I Find A Person Who Believes Some Very Weird Things

While I was working on “The Location of Dilmun, Part 2”, I decided to poke my head into the YouTube comments section of Ancient Aliens Debunked (which is just as filled with conspiracy theories and science-denial as you expect) and found this person, who, not understanding the concept of “prior probability“, believes that the perfectly non-man-made Visocica Hill, which, judging by the below image, taken from this pdf file on a pro-Artificial Bosnian Pyramid Hypothesis website, looks barely anything like a pyramid. For some reason unknown to me, this person believes that the vast majority of relevant scholars are engaging in self-delusion when they point to the fact the pyramid is not shaped like a Great Pyramid of Giza, the tunnels inside it are of disputable origin, the sandstone ‘blocks’ exposed beneath its topsoil are natural, and that there is absolutely no evidence at Visocica of anything resembling the evidence that humans made the most outstanding features of the Giza Necropolis in the 4th Dynasty of Egypt. Hell, the person even tried to make me believe Visocica Hill is more correctly oriented towards True North than the Pyramids of Giza (a claim that can be easily falsified by using eyes and a computer mouse).

A bunch of people have the bile to claim this hill is an artificial pyramid!

To further demonstrate that this hill is not a pyramid, I will be generous and give this person an opportunity to experience software he really needs to download in this fashion:


The person mentioned above also tells me to read the writing of Paul LaViolette (some crank who has proposed Plato’s Atlantis is a literal description of subatomic particles and has claimed that the Hubble Redshift is a result of ‘tired light’) and Laird Scranton (a Velikovskyan). Don’t be afraid to click on any of the links to the cranks-I’m using nofollow. Naturally, LaViolette claims his hypothesis has not become established science due to scholarly inertia, ignoring the fact scholarly inertia can be overcome with a flood of published papers, as Israel Finkelstein has proven, or with a flood of informally published evidence and informal discussion, as GM Grena has shown (partially; hardly anyone has renounced the idea Socoh, MMST, Hebron, and Ziph on most lmlk handles are GNs and barely anyone besides Grena has proposed that lmlk-stamped jars have something to do with government donations worship payments [see comments] to Levites). Publishing a paper once or thrice and calling it a day has never worked at winning anyone many converts to a very significant new idea. I’m confident most physics PhDs could point out the flaws in LaViolette’s argument, but, as I am no physicist, or even student of physics, I cannot do so. I can, however, ridicule Scranton’s Velikovkyan catastrophism, which is all too easy to refute-it’s physically impossible. His claims regarding the Dogon have been debunked here and here.

Let us now move to ridicule one of the above-mentioned person’s WordPress posts.
Interesting. Over two thousand words and no links. One of the most important things I’ve learned regarding blogging over the past few years is that links are extremely important-testis unus testis nullus (a phrase I have often repeated to the person mentioned above, sometimes with typos). Repeating claims exclusively religious and saying “that is not true” is perhaps the best way to show to the general public all claims exclusively religious are untrue-thus, the solid program “Enemies of Reason”. I don’t see anything more authoritarian-sounding in the CSICOP name as compared to CSI-the latter is simply broader and makes it clear to the public that the former “CSICOP” investigates non-‘paranormal’ nonsense. Dawkins has made it clear he is not “certain” he is right about the non-existence of all gods.

Astrology remains elusive, part interpretive art, part science. That apparent contradiction is guaranteed to frustrate scientists, or worse – seriously piss them off.

-If it ain’t falsifiable, it’s probably false (take care to watch the whole program).

. What our educated elders overlook is that whenever we find authority being asserted by self-appointed Inquisitors General for Accepted Truths, it is usually an indication that the dark ages have already arrived.

-If one can’t show the evidence for something important in front of (metaphorically speaking) the scientific community, one probably doesn’t have much of a case. Besides, there are no such self-appointed Inquisitors General that have any real power. Also, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry does “challenge mainstream views of the world”-it challenges the existence of gods, devils, and many other widely accepted religious claims.

They think nothing of committing academic fraud to preserve the established order and according to psychology professor Richard Kammann, are ‘guilty of the very pathological science they were set up to attack.’

-Where, pray tell, have they committed academic fraud, besides a few instances of plagiarism?

certainly ruthlessly efficient in their campaigns to excommunicate, silence and smear heretics

-Because they have the evidence on their side. Besides, it would be a sad, sad world if we skeptics had not been so efficient at excommunicating (from what?), silencing, and smearing ‘heretics’. Homeopathy would be a multi-million dollar business. Peter Popoff would be out and about claiming to be able to heal the physically sick using faith. A religion that claims a dead Jew some two thousand years ago rose from the dead and is currently residing in outer space (or is it in the clouds?) would be believed in by some 3/4 of the citizens of the richest nation in the world. Over a quarter of the citizens of the same nation would believe in ghosts, and nearly a quarter in astrology. What a sad, sad world it would be. What a sad, sad world it is.

Kepler said that looking for scientific proof of astrology was like a hen pecking around in ‘evil smelling dung’ until a ‘good little grain’ was found.

Kepler was right on the money with this analogy. In this part of town, it’s called cherry-picking, or “questionable subgroup analysis“. I’m still not eating anything out of that dung. The Mars Effect was the product of such analysis, and it is a likely false positive (though compare Kamman 1982). If the person mentioned above cannot show evidence for CSICOP’s fraud (except for a few instances that have no bearing on the truth of its claims), let him not claim it. In short, as there is neither a convincing mechanism for any kind astrology to work, and the evidence for it is, as the person mentioned above admits, cherry-picked, it is safe to say that astrology is ridiculous.

Astrology, like music, is the product of space, resonance, frequency and vibration. The solar system is a vibrating, unified whole. It does not influence us – it is us. Astrology is the interpretation of its meaning and every human birth resonates with the harmony and meaning of the celestial moment.

-[citation needed]. Is that turd of a statement even falsifiable? Also, what is this recourse of cranks to ‘vibration’ (a not-so-subtle means to refer to masturbation?) when they cannot provide actual physical data for their beliefs? Yes, we’re all part of the universe. That should be clear. No, you cannot go about claiming the position of Mars influences the birth of anyone.

Wherever there is water, rock and sunlight, there is potential for telluric ground current which can cause a neurological response in the dowser.

[citation needed] A really, really, really big [citation needed]. What can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

It is a phenomenon to do with the natural environment, with landscape, geology, underground aquifers – not plastic bottles of water in boxes set up in a tent. Evidence that human beings are sensitive to these natural effects is found in the location of ancient sites all over the world, which are invariably constructed upon geophysical discontinuities. This was clearly laid out by scientist John Burke in his recent book, ‘Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty’.

-“Eventually, arguing that these things work means arguing that modern capitalism isn’t that ruthlessly profit-focused“. That’s a pretty big problem the cranks have to solve before their crank status can be removed.

However, that only applies to the claimants. In contrast, the debunkers’ standard seems to be that claims held to be ridiculous require only ridiculous standards of disproof.

-Yup. Higher standards of disproof could also be used, but do not necessarily have to be. Also, placing an event in a tent hardly indicates bad scientific practice-where, exactly, should the experiment have been held? Also, why call the good people at CSI “pseudoskeptics”? They are real skeptics, and are perfectly willing to change their views if their requirements for evidence are satisfied. The results of French’s dowsing experiment are clearly visible; they are not ‘fraudulent’ unless one has a special definition of that term. In short, ad hominem attacks on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry do not make CSI any less reliable than the groups CSI opposes. Scientists are not “superstitious of the mystical”-they admit its low prior probability and are perfectly willing to test it (provided the test is done at little expense). Thus, the million-dollar challenge.

In short, the above person is a crank who believes in weird things without evidence. He, by claiming the only thing that would disprove a man-made origin for the hill of Visocica would be the excavators only discovering earth below topsoil has shown himself as blind as any religious fundamentalist in this matter. It is amazing he has the intellectual dishonesty to portray the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry as having views any less evidence-based than his own. Visocica isn’t an artificial hill. Scranton and LaViolette are not authorities. Cranks deserve to be ‘persecuted’.

Update (Nov. 22, 2012): for claims of ancient concrete at Visocica, see here.

Necho, Ramesses, and Stratigraphy

Velikovskyians, when pointed out the fact that Necho cannot be Ramesses, point to various OOPArts (pottery, scarabs, ect.) in archeological strata (i.e. Ramesside scarabs in the 6th century stratum at Lachish, a Stele of Seti I at Beth-Shean in an Iron age stratum (980-732 BC), and some anomalous pottery in tombs. All this is easily explainable by the fact that, sometimes, especially during emergencies, city planners dug up old soil (and pottery and scarabs along with it) to make way for new projects or strengthen existing construction. This is what happened in the case of Lachish and Azekah. As for rare examples of OOPArt pottery and scarabs not found in fills, they are most likely heirlooms.  The Seti I stele was probably dug up during a digging project or was possessed by the Beth-Sheanites as an heirloom. The Tomb of Ahiram from the early 10th (not 7th!) century and the beads of Carchemish may be explained likewise. Younger pottery can get into older strata during burials. Byblos, apparently, has suffered so much digging up and burying that it cannot be stratified in certain areas!

In all other cases the supposed parallels have probably been made up. Archeologists’ works should be consulted after reading any original Velikovskyan statement.

Why Cranks Are Righteously “Persecuted”.

They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Newton. They laughed at Copernicus. They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at Sayce. They laughed at Rohl. They laughed at Andy Wakefield. They laughed at Velikovsky. They laughed at Ron Wyatt. They laughed at Morris. They laughed at Schlafly. They laughed at Fleischmann and Pons. They laughed at Mike Adams. They laughed at David J. Stewart. They laughed at the kid in Algebra 1 thinking this whole 2 + 2 = 4 stuff was “a conspiracy by Big Math and it’s insidious Big Integer agents in schools” (hat tip to Greg Fish).

And rightly so.

All revolutionary ideas should be subjected to the most rigorous critical peer review by professional scholars in the field after being introduced to the scholarly world. If this blog gains influence, it will begin to have influence on the scholarly world. My research on Cadytis, Kadesh-Barnea, Ziklag, Beersheba, and, possibly, even my speculations on the locations on Mount Sinai in AJaL, will be accepted as solid, indisputable fact, except, of course, for the speculations about Mount Sinai, which will only be treated as interesting, but not conclusive. (Edit as of 11/12/12: That was arrogant. I should have subjected my own ideas to further critical examination before making such possibly false pronouncements. Ziklag’s location is still speculative, while the rest of my research on these places of southern Palestine still looks solid.)

Scholars do not condemn a certain idea simply because they don’t like it. They condemn it because it is in disagreement with mountains of evidence piled up over the years and will make several specialties impossible to study. The Vaccine-Autism link, for instance, contradicts fourteen good studies. Velikovsky’s idea of Ramesses II and Necho II being the same person contradicts the fact Tanis, a small provincial town during the days of Ramesses II, and later a mighty Delta capital, contains a large number of Ramesside monuments from Pi-Ramesse used by numerous other kings. Ron Wyatt’s belief a land bridge exists between Nuweiba and the Saudi coast contradicts simple terrain data (go to the “View” tab on Google Earth, turn off Water Surface, and see what I mean).

Those who promote what is commonly considered pseudoscience and claim a conspiracy is conspiring against them, while ignoring all evidence contrary to their preferred pseudoscience, are not working toward a better, more balanced science. They are promoting a world where all reality is in the mind of its beholder. In the medical sphere, this leads to piles of the prematurely dead. In the historical sphere, it leads to nowhere. In the religious sphere, it leads to what we have today. In the industrial sphere, it leads to the end of all planning. In the literary sphere, it leads to the end of language. Those who promote what is commonly considered pseudoscience and claim a conspiracy is conspiring against them, while ignoring all evidence contrary to their preferred pseudoscience, are evil. (Edit as of 11/12/12: True in a limited sense; their beliefs are certainly “evil”; whether they are evil themselves is a matter of semantics.)

The “arrogant bullying” and “intellectual tyranny” of science is necessary to get closer to the truth about the world.


I continue my critique of the Velikovskyans.

The record of Ramesses III (1184-1153 BC)’s messengers’ voyage to the mining country of Atika can be found here. According to Ramesses III, translated by Breasted,

“I sent forth my messengers to the country of Atika, to the great copper mines which are in this place. Their galleys carried them (Lit. “were laden with them;” meaning, of course, the messengers); others on the land journey were upon their asses. It had not been heard before, since kings reign. (Lit. “since the reign;” viz., “since the reign of kings began.”) Their mines were found abounding in copper; it was loaded by ten thousands into their galleys. They (or “it”, the copper) were sent forward to Egypt and arrived safely. It was carried and made into a heap under the balcony, in many bars (Lit. “bricks”) of copper, like hundred-thousands, being of the colour of gold of three times. I allowed all the people to see them, like wonders”

This country was thought by Breasted to have been in the Sinai. It has been identified by scholarship ever since Rothenberg’s findings with the copper mine of Timna. The place the galleys landed has been identified with the anchorage island of Jezirat Faraun (29°27’47″N, 34°51’36″E). A cartouche of Ramesses III, found in the Nahal Roded, the wadi at 29°36’13″N, 34°54’25″E, in February 1972, seems to confirm the scholarly identification.

However, as usual, the Velikovskyans deny the conventional scholarly identification and suppose that “Atika” is actually “Attica”, since the mines of the Sinai were exploited long before Ramesses III, but Ramesses III claimed he was the first to do so. Firstly, the mines of Timna, unlike the mines of Maghara, were only exploited between the reigns of Seti I and Ramesses IV, not exactly very long ago by Ramesses II’s standards (just over a hundred years before). Secondly, Ramesses III could easily get away with his propaganda, since the mines of Timna had not been visited for quite some time. The metal Ramesses III mined was copper “of the colour of gold of three times”. It was certainly not iron! Also, Attica could not have possibly been reached by donkeys. All of the “they”s refer to the messengers and no one else. The identification of Atika with Timna seems secure.

Kadesh=Carchemish? Really? Ramesses=Necho? WTF!

I continue my critique of the Velikovskyans.

The Hittite, Assyrian and Egyptian Kadesh is identified by scholars as being Tell Nebi Mend, the largest tell within a four mile radius of itself, called “Tell Neby Mendeh” in earlier works, 34°33’26″N, 36°31’10″E, inhabited from the Middle Bronze into the Iron Age, with a destruction by the Sea Peoples. This identification is supported by the fact Ramesses II took 31 days to reach Kadesh from Tjaru (see AJaL, sect. 3), the discovery of two letters to Niqmad (sometimes called Niqmadda, Ari-Teshup), the successor to Aitakama, the King of Kadesh in the Amarna Letters, who was, as the Hittite records attest, murdered by his son, Niqmad, in 1313 BC, the Egyptian reliefs, showing Ramesses coming from the Northwest (the image of Ramesses II from Abu Simbel seems to have been flipped by the artist for reasons of having Ramesses II above, not below the river (Ramesses had to be shown pushing enemy soldiers down, not up, into the Orontes), and the entire relief in the Ramesseum, 2nd Pylon has been flipped by the artist, this seems to be a better representation of the image from the 2nd Pylon of the Ramesseum, the Seti I relief from Karnak, telling of Seti I’s “ascent which Pharaoh, L.P.H, made to take apart the land of Kadesh and the land of Amurru” while differing from Ramesses II’s, still refers to Tell Nebi Mend, Amurru being the mountainous land from Zemar/Sumur to Byblos,), and the fact the river flowing by Kadesh is called the r-n-t (Arantu/Araunti) in most Egyptian texts, and the n-r-t (Anratu/Aunrati) in others, clearly referring to the Orontes River. The fact “Kadesh the Old” (Breasted: “Kadesh the Deceitful”), behind which the Hittites camped, has been found at the MB ruin of Sefinet Nuh, at 34°34’40″N, 36°32’36″E, and the fact a quickly made local stele of Seti I was found at Tell Nebi Mend in 1921 also supports Kadesh as Tell Nebi Mend. The fact that, in the Amarna letters (EA 174-175), Aitakama of Kinsa (Kadesh) assisted the troops of Hatti in setting cities in the kingdoms of Hase/Hasi (Tell Hizzin, 33°57’54″N, 36° 6’14″E) and Hashabu (Tell Hashbe, 33°58’57″N, 36° 4’19″E) on fire shows Kadesh was a reachable distance for troops from the northern Beqa’a. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the clay from an Amarna letter from Aitakama, king of Kadesh (EA 189) has been shown to be consistent (pg. 97) with the area around Tell Nebi Mend, although, due to contamination, it’s hard to be sure.

The name “Kadesh” was preserved throughout the millennia in the the name of the Lake of Homs, an artificial lake built during the time of Diocletian, called by Abulfeda the “Lake of Qades”, and in a “Quadis” south of the Lake of Homs and NW of Hermel on an 1819 map using pre-1802 information, as shown by the fact that the Lake of Homs was regarded as a long, narrow, strip of water fed by a short branch of the Orontes, which is clearly not the case. This “Quadis” was probably a small mill built of basalt chips, just south of the bridge built over the el-Mukadiyeh, called Tahunet Kades, which was located near 34°33’16″N, 36°30’57″E. Centuries later, Edward Robinson, the great explorer of Palestine and Sinai, expressed puzzlement regarding why the lake should be called “of Qades”-“Why [the Lake of Homs] bears the name of Kedes is unknown. No city or village of that name, ancient or modern, is found in the vicinity.” The first man to propose the identification of Tell Nebi Mend with the Kadesh of Ramesses II was Claude Reignier Conder in the Spring of 1881, who made his identification based almost entirely on false or irrelevant evidence. It was, however, Breasted, who first made a half-competent account of the battle with Kadesh assumed as Tell Nebi Mend. From then on, Tell Nebi Mend was held to be Kadesh by over 80% of Egyptologists. After Pezard’s excavations there (1922), Kadesh was accepted as being at Tell Nebi Mend by all scholars, mostly, due to the exclusion of nearby sites by other excavations.

The identification of Kadesh with Tell Nebi Mend has been rejected by the Velikovskyans. Their argument that Thutmose III could not have went to Naharim without first capturing Kadesh ignores the existence of Damascus. The river south of Kadesh was an artificial moat or ditch, probably re-used from Middle Bronze times, dug from 34°33’5″N, 36°30’56″E to 34°33’N, 36°31’22″E, and mentioned by Thomson in Robinson’s “Later Biblical Researches” as “ma[king] the Tell an island”. The double moat and bridges are unconfirmed, but interesting. The Abu Simbel relief contradicts the text no matter where Kadesh may be located. The fact archeology at Nebi mend is at a primitive stage and has not unearthed walls directly attributable to LB IIB Kadesh should not discourage further excavation of the site. Strabo’s connection of the name “Orontes” with a certain 4th century General Orontes in Geo. 16:2:7 is probably a late tradition, and may reflect the usage of the name only in the lowest parts of the river, near Mount Zaphon, since there is no record of any river “Zaphon”, or “Typhon”, in the Assyrian records. The Orontes was, after all, called Arantu in the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III and in the records of Ashurnasirpal II. The fantastic statement of the Velikovskyans that the Euphrates had no Egyptian name ignores the fact that it was called by the Egyptians “the inverted water” numerous times. Velikovsky does not even understand what he is saying when he says “In the Egyptian, the initial p could be omitted if it was understood as the definite article”! The “p” in “Prat” is not a definite article! “P”‘s were added as definite articles by the Egyptians, never taken out of the original word. Velikovsky is practically arguing that, since “in the English, the initial the could be omitted if it was understood as the definite article”, the English Ron, Oklahoma, is the Greek Ptolemais Theron, since the Americans omitted the “the” in “Theron”! The “Forest of Baw” of Abu Simbel is not at modern Bab, but, being spelled “Rbw” at the Ramesseum, is at modern Laboue, biblical Lebo-Hamath. (H)Arnam (see Sect. XIX) need not and should not be identified as Shalmaneser III’s Arne, (which is not identified with modern Arme,  but with Tell Aran, 36° 7’27″N, 37°20’50″E), but should instead be identified with modern (and ancient, #81) Hermel, whose name is related to (H)Arnam.

Kadesh cannot be Carchemish due to the 31 day travel time limit (if Thutmose III could not even travel 9 mpd, according to the Velikovskyans*, how could Ramesses travel at over 20?) and since Kadesh and Carchemish were listed as separate Hittite allies in the Poem of Pentaur. Also, the description of Kadesh as south of Tunip in the official record of the battle militates against Kadesh being Carchemish. The fact Ramesses II had to cross the Arantu to get to its west side confirms it could not have been the Euphrates. The identification of Tell Nebi Mend with biblical Riblah-in-Hamath, generally identified with the modern village-ford of Rible, 34°27’38″N, 36°32’25″E (not to be confused with Riblah on the east side of Ain/Khirbet ‘Ayyun/A’yoon/Uyun, 32°43’10″N 35°39’60″E) is unfounded, for any fort that was ever built at Riblah, either by Seti I, who never mentioned any Riblah, or by Necho II or the king of Hamath, has long been picked apart by the locals to be used for the building of Graeco-Roman cities, and there is no evidence that Riblah was a fort (2 Kings 23:34 is probably corrupt). While no excavations or pottery surveys have so far been done at Rible, it is known to have been mentioned in an Assyrian letter to Tiglath-Pileser III. Tell Nebi Mend is much better identified as Kadesh for the reasons set out above.

As for the identification of Necho II with Ramesses II, the only proper response is: WTF? Assyrian chronology proves these kings were over 600 years apart. The Abydos (Seti I) and Turin (Ramesses II) king lists are further attestation of this fact. The differences between the two are plain. Their capitals, Avaris/Pi-Ramesse/Qantir and Sais/Sa el Hagar were on opposite sides of the Delta! Tanis/Zoan/Djanet, which Velikovsky considers to be another name for Sais, was, in the Ramesside days, a small provincial town, and only gained importance after the Renaissance (19th year of Ramesses XI), after which Pi Ramesse, ruined due to the shifting Pelusiac, was used as a monument quarry for the Tanite kings. Tanis, however, cannot be Sais. The Saite nome is always identified with the 5th nome, the area of Sa el-Hagar, not with the 19th, or Tanite nome. Djanet (Tanis) and Zau (Sais) were spelled differently by the Egyptians. Sais was put by Strabo, Pliny, and Ptolemy in the Western Delta. Sa el-Hagar has well-charted (not well-excavated) ruins matching the description of Herodotus and some statues of Wahibre/Hophra/Apries. The fact Herodotus considered (2.17) the Saitic branch to be what most call the Tanitic cannot be explained, but the fact some called the Tanitic mouth the Saitic is confirmed by Strabo (Geo. 17:20). Manetho(quoted in Josephus)’s mention that Avaris was located in the Saite nome is not proof of anything but that a copyist can easily misspell “Sethroite nome” (named after Sethrum, otherwise known as Herakleopolis Parva or Hanes (Is 30:4), modern Tell Scherig/Sherig/Belim, 30°58’42″N, 32°10’30″E). Tanis was in the 19th, not the 14th (Avarite/Sethroite) nome.

There are more differences. One ruled for sixteen years, the other for sixty-six years and two months. One had the throne name of Wahemibre, the other, Usermaatre Setepenre. One conquered Gaza in his tenth year, the other kept it as a possession passed on from past generations, one battled Muwatalli II of Hatti, whose brother, Hattusili III, mentioned the battle in several cuneiform tablets, the other Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, who mentioned the battle in the Jerusalem Chronicle. Necho built a canal from Bubastis to Suez, Ramesses did not. Finding parallels between Necho and Ramesses is harder than finding parallels between Jesus and pagan deities or Kennedy and Lincoln. Indeed, if Necho II was Ramesses II, how could Taharqa, a very well-attested king in the Assyrian records, make additions to the temples of Ramesses II? Alan Wilson & Baram Blackett’s reading “Nebuchadnezzar” in the gateway to Abu Simbel has not been evaluated by serious scholars, is based on a decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics based on the “Khumric” (Welsh) language that the pair made up on their own, and should be discarded. Both Wilson and Blackett are very nutsy Welsh Israelists with no credibility whatsoever. The fact Necho II has  few inscriptions in his home country while remaining a mighty king seems to stem from several factors, including that he did not have a Ramesside-length reign, did not have the time or the money to build commemorative inscriptions on temple walls due to his military spending and canal project, and the fact that his capital, Sais, has not been thoroughly excavated. He does have the Serapeum Stele at Memphis recording his burial of an Apis bull and some inscriptions along with Psamtik II’s at the limestone quarries of Mokattam Hills and at Nekhen. Cartouches of his were found at such places as Sidon and Carchemish, not to mention Naucratis and the Wadi Hammamat. This, even though his son, Psamtik II, carried a mighty campaign of destruction of all his monuments and cartouches! I highly recommend New Scientist‘s Oct 19, 1978 review of Ramses II and his time for a further and more conclusive rebuttal.

*Acording to the Velikovskyans, “In order to reach this place, the army which had just crossed the Sinai desert from Egypt would have continued marching for 10 days, covering about 90 miles. Such is the opinion of Breasted and his followers. But according to Danelius, who had kept the 1917 Palestinian campaign well in mind, an army that included cavalry and chariots drawn by horses could not progress that quickly in a country where drinking water is in short supply during the dry season, May to November:

It seems that neither Breasted nor any of his followers has given any thought to this vital question, not to mention other problems of logistics. In this respect, the dispatches sent by General Allenby to the Secretary of State for war during the advance of the Forces in the Philistine Plain are a veritable eye-opener. Gaza had fallen on November 7th 1917. Two days later: “By the 9th, the problem became one of supply … the question of water and forage was a very difficult one. Even where water was found in sufficient quantities, it was usually in wells and not on the surface, and consequently … the process of watering a large quantity of animals was slow and difficult”, wrote Allenby.” (Op. cit., n.84, #’s. 13,14 and after p.113).”68)

And on the very next day, on November 10th:

“The hot wind is an additional trial, particularly to the cavalry already suffering from water-shortage. [This was near Ashdod, in the Philistine Plain]. Owing to the exhaustion of their horses on account of the lack of water … [two mounted brigades] had to be withdrawn into reserve”, on November 11th.”

Applying this situation to Thutmose’s era, Danelius commented:

“There is no reason to suppose that nature was kinder to Thutmose’s troops in May, the month with the greatest number of days with the destructive hot wind blowing from the desert, than to the Allied troops in November. Allenby’s advance, too, was considerably slower than that demanded in Breasted’s calendar for the advance of the Pharaoh’s army: the Allied left wing covered only 40 miles in 15 days along the plain (op. cit., 7, #15), while Breasted suggested 80-90 miles in 10-11 days.”, the Velikovskyans, naturally, forgetting the fact of Ramesses having far more chariots than Thutmose, and Allenby’s force having wheeled guns and a far larger number of infantry, and the fact Gaza and Tjaru in Thutmose III’s record are fixed points, proving Thutmose III traveled 15.6 miles per day (140 miles in 9 days!) on the very badly watered North Sinai coast.

Why Emmet Sweeney is Wrong About Punt and Sheba

Even though I showed in my previous rebuttal Sweeney’s “Punt in Phoenicia” is impossible, since Ramesses III confirms that the Egyptians set sail for Punt from Mersa Gawasis, Sweeney still continues to amaze me in his capacity to make s**t up.

The simple fact that Retenu gave Thutmose III tribute of myrrh does not mean that Retenu actually grew its own myrrh! Myrrh was a precious commodity, and could be used to pay tribute with far less expense than sending out tons of wheat. Also, Sweeney forgets to check his own Bible when he claims that:

But, as Velikovsky stated, there is very good reason to suppose that in antiquity the shrub was also cultivated in Syria/Palestine. This is hinted very strongly in a number of biblical passages. Thus in the Song of Songs, reputedly composed by Solomon, we read:

“My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh; Sweeter your love than wine, the scent of your perfume than any spice; Your lips drip honey, and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.” [Song of Songs 4:10-11]

Note how Lebanon is apparently here linked with myrrh.

(Psst… I don’t think Emmet realizes Song of Solomon 5:5 does NOT come directly before Song of Solomon 4:10-11.) I have no idea where in the world Sweeney got his composite quote from, but it shows how Sweeney fact-checks his sources. As for what “the scent of Lebanon” is, I have no clue, although I’m guessing it’s the scent of some sort of wood (cedar?)-the scent is certainly not myrrh, that has never been documented as growing anywhere in Lebanon, in either the Sumerian, Mari, Egyptian, Assyrian, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, Medieval, or Modern records.

As for Sweeney’s imaginary Lake Huleh-it never existed. There most certainly was a “Lake Huleh” around 33° 4’N, 35°37’E, which was drained under Zionist auspices between 1951 and 1958, but that is not the “Huleh Valley” imagined by Sweeney! That is a figment of his imagination, and certainly not “the marshes of the earth” of Thutmose III-Egyptian control extended as far as Carchemish, and those legendary “marshes” were paired by Thutmose III with the Kingdom of Mitanni in his Poetic Stela.

Sweeney’s statement that the conventional Punt was “a primitive land” during the days of Hatshepsut is quite true- and supported by Hatshepsut’s reliefs, which show no clearly developed state in Punt. In the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, conventional Punt was far from an empty land-the 1st Intermediate-Middle Kingdom site of Mahal Teglinos (SE Kassala) at the northern foot of Jebel Taka, containing Arabian, Kerman, and Egyptian pottery, attests to this. “At Agordat in the middle Barka valley (Eritrea), an Egyptian-style ceramic ear-plug and some stone celts which imitate bronze prototypes of the 17th-18th Dynasties have been excavated in sites dating to the mid-second millennium BC. On the Eritrean coast at Adulis (15°15’43″N, 39°39’35″E), two fragments of glass vessels typical of the New Kingdom have been found in a level dating to the late second millennium BC.” (Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, p.637). Indeed, Hatshepsut describes Punt as a land rich in wildlife and spices, but never describes Punt itself as urbanized-her reliefs show no artificial harbors or port cities, just chiefs in kilts and queens in fine dresses and necklaces. See my previous rebuttal for more about Punt itself. Indeed, the Queen of Parehu’s chiefdom was said by the relief to have been carried by a mere donkey, showing Punt was hardly considered by the Egyptians to be as developed as Egypt. Punt’s triangle-sailed boats are most assuredly not ships of Tarshish, Keftiu, or Byblos. The fact the existence of Punt was well known to the Egyptians does not mean Punt was well-charted and explored. I doubt a typical Christian would be able to point out even the most general area of where Jesus was crucified on a world map. Hatshepsut herself made it clear that her voyage was one of discovery.

Sweeney’s new idea of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais is interesting, but probably wrong, since Genesis 10 mentions Sheba as a descendant of Raamah(=Ragmatum, modern Najran, Saudi Arabia) along with Dedan (modern Al-Ula). Neither Sheba nor Seba is mentioned as a descendant of Mizraim(=Egypt). This shows Sheba is probably that famous kingdom of Saba centered in Marib, 15°25’38″N, 45°20’10″E. The connection of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais has not, as I know, been accepted in the scholarly community at large. I also find it linguistically doubtful, since Egyptian s is not likely to have been transliterated as a Hebrew shin, since in all other cases it is transliterated as a samek (e.g. Rameses). It is also not likely to transition to a Greek Theta. Tarshish, meanwhile, might have an original “ch” behind the Greek tau and Hebrew shin. I’m still sticking with the old etymology “Egyptian Ta-opet/ape (“the head”)= Coptic Tape, spoken as Thaba=Greek Thebais”.

Also, the Queen of Sheba is described in the Bible as being amazed at “all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of YHWH”-yet the Deir el Bahari reliefs mention none of these, but do mention a Puntite chief named Parehu, ruling with his wife, Ati, and having two sons and a daughter. The Queen is also mentioned as “arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones”-yet, Hatshepsut arrived in a fleet of ships, no camels were described as boarding them, and neither do her reliefs make mention of any visit to any kingdom-only of a visit to the Puntite coast. Neither does she mention arriving with even a single camel. Indeed, Hatshepsut received green (i.e. good) gold of ‘Amau from Punt and also received very much myrrh-but the Bible mentions the Queen’s great giving of spices-that “never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”-perfectly fitting a queen of the kingdom of Marib, which had many myrrh and some frankincense fields under its disposal, consistent with Jeremiah 6:20 and Isaiah 60:6, where Sheba was described as a source of frankincense (Heb. lebonah, from laben, “to be white”).

As for Sweeney’s desperate attempt to counteract Hatshepsut’s clear statement that

“He [Amon] hath made my kingdom, the Black Land, and the Red Lands are united under my feet. My southern boundary is as far as Punt …; my eastern boundary is as far as the marshes of Asia, and the Asiatics are in my grasp; my western boundary is as far as the mountain of Manu … my fame is among the Sand-dwellers altogether. The myrrh of Punt has been brought to me … all the luxurious marvels of this country were brought to my palace in one collection, which the Asiatics presented … turquoise/chrysocolla of the country of Reshet. They have brought me the choicest products of … consisting of cedar, of juniper and of meru-wood; … all the goodly sweet woods of God’s Land. I brought the tribute of Tehenu(Libya)…” (Emphasis Mine)

by saying “All the queen seems to be saying is that her southern border, in Nubia, is as far distant from Thebes as her northern border, in Punt.”, he seems to forget that, taking his statement literally, one would wind up in an Egyptian northern border on the northern border of the Kingdom of Judah, and the fact that Egypt’s actual northern border was at Carchemish, well north of his “Hula Valley”. Hatshepsut does not here include a northern border because the only thing directly north of Egypt is salt water, and her Levantine border was already covered in her eastern border, which was as far as the marshes of Asia, that is, the marshes of the Upper Euphrates. As to whether her southern border really was as far south as Punt, if she knew about latitude, her statement would be correct, if not, she would be simply exaggerating in the manner of Esarhaddon, who stated that all the kings who lived in the sea, as far as Tarshish, submitted to him.

It is therefore concluded that Emmet Sweeney is full of s**t regarding both Punt, Sheba, the Bible, and Lebanese geography, and that the conventional locations of both Punt and Sheba are correct. It is a pity rebels do not always think out the consequences of their statements before making them.

Why Emmet Sweeney is Wrong About Punt

The Land of Punt was a land visited by several Egyptian kings throughout the ages, from the reign of Sahure to the reign of Ramesses III, by sailing from Mersa Gawasis. It is widely agreed among scholars to be in the area of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Eastern Sudan, that is, the sources of the Atbara and the coastal area between Suakin and the Gulf of Zula. This is based upon several factors:

1. The flora and fauna in the scenes at Deir el Bahari (pg. 277 onward), such as ebony, myrrh (‘ntyw/anti)*, and baboons are decidedly Eritrean/Ethiopian (see also here, p. 141). The giraffe is not from Punt, but from Khent Hunnefer, or Khent-hen-nefer, or Khenthennofer, another name for Kush (Nubia above the 2nd Cataract). The objection that the rhinoceros is of the Indian type has been answered by Kenneth Kitchen, “The same criticisms also largely apply to the rhinoceros; the presence of but one horn is of a piece with similar examples from Kerma and the stela Louvre C,14; all these examples are simply abbreviated, not of Indian origin (cf. Kitchen 1971: 187, and nn. 16-17).”.

*’ntyw/anti was probably not frankincense; while ‘ntyw was the product of Punt par excellence, mentioned in nearly every text relating to the products of the land (including Pap. Harris and in the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor, where a sailor, after being stranded on an island off the coast of Punt, comes upon a Puntite prince rich in ‘ntyw), even being shown as being grown near the coast in the Hatshepsut reliefs. While the coastal ‘ntyw plants on the Hatshepsut reliefs look more like frankincense than myrrh, the finished large red lumps of ‘ntyw do look very much like myrrh. Sntr, meanwhile, was a poorer incense grown in both Egypt, Punt, and Retenu, and was probably the resin of one of the the Pistacia species khinjuk, terebinthus, or atlantica.

2. The people of Punt wore kilts, had skilled dancing Pygmies (one of which was brought to Pepi II), and could pronounce the letter “P”, even having a chief named “Parehu”, unlike the Arabs. This “Parehu” ruled with a finely-dressed queen named Ati, and the couple had two sons and a daughter shown by Hatshepsut, suggesting rich chiefs were hereditary monarchs. They also wore rings on their ankles (Parehu on both legs, Ati on one), a purely African custom. The Puntites also had strange housing in the form of huts on stilts, entirely unattested in Arabia or the Sinai (the inhabitants of those areas used Bedouin tents or stone or mud-brick houses-stilted huts were out of the question). An inscription found at el-Kab (ancient Nekheb) states “Listen you, who are alive upon earth . . . Kush came . . . aroused along his length, he having stirred up the tribes of Wawat (Lower Nubia) . . . the land of Punt and the Medjaw (Eastern Desert). . .”, supporting an African location for Punt.

3. Gold of Amau, generally identified with the Hassai mining area (18°42’N, 35°23’E), was imported by Egypt from Punt. Amau also served as a source of ivory and ebony (see Meeks’ article on Punt, pg. 65). A certain Userhat of the same land left a graffito at Sabu, near  19°56’20″N, 30°32’42″E. Amau was never mentioned as being visited by ship in either the Hatshepsut reliefs or anyplace else, strongly suggesting Punt need be placed in Abyssinia.

4. A certain 26th Dynasty stele found at Tahpanhes declares it a miracle and a blessing that there was rain upon the Mountain of Punt in late December/early January, since rain was scarce in the southern provinces of Egypt.

Some people however, choose instead to identify Punt with such places as Phoenicia (Sweeney), an utter impossibility-Hatshepsut sailed to Punt by way of the Red Sea, as the sea fauna in her reliefs suggest, and as Ramesses III’s explicit statement in Papyrus Harris, Breasted’s Paragraph 407, that

They arrived safely at the highland of Coptos. They landed in safety, bearing the things which they brought. They were loaded, on the land-journey, upon asses and upon men; and loaded into vessels upon the Nile, at the haven of Coptos. They were sent forward downstream and arrived amid festivity, and brought some of the tribute into the royal presence like marvels.”

proves beyond all doubt. Also, while balm was grown in Gilead (the road the Ishmealites took went from Gilead to Jezreel to Yehem, 32°22’6″N, 35° 1’54″E, to Egypt-recall that Dothan is at 32°24’47″N, 35°14’19″E), myrrh was certainly not. The “lot” in Genesis 37:25 and 43:41 was not myrrh (Heb. mor), but labdanum. Myrrh was never known to have been cultivated in the Jordan valley, and was always considered to be exclusively a product of the Horn of Africa, Oman, and Yemen. Palestine/Phoenicia was NOT “the only country associated with Hathor”! She was worshiped at such places as Serabit el-Khadim, where she was called “the lady of mafkat” (=turquoise/chrysocolla) and Atika/Timna, where there was a shrine to her. As Kitchen put it, Hathor was “the goddess of anywhere ‘abroad'”. Osiris, too, was not “specifically associated with Byblos”, but was also associated even more specifically with the Island of Biggah, 24° 1’12″N, 32°53’8″E
Thutmose III’s claim to have conquered “all the regions of Punt” is just an empty propogandistic boast to begin his first year, not something to rely on as evidence for anything. I would highly recommend David Lorton’s article for a further rebuttal.

Update, as of August 28, 2011: According to here, pg. 28, “[closed bottle/jar] imports from the southern Red Sea confirm that the Yemeni coast and possibly Eritrea were involved in the Egypt-Punt trade network”.

Update, as of February 18, 2013: According to here, pg. 26, a crate with the label “the wonderful things of Punt”, dating from the days of Amenemhat IV, has been discovered at Mersa Gawasis, thus solidifying Punt’s link with the Red Sea.