3RD SEASON OF FIELD RESEARCH (AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 1995)
I reported in the March 1995 issue of the The Gaither Reporter that on my previous primary research trip to Egypt and Nubia in November/December 1994 I found a significant increase in the activity of various Euro-American and Egyptian government “conservation” teams. I further noted that there is a direct relationship between these “conservation” teams and the accelerated defacement and destruction of many ancient Egyptian images and inscriptions, particularly on the temple walls. I also indicated in my article that while several of the greatest Pharaonic (ancient Egyptian) monuments are in a state of rapid decay, there is a steady flow of Africentric “study tours” which are visiting these monuments, while doing nothing to either document the remaining but rapidly disappearing images and artifacts, or to help save these great African monuments for future generations.
After my 1994 trip to Egypt/Nubia, I recognized that due to the incredible rate of decay and destruction there is little time to document the surviving evidence of classical African civilizations on the monuments of this region. Thus, I recently completed my third season of field research to this area to photograph and video the evidence that is virtually disappearing from temple walls every day. In fact, there has been a threat to the survival of the Pharaonic monuments since the middle of the 19th century when these half-buried structures were removed from the sand by European adventurers. When these structures were uncovered, they were destabilized upon being exposed to the natural elements (sun, wind, and rain), and to looters who swiftly dismantled the temple structures for profit schemes and to use the stones as building material.
My 3rd season of work in Egypt and northern Nubia consisted of 5 weeks (August/September 1995) of field research. I conducted primary (first-hand) research at 27 sites throughout this Nile Valley region, from Tanis, Giza, and Sakkara in northern Egypt, to Aswan, Sehel Island, and Beit al-Wali in northern Nubia. My main task was to observe, record, and document the vanishing evidence of classical African civilizations. My other objectives were to acquire further ammunition to document the Ra-Hotep/Nofret forgeries in the Cairo Museum, and to continue my study of ancient African social organization and spiritual culture.1
As I had expected when I returned to Egypt/Nubia in 1995, some of the
temple carvings that were visible in November/December 1994 had disappeared
in just eight months. The disappearance of these carvings is due
mainly to the fact that nearly every ancient Egyptian temple is currently
under some level of “conservation.” This so-called conservation
work is being carried out by two main groups: European and American research
teams, and Egyptians working under the auspices of the Egyptian Supreme
Council of Antiquities (formerly the Egyptian Antiquities Organization).
In many cases, these two groups have not conserved the monuments by keeping
them from further damage or lost, but rather they have permanently damaged
and even deliberately destroyed images and inscriptions that have been
in existence for thousands of years. Thus, the erosion of
the monuments in recent years caused by the natural elements and the pressure
of industrialization, urban growth, and agricultural development have
been far outstripped by the deliberate destructive acts by European researchers
and Arab workers and citizens.
DESTRUCTION OF THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
The wall surface of the great Karnak Temple of Egypt is literally being
taken apart stone by stone, as “conservation” workers are removing dozens
of pounds of rock and wall material every day and discarding them as debris.
The rate of defacement and destruction of Karnak and other temples is
stunning. I have documented in just over half a year the progressive
lost and calculated damage to the temple carvings. In just 15 minutes
local Egyptian government workers (most of whom are Arab), in alliance
with Western conspirators from Europe and North America, are able to deface
sacred African temple carvings from one of the world’s most profound collections
of art which have remained in reasonably good condition for nearly 4,000
years. With a few crude strokes, these so-called “restorers” and
“conservationists” are altering the facial features of relief images,
defacing many temple scenes, and demolishing other scenes until they are
almost unrecognizable. A careful examination of the pattern of wall
damage at Karnak substantiate these points. It seems evident that this
crude, clumsy, and incompetent “conservation” work is aimed at nothing
less than the destruction of all the physical evidence which demonstrates
that both ancient Egypt and Nubia are classical African civilizations.
This concerted effort to destroy the physical evidence of classical African
civilizations is evident when one considers the facts. For example,
with the construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960, the whole area of
lower Nubia was flooded and is now under Lake Nasser, the largest man-made
lake in the world. The ancient Nubian remains/artifacts were effectively
destroyed before the nature, quantity, and significance of this material
could be determined. Tragically, these artifacts are at the bottom
of Lake Nasser and will probably never be recovered. This is a devastating
lost in regards to preserving the memory of the classical Nubia.
Most of the limited Nubian artifacts that were salvaged before the rising
flood waters damaged them were shipped off to museums throughout Europe
Many of the monuments now remaining in northern Nubia are the more recent temples built under foreign rule by the Greeks and Romans, so that there are numerous images on these structures which represent European -- not African -- faces. In fact, many of the popular temples in Egypt and northern Nubia are from the foreign Greco-Roman period, so there is a significant mixture of indigenous Africans and a host of foreigners from southern Europe and western Asia.
With the vast majority of the physical evidence of an African
Nubia already destroyed or removed from northern Nubia itself, the next
project of the conspirators is to erase the memory of an African
Egypt. I have found that in most cases on the walls of ancient Egyptian
temples, when there is a rare undamaged African image it is safely away
from the view of most tourists, because the average tourist rarely has
the time or interest to venture beyond the regular tourist track and see
these powerful African images. Every single tour guide (who are
almost all Arabs) that I have observed take tourists to the same areas
of the temple to point out only selected scenes and images.
There is hardly time for tourists to wonder off and explore on their own,
and if there is a break in the formal tour people are usually at the concession
area using the bathroom, eating, or buying souvenirs. They are not expending
energy walking long distances and climbing over walls trying to see (not
to mention study) every section of these huge Karnak Temple complex, which
includes a host of smaller temples, courts, shrines, obelisks, halls,
statues, wall carvings, pylons, mud-brick houses, and an open-air museum,
The widespread damage to the temple images has allowed misinformed and
misguided Egyptologists to argue from such sources as the temple evidence
that ancient Egypt was a multi-racial society and therefore belongs to
the world’s heritage and not necessarily to African history. There
are probably about a million tourists each year who visit Egypt and Nubia,
and they get a totally false view of the identity of the builders of these
great civilizations, largely because the evidence of the builders’ Black
origin is disappearing. This vanishing evidence has enabled dishonest
Egyptologists and tour guides to misrepresent the identity of the founders
and builders of ancient Egypt by selectively pointing out the “non-African”
images on the walls. Actually, many of the images which appear
to look “non-African” have undergone a racial make-over and look nothing
like they did originally. These images have been crudely recarved
by European and Arab conspirators who work hard to eliminate all traces
of African facial features. Only through exhaustive first-hand research
can one demonstrate from the surviving on-site temple evidence that ancient
Egypt was a Black civilization.
CHICAGO HOUSE “CONSERVATION”
Currently, there are a couple of major temple “conservation” and “restoration” efforts in the Waset (Luxor) area of Egypt. One such effort is the Great Hypostyle Hall Project of Karnak, which is a joint project by the Centre Franco-Egyptian d’etude des Temples of Karnak and the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, at Memphis State University. A second project is the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The Oriental Institute project is headquartered at the Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt. The Chicago House has been engaged in an ongoing “conservation” effort in the Waset (Luxor) area for over 70 years in order to document the scenes and inscriptions on the walls of the endangered and rapidly decaying Pharaonic monuments of this area. The Waset area contains the largest concentration of ancient temples still standing anywhere in the world.
The work of the Chicago House includes creating a photo archive of 15,000 negatives and some 20,000 prints (as of 1990), which provides the most extensive photographic coverage of Waset temples and tombs available in one place anywhere in the world. However, the Chicago House project is concerned with simply recording the temple scenes and inscriptions and not with protecting the monument carvings from further deterioration and destruction. Thus, while the Chicago House artists, photographers, and Egyptologists are making a record of the temple wall materials, the carved surfaces are practically falling off the wall before their eyes.
As the human-aided erosion and deliberate destruction continue, soon there will be nothing left but bare walls and the drawings and photos created by the Chicago House. Once all of the original evidence vanishes, the “official” records of what the Waset area temple carvings looked like will be kept by the Chicago House. Egyptologists and other scholars will be able to consult these records, while the general public will be forced to rely on a distorted second-hand view of ancient Egyptian civilization. In years to come, with the original evidence gone from the temple walls one will have to do thorough archival research to find the evidence of the Black origins of ancient Egypt and Nubia. In fact, even while there are temple carvings still visible today, European Egyptologists and scholarly publications such as KMT Magazine do not hesitate to present racist drawings and depictions that clearly ignore and contradict the historical facts.
The Chicago House’s limited concept of “conservation” is to record all of the scenes and inscriptions on the Waset area temples, so that volumes of books can be created and available for scholars and researchers to consult after the carvings have vanished. The problem with this approach, of course, is that we will be forever dependent on the accuracy and interpretations of the European artists and photographers of the Chicago House.
The Chicago House’s work of documenting the material on temple walls is far from being an exact science. Instead, the photographs depend heavily on the light source and angle, and the exposure and development of the film. The more damage there is to a wall surface, the greater the difficulty in interpreting a photograph, where details can become confusing or even lost in the shadows.
As a backup to the photograph, the artists stand in front of the temple
wall and trace (directly on the surface of the photoprint) the shapes
and proportions of the original carving, while eliminating the damaged
areas. The drawing is later inked and examined independently by
two Egyptologists who make suggestions for corrections or restorations
of missing or damaged areas of the scene. Afterwards, there are
repeated consultations between the artists and Egyptologists so that the
drawings are as “faithful as possible” to what is preserved on the wall.
This process is far from being precise as the final inked drawings
are ultimately determined by the assumptions and interpretations of the
European Egyptologists and artists. Moreover, it
is well established within the field of Egyptology that mistakes are often
made by the most careful artists and researchers.
PROJECT 2000 WORLD HISTORY AGENDA
The Europeans are the only group on the planet which have the audacity
to write “a history of the world,” and there is little doubt that they
will put together an explosive barrage of propaganda about classical African
civilizations and other cultures of the world in the year 2000.
With Project 2000, the European propaganda machine will be in high gear
as they tell and re-tell the history of the world. With much of
the original evidence of classical African civilizations gone, the European
obsession with the falsification of African history and culture will be
much easier and more effective.
The Waset temples and other Pharaonic monuments throughout Egypt are in jeopardy, and unfortunately unless there is swift action taken the carvings of some temples will completely disappear within a few years, while those of others will be gone by next century.
1. African Americans should join the growing effort and write letters to the Supreme Council of Antiquities demanding that there be a 10-year moratorium on all excavations in Egypt, and that instead of more unnecessary excavations the international resources be focused on true conservation and saving the temples and other Pharaonic monuments.
2. The African American community should challenge Africentric “study tours” to stop the excessive European-style tourist trips to Egypt, and instead either eliminate these trips or transform them into work/study tours, where they are conducting field work and documenting the remaining artifacts.2
3. African people must create several central archives of photographs and video tapes of the monuments and artifacts in order to preserve an independent record of the remaining evidence of classical African civilizations. (Advancing The Research has already begun this project and I welcome any duplicate photos and video tapes in order to continue working toward establishing an extensive independent archive of source material.)
Originally published 1995.
 For a summary of my work on these forgeries, see: “Ra-Hotep and Nofret: Modern Forgeries in the Cairo Museum?” pp. 207-212 in Egypt: Child of Africa (1994), edited by Ivan Van Sertima.
Prof. Manu Ampim is a historian and primary researcher on African and African American culture & history. He is director of Advancing The Research and can be reached at PO Box 18623, Oakland, CA 94619. Email: Profmanu@acninc.net. Telephone: (510) 568-3880 or (510)-235-7800 x4351.
Note, if any portion of this text, or any of the graphics in this article
are used, please credit Prof. Ampim. Also, please do not use the
photos without the accompaning captions.