United States Republican Carson believes Joseph built the pyramids to store grain

This 2011 video is called Pharaohs-The Great Pyramid of Egypt (How was it built?) – BBC 1 of 6.

While all serious Egyptologists say that the six pyramids of Giza were built about 2500 BC as graves for pharaohs, there are some crackpot theories denying that.

Some claim ancient Egyptians did not build the pyramids, but aliens who had arrived in UFOs did.

And now, a United States Republican politician has another off base pet theory. After his fellow Republican Sarah Palin claimed that dinosaurs and humans used to live at the same time, Ben Carson thinks he should not just become president of the USA, but an amateur pseudo-Egyptologist as well.

From daily The Independent in Britain, 5 November 2015:

Ben Carson says pyramids were ‘built by biblical figure Joseph to store grain’

It is not the first time the 64-year-old former surgeon has expressed the novel theory

Andrew Buncombe, New York

There are three of them on the outskirts of Cairo, with the tallest of them soaring to more to more than 140 metres.

Over the years, experts and archaeologists have debated over what may have been the use of these giant pyramids, one of which was for centuries the highest man-made structure on earth. Were they simply burial chambers for the mightiest of the pharaohs?

Ben Carson, one of the leaders of the US Republican presidential race, believes the solution lies in the Bible.

He has repeated his longstanding belief that Egyptian pyramids were built by the biblical figure, Joseph, to store grain.

Dear Dr Carson, there are some problems here. Most historians think that the biblical Joseph was a myth. A few believe the Joseph tradition was based on the Hyksos Asian invaders of Egypt. But that was around 1800-1500 BCE, so almost a thousand years after the Giza pyramids were built.

Another theory claims that the Bible was right on Joseph. In that view, Joseph was the same person as Amenhotep-Huy, vizier of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. But that was about 1360 BC, still more centuries later than the building of the pyramids.

“It’s still my belief, yes,” the retired neurosurgeon told reporters this week.

“Well, the pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time.”

The Associated Press said that Mr Carson, 64, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, first articulated his theory at a 1998 commencement speech at Andrews University.

In the commencement video, Mr Carson laid out his theory that the pyramids were constructed for grain storage.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Mr Carson

“Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”

Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied. Republican hits POLITICO story, later admits to The New York Times he wasn’t offered aid: here.

Ben Carson ‘fabricated’ his admission to West Point military academy: here.

Ben Carson is not having the best week, between redrawing borders on a U.S. map and that NYT piece on his lack of foreign policy understanding.

Ancient Mycenaean jewelry discovery in Greece

Golden chain from the recently discovered grave

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

3500 year old jewelry found in Greek tomb

Today, 20:51

Archaeologists have found a large burial treasure in southern Greece. There were gold signet rings, a necklace, gold and silver chalices, a sword and more than a thousand pieces of gemstone.

The jewels were found in a tomb from about 1500 BCE, says the Greek Ministry of Culture. The ministry says it is the most impressive discovery of prehistoric burial jewels of the last 65 years on the Greek mainland.

The valuables were with a body that was laid in a wooden coffin. The body was of a man of 30 to 35 years old, probably an important fighter of the early Mycenaean civilization.


That this discovery was made in the tomb of a man debunked the assertion that jewels were laid only in female graves, said the ministry. The discovery was made by an international team of archaeologists led by United States Americans at the University of Cincinnati.

The tomb apparently escaped the attention of thieves who have robbed another tomb in the same area.

Norwegian hiker discovers ancient Viking sword

Press conference on the discovery of the Viking sword, photo by Bjarte Brask Eriksen

From The Local in Norway:

Hiker finds 1,200-yr-old Viking sword in Norway

Published: 21 Oct 2015 07:35 GMT+02:00

A hiker travelling the ancient route between western and eastern Norway found a 1,200-year-old Viking sword after sitting down to rest after a short fishing trip.

The sword, found at Haukeli in central southern Norway will be sent for conservation at the University Museum of Bergen.

Jostein Aksdal, an archeologist with Hordaland County said the sword was in such good condition that if it was given a new grip and a polish, it could be used today.

“The sword was found in very good condition. It is very special to get into a sword that is merely lacking its grip,” he said.

“When the snow has gone in spring, we will check the place where the sword was found. If we find several objects, or a tomb, perhaps we can find the story behind the sword,” he said.

He said that judging by the sword’s 77cm length, it appeared to come from 750-800AD.

“This was a common sword in Western Norway. But it was a costly weapon, and the owner must have used it to show power,” he said.

Big Roman army camp discovery in north Germany

Roman coin, discovered near Wilkenburg

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Big Roman camp discovered in Germany

Today, 16:27

German archaeologists have south of Hannover discovered traces of a large Roman encampment. The temporary camp near Wilkenburg village dates from around the year 0

That year does not exist in usual calanders. After 1 BC comes immediately 1 AD. However, there is a year 0 in some astronomy.

and could house at least 20,000 soldiers. “It is one of the largest Roman camps on the right bank of the Rhine” says researcher Salvatore Ortisi of the University of Osnabrück.

The scientists were studying aerial photos and started to suspect that there must have been a camp at that location. For science the discovery is of great importance since it is the first known Roman encampment on the North German Plain. It is tangible evidence of the Roman presence in this area.

Excavations have found nails of sandals and copper money, in which the soldiers were paid. Around the camp a canal was dug which became narrower towards the bottom. Also, the location of the entrance has been found. According to Ortisi the camp has been in use at most for three days. Then the army would continue, bivouacking again.


Ermelo [in Gelderland province in the Netherlands; also north of the official Roman empire border] also had a Roman marching camp. Dating back to the second century that camp also had a V-shaped moat. The camp in Ermelo had space for 5,000 soldiers.

See also here.

Bronze Age archaeological discovery in the Netherlands

Bronze Age objects found near Hoogkarspel

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

“Top discovery” presented by National Archaeology Days

In Leiden, researchers have presented a “unique top discovery” which had been kept secret until now. It involves a number of treasures from the late Bronze Age. The presentation marked the beginning of the National Archaeology Days.

The treasures were found near Hoogkarspel, in Noord-Holland province. There, the now exhumed mantle pins, bracelets and rings were laid down over 800 years BC. The objects were then put together in a ditch, probably as a kind of sacrifice.

According to the researchers, it is a “significant piece of the giant puzzle of our history.” They say it special is that the objects were excavated by archaeologists and were not discovered by chance during work.

It is known that at the site where the find was made there used to be a small farming community. From that period there have been found twice before similar objects in the Netherlands, in South Holland and Drenthe.

“The bronze objects have a particularly special informative value, in addition to high material value,” said David Fontijn, professor of archeology at Leiden university. “The find will add a bit again to our knowledge of the Bronze Age of the Netherlands, and even of northwestern Europe.”

ISIS vandalism criminal, Saudi government vandalism not criminal?

David Cameron meets with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal inside 10 Downing Street in London, on March 22, 2011. Photo: Akira Suemori - WPA Pool/Getty Images

From daily The Independent in Britain:

The West rightly condemns Isis vandalism of ancient sites – but not when the Saudis do it

Saudi Arabia’s grotesque destruction of Muslim history is directly linked to Isis’s own purgation of the past

Robert Fisk

Sunday 11 October 2015 17:47 BST

Explosives pulverise historic sites in the Middle East, bulldozers erase ancient tombs and shrines, historic forts are torn down and Ottoman facades destroyed. The home of the favourite wife of the most revered man in an entire religion is even turned into a block of toilets. How can the world prevent this wicked desecration and extinction of a heritage that belongs to all mankind? I am, of course, referring to those iconoclastic Wahhabi-Salafist Muslim head-choppers … the Saudis!

And the world will do absolutely nothing. It will screech and rage and curse as the iconoclastic Wahhabi-Salafist Muslim head-choppers of Isis blow to bits the Roman ruins of Palmyra, but will never dare – and has never dreamed – of uttering a pussy-cat’s protest against Saudi Arabia’s wilful destruction of the ancient graves, homes, shrines and buildings of Islam’s Prophet Mohamed and his closest relatives and companions. Naturally, we could conclude that Roman remains are more valuable than the antiquities of Islam. But this would be about as racist a reaction as suggesting that the Roman empire was more important than the Islamic empire.

No, the real reason we ignore the vandalising of so many Muslim sites is that we cannot – will not, must not – criticise the Saudis whose grotesque wealth silences all of us to such obscene lengths that our Prime Minister flies our flags at half mast when its autocratic ruler dies. No suggestion must be made – not even the softest whisper must be uttered – that might connect our Saudi friends with the apocalyptic cult called Isis, which follows with absolutist determination the Wahhabi Sunni faith adopted 270 years ago by the ancestors of the present Saudi monarchy.

In the past few days, we have rightly bewailed the pulverisation of the magnificent Arch of Triumph at Palmyra, 1,800 years old – probably erected to commemorate the Emperor Aurelius’s victory over Queen Zenobia who was later dragged, Isis-style, through the streets of Rome – and the loss of the entrance to the magnificent and roofless Roman colonnade which, we must all fear, will also be levelled by the time the Syrian army, with its Russian air cover, recaptures the city. The reduction of Palmyra to rubble is a war crime, according to the UN. But when the country with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Isis supporters – and donors – wipes out the Islamic history of Arabia, including 90 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old sites, we pay as much attention to this mass vandalism as we do to the damage of a nativity window in a Co Kerry church.

Take a glance at what has come to pass in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A library has been built over the dwelling where the Prophet Mohamed was born in Mecca in AD570 – even this may now be replaced by skyscrapers – and the fine Bilal mosque, dating from this same period, has been bulldozed. Mohamed’s first wife, Khadijah, lived in a Mecca house which has been turned into toilets. The Mecca Hilton Hotel was erected over the house of Abu Bakr, Mohamed’s father-in-law, his closest companion and future Caliph. Hundreds of old Ottoman houses have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia and Ottoman architecture around the Great Mosque is being torn down for pilgrimage “expansion” projects. Five of the famous “Seven Mosques”, built by Mohamed’s daughter and four companions, were demolished 90 years ago. And, after the Lebanese (Christian) Professor Kamal Salibi published a book in 1985 suggesting that many Saudi villages bore biblical Jewish place names, the bulldozers arrived to erase them.

This grotesque destruction of Muslim history is directly linked to Isis’s own purgation of the past by the Wahhabi faith, which the Saudis adopted from the teachings of the 18th-century Mohamed ibn Abdul Wahhab – who preached that Islam should return to the purity of its earliest principles. From these ideas came the notion that almost any historical monument represents an excuse for idolatry, a precept adopted with ferocious enthusiasm by the Saudi tribes. When Abdul Aziz ibn Saud moved into Mecca in the 1920s, his first actions included the destruction of the graveyard in which Khadijah was buried, along with the tomb of one of the Prophet’s uncles. The same fate awaited the tombs of Mohamed’s daughter Fatima and his grandson Hasan ibn Ali.

Thus began the vandalism of graveyards, tombs, shrines and historic buildings across south-west Asia: from Shia shrines in Pakistan to the magnificent Buddhas of Bamiyan to the ancient libraries of Timbuktu; from the antiquities of Mecca to the churches of Mosul and the Roman ruins of Palmyra. Even beautiful – though war-damaged – Bosnian mosques hundreds of years old have been torn down in favour of the Saudi-funded concrete monstrosities that are now appearing in the Balkans. This hatred of history is part and parcel of the retrograde Wahhabi belief in which the past has only a spiritual presence, its physical remains a reminder only of imperfection.

It’s not that Saudi Arabia’s self-destruction of history is unknown – The Independent was one of the first Western newspapers to give it publicity in pre-Isis days. Nor, may the saints preserve us from such folly and the kingdom’s lawyers, must we ever suggest that the Saudi regime supports Isis. But if we are to understand just what Isis is – and what it represents and who admires it – then we must study much more carefully the frightening religious habits that connect Isis, the Taliban and al-Qaeda to the people of a country whose king calls himself the “Caretaker of the Two Noble Sanctuaries” of Mecca and Medina.

Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other: here.

Children of Briton sentenced to 350 lashes over homemade wine appeal to PM. Karl Andree, 74, who reportedly broke Saudi Arabia’s alcohol laws, will not survive flogging, say his family: here.

A new book reveals the horrifying, and fascinating, details of daily life under Isis. It details all of Isis’s cruelty, but places it in the context of a very bloody history: here.