Akhenaton’s many identities

Answers in Genesis has a new page entitled “Chapter 21: Akhenaten-and Nefertititi the Beautiful” . This is part of a series claiming to show “How Egyptian Archaeology confirms the Biblical Timeline.”

Naturally, the article doesn’t “confirm” anything of the kind, even for those who have never doubted for a moment that the Bible is a historical record of the early Jews rather than the writings of a god.

Indeed, it is rather cheering that AIG feel compelled to search out dull old scientific secular evidence. Blimey, it’s almost as if they suspect that all answers can’t be found in Genesis…..

My knowledge of the book of Genesis is close to absolute zero. Still, I would be surprised if it has a mention of Akhenaton and Nefertiti. My knowledge of Akhenaton and Nefertiti is hardly more comprehensive than my knowledge of Genesis, based as it is on Discovery Channel output and a liking for the beautiful sounds of their names.

Hence, I googled “akhenaton in genesis”, on the offchance that Google would come up with biblical Verse x that mentioned this specific Pharaoh. No luck with that project, as yet. But there are plenty of (hmm, what shall I call them, ah ..) original thinkers.

  • A book by Ralph Ellis claims that Adam and Eve were actually Akhenaton and Nefertiti.
  • Joseph Tasset claimed that Ahkenaton was Abraham.
  • Thomas Mann wrote a novel, Joseph and His Brothers, in which Abraham worked for Akhenaton. (Note that this has the decency to be a novel, rather than a wild claim, but the idea was apparently based on the work of 19th century German scholars)
  • In Moses and Monotheism, Sigmund Freud suggested that Moses was a follower of Akhenaton.
  • There’s a whole blog devoted to connecting Moses and Akhenaton. (I dare not mock, as it now seems that I am guilty of producing a blog post on the same demented topic) His or her theme is expressed in “Did Moses and the Ten Plagues Influence Akhenaten to Convert to Monotheism?” This certainly implies a belief that Akhenaton predated Moses.
  • The World of Jah has a complex comments discussion about whether Moses predated or post-dated Akhenaton.
    I am in awe at the detailed study of chronologies from thousands of years ago and am tempted to see this site as Answers in Exodus, which comes with the built-in advantages over its longer-established brother, AIG, of having a better soundtrack and no known currency with the religious right.

So far, Akhenaton has been revealed as Adam, Abraham, Abraham’s boss, a follower of Moses, and someone who was followed by Moses.

There may be a theme developing, here. All of Akhenaton’s noms de Bible start with A. Hmm. Might I lobby for Ajax, Alexander the Great, Aristotle and Archimedes? I know they’re not actually in the Old testament but they are really ancient.

I balk at reading the remaining 25,000 or so results. If you look for Answers in Genesis, it seems you may find many more than you bargained for, each one pretty well as valid as the next…..

Things for the USA to attack

TW’s last post referred to the New Scientist report that archaeologists are displaying common decency and refusing to list monuments to be protected in the event of a US strike on Iran.

Clearly, America hates anywhere that starts with the letters “IR”

And needs help to draw up attack maps. I will do the job that the archaeologists are too humane to do and list places that the US might like to attack:

  • Iraq (Sorry, too late, they already thought of that )
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • the Iroquois nation (Sorry, too late)

Well there’s only Ireland left. And I don’t think it’s overburdened with recognised world-class archaeological sites to obstruct the handily disposable population. Be very afraid, people of Dublin. (Dublin museum has some fantastic Viking era relics but the site they came from has already been dug up, with an office block stuck over it. The artefacts are all in the museum, in handily lootable form.)

Don’t worry, USA. I checked your own states and only 4 even start with the letter “I” (Idaho, Illinois,Indiana, Iowa) However, I don’t want to worry the citizens of these states but you may be next in the frame after Ireland. Or at least, after wars have been waged against Italy (Luckily for Italy, it has way too much archaeology to be a first strike choice), Iceland, Indonesia and the Isle of Man. Oh, and Israel… (well maybe not that one.)

A few more suggestions for quick and easy wins, thanks to online dictionaries and wikapedia:

  • Irish stew (an Irish excursion should do for this without using any extra firepower)
  • Iridium (some sort of chemical. No idea if this is actually part of weapons tech but that would be killing two birds with one stone if it was)
  • Ira Gershwin (He seems to be dead though.)
  • Irenaeus 2nd century bishop of Lugdunum, Gaul (He’s likely to be already dead too. He may even count as archaeology.)
  • Irapuã – a municipality in São Paulo state (seems to have population of 6,000 or so, barely worth the effort)
  • Irony
    (Not much good. You can’t wage war on an abstract noun, can you? Oh sorry, yes, you can. Terror. Drugs. Obesity, even. Ok irony stays in)

Old road to ruin

Charges were dropped against 6 people who were arrested in July, when they protested at a council meeting against the remains of the 4,000 year-old Rotherwas Ribbon being buried under a road.

The road building is going ahead. Hereford Council has a site with its news. It seems that, after unsuccessfully and half-heartedly trying to pass it off as a natural artefact, the council’s arguments are:

  • the roadbuilding uncovered it in the first place;
  • they’ve done everything they reasonably could to get it investigated;
  • covering it up won’t do it any harm;
  • moving the road would damage other nearby sites;
  • the cabinet office says go ahead with the road as fast as possible

All reasonable points. It still seems a pity that we have to discard irreplaceable treasures just to make yet another road.

There is interesting information on the Ribbon on the Megalithic Portal written by one of the people in our blogroll at the right, Alun Salt from clioaudio

He says:

Archaeologists believe this major find may have no parallels in Europe, with the closest similar artefact being the 2,000-year-old serpent mounds of the Ohio river valley in America.

Real royalty?

On Discovery Civilisation (UK version) today, Tony Robinson claimed to have unearthed the “real” heir to the British throne. (I assume this was a repeat of old programme, which I never saw. Noone needs to catch history and science programmes on terrestrial TV if they have cable…)

Humbug! “Real” heir to the throne, indeed? It turned out to be an English Lord somebody who was living in the Australian desert. As an English Lord, albeit no longer owning stately acreage, it was hardly a surprise to him that he was an aristocrat. He hardly needed the genetic fingerprinting, but it got thrown in anyway , so the progarmme seemed more like serious science.

This is the sort of nonsense that passes for history programmes on TV. How do you define “real heir” to the throne? It appears you

  • ignore 6 centuries of history, in which the monarchy was abolished and reinstated, and in which contenders to the throne have been imported from Holland or brought as marriage partners from Greece and Germany
  • assume the House of Windsor (nee Battenburg) is somehow functionally identical with the House of Tudor
  • go back no further than the Plantagents. No need for stressful searching out of Harald’s family or Cnut’s or Aelfred’s, let alone the descendants of Boudicca and the other pre-Roman ruling families
  • base your whole claim on one missing marriage from the times of the Plantagenets
  • assume the whole nature of royalty is passed on in the blood rather than struggled over in the real world

This is taking the history – the struggles over power and wealth – out of History and replacing it with a strange genetic determinist alternative pesudohistory.

I have ranted before about how TV archeaology’s 3-day-limited bulldozing of sites makes it necessary to find something amazing everywhere – or at least to make an impressive 3-d graphic reconstruction if the best find is a chipped piece of pot.

Is there now also an audience for this absurd genetic determinism? Some dumbing down is more than stupid. It can distort the very nature of how we understand history and society.

You were good in BlackAdder, Tony. In fact, you can get a better understanding of the past from the average Black Adder episode than from 30 Time Team episodes or, Toutatis forbid, Real Royal Family shows.

Silbury Hill to get stuffed

This blog (as a collective being) loves megalithic structures and sites.

So, it was interesting to read on clioaudio‘s excellent blog and in an English Heritage press release that Silbury Hill is being excavated.

Ironically,the half-arsed attempts to nose around in Silbury Hill were what is putting it at risk, after about 4000 years of being pretty solid. It’s a pyramid shaped man-made hill so it was inherently steady.

It was dug into by the Duke of Northumberland, in 1777, and by a Professor Atkinson, in the 1960s. The shafts they dug have made the monument unstable. Hence English Heritage is going in to shore it up with concrete. Hmm.

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If you were ever entranced by reading HP Lovecraft or Victorian horror stories as a kid you will know that the word “necropolis” has a fascinating but chilling power. ** This news item is for you.

A BBC reports archaeological discoveries in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo. It is estimated that only about a third of the finds in the site have been discovered.

These are three to four thousand year sold and include a carved wooden sarcophagus (another fantastic word) and the tombs of a royal scribe and a butler.
There are sketchy pictures on the BBC site but the paintings and carving still look amazing.

It seems a little ironic. Ancient Egyptian culture was so focussed on preparing for the afterlife that bodies and artefacts can revealed as fresh to us, who live almost an eternity, in human terms, after them.* So the technology was pretty effective, it’s just the god stuff that didn’t quite pan out.

Although, ancient Egyptian gods are generally pretty engaging, with their jackal heads, and so on. And they kept plenty of artists and builders in work. It’s a pity at least some of them aren’t still around.

* In fact, from the creationist perspective they might have almost predated the creation of the universe, unless I’ve mixed up whatever 4,000 years is. (Maybe it was 4,000 BC. I am buggered if I am going to pay enough attention to the rantings to find out) That makes it an actual eternity. It makes you wonder why the Abrahamic world-religion God started out with a people who didn’t even recognise him, let alone pay constant obeisance to him. You think he’d have demanded a few first-born son sacrifices or handed out rules cut into stone or something, not just damned them as unchosen.

**And yes, I know all that Victorian exotica and horror stuff was a mixture of imperialism and childlike fascination with the Orient. Edward Said was completely right to criticise it. And the Victorian distortion applies to all history, the Victorian story-telling that turned snippets of historical information into myths, (Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Vikings, and all). The knowledge doesn’t stop it having power over the imagination, though.