Posts Tagged With: Egypt

Ancient Aliens? No, our Ancestors Weren’t Dumb.

Ancient Aliens is one of those infuriating shows to those who have studied ancient history. The premise of the show is that the ancients weren’t smart enough to build structures like the pyramids. So, in one of the most disconnected lines of reasoning ever, they must have had help from aliens.

The fact is, the ancients were smart. They had the same brains we have. The more we learn about them, the more we have realized this.

Because something is difficult to do, doesn’t make it impossible. We are so enamored with our electronic technology, we forget that humans used math and brain power, combined with physical strength, for many millennia.

To listen to some of the “experts” on Ancient Aliens, it’s as if they haven’t been to these sites, or if they have, they had blindfolds on. One of the funniest moments is when one is showing how perfect a block has been carved (supposedly beyond the ability of the ancients), but the camera shows his square revealing the block is far from perfect. That’s only one of many head-scratching moments revealed in this documentary, Ancient Aliens Debunked.

To be certain, there are many mysteries to be solved from ancient times. Much has been lost and every day we learn something new. The ancients left us much to learn in their structures, stories, and myths. Over the years, I have written here about those things, and integrated them into my books. Our ancestors left us history, knowledge, and warnings, to ponder.

Not aliens.

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Categories: Ancient Sites, Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Raising Giza

The pyramids of Giza. The last of the Seven Wonders of the World. They have spawned endless speculation into the methods of their construction and purpose. Much of it bizarre: Aliens built it. It’s a power plant. A weapon. Vault of lost knowledge.

This all makes for a lot of absurd — I mean interesting — speculation. And occasional fun fiction. In this case, though, fact is far more interesting.

In The Secret of the Great Pyramid, Egyptologist Bob Brier chronicles the quest of architect Jean-Pierre Houdin to unlock the secret of the Great Pyramids assembly. Rather than resorting to stargates and levitation, Houdin looked at it with an eye honed by design and engineering: Moving and raising blocks is physics. No advanced math is needed. No spaceships either. That doesn’t mean it was easy.

Realize that Egyptians wrote about nearly everything, except how they built pyramids, which adds even more to their mystique. Brier recounts their history, which began with others before those at Giza. A bit of science, a bit of trial and error. Eventually it was perfected. I won’t reveal the details here, but it seems we may have long been looking for an answer too complicated. Sometimes simple is all that is needed.

Perhaps most fascinating is that pyramids came early in Egyptian history rather than later. We continue to learn that the ancients were quite intelligent. Too often we look back and down on those who have faded into history — “chronological snobbery” C.S. Lewis called it. They were smart, just had a different level of technology and knowledge base. Discoveries continue to show that mankind’s intelligence existed very early, if not from the beginning.

Our modern nations have existed for an eye-blink in time. Will we approach the longevity of ancient empires? Or will we be crushed under the weight of our misplaced stones?

So perhaps the pyramids carry a message after all.

pyr

Categories: Ancient Sites, History, Origins of Man, Prehistory | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Pryamid at Giza?

Frederic Norton wrote in his 1700s era book Travels in Egypt and Nubia of four large pyramids at Giza.

The only problem is that there are currently only three.

It wouldn’t be impossible to cart off a pyramid, but it wouldn’t be easy either. Shouldn’t there be some evidence left? Some suggest Norton was talking about a pyramid further away from Giza, but his map has it very close. I haven’t found much on this “lost” ruin, other than at here. Yeah, I know, it’s a conspiracy site, but it has scans of some of the old maps.

There is undoubtedly much to be found in Egypt, a civilization that lasted for 3000 years. The ancient world has yet to give up all of its mysteries. It may surprise us yet.

Categories: Ancient Sites | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

3000 Years: Will We Make It?

The United States has been around for 236 years. We think that’s a long time. Rome endured over twice that. Ancient Egypt: Over 3000 years. Try to imagine that. They had periods of chaos longer than the U.S. has been a nation, and we think this recession is bad.

The length of their existence is one reason they fascinate people to this day. How did they do it? That’s what draws people to study them. So do the temples and pyramids. Archaeologists have spent decades peeling back layers of the history beneath the sands. That many millenia of history piled over each other can make it difficult, but it’s amazing what we do know.

They weren’t cavemen, but also not super-geniuses. Their math that built the pyramids was rather simple. Their astronomy was less advanced than the Mayans. Yet, in many ways, they were like us. We often think we are the only people to work, play, love and fight. People stuck in the modern world would surprised at how similar the peoples of the ancient world were. On the other hand, us moderns wouldn’t want to stranded in the ancient lands with their primitive medicine and short lives.

It’s hard finding readable, yet scholarly, material on Egypt. Bookstores are full of strange, bizarre theories on ancient Egypt. Some just cannot believe the ancients could figure out how to move stones and stack them. Toddlers figure that out.

A great place to start your learning would be Bob Brier’s engaging course, History of Ancient Egypt. If you have no interest in this ancient world, you will after listening to his informative and fun lectures. Then there is Barbara Mertz’s two part history Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs and Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt which have been the best intro to Egyptian history for decades.

Both Brier and Mertz are Egyptologists. It’s fun to see where they agree and disagree (mainly the former). The books and course are good complements. Ironically, Brier supports the theory of women driving the leadership in Egypt more than Mertz does. Mertz overlooks Egyptian links in the bible, whereas Brier explores it. Brier is a mummy expert, and Mertz loves showing how human the ancients were. Both actually reference each other.

Far more fascinating than fringe theorists. As exciting as a fictional world. Try something different.

Try time travel into an ancient world.

Categories: Ancient Sites, Books | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Sands of Egypt Reveal More Pyramids

Read more here. Will the desert ever cease revealing the world of the ancients? Delve deeper into this ancient land with the audio class, Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.

Categories: Ancient Sites, Forgotten Places | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ancient Civilizations: Have six hours to spare?

Ancient history is fascinating, even if you don’t know it yet. But who has time to learn, read or go take a class? Think about all that dead time driving back and forth to work. How about using that time to expand your horizons? Yes? Check this out: Origins of Great Civilizations.

This 12 lecture course gives a detailed introduction to the civilizations of the ancient Near East: Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Persia and many others. An enjoyable primer to the foundations of advanced societies.

Update: Want to delve deeper into Egypt? Think about it, their civilization spanned over 3000 years. We haven’t even hit 300. Check out Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt for a great primer on the people who preceeded the Greeks and Romans.

Categories: Ancient Sites, What You Can Do | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mythology: Fact and Fiction

If you have ever read the mythologies of past cultures, they are full of wondrous and unbelievable tales of long-lost races, battling gods and supernatural conflicts.

It is often said, however, that myth and legend have tidbits of truth. The problem is that many people will mine myth looking for something they supports their preconceived notion. Often those notions are reinterpreting the past through the glasses of the present.

There is a popular image of an Egyptian hieroglyph bandied about that supposedly depicts electricity in the ancient world. The images are often poor reproductions of the real thing. Close-up photos of the actual panels quickly shows the Egyptians aren’t holding light-bulbs connected to a power system. There are many mysteries in the past, but when researchers do such poor presentation in their “evidence,” scholars are quickly turned off even if there are other valid theories presented.

Uncovering the lost technologies and knowledge of the ancients is a popular, and valid, field of research, but it is pockmarked by the strange. Sure, even in the mainstream, theories come and go and acceptance of new ideas often goes through an inordinate level of scrutiny. But when people see spaceships and aliens in ancient carvings, is that what is really there, or are we seeing what we want to see?

Sometimes our skepticism makes us miss the trees in the forest. The Viking sagas and their tales of journeys to the new world were once thought myth. Not anymore. That doesn’t mean cyclops or ogres once existed, but the Troy of Homer’s Odyssey certainly did. How can we tell the difference? Compare an account of Columbus’ voyage next to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Most anyone will see the difference. Is it always that clear? Usually it is or you will at least be able to pull out the fantastical from the potentially real.

We shouldn’t accept every theory without reservation. By the same token, it would be a mistake to exclude all fantastic happenings from history simply because we don’t understand them.

Studying history, afterall, is a thinking enterprise.

Categories: Critical Thinking, Legend, Mysteries | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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