaoh in any other Pyramid for that matter of any known time period in Pharaohnic Egyptian history.
Recently, pioneering work done by the Doctor of Physics in Archaeology at the University of the Aegean in Rhodes, Ioannis Liritzis, used a newly developed dating technique called Optical Thermoluminescence, which measures the amount of photons and gamma radiation collected over time on the surfaces of stone. The doctor took samples from pyramid blocks of the granite casing stones of the third smallest pyramid (The Pyramid of Mycerinus) and compared the results to the background radiation at the site, yielding the date the blocks last lay exposed to sunlight. The pyramid blocks gave a date at most 1000 years older than the one commonly accepted today for the building of the Pyramids, around 3500 BC (the official results were 3590-2640 BC. At the very latest, the casing stones were lain in place a full one hundred years before the traditionally accepted reign of Pharaoh Mycerinus).
The median date is 3090 BC, over 500 years before the 4th Dynasty Kings. Even more damning is the fact that the granite casing stones are considered a much later addition to the youngest pyramid of the three; what the dates for the other pyramids may be will remain a mystery as it seems that Dr. Zahi Hawass, director of the Giza Plateau, for some strange reason has officially forbade the departure of any testable samples from Egypt, including, stone, wood, bone and pottery. Even more perplexing about Zahi's behavior is the fact that Egypt hardly contains the necessary finances and facilities to carry out any carbon or thermoluminescence dating, and certainly not any for Ioannis Liritzis's revolutionary stone technique. See the page Giza Mystery for info on the Giza controversy.
Sneferu's Ancient Chamber
The red pyramid of Sneferu, in North Dashur, dating to the Third Dynasty, only a few decades prior to Giza's traditional dates, rests on top of a much older chamber consisting of profusely weathered megaliths. Other areas of the red pyramid do not display the same type of characteristic erosion, a level of weathering one wouldn't expect to find on stones that have lain sheltered beneath the pyramid for over 4 millenia.
Cities Palette (Naqadda Period)
Clues tracing back to Zep Tepi
An artifact known as the Cities Palette, dated to the late Naqadda period depicts a series of Cities established by several animal Kings, eerily reminiscent of the animal Neteru and Shemsu Hor spirits of Zep Tepi from the Edfu texts. The top left most portion is chipped off, perhaps detailing cities that may have once existed in the Nile Valley or the Delta, and yet still remain undiscovered.