(Half) Truth I & II began as a series of private exchanges
between Chris Ogilvie-Herald and his-co-author Ian Lawton, authors
of the book of (almost) that name, and myself and Robert Schoch.
This quickly escalated in both heat and number of participants.
At a certain point I realized that the entire exchange, effectively
unedited (long-winded though it may be) could be of value for
those sufficiently interested in the procedure of establishing
a new paradigm. Here is the detailed, inside, day-to-day, blow-by-blow
insight into Life on the Academic Babblefield. If we are right,
and ancient history has to be totally rewritten, those of you
who bother to follow this will get a good idea of what ALWAYS
attends the establishment of anything new in science and scholarship.
victors will write the story in word-bytes (Galileo good; Church
bad) but it's never, ever that simple. In and of itself, the
exchanges should go a long way toward disabusing ANYONE of the
delusion that science and scholarship are rational pursuits
with Truth as the objective -- this pertains particularly to
those who call themselves rational and who talk most about 'critical
thinking', 'detailed analysis' and especially THE TRUTH.
I will get around to writing my book about the entire long quest,
and much else besides. But space will forbid devoting more than
a couple of pages to this present skirmish. Yet, at least as
well as any other it underscores, (for those with patience to
wade through it all) the nitty-gritty of the process in action.
Bismarck once said that 'laws are like sausages. You should
not watch them being made'. Good line. Equally applicable to
science and scholarship, but in this case, for the reasons detailed
above, I think it's useful to watch them being made, as long
as it doesn't put you off them for life. So I must thank Ogilvie-Herald
and Lawton for inadvertently goading me into this little exercise.
It's refreshing to be able to thank them for something. Giza:
The (Half ) Truth I & II will shortly be followed by Part
III and that will be followed by further updates as the ongoing
on, gentle (and I hope patient!) reader.
New Millennium All !
is an ongoing series of e-mails between myself (and one from Robert
Bauval to Chris Ogilvie-Herald and Ian Lawton, authors of the
volume modestly entitled GIZA: THE TRUTH (an act either
of boundless effrontery --given the controversies swirling around
that plateau for two full centuries- or of equally unadulterated
hucksterism, or both) a work of exhaustive but largely bogus and
highly selective Egyptology designed to trash the 'Lost Civilization'
and myself have been invited to provide a rebuttal of their
rebuttal. The rest of what follows is, I like to think, more
or less self-explanatory. In any event, here it is.
the event that what you read makes you want to run out to buy
this volume to see for yourself, I applaud your sense of objectivity,
but nonetheless suggest you wait a few months - until the paperback
is out and duly remaindered at which point you can pick it up
cheap, without supporting these authors' efforts.
From Chris Ogilvie, co-author, with Ian Lawton, of GIZA:
THE (HALF) TRUTH:
and I are in the process of updating our book for the paperback
edition, which will be published in April 2000. Although the
deadline for revisions to the main chapters has now passed we
have until January 14 to update the Epilogue. If either you
or Robert Schoch have any comments on, or disagree with, the
issues that we have raised regarding the age of the Sphinx debate
then we would be happy to present those comments in the Epilogue.
am currently building a web site where I would like to present
the arguments for or against the various theories such as the
Orion correlation and the age of the Sphinx. Ian has recently
been having some constructive debate with Robert Bauval re the
Orion theory and also with Christopher Dunn regarding 'ancient
machine technology'. This correspondence has taken place on
two separate web sites, The
Daily Grail and the Atlantis
Rising forum. We both believe these and other issues
would be better presented on dedicated pages within one web
site. My question is; would either you or Robert Schoch be willing
to contribute once I have the site up and running?
the meantime I hope you are well and look forward to hearing
from you soon.
JAW to Ogilvie
a message dated 12/15/99 6:41:58 PM Eastern Standard Time, Chris
Ogilvie writes: "If either you or Robert Schoch have any comments
on, or disagree with, the issues that we have raised regarding
the age of the Sphinx debate then we would be happy to present
those comments in the Epilogue."
will be unsurprised to learn that we find little merit in the
arguments you raise re: the redating of the Sphinx.
a pity your stingy publishers couldn't see their way to a review
copy for Schoch. This is what review copies are for. I have
just sent Schoch my copy of your book and we will discuss the
value of publishing a joint response once he reads the relevant
passages.. I appreciate the opportunity.
we choose to respond, is there a word limit? And can I have
from you in writing a promise to publish whatever we may write
intact and unedited?
I append a bit of a comment from one of my correspondents (never
met the fellow) which might interest you. I suspect it reflects
what any intelligent reader, with some knowledge of the controversy,
read "Giza: The Truth". I presume you have. What did
you think? I found their "analysis" to be quite biased, and
self-righteous. It bothered me that they would scrutinize certain
evidence scientifically, then later, for example with Domingo's
evidence, they take the "non-forensic" point of view to come
to a conclusion. A bit of a double standard, I should think.
I can't help but imagine that they are guilty of looking at
evidence and examining it to fit their pre-formed opinion..."
a message Chris Ogilvie writes: "This correspondence has taken
place on two separate web sites, 'The Daily Grail' and the 'Atlantis
Rising' forum. We both believe these and other issues would
be better presented on dedicated pages within one web site.
My question is; would either you or Robert Schoch be willing
to contribute once I have the site up and running?"
(on my part) but I wouldn't close the door a priori. I cc'd
Schoch your email. He can respond as he sees fit.
12/15/99 From Chris Ogilvie to John Anthony West
undoubtedly will be a word limit as the Epilogue is only some
eleven pages in length. We are devoting most of those pages
to events that have transpired since the publication of the
hardcover. So on reflection I doubt if a page, or perhaps two,
would be sufficient space for a joint response. But then again
I did originally make the offer some two months ago and did
not receive a reply.
am sure there are many intelligent readers that do have comments
regarding our book. One of which is Colin Reader who viewed
our book in a very positive light. I understand from him that
he sent Schoch and yourself a copy of his paper. Therefore,
I think you would agree that he does have a great deal of 'knowledge
of the controversy' and that the value of his comments rate
somewhat higher than those of a fellow you had never met.
will be speaking to Ian at the weekend and discuss with him
how much space we can give should you both choose to respond.
From Ian Lawton to John Anthony West, etc.
a quick note to let you know that I have now developed the "Giza:
The Truth" Discussion Site, which can be found at the following
contains various correspondences I have had with fellow researchers
regarding some of the theories discussed in the book. For example:
are currently two "debates" in progress, one on "Advanced Machining"
with Chris Dunn, and the other on the "Orion Correlation" with
is an initial posting from Chris and I dealing with the possibility
of "Sonic Levitation" in the raising of the huge monoliths used
in the construction of the main temples on the Plateau, which
I hope will generate a new debate in this important area.
am hoping that in due course I will be able to post some responses
to our support of the orthodox position regarding the "Age of
the Sphinx" and the "Age of the Pyramids", subject to the relevant
researchers joining the fray.
is a free site, the aim of which is to allow serious researchers
and more discerning members of the public to have access to
considered and respectful interactive debates as they develop
in relation to these highly publicised issues. A such I hope
it will provide a valuable addition to the "free for all" of
live debates, and to the uncontrolled environment of open discussion
of you who run a web site of your own might like to provide
a link to it, or you might know someone else who would. Alternatively
you might just want to take a look every now and then to see
if you find it valuable.
for your time
Lawton to John Anthony West
I could just add a little to the response Chris sent to your
said "You will be unsurprised to learn that we find little merit
in the arguments you raise re: the redating of the Sphinx."
I'm not surprised!
said,"It's a pity your stingy publishers couldn't see their
way to a review copy for Schoch. This is what review copies
are for. I have just sent Schoch my copy of your book and we
will discuss the value of publishing a joint response once he
reads the relevant passages.. I appreciate the opportunity."
apologies - you are right, they were pretty stingy (for what
it's worth that goes for our advance too!).
said, "If we choose to respond, is there a word limit? And can
I have from you in writing a promise to publish whatever we
may write intact and unedited?"
are really two issues here. As Chris has already indicated,
we do not have a great deal of space for the paperback update
(thanks to me being long-winded it is already rather too long).
However, you will know from Chris' previous e-mail and from
my own more general e-mail which I have recently sent to yourself
and Robert, that I have now set up a web site which incorporates
discussions with, for example, Chris Dunn and Robert Bauval.
Although we are in basic opposition to the theories of both
of these two, I feel it is important that all of us can discuss
our differences and amend the details of our position, even
if not our eventual conclusions (although I do not feel this
should be ruled out on either side), as we see fit and as the
discussions unfold. Therefore, for example, Robert has convinced
me that the use of Skyglobe for the measuring of the angles
of the belt stars at 10,500 BC is inappropriate, and I shall
note this important point accordingly in the update even though
I cannot incorporate the entirety of our correspondence. However
that will also be available unedited on the web site for people
to judge for themselves whether or not I have been fair in my
"editing" for the book.
hope this might allay any fears you have about the value of
responding to us.
said, "Below, I append a bit of a comment from one of my correspondents
(never met the fellow) which might interest you. I suspect it
reflects what any intelligent reader, with some knowledge of
the controversy, would conclude. [etc. see above]"
a quick word on this if I may. You may recall that you and I
corresponded by e-mail a few times in the middle of last year,
during which time I made it quite clear that at that time I
supported yours and Robert's attempts to redate the Sphinx.
However I had not then researched the issue properly for myself,
and nor had Chris. When we did do this for the book we found
our conclusions changing until they reached the stage you see
them in the book. I think it is therefore undeniable that we
did not come from a preconceived position. However, for what
it is worth, I have had a lengthy debate since with Colin Reader
(whose paper I believe has been sent to you both), and am probably
more open-minded about the age of the Sphinx and Valley Temples
now than I was when we wrote the book (although he does not
attempt to take the dating back as far as either of you). He
has not convinced me fully yet, but I will certainly be covering
his theories in the update. This is of course what constructive
and civil debate can achieve.
final word. I would love for you to be right about the age of
the Sphinx, and indeed am still open-minded about the possibility
of previous highly advanced civilizations. But I made a promise
to myself at the outset that I would report what I found in
each area of study as a result of my own research, rather than
what I would like to find to fit into a preconceived plan. I
hope you can at least respect this standpoint.
best regards and seasons greetings
discussion is already much longer than I want it to be.
Lawton said, "I would love for you to be right about the age
of the Sphinx, and indeed am still open-minded about the possibility
of previous highly advanced civilizations."
ARE right about the age of the Sphinx. The argument is very,
very, very simple. Nothing explains the weathering to the enclosure
wall, drastically more deeply weathered on its western end than
its eastern end, EXCEPT rain, lots and lots of rain, over long
periods of time. Until that can be explained within the context
of dynastic Egypt, (and it cannot be) the theory stands intact;
Reader is, as Chris notes, 'knowledgeable'. So is Lehner, and
so are Gauri, Harrell, Zahi and El-Baz. All are in sharp disagreement
with each other. Their rebuttals are mutually exclusive, and
all are dead, demonstrably, and quite comically wrong. You both
have selected the bits and pieces you liked (from each of these
untenable and mutually exclusive arguments) that seem to discount
individual elements within the theory to support your own position.
If this is not consciously preconceived on your part, it was
in Chris's case perhaps, let us say, subliminally preconceived.
Good soldier that he was for all those years, long training
has made it impossible for him to do anything other than carry
out orders without question and to defend the faith, whatever
that may be.
simple phone call discussing your mutual growing 'misgivings'
about the weathering would have resolved it long ago. Chris
was picking my brain mercilessly (sometimes even on my nickel,
if I recall correctly!) as he was researching your book, but
stopped (evidently) when he found what he wanted.
you had not been able to fudge away the weathering argument
to your own satisfaction, you would, in fact, have been obliged
to support the entire 'lost civilization' hypothesis -- even
if bits and pieces of it (e.g.: the astronomical argument) did
not seem to fit in as neatly as originally thought. In that
case, you would not have had much of a book to write. Sorry,
that's what it looks like to me -- and will look like in due
course to anyone following the progress of the theory from inception
to general acceptance in the not so distant future.
still do not yet have from you or Chris an agreement to publish
a response from Schoch and myself, at whatever length you may
allot us, complete and unedited, and I'd appreciate that courtesy
before taking this any further.
am disinclined to enter your chatroom online discussion and
take up my time to provide you with lively free copy to promote
your book. If it proves necessary, I much prefer to deal with
your arguments, such as they are, in my own way, on my own site
or book, and in my own good time. But I thank you nevertheless
for the invitation.
the way, I much enjoyed your forward re: Mustapha Kunt,
though I did not need to be forewarned of its inherent humor.
I'd have figured that out for myself. I also appreciate your
modesty regarding your own level of amateur literary professionalism.
I make no such modest claims for myself.
I have said earlier in one of my postings on The
Daily Grail, I have no intention of fueling what is
a blatant attempt to hype commercial ventures disguised as 'debate'.
I have, as a matter of fact, my new website coming up soon for
precisely this purpose and I also think that The Daily Grail
and The Noise
Room provide sufficient forum for these issues.
think I'll have to be blunt with you. The more I see your eagerness
to draw everyone in an open 'debate', the more I sense the green
eyed monster lurking behind the curtain. I confess that my general
view of your book GIZA THE TRUTH is that it really brings
nothing new to consider other than what is an obvious attempt
to create hype with a hodgepodge of amateurish scholarship and
self-righteousness. Your one-sided line of investigation is
too obvious for words. For example, I have previously pointed
out to you that had you bothered to verify Gantenbrink's accusation
regarding my involvement with his discovery, you would have
been obliged to present the story in a quite different light.
I am also appalled that you quoted from personal e-mails I sent
to Ralph Ellis during the Appleby saga in order to drive you
distorted opinion that I have what you deem to be a sort of
very twisted and profiteering attitude towards the new millennium.
Apart from breaching copyright and confidentiality, you placed
my e-mail totally out of context at the end of your book.
on you in trying to pass this off as 'research' and unbiased
presentation. I simply do not trust you on such matters. Having
given careful thought to your 'discussion site', I see it as
nothing more than another attempt to create hype for sales for
yourself and your publishers. I thus withdraw my support to
your Website and your paperback edition, and ask you to refrain
from using any of my material forthwith. As surprising as this
may seem, I do not consider you worthy to orchestrate this debate,
and would rather deal with you in my own way and my own time.
An exchange between Robert Bauval and Ian Lawton, then one between
Ogilvie-Herald and myself. After that, a post from me to Schoch
and from Schoch to me.
an e-mail from Ian Lawton to Robert Bauval
nice to see that you have not lost your infamous capacity for
dramatic u-turns, although the timing and reasoning behind this
one are not immediately obvious.
Bauval said, "As I have said earlier in one of my postings on
The Daily Grail, I have no intention of fueling what is a blatant
attempt to hype commercial ventures disguised as 'debate'. I
have, as a matter of fact, my new website coming up soon for
precisely this purpose."
Robert, does that mean that your web site will in fact be a
"blatant attempt to hype commercial ventures disguised (sic)
Bauval said, "and I also think that the Daily Grail and the
Noise Room provide sufficient forum for these issues."
couldn't agree more - all I am trying to do in addition is provide
a location in which ALL the various debates I am currently having
can be accessed in one place. You are not the only person I
am corresponding with - for example my discussions with Chris
Dunn originally commenced on an obscure thread of the Atlantis
Rising forum, but he and I then agreed to place them
on our own web sites. I was not suggesting that we continue
our particular debate in any other way than we have started
it - on The Daily Grail - merely that I include this material unedited on my own site
as well. You clearly had absolutely no problem with this before,
judging by your constructive e-mail to me of the 15th Dec -
so why the sudden change of tack? Is it because I included some
positive reviews of our book on the site - if so I have already
agreed in discussion with Chris to move them to a separate page,
even though I hardly think the overall tenor of the main page
is blatant commercialism, and certainly contains nothing that
you or any other authors with their own web site would not place
therein. Or is it, and let me be blunt with you now, because
you cannot refute the two major pieces of evidence which I use
in my rebuttal - the ones you have consistently avoided about
the relative sizes of Mintaka and the Third Pyramid, and the
extensive replanning of the Second and Third Pyramids?
Bauval said, "Having given careful thought to your 'discussion
site', I see it as nothing more than another attempt to create
hype for sales for yourself and your publishers."
I can assure you that we are quite satisfied with our sales
to the knowledgeable "internet audience" already. "Giza:
The Truth" has spent many weeks now in the top 10 of Amazon
UK's non-fiction list, without the help of a web site. You have
every right to question our motives ad nauseam, but at the end
of the day you will not entice Chris or I into a slanging match.
We will let our work speak for itself on that score. However
we will reserve the right wherever we see fit to point out that,
having been happy to engage in constructive debate for a short
while, you have now seen fit to revert to attacking the messenger
when you cannot successfully attack the message.
Bauval said, "I thus withdraw my support to your Website and
your paperback edition, and ask you to refrain from using any
of my material forthwith. As surprising as this may seem, I
do not consider you worthy to orchestrate this debate, and would
rather deal with you in my own way and my own time."
you suggesting that I should now remove your previous correspondence
from my site, having given such obvious agreement earlier? Do
you not think this would look somewhat strange to people? As
it is, you have already placed me in the awkward position whereby
if you refuse to carry on the debate in the same spirit as before
I will have to post something on my site explaining that you
suddenly pulled out having resolutely avoided my two main arguments,
and let people draw their own conclusions.
ball is in your court.
wishes as ever
an e-mail from Robert Bauval to Ian Lawton
are welcome to leave the already published material on your
Website copyrighted to me. I will , however, contribute no further.
You are welcome to think what you please about my decision,
but I assure you it has nothing to do with avoiding the 'message'
(which is pretty weak, quite honestly, as I shall prove in due
course). You can, however, announce, if you wish, that I am
planning a new edition of The Orion Mystery --which will
be known as The
Orion Mystery Revisited. I also intend to publish articles
in recognized journals and periodicals. These are the legitimate
routes to deal with this matter and to take into account all
worthy criticism and flaws in a proper and orderly way --and
not in this Internet boudoir style which you nice chaps call
a 'discussion site'. Meanwhile, quite frankly, I'm getting pretty
bored with your tit-for-tat dialogue. So proceed without me
Ogilvie writes: John Anthony West. Ogilvie's post is included
in full, with my responses to its various issues. JAW.
Ogilvie: "Are you suggesting that without having read your response
we make a promise to include it in our paperback edition - whatever
it may say?"
Of course. If I critiqued your work in a book of my own, and
you were dissatisfied with my presentation, I would be delighted
to print your response unedited and unread. Though admittedly
I would not be at risk through such an offer. Given your proven
writing and scholarship skills, you could only dig yourselves
in deeper. And I would have the last word anyway, since it would
be my book. No? In any case, the latter also applies to you
and your book. At least in principle. You have the final word.
What are you afraid of? If I go after the messenger instead
of the message, well, all you have to do is point this out and
let your readers come to their own conclusions -- though in
your case the messenger IS the message ... or, to paraphrase
Yeats, "Who can tell the messenger from the message"
Ogilvie: "I'm sure Zahi Hawass would have LOVED that opportunity
in one of your own books."
Had I thought of it, I'd have offered it. Maybe I will for some
upcoming reprint, or in the forthcoming foreign language editions
of Serpent in the Sky. Good idea! Thanks ... Anyway,
Zahi et al had ample opportunity to reply uncut and unedited
in various Egyptological and mainstream publications and media
and did so. That's how the game should be played. You want a
response from us (good publicity!) but reserve the right to
edit? Are you serious?
Ogilvie: "When we made our original offer there was still time
to make revisions to the main text but you chose to ignore that
offer and, as you say, not 'bother' to reply. If you had replied
then we would have considered the merits of what you had to
say and made changes to the chapter if we believed it was warranted.
But that deadline came and went. Now that you have responded
to our second offer you appear to be suggesting unrealistic
restrictions by imposing a complete editorial ban. I find it
most bizarre that you would expect any author, or publisher
for that matter, to print your response 'complete and unedited'
without first having read the actual article. We had believed,
naively perhaps, that you would respond to us on matters relating
to issues of theory and not resort to acrimony such as that
displayed in a resent posting, to a 'select' group of recipients,
in which you wrote:
said, 'Below is an ongoing series of e-mails between myself
(and one from Robert Bauval) to Chris Ogilvie-Herald and Ian
Lawton, authors of a volume modestly entitled GIZA: THE TRUTH (an act either of boundless effrontery --given the controversies
swirling around that plateau for two full centuries-- or of
equally unadulterated hucksterism, or both) a work of exhaustive
but largely bogus and highly selective Egyptology designed to
trash the 'Lost Civilization' theory.'
Ogilvie: "If this is the kind of 'response' we can expect? Then
our caution in accepting your conditions is, in our opinion,
entirely valid. It maybe Christmas John but we're not really
into surprise packages. So if you can manage to apply the same
amount of time and effort into a response that we can actually
read, as you have put into copying our various correspondences
to your select group and attempting to force unreasonable restrictions
on us, we could move this issue a little further down the line.
Again: see above.
said, 'Given your demonstrable facility for selective editing
(e.g. failing to acknowledge the power of the forensic work
of Frank Domingo re: the Khafre/Sphinx facial correspondence;
giving only Rudolph [the Red-Nosed] Gantenbrink's side of the
Upuat robot brouhaha, etc., etc., etc.) and your willful or
just plain ignorant misrepresentations of carefully constructed
theories and chains of evidence, I would not give you two license
to edit my shopping list, much less my scholarly response. You
did not run your draft rebuttal by me for comment prior to publishing
your book, did you?'
Ogilvie: "(Oh, by the way, your use of the word 'effrontery'
seems to imply that we were insolent even to question your theory,
is that an ego thing or just a typo?)"
It implies no such thing, and it is not a typo. I would not
have thought it possible to misunderstand my intention, but
on second thought, since you misunderstand everything else,
I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise. My response has nothing
to do with your handling of my theory. I am implying / suggesting
/ stating that the complexities of Giza are such that any book
claiming to reveal The Truth (the whole truth and nothing but
the truth?) is an act of 'boundless effrontery' and/or hucksterism.
When this claim is made by a brace of semi-literate amateurs
(in the most pejorative sense of that word) the effrontery takes
on comic overtones, but remains effrontery nonetheless.
post and Lawton's recent post to Bauval now go to my select
list as well, as you see above, and I am cc'ing it to you. No
Christmas surprises there.
for something unrelated the other day, I came across your (Chris's)
post purporting to account for the weathering of the Sphinx
enclosure wall within Dynastic times (sent by you to Ray
Grasse, former editor of the American Quest magazine, the
Theosophical Society's magazine and cc'd by Ray to me, 9/17/99).
To your credit, your explanation is no worse than those put
forward by people who actually have some knowledge of such matters,
and therefore should know better, (and yet decline to look through
the proffered West/Schoch geoscope to see what is unmistakably
clear to large numbers of other people, many with relevant credentials
in various fields of expertise). But your explanation is no
is to say: it is utterly without foundation, based entirely
upon speculation and contradicted by a dozen Facts written large
into the deeply weathered stone of the Sphinx itself as well
as its enclosure wall; by the weathering pattern (or lack of
it) in the Fifth Dynasty tomb of Khamerernebti, immediately
adjacent to the Sphinx, and like it, cut from member II; by
the Northwest corner of the Khentkaus tomb -- deeply pre-weathered
behind intact, indisputably Fourth Dynasty casing stones; by
two deep water-weathered shafts at Saqqara, and by much else
besides. (Attention reader Ogilvie-Herald has declared his 'explanation'
as confidential for reasons I cannot fathom. It will be dealt
with at length and in decorous paraphrase in Giza: The (Half)
takes little time to merely cite the above pieces of evidence;
but it is more complicated and takes much more time to explain
and provide their context within the overall theory. Nevertheless,
if that was your thinking, (what Lawton fondly calls 'analysis')
I could have explained why it is untenable with a phone call,
as suggested to Lawton, (Attention reader ; see Lawton's response
to that suggestion in the first series of communications) But
of course, you did not call. Well, who can blame you? It would
have scuttled your book.
that you will not give us carte blanche to respond to your criticisms
as we see fit, I rather hope this will be the last correspondence
needed between us.
that in mind:
I have nothing much against you personally. We corresponded
on several occasions. I took more time out than I wanted to
take to give you information on a number of complex questions
that you posed. It goes without saying that I don't much care
for the way you used those answers. But it does not matter much. Giza The (Half) Truth will run through its paperback
edition in short order, hit the remainder shelves, and be gone.
If will be remembered, if it is at all, only on the basis of
the several pages I may eventually devote to your interminable,
groundless, and above all, mean-spirited attacks in a forthcoming
book of my own.
note in your bio that are an accountant and race driver. I would
suggest that, in future, you stick to counting beans and racing
bikes. You are obviously better suited to these activities than
you are to scholarship and writing. Were it otherwise you would
long since be broke or dead.
you picked my brain mercilessly on matters of all sorts, and
not just the politics. You had ample opportunity on the two
trips we took together to Egypt to go deep into the many complexities
involved in this research. Instead you took at face value the
wrongheaded rationalizations of a half dozen critics desperate
to shore up at any cost the foundations of an undermined discipline
and to somehow pretend to the world that their egocarts had
not been overturned after all.
it not for the feigned friendship, this would have been perfectly
OK with me; you'd just have been another self-inflated ignoranus [See the last definition from The Washington Post Invitational
contest reprinted as a PS, below] marching blindly and alone
into an academic minefield, fatuously confident of emerging
unscathed with "Giza: The Truth" where all others had
failed. I might have responded or not responded to attack as
the situation seemed to demand.
however, had easy access to me, and to Schoch, to see how we
might meet any objections put up by yourself or by those you
regard as authorities. You declined to make use of that access.
So, as it stands, given those two prior trips together, conversations,
meetings, phone calls, I regard it as a breach of trust and
confidence: I see you (and so will History) as a sneak and an
opportunist; Linda Tripp's twin brother, - though it's possible
your testosterone level does not run as high as hers.
Anthony West to Robert Schoch
Schoch, below is more long-winded palaver re: dreary book. But
I like to think my contribution is sufficiently amusing to make
it worth reading. I did, I think, forward Ogilvie's latest to
you, did I not?
before I send my response, not having the book here, I want
to be sure that these guys short-changed Domingo's work as I
claim they have. Would you have a quick look through the index
and make sure. I'm also very open to any other feedback / comments
you might have.
we can goad them into giving us the carte blanche I insist upon,
then good! If not, then we don't have to waste still more time
preparing a response that they then edit into innocuousness.
So let me know.
Schoch to John Anthony West
just received a message from you (see below), and I also received
one from you yesterday (see even further below). I assume these
are the messages you are referring to when you asked "I did,
I think, forward Ogilvie's latest to you, did I not?"
also just received the copy of the dreary book in the mail.
I will have to force myself to read the relevant parts. If they
will give us carte blanche, then I very much want us to together
coauthor a response (including mention of Coxill and Reader).
If they will not, then I guess we don't write anything for them.
But, can we write something for another outlet? Perhaps even
Rising" or something like that? I would simply like
to have a response out there in print (and I don't consider
web postings "in print" - but if we could get something actually
in print, then it could be posted on the web). Just flipping
through the dreary book quickly, it really is (to put it mildly)
annoying. And it really is wearing on me, at least, going through
all their inane comments and arguments.
are they going to eventually let us know if we should write
something for their book or not?
Domingo's work, according to the index, they mention him only
on pages 333 and 334, but I could find no mention of Domingo
or his work directly on page 334. On page 333 they quote Domingo's
conclusions but then go on to write: [quoting from the book]
at a 'nonforensic' level, Domingo's reconstructions and Khafre's
face from the statue do, from the front at least, look strikingly
similar in our opinion - - except that the Sphinx's jaw is rather
more squared. Turning to the lateral view, once the nose is
reconstructed, the Sphinx's face is nowhere near as negroid-looking
as it usually appears, and indeed if it is tilted forward somewhat
it once again appears very similar in our view. Certainly the
profile of the eyes, nose and lips is remarkably consistent,
even if their relative positions do not match exactly."
nonsense. They are simply making things up, in my opinion. From
their point of view, it seems, any two faces can look the same.
Also, you don't reconstruct a nose to look like what you want
it to look like (I guess they have been taking lessons from
Lehner); you reconstruct a nose based on the evidence of the
remaining portions of the face. At any rate, they certainly
did short-change Domingo's work.
keep forwarding me copies of the exchanges. Just so you know,
I will probably be away from the computer and e-mail for a few
days after Christmas (family obligations). Also, on the recommendation
of knowledgeable colleagues at BU, I plan to shut down and unplug
my computer sometime on December 30th at the latest and not
plug it in or turn it on until January 2nd, 2000, at the earliest.
Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers to take
any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting
or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are
some of the winners:
The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient
who doesn't get it.
Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting
To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
A degenerate disease.
A lecherous Mr. Potato Head.
Vandalism spray-painted very, very high up on walls.
It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really
bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's,
like, a serious bummer.
All talk and no action.
effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when
they come at you rapidly.
Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize
it was your money to start with.
A person who's both stupid and an asshole."
in that spirit, I guess it would be appropriate to call the
above 'deftinitions" -- JAW
again, to all of you out there, in case you've forgotten:
of my first two Giza: The (Half) Truth posts may not be surprised
to learn that no carte blanche permission has been given to
respond (within an agreed-upon word limit) to what Ogilvie-Herald
and Lawton call 'analysis' and I call 'attack'.
the ball goes back into Schoch's and my court, and (since we
are both competent dribblers) we shall, in due course put the
ball through the hoop and respond in depth re: the geology,
on my website certainly, but quite possibly in some heretic-friendly
now, I'd like to put the matter into perspective without broaching
the geology -- which gets complicated. In posts from me and
from others (machinist/researcher Chris
Dunn and graduate archaeology student Michael Brass
to name two) charging Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton with bogus scholarship,
manifest bias and general unprofessionalism, these authors have
been crying foul, pleading innocence, maintaining that only
careful analysis and an exhaustive study of the relevant data
turned them from their initially positive approach to the lost
civilization hypothesis to their present negative stance. And
they probably actually believe this. (People who work or lecture
in jails will tell you that the inmates will, almost without
exception, hotly defend their innocence, no matter how irrefutable
the evidence against them.)
I will select three relevant samples of Ogilvie-Herald/Lawton
scholarship-in-action to see how they might have arrived at
Frank Domingo's forensic work.
was quoted in the last post along with Schoch's commentary,
and I re-quote it below since everyone will have forgotten the
details. Since my earlier post (Giza: The (Half) Truth II) was
already long enough, I added no commentary of my own. But later
reflection made me realize that this was one of those 'signatures'
I cherish: some single line or paragraph or story; some brief
gesture or act that captures the essence of an individual or
but I didn't inhale' is one of my all time favorites. Ronald
Reagan maintaining that ketchup is a vegetable is another. Franz
Kafka's story The Hunger Artist still another. These are little
'psychograms', pictures of the soul as it were, so revealing
that you really do not need to know any more about that individual
or situation to understand their essence. So let us look more
closely at that Ogilvie-Herald/Lawton treatment of Frank Domingo's
write: "However, at a nonforensic' level, Domingo's reconstructions
and Khafre's face from the statue do, from the front at least,
look strikingly similar in our opinion - - except that the Sphinx's
jaw is rather more squared. Turning to the lateral view, once
the nose is reconstructed, the Sphinx's face is nowhere near
as negroid-looking as it usually appears, and indeed if it is
tilted forward somewhat it once again appears very similar in
our view. Certainly the profile of the eyes, nose and lips is
remarkably consistent, even if their relative positions do not
think about this a minute. Frank Domingo is one of the top forensic
artists in the world, a recognized authority in a highly specialized
field. Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald are respectively an accountant/race
driver and a retired army squaddie/van driver and briefly, editor.
Their combined knowledge of forensic art is precisely zero.
To take it upon themselves to challenge Domingo's carefully
considered conclusion (that the face of the Sphinx and the face
on the Khafre statue represent two entirely different individuals,
which in and of itself pretty well scuttles the basis of the
Khafre-as-creator-of-the-Sphinx assertion*) is equivalent to
me, with no medical training, challenging an X-ray analysis
by the world's leading radiologist, or, say, writing an article
claiming that no matter what anyone else may say, Michael Jordan
really isn't much of a basketball player.
Actually, it is not entirely damning. Domingo, Schoch and myself
all feel that because the head of the Sphinx is disproportionately
small for its body, it has been recarved, by some unknown pharaoh
at some unknown date. We think this took place deep in antiquity
but it has been suggested (by Egyptologist Ahmed Fayed) that
the head of the Sphinx was recarved in later times, perhaps
by Tutankhamen. For a variety of reasons too complicated to
go into in this post, we don't agree with this, but it is a
considered hypothesis and would, if vindicated, help preserve
the Khafre/Sphinx hypothesis -- if the geological argument could
be ignored (it can't be) it could be useful, if purely circumstantial
evidence for preserving the standard attribution.
it is tilted forward somewhat' indeed! And if you stand on your
head and view the Sphinx from the back, it also looks like Khafre,
as long as you subtract the falcon... To produce his studies
Frank Domingo went to extraordinary lengths to make absolutely
certain the heads of the huge Sphinx and the life-size Khafre
were photographed from exactly the same angles so that an exact
comparison could be made. Sorry, guys, no 'tilting it forward
somewhat' allowed, I'm afraid. 'If it is tilted forward somewhat'
then the Sphinx would be looking at its own paws instead of
the horizon! Both the head of the Sphinx and Khafre's sit squarely
and irrevocably atop their respective necks, both gazing straight
ahead at the horizon. And that is how they must be compared.
This demonstrates the pronounced prognathism in the one profile
and the total lack of it in the other, i.e., two totally different
Ogilvie-Herald and Ian Lawton call 'analysis' is actually a
classic 'signature'. Rarely has so much ineptitude been packed
into so few sentences. That paragraph alone is an act of such
consummate, monumental, moronic chutzpah that it is quite unnecessary
to look at anything else in their 600+ page book to dismiss
it ... and them without further consideration.
a new millennium has dawned: and I cannot help but be caught
up in its spirit of charity and compassion. So, let me give
them the benefit of the doubt and consider further anyhow.
Domingo, (unlike the Pope) is not infallible. He may well make
mistakes. But for two forensic greenhorns to make a case for
fallibility their own opinion is worthless. What they should
have done is to first get in touch with Frank Domingo, or me,
and procure a copy of the detailed report Domingo prepared explaining
how and why he came to his conclusion. There they would have
learned why it is that the profile, rather than the frontal
view is telling and most important. (It is for the same reason
that the ancient Egyptians themselves, in their reliefs, always
used a profile view.) It is more individualized, and, in forensic
work, shows differences between faces much more clearly than
the frontal view Had they taken the trouble to do this they
might perhaps have been a bit more circumspect in putting forward
their ludicrous screed in defense of a mortally compromised
hypothesis. Alternatively, or in tandem, they might have consulted
another forensic artist for a possible second expert opinion,
which, had it differed from Domingo's, might have been the basis
of a reasoned argument. They did not. They did not, because,
no matter what they may say, a book that merely defended a complex
but extremely popular heretical view developed by others, coming
from two unknown authors far less credentialed even than the
heretics (all of us, at the very least, have relevant journalistic,
engineering, technical or publishing track records) would have
is this sort of thing that I try to do myself when taking on
the Egyptological establishment without the relevant credentials.
A says this, B says that, C says something else; these explanations
are in conflict with each other, none explains the data to hand,
here is an alternative that better explains the data, etc. Whenever
possible I try to consult someone with the relevant credentials
for a more informed opinion. In the past, this often proved
impossible. The 'experts' refused to involve themselves, and
I was obliged to use my own judgment -- which ultimately turned
out to be largely accurate. If my opposition happens to be a
personal friend, then, before trashing his or her read on the
matter, I would consult him or her (this PC gender stuff is
a nuisance!) to see if my objections might be met and overturned.
Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton do not extend this courtesy, not even
How the Pyramids Were Built.
readers object that I have chosen a single unfortunate misstep
(everyone makes mistakes) out of 600+ pages of otherwise careful
analysis to prove a point, similar strictures apply to the Ogilvie-Herald/Lawton
'analysis' of pyramid building. Now, this is not quite the same
situation as Domingo's forensic work, which is the result of
a carefully developed methodology that commonly works in practice.
Here, Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton do not incriminate themselves
in a single glorious paragraph, but rather over the space of
some 60 diffuse, ultimately self-contradictory pages.
comes from their entry in the Daily
Grail website but it is a resume of their treatment
of the subject in their book:
readers will be aware that our research for Giza: The Truth
led us t o come out in favour of the orthodox explanations as
to when the Giza pyramids were built (c. 2500 BC) and why (primarily
as funerary edifices, but accepting that there was a great deal
of esoteric symbolism and ritual involved). As to how they were
built , we feel that there is no conclusive evidence in the
pyramids themselves which requires us to look outside of essentially
orthodox explanations, even in the "worst" case of the 70-tonne
granite blocks which had to be dragged up (in our view via a
spiral ramp) to between one third and one half of the height
of the Great Pyramid to form the ceilings/floors of the King's
and Relieving Chambers. Nor do we feel that the logistics of
Khufu building the Great Pyramid in something like 20 years
- or even his father Sneferu's achievement of erecting three
sizeable pyramids in a similar period - were impossible, or
required anything other than massive commitment and dedication
to a national cause, and superb project management skills. This
is notwithstanding our boundless admiration for the quality
of the workmanship, and our acceptance that, for example, tube
drills were used with great skill - albeit that we do not believe
at this stage that these tools were powered by anything other
than human or animal labour; (for more on the "advanced technology"
issues refer to our ongoing debate with Chris Dunn which will
be posted on both our web sites shortly).
will also be aware that we have provided a thorough analysis
of the issues relating to many of the other "alternative" theories,
such as the redating of the Sphinx and the Orion correlation,
and ultimately we believe these too to be fatally flawed - not
from any ideological perspective, merely because we do not believe
that the evidence in these cases supports the hypothesis.
there are two areas in which we might be said to depart from
the orthodox line. The first is that of acoustics, where ongoing
work by researchers such as John Reid is suggesting that the
ancient Egyptians had a highly advanced understanding of acoustic
properties and design - although we feel it is critical that
such theories be evaluated in the context of, for example, other
4th Dynasty pyramids such as those at Dashur, as opposed to
concentrating exclusively on the Great Pyramid and to a lesser
extent its counterparts at Giza. And the second is that of sonic
levitation - which is clearly not entirely unrelated.
elaborate further, many of the huge limestone monoliths which
form the core of the walls of the surviving mortuary and valley
temples on the Giza Plateau are acknowledged by Egyptologists
to weigh as much as 200 tonnes. This is a different order of
magnitude again from the largest 70-tonne blocks in the Great
Pyramid (or any other). Although the orthodox school has been
happy to deliberate at length on the use of ramps etc. to erect
the pyramids, these larger temple monoliths have tended to be
swept under the carpet by them. (For example, in the otherwise
excellent reference works such as Edwards' The Pyramids of Egypt'
and Lehner's 'The Complete Pyramids', whole chapters are devoted
to construction methods but the temples are ignored.) If we
are to be totally honest and unbiased in our analysis, this
is not acceptable just because it raises uncomfortable questions.
are not qualified engineers. However, within the constraints
of the tight time limits imposed when we were writing and researching
the book - and despite our reasonable satisfaction with the
logistics etc. of pyramid construction - we were unable to rationally
explain the use of such massive blocks in the temples. Remember
that the layout of these edifices is completely different. Suppose
you could erect a presumably straight ramp of sufficiently dense
material - and we have heard it suggested that once we are dealing
with these kind of weights, only a ramp made of solid stone
itself would not collapse - in order to drag these blocks up
to the second and third courses of the temples. You need at
a conservative estimate something like 600 men to drag a 200-tonne
block (this estimate of a third of a tonne per man seems reasonably
sound from experiments when slopes are involved). Irrespective
of how many columns they are arranged in, where do they go when
they get to the top of the ramp? There is no huge flat platform
awaiting them as there is in a pyramid. So perhaps after each
pull the lead line jumps down the other side, although this
is hardly an ideal situation for pulling one's weight effectively!
But what about once the opposite wall, or an intermediate partition
wall, is in place? The size of these edifices is simply not
sufficient, at least in some cases, for such obstructions not
to be encountered well before the column of men had completed
their hauling. So then we might suggest that the interiors were
completely filled in with sand or whatever in order to provide
a flat platform for the men to continue their hauling. But it
seemed to us when we were researching this topic, and it still
does, that once you get to this stage you are clutching at straws
in your attempts to provide an "orthodox" explanation. Occams
Razor is certainly no longer at work. Accordingly we felt that
the question posed correctly and legitimately by the alternative
school had not been satisfactorily answered - that is that even
if you can come up with an orthodox solution as to how these
blocks were erected, it would be so convoluted and difficult
that the further question remains: why on earth would the builders
make life SO difficult for themselves?
again, as non-engineers and non-movers-of-stone, they beg to
differ with the engineers, quarrymen and crane drivers familiar
with moving huge chunks of heavy matter. These acknowledged
experts in various relevant fields assert that their own level
of expertise is insufficient to account for the very large FACT
of carefully fitted 200 ton blocks in the Sphinx and Valley
temples and 70 ton blocks in the Kings chamber halfway up the
pyramid. After concerted studies of the problems involved in
pyramid building, they maintain that no known simple method
of ramps, levers and sledges (which was apparently all the ancient
Egyptians had at their disposal) explains their ability to move
the stones into place.
and of itself, that expert opinion does NOT mean that the Egyptians
COULDN'T have done it that way. What it does mean is that Ogilvie-Herald
and Lawton's characteristically uninformed conviction that that
is how they did do it is as arrogant as it is uninformed.
support that conviction there are only the opinions of non-engineer
Egyptologists, which are by definition suspect, and a single
clever but manifestly inappropriate ramp-and-rope experiment
by Mark Lehner in which average size 1/2 - 2 ton blocks blocks,
similar to those in the core masonry of the Great Pyramid were
successfully but roughly wrestled more or less into place up
mud-slicked rubble ramps to the height of twenty feet . (Note:
When the cameras weren't trained on the action, a bulldozer
was pushing the recalcitrant blocks into easy striking distance.
Shortage of time was the reason given.)
admittedly interesting little exercise was then cited by Lehner
et al as 'proof' of how the ancients must have done it, and
Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton agree. They decide, meticulous scholars
that they are, that they (like Lehner) will ignore for the moment,
the problems involved in getting 70 ton granite blocks up ramps
200 feet high to roof over the King's Chamber.
is roughly equivalent to me deciding to get into body building.
I start off maybe able to press 100 lbs. After six months of
hard work say I can press 200 pounds and I then claim that at
that rate, doubling my prowess every six months, in five years
I can press five tons.
doesn't work that way. Most technological methods, like the
human body, tend to have inherent, self-imposed limits. What
works with a ton does not, in and of itself, mean that it will
work with 70 or 200 tons.
now, having thrown their joint inexpertise in behind orthodoxy
--while ignoring all those informed contrary opinions, along
with the 70 ton blocks-- they reverse themselves and decide
that ramps/levers/unlimited manpower will not suffice, after
all, to explain the 200 tons blocks in the Sphinx and Valley
Temples. What will? Well, acoustic levitation maybe? And off
they go on another diffuse ramble into the resonant properties
of the King's Chamber and 'burial' chambers of the Red Pyramid
(Dahshur), citing various sound experiments done there and then
off into the sound levitation experiments that we, in our Mystery
of the Sphinx video, cited as a possibility in principle. In
principle because, at present an elaborate space age machine
is capable only of levitating a pea-size pebble. They speculate
that, hey! if the resonant properties of the chambers cited
above are deliberately 'tuned' to specific frequencies (I think
they are, too) then maybe that knowledge combined with some
(totally unidentified and undemonstrable) ancient Egyptian gravity-reversing
technology was what put the 200 ton blocks into place after
of course, if they had such a technology in place for 200 ton
blocks, then why go to the prodigious trouble of building gigantic
building ramps to put the smaller stones of the pyramids into
place? (It should be noted that engineers have calculated that
the ramps --nearly a mile long-- necessary to haul the blocks
into place would take up several times more material than the
pyramid itself. Moreover, the ramps would have to be added to
continually as the levels went up.) The point is that orthodox
explanations for how the pyramids were built, do NOT --except
in principle-- suffice to explain how they were built, while
the speculation about acoustic levitation is no better, actually
worse, since we DO know the Egyptians had ramps, ropes and plenty
of manpower, while they do not appear to have had anything resembling
an acoustic technology.
is a non-argument, circular, vulnerable, silly and as always,
selective. Yet for those without detailed knowledge of the vast
body of work done on these problems, and a grasp of the numerous
pros and cons, it looks like scholarship -- hence those favorable
reviews proudly posted by them on various websites. Some respondents
to these Giza: The (Half) Truth posts have expressed quite different
opinions. Here's one that I suspect will not find its way onto
their website, though I hereby give permission to use it.
Fox, who owns an advertising agency in South Africa and who
is widely read on these matters, writes:
mind picture it evoked was of a rooster scratching over an old
manure heap, keeping a beady eye cocked for any palatable morsels
and passing over those not to its taste. Just a tad selective
in the choice of facts and very liberal with the - "It didn't
convince us, so it must be wrong" - opinionated judgements.
Some of the language was disparaging to the point of being slanderous
and delivered from the high and mighty throne of the supreme
pontiffs of Egyptology. As an apologia for the Establishment,
I'm sure it does a job for the hidebound, added an extra skin
to the already thick coat they wear. But for anyone with an
open mind, the odour of bigotry and the careful selectivity
of the material screamed bias loud and clear. Peck, peck goes
the rooster's beak, another nugget that sits well in my crop.
Ptooi ! That bit stuck in the craw, so we'd best get rid of
it before anybody notices.'
Zahi Hawass, as orthodox an Egyptologist as any, acknowledges
that no one REALLY knows how the pyramids were built, (though
he, too, ascribes to the ramp theory in one form or another).
The credentialed engineers, quarrymen and crane drivers, on
the other hand, tend to believe that since they can't figure
out how the task was accomplished with simple technology, it
couldn't have been done that way. But this is erring in the
other direction. In other words, the field is open. Pyramid
building is a game without agreed-upon rules and anyone can
seems to me that the best way to approach this game is VERY
gingerly ... and systematically. And to this end I offer my
own contribution -- the result of vast (non-expert) reading
of the various experts who've played this game. Unlike Ogilvie-Herald
and Lawton, given the data to hand, I prefer to avoid conclusions
of any sort, but at least I like to think that by categorizing
the problems a more fruitful approach to them may be opened.
are, it seems to me, but four possible explanations for building
the pyramids, none of them necessarily mutually exclusive.
A simple technology (ramps/levers/sledges) brilliantly applied.
is of course the only solution allowed by Egyptologists, even
though we cannot reproduce such results today. On the other
hand, despite what the starry-eyed New Agers (and indeed, the
hard-nosed engineers) may say, this cannot be dis-allowed. Put
a violin in my hands and I will quickly prove to you that music
cannot be wrung from this intractable device. But give the violin
to a virtuoso and out comes Bach's Partita or the Paganini Violin
Concerto . Just because we can't move 200 ton blocks up a ramp,
doesn't mean they couldn't. To use another analogy: did the
Kitty Hawk prefigure the space shuttle and 'prove' that soon
there would be space travel? The first generation of aeronautic
engineers might well have scoffed at such a notion, (this was
the stuff of science fiction) yet there is the space shuttle.
But it is not even an exponential extension of existing Kitty
Hawk technologies that make the space shuttle possible; rather
it is the simultaneous application of a spectrum of new techologies
undreamed-of a century ago: plastics, computers, rocketry, lasers
and so on...
present-day engineers scoff at the ramp/rope/ manpower hypothesis,
yet there are the pyramids. Does this mean that's how they must
have been built? To Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton that's what it
means, but it doesn't mean that to anyone who can think straight,
or think at all. It means that in a best case scenario, given
the evidence to hand, perhaps it should be given precedence
over other explanations, all of them hypothetical (including
this one!) and that is all that it means.
A hard technology for which there is no evidence.
sounds on the surface outrageous, but who knows what ancient
technology may have looked like. Suppose, 5000 years from now,
a computer is found, and technology at that time does not use
electricity or microchips and there is no record of such instruments.
Computers turn up in archeological digs but they are mute bits
of plastic with no moving parts. They might be fobbed off as
ceremonial/religious artifacts (with some justification perhaps.)
Who could guess that the Library of Congress could be stored
on a few internal chips, or that prodigious mathematical calculations
could be performed on them with the touch of a few keys? Maybe
certain familiar but mysterious symbols of Egypt --the djed
column for instance-- were actually technological devices, and
we just don't know how to use them? Who knows? Graham Hancock,
in his book The Sign and the Seal makes what I think is a pretty
good case for the Ark of the Covenant as just such a technological
device. Given the Old Testament evidence to hand (for whatever
that may be worth) it sure doesn't sound like a purely 'religious'
symbol. (Acoustic levitation might fit in here, or in '3' following,
or possibly in both.)
A soft technology -- mind power-- for which, by definition,
there can be no evidence, and the knowledge was a priestly secret
and/or references in the texts have been mis-translated.
Egyptians were very good at keeping secrets; the texts refer
to secret knowledge over and over again. It was the garrulous
Greeks, Pythagorean defectors, who let the secrets outs of the
bag. Ancient Egyptian, unlike Sanskrit, is not a living tradition
and has had to be re-constructed from scratch mainly by scholars
hostile to a mystical and esoteric tradition. Thus, possible
references to such a soft technology may have been misunderstood
or ignored. Yogis, Zen masters, advanced martial artists, and
shamans can routinely perform physical feats that to the rest
of us look and are impossible. But there is a volume of evidence
to prove they can do it. There are recorded cases where a woman,
with her child trapped beneath a car, lifts up the car to get
the child out, something she could not even imagine doing in
a normal state of consciousness. Maybe the pyramids were massive
group consciousness-raising exercises, in and of themselves,
or in conjunction with a simple or even a hard technology? Or
personally like this explanation less than the others. I prefer
to think that people rather like ourselves, but unencumbered
with our stultifying and banal rationalist/materialist baggage,
did it. Still, anyone who looks seriously into UFO literature,
has to acknowledge that something is going on out there and
they (whoever 'they' may be) are periodically coming here. Why
I cannot imagine. But who knows? We go up there, why shouldn't
they come down here -- and once here, for alien reasons of their
own, build pyramids? Alien builders perhaps should not be dismissed
out of hand. And since no one to date can adequately explain
how they did it with simple ramps, levers and sledges either,
or any other way, this explanation is hardly goofier than those.
point is that the facile assurances given by Ogilvie-Herald/Lawton
endorsing the orthodox viewpoint are illegitimate, their exclusion
of contrary, genuinely informed opinion is typical of their
selective bogus sch olarship, and their long-winded acoustic
levitation hypothesis is pure speculation and self-contradictory
besides. We still don't know how the pyramids were built. Period.
Full stop. Over to you...
is a political rather than a technological or Egyptological
problem. Ogilvie-Herald's explanation ('As for contacting Robert
Bauval re Rudolf Gantenbrink, it was clear to me that Robert
was researching and writing his own book on Giza and we therefore
had a conf lict of interest. He also made it known that his
account of the Gantenbrink affair would form part of that very
same book.') hardly excuses their handling of this tangled web
of accusations and counter-accusations. Since their book is
called Giza: The Truth it behooves the authors at the very least
to provide a summary of Bauval's version of The Truth, and not
wholly endorse Gantenbrink's. Failing that, then perhaps include
a couple of sentences telling readers that Bauval will be publishing
his own dissenting account of the proceedings; which unlike
Gantenbrink, he supports with massive documentation -- which
in turn strongly suggests that Gantenbrink is either lying,
or stricken with a severe case of premature Alzheimer's Disease
(unless, of course, Bauval has forged all his documentation).
Whatever the case, Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton's handling of the
affair is as inexcusable as it is selective.
have cited three 'signature' bits of Ogilvie-Herald/Lawton scholarship/analysis,
which I believe capture the essence of their work. Does anyone
need to know more? ('Yes, but I didn't inhale.') By scanning
through in haste, have I traduced Giza: The (Half) Truth? Perhaps,
buried within these 600+ pages of lurching, club-footed prose
and personal attack,* there may just be passages of lucid cerebration
and legitimate analysis? (As Gurdjieff used to say, 'All things
possible in this world!') But they certainly have not made themselves
apparent to my professional eye, sharpened by forty-five years
of practice ... I make no apologies for this lack of detailed
attention. A pro-ballplayer only has to watch a stranger take
a couple of swings of the bat, or a few shots at a basket to
know if the man knows the simple basics of the game. Ogilvie-Herald
and Ian Lawton do not.
This is mainly directed at Bauval and Hancock -- the virulence
of attack seems to be directly proportional to the amount of
money made by the attackees. Ogilvie-Herald and Lawton know
I've made very little money from my work, despite its wide public
dissemination, so --up until these posts began-- I was spared
the full impact of their self-evident spite and contumely.
most readers will not be of my generation, and therefore will
be unfamiliar with the old, once-well-known Aldous Huxley novel
Eyeless in Gaza. Were that title still familiar, Ogilvie-Herald
and Lawton might have more accurately entitled their book: Clueless
in Giza -- which would, indeed, have been The Truth.
Robert Schoch and I will be preparing in due course our response
to the Ogilvie-Herald/Lawton critique of the water weathering
to the Sphinx. Stay tuned for Giza: The (Half) Truth IV
I owe an apology to my friend Ray Grasse, cited in my second
post, who provided me with that fortuitous (and fatuous) explanation
by Ogilvie-Herald, purporting to explain why the enclosure wall
of the Sphinx is weathered the way it is. I had quite forgotten
that shortly after Ray provided me with that document, he'd
called to ask me to keep it confidential. I cannot for the life
me see why Ogilvie-Herald should have required confidentiality.
But he did. Ray called me to relay that request. And I agreed,
but forgot. Sorry Ray!
M. Schoch on the Geological Analysis of Ian Lawton and
Chris Ogilvie-HeraldPreceded by: Dumb & Dumber: Boy Geologists,
(introductory remarks about this and that by John Anthony West):
In which our young heroes, those intrepid questors, Chris Ogilvie-Herald
and Ian Lawton (AKA D&D), having solved all problems relating
to pyramid building that have baffled engineering experts, builders
and architects all over the world for two centuries, and having
ingeniously shown the forensic work of NYPD senior forensic
artist, Frank Domingo to be methodologically flawed, misconceived
and invalid, now don geological boots and fearlessly traverse
the trackless, scorpion-infested wastes of the Giza Plateau
foiling the evil revisionist plans of self-styled Paradigm Buster
John Anthony West and Mad Professor Robert M. Schoch ultimately
revealing for all the world to see, The Geological Truth:
readers please repeat after me: Sanctus, Sanctus Status Quo.
any luck this will be the last in the Giza: The (Half) Truth
of you have suggested that taking so much time to counter criticism
launched by two amateur authors is time ill-spent. Their uninformed
opinions hardly matter. Though staunchly supporting most orthodox
positions within the complex controversy, they have no standing
within the academic community, and, indeed, are likely to prove
more of an embarrassment to their orthodox mentors than they
are a danger to us. Is the Egyptological/archaeological Establishment
really so defenseless that it needs support from a pair of untrained,
unarmed mercenaries in order to maintain its authority? As the
old joke goes: 'With friends like these, who needs enemies!'
have they provoked the kind of significant media storm that
might otherwise justify so lengthy a response. Apart from a
recent endorsement from David Rohl (an author scarcely more
welcome in Academic circles than D&D) in the Daily
Express their book has had little impact.
intention was never to get involved in this at all. But once
involved, it proved next to impossible to extricate myself,
and the more I thought about it, the easier it became to justify.
(Also see the Ian Lawton interview on the Daily
Grail and my response for further thoughts on the matter--
which will save me the trouble of reiterating them here.) By
incorporating into Giza: The (Half) Truth virtually all the
academic arguments so far leveled against the geological evidence
for an older Sphinx, D&D have inadvertently provided a service.
Those interested in following this complicated argument can
now access both the challenges and all the counter-arguments
within the pages of a single book.
is pretty much the tack taken by D&D who, unfortunately,
willy-nilly accept without question any and all geological counter
arguments presented in rebuttal of our work.
it would have saved Schoch and myself much time and aggravation
if D&D had had the rudimentary analytical skills needed
to recognize the invalidity, irrelevance, and often, the mutually
contradictory nature of those rebuttals.
is also regrettable that they were equally lacking in rudimentary
journalistic professionalism. And since these posts are almost
as much concerned with the process of shifting the paradigm
as they are with the paradigm itself, it's worth digressing
into this subject, since successful engagement in the process
is, ultimately, at least as important in establishing the new
paradigm as the actual hard-core evidence supporting it. And
all scientific/scholarly orthodoxies have been pretty successful
in disguising this messy business from public view.
responsible journalist's job is to examine both sides of a dispute.
If challenger A says this, and defender B rebuts it, (and the
entire subject is outside the journalist's area of expertise),
then the competent journalist goes back to A to see how he responds
to the rebuttal and reports accordingly. He (or she) does not
simply and automatically accept rebuttal as the final word on
the matter. That is how the game is played--at least how it's
supposed to be played. D&D do not play it that way. They
report A's challenge all right, but B's response elicits from
them a curious audible 'snap'. You can hear it periodically
as you skim through their book and I, too, found it puzzling
until I realized what it was: the sound made by their knees
jerking in unison. B's response is then dutifully reported,
and enthusiastically seconded, usually without further investigation,
which they have no competence to perform in any case. In the
event that there is no authoritative B voice handy to support
orthodoxy, as with Frank Domingo's forensic work, D&D may
take it upon themselves to provide an analysis of their own,
usually with hilarious and/or grotesque results. This is not
how investigative journalism is supposed to be done.
science and scholarship either. In theory, actually, Defender
B should feel obliged to play by these rules as well, and it
would be refreshing if he did. But he doesn't and won't. He
has a position to defend, and even though it may turn the whole
scholarly/scientific catechism of 'objective assessment of evidence'
into farce, at least it is psychologically understandable--if
inexcusable. We are upsetting the applecart, and they make a
living selling apples. Or, to recount a story I read when I
was a kid and that has stuck with me all these years ... it's
told that when Jascha Heifitz was giving his Carnegie Hall debut
at the age of eleven, in the audience were Mischa Ellman, the
then reigning violin virtuoso and the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein.
About halfway through the concert, Ellman turned to Rubinstein
and said, 'Hot in here, isn't it?' ... 'Not for pianists,' Rubinstein
so it goes. Microbiologists, geologists, chemists , physicists
and others accustomed to assessing scientific evidence in their
own disciplines have few problems with our redating of the Sphinx;
or with an Orion/pyramid correlation. But for Egyptologists,
archeologists, historians (and, in fact, all card-carrying members
of the Church of Progress), it's very hot indeed....
to be strictly fair, the Egyptologists should not be singled
out either. Any theory as deep in revolutionary implication
as our rewriting of history if applied to microbiology, geology,
chemistry or any other branch of science would elicit the same
howl of pain from the challenged experts in that field... apropos,
in Giza III (part I), I brought up the subject of 'signatures'
(this, by the way is an ancient Hermetic/magical notion that
finds interesting validation in contemporary work on fractals
and DNA--the part in a way contains, or IS, in potentia the
'seed' of the whole)... anyway, this seems an appropriate time
to pass on my favorite scientific 'signature' , a single headline
in the New York Times a dozen or so years ago that tells you
practically everything you have to know about scientists, if
not about science itself.
OVER DINOSAUR EXTINCTION GROWS UNUSUALLY RANCOROUS"
about it! The Times is telling you (without meaning to do so--official
spokesman for Church of Progress values and methodology that
it is) that debate in science is usually rancorous. And only
regarding this emotionally fraught question of dinosaur extinction
does it grow unusually rancorous.
what sane human being could get excited about how or why the
dinosaurs died? They died, and that is that. How they died may
be a matter for legitimate scientific curiosity (the same that
killed the cat?)--depending on how you define legitimacy. But
to allow the debate to become 'unusually rancorous' ...??? Only
deeply disturbed, hopelessly unevolved human beings could get
upset by such a question. In other words, it would be ungenerous
to come down too hard on the Egyptologists; their colleagues
in any other scientific or scholarly discipline in the world
behave no differently given similar provocation. Dumb &
Dumber, however, do not have such an excuse. They are journalists,
at least they call themselves that, not advocates for a covert
any event, for those following this series of posts, it will
be useful, and a good antidote for frustration, never to lose
track of the invariably understated emotional/psychological
content of all scientific and scholarly inquiry. Scientists
have managed to pretty successfully gull the public and even
more successfully gull themselves into believing they are after
the truth. But they are not. Just as a jock has his ego bound
up in winning, and the tycoon has his ego bound up in success,
so the scientist/scholar's ego is bound up, not in discovering
the objective truth, but in being 'right' , in being an 'expert'.
Well, poor guys, what else do they have to be egotistic about?.
They don't get paid much; there isn't much glamor involved as
a general rule; only very rarely are they creative. Gratification
comes to scientists and scholars largely from the widespread
perception that they are 'experts', 'authorities' in their respective
fields. So, when a challenge is mounted as revolutionary and
as expert-unfriendly as ours, heated, even rabid opposition
is the invariable rule. It has never been otherwise, and it
is hard to imagine it ever will be--short of humanity suddenly
achieving a state of universal Aquarian enlightenment.
the press! Just in case you think my DEBATE OVER DINOSAUR EXTINCTION
headline is the exception rather than the rule, and that I'm
being unfairly harsh on the scientific/scholarly community,
here's a quote from Infinite Energy Magazine, a technical journal
devoted to potentially revolutionary work on Cold Fusion, Zero
Point Energy and other (currently) physics-defying scientific
work that, if validated, will change physics as radically as
our work will change history and our currently accepted notion
of the 'evolution' of civilization.
reformulated quantum mechanical theory that allows hydrogen
atoms to fall below the normally understood electron ground
state has not gone over well with mainstream physicists...Physics
Nobel laureate was the most blunt of the handful of Mills' critics..."If
you could fuck around with the hydrogen atom, you could fuck
around with the energy process in the sun. You could fuck around
with life itself ...Everything we know about everything would
be a bunch of nonsense. That's why I'm so sure it's a fraud."
...Anderson was given the opportunity to find a replacement
word for the Anglo-Saxon expletive but he declined to do so,
apparently being so self-assured that he wanted the F-word in
yes! Lovely! DEBATE OVER DINOSAUR EXTINCTION... Well, it is
amusing to watch the anal academic mind in spasm! But it does
make you think that maybe they should rethink the whole Nobel
Prize awarding process ... anyway, I hope this will provide
a bit of insight into the Psychology of the Scientist. That
is what we, and everyone else who has an original idea, is up
against. So let us return to the science. Schoch's comments
pretty much speak for themselves, but occasionally the language
gets technical and the argument complex. I have added clarifying
and/or extenuating comments of my own clearly marked JAW.
by Robert M. Schoch on the Geological Analysis of Ian Lawton
and Chris Ogilvie-Herald found in chapter 7 ("The Age of the
Sphinx") of GIZA: THE TRUTH (1999, Virgin, London). [Copyright
2000 by Robert M. Schoch. All rights reserved.]
and Ogilvie-Herald (page 313) agree with me that the current
arid climatic regime of the Giza Plateau began approximately
in the middle of the third millennium B.C. (circa 2350 B.C.
by one standard dating scheme) and there were various periods
of relatively heavy rainfall from about 10,000 or 8,000 B.C.
up until the onset of the predominant aridity that has existed
in the area for the last 4500 years or so. Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald
also correctly point out that there were occasional rains, even
heavy rains, during dynastic Egyptian times and up through the
present day, resulting in periodic flash floods. Still, as will
be discussed further below, such flash floods actually have
little bearing on the weathering, erosion, and ultimately the
determination of the age of the oldest portion of the Sphinx
(here it is important to remember that the Great Sphinx was
refurbished and partially recarved, including a recarving of
the head, in dynastic times).
heavy rains and the resulting flash floods (due to the inability
of the rain to penetrate and soak into the land's surface and
thus it runs off and collects in vall eys, wadis, and other
depressions) commonly found in arid regions do have tremendous
potential to move loose debris and even cause serious erosion.
However, in my opinion as a geologist, the nature and especially
degree of weathering seen in the Sphinx e n closure and on the
body of the Sphinx itself, is incompatible with sporadic flash
floods since dynastic times. Even if occasional heavy rains
occur on the Giza Plateau, the fact remains that currently on
average only about an inch of rain each year occur s in the
region (25 to 29 mm annually). I do not believe that there has
been enough rainfall in the area over the last 5000 years to
account for the tremendous degradation of the actual limestone
bedrock as seen on the western end of the Sphinx enclosure ,
much less to account for the extreme weathering and erosion
seen on the core body of the Sphinx itself ( JAW) . The latter
is an important point, because in the case of the body of the
Sphinx only the back (top) of the Sphinx serves as a catchment
area for any subsequent runoff. From what we understand of the
climate of the area, it strains credulity to suggest that this
weathering and erosion is the result of rainfall during the
last 4,500 years. This is even more so the case when we take
into account the calculations of Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald (page
312) that the Sphinx enclosure and body of the Sphinx have been buried in sand, and thus effectively protected from this type
of erosion, for 3,100 of the last 4,500 years.
adds: Schoch neglects to emphasize this point strongly enough.
Some three FEET of limestone has weathered off the core body
of the Sphinx. This weathering was already complete (Lehner)
when the FIRST repair campaign was undertaken. Because the earliest
repair blocks are typical of Old Kingdom masonry, Hawass rightly
supposes that it was during this period that the blocks were
applied--effectively leaving no time at all for the Sphinx to
have weathered. Desperately trying to preserve the dating, Lehner
contends the repair blocks may be Old Kingdom but were cannibalized
from elsewhere and applied in the New Kingdom. This solves nothing.
Less than a thousand years separate the Old from the New Kingdom;
at least half that time the Sphinx was certainly buried in sand.
Three feet of limestone does not weather away in 500 years under
desert conditions. And if it did, then the myriad Old Kingdom
structures and rock cut tombs in the immediate vicinity of the
Sphinx cut from the same member of limestone, would also show
similar weathering and similar weathering patterns. They do
not. D&D's careful analysis in this case fails to live up
to the standard set for themselves in their rebuttal of Domingo's
Furthermore, based on the perceptive analysis of the geologist
Colin Reader (discussed below), since at least the time of Khufu
(circa 2550 B.C. according to one standard chronology), the
Sphinx has not even been situated in a position where it could
receive the brunt of such flash floods. Among ancient Egyptian
structures, those that show clear signs of having been damaged
or otherwise significantly affected by the occasional heavy
rains and resulting flash floods are those situated in valleys,
wadis, and other low areas that serve as channels for the collected
water. Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald cite the Valley of the Kings
at Luxor as a case in point, and other authors have cited Reisner's
suggestions of flood damage to the Menkaure valley temple on
the Giza Plateau. Potential flood damage to Menkaura's valley
temple is very different in kind and degree than the actual
erosion and degradation of limestone bedrock as seen in the
Sphinx enclosure. According to Lehner (1997, The Complete Pyramids,
Thames and Hudson, London, p.137), Menkaure's valley temple
"lies at the mouth of the main wadi" (as is clear from maps
of the site, as well as personal inspection of the area) which
would situate it to receive the brunt of any ephemeral flash
floods and hardly is relevant to the western end of the Sphinx
enclosure or the body of the Sphinx itself. Furthermore it was
apparently finished in mudbrick by Shepseskaf, then rebuilt
(after being "flooded" at some point) during the 6th Dynasty.
To use an argument from Menkaure's valley temple or the Valley
of the Kings at Luxor in an attempt to keep some semblance of
the traditional date for the Sphinx, or at least keep it dynastic,
just doesn't work.
and Ogilvie-Herald proceed (starting on page 315) to discuss
a number of "types of weathering" that they claim are taking
place in the Sphinx enclosure, but it quickly becomes evident
that they have little understanding of the topic. They discuss
what they term "precipitation weathering" (caused by rainfall,
as I have elucidated in my various works), "wind-sand weathering"
(also based on my work), and "chemical weathering" (apparently
based primarily on the papers of Gauri and Harrell). They divide
the latter category into "capillary weathering" (apparently
based on ideas from both Gauri and Harrell), "wet-sand weathering"
(based primarily on the ideas of Harrell), and "atmospheric
weathering" (apparently based on the work of both Gauri and
than addressing Gauri and Harrell indirectly via a discussion
of Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald's reinterpretation of their ideas,
here I will briefly discuss Gauri and Harrell directly.
Lal Gauri has maintained that the weathering and erosion of
the Sphinx and walls of the Sphinx enclosure are the result
of the various effects of chemical weathering, particularly
something known as "exfoliation" or the flaking away of the
surface of the limestone. According to Gauri, dew that forms
at night on the surface of the rock dissolves soluble salts
found on the surface and then the liquid solution is drawn into
tiny pores in the rock by capillary action. During the daytime
the solution evaporates and salt crystals precipitate in the
pores. As the crystals form they exert pressure which causes
the surface of the limestone to flake away. This, in fact, is
an important weathering factor that is currently taking place
on the Giza Plateau. However, it alone cannot account for all
of the weathering features seen in the Sphinx enclosure, and
more importantly it alone cannot account for the specific distribution
of weathering features actually found in the Sphinx enclosure
(such as the more intense weathering, erosion, and degradation
seen in the western end of the Sphinx enclosure, as discussed
weathering processes proposed by Gauri will also have their
maximum effect under extreme arid conditions with the Sphinx
exposed to the elements. When buried under a layer of sand,
the Sphinx and Sphinx enclosure are on the whole protected from
these effects. Also, interestingly, the flaking away of the
rock as proposed by Gauri is (or at least should be) operating
on all of the limestone surfaces of the Giza Plateau, yet somehow
virtually no other surfaces show the same type of weathering
and erosional profile as seen in the Sphinx enclosure. While
I do not deny that salt crystal growth is indeed damaging the
Sphinx and other structures during the present day, this mechanism
does not explain the ancient degradation patterns observed on
the Sphinx' s body and in the Sphinx enclosure area but virtually
nowhere else on the Giza Plateau.
has also suggested that the Sphinx and Sphinx enclosure have
been, and are, subject to extremely rapid weathering, and he
has pointed out that there has been significant deterioration
of the Sphinx since the beginning of the twentieth century.
As I have pointed out previously, however, and in all fairness
Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald mention this in their book, one cannot
extrapolate present modern weathering rates back into the past
when it comes to the Giza Plateau. Industrialization, air pollution,
acid rain, rising water tables due to encroaching settlement,
tourism, automobile and bus traffic, and so forth , may (I believe
are) affecting the structures on the Giza Plateau in a detrimental
manner. Modern weathering and erosional processes are not the
same as the ancient processes in every case.
I have discussed previously in a letter to the magazine "Archaeology"
(January/February 1995 issue, one of many references that Lawton
and Ogilvie-Herald fail to cite), much of the Hawass-Lehner
argument, which is in large part based on the work of Gauri,
for a younger Sphinx hinges on the assertion that its present
style and rate of weathering and erosion is representative of
its past weathering. Hawass and Lehner have stated that "ancient
and modern weathering on the Sphinx are, for the most part,
the same ball game." They discuss how soft the limestone is
in some places ("you can crumble the stone with your fingertips")
and the flaking of the stone to produce "giant potato chips"
without realizing that these surficial weathering features are
primarily due to modern assaults (pollution, acid deposition,
salt deposited by rising water tables from the adjacent village
and the damming of the Nile, and so forth) that have not been
operating over the last five millennia. The work of K. Lal Gauri
has documented the modern deterioration, as opposed to ancient
weathering, of the Sphinx. In one publication Gauri illustrates,
using comparative photographs from ca. 1925-26 and ca. 1980-81,
how amazingly rapid this deterioration has been over the span
of just a few decades (K. L. Gauri and G. C. Holdren, 1981,
American Research Center in Egypt Newsletter, No. 114). This
contradicts the Hawass-Lehner assertion that the ancient and
modern weathering are the same. Arguably the Sphinx has suffered
more during the last century than it did during the previous
has also been suggested that Sphinx has been heavily weathered
by the action of subsurface ground water being sucked up into
the pores of the rock by capillary action (Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald,
page 316). There are a couple of problems with this hypothesis.
First, I have yet to see any evidence that this is actually
occurring to any significant extent today, much less in the
past. If it is a significant factor in producing the weathering
profile seen on the Sphinx and in the Sphinx enclosure, then
it should also produce the same features (and to the same degree)
on rock-cut structures carved from the same limestones and at
the same elevation or lower found immediately to the south of
the Sphinx enclosure. Yet such "capillary weathering" is not
evident there. Second, such "capillary weathering," if it does
indeed occur to any significant degree in the present day, may
well be the result of rising water tables due to sewerage from
the adjacent village that has been progressively encroaching
on the Giza Plateau.
Harrell is the major proponent of the "wet-sand" theory to explain
the weathering and erosion of the Sphinx and Sphinx enclosure.
He has suggested that sand piled up for centuries in the Sphinx
enclosure has been wetted by rainfall, Nile floods, and capillary
action sucking water up into the overlying sand. Persistent
flooding, however, would be expected to cut a wave bench into
the Sphinx and the enclosure, and there is no such feature.
Also, wet sand around the bottom of the Sphinx enclosure does
not explain the obvious and pronounced weathering on the upper
portions of the walls of the enclosure. Indeed, the major problem
with the wet-sand hypothesis is that there is no documented
mechanism known by which wet sand piled against a limestone
surface will produce the weathering and erosional profile seen
on the body of the Sphinx and on the walls of the Sphinx enclosure.
Sand, even wet sand (if it ever occurred in the Sphinx enclosure--there
is no evidence that it did to any significant degree), may actually
have served more to promote the preservation of the Sphinx.
Furthermore, capillary action, far from being a mechanism cable
of keeping numerous feet of piled sand wet over many centuries,
is negligible in loose sands in arid areas. Harrell 's "wet-sand"
theory simply does not work as an explanation for the weathering
and erosional features of the Sphinx and Sphinx enclosure.
Schoch is being very kind to Harrell who, noting that the weathering
does indeed look like standard precipitation-induced weathering,
cannot accept that conclusion since he, like all other Egyptologists,
knows that Khafre carved the Sphinx, and he therefore dreams
up a brand new type of weathering just to preserve the standard
attribution. However, ludicrous this may be, it does at the
very least suggest a vivid imagination, just that 'creativity'
that earlier I asserted was so very rare in science and scholarship.
I stand corrected. And of course, with their customary analytic
skills in evidence, D&D accept the wet sand theory without
Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald (page 320) write "Schoch has emphasised
that the enclosure walls are generally more eroded at the top
than at the bottom, which appears at odds with the fact that
the upper layers tend to be harder. However, Lehner argues that
even the relatively uneroded eastern end of the south wall shows
that it was deliberately cut with a slope in the original excavation
of the enclosure." Thus, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald imply that
my observations are invalidated. However, as I already pointed
out in the 1995 letter to "Archaeology," I have never implied
that the walls of the Sphinx enclosure were originally absolutely
vertical. In a published illustration (in J. A. West, 1993, Serpent
in the Sky, Quest Books, Wheaton, IL, p. 227) I show
them at an approximately 80 degree angle before being weathered.
However, the fact remains that even taking such a small slope
into account the harder layers at the top of the section have
been in general eroded back further than softer layers lower
in the section, thus corroborating the hypothesis of an older
page 320 of their book, as if to put the final "nail" in the
coffin of an older Sphinx, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald write:
"Finally, West and Schoch have increasingly fallen back on the
evidence of the deep, rounded, vertical hollows in the west
and south walls of the Sphinx enclosure, insisting that these
are too ("too" is stressed by being placed in italics by L and
O-H) obviously weathered by precipitation for the other arguments
about weathering to matter. We have sympathy for this view,
but again Gauri appears to have an answer. He suggests that
they represent faults in the rock originating from the time
when the structural deformation of the whole Plateau caused
the rock strata to tilt, perhaps millions of years ago, and
that they were widened into cavities or channels by the hydraulic
circulation of the underground water. They were then exposed
when the bedrock was excavated from the Sphinx enclosure." Again,
as I pointed out in the 1995 letter to "Archaeology," the limestones
of the Giza Plateau are crisscrossed with fractures or joints,
and these joints date back millions of years, and possibly some
of them may be due to geologic faulting (but see comments by
Coxill quoted below). However, the joints are not opened up
as fissures everywhere on the Giza Plateau.
fissures such as those on the Sphinx enclosure wall can only
be produced by water, primarily precipitation, and do bear on
the age of the Sphinx. Basically the precipitation runoff follows
paths of least resistance and thus works its way into weak joints
and fractures. This is dramatically illustrated on the western
wall of the Sphinx enclosure and the western portion of the
southern wall (which have been subjected to substantial runoff)
versus the eastern portion of the southern wall of the enclosure
where the fissures are much less extreme; the eastern portion
of the enclosure has not taken the brunt of the runoff. My critics,
including Gauri, Lehner, Hawass, Lawton, and Ogilvie-Herald,
do not distinguish between naturally occurring joints, on the
one hand, and open fissures developed only through weathering
processes on the other hand.
Again, Schoch errs grievously on the side of generosity. Gauri
et al. would be hard put to find ONE joint due to 'geologic
faulting' on the Giza Plateau that gapes open when the rock
is first exposed. To understand the full valuelessness and desperation
of this contention, it must be realized that if 'geologic faulting'
produces these fissures, then they must also show up routinely
on the INSIDES of rock cut tombs as well as the outsides. It
is unnecessary to examine all the tombs on the Plateau. To test
the idea all you have to do is look at the interiors of the
two Late Kingdom shaft tombs cut high into the deeply water
weathered face of the Western enclosure wall (Member II) The
inner walls of these tombs are pristine, roughly dressed, with
every swing of the mason's pick clearly visible. There are no
'fissures due to geologic faulting' to be seen--there or anywhere
else. It is all perfectly smooth wall--just as it is all over
the plateau. And the same applies to the 5th Dynasty Tomb of
Khamerernebti, also cut from Member II, 100 feet south of the
Great Sphinx. If fault lines are visible in these perfectly
smooth surfaces, they show as hairline cracks (which may be
the result of earth movements over the millennia) or as discolored
ragged lines, the softer 'fill' that in an exposed surface will
eventually get weathered out to produce a fissure. But when
the rock is cut, it is perfectly smooth. Period. ONLY weathering
will produce the fissures we see ... or to put it into scientific
Regarding these so-called "faults," the geologist David Coxill
(writing in the journal "InScription: Journal of Ancient Egypt,
Issue 2, Spring 1998, page 14; another article that Lawton and
Ogilvie-Herald fail to cite) notes: "The sub-vertical joints
. . . are a distinctive characteristic of the surrounding pit
(that is, the Sphinx enclosure), and to a somewhat lesser extent,
of the Sphinx itself. They are natural fissures in the rock,
that were formed by contraction of the carbonate rich sediments,
when they were undergoing rockification. These are sedimentologically
related fissures and not tectonic faults related to earthquakes,
since they do not displace the strata. On the . . . Causeway
edge, they are sometimes closed and grouted by fine grained
carbonate sediments (a natural process), while others, are open
at the top, narrowing, and eventually closing--further down
the vertical profile of the excavated pit face, and the sphinx's
body . . . They represent lines of weakness that have selectively
and progressively been exploited by the forces of weathering."
is worth quoting Coxill (pages 16-17), an independent geologist
who has taken the time to study the Sphinx firsthand, further
on these issues:
Schoch) presented his findings . . . that the weathering features
present (on the body of the Sphinx and in the Sphinx enclosure)
are caused by rainfall that has cascaded over the sides of the
monument and the surrounding pit . . .
theories have been put forward to try to counter the claim.
Lal Gauri et al. (1995) consider that being porous, Member II
limestone (of which the body of the Sphinx is carved), will
morning dew condensation that dissolves salts within the limestone.
When the heat of the day evaporates the water, the salts crystallise
out and progressively exert minute pressure weakening the rock
and opening up fissures already present. Both they, Hawass,
and Lehner (1994) , suggest that sub-surface water movements,
during Eocene times, caused the fissures to open as the water
table dropped. This is intriguing, but unlikely to be the case.
Firstly, condensation affects all monuments in the Giza complex,
but very rarely do any show the same type of weathering features
of the Sphinx, surrounding pit and cut stone blocks of the Valley
these weathering features require intense weathering to form
their present profile, and, condensation/evaporation is a relatively
mild and insignificant form of mechanical weathering in this
arid climate. Thirdly, fluctuations in the water table do not
lead to fissures being produced wider at the top. Lal Gauri
(et al.) (1995) also suggest that the roundness of the laminars
is due to gradational differences in the hardness of the strata.
This does not account for variations in the weathering profile,
within Member II beds, as previously discussed on the Sphinx's
body or the presence of open fissures.
(1994) suggests that wet sands from Nile floodwaters, and occasional
rainfall, would have produced wet sands, leading to these weathering
features. That is not acceptable, since floodwaters would have
produced a wave cut bench and notch, which would certainly be
seen today in the surrounding excavation pit. This is not the
case, and again this theory does not satisfactorily explain
the presence of erosion features higher up the Sphinx's body
and pit face. . .
by a process of elimination, it appears that floodwaters and
fluctuating ground water levels cannot explain these weathering
features, but rainfall does."
line: Coxill, an independent geologist (as of this writing,
I have never met him nor corresponded with him), corroborates
my analysis of the nature and agency responsible for the predominant
weathering and erosion seen in the Sphinx enclosure and on the
body of the Sphinx.
Lawton and Chris Ogilvie-Herald (pp. 324-327), have also criticized
my analysis of the seismic data. Unfortunately, they make a
number of incorrect assumptions and perpetuate misunderstandings.
For instance, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald (pp. 324-325) claim
that I assumed that "the subsurface weathering has been caused
by rainfall seeping down through the bedrock floor of the enclosure"
when in fact I never postulated that to be the case at all.
They then further argue incorrectly that when the Sphinx enclosure
is filled with sand, as it has been for much of its existence,
the sand will protect the underlying bedrock floor from subsurface
weathering. Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald fail to understand the
nature of subsurface weathering. Subsurface weathering is essentially
a mineralogical and petrological change in the rocks that proceeds
once the rock surface is exposed to the air or atmosphere (such
as occurred when the core body of the Sphinx was excavated),
no matter what the climate is like. Loose porous sand piled
up in the Sphinx enclosure will not significantly protect the
bedrock from this type of weathering. This type of weathering
is certainly not caused primarily by rainfall collecting on
the rock surface and seeping down. It could even be argued that
in some cases a moister climate with periods of standing water
on the rock that protects the surface from atmospheric exposure
may actually result in a slower rate of this form of subsurface
weathering than may occur under dryer conditions.
further dismiss the seismic data, Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald
go on to claim (page 325) that "it is almost certain that the
subsurface erosion has been caused far more by hydraulic and
capillary action over the many millennia since the bed was laid
down than by relatively recent rainfall and exposure." They
are simply wrong. It is subsurface weathering, not erosion (erosion
is where the rock is actually carried away), that is under consideration
here, and postulating unknown and undocumented mechanisms of
"hydraulic and capillary action" as a way to explain the data
is essentially meaningless. Furthermore, their explanation of
hydraulic and capillary action, quoted above, does not address
the discrepancies in subsurface weathering seen within the Sphinx
the use of the seismic data to date the initial excavation of
the Sphinx: It has taken about 4,500 years for the subsurface
weathering at the younger, western-most floor of the Sphinx
enclosure to reach a depth of about four feet (assuming that
the western end was fully excavated to approximately its present
state during Old Kingdom activity at the site--see f urther
discussion below). Since the weathering on the other three sides
is between 50 and 100 percent deeper, it is reasonable to assume
that this excavation is 50 to 100 percent older than the western
end. If we accept Khafre's reign as the date for the western
enclosure, then this calculation pushes the date for the Great
Sphinx's original construction back to approximately the 5000
to 7000 B.C. range.
believe this estimate nicely ties in with the climatic history
of the Giza Plateau and correlates with the nature and degree
of the surface weathering and erosion features. This estimate
can be considered a minimum if we assume that weathering rates
proceed non-linearly (the deeper the weathering is, the slower
it may progress due to the fact that it is "protected" by the
overlying material), and there is the possibility that the very
earliest portion of the Sphinx dates back to before 7000 B.C.
However, given the known moister conditions on the Giza Plateau
prior to the middle third millennium B.C. versus the prevailing
aridity since then, some might argue that initial subsurface
weathering may possibly (but not necessarily) have been faster
than later weathering, and this could counter balance the potential
"non-linear" effect mentioned in the last sentence. In other
words, the early moist conditions might, crudely, give deeper
weathering which could appear to give it an "older" date but
this is countered by the non-linear nature of the weathering
which could appear to give it a "younger" date. In the end,
based on many hours of analysis and rumination, I am satisfied
that the two opposing factors roughly cancel each other out
and a crude linear interpretation of the data is justifiable.
In this manner, I return to my estimate of circa 5000 to 7000
B.C. for the oldest portion of the Sphinx, a date that is corroborated
by the correlation between the nature of the weathering in the
Sphinx enclosure and the paleoclimatic history of the region.
and Ogilvie-Herald (page 326) state that "Schoch himself accepts
the existence of New Kingdom repair blocks on the rump ("rump"
is stressed by being placed in italics by L and O-H] of the
monument, indicating that extensive weathering had taken place
at the back since the orthodox carving date. So why could this
rate of weathering not have applied all over ?" This is a dishonest
statement. From my original 1992 KMT article to my 1999 book VOICES
OF THE ROCKS I have pointed out the disagreement among
Egyptologists (such as Lehner and Hawass) as to whether the
earliest repairs to the Sphinx date to the Old Kingdom or New
Kingdom. I have never definitively "accepted" any particular
date for them, although I tend to suspect that Hawass is correct
and they are indeed Old Kingdom. Furthermore, I've made no statement
nor judgment concerning the age of any repai rs on the very
westernmost end of the core body of the Sphinx in the vicinity
of where we ran our seismic line. Indeed, this area is currently
covered at ground level with twentieth-century repair blocks
that obscure any ancient repairs, and furthermore, evidence
of New Kingdom repairs there (if they existed) would not invalidate
the concept of an older Sphinx. It is well known that the Sphinx
has been refurbished and reworked many times over the centuries.
New Kingdom repairs could easily have replaced Old Kingdom repairs,
and of course not all repairs from all time periods cover or
repair equal amounts of damage as Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald
imply in the quote above.
and Ogilvie-Herald go on to state (page 326) that "it is clear
that the west wall (of the Sphinx enclosure) behind the rump
(of the Sphinx)--which according to Schoch's theory must have
been carved only c. 2500 B.C.--shows exactly the same vertical
and rounded profiles as the (presumably older) south wall. ("shows
. . . south wall" is stressed by being placed in italics by
L and O-H)" They therefore conclude that this obvious contradiction
refutes my analysis. Actually it does nothing of the kind. Lawton
and Ogilvie-Herald fail to mention that two "back walls" lie
behind the rump of the Sphinx. The higher "back wall," which
lies farther to the west, does indeed show rain weathering ("vertical
and rounded profiles") and dates back to pre Old Kingdom times.
The seismic studies indicate that the lower "back wall," set
directly behind the rump of the Sphinx and lacking the "vertical
and rounded profiles," may have been excavated much later, possibly
in Khafre's time (circa 2500 B.C.), when I believe the rump
of the Sphinx was reworked and possibly at that time carved
down to the same level as the floor of the Sphinx enclosure
on the other three sides of the sculpture. I discuss this issue
explicitly in my 1992 KMT paper titled "Redating the Great Sphinx
of Giza" (see especially page 57).
same authors argue against the two-stage construction of the
so-called Valley and Sphinx temples, pointing out that some
granite blocks have actually been worked into the Valley Temple
and underlie an uppermost course of limestone blocks (page 331).
Likewise, Old Kingdom pottery fragments have been found around
and under detached limestone blocks of the Sphinx Temple (page
334). This evidence they take to "prove" that the temples, and
therefore the Sphinx itself, must date to Khafre's time. However,
it is perfectly conceivable, in fact to be expected, that Old
Kingdom artifacts would be found around the temples and newer
(that is, Old Kingdom) granite blocks would be incorporated
into the actual temples during the rebuilding and refurbishing
phase of Khafre's time. Clearly, there was much activity on
the Giza Plateau during the Fourth Dynasty, and we should expect
to find the remains of that activity.
and Ogilvie-Herald fail to mention two independent studies of
the Sphinx and Sphinx enclosure that have been undertaken by
first study, by the geologist David Coxill ("The Riddle of the
Sphinx" published in the Spring 1998 issue (Issue 2, pp. 13-19)
of the journal "InScription: Journal of Ancient Egypt"), has
already been mentioned and quoted above. After confirming my
observations on the weathering and erosion of the Sphinx, and
pointing out that other explanations (for instance, as proposed
by Gauri and Harrell) do not work, Coxill clearly states (page
17): "This (the data and analysis he covers in the preceding
portions of his paper) implies that the Sphinx is at least 5,000
years old and predates dynastic times." Coxill then discusses
very briefly the seismic work that Thomas Dobecki and I pursued
and my estimate of an initial date of 5,000 to 7,000 B.C. for
the earliest parts of the Sphinx based on the seismic data.
He neither supports nor refutes this portion of my work, but
simply writes (page 17): "Absolute dates for the sculpturing
of the Sphinx should be taken with extreme caution and therefore
dates should be as conservative as possible--until more conclusive
evidence comes to light." I can understand that he could take
this stance, although perhaps I feel more comfortable with,
and confident in, the seismic analysis we did. Coxill, in the
next paragraph of his paper (page 17), continues: "Nevertheless,
it (the Sphinx) is clearly older than the traditional date for
the origins of the Sphinx--in the reign of Khafre, 2520-2490
geologist, Colin Reader, has also pursued a meticulous study
of weathering and erosion (degradation) features on the body
of the Sphinx and in the Sphinx enclosure. This he has combined
with a detailed analysis of the ancient hydrology of the Giza
Plateau. Although as of this writing , his research has apparently
not been formally published in journal or book form, Reader
has been circulating his work as an illustrated paper entitled
Knew the Sphinx" (the copy I received from him is dated
July 1998). Like Coxill, Reader points out the problems and
weaknesses in the arguments of my opponents. Reader notes (quoted
from the summary of his paper; no page number), that there is
"a marked increase in the intensity of the degradation (that
is, weathering and erosion) towards the west (western end) of
the Sphinx enclosure." Reader continues, "In my opinion, the
only mechanism that can fully explain this increase in intensity
is the action of rainfall run-off discharging into the Sphinx
enclosure from the higher plateau in the north and west . .
. However, large quarries worked during the reign of Khufu (a
predecessor of Khafre, the "traditional" builder of the Sphinx)
and located immediately up-slope, will have prevented any significant
run-off reaching the Sphinx." Thus Reader concludes (page 11
of his paper) that "When considered in terms of the hydrology
of the site, the distribution of degradation within the Sphinx
enclosure indicates that the excavation of the Sphinx pre-dates
Khufu's early Fourth Dynasty development at Giza." Interestingly,
Reader also concludes that the so-called "Khafre's" causeway
(running from the area of the Sphinx, Sphinx Temple, and Khafre
Valley Temple up to the Mortuary Temple on the eastern side
of the Khafre pyramid), part of "Khafre's" Mortuary Temple (which
Reader refers to as the "Proto-mortuary temple"), and the Sphinx
Temple predate the reign of Khufu.
I have discussed in my book, VOICES OF THE ROCKS, I have come
out strongly in favor of not only an older Sphinx, but also
a contemporaneous (thus older) Sphinx Temple (at least the limestone
core being older than the Fourth Dynasty). Independently of
Reader, John Anthony West and I have also concluded that part
of "Khafre's" Mortuary Temple predates Khafre. Reader has now
come to the same conclusion concerning "Khafre's" Mortuary Temple.
I am pleased to see his confirmation.
should note that Reader clearly accepts the Sphinx Temple as
predating Khufu, and if it is correct that the Valley Temple
was constructed from limestone blocks that came out of the Sphinx
enclosure at a higher level than the blocks that were used to
build the Sphinx Temple (as clearly stated by Lawton and Ogilvie-Herald
in their book on page 329; I believe they are correct here),
then the Valley Temple must also be pre-Khufu (as West and I
have hypothesized and advocated all along).
tentatively dates the "excavation of the Sphinx" and the construction
of the Sphinx Temple, Proto-Mortuary Temple, and "Khafre's"
causeway to "sometime in the latter half of the Early Dynastic
Period [page 11]" (that is, circa 2800 to 2600 B.C. or so) on
the basis of "the known use of stone in ancient Egyptian architecture
[page 8]." I believe that Reader's estimated date for the excavation
of the earliest portions of