For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Pyramid Age: Riddles of Time and Technology
Vol. 2, Ages in Alignment Series
  • Emmet Sweeney
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The Pyramid Age: Riddles of Time and Technology. Vol. 2, Ages in Alignment Series
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The chronology of ancient Egypt and Babylonia is wrong to a dramatic degree, with some major historical events mis-dated almost two thousand years before they actually occurred, according historian Emmet Sweeney. Sweeney argues that the pyramids, for instance, were built as "recently" as 800 BC.

About the Author

For over twenty years Emmet Sweeney has researched the questions raised by Velikovsky's efforts to reconstruct ancient history as it is currently taught. He holds a Masters Degree in Early Modern History from the University of Ulster and is currently a lecturer at West University, Timisoara, Romania. Sweeney describes the salient features of each volume in his "Ages in Alignment" series and points out the important consequences of the skewed historical record as it is usually taught in his website at Emmet Sweeney.net.

In parallel, following the research of German historian Heribert Illig, Sweeney pursues the astonishing theory that Europe never experienced a Dark Age. He demonstrates through archaeological, literary, and architectural evidence that the record actually supports this hypothesis which is fueling lively debates across Europe.

About the Book

In The Pyramid Age, Northern Irish historian Emmet Sweeney provides evidence suggesting the pyramids were not built around 2350 BC, as is currently thought, but only around 800 BC.

...

In The Pyramid Age, Northern Irish historian Emmet Sweeney provides evidence suggesting the pyramids were not built around 2350 BC, as is currently thought, but only around 800 BC.

Sweeney’s book argues that the dating of ancient history is often much more tenuous than most people realise, and that many of the puzzles and mysteries which confuse historians and archaeologists are solved as soon as the chronology is adjusted.

He concedes his conclusions are revolutionary but says they are in line with a growing number of academics who are prepared to acknowledge that there may be something radically wrong with ancient chronology. Wolfgang Helck, Germany’s foremost Egyptologist, recently admitted that work on chronology “has clearly arrived at a crisis.”

Sweeney is adamant the pyramids could not have been built 4,000 years ago. “The pyramids were partly constructed of hard granite and display in their design a knowledge of Pythagorean geometry,” he points out.

Yet in 2350 BC, the Egyptians only had copper and flint tools and such principles of mathematics had yet to be formulated. But modern scientists and engineers have demonstrated, repeatedly, that granite, basalt and diorite – all materials used by the pyramid-builders - can only be cut using carbon-steel tools.

“This mystery has led to all sorts of weird and wonderful theorising – not least the idea that the pyramids were built by aliens or Atlanteans.

“But revise the date of the pyramids’ construction to around 800 BC, when steel tools were available and more sophisticated principles of geometry were widely understood, and the mystery is solved.”

Sweeney points out that the presently accepted chronology of Egypt is not based on science, but on venerated literary tradition. This chronology had already been established, in its present form, by the third century BC, when Jewish historians, utilizing the “History of Egypt” by the Hellenistic author Manetho, sought to “tie in” Egypt’s history with that of the Bible. These efforts led to the equation of Menes, the first pharaoh, with Adam, the first man; and the consequential dating of the First Dynasty to around 4000 BC. The rest of Egyptian history, as outlined by Manetho, was made to fall in behind this starting-point.

The chronology of Egypt, as outlined by these early scholars, was to become the traditional means of dating Egypt’s past, and had already, by the 19th century, become so entrenched, that subsequent discoveries were unable to uproot it. As an illustration of this, Sweeney reminds us how Napoleon in 1798, before the Battle of the Pyramids, pointed to the Great Pyramid and told his men that “forty centuries look down on you.” Napoleon therefore placed the building of the monument around 2200 BC – within little more than a century of the date still found in the textbooks. Yet Napoleon’s speech was made over twenty years before Champollion had succeeded in deciphering the hieroglyphics and establishing the science of Egyptology!

It is quite evident that Napoleon’s estimate of the Pyramid’s age was based on the “traditional” chronology; yet it is equally evident that the dates still found in the textbooks are based on the same system.

Sweeney’s work may prove to have far-reaching consequences for biblical scholarship.

He insists the main reason why Egyptian history appeared to be silent about the great events described so vividly in the Bible, such as the story of Joseph (of the many-colored coat) and the Exodus, is that Egypt’s chronology is out of sync with regard to that of the Bible.

As a striking example of this, he shows how Hatshepsut, the female monarch who ruled as a “pharaoh” during the time of the mighty 18th Dynasty, was actually the legendary Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon in Jerusalem. “The connection between Hatshepsut and Solomon is in many ways obvious,” says Sweeney, “but was never made because in the textbooks Hatshepsut and Solomon are placed many centuries apart.”


Introduction
The works of Egypt’s pyramid-building kings, the pharaohs of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, are perhaps the most celebrated of all ancient monuments. Countless volumes have been written about the pyramids, particularly those at Giza, and about the mysterious and godlike kings who raised them. Yet still there is little that can be said...
The works of Egypt’s pyramid-building kings, the pharaohs of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, are perhaps the most celebrated of all ancient monuments. Countless volumes have been written about the pyramids, particularly those at Giza, and about the mysterious and godlike kings who raised them. Yet still there is little that can be said with certainty about either the monuments or their builders. Neither Cheops (Khufu), who erected the Great Pyramid, nor his successor Chephren (Khafre), who raised an equally impressive monument nearby, bequeathed to posterity much in the way of inscriptions. Fundamental questions remain unanswered. The very purpose of the buildings, and the method of their construction, remain mysterious.
Modern investigators using the scientific and mathematical tools of the age have disclosed facts about the Giza pyramids that can only be described as astonishing. The result has been a proliferation of books making sensational claims, which have only served to discredit their publishers and cause profound confusion amongst the general public.
Yet, as we shall see in the course of the present volume, the “alternative” writers are not solely to blame. The scholarly establishment itself, by burying its head in the sand and refusing to consider uncomfortable facts, has been largely responsible for leaving the field wide open to these outlandish hypotheses that now fill the “Egyptology” shelves in libraries and bookshops.
To the ancients however there was little mystery. The pyramids of Giza, they said, were built by three generations of pharaohs, Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, who intended them to be funerary monuments, though they were never actually buried there. Nevertheless, even in antiquity there was some controversy or contention over the age of the pyramids, over the question of when Khufu and Khafre had lived. Herodotus, the Greek “Father of History”, provides the earliest reference (outside Egyptian sources) to Khufu and Khafre — whom he names Cheops and Chephren. According to him, these kings lived at a comparatively late date; just before the Ethiopian pharaohs, as a matter of fact. But the Ethiopians kings, it is accepted by all, reigned at the end of the eighth and the beginning of the seventh centuries BC; which of course then implies that the Father of History placed the pyramid-builders some time in the eighth century. Such a proposition is now held to be outrageous, because modern Egyptology places these kings in the third millennium BC — almost two thousand years earlier!
It has long been the fashion to castigate Herodotus for his apparently absurd chronology. Manetho, the Hellenistic Egyptian chronicler, upon whose ideas modern Egyptology is largely based, placed the pyramid-builders near the beginning of Egyptian history; Herodotus apparently placed them nearer the end. How could the Greek writer, who visited Egypt, and who claimed to derive his account from native source material, have been so wrong? One solution has been to suggest that the order of Herodotus’s history is corrupt, and that those passages concerning the pyramid-builders were misplaced by a later editor. Flinders Petrie, for example, suggested such a solution. However, the sense of comfort derived from this answer is a false one, and has resulted in the concealment or suppression (almost unconsciously) of a vast body of evidence, which, had it been properly examined, would have provided powerful support for Herodotus.
In some ways, the work that follows may be regarded as a vindication of Herodotus. It is also, however, a vindication of the much-maligned Immanuel Velikovsky, whose epoch-making Ages in Chaos (1952), first called scholarship’s attention to the dramatic errors upon which ancient chronology is built. In Ages in Chaos, Velikovsky called for subtracting five to seven centuries from the length of Egypt’s history, and argued that the imperial Eighteenth Dynasty be placed early in the first millennium BC, rather than the middle of the second. Though derided at the time, especially for his catastrophist views, Velikovsky’s work has stood the test of time, and slowly but surely the need for a radical reconstruction of ancient history is gaining acceptance.
Perhaps the most impressive chronological work in recent years has come from the pen of Professor Gunnar Heinsohn. In his Sumerer gab es nicht (1988), Dr. Heinsohn revealed how Mesopotamian history had been distorted in a way that made the distortion of Egyptian history uncovered by Velikovsky pale into insignificance. Chimerical empires and civilizations were created by historians, and placed up to 2000 years before any literate civilization even existed in Mesopotamia. According to Heinsohn, Mesopotamian civilization only began at the start of the first millennium BC, and the great civilizations of the third millennium — namely the Sumerians and Akkadians — were actually alter-egos of the great civilizations of the early first millennium — the Chaldaeans and Assyrians. Now, it is known that the Akkadians and Sumerians were contemporary with the pharaohs of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, and for this reason it became obvious that, should Heinsohn be on the right track, Egyptian history would need to be shortened in a way comparable to that of Mesopotamia.
The immense amount of material brought forward by Heinsohn (some of which will be examined in the pages to follow) leaves no doubt that his proposals, astonishing though they may have appeared initially, are essentially correct; and that a full two thousand years needs to be subtracted from the histories of both Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Our investigation of the Pyramid Age begins however with a general look at the whole phenomenon of pyramid-building. The pyramid is revealed to be a sacred temple dedicated to the celestial deities, and inspired by awesome natural events occurring early in the first millennium BC. The pyramids of Giza are shown to be little more than part of a world-wide genre of megalithic (“Great Stone”) structures, whose range included both occident and orient. The age of megalith-building saw the erection of Stonehenge, the great mound-tomb of Newgrange in Ireland, the cyclopean monuments of Mycenaean Greece, and the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. The question as to why pyramids, or pyramid-type structures, are found in almost every corner of the globe (a question rarely broached by orthodox academia) is revealed to have a sinister answer.
We move on from there to examine the history of the Pyramid Age; for in that history we find important clues to a correct chronology. For example, the lives and careers of many of the pharaohs of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Dynasties seem to connect in strange ways with events described in the early books of the Bible. On the other hand, much of the literature of the Pyramid Age seems to have its closest parallels in material found not in Genesis and Exodus, but in the supposedly much later biblical books of the Prophets.
The next chapter takes a general look at the Pyramid Age and its achievements. The pyramid-builders made abundant use of iron tools (though this is generally denied in mainstream academic works) to carve the hard granite so much used in these structures. Their knowledge of glass-making was not at all inferior to that of the craftsmen of the Eighteenth Dynasty, whilst their scientific and mathematical achievements were not far behind those of classical Greece. Even more to the point, the Pyramid Age is revealed as an epoch of astonishing moral development, with evidence of a philosophical movement towards monotheism; all of which, of course, is totally inexplicable in the third millennium BC.
Chapter 4 takes an in-depth look at how the chronology of the ancient Near East was formulated. There we find that far from having any firm scientific basis, the timescales of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the twin pillars upon which the history of early civilization rests, depend almost entirely for their validity upon venerated literary tradition, specifically from biblical tradition, and from a fundamentalist interpretation of it to boot. It was the 4th-century Christian chronicler Eusebius who outlined the Egyptian chronology that is still, with only minor amendments, accepted by scholarship. In his mistaken attempts to “prove” the Book of Genesis, Eusebius made Manetho’s Egyptian history conform to the chronology of the Old Testament, and therefore followed earlier Jewish historians in tying Menes, the first pharaoh, to Adam. The end result was a history that commenced around 3700 BC (the date for Adam most favored in Jewish circles). The great irony is that, properly understood, Egyptian history would have supplied a great deal of verification for the Old Testament; but, having been put together wrongly, we now find ourselves in the situation where it is claimed than none of the great Hebrew characters whose lives were supposed to have impinged on Egypt (as for example Abraham, Joseph and Moses), are even mentioned by the Egyptians. Yet we shall find that all of these personalities do indeed figure in Egyptian tradition: they have been missed because scholars looked for them in the wrong places. One of the most startling and far-reaching discoveries we shall make is the extent to which the great events of Egyptian history are in fact very precisely reflected in the contents of Genesis, Exodus and Judges.
Another claim now made by Egyptologists is that “modern” dating methods, such as radiocarbon analysis, have served to verify textbook chronology. Yet we shall find that the proponents of such methods have been no more scholarly in their approach, and they have, almost unwittingly, selectively manipulated data with the aim of upholding the ultimately fundamentalist status quo.
Chapter 5 takes us to the start of the 8th century, when Assyrian might reached the borders of Egypt. The Assyrian rulers, who carried the shepherd’s crook as their royal symbol, are identified from the Egyptian records and king-lists, and their relationship with the Hyksos Shepherd Kings clarified. Here we also examine the multiplicity of dynasties that arose in Egypt in the immediate aftermath of the Assyrian conquest, and these are revealed to be the “Middle Kingdom” pharaohs (Dynasties 11 to 13), who ruled a fragmented nation under the auspices of the Asiatic invaders, and who were known to classical tradition as the Dodecarchs.
The final chapters examine Pyramid Age Egypt’s relationship with two other antique nations of the region, Israel and Greece. There we find an abundance of evidence to show that the Israelite Exodus was contemporary with the very beginnings of the Pyramid Age, whilst Greece’s Heroic or Mycenaean epoch commenced at the same point in time. There are some exciting moments. We shall discover, for example, the identity of the pharaoh drowned in the Sea of Passage, as well as the name of his successor, who restored order in the kingdom after the departure of the Israelites. We shall find too the identity of Egypt’s rulers during the Trojan War, and how Greek warriors fresh from the sack of Ilion participated in the wars which established Egypt’s greatest royal dynasty in power.
As might be expected, the sources used in the present work have been diverse. Since a major aim of the book has been to expand and build upon the work of reconstruction already begun by Velikovsky, I have made liberal use of his writings and ideas. Ages in Chaos and Peoples of the Sea were most influential in determining the course of my thought, and other writers of the Velikovsky school have had their impact. The work of Gunnar Heinsohn in particular has helped to inspire the complete overhaul of Egyptian chronology that is attempted in the following pages. Had his radical reconstruction of Mesopotamian chronology not appeared, it is doubtful if Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptian chronology would ever have been effectively challenged. Of the older school of Egyptology, I have found the works of Gaston Maspero, Flinders Petrie, and James Henry Breasted most valuable. No serious work on Egyptian history could ever hope to proceed without the support of these men’s truly Herculean efforts. In addition to these, and a host of other scholars of the 20th century, I have drawn freely on the writings of the classical authors (a most essential, though sadly neglected, source) as well as on the hieroglyphic records of Egypt herself.
It must be admitted that the use of such divergent and apparently unrelated source material has turned the writing of this work into a highly interdisciplinary exercise. I would argue, however, that this is not a weakness but a strength, since it was largely the myopia caused by over-specialization that brought about the intransigent adherence to a patently absurd chronology that we now witness on the part of orthodox scholarship.
It would of course be foolish to claim that the reconstruction presented in these pages is anything approaching definitive. What we have is little more than a skeletal outline. Further research must subject the identifications made to ever closer scrutiny. If mistakes have been made, and they surely must, then they will have to be identified and corrected. The author however holds that such errors as have been committed are of a relatively minor nature; and that the overall picture presented here will stand any amount of cross examination. What is being proposed is not nearly as radical as it might first appear. On the contrary, I would argue, it is the modern “histories” of Egypt and Mesopotamia, which reject most of the revered traditions of these lands, that are radical. What the reader will find in the pages that follow, I suggest, is a picture of ancient history more or less in line with how the ancients themselves saw it.

Chapter 1. Walls Raised by the Hands of Giants

Glimpses of a Bygone Age Egypt’s glorious Third Dynasty came to a sudden and dramatic end. Amidst scenes of natural disaster, slave rebellion and foreign invasion, the great line of kings which had raised the world’s first monuments in stone was no more. In the ensuing chaos, a commoner seized the reins of power. This man, whom history would know as Sneferu, repelled marauding invaders from the desert lands to the east, restored order in the Nile Valley and had himself proclaimed pharaoh. To legitimize his position, he married Hetepheres, daughter of the previous ruler Huni, last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty.
Sneferu was to become one of the best-loved of all Egyptian kings. He inaugurated an age of peace and prosperity which was to see the art and culture of Egypt reach unprecedented and never repeated heights of achievement. During his time and that of his immediate successors, Cheops and Chephren, the craftsmen and architects of Egypt raised monuments that would astonish the world; architectural masterpieces which survive to this day and which even the modern visitor to the Land of the Nile views with awe. With Sneferu began the Pyramid Age.
Yet although Sneferu and his successors launched a veritable Golden Age, historians of our time claim to know little of him and his epoch. It is not known why the Egyptians began suddenly to raise such massive structures as the Giza pyramids, and the whole phenomenon of pyramid-building and the culture attached to it is said to be an enigma. Such explanations as are offered, for instance that the pyramids were royal tombs prepared for god-like kings, beg more questions than they answer. Why, for example, would any people exert such effort in raising vast tombs for mere men of flesh and blood, mortals like themselves? And if we counter that the pharaoh was not regarded as a mere mortal but as an incarnation of the deity himself, we must then enquire about the source of such a strange idea.
Along with the mystery of pyramid-building comes the mystery of the rise to power of Sneferu’s dynasty. How a commoner could seize the throne of the Two Lands, marry into the royal family, and make himself pharaoh, is by no means understood. The scenes described in our opening paragraph are not found in conventional textbooks. These volumes, which fill the libraries and bookshops of the world, know of no natural catastrophes in Sneferu’s time. They do not speak of a dramatic end to the Third Dynasty. They know of no slave rebellions and no foreign invasions — though they do admit that Sneferu confronted and overcame the desert tribes in the Sinai Peninsula. Admitting that he was regarded by later generations of Egyptians as a great warrior, they nevertheless say nothing of Sneferu defeating invaders within the borders of Egypt herself....


Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Walls Raised by the Hands of Giants Glimpses of a Bygone Ag

Chapter 1. Walls Raised by the Hands of Giants
Glimpses of a Bygone Age
A World-wide Phenomenon
The Dragon of Chaos
Dark Secrets of the Pyramids
The Cult of the Phoenix
The Theory of Catastrophes
An Age of Megaliths and Heroes
Chapter 2. God-Like Kings of Old
The Demise of Early Dynastic Egypt
The Reign of Sneferu
Cheops and His Successors
The Kings of Elephantine
The Chronology of Herodotus
The Ethiopian Pyramid-Builders
Confused Epochs
Chapter 3. When Was the Pyramid Age?
Science and Technology of the Pyramid-Builders
Phoenicia and Egypt during the Pyramid Age
Religion of the Pyramid Age
Biblical Parallels
Echoes of the Old Kingdom
Chapter 4. Ancient History in Chaos
How Egyptian Chronology was formulated
Stratigraphy and Chronology
The Triplication of Ancient History
Radiocarbon Dating
Dendrochronology
Stone, Bronze and Iron

 

Chapter 5. The Assyrian Conquest
The Asiatic Dynasty
Akkadians, Hyksos and Assyrians
The ‘Shepherd Kings’ of Mesopotamia
Pyramid-Builders and Ziggurat-Builders
The Middle Kingdom
The Thirteenth Dynasty
Political Fragmentation in Egypt
Chapter 6. The Wandering Tribes of Israel
Moses and His World
Ra-Atum and Yahweh
Exodus in the Pyramid Texts
Hercules of Israel
The Age of the Judges
The Philistine-Assyrian Alliance
Chapter 7. Heroic Age Greece
The Mycenaean World
The Pyramids of Greece
Pelops and the Trojan Campaign
Menelaus in Egypt
Mopsus
Epilogue
Appendix
The Technology of carving Granite
Revised Chronology


More Information

THE SERIES “Ages in Alignment"

The Pyramid Age is part of an originally-researched reconstruction, “Ages in Alignment”, which begins with the start of literate civilization (actually introduced to the Nile Valley from Mesopotamia by the Abraham tribe) and ends with the conquest of Alexander.

Inspired by Velikovsky’s 1952 series “Ages in Chaos,” this series seeks to complete the work which Velikovsky...

THE SERIES “Ages in Alignment"

The Pyramid Age is part of an originally-researched reconstruction, “Ages in Alignment”, which begins with the start of literate civilization (actually introduced to the Nile Valley from Mesopotamia by the Abraham tribe) and ends with the conquest of Alexander.

Inspired by Velikovsky’s 1952 series “Ages in Chaos,” this series seeks to complete the work which Velikovsky commenced, identifying the problems he could not solve and bringing forward a great body of evidence which supports his claims, including the identification of Hatshepsut with the Queen of Sheba.

Velikovsky was rejected by the academic establishment because of a number of contradictions in the chronology he outlined. Sweeney shows that despite some gaps and incompletions, his books were brilliant works of scholarship with much to recommend them.

For decades now scholars have attempted to solve the enigma. Yet the answer was stunningly simple, and in front of us all the time.

Other titles in the series

Ramessides, Medes and Persians

Empire of Thebes
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Pages 196
Year: 2007
LC Classification: DT83.S942
Dewey code: 932--dc22
BISAC: HIS002030
BISAC: HIS022510
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ISBN: 978-0-87586-566-9
Price: USD 23.95
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