BBC Horizon Scandal

Author of the Month

Press Release
6th November 2000

From authors
Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval

Contents

Both Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval are available for interview.

For more information please visit www.grahamhancock.com.

Broadcasting watchdog vindicates unorthodox thinkers, Hancock and Bauval, over controversial Horizon documentary about Atlantis

BBC2 to take unprecedented step of broadcasting a re-cut and corrected version of the documentary this December

Hancock and Bauval challenge Horizon critics to a live television debate

In an unprecedented step, the Broadcasting Standards Commission, an organisation appointed to uphold standards and fairness in UK broadcasting, has found the BBC guilty of unfairly representing alternative history authors Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval in a programme broadcast in November of last year.

The BBC 2 programme, entitled Atlantis Reborn, was part of the flagship Horizon strand of science-oriented documentaries. The programme-makers, Bettina Lerner (series editor), Christopher Hale (director/producer), and Julian Hudson (researcher), claimed to provide a balanced and objective "testing" of unorthodox theories relating to the development of human civilisation. Now the Broadcasting Standards Commission has judged that the central part of their attack on Hancock and Bauval was unfair. It appears this is the first time in Horizon's 35-year history that it has been found guilty of unfairness by an independent commission. The BSC's finding is therefore a severe blow to Horizon's well-established reputation for even-handedness.

The complaint upheld by the BSC specifically concerned Horizon's unfair representation of the Giza-Orion Correlation Theory, a linchpin of the wider theories of Hancock and Bauval regarding the possibility of a forgotten chapter in the history of human civilisation. The Giza-Orion Correlation Theory, which links the layout of the famous three Pyramids of Giza with the three stars of Orion's belt, was originated by Bauval and built upon by Hancock. Similarly, the Nile is said to represent the Milky Way, and the Sphinx is associated with the constellation of Leo. The major implication of the Correlation Theory is that the ancient Egyptians deliberately designed the Giza monuments to create on the ground a symbolic simulacrum of the night sky, focusing on the constellations of Orion and Leo as they appeared in 10,500BC.

The Horizon documentary reported at length a 'debunking' of the Correlation Theory presented by the astronomer Edwin Krupp. Krupp accused Bauval of somehow fudging the maps of Orion and the Pyramids by placing them "upside down" in order to make the theory work. Krupp's argument hinges on the modern convention that 'north is up and south is down' in map-making. In interviews filmed with Horizon, Hancock and Bauval provided detailed rebuttals to Krupp and argued that the ancient Egyptians had made the Pyramids correlate in the most obvious and intuitive manner with the three stars of Orion's Belt [see diagrams below].

Giza Giza
Giza - The layout of the three Pyramids matches the pattern of the three stars in Orion's Belt. Krupp argues that if there was any connection with Orion, the Pyramids should actually look like this.

Krupp's criticism was also rejected by two prominent British astronomers, Dr. Percy Seymour of Plymouth University and Dr. Archie Roy, professor Emeritus at Glasgow University. But neither of these astronomers was given an opportunity to appear on the programme. Moreover, the programme-makers cut out Hancock's and Bauval's own rebuttals of Krupp from the documentary. Consequently, "the Commission considers that the omission of Mr Hancock's arguments was not justified. It therefore finds that this was unfair to Mr Hancock." Likewise, "as the originator of the Giza-Orion correlation theory, Mr Bauval had a reasonable expectation that his own views of Dr Krupp's argument would be included. They were not, and the Commission finds that this was unfair to Mr Bauval." [See Draft Summary of BSC Adjudication, Page 9]

This adjudication confirms what appears to have been a clear violation on the part of Horizon of a prime directive of the BBC, which is that whenever a programme chooses to test or report an argument, "it must do so with fairness and integrity [and] should insure that opposing views are not misrepresented."

The BBC plan to rebroadcast a revised version of Atlantis Reborn on December 14th, which will be edited to take full account of the BSC's findings and prefaced with an acknowledgement of them. In an effort to move forward and open up the debate, Hancock and Bauval have written to the BBC with two requests. First, they have specified the changes they think are essential if Atlantis Reborn is to be brought into line with Horizon's policy on fairness and impartiality. Secondly, they have asked for a live television debate involving themselves and other unorthodox thinkers versus the major critics who appeared on Horizon to dismiss their work. In addition, Hancock has requested the BBC's permission to publish the full, unedited transcripts of the extensive on-camera interviews that he provided to the Horizon team during the preparation of Atlantis Reborn. In his letter to Jane Root, Controller of BBC 2, Hancock wrote:

I would like the BBC's permission to publish the complete uncut and unedited transcripts of my two interviews with Horizon (in simple Q+A format) as an appendix to a new edition of my best known book Fingerprints Of The Gods -- which, to date, has sold more than four million copies around the world and which continues to be the book that the public most identifies me with. I feel it is important for both sides - Horizon and myself -- that the record of what was actually said in these interviews should be made completely transparent and accessible to the public. I assume the BBC will have no objection to such public transparency and accountability?

Both Hancock and Bauval have released statements [see pages 6 and 8] outlining their feelings on the BSC's findings and their reasons for making these requests to the BBC.

Giza
According to Hancock and Bauval, the ancient Egyptians designed the Giza monuments to "lock" the date 10,500BC, an epoch they knew as Zep Tepi, "The First Time". At dawn on the vernal equinox, the Sphinx looked directly at its celestial counterpart, the constellation of Leo, and the Sun rising beneath it. The Pyramids correlated with the belt of Orion, the celestial counterpart of the god Osiris. The Nile appeared to flow into the Milky Way.

Broadcasting Standards Commission

Complaints by Mr Graham Hancock and Mr Robert Bauval

Summary of Adjudication

The Broadcasting Standards Commission has upheld in part complaints of unjust or unfair treatment by Mr Graham Hancock and Mr Robert Bauval about Horizon: Atlantis Reborn, broadcast by BBC2 on 4 November 1999.

Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval complained that they had been treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme's presentation of their theories about the existence of a lost civilisation from which all subsequent civilisations had derived.

The Commission considered that the programme-makers had acted in good faith, giving Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval a fair opportunity to explain their theories, and with one exception, fair opportunity to comment on criticisms. Therefore, the Commission did not uphold most parts of the complaints. However, it found that the programme's omission of Mr Hancock's and Mr Bauval's responses to criticism of one important aspect of their theory, which related to a correlation between the Giza pyramids and the Orion constellation, had been unfair.

Accordingly, the complaints were upheld in part.

A full copy of the adjudication can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to: the Broadcasting Standards Commission, 7 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JS. A copy of the summary will be available on the Commission's website at www.bsc.org.uk.

Statement of Graham Hancock

My original complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Commission dated 7 December 1999 was wide-ranging but at its heart were two points of unfairness which I considered to be really serious and substantive - in the sense that it would be a strong judgement against the conduct of the Horizon production team if either were upheld. It was exclusively upon these two points that I focussed my Statement to the Commissioners when the matter came before a Broadcasting Standards Commission Hearing on 7 June 2000.

One of these key points concerned my reasons for questioning certain carbon-dating results. In its final adjudication the Commission considered "that it would have been preferable to have explored Mr Hancock's reasons in more detail" but did not conclude that the BBC had been unfair to me. The other key point concerned my arguments around the Giza-Orion correlation, which has been fundamental to the broader theory of a lost civilisation that I have presented in my books, Fingerprints of the Gods and Heaven's Mirror, and in my Channel 4 TV series Quest for the Lost Civilisation. Here the Commission found in my favour and sustained the charge against the BBC.

Just as the Giza-Orion Correlation is crucial to my broader theory, the BBC's unfair discrediting of it was crucial to the rest of their programme. By omitting my views, the Commission notes, the programme as broadcast gave the false impression that I had no substantive argument to rebut Krupp on this central point. The effects of this were not confined to the portrayal of the Giza-Orion Correlation, but facilitated a general discrediting of my character, swinging the audience against me. Had the BBC's representation of the Orion correlation been fair, the rest of their programme would have lacked force.

So while I am very pleased to have been vindicated by the Broadcasting Standards Commission, I am concerned that when Atlantis Reborn is rebroadcast on 14 December 2000, it should be revised in a way that corrects the unfairness right at its heart. Peripheral changes to the programme will not suffice to bring it into line with the BBC's and Horizon's policies on fairness and impartiality. That is why I have written to the BBC specifying the changes I think have to be made to their programme. These changes primarily involve reinstating my testimony regarding carbon-dating, and Bauval's and my rebuttals of Dr. Krupp - things which should, as the BSC acknowledges, have been included in the first place. [See Appendix]

In the further interests of full transparency and public accountability, I have made two other proposals to the BBC.

First, I want them to consider producing a live debate, immediately following the rebroadcast of Atlantis Reborn, in which Bauval and myself are given a chance to meet our Horizon critics face-to-face. In a live debate, the strength of our positions might actually be based on the strength of our arguments, as there would be little scope for editing or other forms of manipulation.

Secondly, I've asked the BBC's permission to publish the full, uncut, unedited transcripts of the extensive interviews I provided to Horizon in the forthcoming edition of my book, Fingerprints of the Gods.

If there is one good thing that has come out of this whole extraordinary affair it is that the Broadcasting Standards Commission have delivered a complete vindication of Robert Bauval's Giza-Orion Correlation Theory. That the BBC's flagship science programme had to resort to blatant unfairness in its efforts to cast a slur upon the Correlation Theory is a sure sign of its fundamental strength.

Graham Hancock
London
November 2000

Statement of Robert Bauval

Horizon, according to the BBC, is "the world leader in its field [and] regularly wins the sweep of international science, medical and environmental film awards". So upon hearing of Horizon's plans to dedicate a programme to our work, Graham Hancock and I were naturally thrilled that our theories would be investigated in such a big way, and we were eager to participate.

During my interview for the programme, with the producer Chris Hale, I spoke in detail of the astronomical significance of the Pyramids: the alignment of the shafts to Orion and Sirius, the Pyramid Texts and how they associated Osiris with Orion and, of course, of the layout plan of the Giza Pyramids and how they matched the pattern of Orion's belt. Chris Hale then asked me about a serious critical attack made by the American astronomer Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Krupp had alleged that I had somehow placed the map of the Giza Pyramids "upside down" in order to match it with the star map of Orion's belt. In response to Krupp's attack, I explained how we must try to put ourselves in the position of an ancient Egyptian looking up at the sky. I pointed out that at a conference, at which Ed Krupp was actually present, members of the public were asked to draw Orion's Belt how they saw it, and everyone's drawings matched perfectly the plan of the Pyramids at Giza, just as shown in my book, The Orion Mystery. In addition, I referred Chris Hale to two eminent astronomers who had openly rejected Krupp's argument, Dr. Archibald Roy, professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Glasgow University, and Dr. Percy Seymour of Plymouth University.

When my interview was shown on television, I was puzzled and shocked that it had been heavily edited. Dr. Roy and Dr. Seymour had been ignored and were not invited to appear on the programme. There was hardly mention of the Pyramid Texts and how they extolled the role of Osiris as Orion, and no mention at all of the alignment of the southern shafts of the Great Pyramid towards Orion's Belt and Sirius. All this had been cut out. The Orion's Belt-Giza correlation was presented with hardly any support from textual material or the astronomical alignment of the shafts! I was made to sound flimsy and weird. But worse than that, Ed Krupp's attack on the Correlation theory was presented in detail, while absolutely nothing of my detailed response was shown. I was appalled that the BBC had allowed Krupp to tell millions of viewers that in order to make my theory work, I had to "turn Egypt upside down" or "turn the sky upside down", without airing my response or at least having Dr. Roy rebut such a preposterous accusation.

I lodged a formal complaint with the BBC and the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). The BSC decided to take up the case and, several months later after a complete investigation, a hearing was held. When they finally made their adjudication in September 2000, my complaint regarding Ed Krupp's argument was upheld. Now the BBC will be ordered by the BSC to make this complaint public by airing it on television as well as placing an official statement in The Times newspaper. It seems that this was the first time a complaint had been upheld against Horizon by the BSC, and this made my victory all the more important. But what was even more rewarding to me was that my book, The Orion Mystery, and the theory it presented had survived the onslaught of the BBC's most powerful scientific programme. And it was certainly no credit to them that the producer, Chris Hale, had to lower their standards by presenting the Ed Krupp argument in such an unfair way. I remain as convinced, indeed more convinced now, that the Giza-Orion Correlation Theory is based on truth and will serve as a landmark in furthering our knowledge of the Pyramid Builders of Egypt. A breakthrough has been achieved in understanding the minds of the ancient priest-astronomers of Heliopolis, and there is no turning back.

The BBC now plans to re-broadcast this programme on the 14 December taking into account the findings of the BSC and will, hopefully, present the counter arguments given by Dr. Roy and myself. I have asked the BBC to allocate some time for an unedited debate after the programme is shown.

Robert Bauval
London
November 2000

Appendix

Arts of the Cutting Room:
What was said and what was broadcast

Part One - Interview transcripts containing Graham Hancock's Position on Carbon-Dating

The BBC Horizon Documentary "Atlantis Reborn" asserted that I "insist on ignoring" carbon-dating, "not even rejecting it, just ignoring it", but the original interview transcripts tell a different story. Passages in large bold type are what I was actually allowed to say in the programme as broadcast; passages in normal type were edited out in the cutting room.

INTERVIEWER:

What convinces you that the date of the Tiahuanaco site is much, much older than conventional archaeology, as they call it, would accept. What do you think is the convergence of evidence about the Tiahuanaco date?

HANCOCK:

I need to answer your question more broadly at first. I think that in the case of many ancient sites around the world the picture of the history of the site is confused by the fact that the site is constantly built on and rebuilt and rebuilt again over long periods of time. The ancient Egyptians had a habit of building temples on the sites of earlier temples. And I think the same thing happened in the Andes as well. A place that had a name or a reputation as a sacred place might be the site for a succession of monuments built by different cultures over long periods of time.

In the case of Tiahuanaco, I think that orthodox archaeology has concentrated more than it perhaps should have on the latest layers of occupation and construction at Tiahuanaco and has not considered the possibility that the origins of the site may be much older than that

Now the odd thing is that I was quite recently in Bolivia and a held a lengthy on-the-record interview with Dr Oswaldo Rivera who was the former Head of Bolivian Archaeology. And what Rivera told me is that his own team's calculations at Tiahuanaco, to his surprise, do tend to support Posnansky's argument - that this site was originally surveyed and set out thousands of years before the date that we thought it was built. And Rivera, unusually amongst academics, is prepared to consider the idea of a much earlier level of civilisation at Tiahuanaco, going back 12,000 years or more, and he points out that we've only excavated about two per cent of that site at present, and we really can't draw firm and final conclusions about Tiahuanaco on the basis of a two per cent excavation.

Q:

One thing that's struck me, in fact from what you just said and from reading the book, is that the site has been damaged. Does that cause the alignments you're talking about to be problematic in any way?

HANCOCK;

It might do. It might do. What I'm advocating where Tiahuanaco is concerned is a much more wide-ranging and open-minded investigation of the origins of that site. I'm not saying that I am absolutely right in claiming that Tiahuanaco may have been founded more than 12,000 years ago. I could be completely wrong. And the fact that the site itself has been used as a quarry for at least the last 150 years by the builders of La Paz and other areas in Bolivia has certainly damaged and devastated that site. But I don't think that should stop us from considering the many mysteries and problems connected with Tiahuanaco.

Q:

When you look at a site like Tiahuanaco and evidence about it's dating, what significance would a 12,000 year-old-date have for your argument? The confusion I've had from people looking at some of the material is, "does he think this is Atlantis?", "does he think this is the lost civilisation, or is it the product of people from the lost civilisation." How do you use dates of that period in your argument?

HANCOCK:

I'm interested in the possibility that the date of particular ancient sites around the world may have been misconceived by orthodox academics. Giza is a classic example. That there may have been masses of activity at that site in 2500 BC but that its possible that elements of the site go back long before that, into a prehistoric period. And it was that same possibility at Tiahuanaco that intrigued me. It is a plain fact not much more than 2 per cent of the entire area of Tiahuanaco has been excavated so far. And for archaeologists to date a firm and absolute dating of the site on the basis of that two per cent seems to me a bit irresponsible - when there are indications of the site being older than that.

HANCOCK:

I think what's important to stress about Tiahuanaco is that this is a mysterious site about which very little is known. Minimal archaeology has been done over the years. There's a broad range of opinion about the antiquity of Tiahuanaco within orthodox circles. And certainly, within orthodox circles, I have talked to some archaeologists who do admit the possibility of the site being much older. What I've tried to do is to show people who read my books that the case on Tiahuanaco is not cut and dried, that there is an alternative view, that its possible that mainstream archaeology has got this wrong, and that perhaps much more work with a much more open mind needs to be done on the site before we settle our minds absolutely as to the antiquity of the site.

Q:

Are you aware of the amount of carbon-14 dating that has been carried out at Tiahuanaco in recent years?

HANCOCK:

There's been a lot of carbon-14 dating carried out at Tiahuanaco. And carbon-14 dating, for me, says that this site was used and occupied at the date that that carbon-14 material comes from. It doesn't mean that the site was necessarily built at that time, or was originally laid out and planned at that time. This could have happened earlier. It would be possible, for example to go to Westminster Abbey and carbon-14 date a recent burial in the graveyard at Westminster Abbey, and say that Westminster Abbey was built in 1950 as a result of that dating, but that would not be correct. The site is much older and it was used through different periods of history - so I think we have to be a bit careful about carbon-14, particularly where megalithic sites are concerned, where we're dealing with stone monuments, carved and cut stone.

Q:

Why do you not make that argument in the book? Why do you not refer to carbon-14 in the book?

HANCOCK:

I do make the argument in the book [Fingerprints of the Gods]. I do specifically talk about the problem I have with carbon-14 dating, which is that it dates the organic artefact which has been found; it does not conclusively date the site that surrounds that artefact. I do actually make that point quite explicitly in the book.

Q:

In the case of a site like Tiahuanaco, what evidence is there of an earlier series of structures in that location?

HANCOCK:

The huge megalithic blocks that are sitting around, at Tiahuanaco, seem to me so out of character with later architecture from that area that it suggests to me it belongs to a much earlier era. I think the astronomical indications on the site are intriguing but not conclusive and I think, above all else for me personally, its as much intuition as anything else - the site feels wrong for the date range that is ascribed to it by orthodox archaeologists. It just feels older. It's very difficult to prove anything like this, and I'm not trying to prove it. What I'm trying to do is to raise questions and to say "here is an intriguing and strange place, which we really know very, very little about: we don't really know what language was spoken there; we don't know what religious ideas were practised there; we don't really know what the people looked like who lived there." It just comes down to us out of the blue without it's past properly written. And I think what's needed with a place like that, rather than a fixed and determined view to deprive it of all mystery and render it as boring and predictable as possible, I think it would be nice if orthodox scholars approached it with a slightly more generous and a more open attitude, and at least a willingness to be amazed, rather than writing that off at the outset. So I've tried to restore the balance by offering alternative information on Tiahuanaco and reporting the work of others who have suggested that Tiahuanaco may be older. We may be wrong, but I think it's worth investigating this.

Q:

But when you look at a technique like carbon-dating it is precisely the blocks, the various structures at Tiahuanaco that are dated using the radiocarbon dating technique.

HANCOCK:

Well, it beats me how a block can be dated using radiocarbon. If we look underneath the block and find organic material under the block then we can say that that block was placed on top of that organic material at a particular date - which does not preclude the possibility that the block has been moved around several times and that the temple we have on Tiahuanaco has been constructed and reconstructed again and again over thousands of years. This is perfectly possible and cannot be ruled out by the carbon-dating at all.

[NB the next question comes 47 pages later in the transcript (and three hours and a lunchbreak later in real time) than the previous question on carbon-dating at Tiahuanaco]

Q:

Is there a representation in Heaven's Mirror of recent carbon-dates for Tiahuanaco?

HANCOCK:

In Heaven's Mirror there is no representation whatsoever of recent carbon dates for Tiahuanaco. I simply didn't discuss it in there.

Q:

Would it not be appropriate to, in a sense, discuss it in relation to Tiahuanaco so that your readers have the chance to see the point from which you are debating the age of the site?

HANCOCK:

I'm interested in certain aspects of the site and those are the interests that I pursue in my book - which I'm free to do as an author. I'm not required to be encyclopaedic. I'm required to pursue my case and my argument to the best of my ability.

The information on carbon-dating at Tiahuanaco is available and anybody can get hold of it and look at it at any time and arrive at their conclusions. But they don't need to see that information to know that what I'm saying is completely at variance with orthodox academic opinion. I'm arguing something that is absolutely not accepted and one of the reasons its not accepted is because of the carbon-dating. But I have a problem with carbon-dating. Carbon-dating tends to, its one of those phrases that people listen to and they picture very grave and serious scientists going about their work and coming up with definitive conclusions about the past. But carbon-dating can only date organic materials. It can't date stone. And when we're dealing with sites that are made of huge stone megaliths I think it may be a little bit hasty to date the creation of those megaliths to the same date as some organic material that has been found associated with those megaliths. And that's one of the main problems that I have with carbon-dating.

Q:

Of course that would apply to many thousands of archaeological sites all over the world?

HANCOCK:

It would apply to many thousands of archaeological sites all around the world. I think that first of all there's a degree of ignorance about carbon-dating. There's a tendency to believe that its some sort of infallible, foolproof method that can be applied to any ancient site at any time, and it can't be applied to stone. This is a very important point. And secondly, applied to organic materials, we have to make an assumption that the organic artefact that we have found arrived at the site at the same date as the site was made - and that assumption may not be correct. So I think we need to look at other information about the site, including astronomy, including geology, before we fall hook, line and sinker for the date that is given to us by radiocarbon.

Q:

I suppose my point would be that, in a sense it would be surely perfectly legitimate and interesting for Heaven's Mirror to make those points about Tiahuanaco. I mean there are now extensive dates from radiocarbon.

HANCOCK:

In earlier books, in Fingerprints of the Gods, I did debate the radiocarbon issue. No doubt there are many things that I should have reported in my books which I somehow missed or didn't report, but I honestly do my best to report as much as I can and to make my case. That's what I'm doing; I'm making a case. When one makes a case one admits one may be wrong. But here is the case, its out there for readers to work with, they can take the material - and I know they frequently do - and pursue their own research projects. I think in a way, much though I may be reviled by orthodox academics, and particularly by historians, archaeologists, Egyptologists, that I've done quite a bit to attract public attention to this field and to the consideration of the mysteries of the past. And surely, even if I'm 100 per cent wrong, and I don't think I am, then I've done something useful there - by making people interested and intrigued by the past.

Part II - Interview Scripts containing Graham Hancock's Position on Ed Krupp's critique of the Orion Correlation.

On page 4 of the script of "Atlantis Reborn" the astronomer Dr Ed Krupp tells how he discovered that "something was wrong" (in The Orion Mystery) with Robert Bauval's presentation of the picture of Orion's belt and the picture of the three great pyramids of Giza:

"What's wrong with these pictures in their presentation is that north for the constellation of Orion is here at the top of the page. North for the Giza pyramids is down here. Now they're not marked, but I knew which way north was at Giza and I knew which way north was in Orion. To make the map of the pyramids on the ground match the stars of Orion in the sky you have to turn Egypt upside down and if you don't want to do that then you've got to turn the sky upside down."

As my response to this, the BBC's editors cut together the following sound bites from the interviews that I gave to the Horizon production team (page 4 of the script):

"Ed Krupp's argument that the pyramids are somehow upside down in relation to the patterns of the stars in the sky, to my mind, is a very pedantic and nit-picking and ungenerous attitude. I think that what we're proposing -- that the Ancient Egyptians were making a pleasing, symbolic resemblance to what they saw in the sky on the ground -- is a very reasonable argument."

The original interview transcripts show exactly what was cut from around and within this apparently dismissive remark (passages in large bold type are what I was actually allowed to say in the programme as broadcast; passages in normal type are what was cut out in the editing):

INTERVIEWER

OK. If as you say the Egyptians were precise astronomers, why did they get the map of the pyramids upside down?

HANCOCK:

Ed Krupp's argument that the pyramids are somehow upside-down in relation to the patterns of the stars in the sky, to my mind is a very pedantic and nit-picking and ungenerous attitude. If you stand on the Giza plateau, and you stand north of the pyramids and you look south to where the constellation of Orion is, and you treat that piece of desert in front of you as an artist's sheet of paper, and you try to draw the stars on it, then there's no other way you could draw them except in the way that the pyramids lie on the ground today. You can't do it in any other way. If you're extremely pedantic and believe that the ancient Egyptian priesthood was a group of narrow-minded bureaucrats determined to follow procedure above all else, then its true that the northernmost star is depicted in the southernmost place on the ground, and the southernmost star in the northernmost place on the ground, and this is what Ed Krupp is getting at. But if you regard it as a work of symbolic and religious art meant to copy on the ground what the observer sees in the sky, then there's just no other way you can make it than the way it is made.

Q:

To me, that contradicts the idea of talking about the Egyptians as precise astronomers.

HANCOCK:

I don't see why there's a contradiction between recognising the precision of Egyptian astronomy, which Ed Krupp certainly does - the alignment of the Great Pyramid to north, south, east and west is extremely good and nobody could deny that. I don't see why doing that, making your pyramid align perfectly to the cardinal directions, should preclude you from producing a recognisable resemblance to what you see in the sky on the ground. If you were to do it Ed Krupp's way it wouldn't be a recognisable resemblance. It would be upside-down from what you actually see in the sky. And I think that we have to take account of the religious context that surrounds these monuments. I think we have to take account of the view that there are texts, I fully accept that these texts are not contemporary with the pyramids but I regard ancient Egyptian funerary literature as a consistent body of scripture. There are texts which specifically instruct the observer to make a copy on the ground of what you see in the sky and to gain knowledge of that and through that knowledge you will be able to pursue immortal life. I think that what we're proposing, that the ancient Egyptians were making a pleasing symbolic resemblance to what they saw in the sky on the ground is a very reasonable argument.It can be opposed by Krupp's argument, but the fact of the matter is that if you ask somebody to draw what they see in the sky they're going to draw it the way the pyramids are drawn. I actually had Ed Krupp's wife do that at a conference a year or two ago."

NB: In addition to the above comment on the existence of ancient Egyptian scriptural support for copying on the ground what is seen in the sky, I willingly gave the BBC a great deal of specific supplementary information on this matter in their recorded interviews with me. All of this supplementary information was also ignored. Indeed the script treats my entire argument in this respect as though it simply does not exist.

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