Posts Tagged ‘Add new tag’

The Pharaoh’s Prime Minister; Is There Physical Evidence for the Exodus?

Religious, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Nov 05 2009

Photo: Imhotep; Another Joseph son of Jacob candidate?

By Dr. Zahi Hawass
Asharq Alawsat

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Many archaeologists and researchers have spoken about Aper-al’s tomb that was discovered in the Saqqara area. Aper-al held the title of “Prime Minister of Egypt” and they [archaeologists and researchers] say that the name Aper-al indicates that he was one of the Egyptianized Hebrews.

One adventure that I will never forget is when I entered that tomb that was sculpted into a rock of the plateau upon which ancient Egyptians built their pyramids and tombs over 5000 years ago. I descended more than 30 meters underground and saw the antiquities found in the tomb including jewels, cosmetic equipment, beautiful funerary masks and coffins embellished with inscriptions.

The question I had in mind at that moment was: could a Hebrew assume the highest position in a state after the position of Pharaoh? And would he have been permitted to build his tomb on a sacred ancient Egyptian site like Saqqara, the name of which is derived from the ancient Egyptian god “Sokar,” the god of death in ancient Egypt?

Behind closed doors, some quietly claim that this tomb belongs to Prophet Joseph, son of Prophet Jacob, especially as we came across texts inside the tomb that referred to the significant role played by Aper-al side-by-side with the Pharaoh despite being of Hebrew origin.

According to some people, those texts carry indirect references to Prophet Joseph’s biography as mentioned in the holy books including his astonishing rise above social classes to reach the position of “Al-Aziz Misr” which is equivalent to the post of prime minister.

But what contradicts this theory is the fact that Prophet Joseph, peace be upon him, lived before the Amarna era, that is, before 1353 BC, and that his remains had been moved from Egypt by his grandsons according to what was stated in the Book of Exodus (13, 19).

French archaeologist Alain Zivie believes that Aper-al’s upbringing in a royal court is quite reminiscent of the life of Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. Since we are discussing the Amarna era, we’re not that far from Akhenaten (for whom Aper-al worked) or from the very special monotheistic creed that he created. Accordingly, anything became possible including imaginary conceptions and far-fetched interpretations of the inscriptions found on the antiquities.

The monotheistic creed advocated by the Prophets of the Israelites, including Moses, peace be upon him, is completely different to Akhenaten’s concept of monotheism. Though they both agreed that the universe had one God, Akhenaten failed to completely rid himself of inherited, idolatry aspects when he embodied the power of the one and only God in a sundial and portrayed its rays as the hands of god reaching out to humans with light and illumination.

The people of Prophet Moses did the same when they were overcome by idolatry tendencies. They embodied their god in the form of a sacred calf and incurred the anger of Moses and the wrath of God. So they were doomed to wander in the wilderness of Sinai’s plains, deserts and mountains for continuous 40 years.

As for the Vizier Ramose, he has one of the most beautiful tombs of the Nobles in the West Bank of Thebes or Luxor. It is tomb number 55 and some prefer to pronounce his name as “Ra’amusa”. He was a vizier during the period in which Akhenaten joined his father Amenhotep III in ruling Egypt from the 18th dynasty in the New Kingdom, around 3500 years ago.

Researcher Ibrahim Mohammed Kamel argues that the name Moses spread widely in Egypt in the early 18th dynasty and during the 19th dynasty and it means “boy” or “newborn.” Egyptians were sometimes given the name “Moses” on its own or as part of compounds containing the names of their gods for example, Raa’-Moses, Amoun-Moses or Eyah-Moses, which respectively mean the newborn of Raa’, the newborn of Betah and the newborn of the moon. So did Prophet Moses bear the name of an ancient Egyptian deity?

As for Aper-al, there is one possibility that I am strongly in favour of; he is most probably an Egyptian and not a Hebrew, even though his name is non-Egyptian. Until now, there are Egyptians who have names that might refer to nationalities and ethnicities that are non-Egyptian, even though they are Egyptian to the core.

The Continuing Rehabiltation of Neanderthal
Did He Get a Publicist?

Church of Darwin,, Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 13 2008

When someone uses Neanderthal as an adjective, as in he is a real Neanderthal, (or is that a noun?) it is not considered to be a compliment. However, in the last few years, with the advent of DNA sequencing and even forensic science, Neanderthal and Cro Magnon (cavemen) have been the recipients of some excellent press.

We already knew that they were stronger than “we” are, but maybe scientists now theorize, they actually looked like us; one scientist found that their DNA is 99.9% equivalent to ours (which is how your DNA compares to any neighbors); maybe, they did intermarry another supposes; their tools were the equal of ours this current article recognizes, so how come we are supposed to have supplanted them? If evolutionary theories are true, shouldn’t stronger, as intelligent beings have supplanted “us”?

Neanderthals Conquered Mammoths, Why Not Us?
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

: The Human Animal Sept. 9, 2008 — They may have been stronger, but Neanderthals looked, ate and may have even thought much like modern humans do, suggest several new studies that could help explain new evidence that the early residents of prehistoric Europe and Asia engaged in head-to-head combat with woolly mammoths.

Together, the findings call into question how such a sophisticated group apparently disappeared off the face of the Earth around 30,000 years ago.

The new evidence displays the strengths and weaknesses of Neanderthals, suggesting they were skilled hunters but not as brainy and efficient as modern humans, who eventually took over Neanderthal territories.

Neanderthal Vs. Woolly Mammoth

Most notably among the new studies is what researchers say is the first ever direct evidence that a woolly mammoth was brought down by Neanderthal weapons.

Margherita Mussi and Paola Villa made the connection after studying a 60,000 to 40,000-year-old mammoth skeleton unearthed near Neanderthal stone tool artifacts at a site called Asolo in northeastern Italy. The discoveries are described in this month’s Journal of Archaeological Science.

Villa, a curator of paleontology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, told Discovery News that other evidence suggests Neanderthals hunted the giant mammals, but not as directly. At the English Channel Islands, for example, 18 woolly mammoths and five woolly rhinoceroses dating to 150,000 years ago “were driven off a cliff and died by falling into a ravine about 30 meters (over 98 feet) deep. They were then butchered.”

Villa, however, pointed out that “there were no stone points or other possible weapons” found at the British site.

“At Asolo, instead there was a stone point that was very probably mounted on a wooden spear and used to kill the animal,” she added.

Several arrowheads were excavated at the Italian site, but the one of greatest interest is fractured at the tip, indicating that it “impacted bone or the thick skin of the mammoth.”

Other studies on stone points suggest that if such a weapon were rammed into a large beast, it would be likely to fracture the same way.

What’s For Dinner?

There is no question that Neanderthals craved meat and ate a lot of it.

A study in this month’s issue of the journal Antiquity by German anthropologists Michael Richard and Ralf Schmitz found that Neanderthals went for red meat, not of the woolly mammoth variety, but from red deer, roe deer, and reindeer.

The scientists came to that conclusion after grinding up bone samples taken from the remains of Neanderthals found in Germany and then analyzing the isotopes within. These forms of chemical elements — in this case, carbon and nitrogen — reveal if the individual being tested lived on meat, fish or plants, since each food group has its own carbon and nitrogen signature.

Richard and Schmitz conclude that the Neanderthals subsisted primarily on meat from deer, which they probably stalked in organized groups.

The researchers say their findings “reinforce the idea that Neanderthals were sophisticated hunters with an advanced ability to organize and communicate.”

Villa agrees.

“Neanderthals are no longer considered inferior hunters,” she said. “Neanderthals were capable of hunting a wide range of prey, from dangerous animals such as brown bears, mammoths and rhinos, to large, medium and small-size ungulates such as bison, aurochs, horse, red deer, reindeer, roe deer and wild goats.”

Enter Homo Sapiens

Fossils suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted in Western Europe for at least 10,000 years. While there is a smattering of evidence that the two species interbred, most anthropologists believe the commingling was infrequent or not enough to substantially affect the Homo sapiens gene pool.

New evidence supports that notion, while also revealing that the world’s first anatomically modern humans retained a few Neanderthal-like characteristics.

Several papers in the current Journal of Human Evolution describe the world’s first known people, which shared bone, hand and ankle features with Neanderthals and possibly also Homo erectus.

John Fleagle, professor of anatomical sciences at Stony Brook University, who worked on the early human research, told Discovery News that the shared characteristics “are just primitive features retained from a common ancestor.”

Neanderthal Brain Power

It’s known that Neanderthals had more robust skeletons than modern humans, with particularly strong arms and hands, but were the two groups evenly matched in brainpower?

A new study in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides some intriguing clues.

Marcia Ponce de Leon of the University of Zurich’s Anthropological Institute and Museum and her colleagues virtually reconstructed brain size and growth of three Neanderthal infant skeletons found in Syria and Russia.

“Neanderthal brain size at birth was similar to that in recent Homo sapiens and most likely subject to similar obstetric constraints,” Ponce de Leon and her team concluded, although they added that “Neanderthal brain growth rates during early infancy were higher” than those experienced by modern humans.

It appears, therefore, that while Neanderthal brains grew at about the same rate as ours, they had a small size advantage.

Trade-Offs in Evolution

But bigger is not always better in terms of brain function. Modern humans evolved smaller, but more efficient, brains.

Ponce de Leon and her colleagues suggest, “It could be argued that growing smaller — but similarly efficient — brains required less energy investment and might ultimately have led to higher net reproduction rates.”

On the down side for people, however, brainpower efficiency doesn’t come without a cost.

“Our new research suggests that schizophrenia is a byproduct of the increased metabolic demands brought about during human brain evolution,” explained Philipp Khaitovich of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Cards Evenly Stacked

Weighing the pros and cons of each species, Neanderthals and modern humans may have been evenly matched when they shared European land, with more and more scientists puzzling over how such an advanced, human-like being became extinct.

University of Exeter archaeologist Metin Eren hopes the latest findings will not only change the image of Neanderthals, but also the direction that future research on these prehistoric hominids will take.

“It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct while our ancestors survived,” Eren said.

“When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of stupid or less advanced and more in terms of different,” he added.

See Also: Neanderthal Brains Grew Like “Ours”. Duh!

Unable to post comment? Email to