by Frank Dörnenburg
It is a widespread belief in alternative science that our forefathers possessed a much greater technological knowledge than our schoolbook science is willing to accept. Many of those theories are lacking serious foundation and are often based on overdrawn speculations [ like the Manna machine ].
In the temple of Hathor at Dendera, several dozens of kilometers
north of Luxor, there are reliefs interpreted by some "experts" as lamps.
It's a riddle where schoolbook science is capitulating. Soot. In none of the many thousands of subterranean tombs and pyramid shafts was found a single trace of soot, as we are told by the authors of the electro-thesis, although many of these tombs are full of often colourful paintings. But the primitive light sources the Egyptians knew (candles, oil lamps etc.) are always leaving soot and are using oxygen. So how DID the Egyptians get their light? Some rationalists are arguing with mirrors, but the quality of the copper plates the Egyptians used as mirrors were not good enough for that.
Temple of Hathor in Dendera
Eastern relief on south wall
Soot and Lamps
"Krassa and Habeck are telling us, that torches, oil lamps or candles are emitting soot on a large scale, which must be detecteable on walls and ceilings. But that is not the case."[ 1 ]
"In the Roman and Greek world torches and oil lamps were used to light the buildings. Wherever places are left where such devices were positioned, we can find traces of soot on the walls and ceilings. But in ancient Egypt ... we can find these combustion traces nowhere."[ 2 ]
Soot in burial chamber
Dendera - Soot on lamp relief
"Many visitors to the monuments express surprise that the painting could have been carried out in the darkness of the tombs and in the dim light of the temples. The Egyptian lamp was of the simplest type, merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes in the tombs, where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot which, in the smaller examples, can be grasped in the hand. In the pictures, there arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames, always curved over the top as if blown by a current of air. Stand lamps in limestone have been found in the pyramid of El-Lahun, and representations of them in stone in the 'Labrinth' at Hawara. In Egyptian houses, small dishes were also used as lamps. They usually have their rims pinched into a spout ...
The absence of smoke-blackening in the tombs of the kings is also no difficult explanation. If olive-oil is used, there is very little smoke, and a suitable covering over the lamp, for which various methods readily suggest themselves, would very easily prevent carbon being deposited on the ceiling."[ 4 ]
|||Däniken, Erich von; Die Augen der Sphinx, Ullstein 1989, P. 215|
|||Ercivan, Erdogan; Das Sternentor der Pyramiden, Bettendorf 1997, P. 83|
|||explained in in: Lauer, Jean-Phillipe; Das Geheimnis der Pyramiden, Herbig 1980, P. 37 f|
|||Clarke, Somers & Engelbach, Reginald; Ancient Egyptian Masonry, London 1930, P. 201|
|||Brunner-Traut, Emma; Alltag unter Pharaonen, Herder 1998, P. 245|
The oldest were found in a Parthi settlement, which was inhabited around the time of Christ's birth. The discovery site - a presumed hill which coincidentally was found to be an ancient village in 1936 - suggests even a later settling. The other pots even might have to be settled into the period to 1200 CE. From this, any usage of such devices in ancient Egypt seems to be very improbable.
The amperage depends on the surface of the used electrodes. An ideal battery possesses two electrodes with surfaces as large as possible, with materials lying apart as far as possible on the electro-chemical scale. For example disk batteries like the famous Volta pile, which consisted of copper and zinc plates. Or our zinc coal batteries, whose central electrode is an activated charcoal staff with an active surface as large as several football fields. The relics of Baghdad are there poor, too, they came with single rods of iron with a minimal surface as counter electrode. This is another sign against a systematic research of electricity.
- One 1 Watt bulb needs 40 batteries per working day.
- A worker needs a lamp
- 10 workers were digging out each site
- Each excavation took two years (veeeery carefully estimated)
- => each system needed 292000 (!) batteries!
- Total weight: 584 tons!
- there are 400 large underground sites in Egypt
- => 116 million batteries were necessary
- ==> With a total weight of 233600 tons!
- All these batteries would have to lie around somewhere as scrap iron or waste. The find situation for batteries in Egypt is however ZERO!
17,400 tons of this metal more precious than gold was needed.
I must start with some words of warning. The book "Lights of the Pharaohs" by the Austrian authors Krassa & Habeck (they wrote the most popular summary of the thesis, and I base my discussion on it) is nicely written and sounds logically sound. After reading of the book a laymen might ask himself, why Egyptology publishes such a rubbish about Egyptian history, since it seems to be completely different. But anyone with just a slight knowledge about Egyptian history sees at once, what a load of rubbish is poured onto the trusting reader. Most parts of the "history" the authors unfold are free inventions, therefore I cannot discuss those parts of the book - I simply have neither web space nor the time to correct everything they have twisted. I will stick therefore strictly to the objects and the technical and Egyptological discussions about them. Only some examples of Krassa/Habecks weird history will be discussed on an additional page at the end of this article.
So let us see how the representatives of the electro thesis interpret the famous Dendera picture. Krassa/Habeck are giving the following explanations (which I will correct on the following pages :-) ):
- ionised fumes
- electric discharge (snake)
- Lamp socket (Lotos)
- Cable (Lotos stem)
- Air god
- Isolator (Djed-Pillar)
- Light bringer Thot with knifes
- Symbol for "current"
- Inverse polarity (Haarpolarität +)
- Energy storage (electrostatic Generator?)
"If we evacuate a glass bulb with two metal parts reaching into it (B), (C), we can see a discharge at much lower levels, depending on the size of the glass balloon (D). At a pressure of about 40 t (tonnes) (40 mm of mercury) a snakelike light filament meanders from one metal part to the other (E). If we evacuate further, the light filament grows wider until it fills the whole glass balloon. This is exactly what we see in on the pictures in the subterranean chambers of the Hathor sanctuary."
Fact is, that the "lamp explanation" works only for one of six large pictures, and for none of the uncountable snake stones in this temple and in all of Egypt.
Even the "reduced model" (which also contradicts the initial no-soot-"evidence"), that only priests hat this magical instrument and showed it a few times a year to the astonished masses, fails, because they had to have the objects at hand and could have copied them. If we take in account that the "working" model is dramatically outnumbered by the non-working types we can only conclude that the idea is, from the scientific viewpoint, flawed. In science an idea is only interesting if it can at least everything other ideas can explain, and it is really interesting if it can explain some things even better.
The lamp model can not even explain five of the six large pictures, not to mention the hundreds of small snake stones. Funny: "school science" has no problems to explain them...
Regardless of the construction used, the bulb had to have a near vacuum inside - can you imagine the air pressure resting on such a device?
Well, we don't need to guess, we can calculate it. With a length of 2,5 meters, a largest thickness of one meter and a smallest thickness of 50 centimeters we can calculate the volume roughly as a truncated cone of approximately 2 m length ( Volume = Pi * h /3 * (r12 + r1 * r2 + r22) and a hemisphere of one meter diameter (Volume 2/3 Pi r3). The combined volume is around 1,12 cubic meters, the surface of the object amounts to approximately 6,3 square meters.
If the object is evacuated, a pressure of about 63 t (tonnes) would rest on a Dendera object. To withstand such an immense pressure, the object would have to be quite thick-walled, at least two to three centimeters thick. The weight of this bulb would be then approximately 750 kilograms. And this monster would be nevertheless a ticking time bomb: a small crack in the glass by uneven cooling with the manufacturing, and the Dendera lamp implodes with the force of a bomb. The fragmentation effect might be deadly in the periphery of several meters!
I for my case also know of no vacuum glass bulb of similar format from modern manufacturing, and this might have its reasons. We cannot do it - but the Egyptians could? Although they had no technical industry at all? Err - no.
"Rubbish" one lamp-fan told me, who dropped the Garn idea in a millisecond to defend the general idea (the people in fringe science are very flexible in switching even basic assumptions to keep a "mystery" alive). I was told, that the bulb could have been filled with a noble gas.
Sure, noble gas grows on date palms :-) Without a real industrial technology it is impossible to get those gasses. There is no trace of a technology needed to extract them before the 20th century. Also: the Dendera lamp would have to contain enough gas to fill at least 713000 (!!!) halogen lamps with a lighting performance of together 14 million Watts (at one bar filling pressure)!!! And twice may be guessed what lights up more brightly.
In both cases the Dendera construction is characterized primarily by its uselessness. A simple bulb or a 500 W halogen lamp needs fewer resources, is simpler and safer against production defects as such a monster. It has its reasons why we use today small bulbs and no Dendera giant, even 100something years after Edison.
"Antikes ägyptisches Glas gehört zum besten der antiken Welt. Trotz seiner technischen Ausgereiftheit ist sein Ursprung und seine Fertigungstechnik noch unvollkommen verstanden. Lucas (1962:179) bemerkt, daß, obwohl Glas sporadisch vor der 18. Dynastie (ca. 1550 BC) auftauchte, dies wohl eher ein glückliches Nebenprodukt von Unfällen bei der Fayence-Fertigung war, während spätere Herstellungen eindeutig geplant gewesen sind. ... Von 1500 BC an taucht Glas als reguläres Produkt mit hohem Prestige in Ägypten auf."
If we add al these facts the air becomes very thin for the lamp thesis - evacuated, to say. :-)
Yes, they need symbols too. The snake for example. The Garn-lamp has either a light aura around the arms or the light fills out the whole bulb. A snake as continuous effect does not exist. So the snake suddenly becomes a symbol for the electric current! But it even gets better: not only the snake, but all of the objects on the relief suddenly become symbols - the only way the authors can interpret away unsuitable "details".
The two facing persons below the bulb are transforming to a "symbol for alternating current", the woman before them becomes a "symbol for electric current", the ape with the two knifes (identified only a few pages earlier correctly as protection god Upu, but with a crazy interpretation) mutates within a few pages later from a &"symbol for high voltage" to "Thot, bringer of light" - a "symbol for light". That's really funny, because Egyptology needs fewer symbols to explain the whole scenery, as I will show on the following pages.
The lamp idea fails again since it needs not less but more symbols. So what about the disgust for symbols? Are some more equal than others?
But this temple was torn down completely after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BCE:
"Remnants of the former temples are ... not known, because all earlier structures were torn down in the later Ptolemaic epoch to make room for the new, today visible temple." [ 8 ]
"The outstanding event of the building and religion policy P.s ' XII. is the inauguration of the Edfu temple on 7 February 70. In Dendera he begun in the year 54 B.C. with the construction work of the Hathor temple......"
|||The numbers are equal to the ones in the sketch in Krassa/Habeck; |
Das Licht der Pharaonen, Herbig 1992, p. 231
|||ibd. p. 239, emphasize by me|
|||ibd. p. 97|
|||Nicholson/Shaw (Hrsg.), Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, Cambridge University Press 2000, p. 195|
|||Krassa/Habeck p. 213|
|||ibd. p. 231|
|||Arnold, Dieter; Die Tempel Ägyptens, Artemis 1992, p. 165 ff|
|||Krassa, Habeck p. 100 & 106|
|||Schneider, Thomas; Lexikon der Pharaonen, Artemis 1994, p. 224 f|
Well, they can't be serious with the "cultless modern time". There are some buildings called "churches" around, which can be seen as "cult centres". Yes, there are cults celebrated there (communions, christenings, church service...) connected with cult objects (crosses, tabernacles, altars).
|Here we meet him again, our old friend, the context. The way some authors work - pulling some details out of the context and molding them together to create a new reality - will produce spectacular results, but no reliable ones. The same here. Egyptian reliefs have the characteristic not to be located simply connectionless in the area. We find them usually in temples or graves. Unlike our "general-purpose churches" Egyptian temples normally served special purposes. If the Dendera temple served a light God, or perhaps even a "unknown instructor from the stars" for example - well, this would be a good sign.|
The meaning of the reliefs
The snake represents, as in many other pictures, the god of the morning sun, Harsomtus. But why, say the skeptics, should a snake be a symbol of the morning sun? Quite simple. The Egyptians noticed that snakes shed their hide and were believed to renew with each shedding. Almost as the morning sun, which comes up every morning renewed. And the sun moves like the snake without visible outer organs.
Especially in Greek-Roman times from 300 B.C. on Harsomtus is always depicted as snake. Therefore Harsomtus appears in Dendera in all cases as newborn sun, and not as a filament - it would be widely out of the context.
The Djed pillar
Further relief elements
Neither is the form of the barge shown in Dendera unusual. In many symbolic barge representations the boat only consists of a string like object which forms a bow and a stern. And on the horizontal platform between we find normally gods and objects connected with the sun or the sunrise. One of these objects connected with the sun barge, and normally located at its stern, is the lotus flower. This can be seen in Dendera, too. It's the so called "lamp socket"!!
The ancient Egyptians believed that the sun originally came out of the first hill coming out of the flood of creation (the crypts in Dendera were accurately under this place, so was believed). One version of this was that the sun child (usually Nefertem) climbed out from a lotus flower - the same thing Harsomtus does in form of a snake in the Dendera pictures. A lotus flower is no lamp socket - it doesn't look like one, and the inscriptions explaining the pictures simply state its a lotus flower. The lotus flower was used e.g. for the production of ointments. The God Nefertem, the Memphitic version of the sun god, was even called "The Large Lotus Flower", who emerges as the first thing from the receding waters and started creation - that is much too far to expect from a lamp socket :-) . Lotus flowers looking similar to the ones depicted in Dendera were often shown in desk scenes, and they were the coat of arms plant of upper Egypt - the Knights of the Lamp Socket?? If the objects in Dendera would indeed show lamp sockets, some texts and interpretations would really be more than a little funny.
THE TRANSLATION OF THE TEXTS
Undeniably to interpret as lamps...
"Surprisingly the texts of Dendera contain actually essentially technical data and paragraphs, which can be linked problem-free with our "electrical hypothesis". Not only this: They represent an ideal, meaningful supplement and support our interpretation in an amazing way."
"An egyptologist may be a specialist in his area, but is he able do detect electrotechnical knowledge in old texts and pictures? Hardly. He would probably never comt to the thought, because school book science anyhow categorically excludes this possibility."
Complete text of the south wall:
Resomtus is alive with gloss in the sky (and) lives at the day of the New Year celebration. He lights up in its house in the night of the child in his nest, by donating the light to the country from the birth bricks. The sky is jubilant, the earth is pleased and the God chapels is glad, when he appears in his chamber in his procession barge at his beautiful celebration of the New Year.
The God with his disk has come to see him. Nehebkau gives him reputation, and the goddess with her disk, with godly body, rejuvenates him in his sanctuary.
Tchnt tpjt jnr (probably the goddess Thoeeris, a birth goddess) is content because of her majesty. She praises Re because of him with praise for his Ka, with wine from schfjt (wine area) and meat bits on the altar before him.
The "land-of-Atum" (= Dendera) is prepared with his most distinguished plan, as Hu and Sia are subordinated to him. He may protect the son of Re (empty king cartouche), forever.
Title of the south wall:
Bringing of the amuletts (Pektoral) made of gold.
Speak: To speak words: This is the protection of your majesty for the celebration, in ktmt gold.
Ihi: Words to speak of Ihi, the great, the son of the Hathor, the noble child with shining plait: I please your heart with glories for your person, and I drive rage out with spells.
King: The king of upper and lower Egypt (cartouche with the name of Ptolemaeus XII.), the son of Re (cartouche with another name of the same king).
Royal edge line
I came to you, to your place (destroyed section). Beautiful one, whose looks are perfect. I have the Amulet of gold (destroyed section) attached with live on the day of the celebration (destroyed section) of your body.
Isis: Words to speak of Isis, the great, the gods mother, lady of jat dj, who stays in Dendera, the beginning with whose arrival the earth began, turquoise skin and lapislazuli like head.
Harsomtus: Words to speak of Harsomtus, the great god who stays in Dendera. Gold, height: 4 hands. Made of metal the Day barge, the lotos flower from gold (this section is about the statues kept here, which were brought upward (room G)).
Harsomtus: Words to speak of Harsomtus, the great God, who stays in Dendera, the multicolored-feathered who is on the Serech. Gold. Height: 1 cubit. (the falcon on the relief is meant)
Ihi: Words to speak of Ihi, the great, the son of the Hathor, Re in its shape of the great God, who appears with the diadem as a king of jztj (Egypt)and as a master of the Sed festival,: You reign Dendera millionfold from the nhh eternity to the completion of the Djed eternity. Gold. Height: 1 cubit.
Harsomtus: Words to speak of Harsomtus, the great, who stays in Dendera, the living Ba in the Lotus flower of the day barge, whose perfection the two arms of the Djed pillar carry as its seschemw picture, while the Ka's on its knees are with bent arms. Gold. All precious stones, height: 3 hands.
Harsomtus: Words to speak of Harsomtus, the great, who stays in Dendera, who is in the arms of the princes in the night barge, the noble snake, whose chntj statue carries Heh, whose crew carries his perfection in holyness, because of whose Ba the appearing (Hathor) in the sky appeared, whose shape is admired by admirers, who comes as unique, enveloped by his head serpents, with numerous names at the point of chw.n=sn (Gods with relationship with the Hathor), the sechm-picture of Re in the "Land-Of-Atum" (= Dendera), the father of the Gods, who created everything. Gold, metal, height: 4 hands.
Isis: Words to speak of Isis, the great, mother of the Gods, lady of jat dj, who stays in Dendera, the queen of the rchjt people, with pointed horns.
Edge line of the Gods
Come in peace, servant of his Lord, as the chw djeser priests are subordinated to you, and you protect my throat with your trusty behavior. I have myself pleased about the freshness of your character. Gold. Height: 1 cubit.
Light of the pharaohs...
Because of the irrelevance of Krassa/Habeck in the rest of the world I will not bring my critique of their book here. But in the book they use some tricks do make the Hathor temple mysterious, that I have found on several English wep pages about Dendera, too. Therefore you can find these few examples here.
Age and inscription
"It remained reserved for the French archaeologist Augusts Mariette to find in the middle of the 19th century in the crypts of Dendera [...] in yet completely unknown relief figures. Additionally they contained a hieroglyphic writing, which had only little in common with the well-known hieroglyphs on the Rosetta stone. Hieroglyphics from an older epoch of old Egypt, which could not be dated exactly yet, whose decoding has now begun."
"The outstanding event of the building and religion policy P.s ' XII. is the inauguration of the Edfu temple on 7 February 70.
In Dendera he begun in the year 54 B.C. with the construction work of the Hathor temple......
Reprinted with permission of the author