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Sitchin's Folly: Graffiti in the Pyramid


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#1    kmt_sesh

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:15 PM

It's a stormy day here in Chicago and I was not in the mood to try to negotiate a major snow storm and hundreds of idiot drivers, so I've stayed home for the day. This gives me the opportunity to submit another critique of material in Zacheria Sitchin's The Stairway to Heaven (April 2007 edition). I have previously initiated two threads, found here and here, about arguments Sitchin makes in Chapter 13, entitled "Forging the Pharaoh's Name." I am returning to this chapter and to the most important argument Sitchin makes, after which the chapter is called.

In March 1837 an enthusiast of the nascent field of Egyptology, Colonel Richard Howard Vyse, discovered several relieving chambers above the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid. The lowest relieving chamber had been discovered in 1765 by Nathaniel Davison, and was thereafter known as Davison's Chamber, so Vyse logically suspected that more chambers might lie above this one. By inserting a reed through a crack in a joint of the ceiling of Davison's Chamber, Vyse was able to detect a void and knew he was onto something. On March 30, using gunpowder Vyse blasted a hole through the ceiling of Davison's Chamber, and entered a new chamber that had not been seen in 4,500 years. Vyse's exploits revealed that there were four more chambers above the one Davison had discovered over 70 years before.

The most astounding discovery, however, was the plethora of mason's marks and graffiti found in these higher chambers. The painted graffiti include the three names by which King Khufu was known. That Vyse was the first person to have entered these chambers since the building of the pyramid in 2,500 BCE shows that the graffiti was original to the builders, and thus firmly ties the Great Pyramid to the reign of Khufu.

Sitchin writes some rather enjoyable anecdotal and background information about Colonel Vyse, more so than I have read in most legitimate historical studies, but he maintains that Vyse and an accomplice, J.R. Hill, painted all of the graffiti themselves and are guilty of forging the pharaoh's name. Sitchin believes this is so because numerous exciting finds were being made at Giza at the same time, and they--Vyse and Hill--wanted in on the excitement and desired to be famous (Sitchin 2007: 361). It's one thing to besmirch the names of two men who are long dead and cannot defend themselves, but quite another to approach the accusation with truly faulty reasoning and exceedingly poor evidence to make such a claim. Herein lies the thrust of my own argument in this post: to demonstrate why the evidence Sitchin presents in defense of his position is misleading and faulty from the start.

I'll dispense with commenting on the conjectures Sitchin has dreamed up about Vyse's and Hill's methods and movements in crafting said forgery because in the end this is all pure speculation on Sitchin's part and there can be no evidence to support it. Instead, I'll comment on specifics about the graffiti and the linguistics involved, because the arguments one can make in favor of orthodox research will alone blow Sitchin's position out of the water.

In this segment of the chapter Sitchin continues to make the typical fringe error of consistently citing and, probably, misusing scholarly material from the earliest days of Egyptology. No current research is used because current research would reveal Sitchin's errors. A good example is the form of writing the graffiti in the relieving chambers takes, which could be called cursive hieroglyphs, linear hieroglyphs, or even hieratic.

Before continuing I have to stress very strongly that in 1837, when Vyse discovered the graffiti, the knowledge of hieroglyphs and other forms of ancient Egyptian writing was still in its infancy. After all, Jean-François Champollion had made the first successful translation only fifteen years before, in 1822. Scholars in Vyse's time were only beginning to unwrap the various ancient scripts and had a very incomplete understanding of them. For example, Sitchin makes a big deal over the cursive or linear nature of the graffiti, and cites one historian in the British Museum who claimed this form of writing would not exist in Egypt for centuries to come (ibid, 354). We know a lot more in this day and age. In fact, it is established fact that cursive or hieratic scripts are as old as hieroglyphs and first made their appearance in late prehistory (Parkinson 1999: 88; Allen 2001: 6; Wilkinson 1999: 40), dating to about 3,150 BCE. As with other forms of writing in ancient Egypt, hieratic can be broken into stages of development as pharaonic history progressed:

Old Hieratic: Late prehistory to 2000 BCE
Early Middle Hieratic: 2025-1700 BCE
Late Middle Hieratic (literary): Late Middle Kingdom (c. 1640 BCE)
Late Middle Hieratic (non-literary): Late Middle Kingdom (c. 1640 BCE)
Dynasty 18 Hieratic: 1550-1069 BCE
Ramesside Hieratic: 1298-1187 BCE

It goes on from there (Ramesside, in simple terms, equates to about Dynasty 19), but this carries the point. Hieratic script existed alongside hieroglyphs for much of pharaonic history. A case may be made that the graffiti in the relieving chambers is simply more cursive hieroglyphic than hieratic, which would only sink Sitchin's position further: cursive hieroglyphic script is, after all, merely hieroglyphs written by hand.

Sitchin further mentions the confusion early scholars had over some of the glyphs associated with the royal name in the graffiti. It would seem Sitchin is trying to use this fact as proof that Vyse and Hill were simply slapping some glyphs together based on a couple of books by John Gardiner Wilkinson they had at their disposal. This does not seem a reasonable position to suggest. Although glyphs were not yet well understood at the time, certainly Vyse and Hill would've understood that random hieroglyphs would be shown to be nonsensical and fraudulent sooner rather than later. Examples of the royal name and attendant glyphs are below (adapted from Ann Macy Roth's book Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom):

Posted Image

The top set is the name by which most of us know this king, the abbreviation Khufu. The center set is his full formal name, Khnum-Khuf. The bottom is his Horus name, Medjedu. The glyphs following the versions of the name are what puzzled the early scholars, and it's understandable. What we know now is that they are the individual names of phyles and work gangs, and these glyphs in the relieving chambers "...name three gangs, each based on a different form of the king's name" (Roth 1991: 125). The way the names of phyles and gangs are arranged on the walls can even provide hints as to how the great blocks of the relieving chambers were assembled and put in place, and which gangs were responsible for assembling different parts of the chambers (ibid, 127).

Sitchin makes note of the unusual positioning of some of the graffiti; that is, some of it is upside-down and some of it vertical. He uses this to argue that Vyse and Hill, unable to stand erect in the chambers, were forced to squat and assume other uncomfortable positions as they "forged" the graffiti. There is a much more logical explanation for this, but more on that later.

Refer again to the chart with the three versions of the name, above. Early scholars were confused by the appearance of a Khufu as well as a Khnum-Khuf and, as Sitchin states, were forced to wonder if two kings were being referred to (Stichin 2007: 356-359). Even Flinders Petrie was somewhat confused by this and attempted unsuccessfully to reconcile it in his own writings (Petrie 1883; 2007 ed: 152). Some early scholars even posited a co-regency between Khufu and a son named Khnum-Khuf; co-regencies were known to have existed, but as research would show in the decades to come, we have no definitive evidence for a co-regency before Dynasty 12, many centuries after Khufu's time.

The simple answer is, as we have known for a great many years now, Khufu was merely a short version of the formal name Khnum-Khuf (meaning "Khnum protects him"). Both names refer to the same king, of course. I couldn't help but notice in this chapter of Sitchin's book that the Horus name, Medjedu, is not even mentioned. It appears in the relieving chambers, too, as I've diagramed above. I am not sure why Sitchin goes to such lengths in muddying the waters with the old confusion over the name-versions because such detail does nothing to buttress his ultimate claim that the two large Giza pyramids were actually built by "Anunnaki aliens" long before the Egyptians existed.

This is an absurd notion, of course, but what Sitchin really desires by presenting the details about the names Khufu and Khnum-Khuf is what he regards as a clumsy error in the forging of the names. This brings me to what might be regarded as Sitchin's single weakest and most glaring error in the claim of forgery. This is the representation of the symbol in the graffiti that produces the "kh" sound in the name Khufu or Khuf. Sitchin calls it a sieve; most Egyptologists believe it to symbolize a placenta, but the truth is no one is sure. All we know for sure is that it represents the guttural "kh" sound. Its classical depiction is as a circle within which are hash marks, such as in the final, circle glyph in this word, "ankh."

In the graffiti, however, the circle glyph contains no hash marks--it is simply an empty circle, as seen in my chart above. Sitchin is correct that this makes it more closely resemble the glyph of the sun disk as in this spelling for the name of the god Re, but for the sake of his argument Sitchin maintains that in forging the graffiti Vyse and Hill bungled the job and used the sun-disk symbol instead of the sieve symbol, thereby spelling the name Reufu instead of Khufu. He further maintains that these two symbols were always perfectly employed by the Egyptians (Sitchin 2007: 368) and that no scribe would have ever made such an "error."

What this ultimately reveals is Sitchin's lack of training in and understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. He is completely incorrect. Recall that the graffiti is not an official, monumental inscription commissioned by the state but simply symbols hand-drawn by evidently mostly literate foremen of work gangs. As one leading linguist in Egyptology states: "In these handwritten texts it is very rare to find hieroglyphs made with the same detail as those in hieroglyphic inscriptions" (Allen 2001: 6). In texts written on papyrus or ostraca, painted onto wood or stone, and even carved into stone, it is in fact extremely common to show the "kh" glyph as an empty circle, as a circle with a blob somewhere within it, or as a circle containing any assortment of hash marks. Observe the examples below; the arrows point to examples of the "kh" glyph:

Posted Image

These are all examples from artifacts with which I am familiar at the Field Museum in Chicago. The examples I've selected range from Dynasty 4 to Dynasty 19-20, representing around 1,000 years of inscriptions. The Dynasty 4 example is from a section of a stone false door for a nobleman, and the "kh" glyph is classically rendered with numerous hash marks. The Dynasty 5 example is from a large stone false door of a prince whose tomb is in the Unis pyramid complex, and in both examples indicated the "kh" glyph is an empty circle filled in with paint. The Dynasty 12 examples is from a small stone stela and the "kh" glyph is an empty circle. Finally, the Dynasty 19-20 example is from a papyrus Book of the Dead of a priest, and in both examples indicated the "kh" circle, forming part of his name, includes the circle with three vertical hash marks.

I should hope this alone is enough to render this portion of Sitchin's argument defunct.

Earlier I mentioned Sitchin's point that some of the graffiti is upside-down and some vertically written, his point being that Vyse and Hill needed to squat or assume other odd positions in order to write the graffiti in the extremely cramped spaces. In fact, the positioning of other examples of graffiti in these chambers proves why some of it appears this way, and further proves beyond a doubt that the graffiti was written by the ancient builders themselves. This brings me to the conclusion of my post, and to this end it brings me great pleasure to provide an example of capitulation by none other than Graham Hancock, one of the leaders of modern-day fringe arguments and who formerly had supported the "forgery" argument of Sitchin's. In the late 1990s Zahi Hawass permitted Hancock unrestricted access to the relieving chambers of the Great Pyramid, and in that time Hancock was able to see for himself why the graffiti could not have been forged. Hancock's full retraction can be found on this page (scroll down to his "Position Statement"), but the gist of it is:

Quote

Cracks in some of the joints reveal hieroglyphs set far back into the masonry. No 'forger' could possibly have reached in there after the blocks had been set in place - blocks, I should add, that weigh tens of tons each and that are immovably interlinked with one another. The only reasonable conclusion is the one which orthodox Egyptologists have already long held - namely that the hieroglyphs are genuine Old Kingdom graffiti and that they were daubed on the blocks before construction began.

In other words, at least much of the graffiti had been written in 2,500 BCE on these great blocks before they were assembled in the relieving chambers. Other mason's marks show where and how the blocks were to be put in place, and the work crews "signed" the blocks that they themselves were to assemble above the King's Chamber. Graham Hancock has not surrendered all of his fringe beliefs, unfortunately, but I give him proper credit for admitting that Sitchin's forgery theory is demonstrably false.

I know this grew to be a beefy post. I hope at least some of you choose to read and digest it, and I hope you enjoy it. It was my wish to provide a firm stance on why Sitchin's claim cannot be taken seriously because I am constantly amazed that fringe adherents somehow still try to use the graffiti in the way Sitchin invented, even though he has been proven false. There is no wiggle room. This may be the last critique I write of The Stairway to Heaven because I've seen that my "Sitchin's Folly" threads have not generated much feedback, probably due to how long they are, but at least I can leave the endeavor having disproved this position of Zecharia Sitchin's.

I welcome comments and debate. :)

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#2    cladking

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:07 PM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 07 January 2010 - 10:15 PM, said:


I know this grew to be a beefy post. I hope at least some of you choose to read and digest it, and I hope you enjoy it. It was my wish to provide a firm stance on why Sitchin's claim cannot be taken seriously because I am constantly amazed that fringe adherents somehow still try to use the graffiti in the way Sitchin invented, even though he has been proven false. There is no wiggle room. This may be the last critique I write of The Stairway to Heaven because I've seen that my "Sitchin's Folly" threads have not generated much feedback, probably due to how long they are, but at least I can leave the endeavor having disproved this position of Zecharia Sitchin's.

I welcome comments and debate.


Very interesting.  Thanks for the effort.

One of the reasons this pops up so much is that there is such strong
strong argument for it and it looks believable on the surface.  This
means it gets repeated a lot and is spread all over the net.  It is one
of a few such apparently flawed claims that I fell for initially as
well.  You can find this claim on dozens of sites and many fringe peo-
ple do like tto believe it.  Over time it will likely become less com-
mon to see.

I wasn't aware there was a cursive script in the old kingdom.  I'd be
interested to swee a piece of older script.  Just the oldest you can
easily link would be more than sufficient, I'm just curious what it
looked like.  -not a cartouche though.

Men fear the pyramid, time fears man.

#3    cormac mac airt

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:18 PM

Another great and informative post, kmt_sesh. Perhaps Sitchin didn't mention the Horus name Medjedu as he couldn't figure a way to mis-interpret it in a way others would think he knew what he was talking about, so purposefully left it out. You know "out of sight, out of mind".

Sadly, I'm sure there will be those who will believe Sitchins fiction as it is somehow more exciting that the facts. And it goes against mainstream.

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#4    StarLord

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:47 PM

kmt_sesh,

Great Post! & great post even (in keeping with the newly found big & small letter significance :D )

The logic abounds as does the meter of your succinctness.  I for one applaud your more than obvious hard

efforts in this arena and hope you continue to shed light of day upon every single book of the Sitchmeister.  

He and others of his Ilk should be boiled in Holy Oil which of course is obtained from the corns of holy men,  after  

which a few sound Keelhaulings, just in case.

In short, history revisionists really sux.


#5    TheSearcher

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 06:31 AM

Kmt, you tought me a few things again. Got to love it when you know a subject that well. Good job.

It is only the ignorant who despise education.
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So god made me an atheist. Who are you to question his wisdom?!

#6    digitalartist

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 03:24 PM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 07 January 2010 - 10:15 PM, said:

I am not sure why Sitchin goes to such lengths in muddying the waters with the old confusion over the name-versions because such detail does nothing to buttress his ultimate claim that the two large Giza pyramids were actually built by "Anunnaki aliens" long before the Egyptians existed.


The reason he does it is clear to me at least.  For his claim to be even remotely considered, and his books to sell, he has to discredit the facts, and confusion does a pretty good job sometimes.

Great post as always btw.


#7    zoser

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 06:01 PM

Forgive me if I am wrong here but I thought that there were a significant number of people who cast doubt on the authenticity of the graffiti?

I personally without really looking too hard have found several sources casting doubt on it, and by no means do they all have a vested interest.  There is just doubt period, based in the most part on the ambition and poor character integrity of Vysse himself.

Doubt there has always been and that doubt will remain.  Why isn't Khufu's cartouche scattered all over the biggest and most impressive building in the history of the human race?  Why was it hidden in an obscure place?

Sorry to throw a spanner in there!

Come on guys think this through!

Saying of Zoser:

If it smells fishy, it probably is fish, not foul.



Edited by zoser, 08 January 2010 - 06:02 PM.

Posted Image


#8    cormac mac airt

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:15 PM

Quote

Forgive me if I am wrong here but I thought that there were a significant number of people who cast doubt on the authenticity of the graffiti?

Only if you consider fringe theorists (who wish to make a mystery out of nothing) as “a significant number of people”.

Quote

I personally without really looking too hard have found several sources casting doubt on it, and by no means do they all have a vested interest.

And how many of these sources are qualified Egyptologists or linguists with a background in Egyptian hieroglyphics? And from what periods?

Quote

There is just doubt period, based in the most part on the ambition and poor character integrity of Vysse himself.

The implication here, spoken or not, is that somehow Vyse was able to take apart the pyramid, placing Egyptian writing in inaccessible places and in a style evidenced as being from the 4th dynasty.

The same types of people who claim that Vyse and others must have done it are, by and large, the same types of people who claim we couldn’t have built it with our technology.

Quote

Why isn't Khufu's cartouche scattered all over the biggest and most impressive building in the history of the human race?

Why would his cartouche need to be scattered all over the GP? What better example to say “I did this” than constructing a 6 million ton structure sitting on the Giza Plateau, for all the world to see.

Quote

Why was it hidden in an obscure place?

Rather a deceptive question, IMO. The implication being that there was something someone back then didn’t want anyone to know. If they wrote on a block, surrounding and covering it with other blocks, then obviously they would have known than nobody else would see it. That's common sense, so what's the mystery?

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#9    jmccr8

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:24 PM

Great post KMT_Sesh,i like your presentation of the information it shows that you've spent your time reading both perspectives to give an outstanding rebuttal kudos.jmccr8


#10    cladking

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:38 PM

View Postzoser, on 08 January 2010 - 06:01 PM, said:

Forgive me if I am wrong here but I thought that there were a significant number of people who cast doubt on the authenticity of the graffiti?

I personally without really looking too hard have found several sources casting doubt on it, and by no means do they all have a vested interest.  There is just doubt period, based in the most part on the ambition and poor character integrity of Vysse himself.

Doubt there has always been and that doubt will remain.  Why isn't Khufu's cartouche scattered all over the biggest and most impressive building in the history of the human race?  Why was it hidden in an obscure place?

Sorry to throw a spanner in there!

Come on guys think this through!

Saying of Zoser:

If it smells fishy, it probably is fish, not foul.

Your points are good but the evidence is against the idea that Vyse
did them himself.  I'd like to see it for myself but the paint is said
to clearly extend between gaps in immovable stones so had to have
been there when the stones came to rest.  

The claim is made very convincingly and oft repeated.  It's so believ-
able that it's even repeated by those with no axe to grind.  

I would side with the purported evidence and go with the concept that
these are part of the "original equipment".

Edited by cladking, 08 January 2010 - 11:41 PM.

Men fear the pyramid, time fears man.

#11    kmt_sesh

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:00 AM

View Postcladking, on 07 January 2010 - 11:07 PM, said:

Very interesting.  Thanks for the effort.

One of the reasons this pops up so much is that there is such strong
strong argument for it and it looks believable on the surface.  This
means it gets repeated a lot and is spread all over the net.  It is one
of a few such apparently flawed claims that I fell for initially as
well.  You can find this claim on dozens of sites and many fringe peo-
ple do like tto believe it.  Over time it will likely become less com-
mon to see.

LOL Hence my ever-present desire that people shut down their web browsers and go to the library for the sake of learning. Yes, you're right, this particular idea is all over the internet, and it continually muddies the waters. I suppose there's nothing to be done about it if people tend to regard most everything on the internet as reliable.

Quote

I wasn't aware there was a cursive script in the old kingdom.  I'd be
interested to swee a piece of older script.  Just the oldest you can
easily link would be more than sufficient, I'm just curious what it
looked like.  -not a cartouche though.

I'm guilty of some muddying of the waters myself. I realize in my OP that I tended to mix terms like cursive hieroglyphs and hieratic too liberally. There are distinct differences, although in the Old Kingdom hieratic and hieroglyphs were more similar in style and meaning. It was only by the Middle Kingdom that hieratic developed into a truly separate writing system, complete with ligatures and such.

But bear in mind that "cursive script" is simply a loose form of handwriting in many different forms of writing. It's a clumsy comparison, to be sure, but one might think of how we writers of English might employ block print or cursive. They both say the same thing but might end up looking very different, given the penmanship of the writer. It's much the same with cursive hieroglyphs. They can be tricky to read.

I searched exhaustively on the internet but could find no photos of cursive hieroglyphs or hieratic predating Dynasty 5. I eventually just gave up. In books I have seen examples of a hieratic document of Dynasty 4 that lists estates, and I found info on it on the internet but no photos. As far as prehistory goes, in the timespan of Naqada III, cursive script tends to be very simple and is generally seen on dockets or labels in tombs and as markings on ceramic or stone vessels.

So, back to Dynasty 5, which is unfortunately the oldest photographed hieratic I could find on the internet. You may remember my mentioning on several occasions these records, which were found in the pyramid temple of Neferirkare and list such things as the duties of the priests, their payments, and revenues coming into the pyramid complexes. Below is a photo of one example, found in the 1890s:

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#12    cladking

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:21 AM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 09 January 2010 - 06:00 AM, said:

I suppose there's nothing to be done about it if people tend to regard most everything on the internet as reliable.

Books really aren't much better.  

Obvious lies and obfuscations are less common in books but they still
contain great amounts of "information" and "facts" that can't stand the
test of time and are mere speculation when they are written. I had a 12th
grade trigonometry text that was wrong.  It wasn't just a little wrong, it  
was out in left field.  I can't even imagine what could possess the author
to try to prove the trigonometric functions but he did!

People have always had only their own common sense to weed out the BS from what
might be real or at least true at the current time.  

Quote

I'm guilty of some muddying of the waters myself. I realize in my OP that I tended to mix terms like cursive hieroglyphs and hieratic too liberally. There are distinct differences, although in the Old Kingdom hieratic and hieroglyphs were more similar in style and meaning. It was only by the Middle Kingdom that hieratic developed into a truly separate writing system, complete with ligatures and such.

But bear in mind that "cursive script" is simply a loose form of handwriting in many different forms of writing. It's a clumsy comparison, to be sure, but one might think of how we writers of English might employ block print or cursive. They both say the same thing but might end up looking very different, given the penmanship of the writer. It's much the same with cursive hieroglyphs. They can be tricky to read.

I searched exhaustively on the internet but could find no photos of cursive hieroglyphs or hieratic predating Dynasty 5. I eventually just gave up. In books I have seen examples of a hieratic document of Dynasty 4 that lists estates, and I found info on it on the internet but no photos. As far as prehistory goes, in the timespan of Naqada III, cursive script tends to be very simple and is generally seen on dockets or labels in tombs and as markings on ceramic or stone vessels.

So, back to Dynasty 5, which is unfortunately the oldest photographed hieratic I could find on the internet. You may remember my mentioning on several occasions these records, which were found in the pyramid temple of Neferirkare and list such things as the duties of the priests, their payments, and revenues coming into the pyramid complexes. Below is a photo of one example, found in the 1890s:

Posted Image

Again, thanks for the effort but I should have said it wasn't extremely
important to me.  I had just never heard of it and was a little surprised
since there is so very little of anything from so far back.  If it does
exist it seems it could be (or have been) quite difficult to decipher.

Men fear the pyramid, time fears man.

#13    kmt_sesh

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:35 AM

I realize that a couple of other folks have already provided replies to your post, but because I initiated this thread I'd like to answer, too.

View Postzoser, on 08 January 2010 - 06:01 PM, said:

Forgive me if I am wrong here but I thought that there were a significant number of people who cast doubt on the authenticity of the graffiti?

I personally without really looking too hard have found several sources casting doubt on it, and by no means do they all have a vested interest.  There is just doubt period, based in the most part on the ambition and poor character integrity of Vysse himself.

As cladking and I were discussing, this doubt about the validity of the graffiti exists on the internet. Of course, you will also find it in books such as the one I've been critiquing, written by fringe authors. I regard neither source as reliable. So, yes, many people do cast doubt on the authenticity of the graffiti, but of those whom I've encountered on the Web and in print, none appear to possess the requisite training and education to supply a proper examination of the situation. I do believe I provided an adequate defense of orthodoxy in my OP, at the same time demonstrating point by point how Sitchin's approach is flawed.

Colonel Vyse was not a scholar. He was not an Egyptologist, such as it was in the mid-nineteenth century. Sitchin's description of him is, I think, fair: an antiquarian. As with many Westerners of the time, he was in Egypt for the excitement of discovery. Although I find his use of dynamite and gunpowder reckless and deplorable, no other expedition or discovery of his in Egypt would lead one to suspect in any way that he was duplicitous or dishonest. Just reckless. As I see it, Sitchin has singly failed to uphold his charge that Vyse and Hill forged the graffiti. The weight of evidence is fully on the authenticity of the graffiti.

As the Czech Egyptologist Miroslav Verner has written (1997: 456):

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[Sitchin's] arguments and conclusions...are all nonsense. First of all, not only a cursive inscription but a whole series of so-called builders' marks and inscriptions were found along with the Khufu cartouche in the relieving chambers. Among these are also some inscriptions with the Khufu cartouche and the names of the work teams that were responsible for transporting the huge blocks to the pyramid construction site. From a paleographic, grammatical, and historical point of view, there is not the slightest doubt as to their authenticity.

Please note that in the first table of my OP, I provided examples not only of Khufu's cartouche and Horus name but also examples of the glyphs spelling the names of work teams Verner mentions. As I emphasized in the OP, scholars of the day did not know what to make of these other glyphs because their knowledge of glyphs at that time was still very much nascent. In other words, this was information even the leading experts of the day did not possess, so of course neither Vyse nor Hill could have, either.

And there is also the damning fact, as I and others have mentioned, that some of the graffiti extends down into faces of masonry where no human hand could reach. The graffiti had to have been painted onto these surfaces prior to the stones' final placement in the relieving chambers. Graham Hancock himself bowed to this fact. It cannot be dismissed.

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Doubt there has always been and that doubt will remain.  Why isn't Khufu's cartouche scattered all over the biggest and most impressive building in the history of the human race?  Why was it hidden in an obscure place?

As I've stated many times at UM, no pyramid contained any formal interior decoration plan until that of Unis' at the end of Dynasty 5. It was only in late Dynasty 5 that royal and private tombs began consistently to be liberally ornamented with reliefs and inscriptions. Until the time of Unis, pyramids were not inscribed but their attendant temples were--and lavishly so. Khufu's temples were no exception, although they're badly ruined. The graffiti was found in spaces that were supposed to be permanently concealed because they were not part of any of the ritual constructs of the monument--and it's not as though the king wished his pyramid to be smeared with graffiti. Well, okay, it is today, with the graffiti of a couple of centuries of tourists, but you get my meaning. However, the lack of a formal decoration plan on a Dynasty 4 royal tomb cannot stand as any sort of evidence for fringe theory.

One thing I did not mention in my OP but will here is the fact that the Meidum pyramid of Sneferu also bears builders' graffiti. The Great Pyramid is hardly unique in that respect. I've never researched the nature of the graffiti at Meidum so I tend not to bring it up much, but it's there as an example of a greater pattern.

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Sorry to throw a spanner in there!

Come on guys think this through!

Saying of Zoser:

If it smells fishy, it probably is fish, not foul.

I don't mind your dissenting opinion. That's why this forum exists, and I was hoping you would weigh in. I hope others who favor fringe theories will, too. All I ask is that we all try to keep everything level headed and civil. ;)

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#14    kmt_sesh

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 06:45 AM

View Postcladking, on 09 January 2010 - 06:21 AM, said:

Books really aren't much better.  

Obvious lies and obfuscations are less common in books but they still
contain great amounts of "information" and "facts" that can't stand the
test of time and are mere speculation when they are written. I had a 12th
grade trigonometry text that was wrong.  It wasn't just a little wrong, it  
was out in left field.  I can't even imagine what could possess the author
to try to prove the trigonometric functions but he did!

People have always had only their own common sense to weed out the BS from what
might be real or at least true at the current time.  

Certain books can be misleading. As far as books on trigonometry go, I am the world's biggest mathematical idiot so I doubt I could tell the difference, but I tend to be very fussy about books of history. When you spend many years studying a particular culture, you come to know the leading scholars in the field. You learn of their own education, their training, their experience, and what they have contributed. You also learn how they have helped to dispel inconsistencies or errors of past scholars, and there are many examples of inconsistencies or errors from Egyptologists of the past. So while I enjoy reading very old books on the subject, I am aware of their faults and outdated research, which is why I strive to stay current.

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Again, thanks for the effort but I should have said it wasn't extremely
important to me.  I had just never heard of it and was a little surprised
since there is so very little of anything from so far back.  If it does
exist it seems it could be (or have been) quite difficult to decipher.

Relatively speaking there is of course a dearth of written material from the Old Kingdom. We cannot go so far as to say there is a void or a vacuum, but written material becomes much more common only in the Middle Kingdom. I've been trained in hieroglyphs so I can usually work through examples of the cursive variety, but proper hieratic is very difficult for me. As for demotic, well, forget it. Not a chance. Can't read a word of it. I know students at the Oriental Institute who study demotic script, and it can be so damn difficult that they like to call it demonic. :lol:

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#15    questionmark

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 03:49 PM

Careful kmt... bad tongues are saying they've seen Sitchin shopping for a voodoo doll mumbling something about getting some hair at a Chicago museum...

As ever, nice work.

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