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am 9. Februar 2000
This is a controversial yet thought-provoking book in which the authors put forward a theory, based primarily on archeo-astronomy, which suggests that certain man-made structures at the Giza necropolis (e.g. the Pyramids, the Sphinx and the temples nearby) may have had their origin traced back to around 10,500BC, making them vastly more ancient than most orthodox Egyptologists would have us believe.
While it is difficult at this stage to prove conclusively whether or not such a provocative theory is correct (although, as this work has become a best-seller, it would hopefully lead to more transparency in future excavation work at Giza, which, after all, houses one of the greatest heritage of human civilisation), the arguments put forward in support of the authors' views are very interesting and, at times, even enlightening. In particular, with the aid of well-produced diagrams, the authors have successfully led the reader step by step through a historical and astronomical minefield towards the startling revelation that the heaven (as represented by the stars) and the earth (as represented by the mega-structures at Giza) actually mirrored each other to an astonishing extent in that mysterious early epoch and that such heaven-earth symmetry appears to be consistent with the ideas apparently expressed in certain ancient Egyptian texts, leaving the reader wondering whether it is all mere coincidence or whether there has indeed been some clever planning by our forebears which is now lost in the mist of time.
It is evident that the authors have put in much effort in explaining their propositions clearly from basic principles and thus knowledge in astronomy or Egyptololgy is not a prerequisite before one can follow their train of reasoning. Nevertheless, this is bascially a one-sided analysis where those who have opposed to the theory and some others in the orthodox academia are often portrayed as narrow-minded bigots or are having a secret agenda of their own. The style of writing is not that remarkable and there is a fair amount of repetition and some not too judiciously considered section divisions, which sometimes impede the flow of argument. Nevertheless, this is one of the books which have opened up an entirely new dimension in a much debated and researched field and those who like subject matters relating to mysteries of ancient civilisation will certainly find it indispensible. Personally, I would hope that, whatever the merits of the arguments contained therein, it will encourage everybody, including orthodox archeologists, to examine the Giza necropolis more thoroughly so that one day, we can unravel all the mysteries (if any) which the Sphinx has been guarding throughout the ages.
am 5. Juni 1999
After I first read this book, I was inclined to give Hancock and Bauval at least some benefit of the doubt. I believed that at minimum they had succeeded in raising some interesting questions that _might_ suggest an origin for the Great Sphinx some 3000-8000 years before most historians and archaeologists believe it was carved (about 2500 BCE). Hancock and Bauval tell an interesting yarn, with hints of lost civilizations of startling technological and scientific prowess, and of hidden chambers waiting beneath the sands of Giza for a daring Indiana Jones to unearth.
As I read more on the subject of the Sphinx, the pyramids and other great structures of antiquity, however, I am less inclined to view Hancock and Bauval as anything more than incompetent cranks. Their yarn is just that, a yarn and nothing more. Their edifice of "archaeo-astronomical" reasoning is built on extremely shaky grounds, and in arriving at 10,500 BCE as the date of the Sphinx's origin, and as the apex of some great lost civilization, they must ignore a truly enormous amount of careful scientific reasoning. The reader of this book will not be provided with any real feeling for the rationale behind the "conventional" Egyptological views, for if he/she was to have such an understanding, Hancock and Bauval would be revealed for the sad pseudoscientists they are. In point of fact, the polemic of "Message of the Sphinx" is less about a rational basis for reevaluating everything we know of ancient Egypt than it is a retrospective justification for the pre-formed idea that there must be a lost, highly advanced Atlantis-like civilization in the distant past. To Hancock and his ilk, the ends justify the means.
If read by itself, this book will doubtlessly persuade you that what the authors claim has some basis in fact, since it is written so one-sidedly and so deceptively. If you read this book, then, you owe it to yourself and to anyone you foist it on to also read Paul Jordan's recent "Riddles of the Sphinx," which provides a well-written counterpoint to the wild claims of Hancock and Bauval. If all you read is this book, and others by these authors, then you really aren't interested in the Sphinx at all.
am 8. Oktober 1998
I was pleased, upon finishing this book, to note that it omitted the dippier elements (earth crust displacement, lost civilizations in Antarctica, etc.) of Hancock's "Fingerprints of the Gods." I was dismayed, however, to note that once again a bestselling book supposedly concerned with history and archaeology had been penned by authors with little real experience in either field. Hancock's "research" involves reading and incorporating speculations made by others while roundly ignoring (or ridiculing) those that do not easily agree with his own predilections. Bauval's contribution as an engineer is perhaps notable, but not convincing. While soundly criticizing Egyptologists and other scientists, it seems that neither of these men ever bothered to learn to read hieroglyphics, to seriously study Egyptian history beyond a few basic texts, or to otherwise gain real expertise in the fields that apply to their arguments regarding the Sphinx. For example, the claim that the Sphinx exhibits extensive signs of water erosion is interesting, and borne out by a cursory examination of the photos available, but one wonders if the supposed consensus on this point among geologists really exists. Are there other ways to produce the erosion patterns seen today on the Sphinx? One would never know from reading this book, but a brief search on the web gave me a good hypothesis for one. From reading this book, one might also come away with the impression that most research on the Sphinx over the past 30 years has been performed under the auspices of Edgar Cayce's organization; don't modern archaeologists do anything? In the end, I find the notion that the Sphinx, and the ground plan of the monuments at Giza, predates the supposed origin of Egyptian civilization to be provocative and worth a closer look. I just wish someone more diligent, more even-handed, and more informed would take that closer look.
am 16. Januar 1998
In this book, the thesis is defended that the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza in connection with certain star constellations contain a coded message from and advanced civilisation more than 12,000 years ago. It would point to a "Hall of Records" from that age, situated under the Sphinx. Consequently, the Giza monuments should be much older than conventionally assumed. One of the central points in the body of evidence brought forward by the authors is the corresponding relative position of the three Giza pyramids to the three stars in the so-called "Belt" of the Orion constellation. They claim that there are at least two more nearby pyramids of the same period (the Egyptian 4th Dynasty) which correspond with other Orion stars. However, when the Orion star map is projected on the "earth" map the mutual distances between the alledgedly compatible pyramids and stars do not match. Apart from that, there are quite a number of stars for which there is no matching pyramid at all. Not really a solid foundation for a theory like that, I should say. But there is more.
According to their theories, the pyramids were built according to a "master plan". The fact, that all the pyramids in question are clearly attributable to individual pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty might contradict that. The authors, who claim that the names discovered in the pyramids themselves are forgeries, deny this fact. However, they conveniently ignore the undisputed appearance of these names in the building complexes belonging to each of the pyramids. Furthermore, pyramids did not turn up "out of the blue", but are the culmination of hundreds of years of gradual development; exactly as the accomplished culture of the Old Kingdom, for that matter. Their claim, that the Sphinx is not a representation of Pharaoh Khephren is a.o. substantiated by the fact, that a forensic expert could see no resemblance with undisputed images of this king. However, one of the basics of Ancient Egyptian iconography is the fact that you can hardly speak of individual portraits, even for kings; any image is identified by inscriptions rather than by facial features.
In the first part of the book, the authors spare no pains to stress their scientifical approach to the matter. The fact, that they accept the visions of the clairvoyant Edgar Cayce as one of the proofs for the existence of the alleged "Hall of Records", supposedly situated under the Sphinx, transports their argumentation from the scientifical to the metaphysical: this, of course, effectively ends all discussion on this matter.
It is true that the Egyptian authorities are very reluctant to allow destructive research techniques on the Giza plateau, especially when implemented by foreigners. This is not due to some worldwide conspiracy, but simply because the Egyptians do not like their vulnerable national symbols tampered with.
am 29. März 1997
Every schoolchild is familiar with the pyramids of Egypt and their enigmatic guardian, the Great Sphinx. Though few of us are likely to have the opportunity to visit these monuments first-hand, they constitute part of mankinds' acknowledged cultural heritage, whether the situs of that culture be Cairo or Cambodia or Cleveland. Since antiquity, men have wondered at the provenance, and purpose, of these marvelous structures. Robert Bauval, whose 1994 "Orion Mystery" (co-written with Adrian Gilbert)presaged the present work, has teamed-up with the indefatigable Graham Hancock to produce a new, intriguing hypothesis regarding the origin of the sphinx and pyramids. While there is no shortage of material, dating back though the centuries, purporting to explain the function of these monuments, only in the past generation has computer technology rendered it possible to definitively establish that the sphinx and pyramids represent deliberate, calculated efforts to reproduce, at Giza, ancient sideral phenomena.
According to Bauval and Hancock, geologic evidence alone indicates that the sphinx itself is vastly older than is generally supposed. While the pyramids themselves may indeed date from the "pyramid age" generally assigned by Egyptologists, astroarchaeology provides compelling evidence that their spacial arrangement represents a model of the heavens as it existed in prehistoric times: 8,000 years before the "pyramid age." According to the authors, knowledge of the ancient skies was conveyed to the actual pyramid builders, through generations, via an enlightened brotherhood of initiates. Evidence of this primordial brotherhood abounds, according to the authors, in the so-called "Pyramid Texts" and other contemporary sources. It is only in the context of astronomy, however, that these various writings are rendered intelligible. Readers of Hancock's 1995 "Fingerprints of the Gods" will find they are already familiar with much of the material in the present work. Because "The Message of the Sphinx" devotes
itself exclusively to the pyramids and sphinx, however, the authors have the luxury of detailing their findings relative to those monuments. A basic knowledge of astronomy would prove helpful in following Bauval's and Hancock's arguments, but the book is replete with diagrams that enable the reader to visualize the points being made. There are also several black and white photographs, one of which shows a mysterious door, here-to-fore concealed, in a shaft leading from the "Queen's Chamber" in the Great Pyramid.
Anyone familiar with the work of Bauval and Hancock knows that their material is meticulously researched, copiously footnoted, and compelling presented. Happily, "The Message of the Sphinx" is without the dubious scholarship and sensationalism that too often characterizes books that offer an alternative position to the prevailing orthodoxy. I highly recommend it to any thoughtful reader.
am 5. Oktober 1999
The argument that the Sphinx and the three pyramids at Giza are much older than Egyptologists and academic archaeologists have admitted goes back to Rene Aor Schwaller de Lubicz and to John Anthony West. Both recognized that the weathering of these megalithic structures was the result of vertical rainfall thousands of years before dynastic Egypt, not floods nor wind erosion. Using the newly founded science of archaeoastronomy Bauval has wound the clock back and has successfully argued that the lion body of the Sphinx once faced the constellation Leo with a similar face, a stone fulfillment of man's repeated urge to re-create the heavens on Earth, but at a time when Leo was the rising constellation -- 12,000 years ago. In doing so they have helped open the door to marvelous discoveries about all the great star-oriented megaliths on Earth. These discoveries hearken back to a rediscovery of Plato's Atlantis, and the description of a civilization destroyed at about the same time as the construction of the megaliths of ancient Egypt, on a true island-continent. In ATLANTIS IN AMERICA: NAVIGATORS OF TEH ANCIENT WORLD, Ivar Zapp and George Erikson show that the megaliths of Peru and Bolivia described an orientation toward similar ancient star constellations, and they show that in Costa Rica megalithic spheres may have been part of an ancient university that taught celestial navigation to sea-farers.
am 22. Februar 1999
I read this book with great interest. I am a fan of Mr. Hancock's work since reading Fingerprints of the God's. I have always been one who has sought out different theories especially when surrounded by the narrow minded. I have worked with archeologists over the years and find them very narrow minded overall. Many just parrot what they have been taught. I feel very strongly this "blinds" them to looking at things from different angles just as Mr. Hancock and others (Richard Hoagland, Charles Hapgood, etc) have. Just like Robin Williams did in Dead Poets Society, you have to get up on the desk and get a new perspective on the facts. Mr. Hancock does just that. He is putting together the great global picture puzzle of our past and its starting to come into focus. Its rather ironic that he's a journalist not an archeologist. I hope more scientist will begin to investigate his findings if for no other reason than to try to disprove him. As for this particular book I did enjoy reading it however it often times left me in the dust with the details. I think better diagrams and more of them may have helped. Being a visual person I have to see the spacial relationships in an illustration in order to understand the text. Otherwise as usual Mr. Hancock makes his point, gives the facts, and let's the reader decide. Well done.
am 18. März 1999
I am an avid reader of Scientific American--and this is an extraordinarily interesting book. Intelligently written, well-researched, each chapter presents new discoveries and surprises--some of which are astonishing for their implications.
Here, perhaps for the first time in a single reference, is a recounting of all the remarkable achievements of the pyramid builders with ample evidence to document just how fantastic those achievements were. The scientific community's notion of people putting 200 ton blocks of stone in place with precision by sliding them up long ramps of mud is preposterous--now here is the engineering to prove it.
The book argues that the pyramids were built by a much older civilization of great wisdom and practical knowledge.
The book also provides an intelligent account of the importance of eastern (Vedic) astrology in the spiritual journey of mankind, at least as accepted by the ancients.
One caveat: The book is an easy read--an exciting book--and I sent it to five friends, four of whom couldn't get through it. The fifth loved it. You will need to have an interest in the subject manner and scientific detail. This is not a book that replaces scientific reasoning with easily rebuked, flaky theories so popular with the Atlantis/Aliens crowd.
am 15. Mai 1999
The authors are devoted and committed researchers who have sacrificed years of their lives to bring this story to us.
Because the mysteries of Giza are in such a state of flux, as new discoveries are being made daily, this book, which attempts to bring this subject up to the minute, may seem to the uninitiated to have no beginning and no end. In reality, the authors have been very generous by not rehashing pages of material covered in previous books. They assume that the reader has been following this subject for some time, but thoughtfully point out where the reader can look for more background if needed.
For those of us who believe this subject is one of the most important of our lifetimes, this book achieves it's purpose masterfully by addressing the latest discoveries and further unravelling astronomical clues left by the Giza builders.
I, for one, devoured the book greedily, and look forward, as always, with great anticipation to the next "chapter" in this saga...one the authors seem to hint may blow the lid off established doctrine concerning world history and Egyptology.
Signed: a grateful reader in Southern California!
am 24. April 1998
For hundreds of years, scholars have looked desperately for ways to attribute the pyramids and Sphinx to anyone -- as long as they weren't ancient Egyptians. This book is just another attempt to rob this civilization of the credit for these amazing monuments. Geologists from around the globe have dismissed the sloppy handiwork of "researchers" such as these, who fail to take into account the fact that the Sphinx was periodically covered and uncovered with sand throughout its history. This would dramatically affect its weathering, and throw off the calculations of fabulists like the author of this book. I could go on and on about how fact after fact establishes that both Pyramids and Sphinx were built by the ancient Egyptians and no one else, but those facts would have little effect on the woolly thinking of those who choose to believe in this psuedo-science. All the materials and knowledge to build the pyramids and Sphinx existed in Egypt during the Fourth Dynasty. It was these remarkable people who built these amazing monuments. Give credit, at last, where it is due.