Vanishing Evidence Essay Series
The “Vanishing Evidence” series is a general summary of years of detailed
observation and research. The full documentation supporting the
conclusions expressed in this series of articles, including dozens of
photographs, will be published in my forthcoming book, Modern Fraud: The Forged Ancient Egyptian Statues of Ra-Hotep
and Nofret. I make no attempt here to “prove” such a complicated
case as forgeries and the deliberate destruction of African artifacts
in just a few short articles. Rather, this series is simply a preliminary
report on my findings, which will be given extensive treatment in my book
Modern Fraud. - MA
SCOPE OF “THE VANISHING EVIDENCE” SERIES
I originally wrote "The Vanishing Evidence of Classical African Civilizations" series in The Gaither Reporter in 1995-1996. The 3-part series documents the unintentional human-aided deterioration, as well as the deliberate and massive alteration, mutilation, and destruction of ancient Egyptian artifacts. The series covers three broad categories of this vanishing evidence: the Temple Evidence (part I), the Tomb Evidence (part II), and the Museum Evidence (part III). Before writing the series, I had meticulously studied artifacts and images at temples, tombs, pyramids, museums, and ancient residential sites throughout Egypt and Nubia (1990, 1994-1995). I also carefully examined ancient Egyptian and Nubian artifacts at nearly all of the major museums, institutes, and libraries in eleven European countries (1989-1990), and in dozens of cities throughout the U.S. and Canada (1991-1992). Overall, I painstakingly studied well over a million images and artifacts before writing the “The Vanishing Evidence” series.
My initial goal was simply to follow the path of research outlined by the eminent scholar, Dr. Chancellor Williams in The Destruction of Black Civilization (1974), and conduct primary research on ancient Black civilizations. As Williams pointed out, the accurate knowledge of African science, social organization, and advanced spiritual systems can only be known from an unbiased first-hand study of the history and artifacts. Though I began my extensive multi-country research tour with a mission of documenting the specific details of the advanced African civilizations of ancient Egypt and Nubia, a quite different and unexpected theme emerged in every region that I studied. I was struck by the specific patterns of deliberate alterations and defacement of the artifacts. These patterns became clear after I had visited the initial group of European museums. What I noticed most was that these acts were more than simply knocking off the noses of statues, they involve a much broader assault on ancient Black images.
METHODS OF DESTRUCTION AND ALTERATION
My observations of the evidence are careful and are supported by photographic
and video documentation. The extensive study of over a million artifacts
and images gave me the keen power of observation to make analyses of the
same materials that are also available to Egyptologists, although most
of them have not studied the volume of the materials that I have examined.
When the artifacts in question were examined meticulously, I found that
the methods used to change or damage the images are varied, and they include:
subtly altering the shape of the nose on statues by using some type of
sanding device; adding on false noses; reshaping or completely destroying
the face on temple and tomb walls; lightening the color of the face and
body paint on statues and paintings; completely eliminating the paint
on statues and paintings and thus making the images appear “white”; destroying
the lower facial structure, particularly the chin and jaw area; putting
in false bluish-gray inlaid eyes; plastering over temple images with White
Portland Cement during ongoing “conservation” work; and creating outright
forgeries! These acts of fraud and deliberate destruction is what
I call the handiwork of modern conspirators. I was stunned by such
an angry, vicious, and widespread attack against Black images by the enemies
of Classical African Civilizations.
One of the most absurd invention of the conspirators is the forged statues of Ra-Hotep and Nofret in the Cairo Museum. I present detailed and concrete evidence in my forthcoming book, Modern Fraud: The Forged Ancient Egyptian Statues of Ra-Hotep and Nofret (also see part 3 of this series on the Museum Evidence) that there is a list of specific artistic rules which are consistently applied to statue after statue throughout the pyramid age. Although some writers would attempt to argue to the contrary, the fact that there was a body of specific artistic rules is demonstrated by the tens of thousands of statues and paintings that are presented in exactly the same way across various sites and cites throughout all of the major periods: the old, middle, and new kingdoms. Thus, these shocking forgeries make no artistic sense as they violate a long list of clearly defined rules, according to the ancient Egyptian rule system. Further, these fabricated European-looking statues do not make any cultural or historical sense, and it is consistent that they were found (or rather created by modern hands) during the 19th century, which has been called by some historians as “The Great Age of Fakes.” There is no doubt that the Ra-Hotep and Nofret forgeries stand completely outside of the ancient Egyptian artistic, cultural, and historical reality.
One of the great forgeries of the 19th century which has already been proven is that of the famous Queen Tetisheri. The statue of “Queen Tetisheri” was purchased by the British Museum in 1890, and this fake piece (with its facial features resembling most Europeans) was paraded around the world until it was first suspected as a fraud in 1984. This fake Tetisheri statue was showcased in the British Museum special exhibit on forgeries in 1990, but not before this forgery fooled experts and deceived the world for 100 years!
WHO ARE THE CONSPIRATORS?
Who are the conspirators responsible for these acts of destruction, alteration and invention is a basic question that must be answered. Brian Fagan in his book on The Rape of Egypt (1975) documents a list of culprits: the Christian Copts who destroyed statues and monuments; the conquering Arabs who dismantled ancient buildings; and the 18th and 19th century European travelers, adventurers, and archeologists who were treasure hunters, plunderers, and looters. It was during the 19th century that a vast number of ancient Egyptian artifacts were excavated, but most of these discoveries were not adequately documented, with original on-site photographs and detailed field reports, which are now standard procedures within the archeological field. The systematic documentation of archaeological excavations did not develop until many years after volumes of artifacts were already taken from their original African sites and eventually placed in museums. Indeed, it is a sketchy record of how most of these artifacts were discovered and eventually made it onto museum floors.
This brings us to the identification of a large group of conspirators, who are the handlers of the excavated artifacts. This group includes excavators, antiquities dealers, museum curators and directors, and restorers and conservationists. Somewhere between the original excavation of the artifacts, to their transport, sale and acquisition, storage, cleaning, conservation, and finally their display on the museum floor there has been a diligent effort at altering, reworking, and “touching up” the facial features of countless statues. The conspirators who perpetrate these acts are behind the scenes actors who use a hit and run strategy of defacement and alteration of the art. They hide their hands from public view, but the results of their fraudulent and destructive activity is plain to see by anyone who carefully examines the evidence, as their pattern of fraud is highly distinctive. The lack of original documentation of many excavated artifacts has made it easy for these conspirators to commit their fraud. It is well known that many great artifacts of ancient Egypt were destroyed by the hands of plunderers during the widespread looting and trading in antiquities that went on for centuries, but what is not well known is the full story of the artifacts that did survive the wave of plunderers and make it into modern museum collections. I show in Modern Fraud that a large number of these surviving artifacts have undergone a racial makeover at the hands of modern conspirators. The results of their fraudulent work are the countless altered artifacts, reworked pieces, fake genealogies, and a host of forged statues.
The most recent revelation of the racist fabrications by this group of handlers, or more specifically Western museum directors, is reported in the current issue of Archaeology Magazine 54 (September-October 2001, p. 27). This report is associated with an article by Peter Lacovara et al. Archaeology reported that in the absence of scholarship the directors of the Niagara Falls Museum in Ontario, Canada “fabricated pedigrees” for many of their Egyptian mummies in the mid-nineteenth century. The most imaginative of these fake pedigrees, or false identities, was created for a bearded male mummy of the Roman period. The museum officials invented the following elaborate story for him which is a complete myth: “General Ossipumphnoferu the General in Chief of Thotmes III. ... He was a man of military skill, also a famous magician. He was 60 years old when he died. The scar on his forehead was caused by an enraged elephant while defending the king from his onslaughts. A palace was erected for the general near that of the king.” The museum officials took their scandalous activity even further, as for many years the “general” was displayed in the coffin of Iawttayesheret, a high-ranking woman from the 25th dynasty, which was 700 years before his time! It is incredible that the directors of a public museum would take an unidentified Roman period mummy, with a European facial appearance, put him in a woman’s coffin from 700 years earlier, and then create a bogus identity for him as a famous general during a period which was another 700 years earlier than the coffin he was buried in! Eventhough this mummy and other artifacts at the museum were not studied comprehensively by an Egyptologist, this is yet another case which documents that Western museum directors would go to any lengths in the 19th and early 20th century to falsify evidence.
Currently, there is no doubt that this list of conspirators includes
local Egyptian government workers, who are carrying out
many acts of destruction on a regular basis. These men either work for
the Egyptian government on “conservation” projects, or for various European
or North American archeological teams. On several occasions in the 1980s
and 1990s, these unsupervised minimally-skilled government workers have
been caught on video tape plastering over temple images and inscriptions!
In fact, it is impossible to visit the Karnak Temple in Luxor and not
see the recent defacement, and it is suspicious that with rare exception
Egyptologists are silent about this matter.
WHAT ARE THEIR MOTIVES
After examining a vast body of artifacts, it seems evident that the ultimate motives of these groups of conspirators from the 19th century to the present is to eliminate the Black images from the ancient Egyptian historical record. This motivation is consistent with the racist views of many of the 19th and early 20th century Egyptologists who made many ridiculous assertions about Black people having little to no role in ancient Egypt, and that this was a civilization founded by white or Semitic people from the North. These baseless claims were widespread within the ranks of Egyptologists, and they helped inspire both H. M. Herget’s 1941 National Geographic Magazine paintings of pale-skinned Egyptians and the imaginary white images created by Hollywood, which together have deceived the public for the past half century. This nonsense was exposed in the 1950s by the late Senegalese scholar, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop. Diop assembled an awesome body of evidence to document the Black foundation of ancient Egypt and to expose the dishonest discourse of Western Egyptologists who were, as he put it, “performing intellectual acrobatics” to avoid dealing with concrete evidence to support their contentions about the Northern origins of ancient Egyptian civilization. The mainstream Egyptologist Bruce Trigger in The American Discovery of Ancient Egypt (1995) discusses Diop’s impact and that it is because of his work that ancient Egypt is now seen by mainstream scholars as an African nation. Trigger also comments that “the white racist rhetoric that permeated most early twentieth-century writings about the development of Egyptian civilization has long been abandoned, [but] ideas formulated at the time have continued to influence thinking about the origins and nature of Egyptian civilization.”
The “white racist rhetoric” that Trigger describes as permeating early
twentieth century writings is simply a continuation of the same racist
views held in the 19th century, and it is within this climate that the
behind the scenes handlers had both the motives and the opportunity
to deface images, alter facial features, and create racist forgeries.
RESPONSE TO THE SERIES
Since I first wrote "The Vanishing Evidence" series in 1995-1996, there has been much discussion, and many individuals across the country have indicated to me that they have also observed both the human-aided deterioration and the deliberate acts of destruction against Black images and artifacts. I have examined photographs of several of these individuals who have traveled to Egypt at various times, and for the most part only a very small percentage of their photographs are useful, because the individual photographers are not trained on how to systematically document the damage. However, some of the images are invaluable as they document the ongoing assault on Black images at major temple sites. It is now known by many that the physical evidence of classical African civilizations is vanishing before our eyes in essentially every geographical area. Many people are now aware that the human-aided decay, distortion of the artifacts, and deliberate defacement is widespread and this damage is most obviously visible at popular temple sites throughout Egypt.
Predictably, there have been a few white writers who have made ignorant comments about the “The Vanishing Evidence” series without even looking at the artifacts in question! They have not examined the first-hand evidence that I outline in the series, but they attack without anything other than empty emotion. They are in blind support of the fraudulent activity and racist scholarship of the 19th and 20th century. These people subscribe to Western colonial scholarship, eventhough this scholarship was born and bred in the brutal period of European expansion and colonialism. Egyptology as a discipline originated in this shameful 19th century era, and still maintains -- with little improvement -- its arrogant colonial discourse about African culture and civilizations. Any research that challenges this Western paradigm is automatically attacked by the apologists of this paradigm as “wrong” “misinformed,” or “pseudo-scientific.” These individuals are willing to do whatever it takes to ignore evidence, and in some cases lie and mislead the public.
After I had begun organizing my information on the vanishing evidence theme that had emerged from my museum and field work, I later found out that a portion of my work of documenting the ongoing deterioration and destruction in Egypt had already been anticipated by the accomplished Egyptologist John Romer nearly 20 years earlier. On his website, Romer republished a 1997 essay which summarizes his many years of work in the King’s Valley and is entitled “The Valley of Death,” wherein the author wrote: “The warning has been sounded. Loud and clear. Egypt’s famed Valley of the Kings...is in danger itself of the death it silently encloses. In less than 25 years—unless something is done urgently—the valley of priceless ancient tombs could become the valley of ochre mud. And responsible is the planet’s prime agent of destruction—man himself.” Lastly, there is also video footage shot by Ashra Kwesi in his video series on “The African Origin of Civilization” that I recall viewing in the 1980s. Kwesi’s short footage showed local Arab workers chopping and plastering over wall material at one of the Luxor area temples. Kwesi's footage was probably my first exposure to the documentation which shows the vanishing evidence of classical African civilizations.
An updated version of “The Vanishing Evidence” series, complete with numerous photographs, form an important section in my upcoming book on Modern Fraud, which concerns the Ra-Hotep and Nofret forgeries.
Prof. Manu Ampim
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) 482-5791 or 1-(888)-822-3449 x9939.
 I list some of these rules in Manu Ampim, “Ra-Hotep and Nofret: Modern Forgeries in the Cairo Museum?” in Egypt: Child of Africa (1994), pp. 207-212. I will discuss the full body of these rules in my forthcoming book, Modern Fraud: The Forged Ancient Egyptian Statues of Ra-Hotep and Nofret.
 For details see: Mark Jones, ed., Fake: The Art of Deception (1990), pp. 160, 162. The “Tetisheri” statue was first suspected to be a forgery in 1984 by Mr. W.V. Davies, Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum. See Davies, British Museum Occasional Paper (no. 36, 1984). For the significance of this forgery see Manu Ampim, “Ra-Hotep and Nofret: Modern Forgeries in the Cairo Museum?” in Egypt: Child of Africa (1994), pp. 207-208. [Return to text]
 William Hayes, “Daily Life in Ancient Egypt,” National Geographic Magazine 80 (1941): 419-515. H. M. Herget’s 32 imaginary color paintings with pale-skinned Egyptians are used as illustrations for Hayes’ article, eventhough Hayes states “the Egyptians are, and always have been, Africans,” and that they are a “brown” and “brunet” (i.e. dark brown or reddish brown) skinned people. This deliberate public deceit and racism is still being carrying on by KMT Magazine, which uses these same dishonest images created by Herget more than a half century ago. For example see: KMT premiere issue (spring 1990), pp. 9, 11, 16; and KMT vol. 5, no. 4 (Winter 1994-95), pp. 45-46, 60. KMT now seems to have adopted a new favorite set of modern racist drawings by Winifred Brunton to illustrate its various articles; for the complete set of the Brunton drawings, see KMT, vol. 1, no. 4 (Winter 1990-91), pp. 52-61. Also see KMT, vol. 8, no. 1 (Spring 1997), p. 31; and vol. 12, no. 3 (Fall 2001), pp. 1, 74. [Return to text]
Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality (1974), trans. by Mercer Cook. The African scholars C.A. Diop and Theophile Obenga solidified their position of Egypt as a Black civilization at the historic 1974 “Peopling of Ancient Egypt” Symposium. See: UNESCO, The Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script: Proceedings of the Symposium held in Cairo, Egypt from 28 January to 3 February 1974 (The General History of Africa, Studies and Documents, no. 1, 1978), p. 102. [Return to text]
John Romer had already done thorough work in documenting the deterioration of the monuments, with his publication, Physical Deterioration of the Royal Tombs in the Valley of the Kings: A Progress Report on the 1977-1978 Season of the Brooklyn Museum Theban Expedition (1978). Along the same lines, Romer wrote The Rape of Tutankhamun (1993), which was later turned into a one-hour PBS television documentary in 1994. [See: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7171/romer.html] [Return to text]
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
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