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re: early Egyptian records

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  • Chris
    On the topic of lost civilizations, German archaeologist Gunter Dreyer has pushed back the date of early Egyptian history. Not only discovering the earliest
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 1969
      On the topic of lost civilizations, German archaeologist Gunter Dreyer has
      pushed back the date of early Egyptian history. Not only discovering the
      earliest hieroglyphs (before it developed into a systematic written
      language) he also found evidence of early tombs and underground chambers
      like those beneath the pyramids-- but predating them by at least six hundred
      years.

      Here is an excerpt from the program I recently watched, "Atlantis
      Uncovered". The title is a play on words: not *dis*covered-- uncovered.

      * * *

      NARRATOR: The English pottery marked the moment when foreigners arrived in
      this part of America. The test is the same for the hallmarks of ancient
      civilisation, like pyramids or writing. If they were brought by an Atlantian
      super-race they should appear suddenly superimposed on Stone Age life with
      no precursors, but if the local people created them there should be slow
      steps of development over thousands of years. When archaeologists study the
      greatest symbols of civilisation what do they find? The pyramids of Egypt
      were built as tombs for the Pharaohs. Most celebrated are those at Giza,
      built around 2,500BC, but these are not the first. What came before was
      puzzling. At Dahshur are two earlier pyramids, one of them so misshapen it's
      known as the Bent Pyramid.

      DR TOBY WILKINSON (University of Cambridge): Both these pyramids were built
      by one King, by King Sneferu and he came to this site and started on the
      pyramid behind us called the Bent Pyramid. As his masons were working up the
      pyramid they discovered that in fact there were certain structural problems.
      The desert surface here is very unstable. They'd also been very slapdash
      about how they put the blocks together and so the structure started to
      subside and it was decided then at that point to start a new pyramid, which
      we call the Red Pyramid, to the north.

      NARRATOR: Sneferu's builders didn't seem to know what they were doing.

      TOBY WILKINSON: We can actually tell why King Sneferu's builders ran into
      problems here, if we look at the state of these blocks. They were using very
      poor quality mortar and they were setting the core blocks in a very
      haphazard way and we know that they learnt their lessons because when they
      started to build the Red Pyramid they used better quality mortar, they set
      the blocks more carefully and they founded the pyramid on a foundation of
      limestone to give it extra structural rigidity.

      NARRATOR: If these pyramids were the work of Atlantians they must have been
      dodgy builders, but Egyptologists have another explanation. They see the
      Bent Pyramid as clear evidence of the Egyptians learning to build through a
      process of trial and error, and there are pyramids even older than the Bent
      Pyramid. The step pyramid at Saqqara is a smaller and simpler structure. A
      whole century before Giza, the first of many steps towards perfection.

      TOBY WILKINSON: It's certainly true that pyramids do evolve and one can
      trace the evolution of them through the step pyramid and finally to the true
      pyramids that we see behind us. They didn't appear fully-fledged overnight.

      NARRATOR: But if the Atlantians didn't bring the art of pyramid building,
      how did the idea begin? Archaeologists believe the answer lies 250 miles
      south along the Nile, in a place more mysterious still: Abydos, the ancient
      capital of Egypt. Gunter Dreyer has spent the last 20 years excavating at
      Abydos. Hidden away in the desert, this seemed an unpromising place to look
      for the origins of the great pyramids.

      DR GUNTER DREYER (German Archaeological Institute, Cairo): At the beginning
      it was a little bit a risk. We didn't know what we might find. In
      archaeology you try. You may suppose things, but better try and look.

      NARRATOR: When Dreyer began to excavate he came upon something unexpected,
      something more than 600 years older than Giza.

      GUNTER DREYER: The first trial trench we came upon a very large tomb, very
      large tomb indeed, of a size we never expected for that period. When we dug
      and the first wall came out we had the tomb there and then another chamber
      beside the first one, and another, and another. It didn't stop.

      NARRATOR: An underground tomb with chambers that had once been full of
      treasure. A simple version of what lies below the pyramids. This was proof
      of a tradition stretching back centuries. Dreyer has now excavated hundreds
      of tombs at Abydos. They began with simple pits in the ground and slowly
      progressed to great underground monuments.

      GUNTER DREYER: So from the very first tombs of that size it developed over
      1,000 years to that size and the next step to the pyramids is not a bigger
      one than those we have seen before.

      NARRATOR: Other teams at Abydos excavated monuments built above ground.
      Compared to the pyramid sites they showed remarkable similarities. The same
      bricks laid in the same way to build the same style of walls with doorways
      in the same positions. Abydos had revealed a thousand year record of
      incremental steps leading towards the pyramids, the mark of a gradual, local
      development. There was no trace of Atlantis. But these revelations don't
      explain the mystery at the heart of the Atlantian argument: the strange
      coincidence that pyramids were also built on the other side of the Atlantic.
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