Saturday, January 13, 2007

Origins of Egyptian civilization found in the Western Desert?

Thanks very much to Mark Morgan for pointing me to the following article:
"It was February 1999, and Carlo Bergmann had spent five days wandering through the desert with just his camels for company. His eyes were sore from the dust and from scanning the ground in front of him. Then he spotted them - two shards of pottery lying in the sand. They didn't look like much, but Bergmann knew at once what they meant. This one-time Ford motor company management trainee with no formal archaeological training had discovered an ancient trail that had eluded professional Egyptologists for almost a century. Here was a key piece in the puzzle surrounding the origins of the great civilisation of the pharaohs.
Eight years on, and amazing discoveries by Bergmann and a small band of researchers in the desert west of the river Nile are forcing Egyptologists to reconsider the origins of this ancient civilisation. . . . It now seems clear that the culture, technology, religion, economy and possibly even the hieroglyphic text of the pharaohs had roots not in the valley but in the desert far to the west."
The article traces some of Bergmann's previous discoveries, including the Abu Ballas trail, and describes his collaboration with the Arid Climate Adaptation and Cultral Innovation in Africa (ACACIA) team from the University of cologne. However, the main focus of the article is the controversy surrounding the interpretation of one of Bergmann's discoveries - a rock face inscribed with texts, cartouches, rock arts and geometric shapes. One inscription shows a zig-zag shape similar to the hieroglyphic symbol for water, enclosed in a rectangled topped with twin humps, which could be interpreted as the Egyptain symbol for a mountain. Another set of inscriptions Bergmann belives to be a prehistoric map. His conclusion is that the water-mountain inscription is also prehistoric - the earliest known hieroglyphic writing - and this is where the arguments begin. Members of the ACACIA team have disputed this interpetation, believing that the water-mountain inscrption dates to the fourth dynasty.
One of the ACACIA team members, Stefan Kropelin, has found the same water-mountain symbol in the Sudan west of Dongola.
The complete article on the New Scientist website is available only to subscribers (or via Athens) but is available in the print copy, which is out now. It is worth making the effort to get hold of it.
Carlo Bergmann's website, at the above address, consists of summary reports in English and German of Bergmann's expeditions and discoveries along the Abu Ballas trail, including some simply wonderful photographs of archaeological sites, rock art, artefact scatters, geological features, bedouin settlements and some really spectacular scenery.
Some of the arguments presented in his articles have not been universally accepted, and have been extensively debated.

The 2005/2006 season summary, which shows images of the water-mountain symbols, can be found at:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The origins of Egypt will be found in artifacts discovered along the 2nd oldest river in the world they I am convinced was connected to the oldest river (NILE)